Saturday, May 22, 2010
The Lunatic Fringe of Rand Paul
Nixon didn’t enrage just antiwar activists, hippies, and the counterculture movement. He was an equal opportunity enrager. The rise and emergence of the modern Reagan conservative was largely a response to him, as has been the post-Watergate Democratic Party.
So it is with Rand Paul and the Tea Bagger offshoot of the Libertarian Party. It is a lunatic fringe teeming with ignorance and hate—self-proclaimed free-market economists and monetary experts, tax protesters who insist taxes are unconstitutional and amount to slavery, violent anti-government extremists with a love for guns, and racial/immigrant hate groups.
A group of Colorado Republicans stood aghast with the advent of Nixon’s 1970 economic wage and price controls. Already concerned with Nixonian-led crackdown on personal freedoms, his failure to end the Viet Nam War, and perceived Democratic agendas to redistribute income to the poor, they held a series of meetings in mid-to-late 1971 to form the Libertarian Party.
It was dubbed the “Freedom Party”—freedom to engage in business without government interference, free markets, freedom from criminalization of personal conduct by the legalization of all victimless crimes such as drug crimes and prostitution, freedom of women to make their own choice on abortion, and preservation of those freedoms through the right to bear arms as our country’s founders did against the British.
The party attracted primarily wacko fringe Republicans advocating commerce without government regulation, and a return to the “real money” they maintain existed prior to the final abandonment of the gold standard in 1971 by none other than, yes, Richard Nixon. Virtually none of these new thinkers had any economics training or education but for reading books written by Russian fiction novelist Ayn Rand, and those authored by various proponents of what is known as the Chicago School of Economics line of thought, such as Milton Friedman.
One such Republican was Texas doctor Ron Paul. Having spent his whole life dissecting frogs and delivering babies, Paul adopted those economic concepts as his own and began a career in Republican politics in the early 70’s. He rose to the top of the Libertarian Party in 1988 by winning its nomination for President. Not a threat to win, he secured almost 500,000 votes, but more importantly, established a national network of supporters and fund-raising operatives.
After the election, Paul went back to delivering babies, conservative think tank activities, and selling gold and silver to fellow true believers until 1996, when he again ran for Congress as a Republican. With the help of people like tax activist Steve Forbes and former Nixon speechwriter Pat Buchanan, he won.
Lunatic fringe groups were sprouting like weeds. There were a whopping 512 “Patriot” groups in the US as of 2009. McVeigh happened. OJ happened. Illegal Hispanic immigrants were everywhere. Racial hate groups, tax protester groups, and violent anti-government extremist groups all joined together to loosely form what has become the tea party movement.
Many more people have followed. They are mostly white, over age 45, and “angry”, the typical profile of the person targeted by the “Southern Strategy” of Richard Milhouse Nixon in 1968, a blatant appeal to racist southern whites.
The tea party is their new home. Fueled with a new set of racist code words like welfare state, liberals, loony left, right to life, deficit spending, unfair taxes, right to bear arms, founding fathers, porkulus, Constitutionalist, and illegal alien; the tea bagger movement pursues not only the angry white southern man targeted by Nixon and Republican strategists. They seek angry white men, their spouses, and families nationwide with the aid of the internet, and a decline in American economic fortunes that their own deregulation movement helped bring about.
Republican Congressman Ron Paul ran the tea party grassroots movement for the Republican nomination for President in 2008. His son, Kentucky doctor Rand Paul, who says his given name Randall has nothing to do with Ayn Rand, won the Republican nomination for Senator from Kentucky last Tuesday. Sarah Palin had endorsed him. By Thursday, he had already come out in favor of allowing private businesses to refuse to serve people based upon race.
There is sure to be another tea bagger candidate running for President in 2012, whether he be a Republican, or whether he be a third-party candidate; whether he be Ron Paul, Rand Paul, or someone else, but it won’t be likely RuPaul.
For now, it is Rand Paul’s turn to carry the banner. But one thing is for certain—the ignorance, racism, and hate that drives the tea party movement promises to divide Americans in a far uglier way than any hanging chad ever could, or that Lee Atwater ever thought possible.
Dick the butcher, please…One Dead Politician