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January 16, 2008

Memo To Ron Paul: Come Clean For Your Own Sake, And The Sake Of Liberty

by Doug Mataconis

Jacob Sullum has an article up at Reason telling Ron Paul what he needs to do about the newsletter story:

If I thought Ron Paul might be president in 2009, I’d have to admit that his newsletter negligence raises questions about his judgment and about the people he’d choose to advise him. But since the value of the Paul campaign lies in promoting the libertarian ideals of limited government, individual freedom, and tolerance, the real problem is that the newsletters contradict this message.

On CNN Paul emphasized that racist libertarian is an oxymoron, since libertarians judge people as individuals. He should follow through on that point by identifying the author(s) of the race-baiting material and repudiating not just the sentiments it represents but the poisonous, self-defeating strategy of building an anti-collectivist movement on group hatred.

Sullum’s article follows up on the excellent analysis that David Weigel and Julian Sanchez posted earlier today, which my co-contributor UCrawford wrote about earlier today.

And Sullum is absolutely correct.

At this point, the newsletter story is not going to have any impact on the campaign mostly because the campaign is going nowhere, but it will have an impact on how the general public perceives the cause for liberty. The sad truth of the matter is that the cause has not been helped by some of the events that have surrounded the campaign — the association with Stormfront, appearing repeatedly on Alex Jones’s radio program, and supporters who have acted boorishly to put it mildly — creating the, false, impression that libertarian ideas are racist and intolerant would only make the situation worse.

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40 Comments

  1. Check out what is happening with the GOP
    recount in N.H. Paypal has frozen the funds needed for the GOP recount at the last minute.
    The recount may not happen now, even though the money was raised and in the Paypal account. Strange happenings!
    It doesn’t matter what candidate you support,
    if some people want a recount, and have raised the funds for it, the recount should be allowed to proceed. This is America!

    Comment by giselle bohrer — January 16, 2008 @ 11:49 am
  2. Check out what is happening with the GOP
    recount in N.H. Paypal has frozen the funds needed for the GOP recount at the last minute.
    The recount may not happen now, even though the money was raised and in the Paypal account. Strange happenings!
    It doesn’t matter what candidate you support,
    if some people want a recount, and have raised the funds for it, the recount should be allowed to proceed. This is America!

    I need a drink.

    Comment by Kevin — January 16, 2008 @ 12:21 pm
  3. Kevin,

    I need a drink.

    Then blow off your Saturday morning appointment and join the fun. Jeez, man, I thought you were in college…nobody keeps weekend appointments in college or if they do they don’t show up sober.

    Comment by UCrawford — January 16, 2008 @ 12:34 pm
  4. Pretty boring story. The reason why your letter is not going to have impact is because it’s boring, is re-hashed every hour and has been discredited. I bet the very mention of Ron Paul in your newsletters has driven up traffic to your site. However, if Ron loses, then probably in the long run no one is going to have any interest in coming to your website.

    I look forward to your next re-hashed story later today or tomorrow.

    Comment by Ron — January 16, 2008 @ 12:48 pm
  5. Ron,

    I intend on being around long after Paul drops his Presidential bid and returns to Congress.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — January 16, 2008 @ 12:55 pm
  6. lol@”I look forward to your next re-hashed story later today or tomorrow.”

    dude, spot on. i think this story sexually arouses dougy.

    Comment by lulz — January 16, 2008 @ 12:58 pm
  7. Then blow off your Saturday morning appointment and join the fun. Jeez, man, I thought you were in college…nobody keeps weekend appointments in college or if they do they don’t show up sober.

    Actually, I really need to update my bio :)

    Comment by Kevin — January 16, 2008 @ 1:02 pm
  8. Interesting note about those frozen PayPal funds:

    Meg Whitman, CEO of eBay (which owns PayPal) is financial co-chair of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign.

    Comment by Brian T. Traylor — January 16, 2008 @ 1:09 pm
  9. Interesting note about those frozen PayPal funds:

    Meg Whitman, CEO of eBay (which owns PayPal) is financial co-chair of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign.

    Make that two….

    Comment by Kevin — January 16, 2008 @ 1:14 pm
  10. No one is more enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free.

    There is Great Doom approaching; prepare.

    Comment by Brad — January 16, 2008 @ 1:59 pm
  11. Yawn

    Getting any response out of that horse is getting harder every time, and it’s starting to smell.

    Comment by John Danforth — January 16, 2008 @ 2:25 pm
  12. No one is more enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free.

    There is Great Doom approaching; prepare.

    Ron Paul is the Messiah, and I should know I’ve followed a few!!!

    :)

    Comment by UCrawford — January 16, 2008 @ 2:31 pm
  13. Crawford,

    Does this mean I have open another bottle of gin ?

