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Blame Clinton, Not Paul

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Posted on May 25, 2010
Clinton
AP / Jessica Hill

Former President Bill Clinton delivers the Class Day address on Sunday at Yale, in New Haven, Conn.


Q & A - Live Chat with Robert Scheer


A live Q & A session related to this column took place on May 27, 2010 at 3:00 pm PT.

Click here to view the transcript.


By Robert Scheer

What is so great about our bloated federal government that when a libertarian threatens to become a senator, otherwise rational and mostly liberal pundits start frothing at the mouth? What Rand Paul thinks about the Civil Rights Act, passed 46 years ago, hardly seems the most pressing issue of social justice before us. It’s a done deal that he clearly accepts.
 
Yet Paul’s questioning the wisdom of a banking bailout that rewards those who shamelessly exploited the poor and vulnerable, many of them racial minorities, is right on target. So too questioning the enormous cost of wars that as he dared point out are conducted in violation of our Constitution and that, I would add, though he doesn’t, prevent us from adequately funding needed social programs.

Under the leadership of President Bill Clinton, Wall Street secured the radical deregulation of the financial industry that its lobbyists had long sought. I opposed that betrayal of the sensible policies of the last great Democratic president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and I suspect that Paul applauded the move as an extension of the free market that he so uncritically celebrates.
 
Where I agree with him is that with freedom comes responsibility, and when the financial conglomerates abused their freedom, they, and not the victims they swindled, should have borne the consequences. Instead, they were saved by the taxpayers from their near-death experience, reaping enormous profits and bonuses while the fundamentals of the world economy they almost destroyed remain rotten, as attested by the high rates of housing foreclosures and unemployment and the tens of millions of newly poor dependent on government food handouts.

But the poor will not find much more than food crumbs from a federal government that, thanks to another one of Clinton’s “reforms,” ended the federal obligation to deal with the welfare of the impoverished. Yes, Clinton, not either Paul, father Ron or son. It was Clinton who campaigned to “end welfare as we know it,” and as a result the federal obligation to end poverty, once fervently embraced by even Richard Nixon, was abandoned.

Concern for the poor was devolved to the state governments, and they in turn are in no mood to honor the injunction of all of the world’s great religions that we be judged by how we treat the least among us. That would be poor children, and it is unconscionable that state governments across the nation are cutting programs as elemental as the child care required when you force single mothers to work.

“Cuts to Child Care Subsidy Thwart More Job Seekers” ran the headline in The New York Times on Sunday over a story detailing how in a dozen states there are now sharp cuts in child care for the poor who find jobs, and how there are now long lists of kids needing child care while their mothers work at low-paying jobs at places like Wal-Mart. In Arizona, there is a waiting list of 11,000 kids eligible for child care. That is what passes for success in the welfare reform saga, with mothers forced off the rolls into a workplace bereft of promised child care that the cash-strapped states no longer wish to supply.

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A couple of weeks ago came the news—reading like a page out of Dickens (or perhaps like a parody from The Onion )—that the Terminator was again in action, this time terminating California’s programs for the poor. The son-in-law of Sargent Shriver, who once ran the federal war on poverty, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger now seeks to eliminate the Golden State’s CalWorks program. By ending the once celebrated program along with child care funding, Schwarzenegger expects to save $2.2 billion. As the Los Angeles Times reported, “Ending CalWorks, which provides recipient families with an average of $500 per month, would make California the only state not to offer a welfare program for low-income families with children.”

Schwarzenegger apparently doesn’t care; poor kids can’t complain too loudly, and while the governor backed down in his earlier threats to cut funding for somewhat more privileged college kids who protested those cuts loudly, he found the safety net for the poor an easier target: “You cannot have a safety net if you don’t have the money for that safety net.”

Sure you can’t, and so the safety net is being shredded in state after state, but why don’t we have the money, and why was responsibility for the poor left to the tender mercy of state governments while the federal government maintains a lavish welfare system for needy bankers who treat a few billion in government bailouts as chump change?

I am not a libertarian; I proudly remain a bleeding-heart liberal, as befits one who began life in a family on the dole during the Depression. But if the federal government exists primarily to serve super-rich defense contractors and bankers while ignoring the poor, I say it is time to expose as the enemy of progress the Washington bureaucracy that tends to the greedy rich at the expense of the truly needy. That is the problem; Rand Paul is the distraction.

Click here to check out Robert Scheer’s book,
“The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street.”


Keep up with Robert Scheer’s latest columns, interviews, tour dates and more at www.truthdig.com/robert_scheer.



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By earthman, November 24, 2010 at 3:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I agree that the deregulation was a big contibutor to today’s economic down turn.  Clinton was NOT a supporter of this.  He only voted for it because congress would have pushed it through over his veto.
Its hard to believe he wanted to turn his back on poverty given his HUGE efforts to help poverty stricken people the world over.

