Ron Paul In The New York Times

Sunday’s New York Times Magazine features a profile of Ron Paul, his campaign for President, and the motley crew of supporters that he’s attracted.

For The Times, it is, I suppose, a mostly positive piece. Being The Times, of course, there is much discussion of his position on the Iraq War:

Alone among Republican candidates for the presidency, Paul has always opposed the Iraq war. He blames “a dozen or two neocons who got control of our foreign policy,” chief among them Vice President Dick Cheney and the former Bush advisers Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle, for the debacle. On the assumption that a bad situation could get worse if the war spreads into Iran, he has a simple plan. It is: “Just leave.” During a May debate in South Carolina, he suggested the 9/11 attacks could be attributed to United States policy. “Have you ever read about the reasons they attacked us?” he asked, referring to one of Osama bin Laden’s communiqués. “They attack us because we’ve been over there. We’ve been bombing Iraq for 10 years.” Rudolph Giuliani reacted by demanding a retraction, drawing gales of applause from the audience. But the incident helped Paul too. Overnight, he became the country’s most conspicuous antiwar Republican.

Paul’s opposition to the war in Iraq did not come out of nowhere. He was against the first gulf war, the war in Kosovo and the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, which he called a “declaration of virtual war.” Although he voted after Sept. 11 to approve the use of force in Afghanistan and spend $40 billion in emergency appropriations, he has sounded less thrilled with those votes as time has passed. “I voted for the authority and the money,” he now says. “I thought it was misused.”

Though I think he was wrong to oppose the first Gulf War on the simple ground that naked aggression such as that displayed by Saddam Hussein in August 1991 cannot be tolerated, he was right about Kosovo, and, as time has shown, he’s right about Iraq. Of all of America’s recent military ventures, the war in Afghanistan is clearly the most justified, but it’s undeniable that it’s execution has been less than satisfactory. And, of course, the Times loves him for his anti-war stance.

And, then, there’s mention of an old friend of The Liberty Papers, Eric Dondero:

Anyone who is elected to Congress three times as a nonincumbent, as Paul has been, is a politician of prodigious gifts. Especially since Paul has real vulnerabilities in his district. For Eric Dondero, who plans to challenge him in the Republican Congressional primary next fall, foreign policy is Paul’s central failing. Dondero, who is 44, was Paul’s aide and sometime spokesman for more than a decade. According to Dondero, “When 9/11 happened, he just completely changed. One of the first things he said was not how awful the tragedy was . . . it was, ‘Now we’re gonna get big government.’ ”

Dondero claims that Paul’s vote to authorize force in Afghanistan was made only after warnings from a longtime staffer that voting otherwise would cost him Victoria, a pivotal city in his district. (“Completely false,” Paul says.) One day just after the Iraq invasion, when Dondero was driving Paul around the district, the two had words. “He said he did not want to have someone on staff who did not support him 100 percent on foreign policy,” Dondero recalls. Paul says Dondero’s outspoken enthusiasm for the military’s “shock and awe” strategy made him an awkward spokesman for an antiwar congressman. The two parted on bad terms.

Given Dondero’s rhetoric, both here and elsewhere on the Internet, I’m inclined to take the Congressman’s side in this dispute. Like him or not, Congressman Paul is a man of principle and his stand on the Iraq War , which I happen to agree with, is entirely consistent with those principles. Dondero has always struck me as, to put it nicely, a political opportunist.

There’s alot more to the article, including reference to the fact that many Ron Paul meetups have brought in John Birchers and other kooks, but, on the whole, its a rather positive piece, and the closing paragraph may be the best part:

[W]hat is “Ron’s message”? Whatever the campaign purports to be about, the main thing it has done thus far is to serve as a clearinghouse for voters who feel unrepresented by mainstream Republicans and Democrats. The antigovernment activists of the right and the antiwar activists of the left have many differences, maybe irreconcilable ones. But they have a lot of common beliefs too, and their numbers — and anger — are of a considerable magnitude. Ron Paul will not be the next president of the United States. But his candidacy gives us a good hint about the country the next president is going to have to knit back together.

In other words, it’s the same thing I’ve said many times before. Ron Paul may not win the Republican nomination, but his candidacy is important because it gives voice to ideas that haven’t been spoken loudly by a Presidential candidate for at least the past three decades.

