The sheer number of patents in the U.S. is fueling frivolous litigation and drastic action is needed to make patents more difficult to obtain and easier to invalidate, U.S. Circuit Judge Richard Posner of the Seventh Circuit said Tuesday. > more ... (0 comments)
Love him or hate him, Ron Paul is one feisty SOB. I am going to need to buy some Costco-sized popcorn if the next several months are going to be filled with such delicious intra-GOP snipe-fighting.
Rep. Ron Paul said Wednesday that rival Newt Gingrich was a “chickenhawk” for voting to send American troops into war while never having served in the military himself.
Paul was responding to a question from CNN’s Soledad O’Brien on the program “Starting Point” about Gingrich’s assertion that the Texas congressman would be a “dangerous” candidate.
“You know, when Newt Gingrich was called to serve us in the 1960s during the Vietnam era, guess what he thought about danger? He chickened out on that and got deferments and didn’t even go,” Paul said. “Right now he sends the young kids over there and the young people come back and the ones in the military right now, they overwhelmingly support my campaign.”
“We get twice as much support from the active military personnel than all the other candidates put together. So Newt Gingrich has no business talking about danger because he is putting other people in danger. Some people call that kind of a program a ‘chickenhawk’ and I think he falls into that category.”
This gets it right:
But the nature of his anti-war stance is fundamentally different from that of liberal opposition to any given war. The tipoff is in his opposition to foreign aid, and his anti-United Nations position: he’s anti-war because the rest of the world just isn’t worth it. His is not the pacifism of the anti-war movement but the nativist isolationism of the America-Firsters; Paul is “to the left of Obama” the way Lindbergh was to the left of Roosevelt. (That may be true in a fairly literal sense, although I wouldn’t trust anything from Big Government without further corroboration.)
Similarly, Paul’s positions on civil liberties issues aren’t actually about civil liberties as we understand them; they’re about his opposition to Federal authority. (An opposition that is somewhat conditional, it should be noted.) For example, in talking about the death penalty, he makes clear that he opposes it only at the Federal level. His opposition to thePATRIOT Act, the War on Drugs, and domestic surveillance come from the same root as his opposition to the Civil Rights Act. He has no real objection to states violating the rights of their citizens; it’s only a problem if the Feds do it.
I find that a lot of people misunderstand Paul by trying to put him onto the standard, left-right spectrum. This fails because Paul is definitely off the spectrum–his point of view comes from a very non-mainstream set of assumptions and values, and while there is some overlap of his positions on both the left and the right, this does not make him “of” either one. I can understand the temptation to try to read one’s own point of view onto the positions in which one sympathizes with Paul’s, but it must be resisted. Andrew Sullivan in particular appears to have done exactly this, which was pretty much what he did with Paul Ryan earlier this year. This is different from accepting that the man’s worldview is pretty twisted but saying that he may be useful nonetheless in helping change public opinion in certain ways. Which is my position at this point in time, I think.
Weekly Standard on Ron Paul’s newsletter, via Goddard:
The Weekly Standard notes it’s these writings and Paul’s “decades-long promotion of bigotry and conspiracy theories, for which he has yet to account fully, and his continuing espousal of extremist views, that should make him unwelcome at any respectable forum.”
Now remember that the two top Republican candidates are a guy who believes and continually states that Obama went on an apology tour and a guy who has called the president an Affirmative Action President and a Kenyan anti-colonialist. Clearly, believing conspiracy theories and racial bigotry aren’t much of a disqualifier for GOP candidates. Admittedly, Ron Paul’s newsletter went far beyond those, and they’re hardly all behind him, especially on economic matters (remember the lurking threat of Ameros?). I say, let’s just be frank about this.
He’s been running some pretty rough ads in Iowa attacking The Professor. What Gives?
During 1996, Paul was re-elected to Congress after the most difficult campaign he had experienced since the 1970s. Because Republicans had gained control of both houses of Congress in the 1994 election, Paul entered the campaign hopeful that his Constitutionalist policies of tax reductions, terminating federal agencies, and curbing the U.N. would have more support than during the past. The Republican National Committee emphasized instead encouragement of Democrats to switch parties, as Paul’s primary opponent, incumbent Greg Laughlin, had done during 1995. The party endorsed Laughlin, including assistance from House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Texas Governor George W. Bush, and the National Rifle Association. Paul responded by running newspaper advertisements quoting Gingrich’s harsh criticisms of Laughlin’s Democratic voting record 14 months earlier. Paul won the primary with assistance from baseball pitcher, constituent, and friend Nolan Ryan (as honorary campaign chair and advertisement spokesman), as well as tax activist Steve Forbes and conservative commentator Pat Buchanan (both of whom had had presidential campaigns that year).