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By archivesDave, June 1, 2010 at 12:38 am Link to this comment

Inherit The Wind, Martha, & Mr Scheer:
Perhaps this site will tie some loose strings
together as well..
youtube dot com/user/BackwardsFuture

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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, May 31, 2010 at 9:19 pm Link to this comment

They are both the same. DLC Clinton was/is the best Republican President EVER, according to Alan Greenspan, and Paul is a want to be best Republican EVER, hoping to out do Clinton, and neither will ever do any good for the populace, the 70% majority common population.

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By Inherit The Wind, May 31, 2010 at 7:40 pm Link to this comment

GWH:

The irony is that Rand (Ayn, not Paul) accurately predicted this collapse and descent into anarchy, but her GIANT error was that she assumed it would come from regulation and over-regulation and that DE-regulation was the key to success. 

She even predicted that carriers would stop providing meals—one character growls “Let’em bring a box lunch.  They’re lucky we’re providing them with transportation!”  And now the airlines are doing exactly that.

Rand DID see the corruption of government by Big Business, but somehow she twisted it so that it was LIBERAL corporation managers who did that, in the name of humanity, rather than “Conservative” managers in the name of the Free Market.  Rand also made no allowances for private exploitation and pollution of public goods.  She had nothing to say about corporations raping the land of resources and leaving behind carrion wastelands, or using ALL our waterways as dumping grounds for their waste products.

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By gerard, May 31, 2010 at 7:08 pm Link to this comment

Stupid, evasive truisms:  “You cannot have a safety net if you don’t have the money for that safety net.”

You cannot have the money for a safety net if you spend that money on corporately operated, for-profit prisons, prison guards and putting everybody and their uncle in the slammer just to prove how much power you have to punish relalatively minor (drug) crimes and keep people off the unemployment rolls—most of them people of color, strangely enough. 

As long as money is the prime objective, forget fairness, justice and democracy.  We need an awakening regarding the irreplaceable value of the human being—each born with “inalienable” rights—life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Under fair circumstances, these inalienable rights lead to creativity, invention, learning, progress, improvement, cooperation, enlightenement. Without it we become overfed, greedy hogs. The choice is ours.

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By TeresaInPa, May 31, 2010 at 1:06 pm Link to this comment

oh come on, your CDS doesn’t make any sense after all those years.  People went from welfare to work under Clinton and they were happy about it.  All that peace and prosperity must have been a real bummer for you, it stopped your dreams of the great socialist revolution. 
We have had two presidents since Clinton, one more lame than the other and yet, oh yes “Clinton did it”, the cry of leftist elites everywhere.
Each administration has the job of dealing with the reality of the time.  Clinton did NOT hurt the poor and he still has not.  And it is not the poor who are suffering now it is the lower “working” middle class.  Those are the people who even with jobs have no health care, no food stamps, no bus to come take them to the doctor, no public housing etc…. and that is not Clinton’s fault.  It is the fault of the last two presidents.  Neither Dubya nor Dubya II (Obama) have done a thing but give to the rich.  Voodoo economics lives in the Obama administration.
It was their duty to adjust to the new situation.  Even Clinton would have made changes adjustments and improvements to what he did in office.

Clinton, Hillary would have been a great deal better, farther to the left as well as more populist than Obama.

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By PatrickHenry, May 28, 2010 at 3:56 pm Link to this comment

The capitalists merely point out to the politicians the millions of shares of outstanding stock and tell them that any regulation will affect the values of millions of shareholders, pension plans, 401k’s and their investors votes, given the right advertising blitz.

Inherit, Israel is a state, not a religion or ethnicity and is accountable for its actions.

Paranoia is not justification.

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By archivesDave, May 28, 2010 at 3:09 pm Link to this comment

OK, Has anyone taken me up on my challenge to take a look at a couple of Joseph Farrell’s clips on Youtube
or read anything by/about him or do u just wish to remain in your biased little Libertarian, Marxist,
Progressive, or Conservative cubicle?

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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, May 28, 2010 at 2:29 pm Link to this comment

The unregulated Free Market is Free to the Capitalists, as they whine the government into making the populace pay for their free market of choice without any regulation,  and their Free Market works out well for them, as long as the populace can be compelled to pay, their unregulated free market will always be free to them, just not free to the populace.

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By felicity, May 28, 2010 at 1:36 pm Link to this comment

“Gut"less “Wit"less Hitler - WHAT A MONIKER. The ‘free market’ surely belongs in the annals of one of the biggest flim-flam/snake oil ‘theories’ foisted on a people (including people who are supposed to know better) since the 1980’s.