  • Buckwheat

    Mataconis, why do you think it is that you, Caldwell, and the rest of the MSM feel the need to keep repeating over and over and over and over and over that “Ron Paul will not become President of the United States”?

    It’s starting to sound a little like you’re reassuring yourself.

  • Doug Mataconis


    Look at the polls, then look at what I wrote.

  • zenpiper

    Every time I see the word “alot” it tells me that the writer did not attend a good school. There is no such word; it is two words: a lot.

    Re: the first Gulf War. It is a little-known fact that the Kuwaitis intended to assassinate Saddam Hussein. He was nearly in the cross-hairs when he launched his attack against Kuwait. As you may remember, Kuwait had been part of Iraq originally and had been stolen and set up for the benefit of the oil companies, with a fake “royal family.” Still, the invasion was not smart on Hussein’s part, nor was our involvement. But oil was at stake, as it often is in the Middle East.

  • Doug Mataconis

    And one other point….

    The article points out that Congressman Paul himself recognizes that the odds are heavily stack against him.

    If he didn’t why else, would he also be planning a campaign for re-election to his House seat ?

  • Joseph

    You fucking asshole. You’re a closet neocon, “will not win.” Are you a psychic? Asshole!

  • Don

    Ron Paul won’t win precisely because the U.S. cannot afford to abdicate foreign policy. Radical disengagement from the world at large would only imperil the United States’ ability to safeguard its critical interests abroad.

    Mr. Paul’s foreign policy was applied prior to World War II. It proved a spectacular and catastrophic failure. The U.S. can ill-afford to abandon its critical overseas interests and allies in favor of a foreign policy approach that failed so badly in the past.

  • Mike


    If minding our own business proved a spectacular and catastrophic failure what do you think getting into other countries’ business has gotten us? Pearl Harbor for the first and September 11th for the second. I prefer our first policy because no one hated us then. Now they do. I believe your policy has failed terribly in the past as well.

  • Don


    Repairing the damage that resulted from the neoconservative approach to foreign policy does not require a swing to the opposite extreme espoused by Mr. Paul. It requires a more balanced approach along the lines of that which prevailed from Presidents Truman through Reagan.

    Pearl Harbor was attacked on account of the isolationists’ policy, not neoconservatism. Increasingly worried about the dangers of U.S. isolationism, former Republican Presidential candidate Wendell Willkie observed on July 9, 1941, “There were still some fellows buying slaves in 1861 and there were still some people constributing to the prohibition movement in 1932. That’s how good isolationism is today.” I believe it would be a grave error for the U.S. to ignore the lessons of its history.

  • Doug Mataconis


    Calm down dude.

    Like most of the other people who seem to read the first three sentences of what I write, you missed the fact that I mostly agree with what Congressman Paul says.

    I think his candidacy is a positive thing for libertarian-oriented Republicans.

    I am also realistic. Someone who is at 3% at best in the polls and has about $ 2.5 million cash on hand isn’t going to beat someone with $ 30 million.

    And then there’s the little problem of two Democrats named Hillary and Obama who have almost $ 50 million each in their warchests.

    Not to mention the fact that Congress is infested with politicians of both parties who believe in anything but individual liberty and limited government.

    Let’s be realistic and take this campaign for what it is.

  • Tom Jefferson

    The old media is definitely behind the times. They need to learn who our next president will be.

    Ron Paul places 1st or 2nd in every straw poll, debate, and active participation survey.

    Ron Paul is 1st in YouTube, MySpace, Facebook, Meetup, Google, etc. The old media is just too slow to realize what is happening.

    Ron Paul has a staggering 52.53 percent of all military contributions. The military service men and women support Ron Paul above all other candidates.

    Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton were doing about the same in the ‘Scientific Polls’ at this stage in their elections. Ron Paul has tremendous momentum and his support is growing exponentially. The other candidates are stagnant. Only Ron Paul’s support is growing and will continue to grow!

  • Tom Jefferson

    ‘Scientific Polls’ at this stage only measure name recognition. Over the next six months Ron Paul will gain name recognition and people will learn about who Ron Paul is. Most people who learn about Ron Paul become major supporters.

