The Corner

Tim Carney’s Preemptive Defense

People around here should know that I am a fan of Tim Carney. I’ve touted his book — The Big Ripoff — many times and I think he’s the best guy out there on the anti-corporatism beat.

That said, I found his column pretty unpersuasive and a bit too heavy-handed. He likes Ron Paul — which is fine. He also worries that if Ron Paul wins the Iowa Caucus the Texan will be besieged with attacks from the mainstream media and the GOP “establishment.” He’s almost certainly right about that, too. Though he makes it sound more nefarious, as if other frontrunners haven’t been subjected to withering scrutiny (See Gingrich, Cain, Bachmann, Perry et al).

To bolster his point that Paul will come in for special treatment, he cites Buchanan in 1996. I’m perfectly willing to concede that Buchanan was subjected to some unfair and inaccurate distortions when it came to his views on Jews and the like. But Carney could have spared an extra sentence or two to acknowledge that some of the reports about Buchanan in this regard were neither unfair nor inaccurate.

In a similar vein, Carney on the one hand acknowledges Paul’s “indiscretions” but then attempts to preempt  any discussion:

Paul’s indiscretions — such as abiding 9/11 conspiracy theorists and allowing racist material in a newsletter published under his name — will be blown up to paint a scary caricature. His belief in state’s rights and property rights will be distorted into support for Jim Crow and racism.

Many of Paul opponents will take heart in concluding that Paul cannot get more than 25 percent in any state, and so he can be dismissed as a spoiler. But for the enforcers of Republican orthodoxy, a Paul victory in Iowa will be an act of impudence that must be punished.

I like and support Paul’s positions on state’s rights and property rights. And I am willing to defend them. Meanwhile, Carney would do a better service to his preferred candidate if he could offer a reassuring defense of Paul’s “abiding” of 9/11 conspiracy theorists and allowing racists to write under his byline. Assuming there is a defense that reassures anyone who is not already converted to the cause.

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