Tuesday, October 02, 2007

As I said before, blogging has become less and less of a priority ...

The further Mark continues to identify himself with the fringe politics of Ron Paul. And while I think he makes a number of very valid points in his criticism of the Giuliani campaign here and here, Mark not surprisingly goes off the rails and declares that the Bush administration "did a fine job of playing on everybody's fear and whipping up the tubthumpers against traitors and cowards who doubted the wisdom of the Iraq War." Um, no they didn't, or one assumes that public support for the war wouldn't be continuing to hover at precipitous levels, though I believe it has increased somewhat of late due to the change in strategy under the superb leadership of General Petraeus. I notice that Mark has been rather silent about these positive trends of late, though he seems to be eagerly following the nuances of Hillary Clinton's position on torture.

In any case, Mark is essentially restating the same criticism that I myself have on occasion about Giuliani, which is that his "vote for me because I was mayor on 9/11" campaign is the equivalent of John Kerry's "vote for me because I served in Vietnam" campaign. This is not to imply moral equivalency between Giuliani and Kerry, but simply to note that a slogan is not the same thing as a campaign. I would also note that the fact that he sends surrogates out to the press in order to make dubious claims at his behest strikes me as indication enough that he doesn't have any indication of filling out his issues at this point.

And while on the subject of Giuliani, while it is certainly true that social conservatives are just as fractious as any other group in the GOP coalition, might I note that both the their overt threat to go third party and do some major damage to the GOP in the process completely discredits the argument that Mark has been pushing for the last several years. In short, he has argued that there aren't any serious social conservatives in the GOP and that the entire party leadership are only concerned with money and power. My guess is that he'll either argue that these are social conservatives who have finally seen the light and need to support Ron Paul or he'll hagiography them and seek to demonize anyone anyone who disagrees with the wisdom of running a third party.

As I read through Mark's blog, I also note that neither his tact nor his grasp on reality has improved. A program to put captured al-Qaeda prisoners through what appears to be the equivalent of cult deprogramming is denounced as a Stalinist reeducation camp. Might I point out that the alternative (and the one that Iraqis would be likely to pursue in our absence) would be to execute them en masse? Odd that he would object to an alternative to that, given that he continues to falsely accuse Michael Ledeen of having advocated just that.

Mark's grasp of history has likewise not improved:
We invaded Iraq because the Administration continually suggested there was some link between Iraq and 9/11 and because the Administration insisted there was a lasting, grave, and certain threat that Iraq would deploy WMDs against us. The link is non-existent and the WMDs weren't there. And recent stories are making it clear that the Administration was determined to attack Iraq whether the WMDs were there or not.

I would love to see him document this, given that he has been called to carpet for repeating this false claim on numerous occasions, including on this blog. Of course, this also occurs in that very thread on the subject of Mark's charge that the US has set a Stalinist reeducation camp in Iraq, not that Mark allows such ritually impure sources as supporters of the Iraq war to taint his views.

Similarly, Mark jumped the gun yet again and assumed that the existence of an abridged transcript is the equivalent of the US setting up a full-blown Ministry of Truth and all the totalitarian information control that goes with it. He probably still thinks that, near as I can determine from what he's posted. As ever at Chez Shea, any charity and honest intellectual examination end where the Bush administration begins. No doubt he still believes we're planning to invade Iran any day now.

This might be a useful exercise for Mark on why Ron Paul is a fringe candidate. When you parrot enough crackpot ideas uncritically, people tend to get the impression that you're more than a little looney. Through his pandering to the 9/11 truth crowd, desire to revive an isolationist foreign policy, reestablish the gold standard, and so on, Paul has had more than his share of crazy ideas for people to justifiably label him as a crackpot and a nut. Giuliani's ideas are evil, but they are unfortunately not regarded as crazy by the general public. Since we are a democracy, we have to respect the positions of the demos. Which is why I think that Giuliani is far more dangerous to the conservative movement long-term than Paul ever will be.


Andy Nowicki said...

"Since we are a democracy, we have to respect the positions of the demos."

I would hasten to replace "respect" with "acknowledge." Knowing the reality of public opinion is pretty far from having respect for it.

In many, many cases, the demos prove true the vulgar but trenchant dictum: "the masses are asses." Which is one reason why I'm not a democrat (little or big-d).

Christopher said...

No doubt he still believes we're planning to invade Iran any day now.

I'm pretty sure they are planning an attack on Iran for Christmas Morning.

Mark Adams said...

He also recently said, "Some people have the absurd notion that ardent capitalists care about 'conservative values'. Get real."

He said essentially the same thing a while back in reference to Warren Buffet when he explained that just because you are successful capitalist doesn't mean you are a social conservative. Of course the only people I can think of who might actually believe this are likely to be voting for Dr. Ron Paul. This certainly isn't what "Faithful Conservative Catholics (TM)" think.

Victor said...

For example, Mark, here's this from Ron Paul in the last debate:

Tavis: Governor, thank you. Congressman Paul?

Paul: I would like to believe that if we had a freer society, it would take care of Blacks and whites and everybody equally because we're all individuals. To me, that is so important. But if we had equal justice under the law, I think it would be a big improvement. If we had probably a repeal of most of the federal laws on drugs and the unfairness on how Blacks are treated with these drugs laws, it would be a tremendous improvement.

And also, I think that if you're going to have prosperity, it serves everybody. And if this is done by emphasizing property rights and freedom of the individuals, making sure that the powerful special interests don't control Washington, that the military industrial complex doesn't suck away all the wealth of the country, and then we would have prosperity.

This is what we need and we need to share it. The free society is the only society that can provide goods and services and distribute them in the most fair manner. And that is the society that I would advocate and argue for and believe it's available to us.
How this is not somebody who thinks capitalism is free of all sin, original and actual ... is ... beyond me.

Yet somehow ... Paul gets taken seriously in certain Catholic quarters.

Paul Zummo said...

Yesterday I was taking some USA Today quiz that matches you up with all the candidates. At the end, it shows you which candidate aligns most closely with your ideas, and in the process, reveals all the candidates' answers to each of the questions. Ron Paul's answer to almost every question is "let the markets decide." I'm fairly classically liberal when it comes to economics, and I was on the same page on a few questions, but even I have reservations about such market dogmatism.

Donald R. McClarey said...

"A program to put captured al-Qaeda prisoners through what appears to be the equivalent of cult deprogramming is denounced as a Stalinist reeducation camp."

Mark's lack of knowledge of history never ceases to amaze. We did close to the same thing with German POWs in WWII with de-nazification programs. Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to keep making jackasses out of themselves on the internet.

Anonymous said...

The Blackadder Says:

Well, I kinda agree with what Paul says (at least in the excerpts quoted above), and I believe in original and actual sin. In fact, my belief in sinfulness of human beings is one of the reasons why I tend to prefer the market to the state as a solution to different social problems.