quinta-feira, dezembro 22, 2011
What Ron Paul Thinks of America
By DOROTHY RABINOWITZ, WSJ
Ron Paul's supporters are sure of one thing: Their candidate has always been consistent—a point Dr. Paul himself has been making with increasing frequency. It's a thought that comes up with a certain inevitability now in those roundtables on the Republican field. One cable commentator genially instructed us last Friday, "You have to give Paul credit for sticking to his beliefs."
He was speaking, it's hardly necessary to say, of a man who holds some noteworthy views in a candidate for the presidency of the United States. One who is the best-known of our homegrown propagandists for our chief enemies in the world. One who has made himself a leading spokesman for, and recycler of, the long and familiar litany of charges that point to the United States as a leading agent of evil and injustice, the militarist victimizer of millions who want only to live in peace.
Hear Dr. Paul on the subject of the 9/11 terror attacks—an event, he assures his audiences, that took place only because of U.S. aggression and military actions. True, we've heard the assertions before. But rarely have we heard in any American political figure such exclusive concern for, and appreciation of, the motives of those who attacked us—and so resounding a silence about the suffering of those thousands that the perpetrators of 9/11 set out so deliberately to kill.
There is among some supporters now drawn to Dr. Paul a tendency to look away from the candidate's reflexive way of assigning the blame for evil—the evil, in particular, of terrorism—to the United States.
One devout libertarian told me recently that candidate Paul "believes in all the things I do about the menace of government control, and he's a defender of the Constitution—I just intend to take what I like about him." The speaker, educated and highly accomplished in his field (music), is a committed internationalist whose views on American power are polar opposites of those his candidate espouses. No matter. Having tuned out all else that candidate has said—with, yes, perfect consistency—it was enough for him that Dr. Paul upheld libertarian values.
This admirer is representative of a fair number of people now flocking to the Paul campaign or thinking of doing so. It may come as a surprise to a few of them that in the event of a successful campaign, a President Paul won't be making decisions based just on the parts of his values that his supporters find endearing. He'd be making decisions about the nation's defense, national security, domestic policy and much else. He'd be the official voice of America—and, in one conspicuous regard, a familiar one.
The world may not be ready for another American president traversing half the globe to apologize for the misdeeds of the nation he had just been elected to lead. Still, it would be hard to find any public figure in America whose views more closely echo those of President Obama on that tour.
Most of Dr. Paul's supporters, of course, don't actually imagine he can become president. Nor do they dwell on the implications of the enlarged influence conferred on him by a few early primary victories (a third-party run is not something he rules out, the ever-consistent Dr. Paul has repeatedly said under questioning).
A grandfatherly sort who dispenses family cookbooks on the campaign trail, candidate Paul is entirely aware of the value of being liked. He has of late even tried softening the tone of some of his comments on the crime of foreign aid and such, but it doesn't last long. There he was at the debate last Thursday waving his arms, charging that the U.S. was declaring "war on 1.2 billion Muslims," that it "viewed all Muslims as the same." Yes, he allowed, "there are a few radicals"—and then he proceeded to hold forth again on the good reasons terrorists had for mounting attacks on us.
His efforts on behalf of Iran's right to the status of misunderstood victim continued apace. On the Hannity show following the debate, Dr. Paul urged the host to understand that Iran's leader, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, had never mentioned any intention of wiping Israel off the map. It was all a mistranslation, he explained. What about Ahmadinejad's denial of the Holocaust? A short silence ensued as the candidate stared into space. He moved quickly on to a more secure subject. "They're just defending themselves," he declared.
Presumably he was referring to Iran's wishes for a bomb. It would have been intriguing to hear his answer had he been asked about another Ahmadinejad comment, made more than once—the one in which the Iranian leader declares the U.S. "a Satanic power that will, with God's will, be annihilated."
There can be no confusions about Dr. Paul's own comments about the U.S. After 9/11, he said to students in Iowa, there was "glee in the administration because now we can invade Iraq." It takes a profoundly envenomed mindset—one also deeply at odds with reality—to believe and to say publicly that the administration of this nation brought so low with grief and loss after the attack had reacted with glee. There are, to be sure, a number of like-minded citizens around (see the 9/11 Truthers, whose opinions Dr. Paul has said he doesn't share). But we don't expect to find their views in people running for the nation's highest office.
The Paul comment here is worth more than a passing look. It sums up much we have already heard from him. It's the voice of that ideological school whose central doctrine is the proposition that the U.S. is the main cause of misery and terror in the world. The school, for instance, of Barack Obama's former minister famed for his "God d— America" sermons: the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, for whom, as for Dr. Paul, the 9/11 terror assault was only a case of victims seeking justice, of "America's chickens coming home to roost."
Some in Iowa are reportedly now taking a look at Dr. Paul, now risen high in the polls there. He has plenty of money for advertising and is using it, and some may throw their support to him, if only as protest votes. He appears to be gaining some supporters in New Hampshire as well. It seemed improbable that the best-known of American propagandists for our enemies could be near the top of the pack in the Iowa contest, but there it is. An interesting status for a candidate of Dr. Paul's persuasion to have achieved, and he'll achieve even more if Iowans choose to give him a victory.
Ms. Rabinowitz is a member of the Journal's editorial board.