According to the theory you should be free to make a bundle (no government regulation allowed) and free to go out of business (no government bail out forth- coming) when you screw up. Free-market gurus/champions always leave out the latter.  Free? my tookus.

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By ofersince72, May 28, 2010 at 1:22 pm Link to this comment

The “both sides” is really one side designed to keep
the bickering up as if there are only two sides.
This bickering serves their sponsors well, vote Dem or
Pub. That is really Centrist politics where the sponsor’s
bread and butter always has been.

If the powers that be thought for one minute that
talk radio, from either side infringed on their power,
talk radio would be gone tomorrow.

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By iowaheretic, May 28, 2010 at 12:47 pm Link to this comment

To “G” “W”; Sorry, you’re right. I just think Ayn Rand believed in mostly the good of people, as I used to, and not the lying, theiving, deciet that everything has become. I listen to political talk radio (both sides) every day, and now my brain is really fucked up. I don’t know any answers anymore because I think both sides of this two-headed one party dictatorship government is the biggest deceit mongering criminal organization in the world! I would love to see some change(for the better), but when government talks about reform, they usually mean that the people should reform, not them or the corporations that put them in power. And so far I’ve seen nothing different with Obama.

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By "G"utless "W"itless Hitler, May 28, 2010 at 12:19 pm Link to this comment

What does that have to do with my original statement about Good ol’ Auntie Ayn suffering from the same delusion as most every other silver-spooner?  She believed she got to the top of the mountain all by her lonesome but she didn’t.  She just wanted to act like she did to justify her crackpot notions about society.  The fact is, the free market is a crock.  I can get on board with her atheism, rationalism, and civil libertarianism, but you just can’t let human greed go unchecked.  Otherwise, you get just what we have now:  dynastic corporate families controlling the resources of the world not by virtue of personal merit but by virtue of having been born before someone else and into a condition of privilege.  When individuals are allowed to do whatever they want, they will, for example, end up buying off regulatory agencies and causing environmental disasters.  Ooops, looks like they already did that.  And the free market might be great for innovation, but it also has no qualms about quashing innovation to protect market share and/or the status quo.

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By iowaheretic, May 28, 2010 at 11:45 am Link to this comment

To “G” “W” ; It sounds to me like you just don’t like Ayn Rand. Or maybe you don’t like anybody that wants to think for themselves and live thier own version of thier own life, which is exactly what Ayn Rand did! She tried to help people by trying to think for themselves and not have thier mind dominated and controlled like sheep by forces of government and or religion. If her parents were sucessful it just means they knew how use thier own brains too. As far as marrying for citizenship, she also stayed married to that same man for 50 years, so maybe it was more than just convenience. (I think he was probably the luckiest man on earth to find HER). ALL individual freedoms will soon be a thing of the past(another thing that was predicted by Ayn Rand) and people can just sit around being taken care of like little babies and have EVERY aspect of thier life dictated to them (including thier own thoughts) by the government intertwined with the Religious Right, which it already is. They control both sides of the government, they just use different words and deciet to acheive the same agenda. If people want to live like this, I could care less, but I don’t know why they had to destroy EVERYBODY’S freedom and life to do it!

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By "G"utless "W"itless Hitler, May 28, 2010 at 11:02 am Link to this comment

Here’s a news flash for ya:  The daughter of a successful pharmacist and property owner in early twentieth century Russia IS a silver spooner.  She had enough money to go to college (either that or the state paid for it) then come to the US where she was able to sponge off her relatives for a while.  Then she married her way into citizenship.  Golly, that sure sounds like she made it all on her own.

Now suppose she wasn’t the daughter of a pharmacist.  Suppose she was the illiterate daughter of a toothless alcoholic beet farmer with no ties to the US.  Do you think she would’ve made all the way to the top of that mighty mighty mountain of self actualization? 

Ayn Rand is painted rust.

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By iowaheretic, May 28, 2010 at 10:31 am Link to this comment

To “G” “W” ; FYI, Ayn Rand was far from being born (in communist Russia) with a silver spoon, and she DID get to the top on her own! And as far as looks, she was a very beautiful woman in her day. Just wait til you get to be 87 years old, then look in the mirror.

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By "G"utless "W"itless Hitler, May 28, 2010 at 10:01 am Link to this comment

Good ol’ Auntie Ayn suffered from the same delusion as most every other silver-spooner.  She believed she got to the top of the mountain all by her lonesome.

Not to mention the fact that she looks like the lump of meat you’d get if Betty Davis and Steve Buscemi were fused together by a transporter malfunction.