  • Buckwheat


    Ron Paul is running for re-election to his House seat, as Joe Lieberman ran for re-election to his Senate seat while he was simultaneously running for vice president.

    Were you writing articles in 2000 using this fact as a basis for what a long shot the Gore/Lieberman ticket ergo must have been?

    But thanks for your “concern blogging.” The Revolution has noted your thoughtfulness.

  • http://RonPaulwillwin Jeanette Doney

    Who can prove he can’t? Miss Cleo?

  • Craig Rowland

    “Pearl Harbor was attacked on account of the isolationists’ policy, not neoconservatism.”

    Pearl Harbor was attacked for several good reasons that didn’t include isolationism: We were pissing off Japan. We were cutting off their raw materials and provoking a fight.

    Now I’m not saying the fight wasn’t worth it, I’m just saying it wasn’t isolationism that was the cause.

    The rise of Hitler also had little to do with isolationism. It had much more to do with our draconian meddling after WWI that crippled Germany and created an economic despair in the country that allowed Hitler to seize control.

    Gulf War I was a direct result of our meddling as well because we funded Saddam Hussein during the 1980’s and left him with the ability to invade neighbors. We also share the blame because we knew he was a vile dictator likely to do these things but we supported him anyway because he was fighting Iran for us.

    Ditto the above for Osama Bin Laden. How do you think Al Qaeda learned all their guerilla warfare tactics anyway? It was the CIA in the 1980’s that taught them how to do these things to fight the Soviets.

    Don’t even get me started about Latin America. We’ve been wrecking that continent for quite some time (United Fruit Company anyone?).

    The reality is that interventionism doesn’t work. It’s like watching two people fighting and then you go over to break things up. Well what usually happens? They turn on you for sticking your nose in their business. Happens all the time. Did you know that the most dangerous call for police officers are not robberies, murders, or burglaries but domestic disputes? When you interject yourself into an emotional fight between humans you are usually causing more problems than just leaving them alone to duke it out. We shouldn’t be going around the world telling people how to live their lives. It does nothing but create enemies.

  • Robbie

    Pearl Harbor was attacked on account of the isolationists’ policy

    Nonsense. Throughout the 1930s, FDR did quite a bit (even authorizing the Flying Tigers to fight the Japanese directly) to help France and England maintain their colonies in Asia and deny Japan the same opportunity to plunder China’s natural resources. Understandably, Japan resented this hypocrisy and attacked the Pearl Harbor to get the US paws out of Asia.

    If it hadn’t been for the US’s interventionist foreign policy in Asia, Japan would have left the US alone.

  • Don


    To suggest that U.S. “interventionist foreign policy” fueled Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor is nothing but historical revisionism. If one wants to escape hindsight revisionist interpretations, one needs to get back to what the leaders at the time events were unfolding were explaining. Willkie was not alone in his assessment of U.S. isolationism. For example, Secretary of State Henry Stimson asked on March 7, 1939, “Shall we bury our heads in the sands of isolationism and timidly await the time when our security shall be lessened and perhaps destroyed by the growing lawlessness around us?”

    On June 27, 1940 following the fall of France, The New York Times reported, “A cataclysm like the collapse of France was bound to send its echoing tremors around the world. It has not taken long for those tremors to shake the far-away Pacific, to threaten the political balance in Asia, to loosen the very foundations of our naval and diplomatic policy in the Far East. Already, Japan has sent a fleet to Indo-China… What is more, the Japanese now talk as if the power and influence of the United States are gone from the Far East…”

    The balance of power, which isolationists treat as irrelevant, matters immensely in international affairs. U.S. isolationism removed the U.S. from the calculations of Germany, Italy, and Japan. Hence, it only fed their appetite for aggression.

  • Adam

    “The old media is definitely behind the times. They need to learn who our next president will be.

    Ron Paul places 1st or 2nd in every straw poll, debate, and active participation survey.

    Ron Paul is 1st in YouTube, MySpace, Facebook, Meetup, Google, etc. The old media is just too slow to realize what is happening.”

    As much as people on here would like to see Ron Paul become the next POTUS, IMO he has no chance period. Establishment Dems and ‘Pubs are still too far entrenched in the government, while most people operate on 30 second sound-bites. He may have a large vocal following, but that doesn’t mean anything right now. Cindy Sheehan has a large following and vocal minority, but she’s still irrelevant anyway.

