Bad Company

I wrote yesterday about a poll that shows President Obama in a dead heat with Ron Paul, whom I have dubbed the Pee-Wee Herman of the Republican Party. Paul is, I think, a disreputable character who not only advocates some bad policy positions, but is rather obviously “off” in some fundamental way. That post prompted this email from a reader who saw Paul speak at a Tea Party rally:

I was at the Tax Day Tea Party protest yesterday in D.C. and observed something very troubling which connects with your above-referenced post: Ron Paul was given a prominent place in the line of speakers.
Like you, I have always regarded Ron Paul as a nut-case and, the hour being late, I was sorely tempted to leave for home at that point rather than give him a hearing. Instead, I stayed to hear what he would say. Here is a YouTube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HmEOv_rT8LQ
My impression was confirmed on the whole: Ron Paul is a nut, out of touch with reality seemingly. He certainly has no place in the Tea Party movement or, especially, in any GOP ventures.
For example, although virtually all of the other speakers last night dwelt on the runaway debt and spending and repealing Obamacare, Paul camped out on a return to the gold standard (including an elimination of paper money along with the Federal Reserve– one of his pet conspiracies I believe) and the withdrawal of the U.S. into an isolationist cocoon — no foreign aid, no overseas military bases, no foreign wars. What were the Tea Party orgnaizers thinking? The head of FreedomWorks, who introduced Ron Paul, said he was honored to have him there. What?
More disturbing, however, was the crowd reaction. He certainly hit popular notes with denunciations of the tax code (although, even here, his advocacy for a complete elimination of any tax whatsoever—“I have a bumper sticker on my desk…it says, ‘Don’t Steal, the Government hates competition.'” and “taxes are theft…stealing from the people…” is extreme to say the least). I understand the crowd responding to this kind of red meat. But it seemed contradictory that the crowd which had given huge cheers to anyone mentioning the military or their service overseas should cheer Ron Paul when he basically said that the deployments of our armed forces overseas, their mission, was a grave mistake and worse than a waste of time.
Considering to what lengths the Tea Party movement went last night to ensure that no one was there expressing racist or hateful sentiments, it is unthinkable to me that they would feature someone like Ron Paul who has a demonstrated connection with racism, bigotry and paranoia.
Ron Paul’s response to the James Kirchener article you linked is as incredible as Obama’s response to 20 years in a church with a racist pastor. Are Tea Partiers so consumed with their mission that they are blind to this wolf in the flock?

I couldn’t agree more. Ron Paul’s fans seem to perceive him as an idealistic libertarian along the lines of, say Steve Forbes. This is myopic, I think.

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