Saturday, September 15, 2007

Ron Paul and Bill O'Reilly: A case study in what is wrong with dialogue in America today

Bill O'Reilly, for all his conservative rhetoric, symbolizes all that's wrong with debate in America today. He simplifies issues, limits them to short snippets, he's inconsistent in many areas, and rarely allows time for the person he is "debating" to state his/her whole position. Don't get me wrong, I agree with some of O'Reilly's positions, I just don't like the medium he and much of the modern media uses to debate them. Such serious, impacting issues should be the subject of long dialogues and discussions, not limited to a 30 minute cable show that goes topic to topic faster than you can say "Jack Rabbitt Abbreviated". See Neil Postman's "Amusing Ourselves to Death" on the way television has seriously regressed public dialogue.

I love this "debate" (I use this description of the above interaction very loosely) because it illustrates my point. To most viewers I'm sure it comes off like O'Reilly is really sticking it to Ron Paul. In my opinion, however, sort of like Alan Keyes during the last presidential primary season, Ron Paul is way too smart to be President. His thorough knowledge makes it impossible to fit in to the "sound bite" mode of the current American political debates and discussions. He does his best to enhance the discussion, but it's tough when the host tells him, in effect, "never mind the history lesson"! Pardon me, but I thought knowing history was one of the key ways in which we can make right choices about the future. Ron Paul thinks so, Bill O'Reilly doesn't, I guess.

I don't fully agree with Paul's "libertarian" platform, but I do think he is very intelligent (imagine that...from Texas and all!). His smartness translates to consistency. His consistency translates to "no" vote after "no" vote as a congressman. He sounds like a whiner when he talks and he'll never win the primary.

Still, he's entertaining. That's what's so messed up with the age in which we live.

11 comments:

jeremy morgan said...

I certainly don't agree with some of the fringe "I'm libertarian because I want to smoke pot" libertarianism, but the views of folks like Ron Paul, mises.org, and to a lesser extent, Lew Rockwell are certainly more appealing than the empire building, state worshiping nonsense running through the Republicrat party. I agree with you that Ron Paul will never win the primary. There are too many people who are not registered as Republicans that would vote for him. Those who are Libertarian and unaffiliated won't get a chance to voice their opinion in closed primaries. Too many republicans love the empire and are on the take under the current system so they really don't want a small government. In addition, there are far too many people who will vote for who they think has the best chance instead of who they think is the best candidate. As long as people think that way and vote against their conscience, we're going to get more of the same. I, for one, would love to see a Ron Paul vs. Hillary/Obama ticket. That would be a real decision. Giuliani vs. Clinton will merely by choosing between socialism or facism. If it comes down to that, my vote once again will be "no thank you."

Rick Calohan said...

Since my minor was in Political Science with a BA in History, you would have thought by now I have a candidate in mind to actually win the war on terror, enforce the immigration laws, reign in the growth of government spending, eliminate the lobbyist, et cetera et cetera. Being that I am a Social Conservative and Fiscal Libertarian, Ron Paul would be an excellent choice, except his withdraw with no Victory in Iraq policy makes me say sorry but no.

Tom Tancredo would actually represent my views, hovering around 1 or 2 % within the party. Tommy Thompson does nothing for me. Duncan Hunter is rising in the polls but he will not get the party nomination. I like Mike Huckabee, but he did raise taxes in Arkansas and we already had one man from Hope. If Brownback was not pandering to the illegal aliens and the corn farmers I would say he would make an excellent Senator of Iowa, oh wait he is already a Senator of Kansas.

That leaves the top tier Giuliani; sorry you lost me on abortion. McCain, sorry you lost me with McCain-Feingold. Romney, you lost me at your Mormonism. So through the process of elimination that leaves either Fred or Newt, and Newt as intelligent as he is does not have the charm of Fred, and is not in as of yet. Therefore, Fred who is not perfect either will be the only one who could maintain the White House for the GOP in 2008.

As for the Pinko Commie Liberal Al Quida Party, I am sorry I mean the Democrats, not one pro-lifer in the group, thus they do not get my vote.

