Robert Scheer writes: It is official now. The Ron Paul campaign, despite surging in the Iowa polls, is not worthy of serious consideration, according to a New York Times editorial; “Ron Paul long ago disqualified himself for the presidency by peddling claptrap proposals like abolishing the Federal Reserve, returning to the gold standard, cutting a third of the federal budget and all foreign aid and opposing the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”
That last item, along with the decade-old racist comments in the newsletters Paul published, is certainly worthy of criticism. But not as an alternative to seriously engaging the substance of Paul’s current campaign—his devastating critique of crony capitalism and his equally trenchant challenge to imperial wars and the assault on our civil liberties that they engender.
Paul is being denigrated as a presidential contender even though on the vital issues of the economy, war and peace, and civil liberties, he has made the most sense of the Republican candidates. And by what standard of logic is it “claptrap” for Paul to attempt to hold the Fed accountable for its destructive policies? That’s the giveaway reference to the raw nerve that his favorable prospects in the Iowa caucuses have exposed. Too much anti-Wall Street populism in the heartland can be a truly scary thing to the intellectual parasites residing in the belly of the beast that controls American capitalism.
It is hypocritical that Paul is now depicted as the archenemy of non-white minorities when it was his nemesis, the Federal Reserve, that enabled the banking swindle that wiped out 53 percent of the median wealth of African-Americans and 66 percent for Latinos, according to the Pew Research Center.
Why does the newspaper of the Establishment feel the need to knock down the Paul campaign?
Up until recently, the mainstream media treated Paul as the invisible candidate — a man supposedly so marginal that “serious” pundits could ignore him. But his growing popularity means he can no longer be dismissed and thus the Times editorial writers feel driven to try and swat this persistent irritant.
Even so, given that the Times will undoubtedly endorse Obama and given that the odds are at this point stacked quite heavily in the incumbent’s favor, why the need to attack Paul?
Because the New York Times thinks it is entitled not only to endorse its favored presidential candidate but also choose his opponent and that most likely would be Mitt Romney.
In a contest between Obama and Romney, the president can cast his opponent as the representative of Wall Street and present himself as a man of the people. And the newspaper that represents the status quo can disingenuously pose as an agent of change.
Paul has the power to upset that scenario and turn this into an election about issues instead of the usual beauty contest. The candidate who we are repeatedly told can’t be taken seriously threatens those whose vested interests are served by the trivialization of the electoral process.
This isn’t an endorsement for Ron Paul — simply a statement of what should be obvious: he has a positive role to play in 2012.