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — January 16, 2008 @ 2:33 pm
  14. Save it until tipoff…or at least until we’re not still in the middle of a work day :)

    Comment by UCrawford — January 16, 2008 @ 2:39 pm
  15. Memo to Doug and Fanclub: No one listens to you your irrelevant, just like the MSM. Your time is up its our turn now, 6 months ago if you asked some one on the street if they have heard of Ron Paul they would of said no. Now he’s a household name, mainly because of the grassroots movement that has gotten behind his campaign and has given quite a large amount of money to him so he could be a real contender which he has been he’s injected real issues in national debates no matter what non sense they use to try and bring him down, Ron Paul and the patriot movement that supports him wins either way and you know who the losers are doug, you and yuppies like you who worship the status quo

    Comment by Max — January 16, 2008 @ 2:47 pm
  16. Ron Paul and the patriot movement

    I remember the so-called patriot movement from the 1990s. Militias, black helicopters and Y2K nonsense.

    If that’s what RP’s campaign is about, then I’m glad I wasn’t a part of it.

    And Max, Ron’s not a contender in the least sense of the word. Have you noticed that the media isn’t talking about him like they were back in November and December ? There’s a reason for that……he’s not getting enough votes to be taken seriously.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — January 16, 2008 @ 2:52 pm
  17. Max,

    Memo to Doug and Fanclub: No one listens to you your irrelevant, just like the MSM.

    Yet you still seem to keep popping up here to discuss our articles.

    Your time is up its our turn now, 6 months ago if you asked some one on the street if they have heard of Ron Paul they would of said no.

    Sort of like if I were to walk down the street now.

    Now he’s a household name…

    Among less than 10% of voters, apparently.

    …mainly because of the grassroots movement that has gotten behind his campaign…

    Consisting of less than 10% of the voters.

    …and has given quite a large amount of money to him…

    Which hasn’t translated into more than about 10% of the votes.

    …so he could be a real contender…

    Who hasn’t placed higher than fourth in any primary.

    …which he has been he’s injected real issues in national debates …

    Like racism and hypocrisy and incompetence and failing to live up to the standards you set…oh wait, did you mean issues besides the ones raised by the newsletter scandal?

    …no matter what non sense they use to try and bring him down, Ron Paul and the patriot movement that supports him wins either way…

    Except in the popular vote of course, or among libertarians who don’t want to be portrayed as racists or conspiracy theorists.

    …you know who the losers are doug, you and yuppies like you who worship the status quo

    Wait, if we actually support the “status quo” doesn’t that mean that we’re likely the winners because we’re the ones most likely to be reaping the benefits of instilling our form of evil government on society? Especially since as yuppies we’re more likely to be prosperous members of said evil government? Why, I believe that it does!!! Man, that almost makes me feel better about a bunch of self-pitying loons hijacking and discrediting a philosophy I care about (libertarianism) with their incoherent bullshit.

    Comment by UCrawford — January 16, 2008 @ 3:06 pm
  18. Why is it that the only people who seem concerned about Dr. Paul’s supposed comments are white, neo-conservative pundits, including some who call themselves “libertarians,” but are neocons in disguise? You don’t hear Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton ranting and raving about this ancient newsletter history. On the contrary, a black leader in the NAACP has praised Dr. Paul. A Muslim newspaper in Michigan endorsed him (even after all of these supposed revelations). Most of its readers are likely non-whites, either of Middle Eastern or African descent. Yet these lily-white neo-cons, who oppose Dr. Paul on the war are outraged over some statements that Ron Paul didn’t make. What’s their real agenda.

    People are disgusted with politics as usual and want someone with honesty, integrity, and authenticity — and that’s Ron Paul. For a great satire on the president, the mainstream media, and the war on terror, see this YouTube music video from the international award-winning zombie musical feature film, “Song of the Dead.” It’ stars horror movie veteran Reggie Bannister (Phantasm, Wishmaster, Bubba Ho-tep) as the president of the U.S. The filmmaker, Chip Gubera, is giving a share of his profits from DVD sales to the Ron Paul campaign. Go to:
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=qQmkkoxSKYw

    Comment by mketcher — January 16, 2008 @ 3:11 pm
  19. You don’t hear Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton ranting and raving about this ancient newsletter history.

    Because Ron Paul isn’t a big enough fish for Jesse and Reverand Al to get upset about.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — January 16, 2008 @ 3:13 pm
  20. mketcher,

    On the contrary, a black leader in the NAACP has praised Dr. Paul.

    On Alex Jones’ show. After which he claimed that the only reason this scandal was happening was because Ron Paul was a “threat to the establishment”. And his opinions have not been echoed by either the national NAACP or his own Austin branch.

