Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Responding to a Ron Paul Hater

Well, it looks like I have engaged a tough battle with fellow blogger John Scotus over the past few days, largely in response to his claim that Ron Paul blames the United States for the 9/11 attacks.  While I am not going into that topic specifically, largely because it is an emotionally charged topic where both sides rarely see eye-to-eye much like the abortion debate,  I am going to address something else.  In his comments, John stated that he believes Ron Paul is not “honest, principled, credible, or sane”.  When I asked him to clarify, he made the following comment:

As pointed out elsewhere on this blog, when Ron Paul ran the House seat in the 1990s he claimed that Ronald Reagan was supporting his candidacy. He was caught in this lie when Ed Meese flew out to Texas to confront him. In his recent campaign, he has personally backed away from this claim. However, many of his supporters are still making it, and he has done nothing to clear the air. This is dishonest. Consequently, most people are under the impression that Ron Paul supported Reagan’s presidency (not true), and that Reagan gave an overall endorsement of Ron Paul’s policies (also not true). Since he is running on Reagan’s coattails, if he were honest he would clear this up.
Then we have the issue of the newsletters produced under his name which were full of racist remarks. His denials about not having authored or known about them are simply not credible.

Let me start off with the first claim, where Ron Paul used the sacred cow of Ronald Reagan improperly.  Ron Paul ran for Congress in the late 1970s and early 1980s.  It was in 1982 that Ronald Reagan endorsed Ron Paul’s candidacy for Congress.  He stated as follows:

Ron Paul is one of the outstanding leaders fighting for a stronger national defense. As a former Air Force officer, he knows well the needs of our armed forces, and he always puts them first. We need to keep him fighting for our country.

The was largely due to a tough primary that Ron Paul was facing due to his isolationist or non-interventionist views.  As typical of Republicans even in those days, they were attacking him for being weak on defense and not supporting our troops.  This is not surprising as the more things change, the more they stay the same.  It is always the Buckley conservatives who accuse their rivals as being weak on national defense when they refuse to endorse, support, or create foreign offenses with our military.  In other words, if you do not support engaging in wars, regardless of whether or not there was Congressional approval, you are weak on defending the United States from foreign attacks.

Anyways, when Ron Paul received this endorsement, he won his seat in Congress.  One could argue that this was merely a sitting President ensuring that an incumbent in Congress secured his own seat from a challenger within his own party.  The Tea Party should take note of this as a Republican President will make it harder to get Tea Party candidates into Congress.  Remember when President George W. Bush endorsed Arlen Spector for Senate?

At the end of President Reagan’s second term, Ron Paul had become disgusted with the growing deficit spending and President Reagan’s own weakness in reigning in spending by cutting funding.  He had line-item veto back then, so it would not have been too difficult to balance the budget, unless the Democrats had a supermajority in both Houses of Congress.  Regardless, Ron Paul had gone to Congress in order to stop the runaway spending, which had picked up pace recently due to President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society and President Richard Nixon’s abandonment of the gold standard.  Frustrated with his lack of success and appalled that the supposedly fiscally conservative Reagan had overseen large deficit spending and increased national debt, he said this in 1988 when he ran for President as a Libertarian party candidate:

Ronald Reagan has given us a deficit ten times greater than what we had with the Democrats. It didn't take more than a month after 1981, to realize there would be no changes.

Of course this probably left a lot people a little sore within the Republican ranks, despite it being a verifiably true statement.  Numbers do not lie, after all.  But to turn around and attack the Republican party for this and run against them was probably incredibly insulting despite the fact that his Presidential campaign went nowhere in 1988.  You have to understand too, that at this time, the USSR had yet to be toppled by its own weight of ineffective economic planning, so Ronald Reagan’s legacy had yet to be established.

Flash forward to 1996 where Ron Paul is running for Congress again as a Republican (on a side note, the Republican leaders endorsed a former Democrat turned Republican Trojan horse over Ron Paul).  During the course of his campaign, he recycled Ronald Reagan’s endorsement of him from 1982.  Ronald Reagan himself was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease by this time, so it obvious that the endorsement came at an earlier time.  I have not seen the campaign ad that Ron Paul used at the time, but apparently then Texas attorney general Edwin Meese confronted him on it because Ron Paul was apparently an enemy of the sacred.  Out of respect and probably realizing that it was a little dishonest for his part, Ron Paul stopped using the holy words of Ronald Reagan.

Now, to the matter at hand, which is that Ron Paul remains dishonest in John’s eyes.  However, he clearly states that only Ron Paul’s followers have been using the holy endorsement and not Ron Paul himself.  So by extension, because Ron Paul and his campaign staff are not going out to every forum, blog, and editorial that cites Ronald Reagan’s endorsement of him and telling them to cease and desist, this somehow makes Ron Paul dishonest?  Talk about stretching the worm to fit the hook.  Essentially, what we have here is a lack of a rational claim.