    I think if Dr. Paul was not against the Iraq War, he’d get a fair shake. Unfortunately, he won’t make inroads with the GOP base for exactly that position and I happen to think he’d need the base to win. Even if he’d take the good 20 – 30% of independents he’d have to get about 20% of Dem and GOP voters respectively to win. Don’t think that’s happening. Of course there is lots of time left and anything can happen.

    What pisses me off as a conservative is that the GOP acts just like the Dems when it comes to the constitution – it only matters when it doesn’t get in the way of the party agenda.

  • Doug Mataconis

    Ron Paul is running for re-election to his House seat, as Joe Lieberman ran for re-election to his Senate seat while he was simultaneously running for vice president.

    And I’m sure Vice-President Lieberman thinks that was a good idea.

    Oh wait.

    Gore/Lieberman lost didn’t they ?

  • Don

    My final point here is that Ron Paul is far better suited to remain in the Congress than to serve as President. As President, he would no longer be in a position of raising questions or objections. He would need to make decisions. To be effective, he would need to reconcile his deeply-held philosophy with the realities of governance, and at a time when the nation is deeply divided and almost despondent over the costly quagmire in Iraq. He would need to be flexible and compromise. As he has staked out “black-white” positions on the issues i.e., withdrawal from the UN, withdrawal from NATO, elimination of a meaningful foreign policy, withdrawal from the WTO, etc., the challenges of governance would pose fundamental problems for Mr. Paul. Could he put aside his ideology to work in a meaningful way with the UN, collaborate through and strengthen NATO, uphold the WTO’s rules to which the U.S. has committed itself, and pursue a pragmatic foreign policy that safeguards the nation’s critical overseas interests and allies? I’m not sure that he could. Does he have the gravitas to play a serious role on the world stage in face-to-face negotiations with some very tough interlocutors, particularly in an arena from which he wishes to withdraw the U.S.? I doubt it.

    If he is unwilling to compromise his fundamental beliefs, does he have the capability to motivate and inspire the nation’s people to embrace his agenda so as to overcome Congressional opposition? Hardly likely. His agenda of eliminating numerous federal departments, dissolving the Western world’s preeminent security alliance, withdrawing from the nation’s major trade agreements, and turning to a neo-isolationist foreign policy would require revolutionary change. The change it would require would be on a magnitude of order that would rival or surpass those brought about by the New Deal or Reagan Revolution. To date, nothing in his record, accomplishments, or performance has suggested that he is the next FDR or Ronald Reagan.

  • Danny

    Doug…this article isn’t quite as negative towards RP as some of the earlier ones, i think you’re coming around :)

  • Tom Jefferson

    70% of Americans want us out of Iraq.

    Ron Paul is the only republican candidate against the war in Iraq.

    Ron Paul only needs 30% of republicans sick of the war and abuse of powers to win the nomination.

    Once Ron Paul wins the nomination he will be the only real anti-war candidate. Ron Paul will win election. At least we can hope for the best.

    “Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.” John Quincy Adams

  • Tara Briner

    Doug, sweetie, here’s a little article that might help you understand the truth about the polls:

    I think your prediction a little premature.

  • Robbie

    Don: If one wants to escape hindsight revisionist interpretations, one needs to get back to what the leaders at the time events were unfolding were explaining.

    I don’t give a damn what leaders of the time were *saying*; it’s what they were *doing* that made history.

    And the facts are that FDR was doing everything he could to keep Japan from expanding its empire: he imposed trade embargoes, froze all Japanese assets within the US and provided secret military assistance to China (mostly secret to the US public, but not to the Japanese). That is interventionism plain and simple, not unlike the US’s current policy with Iran. Are you claiming these actions had nothing to do with Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor?

  • Buckwheat


    I think you could understand my point if you tried again.

  • Don


    Important U.S. leaders, as well as those across the Atlantic, were complaining precisely because the isolationists’ actions were responsible for tilting the balance of power in favor of Germany, Italy, and Japan and, by doing so, increasing their appetite for aggression.

