With the media once again ignoring Ron Paul, liberals (and Democrats) can breath a sigh of relief.  Paul is no longer the target of 2 minute hate tirades among either the Right or the Left.

Some liberals happen to like Ron Paul.  They like him on the war and peace, transparency in government, auditing the Fed, the drug war, and many other issues that ought to cross the bipartisan divide.

But Paul wouldn’t have so many liberal supporters if the Democratic party wasn’t a War Party.  If for example the Democrats had allowed a progressive primary challenge to Obama (from a Kucinich or a Rocky Anderson) then there would be very little talk about switching to the GOP to vote Paul.   The attraction to Paul among liberals is thus directly attributable to the failure of the Democrats to represent liberals….but you will never hear a statement like that on the MSM.

Those liberals who are going to vote Paul are simply rationally exercising their options in an arena where options are limited and none of the options are good.  Voting Paul is currently the only means liberals have of expressing dissent and (more practically) deploying leverage against the march to war against Iran by the Obama administration by keeping Paul’s presidential hopes alive.

In the end its too bad that Paul and his supporters have such an inflexible ideology, but it’s equally bad that liberals are so inflexible and are so easily convinced by the mainstream media that voting Paul (or entering into any kind of tactical alliance with Libertarians) is a non-starter.  And so despite widespread dissatisfaction with the status quo across partisan lines, we remain divided and powerless.  Even liberal commentators like Glenn Greenwald that can clearly see that the issues where Paul is right are more important then the issues where Obama is right still stop short of an endorsement, even though a primary vote for Ron Paul does absolutely no harm to any progressive cause.

Look, I disagree with Paul on the issues most liberals disagree with him on (the environment, healthcare, humanitarian interventions, to name a few).  But I’d still rather have Paul as president then Barack Obama, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with admitting that. 

Most of us can agree that the left/right paradigm is part of what’s oppressing us and diluting the political discourse to slogans and soundbytes.  Well, in order to overcome it we need to start somewhere. 

It’s time to start discussing whether there is a group of issues and/or principles that a wide variety of dissidents, including Ron Paul supporters, can get behind.  A 3rd party campaign with a real chance will have to be able to draw in more than just ideolougues and idealists.  It will need to speak to the American mainstream and their aspirations. 

Our best shot at overthrowing the 2-party system and its strangehold on American politics is a 3rd party campaign based on a few issues (like say imperial wars, corporate control of politics, government transparency, democratic and electoral reforms).  It would require a broad alliance where people with varying ideological backgrounds agree to work together to accomplish meaningful things.

To begin, we will have to start humanizing our discourse and stop demonizing the ‘other’.  In order to work with rival groups, we need to change our attitudes about them.  Rather then engaging in 2 minute hate tirades against fringe groups like Ron Paul supporters, we’d be better off considering whether we could tempt them to work with us toward meaningful reforms.   

The areas of agreement between Ron Paul supporters and progressives are actually extremely broad.  This is obvious to anyone who bothers to learn anything significant about the Ron Paul movement.  Which is why the media pulled out all the stops to demonize them as “kooks”.

The corporate media wants us to hate them–they co-opted the Tea Party as a new scapegoat for liberals to vent their hatred on (ie as opposed to the corporate interests  that fund the Tea Party).  The MSM strategy relies on stiff partisanship, 2-minute-hate tirades, and making sure rival dissident groups hate each other as much as they hate the system. 

The way out of this trap is to reject the media narrative entirely.  Realize that the Ron Paul movement represents a movement of conservatives who reject corporatism, the mass media, the 2-party system, and our undemocratic electoral process.  In other words, they see the reality of the system clearer then the average progressive, and certainly far clearer then the average Democrat.

Why are we not talking about future alliances?  Why are we not working on electoral coalitions to get results on those issues where 80%+ of Americans are clearly with us?  How long are liberals going to be marionettes of the MSM?