Thursday, May 20, 2010

On the KY It-Boy, Nitwit (Now with Update!)

[Tedious little peckerhead (h/t gunnison @ FDL) Rand Paul, MD]

I've commentated about Li'l Paul, who I've dubbed the KY "It-Boy", in several fora, mostly lambasting him for his mind-numbing Propertarian clap-trap and general incoherent babbling, but it's looking more and more (at least for the moment) that he actually might represent a Problem for The Powers That Be.

He's supposed to be a part of the Establishment like his Daddy. Oh, his designated role within that Establishment is to be on the Farthest Right Propertarian Fringe and to get the Cracker Vote all riled up and to appeal to some of the younger elements in the Propertarian/Libertarian firmament.

But he's journeyed off the reservation on the matter of the Civil Rights Act and apparently other things, and though he's apparently been provided with study material and the appropriate talking points -- "Moi? Why I support the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in its entirety; I can't imagine why you would think otherwise. Ha ha ha ha ha." -- I've got this sense about him that he may try to break free of his handlers, somewhat like Half-Term Sarah did, and go for something else again. Something even more populist... shall we say.

The fear of Rightist populism is completely justified given its blood-soaked history in the 20th Century -- and I'm not just talking about the Nazis.

Rightist populism has a long history in this country, too, not least in the South.

And this nitwit comes along and starts pumping it up again, after several decades of deflation.

"We've come to take the Government back." Not take the country back, you notice. That was Dr. Dean's theme, and some observers would say that Dean and the Deaniacs got pretty much what they wanted -- or at least what they were working for, whether they knew it or not -- with the capture of all three branches of Government by Democrats.

What a disappointment that's been. But that's another topic. One day I'll have to go into some of my experiences working on the Dean campaign, and how some of the same enthusiasm and personnel were transferred to the Obama campaign, as were some of the delusions. But not just yet.

"Take the Government back..." There's a lot of code-talk in the KY It-Boy's campaign designed to appeal to the fine upstanding Southern white boys who have felt their Government was taken from them by all these uppity darkies and wimmen, especially the darkie in the White House, but including dames like Mrs. Pelosi and the Always Arch She-Demon, Hillary.

So they're gonna send Ron Paul's nitwit son to sit in the Senate to git 'er done. Don't laugh. It could happen.

Nitwit though he may be, and with a birdsnest of curls on top of his very swelled head (h/t some commenter at FDL), Rand Paul strikes me as quite possibly the charismatic Rightwing Populist leader Half-term Sarah has been pretending to be on her road show. It's more than obvious that Half-term Sarah is in it for the money -- which she is making hand over fist -- just like Glenn Beck, the other potential RW Populist leader -- until the KY It-Boy came along.

Despite the fact that the Big Republican Leadership is trying to train up Li'l Paul to behave on the stump, it looks like this babbling boy is bucking the grownups and forging his own path. Half-term Sarah was apparently purchasable for hard cash, but I'm not at all sure Rand Paul can be bought. And if he can't be, Katie Bar the Door. He's got an immense ego, and he's already let his primary victory swell his curly haired head up so much he can't even get it through ordinary doors anymore.

If he continues to try to rally the reactionary Crackers -- which he's doing with every teevee appearance -- it's possible the Government will have (another) BIG problem on its hands.

The Arizona Thing was kind of a harbinger, along with the huge amount of public approval Arizona's pissant reactionary behavior is garnering.

We're going down a path we've been down before, and it's one that doesn't end happy.

Here's Rachel asking some questions of America:

But I think she's being somewhat disingenuous. The little Cracker twerp has backflipped and backtracked all over the place for the last 24/36 hours over the "Civil Rights" Thing -- scare quotes intentional -- and in the process has managed to convince a portion of the Big Media that the Controversy is meaningless, a tempest in a teapot, he's just a Normal Guy who wants to be Free, come on, anyway.

And of course plenty of his partisans and flacks, who believe as he does on the larger question of the Sacredness of Property Rights (as opposed to Human Rights), are styling him as Perfectly Normal as well. The "Civil Rights" Thing being long settled. You see.