  • Don

    On a final historical note concerning pre-World War II U.S. isolationism, here’s what historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. wrote:

    Isolationism set the terms of foreign policy debate. Franklin D. Roosevelt had no illusions about the threats to peace posed by Nazi Germany and imperial Japan… [H]e could not, for all his popularity control an isolationist Congress when it came to foreign policy. Congress…passed rigid neutrality legislation that, by denying the president authority to discriminate between aggressor and victim, nullified any American role in restraining aggression. In sum, it put American foreign policy in a straitjacket during the critical years before World War II.

  • SSavelan

    I think that I hope that Ron Paul can win. I gave him $75, for which I am happy.

  • Tyler

    Thanks for the article. I’m getting tired of hearing the ‘he won’t be president’ line. Stephanopoulos ruined it for me. He has my support as long as he stays honest and keeps bring people together.

  • Craig Rowland

    “And I’m sure Vice-President Lieberman thinks that was a good idea.

    Oh wait.

    Gore/Lieberman lost didn’t they ?”

    I guess that depends on how you quantify the word “Lost” doesn’t it? The 2000 election was hardly normal.

    BTW. It’s common for politicians who are able to run two races for office to do so. It all depends on what state law allows.

    Finally, Lieberman lost his primary bid in 2006 for re-election to the Senate but still managed to come back as an independent and win. Not saying Paul will win as an independent, but politics is never predictable. It just depends on how mad the electorate is with the current choices. I’d say they’re pretty mad with what they’ve got in mainstream candidates today.

  • Robbie

    Don: Important U.S. leaders, as well as those across the Atlantic, were complaining precisely because the isolationists’ actions were responsible for tilting the balance of power in favor of Germany, Italy, and Japan and, by doing so, increasing their appetite for aggression.

    And I’m sure I could find political propaganda from current Congressmen and members of Bush’s cabinet claiming that current US policy toward Iran is too “isolationist” for their taste. That someone in power claims X to be true doesn’t make X true.

    And of course leaders across the Atlantic were complaining that the US wasn’t doing enough to help Europe–they were being taken over by Hitler, so who could blame them? And who could blame China for wanting more help from the US than it was getting?

    But the FDR administration was definitely aiding China and doing all it could, short of a declaration of war, to cripple Japan’s imperial expansion. Yes, the FDR administration railed against Congress for its “isolationism” (failure to declare war), but FDR himself had determined all foreign policy, short of war, for the last 8 years and that policy was decidedly interventionist. He was desperate for the US to get a chance at a starring role on the world stage so he could fulfill his dream of making the world safe for democracy, and he got it. The only debatable matter is how deliberately he provoked war with Japan and to what extent he saw the Japanese attack coming.

    If you define historical fact by what “leaders of the time” say, then try this:

    Japan’s Foreign Minister Teijiro Toyoda, July 31: “Commercial and economic relations between Japan and third countries, led by England and the United States, are gradually becoming so horribly strained that we cannot endure it much longer. Consequently, our Empire, to save its very life, must take measures to secure the raw materials of the South Seas.”

    Caveat: I haven’t confirmed this quotation (or that the US intercepted this message) with any other sources. Also, note that this quotation is from *before* FDR had taken his most drastic economic measures against Japan (freezing of assets, banning trade etc).

  • Robbie

    Regarding Don’s quote from Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.:

    True, FDR was forbidden by Congress from supplying weapons to either side in a war. However, FDR so easily found loopholes in the neutrality acts (plural) that Congress had to keep passing new ones each year of FDR’s presidency. He never recognized war between Japan and China and thus was able to “legally” provide military aid to China right up until the attack on Pearl Harbor.

  • mtvx

    I had enough of this site. They keep repeating that he can’t win, that you will waste a vote etc, etc, etc. That’s the propaganda machine at work… “Liberty Papers” is not for Liberty. Is for making sure Liberty does not get restored… From now on I will not access any link returned by google, that takes me to this crapy site…

  • Chad

    Doug, thanks for a great article. I think you’re wrong that he has NO chance. But I think anyone here giving you a lot of grief for being skeptical needs to let their jets cool.

    I actually feel very hopeful about Ron Paul’s chances, but there’s no reason to think it’s gonna be easy! If Doug isn’t correct that he’s a major longshot, then why are we trying so friggin’ hard? If he wasn’t a long shot, we could just sit back and watch.