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By iowaheretic, May 28, 2010 at 9:24 am Link to this comment

It seems to me that Ron Paul was looking too good with his message of freedom and liberty and limited government and reduction of military interference everywhere in the world that we don’t belong while America goes broke and people continually lose thier individual freedoms. Then Ayn Rand’s philosophies started looking good to more and more people, as they should, because we ARE living out “Atlas Shrugged” every single day in every way the story goes! But Ayn Rand was an atheist (probably the smartest woman that ever lived),and Ron Paul NEVER pushed christianity as being above everyone else. He pushed an agenda of complete freedom, which offends BOTH sides of the two-headed one party dictatorship we have in Washington. Then, magically, out of nowhere comes “Rand” Paul to make Libertarians (the most honest party, I think) look as bad as the rest of them. And the masses of people fall for every bit of it, just like they fall for every bit of deception that the powers that be come up with! It makes me sick. But, as Sam Adams once said, “If you prefer a life of ease and servitude over freedom and liberty, go home and kiss the feet of your masters, and may your chains set lightly upon you.

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By felicity, May 28, 2010 at 9:23 am Link to this comment

Inherit the Wind - no.  Poor Carter - maligned, misunderstood, even vilified - but whether he was ever offered a “plush” job on leaving office, I’ve no idea. (And, being followed by the Republican Second Coming isn’t easy, yet he has held up remarkably well.  I have always admired the man.)

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By "G"utless "W"itless Hitler, May 28, 2010 at 5:48 am Link to this comment

All the breeders get to become greeters. . . at Walmart.  And the greedy are treated like the needy.

But fear not Epsilons of the world.  You have no cause for discontent; pet foods will remain varied and plentiful!

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By xingqing, May 27, 2010 at 10:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

REDHORSE, diamond,

I think your comments are excellent.

“G"utless “W"itless Hitler,

intriguing concept “speciation of the rich”. perhaps that would explain why our “heroes” sell us out as soon as they reach a level of power, they are not betraying their own kind (or anyway, they perform for the sake of their descendants who won’t be of the same kind). When they said “The Rich Are Different”, who knew…......

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By DHFabian, May 27, 2010 at 10:28 pm Link to this comment

Seeing the indifference to the consequences of welfare “reform” has given me a clearer understanding of my fellow Americans. I thought it ironic that we were celebrating the anniversary of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights around the same time that Clinton whipped out a set of policies that violate this agreement.

I still hope to see a discussion about one interesting aspect of welfare “reform”: For years, government has been using our tax dollars to cover the costs of massive corporate “tax relief.” Much of this money has been used to move our jobs—by the hundreds of thousands - to foreign countries.

In the midst of this massive exporting of jobs, welfare “reform” instantly added hundreds of thousands of people to the labor pool. To top it off, the biggest generation since the Baby Boomers entered the workforce—and still, the jobs continue to flow out of the country.  So here we are, with a greatly increased labor pool at the same time that jobs have been disappearing. This is something we should be talking about.

As a direct result of our welfare “reform”, infant mortality among America’s poor has been rising (unlike any other modern nation) while the life expectancy of our poor has been on a downhill slide. Why is there no public outcry?

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By REDHORSE, May 27, 2010 at 1:54 pm Link to this comment

Everything is NOT Israels fault. Saying that the Zionist lobby has to much control of the American politic and that the Palestine genocide and land grab is dangerous for us all is NOT RACISM. That R.PAUL is another inhabitant of a two faced political false moral highground is TRUE.

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By Inherit The Wind, May 27, 2010 at 1:34 pm Link to this comment

Old Man Turtle, May 27 at 4:38 pm #
(Unregistered commenter)

First rule of The Blame Game:  Anybody but me.

Second rule:  See Rule 1.

The best thing about it?  Any number can play, and damned near everybody does.

*********************************************

Third rule (aka, Prole’s rule): EVERYTHING bad in the world is the fault of Israel—but that’s somehow not anti-Semitism.

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By REDHORSE, May 27, 2010 at 1:27 pm Link to this comment

The American psyche was energized, and our national emotional sky seemed a bit more blue, after our votes, first, changed the face of the legislature, and then placed Obama in the White House. This was the result of feeling unity and empowerment.Then,our hopes were betrayed,again. For me, it was the same political ass whipping with the Clintons.

    It is obvious, that the American peoples’ sense of fair play, love of our Constitution, and basic sense of Christian (or Zen, or Jewish, or Lakota, etc.) concern for the disadvantaged is alive and well. As is, our common knowledge that government should ensure top notch education and infrastructure while working for the common good. Why, do we keep projecting our best values and humanity upon, and giving away our power to, these political shills? The only reason we take them seriously at all, is because they are paranoid and dangerous. They certainly don’t represent any rational form of government, or us?

