Friday, June 15, 2007

Too funny by far ...

I don't know how long this conversation is going to last, so I'm going to transcribe a some portions of the discussion. I think it's a pretty good indication of just which principles Mark is willing to compromise on first when it comes to politics:
First, let me say that I like a lot of Ron Paul's positions, but doesn't some of his some of his libertarian views (e.g. legalized drugs/prostitution), give you pause?
mr. ed | 06.14.07 - 7:33 pm | #

At some point this bizarre Ron Paul fanboyism among serious Catholics going to stop. It's clear that those Catholics cheering him on don't know anything about him other than that he likes to bang on Bush over the war.

One of Mark's refrains has been that the national GOP doesn't care about pro-life issues. How does Ron Paul stack up? Let's see, he hasn't sponsored any pro-life legislation, and around the time of the Shaivo controversy, he said "Our focus should be on overturning Roe and getting the federal government completely out of the business of regulating state matters." In other words, Congress and the president shouldn't be doing anything about abortion issues, which is exactly the sort of inaction that Mark condemns. (More here)

He's also against the Federal Marriage Amendment.

Okay, Mark, I get it: Ron Paul hammers Cheney on torture, and you love him for it. But he doesn't come close to passing your ideological purity test. Research the guy a little more (it's not that hard; dig around at for a bit) and tell me if he's still worthy of the Doomed Quixotic Chestertonian vote.
K the C | 06.14.07 - 8:14 pm | #

I went to Ron Paul's website to find out his position on how to fight terrorism. I have no idea how he plans on doing it.

I don't care if he's against the Iraq war, or if he thinks that we're paying the price for previously arming the Afghans in their fight against the soviets.


He doesn't answer. In general, I think he doesn't think that the fight against terrorism is real. He probably thinks it's just a phantom to scare people into giving up liberty. In general, he's a complete jackass.

I have no use for that. And I have no use for his fringe half-a$$ed support from Truthers. I find it offensive that anyone would support him because he's a complete wimp when it comes to terrorism. Electing Ron Paul is like electing Osama bin Laden.
Sydney Carton | 06.15.07 - 12:21 am | #


Sure, Paul is pro-life, at least to the extent that the Congressional GOP in general is pro-life. But to stop there is to misunderstand Mark's beef with the GOP on life issues. Mark thinks that the GOP doesn't really care about life issues, and that GOP pols exploit those issues to get themselves elected, then do nothing to advance them. (I think he's wrong about that, but the rightness or wrongness of that position isn't at issue right now.) He's made it very clear that he's tired of this, and that he's looking for a candidate who will follow through on life issues.

For some reason he's settled on Ron Paul, which is odd, because the best that can be said about him is that he's no worse than the average GOP Congressman on life issues. He's certainly not a champion of pro-life causes. Moreover, he takes federalism seriously, and doesn't want the federal government to tell the states what to do on abortion. Normally that's not good enough for Mark, but he really, really likes Ron Paul! The only substantive difference between Paul and the rest of the GOP is that Paul has criticized Bush and Cheney on torture and the war. Other than that, he's quite average on life issues. I just wish Mark could see that.
K the C | 06.15.07 - 12:41 am | #

Electing Ron Paul is like electing Osama bin Laden.

Why, I wonder, do critics of the Iraq War so often feel as though their patriotism is being called into question? And what could that possibly have to do with the shock that Bush supporters felt when *their* patriotism was called into question by the Bushies over the Immigration fracas?

Clues to the clueless: this is the sort of rhetoric that poisons American political discourse. Stop it.
Mark Shea | Homepage | 06.15.07 - 12:41 am | #

Why, I wonder, do critics of the Iraq War so often feel as though their patriotism is being called into question?

Because they're unpatriotic.

See, e.g.:

Underground, Democratic
Kos, Daily
K the C | 06.15.07 - 12:47 am | #

K the C,

Not all of them are unpatriotic. But that's irrelevant for my purposes anyway. I don't care that Ron Paul is against the war in Iraq. My concern is with terrorism. He seems to think it's a figment of our imagination, or that its' only as a result of what big, bad America does in the world. As if Muslims wouldn't attack us once we come running back with our tail between our legs.