This is the result of a complacent Media, and apathetic voting public. While I may agree with Rush, Hannity, Ingraham, O’Reilly, and Savage, I realize that their format is no place for debate, and I think in part is that the majority of their audience is conservative, and basically they reaffirm what you already believe. As for the so-called mainstream media, they make Conservatives look corrupt and evil, while at the same time make media darlings out of any Republican who opposes the war or speaks out against their party, and any liberal Democrat an intellectual genius who gets all the nuances.

Both parties have been out of touch with America for along time, they both pander to our core beliefs and fears but once elected do little to make things better for America. I voted for Bush twice, and on taxes, and pro-life issues, he has been steadfast. However, while America has not been attacked in six years, he has failed to tighten the boarders, and he has failed to win this war on terror by showing too much restraint. Unfortunately, he has increased domestic spending and programs beyond the intake of rising revenues. This is reckless and this will continue to undermine our standing when dealing with the main human rights violator of the world, the ChiComs of Beijing, and the Saudi Royal Family who continues to fund the terrorist with Oil Revenues from where from the USA.

So thus, another election will come and pass and again we will not necessary vote for which we would prefer, but whom we think will do less damage. Although it is getting harder and harder to think how much worse it would get should the Anti-Christ, I mean Senator Hillary Clinton would become our next President.

rgmann said...

Not only do I think that O’Reilly really stuck it to Paul in this “debate,” it was well deserved on Paul’s part. The guy was like a slippery eel and refused to directly answer a number of O’Reilly’s questions. Furthermore, the only “history lesson” that was relevant is that the United States has repeatedly failed to take any serious action against Iran for its numerous acts of war against us (invading our sovereign territory/Embassy, taking our diplomats hostage for over a year, directing the bombing of our Marine barracks in Beirut, actively funding an Islamic terrorist organization that has attacked us many times -- and the list goes on and on).

Iraq had likewise committed numerous acts of war against us (violated its terms of surrender from the Gulf War, repeatedly fired upon our military planes in the no-fly zone, tried to assassinate Bush 41, refused to disclose the documentation of its WMD status, had active relationships with several Islamic terrorist organizations -- and the list goes on and on). So, for Ron Paul to describe our military action against Iraq as a “preemptive” invasion of a foreign country (as if the U.S. was the guilty party) is disingenuous at best and flat out dishonest at worst. The most despicable part of Paul’s remarks is when he claimed that our own foreign policy caused 9-11 by a “blowback principle,” and that we “let [Osama Bin Laden] go into Pakistan.” Yea, we just “let him go” for kicks and giggles! Give me a break! This guy should never get within a hundred miles of the White House!

What Ron Paul, some Republicans, and most Democrats don’t seem to understand yet, is that 9-11 has launched us into a long, extensive war against Radical Islam (which will most likely include Iran in the near future), not just a law enforcement action against Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden. I’m afraid it might take another devastating attack against our homeland (perhaps worse than 9-11) before many in this country will wake up and join the fight on our side!

jeremy morgan said...

Was that satire or are you serious?

Frontier Forest said...

Just listening to this “verbal volley-ball” makes me angry. Never before have I felt so much helpless disgust for an up-coming election. Both parties are filled with unrighteousness, wickedness, greed malice, envy, strife, deceit, malice, slander, and corruption. The only thing I believe is the real garbage hasn’t even begin to surface. Paul takes a righteous aim at such depravity in Romans 1, “Professing to be wise, they became fools!” But believers in Christ can rest in this: HE is sovereign and He is Lord, and His hands control all power and might and it is at HIS discretion that men are made great and given strength.

rgmann said...

I'm not sure if jeremy's question was referring to my post or not, but I was dead serious about what I wrote. I view Ron Paul's position on the war (which is the most important issue our nation is facing right now) as being as bad as or worse than most of the Democrats. He should never be entrusted with our national defense.

By the way, I'm not particularly excited about the other Republican candidates either...but any of them would be better than Paul or the Democrats.

M Staples said...