    How is, hanging two little girls because they stole for food different, then letting little girls die because their health insurance company didn’t want to pay? None!! When a bank robber kills someone in a hold up, the getaway driver is also charged with murder. In these times, our political leaders are the getaway drivers. They are, criminals.

    The Clintons were a diaappointment, but I’ve never witnessed more dark, hollow and evil bastards than Bush, Cheney and crew. So far, Obama seems to be just a “cooler” sent to stroke our fevered brows. This evil is real. It feeds on our lives. Our power and the future of our children is stolen. We feel like fools. Our selfhatred, isolation, depression,confusion and hopelessness springs from this reality.

    My best guess? Rand Paul, like Sarah Palin is another frankencreature created by corporate spinmeisters for the MSM. Kneejerk is the enemy. Where’s the real dialogue. More importantly, where’s our new leadership coming from?

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By Old Man Turtle, May 27, 2010 at 12:38 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

First rule of The Blame Game:  Anybody but me.

Second rule:  See Rule 1.

The best thing about it?  Any number can play, and damned near everybody does.

Report this
prole's avatar

By prole, May 27, 2010 at 11:40 am Link to this comment

“the federal government exists primarily to serve”…Israel and its returned and unreturned citizens everywhere. Rand Paul is no exception. Like the Clintons, Paul is securely in the hip pocket of The Lobby. Paul, Jr.’s position paper on Israel is slightly to the right of Avigdor Lieberman. “What Rand Paul thinks about the Civil Rights Act, passed 46 years ago, hardly seems the most pressing issue of social justice before us”…but what Rand Paul ‘thinks’ about the Middle East certainly is. If “Paul’s questioning the wisdom of a banking bailout that rewards those who shamelessly exploited the poor and vulnerable, many of them racial minorities, is right on target”...his unquestioning support for the outlaw Jewish State which shamelessly attacks the poor and vulnerable, many of them racial minorities, isn’t. Paul, Jr. has proclaimed in his putrid position paper on the Zionist entity, “Israel and the United States have a special relationship…I would never vote to place trade restrictions on Israel, and I would filibuster any attempts to place sanctions on Israel or tariffs on any Israeli goods.”  For Paul, Jr., “questioning the enormous cost of wars that as he dared point out are conducted in violation of our Constitution”…doesn’t extend to pointing out that Amerika’s multifaceted support for Israel’s horrific Occupation are conducted in violation of our Constitution, requiring upholding all treaties and international laws entered into. Instead Rand points in exactly the opposite direction, stating: “The entire world wishes for peace in the region, but any arrangement or treaty must come from Israel, when she is ready and when her conditions have been met.. Friends do not coerce friends to trade land for peace…It is not the place of outsiders to meddle or pass judgment or to use our power or relationship to force Israel to go against her own interest for the sake of ‘peace’.”  Scheer “would add, though [Paul] doesn’t, prevent us from adequately funding needed social programs”...but neither Scheer nor Paul, Jr. question the enormous cost of aid to Israel which prevents us from adequately funding needed social programs. But despite Paul, Jr.’s opposition to sanctions on Israel and it’s very un-libertarian Occupation, he takes a contradictory position on Iran, stating: “I believe the United States should increase the pressure on Iran.  I would mandate that all publicly managed investment funds divest from Iran immediately. We should not be subsidizing any company that does business with Iran, and we should not allow U.S. companies or those with funds from U.S. taxpayers to enrich Iran through its national energy program.  I would fight to end all subsides to American corporations that do business with Iran”…but not with Israel.  And no one should ever believe Paul, Jr. is any kind of anti-war candidate, as he asserts: “I would never vote to prevent Israel from taking any military action her leaders felt necessary to end any Iranian threat. Just as the United States would not follow the will of another country in the face of our national security, we shall not limit the options of Israel in this area.”  For that great ‘libertarian’ imposter Rand Paul, the liberty of Palestinians counts for nothing! “it is time to expose as the enemy of progress the Washington bureaucracy that tends to” The Lobby at the expense of the truly needy. “That is the problem; Rand Paul is” part of it.

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By Inherit The Wind, May 27, 2010 at 10:38 am Link to this comment

felicity, May 27 at 2:18 pm #

ofersince72 - although I don’t think it was Robert’s intention, the way you took his post was legitimate.

Clinton was just one more in a now-long line of presidents who have used the office of the President as a stepping-stone to wealth-after-life-in-the-Oval-Office.  I can only remember one who didn’t - old Harry T. who when offered a plush job apres his presidency declined.  He said (roughly) “you don’t want me, you want the office.  It’s not for sale.  It belongs to the people.”  The good old days are long since dead and gone.

*****************************************

Really? You consider Jimmy Carter’s Nobel Prize to be part of that sale?

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By felicity, May 27, 2010 at 10:18 am Link to this comment

ofersince72 - although I don’t think it was Robert’s intention, the way you took his post was legitimate.

