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August 29, 2011

Cautioning Progressives on Ron Paul? How About Comparing Paul to Obama?

By Rob Kall

a response to an article critical of Ron Paul, not that it is off the mark entirely, but that it ignores the ways that Obama is as or close to as objectionable.


Alternet's Washington bureau chief Adele Stan has written an article 5 Reasons Progressives Should Treat Ron Paul with Extreme Caution

It's getting a lot of play. I don't like it. It insults progressives who are considering Ron Paul as immature: 

"Paul first drew the attention of progressives with his vocal opposition to the invasion of Iraq. Coupled with the Texan's famous call to end the Federal Reserve, that somehow rendered him, in the eyes of the single-minded, the GOP's very own Dennis Kucinich. Throw in Paul's opposition to the drug war and his belief that marriage rights should be determined by the states, and Paul seemed suitable enough to an emotionally immature segment of the progressive movement, a wing populated by people with privilege adequate enough to insulate them from the nasty bits of the Paul agenda. (Tough on you blacks! And you, women! And you, queers! And you, old people without money.)"

Democrats and their proxies have good reason to fear Ron Paul. 

Regardless of what this article insultingly says about maturity, Paul will attract some liberals and progressives and, particularly independents, who would prefer someone who means anti-war (even if the motivation is isolationist) to Obama's false promises on so many issues. 

Call me an immature progressive too, but doing a head to head, Obama to Paul, is meaningless if you look at Obama in terms of his promises and the purported positions Democrats take. The "HOPE" Obama raised was false. Obama has proven to be more republican than Eisenhower and maybe even Nixon and Reagan on many issues. 

Who knows which progressive constituency Obama will sell out next? He's sold out immigrants, Unions... I think he would have sold out women to get his health care bill passed (his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, played a key role in recruiting pro-life blue dogs,) has done little for Blacks...  He supports torture, spying on Americans, killing Americans outside of the US, broke his promise on Guantanamo, kept many Rove appointed DOJ attorneys on the job, has continued the dangerous expansion of executive powers that Cheney started. 

And let's talk about Paul and the John Birch Society compared to Obama and the Goldman Sachs and Robert Rubin Banksters he's surrounded himself with. They're both despicable, but Goldman Sachs is filled with criminals who Obama and his potentially worst AG in American history, Eric Holder, are letting off the hook-- criminals who cost America trillions and the middle class our retirement savings. And Obama keeps appointing them to key positions in his administration. 

Yes, Obama is better than McCain would have been before Sarah Palin figured out a way to get him to leave so she could become president. But that's a relative statement-- all about the lesser of two evils.  On Opednews.com my poll asking progressive readers whether Obama would move to the right or left or stay the same if he won the presidency,  found that only 17 percent felt he'd move to the left. 51% felt he'd move further right and 25% felt he'd stay the same. Any progressives happy with him staying the same?

Obama's polls have tanked. His reputation as a leader is, well, non-existent. He's a first down punter who is perhaps the most incompetent, failed negotiator in presidential history. I've called for pollsters to stop siding with Obama-- for them to run polls matching a generic democratic candidate against the top Republican candidates-- to show how much better anyone else would do than Obama. 

Obama should pull an LBJ and step down. His candidacy is doomed. The people who say that LBJ's stepping down caused the Democrats to lose forget that the Democratic candidate who would have won,  Robert F. Kennedy, was ASSASSINATED!!. 

In my poll, asking progressives on Opednews.com, Should Obama Pull an LBJ and Withdraw His Candidacy for 2012, only 20% wanted him to run for a second term. One commenter asked who would run in Obama's stead. Here's the off the top of my head response I gave:
I'm thinking in and out of the box. I would prefer to see a female candidate. 
Marion Wright Edelman, Russ Feingold, Marcy Kaptur, Elliot Spitzer, Matt Damon, Elizabeth Warren, Bill Moyers, Bernie Sanders, Rachel Maddow, Thom Hartmann, Hillary Clinton 
I have the highest respect for Dennis Kucinich, probably the number one favorite of OEN readers, but he has no chance of winning a democratic primary.

I'd take Hillary over Obama at this point. But if Obama steps down, there will be plenty of strong candidates, including women, to fill his shoes as a Democratic candidate, because that's what we need now-- a female president. Ohio congresswoman Marcy Kaptur would be an interesting one. She's a solid liberal who's also pro-life. Marion Wright Edelman would be a great candidate. Even Oprah Winfrey-- she's certainly a successful businesswoman-- might do better than Obama. I've long advocated for Elizabeth Warren, but it looks like she's running against Scott Brown for Ted Kennedy's Massachusetts senate seat. 

Ron Paul should run as a third party candidate again. 
He'd lose, but his candidacy would force both corporate party candidates-- Dems and Republicans-- to adjust their policies to address Paul's popular positions on the war, on the Fed and on marijuana.

I had major problems with the Alternet article. Several of the accusations are guilt by association, which Obama is also guilty of, many times over. The race accusation is flimsy and based on old ammunition that I think Paul has responded to effectively. The issues around women are very legitimate. But the Democratic party has openly supported anti-choice candidates. They were the bluedogs who diluted and weakened the health care bill. On LGBT, the alternet article's attack based on one quote that tells us very little about where Paul stands on Gay rights.  The subtitle of the article says Paul's anti-education but the article fails to document that accusation at all. Paul's Libertarian ideas ARE problematic on issues of racial equality, social security, medicare, health care... There's no doubt about it. The point of this article is that at least with Ron Paul, the packaging is honest, you know what you're getting and can expect. With Obama, those hope and change promises are not worth much and what you get is not that far from what Ron Paul offers, in some ways.  Worse, Obama, as a Democrat, is getting bills passed by Democratic members of congress that no Republican president could ever come close to achieving. 

Just to be totally clear, this is absolutely NOT a call for progressives to vote for Ron Paul. It's a call for progressives to look at all the candidates on the table who don't demonstrate or have a history of opposing progressive values, including Obama. And yeah, I expect to hear the apologists saying "he's doing all he can, given the circumstances." Well, he controlled the house, the senate and the Oval office and he still acted the same way. Obama in a second term will get Democrats to pass bills they'd never, ever vote for if a registered Republican president was ramming them through. 

Submitters Bio:

Rob Kall is an award winning journalist, inventor, software architect, connector and visionary. His work and his writing have been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, ABC, the HuffingtonPost, Success, Discover and other media. He's given talks and workshops to Fortune 500 execs and national medical and psychological organizations, and pioneered first-of-their-kind conferences in Positive Psychology, Brain Science and Story. He hosts some of the world's smartest, most interesting and powerful people on his Bottom Up Radio Show, and founded and publishes one of the top Google- ranked progressive news and opinion sites, OpEdNews.com

more detailed bio: 

Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind.  Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives  one person at a time was too slow, he founded Opednews.com-- which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big)  to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet and the Psychopathy Defense and Optimization Project. 

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To learn more about Rob and OpEdNews.com, check out A Voice For Truth - ROB KALL | OM Times Magazine and this article. 

For Rob's work in non-political realms mostly before 2000, see his C.V..  and here's an article on the Storycon Summit Meeting he founded and organized for eight years. 

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