Tag Archives: tea party

Ron Paul: I can bridge Occupy Movement and Tea Party

Ron Paul becomes the first presidential candidate to identify with the Occupy Movement:

“I identify with both groups,” Paul said, responding to a question at a campaign appearance at GuideOne Insurance in West Des Moines Wednesday about the effectiveness of the Occupy the Caucuses movement that has pledged to occupy candidate headquarters and perhaps disrupt events this week.

“Both groups are unhappy about what’s happening around the country,” he said “The Tea Party thinks the debt is too big and government should shrink; the Occupation addresses the subject of the very rich.”

Paul was careful not to appear in lockstep with the Occupy demonstrators, saying their opposition to the Wall Street bank bailout dovetails with his own criticism of the issue, while at the same time calling the movement “a mixed blessing.”

“We should address that,” Paul said. “But the people who have gotten very wealthy in a free market by producing an honest product are different and shouldn’t be lumped togehter.”

Paul said both the Tea Party and Occupy movements are healthy. “I think some people like to paint Occupy as on the left and the Tea Party as on the right, but it just makes my point that people are unhappy. They are just tired of it all.”

This is refreshing to hear from someone who is both an active occupier and a previous tea party sympathizer. Paul gets it: there is an undercurrent of extreme dissatisfaction in 99 percent that is beginning to reject this corrupt, corporatist-controlled two-party establishment.

The question is: are they dissatisfied enough to upend the status quo?

Ron Paul criticizes both parties, elevates tea party and Occupy Wall Street movements

At one point during his speech, Paul said: “The American people are waking up….They’re tired of what they heard from the two parties and get promises.”

“If the Democrats promise one thing, then they get in and act like Republicans. Republicans promise something, they get in and act like Democrats. But the people are upset. They are getting angry. They are speaking out and I think it’s very healthy.”

“We have a tea party movement, we have an Occupy movement and people are saying, ‘We’ve had enough. We don’t want to be ripped off anymore. We want to do away with this crony corporatism and we want to restore individual liberty for each and every American citizen,’” Paul added.

This is why Ron Paul is being attacked by partisans from both parties: he perfectly personifies and taps into the anti-establishment sentiment that has gripped this country. When an establishment Republican like Newt Gingrich repeats the same charges partisan hacks from the Democratic Party are levying against someone, you know this target poses a threat to the moneymaking and horrifically profitable status quo.

The establishment from both parties, the same establishment that have thumbed their noses at the tea party movement and the Occupy Wall Street movement, are terrified at what Paul represents.

What does Paul represent? A truly populist uprising that will strip away power from the corporatists and war profiteers that establishment Republicans and Democrats, including Barack Obama, are beholden to.

If 2008 was the rebellion, then 2012 is the revolution.

Real hope and change, or why Rand Paul turned out alright

Last year, when then-candidate Rand Paul was running for senate, I wrote this about him (in full):

The clarity and the consistency of Ron Paul’s ideology was what convinced me that he is worth listening to. His credibility in my eyes was bolstered by his principled, ethical, and educated positions in everything from abortion to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to his defense of the writ of habeas corpus for even “terrorists.”

Unfortunately, Ron Paul’s intelligent reasoning and ethical defense of individual rights did not rub off on his son, Rand Paul, who is currently seeking the Republican nomination for Kentucky’s senatorial race.

What I am experiencing with Rand Paul is similar to what I experienced with Barack Obama during the early days of his campaign. I gravitated to Obama initially because of what I thought his views were on perpetual, unethical, and illegal wars then and still taking the lives of American service members and innocent farmers and children abroad. As I paid more attention to Obama’s often tepid, vague, and substance-deficient speeches, the more I realize that he was just as bad as any other war-mongering neoconservative out there. He was not against illegal and unethical wars; he was just against the Iraq War for politically convenient reasons.

Rand Paul suffers from the same deficiencies of character and ideology.

I have yet to hear anything definitive about his stance on the war, except on his website where he states that he believes “that defending this country is the primary and most important Constitutional function of our federal government.” His YouTube video titled “National Defense/Foreign Policy” was just as vague. He basically said that he would have pushed for a vote for a declaration of war in Iraq, but would have voted against it. And then says he would have supported the war in Afghanistan! It all sounds very convenient and very much in line what Obama has publicly stated regarding both wars.

And there is this deal-breaker of a quote:

“With regard to: is there ever a time when we can go into war without a declaration? I think most pundit have agreed that in a nuclear age that there certain things that a president can do with either secrecy or immediately in retaliation or prevention of a nuclear attack? So, I think that it is acknowledged.”

And regarding his position on what the president could have done after September 11 attacks:

“There might have been a reason why a president could have sent Special Forces in secretly within a few days and I think that could have been something that would have been justified.”

So Rand Paul’s position is that the president is justified in invading other countries at will and in secret and without a declaration of war and assassinate people to not only prevent nuclear attacks, but also in retaliation for non-nuclear attacks. Sounds familiar? It is called Bush’s Doctrine of Preemptive War.