Clinton was just one more in a now-long line of presidents who have used the office of the President as a stepping-stone to wealth-after-life-in-the-Oval-Office.  I can only remember one who didn’t - old Harry T. who when offered a plush job apres his presidency declined.  He said (roughly) “you don’t want me, you want the office.  It’s not for sale.  It belongs to the people.”  The good old days are long since dead and gone.

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By Peetawonkus, May 27, 2010 at 7:13 am Link to this comment

Ah, yes, Bill Clinton…
The best Republican President we’ve had since Nixon.

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thecrow's avatar

By thecrow, May 27, 2010 at 5:53 am Link to this comment

“An inside job? An inside job? How dare you! How dare you!”

http://michaelfury.wordpress.com/2010/04/16/valor/

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By "G"utless "W"itless Hitler, May 27, 2010 at 5:53 am Link to this comment

Why would anybody censor my pearls of wisdom?  I stand by my earlier position:  There are too many stupid monkeys in the monkey house.  You can whine about the evil deeds of the rich all you want but until there are more resources than there are useless consumers, you’ll never be free from the sort of social caste system you now have.  You need far fewer mindless breeders and far more doers.  You need people of quality.  As it stands now, the rich are on the verge of speciation.  The rich have access to technology that will allow them to guide their own evolution.  Do you think that will be made available to just anyone?  How naive!  It’ll soon be a brave new world and your children’s children will be the Epsilons.

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By Bob C, May 27, 2010 at 5:19 am Link to this comment

Rand Paul clearly appealed to knuckle-dragging racists in Kentucky by expressing a tolerance for intolerance in order to win his party’s nomination. Now that his name on the general election ballot has been secured, he clearly knows that he needs to modify at least the tone of his rhetoric in order to appeal to a broader electorate. In that sense he is not unlike many politicians of virtually every political stripe who adjust their messages to different audiences.

What is different about Paul is the distance between his apparent deference toward racism in the primary race and his current apparent deference toward the civil rights movement. He seems to have leaped over an enormous chasm in less than a week. Either his earlier statements must have been disingenuous or his more recent “clarifying” statements are.

I hope the voters of Kentucky will take that into consideration as they elect their next Senator.

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By archivesDave, May 27, 2010 at 12:24 am Link to this comment

When, oh when will we ever get off the ‘blame game’?
For those who want solid answers for extricating
ourselves from this downward spiral, I recommend the research of Joseph Farrell.
His latest book is entitled ‘Babylon’s Banksters’.

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By rakkasanmoo, May 26, 2010 at 11:04 pm Link to this comment

I’m a liberal and a believer in racial equality. Rand
Paul believes that private businesses have the right to
discriminate on the basis of race. That makes Rand Paul
a bad guy in my book and I fail to see what that has to
do with Bill Clinton.

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By BarbieQue, May 26, 2010 at 10:51 pm Link to this comment

Fantastic piece Mr. Sheer.

This is why I started reading you many years ago.

Clinton sold out what little was left (...) of the heart of the Democratic party.

Yet he’s treated like some kind of royalty by the very people he sold out.

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By KylieWyote, May 26, 2010 at 9:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“I am not a libertarian; I proudly remain a bleeding-heart liberal, as befits one who began life in a family on the dole during the Depression. But if the federal government exists primarily to serve super-rich defense contractors and bankers while ignoring the poor, I say it is time to expose as the enemy of progress the Washington bureaucracy that tends to the greedy rich at the expense of the truly needy. That is the problem; Rand Paul is the distraction.”

Thank you, Robert Scheer.  I couldn’t have said it better myself.

NOTHING about the corruption of government will change until people STOP re-electing scumbags who say the right things, but do nothing for the people or the Constitution.  I’m a liberal too.  But the more the mainstream media bashes Rand Paul?  The more Mitch McConnell speaks out against him?  The more I like him.  Down with the incumbent party.  If liberals want an alternative candidate, because they don’t like Paul’s philosophy?  They should GET OFF THE COUCH AND RUN FOR OFFICE.  Otherwise, they should shut the hell up.

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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, May 26, 2010 at 7:00 pm Link to this comment

Clinton would be far better than Paul.  Republicans don’t care about the populace, but Clinton did make Sick Leave possible for sick people to be able to stay home from work when they are sick with a doctor’s excuse without losing their jobs, which is something no Republican will ever actually do, Republicans will talk it, but never do it.  Paul is a Republican, and I think the Republicans managed to change the Sick Leave to where it is of no benefit to the populace anymore at all.  I don’t know for certain, all I know is that democratic Sick Leave certainly helped me during my times of sickness at work and now I am retired.  President Clinton is the one who authorized Sick Leave for the populace and I understand Chris Dodd wrote the bill.  The Sick Leave legislation helped me and many others immensely, so I can never say Paul would be better.  I wish Clinton had not done some of the things he did, but he did and now his mistakes need to be corrected.  Sick Leave was not one of President Clinton’s mistakes.

