The furor over the Iowa caucuses tonight is an illustration of the sad state of democracy in America. The mainstream media have done their best to create an atmosphere in which the whole process will be dismissed as a fluke if a particular candidate wins. Especially since that candidate is a man they have first ignored, then laughed at, then demonized... And yes, the quote attributed to Gandhi does come to mind here.
Much as it was decided in 2008 that the best heir to Bush the Lesser would be Barack the Blessed of Hopechange, the establishment has decided that the Republican candidate in November shall be Mitt Romney. Just look at the pattern in the GOP race so far: Romney gets treated as the front-runner, while every other candidate is built up and then torn down - a phenomenon Vox Day dubbed the "Romney-alternative-who-is-not-Ron-Paul wheel."
Trouble is, Paul isn't going away. He's a clear alternative to the establishment (as Vox puts it, to "Newt Romney O'Bama"), or to borrow what Phyllis Schlafly said about Barry Goldwater, "a choice, not an echo."
Predictably, the "smearbund" (Murray Rothbard's expression) tried hard to paint Paul as a racist. Unfortunately for them, that accusation has been the first resort of political scoundrels for so long, people have grown tired of it. It doesn't quite work anymore. It also happens to be a lie. So they accused Paul of being an anti-Semite instead. That, too, is untrue.
Today, Richard Cohen of the Washington Post almost called Paul a Nazi, while praising all the Imperial interventions that Paul has opposed. Cohen, by the way, argued passionately back in 2003 that "bagging Karadzic" would show the Muslim world all the white-knighting virtue and love of the United States, and win its never-ending gratitude. Well, Karadzic was "bagged" in 2008, Ratko Mladic last year, the US has created not one but two Islamic states in the Balkans (per Tom Lantos)... where's all the gratitude? Oh wait.
Daniel Greenfield really dislikes Ron Paul. He's convinced Paul's policy of dismantling the Empire is bad for the Jews and bad for Israel, suspects him of Islamophilia, even argues that Paul is working with George Soros. But it is Greenfield that wrote the best rebuttal of Cohen's idiotic rant, by pointing out that the U.S. never actually intervened to stop genocide. Not today, not in WW2, not ever.
Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I like Ron Paul. Back in 2004, I interviewed him for NIN - then a premier Serbian news magazine, later sold to a German consortium and thoroughly ruined - mostly about his principled opposition to America's illegal foreign wars. To prep for the interview, I did a fair bit of research on his voting record and where he stood on issues. And I have to say, even when I disagree with him (on immigration, for example), I respect him and his integrity. Assuming there is a way to save the United States of America from the consequences of imperialism - and forgive me if I'm not entirely convinced at this point that there is - Paul is the man who might be able to pull it off.
But even if I thought otherwise, even if I disliked the man and his ideas entirely, I'd still be objecting to the obvious problem of his treatment at the hands of the mainstream media and the political establishment. As should we all. Because what we're seeing here is what Philip Cunliffe noted about the 2008 Serbian elections: that democracy means whatever the Empire says it means.
So the Iowa caucuses will be declared legitimate, meaningful and proper only if the establishment's preferred candidate (i.e. Romney) wins. If Paul carries Iowa, it will be dismissed as a fluke, the whole caucus system will be derided as stupid and obsolete, and a host of other excuses will be enlisted to tell the general populace why what just happened didn't matter at all. Nothing to see here, move along, vote Romney O'Bama and the Bank Party in November, thankyouverymuch.
That sounds very much like a diabetic being forced to make a "choice" between Coca-Cola and Pepsi. It's not just that he doesn't get to choose water, it's that either of those will kill him.