Why Shameless Ron Paul Apologist Wesley Messamore Isn’t Worth My Time

Last month, I wrote a NewsRealBlog post summarizing the case against Ron Paul. A Paul disciple named Wesley Messamore attempted to refute it at the Young Americans for Liberty blog. I responded in another NRB post, demonstrating that Wesley’s screed consisted almost entirely of dishonesty, misdirection, and simply ignoring information that was too inconvenient.

Curious to see how our apologist friend’s reaction, I gave him the link a couple weeks ago. No reply. Several days later, I wondered aloud if Wes was unwilling or unable to defend his conduct, to which he politely responded:
I’m a little jammed up presently with the election (timed perfectly to coincide with some other heavy lifting I’m doing for my non-political, commercial enterprises)… give me some time and I’ll respond. Or if you’re up for it, I propose we set up a debate to stream live.
Fair enough; we all have real lives beyond the blogosphere. I’d be happy to give him some time, but I wasn’t terribly interested in a live debate, given a) that my schedule is fairly “jammed up” as well, and b) the caliber of his arguments thus far made me doubt such a debate would be worth the time and effort. For politeness’s sake, I replied with the former explanation, and told him to take his time on a blog response. Simple, right?
Wrong. Wes turned around and decided that there was only one option after all, and that it had to be a video debate, because with columns, “it’s too easy to wiggle around, equivocate, ignore key arguments, misinterpret (deliberately or not) assertions, and just generally waste time.” For good measure, Wes also whined: “It’s just more time consuming for me to correct your evasions, obfuscations, and equivocations than it is for you to make them.”
At this point, my suspicion of what a waste of time this “debate” would be was confirmed. Wes wanted to change the subject from his ineffectual propagandizing to my supposed unwillingness to accept his challenge (which didn’t start out as a challenge). Unsurprisingly, today he declared victory on YAL using that very spin.
But as I told him, my rebuttal’s currently the last word in the debate—the record shows that I’m the one who confronted my opponent’s challenge head-on, not him. My original claims remain intact, while his attempted rebuttal has been discredited. Anyone can read it, and he has done nothing to change the situation. Unless he comes up with a substantive defense of his words or a substantive criticism of mine, I have no need, reason, or obligation to pursue this further.
And anybody halfway familiar with the average cable news “debate” ought to recognize that there isn’t a huge difference between the two formats in the ease with which people can get away with rhetorical trickery. I don’t deny the value of direct real-time discussion, but it’s actually just as arguable that blogging provides the most accountability to audiences.
For one thing, spoken arguments are not fundamentally different from written ones—people make claims and state opinions, and audiences digest them and compare them to one another. For another, blogging offers the convenience of being able to directly link to sources, which audiences can evaluate for themselves with a single click.
Indeed, if you want to know whether or not this medium facilitates sufficient accountability—and, I suspect, the real reason Wes has a problem with it—look no further than the fact that I’ve already been quite able to expose Wes’s use of the very tactics he pretends to oppose (and shamefully attributes to me):
  • I pointed out that he repeatedly made wild, false accusations about what I and other Paul critics think about other issues, apparently without having made any effort to ascertain my actual views first, and without even trying to present evidence that Paul critics are driven by a broader lack of conservatism.
  • I pointed out that he completely ignored the supporting evidence for my claims about Paul’s fringe tendencies and his dishonesty about Israel and other national security & foreign policy issues. His most transparent attempts to change the subject were an astoundingly stupid analogy to David Horowitz and pretending that I criticized Paul for merely being against “Washington running our lives.”
These are specific examples not of Wes being mistaken (although I trounced him for that, too), but of Wes being dishonest. Examples of, to use his words, “evasion, obfuscation, equivocation, dropped context, (etc.).” That dishonesty comes so easily to him, and that he keeps it up even after he knows he’s been called out on it, makes it all the more pitiful when he pretends not to know why I call him dishonest: “Apparently in his eyes, if I say anything in disagreement with him, I’m not merely wrong, I’m lying.”
Wes, you know exactly what I’m referring to when I talk about dishonesty. And your conduct only proves I’m right not to expect a live debate with you to be worth the opportunity cost.
Lastly, a few words about the time aspect. In one of his trademark lame gotcha attempts, Wes claims the “lengthy” comments I’ve left on his blog take more time than his dream debate would, which is absurd—the small handful of comments I left there each took a minute or two at most. Granted, this post took considerably longer (and is arguably an exercise in futility), but I figured that if Wes can devote another blog post to spinning what went down, I can devote one to setting the record straight.
As I said, my daily life is “jammed up” with plenty of responsibilities, such as my senior-year academic duties at Hillsdale College, several extracurricular organizations, holding down an on-campus job, blogging daily for NewsRealBlog, and my own (admittedly-neglected lately) personal blog. Could I make time for a live debate with Wes in the near future? Probably. But again, it wouldn’t be worth the opportunity cost to me, given that I won the blog debate, and that Wes’s conduct has overwhelmingly demonstrated that he’s just not worth the effort.
(And please, spare me the absurdity of suggesting that a single live debate would “settle” anything. If you were a genuine seeker of truth, willing to change your opinion when presented with a better argument or contrary information, you would have done so already, and you certainly wouldn’t have engaged in as much blatant dishonesty. I highly doubt you’d concede much of anything, either about Ron Paul’s integrity or your own.)
But y’know what? When the holiday season rolls around, and I’ve got more time to kill, maybe I’ll take Wes up on his offer. It would be fun to see his smug propagandizing on full display, challenge him on his dubious idea of character, and watch him try to justify his blind devotion to the personality cult surrounding a single deranged politician.
We’ll see. In the meantime, I’m content with the fact that he badly lost this fight, and that he’s demonstrated that Young Americans for Liberty doesn’t deserve the support of serious conservatives.

