Wednesday, May 16, 2007

What Did Ron Paul Say?

From the Spin Room after last night's GOP "debate" in South Carolina, Byron York captures Ron Paul's reaction:

For a man who had just grabbed the spotlight in a nationally televised presidential debate, Ron Paul seemed a little, well, defensive. A few minutes after the debate ended here at the University of South Carolina, Paul, a Republican congressman from Texas, ventured into the Spin Room to talk to reporters, only to find that they wanted to know whether he really blamed the United States for the September 11 terrorist attacks.

“Who did that?” Paul snapped. “Who blamed America?”

“Well, your critics felt that you did.” “No, I blamed bad policy over 50 years that leads to anti-Americanism,” Paul said. “That’s little bit different from saying ‘blame America.’ Don’t put those words in my mouth.”

“But the policies were bad American policies?”

“We’ve had an interventionist foreign policy for 50 years that has come back to haunt us,” Paul continued. “So that’s not ‘Blame America’ — that’s demagoguing, distorting issues…That’s deceitful to say those kinds of things.”

James Joyner at OTB has the best commentary I've seen on this issue in this post. I'm not surprised at Paul's reaction to the spin, and I think the "American Idol" format is in part responsible, even though this one flowed better than the last. If this were really a "debate," Paul's point should be debated, not dismissed.

11 comments:

Patrick R. Sullivan said...

Bernard Lewis had an answer in the WSJ today:

'During the Cold War, two things came to be known and generally recognized in the Middle East concerning the two rival superpowers. If you did anything to annoy the Russians, punishment would be swift and dire. If you said or did anything against the Americans, not only would there be no punishment; there might even be some possibility of reward, as the usual anxious procession of diplomats and politicians, journalists and scholars and miscellaneous others came with their usual pleading inquiries: "What have we done to offend you? What can we do to put it right?"'

Anonymous said...

Of course if a democrat had spoken this truth the right wing blogs would be all over them for such unpatriotic comments.

Anonymous said...

All that Byron York is doing is characterizing Ron Paul in a bad way.

Are the so called media professionals deaf or impaired? It's obvious what Ron Paul was saying when he made his points, but the cheap shot was too much of a temptation.

"Do you really blame the United States for the September 11 terrorist attacks?"

A variation of:
"Have you beat your wife lately?"

Like the much of the media, Rudy Giuliani feigned ignorance. Never heard of cause and effect before!

Let's have a little intellectual honesty for a change. US Foreign Policy over the last 50-60 years has not been all about spreading peace and joy via parades and flower bouquets.

Ron Paul simply points out the uncomfortable truth, and people reject him for it.

-Ray, from the Net

alphie said...

Well, we set the foreign policy bar pretty low for China when they take over as The World's Only Superpower.

Maybe they'll knock a few billion off our debt for the favor.

Paul Zrimsek said...

We supporters of the War on Terror should be grateful to Paul for his deft undermining of one of the most common arguments against it: the one which claims that we're only stirring up ill will over there by our actions in Iraq (and presumably Afghanistan, though they tend to keep quiet about that). Not so, if we believe Paul; the ill will was already in place, and resulted from 50 years' worth of actions that can't be undone now. It's a sunk cost that we can safely ignore going forward. Thanks, Ron!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post. Yes, the debate format is American Idol but Rudy is going to say this garbage regardless of the format. I wish the Republican Party could have a few more people as honest as Ron Paul running in this race. Perhaps one of them would be both honest and not a loon. I hate to say this but Mr. Paul is the best of this pathetic lot of 10 losers. Rudy is the worst - by far.

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Fritz said...

Andrew,
There is no debate, Paul is full of crap. The Liberty Civilization aka United States, has done more in history to bring more freedom to more people than any country on the planet. Women didn't have the right to vote in France until after WW2. The ignorance of your commenters is so leftist in nature, they hate the US for the same reason most of our enemies do, private property. The China superpower comment ROFL, maybe this form of communism will finally work! A Roman General 200 AD was asked why the Empire had not taken the entire Arabian peninsula, he remarked that there was little resource value and the people had this weird death culture, Rome would have to kill all the men. Osama's ancestors hated the United States before it even existed.

In February of 2003, Secretary of State Powell was treated to elaborate history lessons from the other member countries on the UN Security Council. When it was his turn he quipped, "The United States is a relatively young country, but we are the oldest democracy assembled here around this table." That is moral authority our critics don't have, and no right to judge us.

Anonymous said...

Fritz,

I would love to have the full quote from that Roman General. It is always interesting to see the persistance of certain cultural values in an area.

Fritz said...

Anon,
I wish I could, but it is from one of my many books on the Middle East and I don't remember which one. I do have another quote to share.

A Imperial Japanese Admiral writing about the Battle of Midway recalls what he learned about Americans. He wrote that he had always felt that Americans were lucky, fat, lazy, plenty of natural resources and stumbled upon high technology. If only Japan could catch-up, our superior culture would rule the world. Yet in a battle with overwhelming Japanese strength, they defeated us and foretold our impending defeat in this war. What I learned about Americans is their ability to adapt to changing circumstances. While we never questioned our command structure, followed protocol, they were debating tactics, questioning leadership. It is a culture conducive to invention, discovering better ways, ignoring fault by learning from it rather than focus on blame. America wasn't lucky, it is by design.

Another:
Paul Seabright's The Company of Strangers, a natural history of economic life.

Passage: About two years after the break-up of the Soviet Union I was in discussion with a senior Russian official whose job it was to direct the production of bread in St. Petersburg. "Please understand that we are keen to move towards a market system, " he told me. "But we need to understand the fundamental details of how such a system works. Tell me, for example: who is in charge of the supply of bread to the population of London?" There was nothing naive about his question, because the answer ("nobody is in charge"), when one thinks carefully about it, is astonishingly hard to believe. Only in the industrial West have we forgotten just how strange it is.

Most of the world is tribal culture vs our individualism, they don't understand reality, suffering from Fundamental Attribution Error, especially when it comes to America.

alphie said...

Perhaps a better question would have been: Who is in charge of auctioning off all the reposessed homes in California these days?