We weren't in Iraq in 1986, when they bombed the German disco. We weren't in Iraq when they blew up the Pan Am flights. We weren't in Iraq when they bombed the Towers in 1993. We weren't in Iraq when they bombed the embassies in 1998. We weren't in Iraq when they blew up the Cole. We weren't in Iraq when they destroyed the Towers on 9/11.

What is Ron Paul's plan for attacking terrorists? All of you who support him, please tell me. Thanks.
Sydney Carton | 06.15.07 - 1:20 am | #

On Ron Paul. Somebody whose principal description of 9/11 is blowback and doesn't discuss what to do about AQ is betraying the foreign policy weakness of libertarianism. Libertarian foreign policy is free trade with every state that is not in the act of attacking US citizens, the full majesty of admiralty law to deal with pirates, and requests for foreign states to either try or extradite people like UBL.

I am not kidding. All he has to say about war and foreign policy is that we brought it on ourselves, and that we need "...a strong America, conducting open trade, travel, communication, and diplomacy with other nations." That's great. What does he plan to do about the $%^&* enemy? Does he think UBL is a closet libertarian?

Ron Paul is not even really describing the Iraq war as a distraction from the Afghanistan campaign. He's descibing the Iraq war as an additional error compounding the errors that got us attacked in the first place, and his solution is to tacitly go back to neutrality and assume that we will be left alone. Since he never, ever, talks about what he would do to DEFEAT the jihadis that he does at least acknowledge to be our enemies. I guess he thinks they'll just go away once we quit the UN.
Ed the Roman | 06.15.07 - 9:07 am | #

Ed is right - this is the problem with libertarianism. You cannot make problems go away by ignoring them. The legitimate role of the government is to secure life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This explicitly true for the US and is in keeping with Church teaching. Even when the US Government was miniscule we still had to deal with foreign threats (including the Mohammedans).

I like a lot of what Paul has to say - but I wonder what his response would have been to British impressment of US sailors or to the Barbary pirates.
Michaelus | 06.15.07 - 9:32 am | #


Not all Iraq War opponents are unpatriotic. (I can't believe that I have to explain hyperbole to you of all people, but there you go.) But a large contingent of them are (DU, DailyKos), and rightly deserve to have their patriotism questioned. And those who aren't unpatriotic yet adopt the rhetorical style of the DU/DailyKos crowd forfeit their right to complain about erroneous questioning of their patriotism. Lay down with dogs, wake up with fleas.

A selection of things you've said about Ron Paul:

***"I'm likin' this Ron Paul guy more and more."
***"Ron Paul... had, in fact, been one of the few GOP candidates to actually take seriously what JPII said...."
***"[I]f Paul remains as sensible on the few things I've noticed him talking about in the press, I'm willing to give him a listen. Until his Libertarianism makes war on the Catholic teaching concerning the common good, I have no problem with it. If it never reaches that point, then he may get my vote. So far he's impressed me. But if he turns out to be a kook (as Libertarians often do), I'll have to reconsider.... [H]e does not want the GOP to become the Big Tent of Torture and Abortion. If that's kooky, we need more of it."
***"Ron Paul is so freaking crazy he didn't even applaud when the WarPundits subjected John Paul II to their 15 minute hates"

..and my personal favorite:

***"I will have to keep my eye on Ron Paul.... If he opposes abortion as well as what the Newspeakers of the Rubber Hose Right and the FOXNews Ministry of Newthink technicians call "enhanced interrogation techniques", I may have finally found my doomed quixotic candidate to support."