Maybe I mishearing what I am hearing directly from his mouth. Maybe he misspoke. Yet the Houston Chronicle labels him as being an “interventionist” with “more mainstream conservative on national defense” unlike his “quirky” father.

I remain suspicious of Rand Paul. He does not seem to be cut from the same cloth as his father. How can I throw my support behind a candidate that advocates the continued murder of innocent farmers and children in foreign lands? And it is that simple. There is not such a thing as degrees of non-interventionism. He is either for the deployment of armed troops to foreign countries and for the violence, the drain on the nation’s wealth, and abridgment of liberties and freedom that inevitably follows that intervention; or he is for non-intervention, peace, and liberty.

Through his own words, it seems that Rand Paul is set to disappoint those who value the latter.

It was a scathing rebuke, but I am not one to mince words.

Sen. Rand Paul is not Ron Paul. He is not even in the same realm as his father. Let us be honest, Ron Paul’s ideas are changing the Republican Party from within and without. Ron Paul Republicans are moving up the ranks in local party committees throughout the country and their presence will soon be felt in as little as six years. From outside the party structure, organizations like Campaign for Liberty and a whole host of websites are spreading his ideas and affecting the country’s political discourse. Young people galvanized by his message are proudly propelling the liberty movement forward through such organizations like Young Americans for Liberty. Ron Paul’s populist message has even influenced movements like the tea party and the Occupy Wall Street movement.

But what can we say about Sen. Paul? Well, he won an election.

However, credit must now be given where it is due. The new senator from Kentucky is unlike the candidate that originally filled me with suspicion. In this past year, Sen. Paul has averted a future war with Russia, opposed the intervention in Libya, and defended due process rights in opposing the horrific provisions contained within the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). He also proved to be a very articulate political surrogate for his father who is currently campaigning for the Republican presidential nomination. Actions speak louder than words and thus far, Sen. Paul has proven to be a consistent defender of liberty.

Yes, the son is unlike the father. In fact, not once was the “unelectable” charge ever levied against the younger Paul as he is that mainstream enough. It is becoming increasingly clear, however, that the savvy senator from Kentucky is not only as principled as Ron Paul, but might prove to be a more effective standard-bearer for his father’s ideas. Coupled with the rise of the new liberty movement, the face of American politics will not remain the same.

Now, that is real hope and change.

The tea party mandate in Iowa

Now that Michele Bachmann had won the straw poll at Ames, the corporate media narrative has shifted from questioning the importance of the straw poll to reaffirming its relevance this presidential election.

However, there is a real message to be taken from the results where nearly 60% (Bachmann’s 28.5% and Ron Paul’s 27.6%) of the votes cast were for candidates who were aligned with the tea party.

If there was any backlash against the tea party after the very recent debt ceiling debacle, it is absent in Iowa and especially among the Republicans there.

People might quibble about the poll’s value as a predictor of the eventual Republican nominee, but it is clear today that in Iowans’ choice of Bachmann and Paul is a mandate for the tea party.

The tea party must learn to love the downgrade

As pointed out by Angela Thorn, the Democrats (with the help of the Republican establishment beginning with Sen. John McCain’s ridiculous “tea party as hobbits” analogy) have launched a coordinated media-blitz to pin the blame for S&P’s recent downgrade of the country’s credit rating on the tea party.

On a Fox News Sunday show, David Axelrod used the phrase “Tea Party Downgrade” referring to the recent S&P action. John Kerry used the exact same phrase on MSNBC this morning. MoveOn.org blasted out an email using the same phrase in the title.

Apparently, the twenty-two Republican freshmen in the House are to blame for all the debt, deficit, and downgrade! Somehow, in less than a year, they managed to drag the country into the brink of ruin. McCain was wrong; the tea partiers are not just hobbits, but mutants possessing superpowers!

I hold no love for the tea party and while I do recognize that their rise and political power is of consequence, I am not ready to credit them for the federal government’s much-deserved downgrade. To do that is to ignore the role the other 413 House representatives had in the debt ceiling debate (which, according to the approved corporate media narrative, is negligible).

If the Republican and Democratic leadership were serious about compromising, they could have easily ignored the tea party. Instead, they intentionally created this theater and when it was all said and done, colluded with one another to place the blame on their shared enemy: the tea party.

However, the downgrade and the subsequent bipartisan blame game poses a political opportunity for the tea party. The tea party ought to embrace the downgrade and claim credit for it. If anything, the downgrade makes it more costly and more prohibitive to expand the government: a necessary step to constrain the size and scope of government.

The tea party must not only embrace, but learn to love the downgrade.

Romney campaign’s $1 million loot from mystery firm

Mitt Romney, the corporate media-sanctioned front-runner, has been the recipient of one the largest political donations ever this election season. Except how his campaign received some of these money is raising some serious legal questions.

A mystery company that pumped $1 million into a political committee backing Mitt Romney has been dissolved just months after it was formed, leaving few clues as to who was behind one of the biggest contributions yet of the 2012 presidential campaign.

A former FEC counsel describes it as “subterfuge” while Dave Weigel calls it money laundering.

Who are these people donating such large sums to Romney anyway? According to Politico, Romney’s donor list includes a billionaire who profited off the housing bubble’s collapse, bankers, and a few wealthy people.