Rachel touches on it toward the end of her soliloquy, but it is in a very arch and abstract way, laying out "questions" issue-by-issue, just barely relating them to the whole, ie: the Libertarian World View.

But it is really more fundamental than that.

Is it the Right to and in Private Property more important to Americans in the 21st Century than Human Rights?

Should interest in Property trump every other interest at all in the law?

Should the acquisition, holding, and defense of Property be the central focus of American society, law and custom?

Does the Constitution protect and defend Property at the expense of all other rights and interests?

When the questions are asked this way, the inherent dangers of Pauliac Propertarianism to all other rights and interests takes on focus. Its fundamental anti-Constitutionalism, and the impossibility of Constitutional Self-Government under Pauliac Propertarian law is revealed.

So long as the focus remains on the "Civil Rights" Thing, the danger that Propertarianism represents to all mankind is masked. ("Of course I believe in Civil Rights! Heh.") Of course. And if those civil rights -- and the concept of Human Rights -- are trumped by Property Rights... oh well!


Furthermore: The process of "opening the discussion" of the Civil Rights Act and the Public Accommodations provisions reminds me a whole lot of the means by which the issue of torture was put in the Public Square when time was, and how, over the course of the "rational discussion" that ensued, and the careful weighing of the pros and cons, the ethical and moral "dilemmas", and all the practical considerations -- along with plenty of field practice -- it was determined that the public was actually split on the issue, and while the Obama White House promptly prohibited "torture" -- which wasn't going on anyway according to the Cheneys -- everyone expects it's still going on. And few care.

Transfer that same process to key civil rights issues, whether focused on accommodation or otherwise. We've already seen what's happened with the Arizona law requiring you to produce your papers. Americans by and large are all in favor. Well, if the civil rights and accommodation issues are "aired thoroughly" -- as they will be as long as people keep yapping about Rand Paul's outrageousness -- we'll find, surprisingly enough, that the Public is "split" on the issue.

And won't that enable justification for ignoring the laws?



  1. Very good blog post, Ché.

    I like Rachel. I think she has guts and integrity and is very smart.

    But, I wonder if this thing with Rand Paul will get her to revisit the free pass she has given his father. And she has. She never called him on his equally offensive stance on Civil Rights and Human Rights.

    Ron Paul came out against the Civil Rights Act in public several times, and as recently as 2007 on Meet the Press.

    Oh, the irony.

    And he used the same rationale. Like father, like son.

    Will any of this cause folks on the left to revisit their bizarre worship of the elder Paul?

    We see over at Glenn's, of course, self-identified "liberals" falling for his nonsense and holding him up as the paragon of virtue and truth and integrity.

    I'd say Paul has more than three strikes and he's out. Being against the Civil Rights Act unequivocally; voting against renewal of the Voting Rights Act; being against Affirmative Action; voting for the Defense of Marriage Act; pushing for that 700 mile long fence on the border; trying to stop undocumented workers from accessing emergency rooms; trying to overturn a very old law granting citizenship to anyone born here . . .

    Civil liberties for reactionary whites. No Civil Rights or Human Rights for brown and black people.

    Honestly, how on earth can anyone on the left support the Pauls?

    I don't get it.

  2. Been trying to puzzle out this Divine Mystery myself.

    I'd put it this way: Howard Dean was hailed and excoriated as this Big Leftist because he was opposed to the Iraq War, advocated Universal Health Care Coverage, and had no problems with Gay Marriage/Civil Unions. The rest of his political program was absolutely standard, boilerplate, Old Line Progressive stuff, Rockefeller Republican in my view. But because he had two or three main planks that appealed to Left/Liberals, they were on him like white on rice. Apart from Dennis and Russ, there wasn't anyone else in the Democratic Party who had that kind of appeal, and unfortunately for Dennis, others were always able to steal his thunder, and Russ never seemed interested in leadership. (He talks good, but he doesn't have any followthru).

    It's something like the appeal the Pauls have with part of the Lefty blogosphere -- the anti-war, anti-imperialist aspects of Paulism being the strongest attractants -- but there is also the general Libertarianism of the Internets and those who spend lots of their time posting/commenting.