Mark, Ron Paul doesn't have the pro-life bona fides that you demand, yet your position is that unless he turns out to be a "kook" who makes war on Catholic teaching, you may support him. I suppose I can be forgiven for thinking this means that he's your top choice. He's certainly your favorite Republican, and you're not voting for a Democrat. Perhaps you haven't "settled" on him in a definitely-going-to-vote-for-him sense, but you cannot in good faith deny that he looks better to you than any of the current alternatives. If you want to play semantic games and announce that you haven't settled on any one candidate, fine, but don't deny that you really like Ron Paul. All I'm asking is that you take a closer look at his ho-hum pro-life record and tell us if you still think he's worthy of your vote.
K the C | 06.15.07 - 10:57 am | #

Accordingly, he voted to give the president authorization to go after Osama Bin Ladin after 9/11. In fact, he has been critical of the fact that this authorization has been left unfilfilled, while the authority granted in the Iraq authorization has been far exceeded.

He is so critical of the supposed weaknesses of the Afghanistan operations that his campaign web site doesn't mention them at all, only the ways in which we contributed to being attacked.

Ron Paul, like most libertarians [which is what he used formally to be], is not serious about foreign policy. Whether he was right about Iraq in 2002 is irrelevant. He does not say that he intends to do anything in particular now.

And Madison's Bane, just when did impressment of US nationals cease, anyway?
Ed the Roman | 06.15.07 - 11:27 am | #

The reason that I think it is so critical to highlight this is because it illustrates just how eager Mark is to compromise on many of his principles as long as a candidate is "right" on the issues that now seem to have defined his view of politics (torture and opposition to the Iraq war). His staunch opposition to libertarianism, his views on immigration, his critique of the conservative view of the free market, and even his argument that the GOP should do more on pro-life issues can apparently go right out the window so long as Ron Paul is on the "right" side when it comes to torture and the Iraq war.

It is that last compromise in particular that has me seeing red because Mark has made it a habit to simply assert that no GOP politicians truly care about abortion. For instance, he finds Fred Thompson's pro-life views completely suspect and argues that his understanding of federalism means that he doesn't really care about abortion. Yet when it comes to Ron Paul, Mark accepts his federalist views on abortion (which I guarantee are far more rigorous than those of any other pro-life Republican nominee) completely uncritically. I find this quite telling and would be curious what else he is willing to compromise on in order to support Paul.

As to Mark's claim that he really doesn't support Paul, puh-leez. This is like Andrew Sullivan arguing that Bush's support for the Federal Marriage Amendment wasn't the only reason that he opposed him in 2004. Mark has stalwartly defended him at every turn and ignored any flaws to him on issues that he would have railed against other candidates. Compare his willingness to defend Paul, for instance, with his eager dismissals of Brownback and Thompson. Any criticism of Paul has been written off as GOP or Fox News smears. In discussions about torture, Mark has frequently argued (that is to say, demagogued) that those who attempt to raise questions about his views on the subject objectively support torture. Well, what's good for the goose is good for the gander on this one and I will continue to accept his fanboyish support of Paul for what it is in the absence of any evidence to the contrary.


Bret Moore said...

It's easy to dismiss people who are in favor of preemptive nuclear attack. Hardly a Catholic viewpoint, don't you think?

Paul has a lot to say about fighting Al Qaeda, namely, WTF are we not doing it where Bin Laden is (Pakistan)? Don't be so disingenuous.

Anonymous said...

From the 6/5/07 debate:

MR. FAHEY: ... Governor Romney, I wanted to start by asking you a question on which every American has formed an opinion. We've lost 3,400 troops; civilian casualties are even higher, and the Iraqi government does not appear ready to provide for the security of its own country. Knowing everything you know right now, was it a mistake for us to invade Iraq?

MR. ROMNEY: Well, the question is kind of a non sequitur, if you will, and what I mean by that — or a null set....


Candidates who do not realize the question is not "a null set," but one of judgment and ability to adjust to actual events should not be elected President. One can make incorrect decisions based on faulty information, but the proper reaction is not to dig in your heels and ignore events, but to find out where you were mistaken and figure out how to fix things -- and if it cannot be fixed, how to cut your losses.

