On Hardball last night, Howard Fineman said that Ron Paul’s views on Iran “would seem to put him outside the mainstream” of American politics. And this is how Fineman characterized Paul’s views: “Iran being justified in getting a nuclear weapon.”
This is an effort to marginalize the best American political thinking about Iran, and a misrepresentation of Paul’s views. Paul said that he could understand why Iran would want nuclear weapons because if you have ’em then you don’t get invaded, and right now we’re bombing countries all around Iran. And he said that there is no hard evidence that Iran is seeking nuclear weapons.
And most of all, he called on the U.S. to exercise diplomacy as John F. Kennedy, a Democratic president, did during the Cuban missile crisis. We had 30,000 missiles pointed at us through the Cold War without attacking the Soviet Union. People are overreacting to these threats.
Howard Fineman is a liberal Establishment Democrat. And in very much the way that the neoconservative Republican David Brooks is doing (not to mention the Republican Jewish Coalition), Fineman is determined to redline Ron Paul as an extremist. When actually Ron Paul is speaking to a highly reasonable sentiment in the American people, who are the ones whose children are sacrificed to war. This is called populism– a progressive understanding among the people. The wisdom of populism here is that neoconservative foreign policy is crazy. That same populist wisdom lifted Obama 4 years ago, though Chris Matthews and Howard Fineman now seem determined to forget as much. When Ron Paul says his message has appeal to Democrats and Independents, he is right.