It's top-down ahistorical hornswoggling like Ron Paul's, or, in his case, just historical ignorance, that so often feeds, perpetuates and I daresay even consecrates America's bottom-up stupidity. Paul's is the dullard's choice of demagogic sincerity: It is important to note that not all demagoguery comes in the form of deliberate misrepresentation; some, like Paul's, is populist quackery straight from the uninformed heart -- and to the broadly unenlightened, nothing appeals like the clean, radiant integrity of the alarmingly unenlightened.
At this all too obvious point in the prolonged, blood-curdling pratfall known as the Republican presidential contest, slamming Ron Paul with further evidence may seem superfluous. But what the hell. Here he is, speaking to an Iowa audience on Wednesday, observing that "In many ways, I identify with both groups" -- the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street -- which "are just tired of it all":
I think it makes my point. There’s a lot of people unhappy, and they’re not so happy with the two-party system because we have had people go in and out of office, congress changes, the presidency changes, they run on one thing, they do something else. Nothing ever changes.
That string of stunning fatuities, indeed, makes my point.
Ronald Reagan's reign of kindergarten ideology changed nothing? It didn't plant the pathogenic seed in the body politic's developing worldview that government is the common enemy? The subsequent, logically inexorable Gingrich Revolution of '94 didn't fundamentally coarsen our discourse and poison our politics? The concomitant prosperity of Bill Clinton's era, notwithstanding his imposition of higher taxes on higher incomes, meant nothing at all? The vulgar, one-two punches of a George W. Bush and the retention of a Gingrichlike Congress didn't careen us into fiscal implosions, bellicose nightmares and mass unemployment? And President Obama -- who, by the way, has done pretty much precisely what he promised -- hasn't decisively turned those sinister tides?
Nothing ever changes? My dear Mr. Paul, in the past three decades America has undergone the gut-wrenching horrors and forced edification of a sort of national primal scream; the twoscore period of 1980-2020 likely will be chaptered in 22nd-century American history books as either the era of irreversible decline or anguished rebirth. And you, Mr. Paul, while standing right in the thick of it, have somehow mistaken this whirlwind for the doldrums.
I'd be less discontented with the ahistorical garbage you're selling, Mr. Paul, if I believed your salesmanship to be disingenuous -- something, say, more along the demagogic lines of a blustering Huey Long. But of course it isn't. You actually believe the insipid claptrap you're hustling -- to the insipid, hook-line-and-sinker hordes.
The upside? These overtures of yours, Mr. Paul, to the gullibly overwrought Tea Party/Occupy Wall Street crowd "fuel speculation that [you] will make a third-party bid."