In 2008, I voted for Hillary Clinton. Why? Because she had answers to questions and was easily the smartest and most experienced person in any room she was in. I could understand Obama’s appeal, but I wanted someone who could do the hard work we needed.
Clinton did not get the nomination, and a not so small part of that was due to her support of the Iraq War and her unwillingness to apologize for it. I understand why principled people felt they couldn’t support her, but I know a lot of those people have winced over the last three years. Punishing a candidate over one issue might not have been our best strategy.
By the same token, should we really give the presidency to someone because they oppose the wars? Because that’s the best thing anyone can say about Ron Paul, and when you look at the rest of the package, that’s not much. (“Progress Over Party: JP should vote for Paul,” op-ed, Jan. 6.)
I write this hours after watching the second GOP debate in New Hampshire. Someone asked Paul how he would be able to get his policies across when, out of the 300-plus bills he’s proposed during his many years in the House, only one has passed. His answer was that the record showed how out of touch our political system was, but said nothing about how he would lead. He was asked about rights, and he said he didn’t like talking about gay rights, minority rights or women’s rights; he does not acknowledge in anything I’ve seen so far that anyone would need special protections. He also doesn’t seem to understand the 13th and 14th Amendments. As I watched him talk about his fears that giving rights and entitlements to one group would cost other groups something, I couldn’t help but think he was showing his age. That, of course, is an insult to the many other people his age who have been fighting those falsehoods for as long as he and others like him have been repeating them.
If “progressives” would seriously consider supporting someone like Paul, then please put me back in the old-fashioned “liberal” column; I’m partial to its association with “liberty.” I don’t know the man personally, but I suspect Paul thinks liberty is a privilege. I base this assumption on his infamous newsletters, which contained incendiary and degrading language about racial minorities and Jews. I am horrified that anyone would consider supporting someone who is in essence a slightly spiffed-up white supremacist. His anti-choice statements are also appalling. To consider him the “peace candidate” in light of all of that mocks peace.
The practical damage Sean Ryan’s op-ed can do is limited. Even if every Republican and independent in Jamaica Plain votes for Ron Paul, Mitt Romney is going to win the state. But it is disheartening that someone would support such a candidate and brush off his extreme flaws as “warts.” Paul’s problems are not cosmetic—they go to his essence.