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Casualty of the Class War

Cuh-ree-pee! I don’t know whether you followed the Republican primary debate. I didn’t, preferring to let someone pick out the relevant bits in the post-analysis rather than expose myself to all that crazy, hateful ideology, known as “red meat for the Republican base” in one go.

Apparently, there wasn’t much to miss. Even liberals who chose to comb the debate for statements to trigger cries of outrage don’t report much—not that there wasn’t plenty of hate and crazy, but that it’s almost become impossible to feel surprised by it. The one bit pulled out for indignant puffing was Ron Paul’s response to Wolf Blitzer’s needling: offered a hypothetical person who chose not to buy health insurance but developed a life-threatening condition, Blitzer asked, would Paul advocate simply letting him die? An unfair question, ignoring such possibilities as being charged an arm and a leg for emergency medical care after the fact, but it accomplished its purpose: catching Paul in a bind between denouncing his own platform of freedom and consequences or getting quoted as saying, “Yeah, sure, let him die.” Even Paul’s hemming and hawing didn’t really get liberals in a huff, contemptible though it might be; it was the cheers of “Yeah!” from the audience in support of simply watching people die. Another sad and frightening window on what passes for mainstream politics in the US today.

But here’s where it gets really creepy: somebody went out and did his homework after the debate, and reports that Ron Paul’s former campaign manager—perhaps late campaign manager is the proper term—died of pneumonia at age 49, impoverished by a $400,000 medical bill. He was impoverished because his boss—Ron Paul—wouldn’t provide medical coverage for his employees, even an employee who launched his first presidential bid and brought tens of millions into the campaign chest.

So ten out of ten for staying true to his principles. Two out of ten for being willing to stand up and admit to doing so. Minus six or seven thousand for basic human decency. After hearing how he treats his most loyal employees, I, for one, would not care to see how Paul would treat the country at large were he to lead the entire nation.

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