At the very least, if he felt strongly that we should stay in Iraq, he should have said, "With the benefit of hindsight, we made a mistake. We cannot go back and uninvade, and our duty is to try to make things right, both for our country, and for innocent Iraqis caught up in the violence." At least by invoking the "Pottery Barn" rule, he would give us a reason for staying, instead of simply ignoring history.

There are several issues I disagree with Paul on, but he was right on Iraq. Until the other candidates recognize the past, I will doubt their plans for the future.

torquemada05 said...

bret moore:

I'm not sure which people you are referring to concerning supporting a preemptive nuclear attack. I have heard some pundits argue in favor of that, but no one from the political class. Even Tancredo's "nuke Mecca" comment (which I thought was outrageous) was premised around the fact the idea of a retaliatory response to nuclear attack against the United States. Concerning the nature of Catholic teaching on the use of nuclear weapons, I would suggest that this refers very much to what you intend to nuke. The Church's current concern on the use of such weapons has to do with their indiscriminate nature, but I'm not sure if that would hold true for tactical nuclear weapons aimed at a far more discriminating target such as a military base or formation.

And concerning an invasion of Pakistan, I'm game if you are. There are logistical difficulties to be overcome, but nothing we can't handle if we get started now. Last time I checked though, another major land invasion was about the last thing that most opponents of the Iraq war favor at this point. Certainly that is not what large numbers of the public who currently oppose the war appear to favor.


I agree that there needs to be a major reevaluation of the errors that the Bush administration made with respect to post-war Iraq. I think that McCain recognized most of them and was willing to say as much at a time when most of the conservative punditry was still in awe of Rumsfeld and his views. This is one of the reasons why I support McCain for president.

Concerning the idea of going into Iraq, I think as Bottum articulated some time ago, this is one of many areas where the Bush administration has had the right idea but the wrong execution. Some critics like to tar statements like this with the brush of Trotskyism, but I think that lets entirely too many people completely off the hook. If we had to do it over again, I probably would have attacked on Iran, Pakistan, or Sudan in lieu of Iraq and I think it is now universally recognized that serious mistakes were made in the post-war management of Iraq.

Donald R. McClarey said...

Some of the comments on that thread are doozies. I especially like this one:

"If we leave the jihadists alone, and leave the Middle East alone, they will live in their part of the world, and we can live in ours. If it's mutually beneficial, we might trade with each other. Each place has it's own natural advanatages and resources.
bax | 06.15.07 - 11:52 am | #"

I didn't know New York, Madrid and London were in the Middle East! Obviously this fellow hasn't been paying any attention to the statements made by the Jihadists which amply demonstrate that their ambitions are global. Libertarianism, an ideal philosophy for those who live in a reality sharply different from the one the rest of us reside in.

Bubba said...

After all this about the Rubber Hose Right and Salvation Through Leviathan, Shea now writes that questioning a person's patriotism "is the sort of rhetoric that poisons American political discourse."


Susan B. said...


Yeah, I thought it was pretty rich for Shea -- of all people -- to say that. No sense of irony at all...

Marc Lewandowski said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marc Lewandowski said...

I'll admit a lot of the stuff at Postmodern Conservative goes over my head, but I couldn't help but notice a resemblance with a certain someone in this:

Generally it's safe to say that for many right platpoppers [right-leaning 'Platoon populists,' Poulos' own descriptor], American nationalism is still a combination failed experiment/hoax/lemon/menace; Presidential campaigns are occasions for mild depression, heavy sighing, and a winsome casting of ballots for one or another doomed, minor candidate; National Greatness Presidents are to a man hucksters, casual butchers, warmongers, blunt instruments, calamities; regional loyalties make sense not just intuitively in the blood but pragmatically within the prudent brain; no political organization larger than Montana is to be trusted or, in partial result, capable of commanding real allegiance. The United States are loved for the onuses and outrages they allow us to escape, not the rights and duties they require us to celebrate through enaction.