Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Ron Paul Effect

Upcoming major TV appearances

It seems that Ron Paul is going to appear on both The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on June 4th, and the Colbert Report June 13th. Each appearance is before another Republican Presidential Debate on the following days. Link c/o the LRC Blog.

In the second debate, by far the most exciting moment was:
1) Ron Paul answering a question on foreign policy,
2) the Faux News host reply implying Ron Paul said the 9/11 attacks were "invited" (pro-tip: he didn't say 9/11 was "invited" nor justified),
3) Ron Paul further elaborating on non-interventionist foreign policy,
4) Adolph Guiliani interrupting and demanding Paul withdraw his statement and that he's never heard of "blowback" before,
5) Ron Paul replying again further elaborated--asking Americans to put themselves in the shoes of the people US foreign policies affect, and how we would react to them.

Sean Hannity had his usual shameful display after the debate when he interviewed Ron Paul. Apparently, addressing the points a person actually makes isn't good TV. Implying someone is anti-American for comments they didn't make is. (Hannity's liberal sidekick is admirable for his intellectual honesty in the same clip.)

All the Fox News talking heads that were initially saying "every vote counts!" in their text message poll were, by the time Paul was interviewed, dismissing it as auto-dialing Ron Paul supporter tainted. On the Fox & Friends morning show the next day the hosts made fools of themselves demonstrating their ignorance of how to send a text message. It was a funny-pathetic display. On Fox News. Seems to be a strange pattern with that.

The evening overall served as cheap applause line for Guiliani who after the first debate was being called a RINO. It also catapulted Paul into the headlines and sparked an actual debate on whether the US should be intervening abroad. Rather than the "safe" false discussion over just how much intervention where, and whether it should be to "spread democracy" or for "humanitarianism."

Major media exposure

Like many people who are dissatisfied with the garbage-quality candidates both parties have offered for as long as they've kept track, I've been interested in Ron Paul (and to a lesser extent Dennis Kuicinich who's name I sure just butchered, former Alaskan Sen. Gravel, etc) and pretty much any candidate who wasn't arguing about the best way to perpetuate our current policies.

So, when I saw the following day's Daily Show and Report I was expecting a grilling of the pro-war, pro-torture, more of the same candidates, and some old footage from Paul Wolfowitz or a half dozen CIA experts (none of whom are dove-ish, liberal peaceniks by any stretch of the imagination) showing that Paul was right and Guiliani was flat-out lying + wrong.

More than 50 minutes into the hour block of TV, it was clear neither Jon Stewart nor Stephen Colbert was going to deliver. I fired off an email to a prominent libertarian blogger who quickly replied, "Paul, I still have hopes of his being on both shows; more as soon as I know for sure."

Sure enough, Paul will be appearing in the next two debates despite efforts to silence him. And on top of that he'll be appearing the day before on news satire/parody shows that have ironically become two of the best news shows on American television (with an obvious comedic twist).

Both shows are huge with younger demographics. Age groups that are overwhelmingly not devoted to one of the two parties, and have been skeptical on what they've been told about the Iraq War. Age groups that are looking at a draft (and being run through the Federal meat grinder) in a war with Iran that seems to be getting more and more likely.

Those of us with basic cable may not know...

Paul also appeared on the Bill Maher show on HBO via satellite linkup. He was ridiculed over his opinions on the Civil War, and dismissed as a kook.

Maher shortly after the debate when speaking the with the Democratic candidate Chris Dodd asked why he and other '1% candidates' won't speak the truth about Iraq as it could only help their polling numbers, and described Paul as his "new hero." Dodd, like the Democrat politicians people have actually heard of before, is in favor of intervention in Iraq, Iran, and whereever else, so he offerred the usual excuse that it was just the incompetent Bush Administration doing it wrong, and that Paul was wrong about "blowback."

Paul later appeared again on Maher's show with a much warmer reception. This time he was live in-studio alongside Maher, the wildly untalented Ben Affleck, and the anti-government satirist, turned liberventionist P.J. O'Rourke. He was actually allowed to speak, and Maher, who was sh*t-canned himself shortly after 9/11 for pointing out the Politically-Incorrect obvious, defended a few of Paul's points against mischaracterization.

What a change two months can make.

What it all means

Maher describes himself as being somewhat libertarian, although many would describe him as pretty liberal, so seeing the complete turnaround is what makes the Daily Show/Report interviews so promising. If Paul gets a fair hearing, and both Stewart and Colbert can be tough interviewers with questions that actually inform their audiences, he could end up moving to double digits in the national polls. At that point state Republican party bosses won't be able to try and exclude him from future debates.

And with more exposure there's a chance he'll be a real contender for the nomination.

Young people (such as this quarter century year old blogger) will appreciate the non-crazy foreign policy and mortgaging our futures on entitlements we can't afford. Older people will see him as a Reagan Republican. Who would probably actually spend less money, bomb fewer people, etc, than Reagan himself did despite his rhetoric to the contrary.

Hopefully, my well paid blog editor *cough* did a decent job proofreading this as I'm posting it rather late.

Although, I'm confident I can produce run-on sentences and grammar errors at any hour of the day. Muwahahahaha!

Something that might actually interest three people about FFXI (with pictures!!!) is in the cards for tomorrow.

I'm thinking screenshots of people getting the crap kicked out of them (read: me) in a hilarious manner assuming I can find enough.

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