More Thoughts on Rand Paul

In an article that not quite defends Rand Paul, Alexander Cockburn puts forth a sophisticated form of the “lesser evil” argument that he used to reject. He points out that Paul’s opponent, Jack Conway, is a neo-con Democrat of the worst kind. He argues that because of his libertarianism, Paul is more likely to be a “wild card” in the Senate, one who might do such things as filibuster a bank bailout. I can’t really buy this. Since Paul has been willing to defend BP, I think it’s a bit optimistic to expect him to stand up to the banks. He will more likely devote his energies to trying to pass anti-immigrant and anti-abortion legislation and to shredding what little is left of the social safety net. Having a wild card doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a winning hand.

This latest argument by Cockburn is related to one that he has made from time to time over the years: that there can be a “left-right” alliance. If I remember correctly, he first brought up this idea during the 1996 election. Cockburn got all excited when Pat Buchanan made some vaguely populist noises during the primaries. He started to suggest that Buchanan could be some sort of ally. This idea was a non-starter, because of Buchanan’s rabid anti-immigrant stance, not to mention his hatred for the left. It’s absurd to think that immigrants and minorities can march side-by-side with racists and xenophobes.

Cockburn says that “liberalism is in awful crisis”, which is true. However, that is precisely why the left doesn’t need to make any cynical deals with the far right. Now more than ever is the time to put forward a genuinely left program.

2 Responses to “More Thoughts on Rand Paul”

  1. entdinglichung Says:

    good comment … an anti-establishment rightwinger is in the first place a rightwinger … and as history shows, they generally drop their maverickness, when they come close to power … is Cockburn trying to play tactical games or is he really only naive or stupid?

    • The Spanish Prisoner Says:

      That’s a good question. He can be something of a crank at times. However, I still read his articles because he does make good points now and then.

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