[lbo-talk] A liberal geek defense of Ron Paul

Michael Pollak mpollak at panix.com
Fri Dec 30 15:15:33 PST 2011

On Fri, 30 Dec 2011, // ravi wrote:

> I don?t have any problem with the "liberal" part of the subject line.
> But as one of five geeks in residence, I object strongly to extending
> that appellation to Stoller.

"Liberal" did not refer to Matt Stoller, or even to his whole post (which was most certainly not a defense of Ron Paul) but to the short bit I excerpted. Basically I was wondering why policy geeks, like e.g., Max, seemed inclined to like Paul more than he deserved. And I thought this explained it: as a guy to work with on the hill, he was better than most. It was a reflection from earlier in Stoller's life when he was on Alan Grayson's staff.

By "Geek" I meant "policy wonk." Stoller sums up the super inside baseball thinking that exemplifies staffer and policy wonk thought as "policy, politics and procedure" and then gives examples of how it is only rational to vote on a particular bill against what you normally would so as to get a chairmanship or a properly divided district. And basically every vote is twisted in knots like that. This is the world policy wonks live in all the time, and it's why from the outside they all look to us continually compromised and distasteful, and why from the inside, we all look to them clueless.

I should also underline: this explanation has nothing to do with Paul as a candidate, about which I think nothing good can possibly be said, and the less said the better.


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