Saturday, June 19, 2010

Debate in the New York RLC Regarding Carl Paladino

The New York Republican Liberty Caucus (RLC) has had a debate concerning its endorsing Carl Paladino and the group decided not to endorse him.  I had led the pro-Paladino argument but was unable to convince the group.  First, one of the members supports the New York GOP's gubernatorial designate,  Rick Lazio, despite irreparable damage to Lazio's credibility because of his involvement as a lobbyist for JP Morgan during the bailout. JP Morgan paid Lazio a $1.3 million bonus. He does a good job of claiming that he is for less government, though.

The other issue was distasteful e-mails that Carl Paladino sent to friends.  When Barack Obama ran for president his associations with racists like Jeremiah Wright and terrorists like Bernadette Devlin and Bill Ayers were downplayed and ignored except on Fox, the Progressive (as opposed to the progressive) TV station. 

Progressivism with a capital "P" was the version of "state activist liberalism" to which William Howard Taft adhered.  Theodore Roosevelt ran for president against Taft in 1912, almost 100 years ago, aiding Woodrow Wilson, who was elected and who established the Federal Reserve Bank in 1913. That was the first  battle between the progressives (Roosevelt and Wilson) and the Progressives (Taft).  Progressivism with a small p is the new name that social democrats  adopted when the public realized that their ideas, which had been labeled liberal, had failed.  The social democrats stopped lying by calling themselves liberal and began lying by calling themselves progressive. The difference between Progressivism and progressivism is that Progressives believe that your money should be wasted by giving it to incompetently run banks while progressives also believe that your money should be wasted by giving it to incompetently run banks but that a portion should be donated to incompetently run entitlement programs.  The one area where both GOP Progressives and Democratic progressives agree:  bankers must receive welfare checks from the Fed, and if that's not enough, directly from the US Treasury. 

Since Ron Paul opposes big government, none of the networks, Progressive or progressive, supported him. The Progressive media covered the apparent associations Ron Paul has had with anti-Semites like Don Black, the head of Stormfront (see photo above).  Paul did not deny the evidence, which may or may not have been spurious, posted on Little Green Footballs and discussed in the now-defunct New York Sun.  Moreover, the accusations of anti-Semitism did not inhibit widespread support for Paul in the Libertarian movement. Despite my deep concerns about Paul in this regard, I did vote for him in the GOP presidential primary and supported him.

Paladino's e-mails are less damaging than either Obama's associations with Wright, Ayers and Pfleger or Paul's ongoing support from a wide range of anti-Semites.  Yet, despite the libertarian movement's unflagging support for Paul (with which, in fact, I agree because Paul is the only consistently small government candidate) he has not addressed nor repudiated the associations. In contrast, Paladino has.

Looking at the progressive media's coverage of the e-mails, Huffington Post wrote on April 12 that the e-mails:

>"run the gamut from your standard email chain smut to greatly disturbing racist imagery. Many of the latter type of emails targeted President Obama and his wife Michelle.

>Ahead of Obama's swearing-in ceremony, Paladino sent around a video entitled "Obama Inauguration Rehearsal." The video shows an African tribesman dancing, and is apparently popular among white supremacists.

>An email with the subject line "Proof the Irish discovered Africa" containing a video of monkeys that appear to be doing a Riverdance-style jig.

>A video of a naked woman sent from a government email account.

>A bestiality video involving a horse and a woman.

>A photo of Barack and Michelle depicted as a pimp and a ho.

Much of this is tasteless and childish. As well, it plays on common prejudices and racism. But none involves systematic advocacy of institutionalized racism characteristic of Barack Obama's associates and Ron Paul's supporters for which neither has apologized and which neither has repudiated. In the video below Paladino declares that he is not a racist. Paul never addressed the accusations of anti-Semitism, nor did Obama.

Why would the Republican Liberty Caucus reject the one serious candidate in the past 50 years who publicly states he will cut government by 20%?  I heard him say this in a town hall meeting in Columbia County. No other Republican has had the courage to make such a statement, including members of the Republican Liberty Caucus in New York.  The matter is also complicated by the indifference the same RLC members have displayed toward allegations concerning Ron Paul's anti-Semitism.