I'm catching up on my reading after about a week hiatus, so this may be a case of beating the proverbial dead horse. Tony, I think your original post was correct in that it highlighted one of the main problems with our political process. Ron Paul is a man who does not take the soundbite approach to what are in reality very complex issues. Postman's critique is extremely relevant and illustrated very well in this clip. As an aside, if you haven't read Amusing Ourselves to Death I highly recommend it. But, at the risk of prolonging what may be a useless - perhaps unwinable - debate, Ron Paul's stance on "the war" should not be lumped together with the Democrats'. Most of the Democrats criticize the Iraq invasion and especially Bush's handling of it, but note that they all supported it from the beginning and most of the frontrunners have called for further military action. For example, HRC wants to invade Iran and Obama even hinted at a campaign against Pakistan. Bear in mind that both major parties tend to support the American foreign policy of the last 100 years or so, which is intervention and expansion of what has essentially become an empire rather than a republic. Ron Paul, on the other hand, has stood against the Iraq invasion from the start and wants to pull the troops back home and stop foreign intervention. This is the humble foreign policy that the founding fathers of our country advocated (and in keeping with Constitutional mandates). You might disagree with this position but I just want to point out that it isn't the same as what the Democrats are proposing. I also agree with Jeremy in that I think the evangelical church in America needs to stop worshiping what has become an idol in its heart - i.e. teh state. I know my view will be considered "politically incorrect" within our church but I'm willing to go out on a limb to say that Ron Paul is worth exploring as a possible candidate, especially in the primary season. The major news media do not like him and thus they aren't reporting accurately about him. I encourage everyone I meet to examine his platform with an open mind because they might like it.

AJF said...

Matt, I don't know that your view is that politically incorrect in our church. I basically agree with what you wrote.

The problem with Ron Paul is he can't win in the current environment. Period. Further, most of his appeal has come by critiquing current practices (good critiques, no doubt) without alot of tangible, believable alternatives. Sure, I know he has proposed various domestic policy ideas, but there still is a congress to convince.

My point originally has to do with the said state of affairs public discourse has plummeted to. Guys like O'Reilly are egomaniacs trying to look smart personally, not deepen discourse to find actual answers to issues we face.

rgmann said...

Bear in mind that both major parties tend to support the American foreign policy of the last 100 years or so, which is intervention and expansion of what has essentially become an empire rather than a republic.

The “intervention and expansion” of Radical Islam is what we need to be worried about right now, not that of the United States of America. How our response to this grave and expanding national security threat (which began decades ago and has been growing ever more deadly with each passing year) can be characterized in this way is beyond comprehension to me.

Ron Paul, on the other hand, has stood against the Iraq invasion from the start and wants to pull the troops back home and stop foreign intervention.

Which simply demonstrates that he’s been wrong on this issue for a longer period of time than the Democrats have (and not quite as hypocritical and treacherous). Sorry, but tucking our tail between our legs and running back to isolate ourselves in America will only increase the threat, not diminish it (especially with Iran on the verge of getting nuclear technology). We tried that “brilliant” foreign policy tactic in Somalia…and it didn’t turn out so well! In fact, I could have sworn it was seen by the Jihadists as proof positive that we were a “Paper Tiger” that could be easily defeated and ultimately destroyed.

This is the humble foreign policy that the founding fathers of our country advocated (and in keeping with Constitutional mandates).

If a foreign enemy entered our country 200 years ago and slaughtered over 3,000 innocent civilians in a multi-pronged surprise attack (not to mention the numerous terrorist attacks prior to 9/11), I’d be willing to bet that the founding fathers would have authorized a little “intervention!” The general constitutional policy of non-intervention hardly applies under the current circumstances. If we had set up colonies in Afghanistan and Iraq, and were planning to plunder Iran for its natural resources, you might have a valid point. But last time I checked the U.S. wasn’t setting up any colonies in an effort to expand our “empire.”

Sorry if I sound kind of irritated…but I’m irritated. We’re facing a threat as serious as any we’ve faced before, and most of the country is whining about “Bush lied, kids died”…“Bring the troop home!” If now isn’t the “time for war” (Eccl. 3:8), then when is?

M Staples said...

Tony, I can clearly see that the arguments I continued regarding American foreign policy go far beyond the point of your initial post. I agree that the O'Reily clip is a good example of how low things have gotten in our political discourse. As far as the other arguments are concerned, I doubt this is the venue for arguing them (as much as I'd love to do so) and I'll just have to respectfully agree to disagree with "rgmann."

jeremy morgan said...

I was away for a while and missed the fun. Lots of comments could be made but young master Staples' last comment summed it up pretty well, I think.