This campaign revelation has come at a bad time for Romney. With the debt ceiling brouhaha over and no major news going on in the next few weeks, all eyes are will be on him.1 His prolonged silence in the debt ceiling debate, Sarah Palin’s salvo, fellow Mormon John Huntsman’s imploding campaign, his non-participation in the Ames Straw Poll, and now this mysterious campaign donation will ensure that he will suffer the brunt of unwelcome media scrutiny in the next few days.

Though, it is doubtful that this controversy would seriously hurt Romney’s presidential campaign in any significant way. If his ideological flip-flops have not hurt his lead in the polls, then why would illegal contributions? If anything, this would be seen as yet another media-led witch-hunt against the wealthy and their expensive political speech. Romney would only benefit from such “attack.”

1 Except the deepening famine crisis in Somalia, the increased violence in Afghanistan and Iraq, the continued violence in Libya, the stock market’s free-fall, the weakening dollar, and so on. But I digress.

The self-deluding meme of a ‘weak Obama’

As soon as the debt ceiling deal was announced, progressives from the Left immediately attacked President Barack Obama’s so-called capitulation to the Tea Party, with liberal columnist Paul Krugman calling it “an abject surrender.” This surrender, progressives argue, has weakened Obama and raises questions about his reelection chances.

But here is the problem with this meme of an unwilling, weak-willed (or to quote a friend of mine, “ball-less”) Obama capitulating to the evil Tea Party: it is simply not true. One only has to look past the current political theater being played out to recognize Obama’s gleeful abuse of the enormous power he wields.

As pointed out by Arthur Silber:

When one considers the destructive powers of the weapons at his command, as well as the bloodily murderous enthusiasm with which he uses them, and when one contemplates the enormous powers he enjoys entirely apart from and in addition to those weapons, it will easily be seen that Obama is the single most powerful individual in the entire history of humankind.

Even ignoring the widespread reports that it was the White House that first suggested cuts to Social Security and the ridiculous back-and-forth in the debt ceiling debate, many of Obama’s policies that progressives disagree with have not been provoked or been the result of Republican political machinations.

Was it Republicans that pressured a weak-willed Obama to ignore the law and bomb Libya? Was it the tea party that pressured Obama to wage the White House’s unprecedented crackdown on whistleblowers? Was Obama being “ball-less” when he went after Bradley Manning and WikiLeaks or when his Justice Department decided not to prosecute Bush’s torture criminals? I guesss it was Boehner and Cantor that forced Obama to increase the drone attacks in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia. Was Obama being weak and incompetent when he claimed the right to assassinate Americans extra-judicially?

To summarize, Obama’s decidedly anti-progressive policies have been and always been his own.

The belief that Obama is weak is self-delusional. Obama, with the help of a complicit Congress, has greatly expanded the powers of the executive branch and edged that office closer to an imperial presidency. Small government Republicans, progressive Democrats, and the libertarian-leaning faction of the tea party underestimate Obama at their peril. As I have said before, Obama is not just Bush Lite; he is Bush Squared.

UPDATE: Of course, Glenn Greenwald pointed this myth out two days ago.

Iowa a Test of Ron Paul as Mainstream Candidate

Mr. Paul’s libertarian views have moved from the fringe toward the mainstream of conservative thinking in the past several years, with his warnings about fiscal meltdown gaining new resonance and the 2008 financial crisis allowing him to press his longstanding critiques of the Federal Reserve.

Now, as he again seeks the Republican presidential nomination, he is hoping to show that he can translate the new attention into votes. And his first test is the straw poll next month, where he is hoping he can organize his band of followers into a political machine capable of beating some or all of his brand-name rivals.

It has been very interesting (and illuminating) to watch how corporate media treats the Ames Straw Poll in their reporting. It is at once both: a “political bell-weather” or a “test” that would make or break a presidential run, and utterly inconsequential with the corporate media-sanctioned front-runners (i.e., Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, and inexplicably Gov. Rick Perry of Texas) not participating in the straw poll.

Regardless of the outcome of the straw poll in Iowa, one thing is for sure: Ron Paul would never be mainstream enough for corporate media. His consistent antiwar views has all but precluded him from that.

Principled liberals protest Obama’s illegal wars, but where is the Tea Party?

The ANSWER Coalition held a spirited antiwar rally in front of the White House yesterday, protesting the illegal, unconstitutional Libyan War. It should not come as a surprise that not a word of the rally was mentioned by the corporate media.

It is heartening and extremely encouraging to see that there are principled antiwar activists still active in the Left. However, where is the Tea Party?

We saw the Tea Party turn out in mass protests against Obama’s healthcare scheme and rightly pointed out that the program will not only be too costly, but a massive threat to civil liberties. If only the Tea Party were to apply this same logic to protest the biggest government programs America is undertaking.

With the exception of Sen. Rand Paul, few of the self-proclaimed Tea Party leaders are calling for mass protests against Obama’s unlawful wars. Until they do, the Right’s new-found concern for austerity and its fixation on the debt is just talk.