One explanation is the deference and sense of inadequacy many libertarians and conservatives harbor toward their unconsciously thought "betters."  Professors, judges, bankers, the New York Times, the Economist, are all part of the P/progessive machine. To reject their smears, innuendo and propaganda requires courage.  Many libertarians still consume pro-bank propaganda sources like network television, the Times and the Economist.

Second, some members of the RLC are more concerned with a successful political career than with combining such a career with the costs of an ongoing commitment to freedom.  They will not support a candidate more likely to push the state and the nation in the direction of greater freedom if it means personal sacrifice.

Third, the libertarian movement is a cult.  Paul is leader of the cult. Paladino is an outsider and so is unpalatable to the cult's members.

Fourth, there may be lingering anti-Semitism in the libertarian movement whereby Paul's possible anti-Semitism, which he does not repudiate, is a matter of indifference but forwarding racist e-mails which the forwarder subsequently repudiates and for which he apologizes is a major offense.

Paladino is willing to put at least $10 million of his own money into the race AND he says he will cut government by 20%.  Yet, the New York Republican Liberty Caucus is unwilling to support him.  Perhaps it is unsurprising that a liberty movement like this, faced with Democrats who march in uniform goose step behind their bigoted candidates, has repeatedly failed. 


Dave Nalle said...

Mitchell. I generally find your articles to be intelligent and well reasoned, but in this case you are both very confused on the history of progressivism and wrong about the relative seriousness of Paladino's transgressions compared to Ron Paul.

Aside from some marginally questionable statements in the 1990s in his newsletter, Ron Paul did not engage in racist activity at all in the 2008 election. He merely involuntarily attracted the support of racists. And it was the racists' choice to support Paul, not his intent to court them.

In contrast, it's clear that if the accusations are not completley fabricated, Paladino engaged in actively promoting racist videos and disseminating other inappropriate material which reflects very negatively on him. This was his choice and his action, and not something done by someone else associated with him or in his behalf. In fact, this is much worse than anything Ron Paul did.

Why should the RLC of NY endorse anyone in this race? They're not required to pick one candidate over the other, and sometimes it's better just to not take sides.


Mitchell Langbert said...

Dave, I challenge you to correct my history of progressivism.

As well, I challenge you to direct me to a single published quote by Ron Paul denouncing anti-Semitism of a number of his followers.

As far as the RLC goes, I have met several RLC members who have explicitly stated that it is impossible to run on a budget cutting platform in New York because the public employees will vote against you. As far as I know, no RLC backed candidate in New York has called for a 20% budget cut.

So is the RLC functioning as a libertarian or a pro-big-government organization?

Jim Denney, RLC Member said...


Who are the "several RLC members who have explicitly stated that it is impossible to run on a budget cutting platform in New York because the public employees will vote against you"? I have never heard or read anything like that from RLC members or leadership.

That said, it is not an unreasonable opinion, although I do disagree with most of the quote. I do think public employees, out of self-interest, would not vote for a candidate who advocated a 20% spending cut, and many would work actively against that candidate.

I certainly think a candidate could run on a "budget cutting platform", and at some point could win because of that platform. While the economic and political world has changed, I'm not sure that this year is that year, nor am I sure that this candidate is the best messenger. That said, I participated in the informal poll that you refer to as a RLC "debate". While some RLC members posted comments on the topic, those comments and the informal poll were hardly a proper forum for a comprehensive debate.

Personally, I appreciate your contributions to the RLC and hope you re-consider your involvement. Changing hearts and minds can be a long and frustrating process!



Mitchell Langbert said...

Thanks. I don't want to quote anyone because when this was said to me the person did not anticipate any public discussion about it. But let me reverse the question--who in the NY RLC has run on a 20% cost cutting platform?

If you aren't willing to stick your own neck out and then someone who comes along is willing, then isn't it a good idea to support that one?

What is the RLC waiting for? Do you think that there will ever be a candidate who talks about cuts who the media won't find some faux pas, indiscretion or the like somewhere? Some accusation someone once made? Do you really think that they're going to give someone advocating cuts a free pass? If not, when will there ever be a palatable candidate?