Progressives are hoping to rock the vote in the 2012 Iowa caucuses… by voting for Ron Paul.
The reliably left-wing Mother Jones recently ran a story asking if Iowa progressives were Ron Paul’s wildcard in the race. The story pointed to supporters like Francis Thicke, an organic farmer from Fairfield, Iowa, who ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for secretary of agriculture in 2010.
On Tuesday, Thicke announced his support for Paul “to keep his voice for peace and his voice to reduce the military in the debate, because he will challenge the other Republican candidates.” Thicke promised his Democratic Party county chairman that he would vote for Obama over Paul without a doubt, because he doesn’t support dismantling the government. “This is a tactical thing” to expand voters’ awareness, Thicke told Mother Jones.
These tactical shenanigans might seem to echo “Operation Chaos,” the Rush Limbaugh operation that saw Republicans crossing over to vote for Hilary in the 2008 Democratic primary–except that Operation Chaos was largely applied to primaries, not to caucuses.
I’ve already written about Occupy the Caucuses’s Ed Fallon, a former Democratic candidate for governor-turned-progressive gadfly and arrested protestor. Fallon has listed his endorsements for the 2012 caucuses–and they include Ron Paul, among other “less extreme” Republicans (by which he means those more palatable to the left).
The Nation writes today that Fallon has been plotting to upend the caucuses by having progressives send an “anti-war, pro-civil liberties” message in the 2012 caucuses:
In an opinion piece that ran in the Des Moines Register, a pair of nationally prominent anti-war activists—Colleen[sic] Rowley, an Iowa native and former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent and Democratic Congressional candidate, and Dr. John V. Walsh, a professor of microbiology and physiological systems at the University of Massachusetts Medical School who has been active with Physicians for a National Health Care Plan–wrote: “There is today only one anti-war, anti-corruption, pro-Constitution, pro-civil liberties candidate for president in either party who stands squarely against expanding military empire and for democracy. That candidate is Ron Paul. Like prairie anti-interventionists Eugene McCarthy, George McGovern and Harold Hughes in an earlier era, Paul is a maverick in his own party. He believes in an adequate force to defend America but not 1 cent for wars of aggression. Tactically it makes sense for anti-war activists to vote in the Republican caucuses/primaries for Paul. If he wins or does well in Iowa and New Hampshire, then the questions of war and peace will appear on the national scene. If Paul goes on to win his party’s nomination, these questions will finally make their appearance in the general election.”
John V. Walsh encouraged his fellow progressives to support Ron Paul as early as July 2011, which would give them more than enough time to reregister as Republicans for the Iowa caucus. He’s such a radical that he has encouraged his fellow progressives to impeach Obama–an argument that Lew Rockwell, Ron Paul supporter and probable author of Paul’s racist newsletters, featured on his website. Walsh wrote in February 2011 that Jimmy Carter was to be commended for his use of the phrase “apartheid” to describe Israel.
Coleen Rowley, for her part, has spent time with Cindy Sheehan camping out at Bush’s home in Crawford, TX. She was arrested in 2010 for protesting the Iraq war. She has even flirted with 9-11 trutherism and and has called for a new 9/11 investigation.
It remains to be seen how much damage progressives posing as Republicans in the Iowa caucuses could do. Unlike the New Hampshire open primary, where Independents can vote for the Republican candidate, only Republicans may participate in the Iowa caucus.
Ron Paul’s left-wing supporters have borrowed another tactic from the 1968 campaign of the last great anti-war candidate, Eugene McCarthy, writes W. James Antle III over at the American Spectator, describing a meeting with Paul’s young supporters:
The young Paulistas gathered to receive their marching orders. Get a haircut. Wear a tie. Be polite. Don’t gratuitously annoy mainline Republicans. Leave the discussion of political philosophy to the candidate. Your job, they were instructed, is to win votes for Ron Paul.
“No tats,” one young Paul volunteer told the New York Times he was advised. No “fraternizing in the dorms, nothing like that.” No scruffy beards, boozing or even impolitic tweets either. Don’t do anything that will hurt the cause. Instead ask yourself, “What would Ron Paul do?”
In 1968, door-knocking hippies cut their hair and dressed in the wardrobe of the establishment in order to support Eugene McCarthy’s antiwar candidacy for the Democratic nomination. Their slogan was “Get clean for Gene.”