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By Josephus P. Franks, May 26, 2010 at 5:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I bet if you asked Clinton he would agree that deregulating finance was a mistake. (He admitted that his administration’s Haiti policy was a mistake that led to the pauperization of many Haitian rice farmers, many of whom had to leave their land and died in the earthquake. So he at least shows an ability to admit obvious mistakes.) I don’t know if ... See Morehe realizes, much less would admit, that his welfare cuts were a mistake.

But Paul is just an economic moron, who is kind of like the Republican Obama in that he gives some indication that he’s not a bloodthirsty, nationalistic psychopath, even if he makes rhetorical concessions to the bloodthirsty, nationalistic political center. (Or “center”, in sarcasm quotes, since polls I’ve seen indicate that the majority of USians are actually quite reasonable in their foreign policy views… At least until hit with a massive propaganda campaign.) So it just doesn’t make any sense to villify Paul while ignoring the fact that Clinton’s deregulatory economic policy - continued by Bush - was extremely harmful. Not to mention his murderous foreign policy, which, as his Secretary of State conceded, killed 500,000 Iraqi kids. That’s just kids. To say nothing of his administration’s murderous-idiotic war in the former Yugoslavia. And while Paul’s economic policies would turn the country into twice the shitshow it is now, he’d never be able to implement them, and at least he comes from an isolationist strain of thought, so one would hope that this pedigree would be stronger than his desire to go along with the Republican foreign policy center, which is batshit crazy… (I don’t put much stock in this hope, given the Obama experience.)

Anyway, the hysteria over a Ayn Randian moron like Paul is totally out of proportion, especially if that hysteria is based on claims that his policy positions, if implemented, would be a disaster for ethnic minorities, considering that many of these same hysterical people love Clinton, whose policies literally *killed* and further impoverished millions of melanin-having people from LA to Baghdad… But people who like Clinton are generally the same people whose sources of information would leave them shocked and disoriented at a recounting of Clinton’s economic and foreign policy errors/crimes, which is yet another reason why retiring to an island with a poppy farm is such an attractive career option for me!

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By cann4ing, May 26, 2010 at 4:54 pm Link to this comment

As it appears that my previous comment may have been one of those deleted by the cyber attack, I’ll simply re-post the link to my article “Rand Paul Exposes Libertarian Blind Spots,” which is

http://www.bradblog.com/?p=7854

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By PatrickHenry, May 26, 2010 at 4:22 pm Link to this comment

RE: Peter Z. Scheer, May 26 at 5:57 pm #

“we appear to have lost a number of comments.”

Alot of them should stay lost.

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By Pongo, May 26, 2010 at 4:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I used to read Robert Scheer in the L. A. Times and felt he was a spokesman
for those readers, like me, who really had no voice. He then got dumped with
very little honor by a kind of Bush take over of the newspaper—bringing in
some guys by the names of Max Boot and Jonas Goldberg—both avid right
wingers.

I felt Robert had been treated unfairly and hoped he would find some other
wide-spread outlet. I haven’t heard much from him in the intervening years
but today I read his article here.

What happened to the old Robert Scheer? He could concentrate on the
doughnut and not the hole. This one I read today was decidedly concentrating
on the hole if he is giving the likes of Rand Paul comfort over Bill Clinton. I
don’t remember Robert being an anti-Clinton person. I think he was a help
when Clinton had all his personal difficulties—and when Bill and Hillary tried to
get Universal Health and when Bill took up gay rights the first thing when he
got into office. However,

I have noticed a lot of reporters have become soured and bitter about the
Clintons and now see them as horrible. No, they aren’t horrible. They just aren’t
perfect and to expect perfection from them is ridiculous—especially when
you’re talking of the likes of Rand in the same breath. What I’d like to know is
where is the Robert Scheer of whom I used to be such a fan?  Keep your eye on
the doughnut and not the hole, Robert.

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By T. A. Madison, May 26, 2010 at 4:08 pm Link to this comment

Partisan discussion these days seems to garble the difference between democratic rule of law and authoritarianism.

Apparently, we have authoritarians on the Right posing as anti-Clinton and anti-Obama leftists similar to the far Right tea-party bluster. 

In this climate, the difference between Left and Right or even between Democrats and Republicans becomes meaningless.  The principle questions are, do our “Representatives” defend and protect the Constitution and our democratic laws?  Do they honor their oath to “defend the Constitution against all enemies both foreign and domestic”? 

