But people are starting to get it. The Greenwald sweater of polemical deceit is unraveling, and I like it. I like it because I find his sort of polemical discourse and rhetorical bomb-throwing to be a reckless distraction from the serious problems that confront us.
I want those of you who are seriously singing Paul’s praises, while calling yourself progressive or left to ask what it signifies — not about Ron Paul, but about you — that you can look the rest of us in the eye, your political colleagues and allies, and say, in effect, “Well, he might be a little racist, but…
How do you think that sounds to black people, without whom no remotely progressive candidate stands a chance of winning shit in this country at a national level? How does it sound to them — a group that has been more loyal to progressive and left politics than any group in this country — when you praise a man who opposes probably the single most important piece of legislation ever passed in this country, and whose position on the right of businesses to discriminate, places him on the side of the segregated lunchcounter owners? And how do you think they take it that you praise this man, or possibly even support him for president, all so as to teach the black guy currently in the office a lesson for failing to live up to your expectations?
How do you think it sounds to them, right now, this week, as we prepare to mark the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, that you claim to be progressive, and yet you are praising or even encouraging support for a man who voted against that holiday, who opposes almost every aspect of King’s public policy agenda, and the crowning achievements of the movement he helped lead?
My guess is that you don’t think about this at all. Because you don’t have to. One guess as to why not.
It’s the same reason you don’t have to think about how it sounds to most women — and damned near all progressive women — when you praise Paul openly despite his views on reproductive freedom, and even sexual harassment, which Paul has said should not even be an issue for the courts. He thinks women who are harassed on the job should just quit. In other words, “Yeah, he might be a little bit sexist, but…”
It’s the same reason you don’t have to really sweat the fact that he would love to cut important social programs for poor people. And you don’t have to worry about how it sounds to them that you would claim to be progressive, while encouraging support for a guy who would pull what minimal safety net still exists from under them, and leave it to private charities to fill the gap. And we all know why you don’t have to worry about it. Because you aren’t them. You aren’t the ones who would be affected. You’ll never be them. I doubt you even know anyone like that. People who are that poor don’t follow you on Twitter.
And please, Glenn Greenwald, spare me the tired shtick about how Paul “raises important issues” that no one on the left is raising, and so even though you’re not endorsing him, it is still helpful to a progressive narrative that his voice be heard. Bullshit. The stronger Paul gets the stronger Paul gets, period. And the stronger Paul gets, the stronger libertarianism gets, and thus, the Libertarian Party as a potential third party: not the Greens, mind you, but the Libertarians. And the stronger Paul gets, the stronger become those voices who worship the free market as though it were an invisible fairy godparent, capable of dispensing all good things to all comers — people like Paul Ryan, for instance, or Scott Walker. In a nation where the dominant narrative has long been anti-tax, anti-regulation, poor-people-bashing and God-bless-capitalism, it would be precisely those aspects of Paul’s ideological grab bag that would become more prominent. And if you don’t know that, you are a fool of such Herculean proportions as to suggest that Salon might wish to consider administering some kind of political-movement-related-cognitive skills test for its columnists, and the setting of a minimum cutoff score, below which you would, for this one stroke of asininity alone, most assuredly fall.
I mean, seriously, if “raising important issues” is all it takes to get some kind words from liberal authors, bloggers and activists, and maybe even votes from some progressives, just so as to “shake things up,” then why not support David Duke? With the exception of his views on the drug war, David shares every single view of Paul’s that can be considered progressive or left in orientation. Every single one. So where do you draw the line? Must one have actually donned a Klan hood and lit a cross before his handful of liberal stands prove to be insufficient? Must one actually, as Duke has been known to do, light candles on a birthday cake for Hitler on April 20, before it no longer proves adequate to want to limit the overzealous reach of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms? Exactly when does one become too much of an evil fuck even for you? Inquiring minds seriously want to know.