    Anyway, I’m guessing Doug would agree that if Dr. Paul ends up getting the kind of coverage that the anointed candidates get, he perhaps wouldn’t be so much of a longshot.

    I’m still hoping to see that happen. With enough pressure from people like us politely demanding coverage on Ron Paul, the media really might come around…

    Only time and a lot of sweat will tell…

    AGAIN THANKS FOR A NICE ARTICLE!! I disagree that he has no chance, but of course it’s gonna be tough!


  • Rusticle

    Hi, sorry to interrupt a spirited debate with something a little OT: has anyone considered that many of our foreign policy f***ups in this century have been prompted by the British? Entry into WW1, prompted by British propaganda portraying Germans as “huns.” Entry into WW2, prompted by British (and French) abuses at Versailles and thereafter. Support for State of Israel … a little more complicated, but Palestine was Brit colony, ’nuff said. Coup against Mossadegh prompted by British claims that M. was communist, in order to preserve British petroleum business (later BP). Anyone care to explain why we refer to UK as the “lapdog” of the US? I think the US has been repeatedly conned into being the “attack dog” of the British. Comments?

  • Dan

    This info about the British is very interesting. What worries me is that if RP gets more popular and comes out of the margins he’ll be assassinated. Does anyone think that those who broker this power (those behind the scenes who control both the Democratic and Republican Parties) will stand idly by while someone who wishes to dismantle their imperial empire is allowed to be elected?

  • Andy

    Rusticle – The US and the UK governments are controlled by the same elite bankers. Politically they have the same agendas and policies, and it goes back to WW1. Who was the only head of state in the Presidents address after 9/11? Yes, Tony Blair. Isn’t it strange that 80% of the population of both the UK and US both appose the war, however, both governments refuse to listen to the will of their populations?

  • Andy

    Dan – Ron Paul is not in any danger – yet. If he wins Iowa or New Hampshire, then who knows. Right now they are ignoring and ridiculing his campaign as they can’t discredit him because of his impeccable career. The danger of trying to assassinate him would be if it were unsuccessful; any failed attempt on his life will basically hand Ron Paul the Presidency. The straw poll in Iowa next month will be litmus test, Romney today announced that he is scaling back his campaign efforts there as not to “overwhelm” the competition. I think the Romney campaign have figured out that Paul could win this straw poll and torpedo Romney’s campaign, so today’s press release was an out for the media to say: no-one was bothered by this straw poll and even Romney scaled back his campaign. One thing is for sure – don’t write off Ron Paul. Six months ago McCain was the front runner and now he is basically bankrupt and no-where.

  • Darel99

    I agree with Andy…. Not time to offer my thoughts about Doug…

  • AD

    the engine for neocon support and other leaders who wont openly be called a neocon is our aging military-industrial inventory. the united states’ “last chance” is continuing to use the military to secure what we think is power. this is because our population is no longer fresh, innovative, or noble.
    in short, we are no longer vital as a people. so we have to resort to federal govt directed livlihood.

  • libertyman

    Ron Paul’s message is one that resounds with truth and honest understanding of history and embraces economic realities. There is little anyone can do to refute the influence of his words when they are heard and understood. That is the major reason that no one spends much effort on critique of his message. They spend most of their efforts at gaining a slant by injecting their opinion that he can’t win. It is a simply ploy and was used in a similar way when the media attacked Goldwater in the 60’s.

    They can not defeat his logic or reasoning nor can they directly confront his effort to reestablish the Republic and restore the Constitution so instead they label his supporters as kooks and fringe and him as radical and isolationist which he is in truth neither and neither are we.

    Isolationist is not the same as non-interventionist and you know it. To use the terms as interchangeable demonstrates a certain clear bias. Dr. Paul has worked in Congress for longer than some voters who support him have been alive. He is well aware of the limitations of his ability to deliver on the words he has spoken and written but I as do many others trust him to make the right decisions for this nation.

  • Gustavo Luiz

    I wonder why people keep saying Ron won’t (or may not) win. It’s too damn early to tell.

    I don’t see any other Republican candidate as a viable option, they all approve of the war in Iraq, despite 70% disapproval from the American public.

    If Ron Paul doesn’t win the Republican nomination, our next president will definitely be a Democrat.