The necessary relationship between individual liberty and “the common good” must be understood. Without such distinctions there is no democratic ballast or democratic compass.

These days the main distinction must be drawn between Constitutionalists and anti-Constitutionalists, with the first clarity to establish being between any speaker’s democratic or authoritarian intent.  Then we can make a distinction between Citizen’s interests and Corporate interests and between democratic Rule of Law and piracy.

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By Peter Z. Scheer, May 26, 2010 at 3:54 pm Link to this comment

Latest on the site/comments:
http://www.truthdig.com/eartotheground/item/note_to_readers_20100526/

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By balkas, May 26, 2010 at 3:34 pm Link to this comment

When elephants sense danger, they gather around their young in order to protect them.
Why do not humans protect ALL their young equally?

We don’t because we have been split asunder by priestly-nobility class into families as that way we are more obeisant-compliant!
Elephants or their priests-nobles have never split asunder a family of elephants into either individual elephants or families of elephants.

So, i wonder which specie is more animalistic: elephants or humans?

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By Ralph Kramden, May 26, 2010 at 2:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I was wondering what was going on and my first thought was of a deliberate attack. Robert Scheer, sir, I will not abandon you, but I must disagree vehemently about Rand Paul. Is he named after Ayn Rand? Not that it matters. There are things about the libertarians that are truly seductive and appealing. However, one must keep one’s eyes on the prize. Rand is scary and don’t be seduced by his stand against the banksters. His support of BP and Massey are unconscionable, criminal even. As a libertarian he probably opposes labor unions. Without labor unions the progressive, liberal movement is lost. Mussolini made the trains run on time and Hitler was good to his dogs. I don’t understand your blind spot on Rand. As to the attack on your web, I think you somehow po’d the Israeli lobby. By the way, what does “Are you a human?” next to the code suppose to mean?

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By SoTexGuy, May 26, 2010 at 2:26 pm Link to this comment

As written:

“..we appear to have lost a number of comments”.

Was it something I said?

Makes you wonder…

Adios!

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By diamond, May 26, 2010 at 2:17 pm Link to this comment

No, Robert Scheer, Rand Paul is not a distraction he is a potential disaster and people should treat him the way BP should have treated building that drilling platform: shit happens so plan for it. Best plan? Don’t vote for anyone who runs on a platform of no government, no taxes etc. because any rational person knows that this is bullshit. Unworkable, pie in the sky bullshit. There have always been governments as far back as you can go in human history. Even in the nomadic groups that wandered Africa before they spread out and ended up in what we now call nations there were the elders or, in effect, the old men who made the laws. In these groups everything was shared and no one went hungry as long as the group had food.  As we all know, when you pay taxes you buy civilization, and America’s current low tax/no tax social situation proves that conclusively. Everyone the world over knows that America has socialism for the rich and laissez faire for the poor and Rand Paul intends to continue and extend that system.

What Rand Paul is actually talking about is not no government but a government wedded to laissez faire economic and social principles. If anyone wants to know what that means read ‘Oliver Twist’. Victorian England was laissez faire to its high buttoned boots and what a catastrophe it was for the majority of the people of England most of whom, then as now, were not wealthy and never would be. They had no choice but to live on the streets and in many cases turn to crime to stay alive. Mothers were hanged for stealing food for their children. The last child to be hanged in England was six years old. One frosty morning two sisters, nine and eleven, were hanged side by side for stealing so they could buy food. So, no, Mr. Scheer don’t tell me that allowing these mad dogs to form government is a distraction. It might drive the working class of America to distraction (as America’s unequal, unjust and inhuman social system already has to some extent) but that doesn’t make Rand Paul a distraction and I can’t tell you how angry it makes me that you write such nonsense. The clear and present danger for America is not in Afghanistan, it’s in the board rooms of America and in groups like the Tea Party with their fanatical adherence to an immoral, failed economic and social model and you know it damn well.

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By ofersince72, May 26, 2010 at 2:05 pm Link to this comment

I am not going to read this Robert.,
I will not be able to control myself and my sides are
already hurting.

Great political theater…lets do this..
It wasn’t Clinton, It was Bush one
no, it wasn’t Bush I , it was Reagon
no, it wasn’t Reagon, it was Carter,
no, it wasn’t Carter, it was Nixon,
no, it wasn’t Nixon, it was Johnson…WOW,,,,WHAT A FIX.

are you really a journalist???

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By Peter Z. Scheer, May 26, 2010 at 1:57 pm Link to this comment

Note to readers: We are currently recovering from what
we believe was an attack on the site. We were down for
over an hour. In restoring the site, we appear to have
lost a number of comments. We deeply regret this. We
appreciate the time and thought you put into your
comments and we will do our best to retrieve them if
possible.

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