    And it is especially true of Internet entrepreneurs like supposed Lefties Jane and Glenn and Marcos and Arianna, and their blogfathers Jerome, Matt and Chris, who are all philosophically and/or ideologically aligned with Libertarianism -- whether they will admit it or not. Their communities are not particularly Libertarian, and you see a lot of strenuous resistance to the crap the Pauls are selling in the comments. But the hosts... well, they're entrepreneurs. And Libertarianism tends to be very strong among that class.

    Libertarian is being re-packaged as "Progressive." And Little KY It-Boy has caused a ruckus by telling the truth about what the Libertarian program is all about. It ain't Progressive by any stretch of the imagination. Which has temporarily caused disruption in the Force. I'm sure after he is primed and groomed more thoroughly by his Republican handlers, he'll be more discreet, and the transformation of Libertarianism into "Progressivism" will continue apace.

    (I am way to cynical... sigh.)

  3. Makes sense. Someone on Glenn's forum put it into song some months ago. People heard a few squeals they liked and bought the whole pig.

    I'm guessing the powers that be love that sort of thing. Single issue voters and crusaders. That's a great way to divide and conquer and make sure there is never any solidarity for any greater vision.

    We just settle on small "victories".

    Perhaps some of the people at the top of the political heap are pretty weary about all of this too. Maybe the less cynical among them really see nothing left to do. That's why I'm reading on the blogs that centrism is the new "progressivism."

    The DLC folks took up that mantle and it seems to have morphed across the board.

    Meanwhile, folks on the right are still saying Obama is the "most radical president evah", when he would have been a Republican a few decades ago.

    Far too many connections with BP in his admin and the Dem leadership overall, along with all of their buddies in the financial sector.

    It's true that they're less bought and paid for than the
    GOP . . . but, sheesh. I don't want crumbs. Can we not have some party acting in serious opposition to the wholesale takeover of the government by the financial elite?

    There is always La Musica!!

  4. ¡Viva la Musica! Si como no. Ai ai ai ai!

    What constitutes the political left in this country? The Democrats? Hardly. And yet we vote for them. Why?

    The reason why seems impossible for Puritans and Utopians to fathom. I've tried to make it as clear as I can: in our electoral system you have a choice of one or the other phase of the Unified Party of Government. Pick one. You don't get an alternative. You don't get to vote for real insurgents ("real" ones wouldn't be participating in elections... hello...), and voting on principle for the Third Party is almost sure to accrue to the benefit of the worst of a bad bargain. You can sit it out -- which of course millions do -- or you can vote for the least worst of the two main ones you have to choose from.

    If you don't like it, your option is to sit it out or try to change the electoral system -- or try to change the Government itself.

    Given their druthers, the Unified Party of Government would just as soon see to it no more than a handful of people actually do vote. Both phases/parties engage in voter suppression.

    "Progressive" is a really useful term because it can mean just about anything to anyone. Like "hope." "Centrism" is just as useful and vague. They all make it sound like there's a point of view or a goal in mind when there isn't. Apart from Power itself.

    I don't know how the larger vision of which you speak was lost, but it was. I look at the proliferation of nonprofits run by ostensibly straight ahead liberals and while they all have similar perspectives and social objectives, they tend to be in fierce competition for shrinking funding resources and public regard. The proliferation of NPOs means there may be five or six prominent ones and dozens of smaller ones, all serving approximately the same constituency and competing with one another -- ultimately exhausting one another -- for dollars, and none of them really serving anyone all that well or fully. I think of all the homeless organizations around here, for example, and it must be a nightmare for the clientele to thread their way between them to try to obtain the most basic services. The NPOs are just now getting together to strategize a 10 Year Plan to Cure Homelessness. Starting with putting homeless people in some kind of shelter. Oh. What a concept. Some of these outfits have been in operation for decades, and "shelter" was almost the last thing they offered their clients, and then only after they had jumped successfully through a dozen increasingly difficult hoops.

    In a social democracy, the needs being partially addressed by dozens of NPOs in our competitive, individualist society would be fully addressed by one government office. Simple.

    Frustrating... grrr.