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Thursday, December 27, 2007

"Disinformation?" More Like Information

Anthony Wade of OpEdNews warns us about people that don't want Ron Paul to be president. In an article, titled Agents of Disinformation, The Smearing of Dr. Ron Paul, we're told that people like me are pretty much evil. First I'd heard about it, but there ya go.

It begins with a Ghandi quote Paulistas like -- "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they attack you, then you win" -- and goes on to explain which phase we're in. We're in attack phase. Here's the thing though, it's a damned election. Everyone's in the attack phase. I'm surprised Paulistas never noticed that campaigns were brutal before. Welcome to John Kerry's and Al Gore's world.

"Something funny happened on the way to our corporate election though; the people weren't buying it anymore," Wade writes. "Paul started to receive huge grassroots support across party and ideological lines." About that "huge grassroots support" -- Paul's polling at 3% nationally. Although we've learned in recent elections that you don't have to have a majority to win, you kind of have to have somewhere in the neighborhood of 50%. When someone polling at 3% wins, it'll really be time to look into runoff elections.

Then again, I always say that polls influence polls. When you see polls that show a majority answered differently than you would've, it's not all that unreasonable to question your own decisions. People tend to see themselves as independent-minded, but also tend to follow trends -- that's how fashion works. That's not a criticism, it's just an observation. As I say, it's not unreasonable or illogical to be influenced by the opinions of others. In fact, in some cases it's wise.

If Ron Paul starts moving up nationally, other people will be influenced by that rise. That's pretty much what happened with Huckabee -- the guy's an empty suit. I suppose the same could happen to Ron Paul eventually, but to say he has "huge grassroots support" is more than a little factually-challenged.

Then Wade gets into this "disinformation campaign." Frankly, I seem to be missing the "dis" part. It looks like an information campaign. For example, he informs us, "The truth is that I have heard a lot of reasons over the past several days why people think they could not possibly vote for Dr. Paul and a lot of them are just inaccurate on their merits. The first reason I have heard is that he is a republican."

Yeah, he is. Wade tells us so. In fact, if I were to name a Republican that Paul reminded me most of, I'd have to choose Newt Gingrich -- at least in beliefs, if not in demeanor. That's not a smear and it's not inaccurate. It's simply so. Paul never met a federal agency he didn't despise, he hates the UN, he's anti-choice on abortion, and his record shows zero concern for the environment. Ron Paul is nothing new, the current pack of Republican nuts are the new ones. Ron Paul is a Republican nut in the good old fashioned way.

Wade really gets me with another argument.

Another rationale I have heard is that Ron Paul will eliminate everything the government does! Ehh, not exactly if you understand how government works. The first mischaracterization is that Paul would allow services to disappear. Not true. He would return the power to the state level as was designed by our founding fathers. I have heard, "but what about the Department of Education?" What about it? Has the federally mandated "No Child Left Behind" worked? Was it even funded correctly? Go ask your local teacher if they like having the federal government interfering in their curriculum. Go ask them if they like having to stop teaching their kids to prepare them for tests so their schools can pull down federal dollars...

He goes on like that for a while. It's a pretty lousy argument. We have to get rid of the Dept. of Education because No Child Left Behind sucks? Why? These two things are only marginally related and this "logic" would have you burning down your house because a light went out.

Besides, most of these cabinet agencies are matters of national defense. Try defending the nation when everyone's a dope. That'd be a good trick. It's the same reason there's an interstate highway system and rural electrification. You need a strong infrastructure to have a strong nation. Needless to say, I understand how government works. These agencies are constitutionally sound, as much as Paul argues to the contrary.

We're presented another argument that doesn't make a lot of sense. "The second mischaracterization is that Paul can somehow do all of this on his own," Wade tells us. "The Executive Branch cannot. There are precious few people in Congress who lean libertarian folks. Dr. Paul would be forced to come to the center and soften his positions if he were to get anything done."

That may be true and it may not be true, but since when have we elected a president based on the fact that they wouldn't be able to do the stuff they wanted to? And since when did we elect a president based on the prediction that they'll be forced to change? If you want a centrist, vote for a centrist. Don't go for someone and hope they'll change -- that's what women who fall for bad boys do. It doesn't work. It's not the first time I've heard this argument and it hasn't gotten any more logical as it ages.

In fact, it's at this point that the arguments begin to lose cohesion. "At least his core principles include ending war, restoring civil liberties and a sound understanding of the problem we face with our devalued currency," he writes. "The notion that any president can walk in and impose his will on Congress is ludicrous." If your argument is that he won't be able to do anything, what the hell difference does it make what his "core principles" are? What magic is it that keeps the crazy stuff he wants to do from being possible, while allowing the good stuff to go through?

The fact of the matter is that there's a lot of the crazy stuff he'd be able to do alone. Kucinich v. Bush, a decision resulting of a suit by Congress over Bush's unilateral withdrawal from the ABM treaty with Russia, established that the president can pull out of treaties. This means that, day one of the Paul administration, we could be out of the UN. That's only one example.

Not only is arguing that the executive branch is relatively powerless illogical, but it's also untrue.

The fact of the matter is that I don't like Ron Paul for very legitimate reasons. Yet Paulistas seem to assume that people who don't support him are wrong or misinformed. We're not. We have good reasons to not want a Paul presidency.

We don't oppose Paul because of "disinformation," we oppose him because of information. And relating that information isn't a smear.


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