With this past week's brouhaha over Reason Magazine editor Katherine Mangu-Ward's patently false comments on Fox News, this incident reveals a valuable lesson for Ron Paul's supporters: Stay on target! You had better get used to the bumpy ride. And for those familiar with libertarian circles, this televised slight by a Reason editor comes as no great surprise. Dubbed the ‘Beltway libertarians”, it is well known and documented that neither Reason Magazine nor many of its online audience have ever been friends or allies of Ron Paul, even in the last election. And regardless of what they may claim, to the casual observer this condescending hostility towards him goes well beyond passive indifference and “honest” assessment.
As for Katherine Mangu-Ward, her unfortunate comments do a tremendous disservice to her own supposed “libertarian” publication whether she realizes it or not. Maybe her mouth was running faster than her brain, but I highly suspect that this is not the case considering her journalistic roots. It should be clear to supporters that her sad Asperger moment says more about Katherine Mangu-Ward than it does about Ron Paul and his prospects. It's fairly safe to guess that as a representative of Reason, they knew prior to the Fox interview exactly what Mangu-Ward would say on the air. If not, this firebrand only served to shoot Reason in its proverbial foot. Senior editor Nick Gillespie's attempts at damage control, as he pushes a few poll statistics around, only serves as more weak sauce and he acts as if all of those "disagreeing free minds" at the editor's desk were drawing straws to see who would be sent out for interviews that day. We're not buying it and Reason’s commenters seal the deal here. Spare me the “Free Minds and Free Markets”, Nick. This isn’t an isolated incident.
Here’s a free piece of advice: Solid libertarians who consistently and steadfastly adhere to their principles and who actually have integrity will not continue to give Reason Magazine the pass if you habitually straddle the ideological fence with this schizophrenic inconsistency. You can’t have it both ways. We see the pattern: professing the “free markets, free minds” rhetoric on one hand and then hiding behind this tag line when it is transgressed. Repeatedly. In admonishing the most libertarian presidential candidate running in this election, were you expecting a different public reaction than the one you received? Surely, you jest. You reap what you sow.
Glad I got this screenshot before it disappeared... I had to chuckle.
So at this juncture, Ron Paul's supporters should pause and take a deep breath. Please place you tray tables in their upright and locked position, and fasten your seatbelts. This is politics. And as much as you and I know how unfair it is that Ron Paul is indeed getting the mainstream media shaft, don't let it get under your skin. The last thing we want to do is give this mainstream media machine a reason to label Dr. Paul's supporters as anything other than courteous and polite. And to that effect, I defer to Dr. Paul's own shining example. Don't allow the MSM to push your buttons and send you off hurling insults. Doing so only embarrasses Dr. Paul. Remember that your actions and words reflect on him.
Let's gain a better perspective with a little Politics 101 so we can learn the lessons here and put this event to bed. Writer Justin Raimondo comments:
"Let's see: Reason collaborates with the neocons over at The New Republic to smear Ron with charges of "racism" -- and then they send out Mangu-whatever, a former Weekly Standard staffer, to declare that he can't win... What's really disgusting is that the non-libertarian lady [in the Fox interview], I'd never heard of her, is the one defending Ron against the Mangu! This should tell us all we need to know about not only the Mangu but Reason magazine as a supposedly "libertarian" institution. It isn't anymore: it's a Beltway institution."
That pretty much nails it, but the one sure thing Ron Paul's supporters can count on during the next 14 months is that more of the Mangu-Ward type drivel will be in the pipeline from the establishment. Don't get caught flat-footed... you should expect it. A lot more of it with Ron Paul gaining more ground.
When Mangu-Ward says that Ron Paul is getting oh-so-much media attention, anyone with a lick of sense knows she is wrong. The media watchdogs can easily verify that. Then she blurts out that "Ron Paul knows he can't win, his staffers know he can't win." Again, she's wrong unless she is some sort of psychic with extraordinary powers that I am unaware of. No one, not her, not the MSM, not Reason magazine, not anyone knows what the end result of the 2012 election will be. Don't ever forget that.
What is important is that you don’t end up being the one to feed the media trolls the ammunition they need to discredit Dr. Paul. As frustrating and angering as this is, don't react to the politics-as-usual game in a negative way that would embarrass him. Rise above it. Your conduct and character as supporters will reflect on him. With Ron Paul's traction increasing, the establishment media are beginning to panic, realizing that they're losing control and are grasping at straws now, any straw, so they are trying to get a rise out of you. Smear attempts cannot be countered with reactionary negativity. Grin and bear it and set a good example, especially in online forums. Once you say something in an emotional reaction that's not in particularly good taste, it's out there on the internet forever and you can't take that back. Negativity repels people and makes you lose credibility in the eyes of those who might have otherwise been receptive to hearing his message. Numerous times Dr. Paul has pointed out that if you live by positive principles, others will want to follow your example and emulate it. He's right. My mother, in her own sage wisdom, has always taught me to "Whip 'em with kindness."
