Ron Paul Debate Flushes Out Gender-Baiting Right Wing Opportunists Masquerading as Progressives
(Naked Capitalism) -- by Yves Smith --
The intense debate precipitated by a post on this site, “How Ron Paul Challenges Liberals,” and follow up posts by Glenn Greenwald and here serve to prove their simple yet frequently misrepresented thesis: that Ron Paul’s anti-war, anti-Fed positions expose fault lines among those traveling under the “liberal” banner.
Anyone who read comments on NC prior to this debate would have noticed some sympathy for Paul, ranging from the more common “he’s batshit and I’d never vote for him, but his opposition to our Middle East adventurism and the lack of accountability at the Fed is refreshing” to some making a stronger case for him. That shouldn’t be surprising given the point often made here and in the few lonely “progressive” outposts on the blogosphere (“progressive” is in the process of being co-opted in the same way “liberal” has been): that the Democratic party has been so deeply penetrated by the neoliberal/Robert Rubin/Hamilton Project types that it isn’t that different from the right on economic issues.
It should not be controversial to point out that the Democratic party uses identity politics as a cover for its policy of selling out the middle class to banks and big corporate interests, just on a slower and stealthier basis than the right. And we’ve seen the identity card used in a remarkably dishonest manner in this Ron Paul contretemps.
The strategy used is shameless straw manning in combination with gender baiting. Both Katha Pollitt (in “Progressive Man Crushes on Ron Paul“) and Megan Carpentier (“Ron Paul’s useful idiots on the left“) grossly misrepresent Glenn Greenwald’s posts on Paul, in which he says repeatedly that he is talking about broad policy issues, and not standing behind any candidate:
I’m about to discuss the candidacies of Barack Obama and Ron Paul, and no matter how many times I say that I am not “endorsing” or expressing support for anyone’s candidacy, the simple-minded Manicheans and the lying partisan enforcers will claim the opposite…”There are, as I indicated, all sorts of legitimate reasons for progressives to oppose Ron Paul’s candidacy on the whole.What does this become in Pollitt’s piece? She depicts Greenwald as being on a par with Ron Paul enthusiasts like Andrew Cockburn:
Salon’s Glenn Greenwald is so outraged that progressives haven’t abandoned the warmongering, drone-sending, indefinite-detention-supporting Obama for Paul that he accuses them of supporting the murder of Muslim children…And yes, these are all white men; if there are leftish white women and people of color who admire Paul, they’re keeping pretty quiet.Ah, the gender baiting card! No women or non whites have anything nice to say about Ron Paul! That’s patently untrue, but identity bigots like Pollitt apparently can’t wrap their minds around the notion that many people see themselves as citizens first and their demography second, and can and do have nuanced views based on how they weigh multiple political considerations: class, concentration of power, rule of law, civil liberties, and gender/race/sexual orientation. I’m not a Paul booster, yet I applaud his effort to curb the Fed, which has circumvented Constitutional budgetary processes to support a predatory financial services industry, as well as his criticism of Iran war-mongering. The fact that I ran a piece on how Paul is inconvenient to liberals meant I support this view, but Pollitt omits anything that undermines her tidy Obama-defending narrative.
But most important, I object to the presumption of the Pollitt position, that right-thinking women of the left-leaning persuasion must of course agree with her. I find myself appalled by the culture, such that it is, of soi-disant progressives in DC. That isn’t to say that there aren’t many talented individuals laboring to make things better. But from what I can tell, their efforts are too often at odds with and deliberately undermined by a puerile, often vicious style of discourse that values petty conformity over substantive contributions. And the sacred cow of petty conformity is political correctness (well, unless you are a “progressive” woman, that makes is OK to yell “white male oppressor” when you run out of arguments)...
Does that mean that I am a fan of Ron Paul? No. Do I admire the fact that he’s articulating an anti-war platform? Yes, but very cautiously and very sadly…And in part, we have only Paul to look to, because of “white leftish women” like Katha Pollitt, who says,
I, too, would love to see the end of the “war on drugs” and our other wars. I, too, am shocked by the curtailment of civil liberties in pursuit of the “war on terror,” most recently the provision in the NDAA permitting the indefinite detention, without charge, of US citizens suspected of involvement in terrorism. But these are a handful of cherries on a blighted tree.Really? Half a million Iraqi civilians dead? Dozens of Pakistani children dead because of drones (or more. We are not allowed to know)? The reproductive systems of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi women decimated by decades of US-led chemical warfare? The curtailment of civil liberties of legal residents (and not merely citizens) in the US? The indefinite detention of tens of thousands of migrants, documented or otherwise? Those migrants include Latinos, South Asians, Arabs, Middle Easterners, Muslims from other parts of the world–detained not just for migrating without papers, but for merely being suspected of terrorism and held without charges, without lawyers, without family knowing, without judicial review–without a way out. These are what an anti-war position would resist. Seriously? Pollitt believes these are cherries on a blighted tree?..
Essentially, Pollitt’s column comes down to this: We want solidarity among liberals and progressives—but only on terms determined by WHITE leftish women and a segment of white men and some people of color...MORE...LINK
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