The ads are pretty personal and seem to indicate that Paul is holding a grudge, but I fail to see how Nominee or even President Romney helps Paul. During most of the 2000s, nobody had a fig’s worth of interest in Ron Paul’s ideas. That only started after the Bush Administration had completely discredited itself and conservatives began to be receptive to an alternative viewpoint on the right. The Obama Administration has helped Paul’s reach broaden as well, some of his ideas have become more accepted among Republicans, and he’s been adding support for himself as well. But a President Romney would inevitably stall, if not reverse Paul’s gains by consolidating Republican support and running conventional GOP policies with some measure of competence. OTOH, another Obama term would probably help Paul, and a Gingrich candidacy (or, God forbid, presidency) would have to do the same, as Gingrich reprises many of the failed Bush policies that Paul made his rep inveighing against with far less competency. I don’t hate Ron Paul–I think he’s mostly a nationalist crank with admittedly a few redeeming characteristics–but the guy is such a narcissist as a political strategist. He can’t help himself.
Steve B. asks the question of the election cycle:
I still have no idea why the GOP field is giving Romney a pass on health care. The former governor’s health care included an individual mandate forcing taxpayers to purchase insurance; it provided benefits to immigrants who entered the country illegally; and it covers abortion — and somehow, this hardly ever comes up in the middle of the GOP primary contest. A year ago, the right was saying Romney wouldn’t even be considered unless he renounced and apologized for his health care law, and now, it’s effectively become a non-issue.
Jonathan Bernstein recently argued that Romney’s GOP rivals are “blowing it.” I agree.
I don’t think this is a very hard question, but it’s not one with one simple answer. On the one hand, business plan candidates like Herman Cain have absolutely no reason to involve themselves in the cut-and-thrust of campaign politics, and probably a strong disincentive to slam the party’s likely candidate for 2012. If anything, such a thing complicates how they’re perceived and could make book deals and FOX gigs harder to come by. That alone is a fairly substantial chunk of the Republican contenders, one that includes Cain, Santorum, and probably Gingrich (though Gingrich now seems to think he’s for real). On the other hand, you have your fringe contingent that either prefers a different reality to the one we’ve got (i.e. Bachmann), or is far more interested in their own pet things than trying to play a role in mainstream debate (that’d be Ron Paul, and perhaps Gary Johnson too, though he’s pretty marginal). Ron Paul wants to bring back the gold standard and kill off the Federal Reserve. Gary Johnson wants to legalize pot. Bachmann wants to stop Barack Obama from surrendering to Uruguay. Their obsessions–which are admittedly of very different levels of merit–tend to crowd out issues that other people care about. And then there’s Perry (and Pawlenty, back when he was in), who have made some jabs at this but haven’t been willing to follow through with a vengeance. In fairness, Perry hasn’t yet made his move, and he might well slam Romney on health care closer to the Iowa Caucuses. So that’s the one proviso.
The one wild card here is the one I can’t figure out. Jon Huntsman has for some reason not made a fuss of this issue even though he’d probably do best with it. Political attacks’ effectiveness depends a lot upon the deliverer. Michele Bachmann saying that Obama is detached from reality counts for a lot less than, for example, were Romney to say it (though it still wouldn’t count for much, as it’s a banal attack). Given that, an attack on Romney’s health care system coming from a smart, mainstream, wonkish dude like Huntsman would go a lot further than from, say, Rick Santorum. Huntsman is the most like Romney in the field and stands to gain a lot by shaking loose Romney’s support. Admittedly, Huntsman used to support the mandate concept himself, but I seriously doubt Romney would be in a position to call Huntsman out for just one flip-flop. That would just open him up for Huntsman to strike back on the dozens of flip-flops on Romney’s record. It’s practically fool-proof. Why Huntsman hasn’t tried to turn this into his big issue baffles me, the political calculus for him to do so is strong, and striking this pose would elevate him among conservatives while not dooming him in a possible general election. I can only conclude that, even in a field of incompetence, Huntsman is a strikingly inept candidate, one of the least able to sense and exploit opportunities that is out there. Maybe he has some hidden reason for not doing so (perhaps he’s a closet Obamacare fan?), but from where I sit it looks like plain miscalculation, and he makes up a third contingent with Perry and the late for the campaign Pawlenty: the incompetents.
What this adds up to is a unique situation in which Romney’s biggest threat has been mostly ignored due to the unique structure of this year’s GOP field: you have a group of candidates that splits easily into three segments, the business plan types, the fringers, and the incompetents. These groups are not necessarily mutually exclusive, but Romneycare provides an interesting perspective on just how awful the Republican field is: the business planners lack the motive to attack, the fringers lack both the motive (and the opportunity, frequently), and the incompetents lack the smarts and determination to get it done. Why hasn’t Romney come under attack for inspiring the Affordable Care Act? Read the title of the post.
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