The Obama Future: Haven’t We Been Here Before?

No matter how you try to parse it, there’s no way to make Barack Obama’s history with Reverend Jeremiah Wright look good. On March 14, Obama told Fox News’ Major Garrett, “none of these statements were ones that I had heard myself personally in the pews” (which becomes “I knew about one or two statements” later in the interview). To buy Wright Spin 1.0, you’d have to believe that the sound bites we’ve heard were all isolated incidents outside of which Wright’s message was totally different, and that Obama never caught wind of any of it, either in person or from fellow congregants, even though this was the kind of thing the church made available on video, and his wife sure as heck was paying attention. So the best case scenario is that Obama is Jacques Clouseau. Now there’s presidential material!

As unflattering as “inattentive buffoon” is, Obama could have settled for it. But no, in his
“A More Perfect Union” speech, he said “Did I ever know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes.” Make no mistake: this is an admission that Barack Obama, the new-style politician of hope who is going to restore our ability to believe in the process, lied to the American people just days earlier.

But that’s not all Messiah has to offer. He continues to maintain that, deep down, Reverend Jeremiah—who’s like an uncle to him—isn’t so terrible: even though he made “mistakes” (you mean the CIA didn’t invent AIDS? Whoops, my bad), there was enough talk of love and Christ and helping the poor amongst the lies, demagoguery and insanity to justify regularly exposing his kids to this man and his message. I don’t buy it—especially not after Wright’s
flattering appearance on Hannity & Colmes last year. (By the way, this would happen to be the same Barack Obama who called for Don Imus to be fired and for Trent Lott to resign, each for considerably less. What a fraud.)

Then there are the cheap shots towards Geraldine Ferraro, who “some have dismissed…as harboring some deep-seated racial bias” (not Barack, of course; he just, y’know, thought you might be curious about what people are saying), “politicians [who] routinely exploited fears of crime for their own electoral ends,” and “talk show hosts and conservative commentators [who] built entire careers unmasking bogus cases of racism while dismissing legitimate discussions of racial injustice and inequality.” Nice. And let’s not forget Obama’s charming reminiscence about Grandma. As Ann Coulter
writes this week:

Discrimination has become so openly accepted that—in a speech meant to tamp down his association with a black racist—Obama felt perfectly comfortable throwing his white grandmother under the bus. He used her as the white racist counterpart to his black racist “old uncle,” Rev. Wright.

First of all, Wright is not Obama’s uncle. The only reason we indulge crazy uncles is that everyone understands that people don’t choose their relatives the way they choose, for example, their pastors and mentors. No one quarrels with the idea that you can’t be expected to publicly denounce your blood relatives. But Wright is not a relative of Obama’s at all. Yet Obama cravenly compared Wright’s racist invective to his actual grandmother, who “once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.”

Rev. Wright accuses white people of inventing AIDS to kill black men, but Obama’s grandmother—who raised him, cooked his food, tucked him in at night, and paid for his clothes and books and private school—has expressed the same feelings about passing black men on the street
that Jesse Jackson has. Unlike his “old uncle”—who is not his uncle—Obama had no excuses for his grandmother. Obama’s grandmother never felt the lash of discrimination! Crazy grandma doesn’t get the same pass as the crazy uncle; she’s white. Denounce the racist!

And finally, the heart of his message is fundamentally contradictory. Sure, he throws in the obligatory scolding of Wright’s “profoundly distorted view of this country,” and admits that “all too often [anger] distracts attention from solving real problems; it keeps us from squarely facing our own complicity in our condition, and prevents the African-American community from forging the alliances it needs to bring about real change.” But in the same breath, Obama perpetuates the distraction by saying he could no more sever ties with Wright than with the black community, thereby identifying the two as one and the same. Give to bigotry no sanction…unless the bigot in question talks about nice stuff, too. I don’t think so, Barack.