This past week on the very day it all blew up, I saw Ron Paul at an event in NH. I am friends with several of his staffers and when we spoke I told them it was pretty amazing at how much larger exponentially the crowd turnout was now compared to '08. They all agreed and were ecstatic with how this same event just four years ago might have garnered a couple hundred supporters showing up. And just like Dr. Paul's Iowa straw poll vote count had quadrupled since 2008, a staffer told me that last week's NH rally turnout was more than double the 400 people they had initially anticipated showing. So rest a little easier, people, and grin in knowing that the Mangu-Ward's or any other detractors aren't psychics. It's fairly obvious to anyone involved in the last election how the dynamics have changed. The most ironic part the staffers and I discussed was that Dr. Paul's MSM invisible man treatment had exactly backfired on them. Petards away! Ignoring him has had the equal and opposite reaction that the establishment was hoping for, and not just media-wise either.
Folks on the left who are admitted non-supporters of Paul have been calling out the MSM, from Jon Stewart to Glenn Greenwald. And in my perusing about the internet, I see a shift happening that desperately needs some attention: Obama's base is leaving him. In droves, it seems. People on the left are fed up with the lies and the wars. So at this very moment we are presented with a unique opportunity (more on that below). However, it's time to stop fretting with the media hit jobs like Reason's Mangu-Ward and mentally prepare for the inevitable character and credibility attacks that are surely destined to follow because that's just the nature of political mudslinging and cheap shots. Your opponents will do just about anything in their desperation. But we don't have to follow their lead. Chasing the tail of the negative stuff isn't going to help or advance our cause. Stooping to their level and gracing their smears with retaliatory and reactionary remarks is entirely the point of their tactics: To throw you off your game and stop your momentum. To make you reactionary. We're on the offense now and by merely projecting the positive, the numbers will continue to grow.
I've seen Ron Paul several times, but at last week's rally, there was this pervasive sense of "we have much more in common than that which divides us". Here I was, a former left-leaning, independent-now-libertarian lesbian, chatting and laughing with all sorts of strangers in common cause; veterans, Republicans, former Obama Democrats, libertarians, former Tea-o-cons, Independents, conservative Christians, atheists, Jews, a Muslim lady, many of my fellow gays. All those of voting age were represented; college kids, middle-agers, retirees. We came from all backgrounds; social, economic, religious and non. It was a genuine portrait of American diversity. What struck me in particular was that in this groundswell of energy, you could really feel the love. Everyone was smiling. No one seemed bitter or angry and yet there I was, talking to people that even just a few years ago I would have never bothered to speak to because of the partisan left/right divide. I am convinced that this is the beauty of the word LOVE in the R3VOLUTION logo. It was certainly there and love is definitely more attractive to me than the bitterness of party line politics. An atmosphere of negativity is necessary for “divide and conquer” to work and noticeably, there was no negativity present.
So back to that opportunity. The more time that goes by, the more I'm reading articles, blogs, and tons of reader comments from those on the left of whatever persuasion who are figuring out that Ron Paul is the only viable anti-war, anti-establishment, anti-corporatism, anti-drug war candidate running in 2012. Facebook pages for new groups like "Democrats for Ron Paul", "Blue Republicans" and "Registering Republican Just to Vote for Ron Paul" are springing up. Many of them are now willing to cross that divide because they realize the left doesn't have an honest candidate in this race that represents their values. These folks have decided to register as Republicans and vote in the primaries to help Ron Paul take the GOP nomination. The Primary vote is the key.
Even though many on the left are not completely on board with all of Dr. Paul's views other than war and corporatism, they realize voting for him is the best and only option in this election cycle, as mind-boggling as that is to them. Having become so completely disgusted with Obama, they see no viable alternative other than to nominate an anti-war, anti-establishment Republican in the primary to pit against him in the general election. Politics makes strange bedfellows. Still, some are only doing this as a protest vote and we should positively respect that and thus wooing them over to Dr. Paul's message will not be ideologically possible, so do proceed gently and don't press them on issues where we disagree. Nonetheless, this is fantastic news and they need to be warmly welcomed despite obvious differences on social policy. This quite possibly could be the alliance so desperately needed to begin the end of empire, war and corporatism. And although it will have taken 12 years of the BushObama tag team fiasco, this definitely reveals that the veneer of the false left/right paradigm is beginning to peel away to expose the real divide: "you vs. the establishment".
Another saying my mother always had was, "If you're not going to help me, don't hinder me." Ron Paul can hold his own with the contenders, but expect the powers that be, and therefore the media, to double down their efforts. Expect more slander and misinformation, more shills, provocateurs, and agents of disinformation to appear. Simply, don't fall for it and let the establishment/media pull you out of your own element. Counter their hate and fear with love and reason and everything else will fall into place.
Steady as she goes, folks... but the next pressing question is this: just who or what exactly will be counting the votes?