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The coming US presidential election will decide whether the United States remains an independent nation, or whether it will be subsumed under a western hemispheric version of supra-regional arrangements exemplified by the European Union.

The battle lines have never been more clearly drawn than in Ron Paul’s exchange with ex-NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani during the South Carolina GOP Primary Debate on May 15, 2007, and the follow-up blogosphere ruckus that can only be labeled as a political feeding frenzy.

What is not yet clear, however, is exactly who is doing the feeding - and who is the bait.

The Exchange:

On YouTube videos of the debate, you can see Ron Paul was answering a question about his views on foreign policy when Giuliani interrupts and berates him for arguing that 911 occurred at least in part because the US has been meddling in middle eastern affairs for too long and has “been bombing Iraq for ten years.” Rudy gets a little hot under the collar, states he has “never heard of such a thing” and demands an apology from Paul to the American people. Ron Paul calmly stands his ground and continues to explain his non-interventionist policy stance.

The Aftermath:

After the debate, Ron Paul appears as a guest on Fox News’ Hannity and Colmes show. Hannity goes wild on Paul and Paul again refuses to back down, but can’t hardly get a word in sideways between Hannity’s irate rants.

The following day, Paul is interviewed by Wolf Blitzer on CNN and is asked whether he will take the opportunity to back away from his statements. Ron Paul retorts that it is Rudy Giuliani who needs to apologize to him for unjustifiably blowing his top on him and insinuating that he is “un-American”. Ron affirms that he is indeed an American because Americans have the right to disagree with bad policy, and America’s foreign interventionism in the middle east is bad policy and therefore can and should be challenged.

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The Fissure:

In saying this, Ron Paul has opened a fissure, a festering sore in the American psyche, a sore that has been festering ever since neocon radio took over the AM airwaves. Ever since 9-11, AM radio talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Glen Beck, have inundated Americans hoping to listen to conservative news commentary with the un-American notion that, if you disagree with president Bush on Iraq, you are either a wild-eyed liberal, a traitor to the American cause, or both. Only a few, like Mike Savage, have withstood the temptation to join that cacophony.

The Question:

The question is: Whom will American conservatives listen to - in the end?

The chances of Ron Paul maintaining his early gains in popularity after this Giuliani exchange are becoming somewhat iffy when heavy conservative guns such as Human Events Online offer a rundown of commentaries by what are widely regarded as conservative pundits depicting Paul as a tin foil hat-wearing, out of this world nut-job.

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The answer to this question will forecast the future course of this nation with deadly precision.

The Answer:

In his CNN interview by Wolf Blitzer, Ron Paul demonstrated his presidential leadership credentials for all to see and hear. He confirmed that he in no way is “weak on defense” or anything of the sort. He explained that he actually voted for giving president Bush authority to go after Bin Laden in Afghanistan and maintains Bush should have stuck to that goal..

His very pointed - and subsequently universally ignored - criticism of Bush’s policy is, however, that the administration completely forgot about Bin Laden, allowed him to hide out in Pakistan which is supposed to be our “ally”, and instead attacked Iraq, which we by now know had absolutely nothing to do with the attacks on 911.

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Alex Wallenwein, J.D., is a former attorney in Houston, Texas, and a grass-roots activist for the rule of law and American liberty. He organizes the Houston 4 Ron Paul 2008 Meetup.

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Dear Sir, Your article nearly brought a tear to m... by Eyes Wide Open on Friday, May 18, 2007 at 7:55:13 AM
I don't like labels such as conservative or li... by Bob Gormley on Friday, May 18, 2007 at 8:01:47 AM
  America, America.. from sea to shining seai... by Mark Sashine on Friday, May 18, 2007 at 9:04:35 AM
The enemy is within.... by Bob Gormley on Friday, May 18, 2007 at 9:26:55 AM
Thanks for such a great article! You are right on ... by Bart Goss on Friday, May 18, 2007 at 12:27:35 PM
The gap between conservative and liberal -- right ... by Blue Pilgrim on Friday, May 18, 2007 at 1:30:59 PM
One helluva fine article in OpEdNews. Doesn't it ... by nelswight on Friday, May 18, 2007 at 2:21:35 PM
You get the government you deserve, and the Americ... by MarcHolt on Friday, May 18, 2007 at 4:59:30 PM
in the next election may depend on how honest that... by Blue Pilgrim on Friday, May 18, 2007 at 5:40:44 PM
I haven't agreed with a very high percentage o... by Frank Staheli on Friday, May 18, 2007 at 5:40:17 PM
Anyone who is savvy enough to understand how presi... by Bill Cain on Friday, May 18, 2007 at 10:08:07 PM
Here's that pesky Kurt Nimmo spilling beans ag... by Blue Pilgrim on Saturday, May 19, 2007 at 2:10:48 AM
Great article, Alex.  Thank you for taking th... by skydrummer on Saturday, May 19, 2007 at 2:42:44 PM