(Note: As I write this the RNC has announced that due to Tropical Storm Isaac, they are juggling and rescheduling many speeches and time-slots at their national convention in Tampa. At this point, no one knows for certain what's going to happen to the Ron Paul tribute . . .)
Talk about being caught between a rock and a hard place:
Romney, Ryan and the Republicans, who are doing everything in their power to convince Jewish voters that they -- unlike President Obama and the Democrats -- are the best friends Israel's got, have scheduled a video tribute to Ron Paul at the convention in Tampa. Ron Paul! The mind simply reels.
"Why on earth," anyone with even an ounce of political savvy might well ask, "Why would the Republicans stage a tribute to Ron Paul? Isn't he the most anti-Israel, anti-Semitic member of Congress? Isn't he the guy who opposes all aid to Israel; dismisses Iran's nuclear program; wants to tear down the Federal Reserve and return America to the gold standard; has a penchant for making homophobic and racist comments, and has, over the years, given countless shout-outs to anti-Semitic conspiracy theories?"
Yes, it's that Ron Paul. And the answer to the question of Why? is really quite simple: Romney's handlers have moved their man so far to the right that now they have no choice but to keep him there. As such, he has to do such seemingly distasteful, counter-intuitive things as appeasing Representative Paul's adoring supporters, thus highlighting his -- Romney's -- supposedly warm relationship with the Texas libertarian. Once again, it would seem that Mitt's advisers are secretly working for the reelection of Barack Obama. Either that or they are just dumber than a bag of hair . . .
And yet, to date there has been nary a peep about this obvious act of political charlatanism coming out of the Obama camp. If I were permitted my two cents, I would strongly urge the Obama campaign to shine a high-intensity spotlight on Romney's tribute to Ron Paul; to demand that the "real" Mitt Romney stand up and explain how he can claim to be stronger for Israel (and against Iran) and better for the economy when he is paying tribute to a man who has written such hateful tripe as:
- “Whether [the 1993 World Trade Center bombing] was a setup by the Israeli Mossad, as a Jewish friend of mine suspects, or was truly a retaliation by the Islamic fundamentalists, matters little.” ('The New York Bombing,' April '93)
- "If you look at the history, you will find that Hamas was encouraged and actually started by Israel because they wanted Hamas to counteract Yasir Arafat." (Speech on House Floor, Jan. 9, 2009)
- "Israel's supporters in this country were the most blood thirsty for war against Iraq . . . and why, would someone please explain to me, are we supposed to be so grateful to Israel because it lets us fight its war?" (Ron Paul's 'Political Report,' Feb. 1991)
- “Major Jewish organizations are complaining that Zionists did not get enough jobs in the Clinton administration. Plenty of Jews were appointed but just being Jewish doesn’t count. These lobbyists want people 100% dedicated to Israel.” ('The Ron Paul Survival Report,' Feb. 15, 1992)
- “Order was only restored in LA when it came time for the blacks to collect their welfare checks. The ‘poor’ lined up at the Post Office to get their handouts (since there were no deliveries) — and then complained about slow service.” ('Report on L.A. Riots,' June '92)
I can hear the arguments of Romney/Paul supporters: "Hey, these statements are upwards of two decades old; they're ancient history and have nothing to do with the Ron Paul of 2012 . . . you're beating a dead horse. Besides, people do change!" By way of response, I would remind my Republican friends that in his final "exposé" the late cyber provocateur Andrew Breitbart released a 22-year old video of then Harvard Law Review president Barack Obama speaking at a peaceful racial equality rally led by the now deceased Professor Derrick Bell. The rally was in support of Professor Bell, who was angry over Harvard's failure to offer tenure to black professors. In the hands of Andrew Breitbart, the long-forgotten video offered positive proof that Barack Obama was, is, and always shall be an angry black man and, like his "mentor," a Communist (which, to the best of my knowledge Professor Bell never was.) In the case of Paul . . . well, folks can change. In the case of Obama . . . once a radical, always a radical.
Like many of Breitbart's "scoops," this one turned out to be a non-starter . . . at least for mature adults.
Even the Republican Jewish Coalition barred Paul from a candidate's forum last year, citing his "misguided and extreme" comments and positions. Nonetheless, choosing to ignore Paul's anti-Israel, pro-conspiracy profile, Richard Grenell, a former Romney spokesman on foreign policy, told Talking Points Memo that "Ron Paul's commitment to limited government's involvement in our daily lives is the future of the Republican Party." Let us for the moment take Mr. Grenell at his word; that Republican's are honoring Ron Paul because they agree with his "commitment to limited government's involvement in our daily lives." Don't Mr. Grenell and his former boss know that the "limited government" Mr. Paul:
- Has repeatedly introduced the Sanctity of Life Act, which would define life as beginning at the moment of conception (which is the antithesis of "limited government involvement");
- Is a cosponsor (along with Barney Frank) of H.R. 5843, which would remove all federal penalties for the personal use of marijuana (which Romney is against);
- Opposes the 1964 Civil Rights Act, (which no one in their right mid would do) and
all government funding of medical research, believing that " . . . all
research in a free society should be done privately," (which gives Romney's friends in the pharmaceutical industry spilkes).
Since Romney, Ryan and the Republicans have decided to honor Dr. Paul at their national convention, we have no choice but to assume that either:
- They are unaware of these and many other Paul policy positions which, according to their platform they oppose, or
- They really don't care that there is a big gap between them and Ron Paul, because the only thing they believe in is winning.
One can only imagine the sturm und drang that would occur if the Democrats announced that they were giving a speaking slot at their national convention to, say, Minnesota Representative Keith Ellison, the first Muslim ever elected to Congress. One can imagine Sheldon Adelson and Karl Rove underwriting a $10 million ad buy denouncing Barack Obama and the entire Democratic establishment for sins against God and man, not to mention the State of Israel. Their ads would be published in every Jewish paper from Maine to California.
That is how the Republicans would respond . . . like gluttons at an all-you-can-eat bakery.
It strikes me that now is the time for Democrats to take a page from the Republican playbook and let Jewish voters know precisely who Romney and Ryan are honoring. Let them know that this man is anti-Israel, doesn't think Iran is a problem, and even thinks we were wrong to kill bin Laden.
Let them know that it's a-PAUL-ing . . .
©2012 Kurt F. Stone