I would further note that all these followers who cite Ronald Reagan’s endorsement are not lying or being dishonest.  Ronald Reagan did endorse Ron Paul and they often cite his statement accurately.  Just because they do not cite when it happened, that does not make it any less honest or true.  In short, his whole dishonesty claim is, at best, a fallacy, and, at worst, a complete and utter failure of rational thinking.

Now, as to the racist statements made in a newsletter.  It takes some digging to find the facts, because often times the charge of racism results in a guilty until proven innocent mentality within just about every media circle in existence today.  Just ask Trent Lott who said nothing remotely racist but ended up being crucified for it despite his various pleas for forgiveness from the likes of BET (and honestly, what does that say of the integrity of people when they do not forgive someone who apologizes?).

The back story behind this incident is odd.  Apparently, between 1985 and 2001, Ron Paul set up a media corporation called Ron Paul & Associates.  This company published the Ron Paul Political Report and the Ron Paul Survival Report.  Lew Rockwell was the editor of these publications and it appears that the publications allowed a lot of leeway in what was printed.  This is not surprising considering the kind of content that you will find on Lew Rockwell’s own website where he often reprints some of the most oddball articles at times (nothing racist as far as I know).

Apparently, between 1989 and 1993, there were about fifteen articles within one of these publications which featured some blatant racist comments.  I have had trouble finding these articles on the Internet, so there is no way for me to really know what was said exactly at this time.  I suppose that does not matter a whole lot.

None of the articles had a byline and Lew Rockwell stated that there were about seven or eight freelance writers.  I guess their mistake was not requiring a byline for the writers as there is no way any kind of nasty content would have gotten in the newsletters.  I am certain that Lew Rockwell’s responsibility in the newsletter was minimal as he probably was doing other things as well at this time.

This does not exonerate either Lew Rockwell or Ron Paul for the content of their newsletters.  When you are at the head of an organization, you take responsibility for the actions taken by those who work for you.  At least, that is what men of integrity do.  In any case, Ron Paul himself has said the following regarding the whole mess:

When I was out of Congress and practicing medicine full-time, a newsletter was published under my name that I did not edit. Several writers contributed to the product. For over a decade, I have publicly taken moral responsibility for not paying closer attention to what went out under my name.

Indeed, this is not the words of man who lacks integrity, but one who is willing to admit a failure in administration of his own affairs.  He made a mistake in not paying more attention to what was written in his name and he has owned up to it.  But he was working as an OBG/YN at the time and held a minority share in the company.  I suppose after failing big in the Presidential election, he decided to focus on his own private affairs again and wanted little to do with public life.  In any case, he has owned up to his mistake, forgetting that politicians never retire from or leave public office; they merely do other things related like media publications or operate lobby firms.

The only lack of credibility I can sense is that Ron Paul will not give us the name of the person(s) responsible for the racist content between 1989 and 1993.  He has stated that at the time he was not paying attention and I am wondering how he lacks credibility in this regard.  It seems to me that he has made a credible statement with regards to what happened, owned up to his mistakes, and moved on.  How unfortunate that others cannot.

With regards to his supposed lack of principles, I have this to say: Ron Paul has nearly always voted based on his principles rather than voted along party lines.  His Congressional voting record is one long string of principled votes, even voting against his own party when he believes they are wrong.  To say he lacks principle is disingenuous at best.

And about his sanity: seeing as how you cannot be insane to run a country but would have to be insane in order to run for political office, it is kind of Catch-22 situation.

Often times, when we dislike someone intensely, we focus on the smallest flaws and exploit them stating that this proves our discontent with that person is valid.  It would seem that John Scotus and others who trout out these tired arguments are seeking to validate their own distaste for Ron Paul and validate them using the flimsiest of excuses.  I have no problem with people opposing Ron Paul based on his stances on the issues as that is the perfectly legitimate discourse of politics.  At the same time, I have witnessed what I can only refer to as deranged hatred of all things Ron Paul coming a significant portion of conservatives who openly state that an Obama presidency is preferable to a Paul presidency.  I have seen not just on John Scotus’ blog, which has refrained from hurling insults, but on various conservative forums as well.  It is amazing how much vitriol and  outright poison is spewed in opposition to Ron Paul, something they often accuse liberals of doing.

The fact is, I do not expect any acknowledge from these people for what I have written here.  I just believed that what was stated merited an extensive response which had to be longer than a few short paragraphs.

1 comment:

  1. He claims government regulation is always wrong, but wants to ban abortion. Nuff said.


If the post you are commenting on is more than 30 days old, your comment will have to await approval before being published. Rest assured, however, that as long as it is not spam, it will be published in due time.

Related Posts with Thumbnails