    Comment by UCrawford — January 16, 2008 @ 3:16 pm
  21. For a great satire on the president, the mainstream media, and the war on terror, see this YouTube music video from the international award-winning zombie musical feature film, “Song of the Dead.” It’ stars horror movie veteran Reggie Bannister (Phantasm, Wishmaster, Bubba Ho-tep) as the president of the U.S. The filmmaker, Chip Gubera, is giving a share of his profits from DVD sales to the Ron Paul campaign.

    Okay, I have absolutely no idea how to score that one. I’m assuming that it should be a “consume all beer in the room” simply because it includes references to zombies, music videos made for YouTube, name-dropping D-list movie actors, and two of the greatest cult movies ever made in the history of all mankind…Phantasm (starring Angus Scrimm) and Bubba Ho-Tep (starring personal hero Bruce Campbell). I think this sets the bar.

    Can I get a ruling?

    Comment by UCrawford — January 16, 2008 @ 3:24 pm
  22. SPAM

    Comment by Bob — January 16, 2008 @ 5:18 pm
  23. UCrawford:
    Don’t forget the guy’s accusation that everyone who criticizes Paul for the newsletters is a “neocon in disguise.” You know, since we all think the Iraq war was SUCH a good idea. And that David Boaz (who wrote one of the better posts on the newsletters)…he’s definitely NEVER opposed any foreign interventions by the US. Yup, all neocons in disguise.

    So, in conclusion- definitely a drink all the beers in the room, and probably in the house.

    Comment by Mark — January 16, 2008 @ 5:36 pm
  24. Mark:

    Sure….Boaz opposed the war. Great for him! You have to admit, however, that Cato’s critiicsm of the war has been very very muted on the whole. To the extent some of them opposed it, it was rarely a central issue and they rarely showed any passion. I don’t like Rockwell but at least he wasn’t a wimp about opposing the war forthrightly unlike the Catoites who were hedging their bets. And don’t even get me started on Cato’s pimping for Fred Thompson.

    Comment by Dodsworth — January 16, 2008 @ 6:06 pm
  25. The President of the NAACP has said that Dr. Paul is not a racist, and he bases this on events during 20 years of friendship with him.

    Give him a break man, if the NAACP says he isn’t a racist, then he isn’t.

    So, he doesn’t have to jump through all of these stupid hoops you set in the “I’m not a racist” gauntlet.

    Comment by Jak — January 16, 2008 @ 7:07 pm
  26. Doug Wormwood,

    You were never a part of it, so don’t worry. You have always been pro-murder, and stood with us. What’s puzzling you is the nature of my game.

    Sincerely,
    Screwtape

    Comment by Screwtape — January 16, 2008 @ 7:28 pm
  27. Doug Wormwood,

    That’s a new one. Pour me a drink.

    Comment by Kevin — January 16, 2008 @ 7:50 pm
  28. Mark:

    So, in conclusion- definitely a drink all the beers in the room, and probably in the house.

    Please don’t do that to me, Mark. As I’ve pointed out, I’m a homebrewer. I have 6 cases of beer in my house right now. Are you trying to kill me?

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — January 16, 2008 @ 7:59 pm
  29. Doug Wormwood,

    I believe in addition to a drink for an ad hominem, that requires that it be a drink of Absinthe…

    You know, because of the wormwood?

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — January 16, 2008 @ 8:00 pm
  30. Cato has always officially opposed the war, and to my knowledge Boaz has always been their point man on the issue. Yes, there are people at Cato who did not- but that’s to be expected in any organization that respects the idea of free thought- especially one with as many policy scholars as they have. So far as I can tell, only Brink Lindsey ever advocated for the war in Iraq of their experts who deal in any way with foreign policy (I could be wrong, but I looked pretty hard). There is some difference of opinion perhaps on how quickly to leave – but that’s not any different from the concerns UCrawford has expressed here or that I have, frankly.

    While I would love to see them be more vocal on their opposition to the war, I wouldn’t say that opposition has been “muted.” They have quite a few articles and commentary pieces that they’ve published in opposition to the war.

    In any event, they’re a far, far cry from being “neocons” on foreign policy, which is the accusation I was addressing.

    Comment by Mark — January 16, 2008 @ 8:21 pm
  31. One more thing- it seems like the biggest problem that the Rockwellians have with Cato (and other “cosmos”) is that Cato doesn’t use a sufficient amount of invective. What they don’t seem to realize is how utterly fruitless invective is as a strategy for changing peoples’ minds.

    It’s fine if your goal is just to rally the troops that already agree with you (I still don’t like it, but it’s a rational strategy); but it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever if your goal is to change peoples’ minds and influence policy in your direction.

    Comment by Mark — January 16, 2008 @ 8:31 pm
  32. Mark:

    We’ll we disagree about Cato. There is more than one discontented staff member there who can tell you that Boaz and Crane purposely muted any opposition to the war because of a fear of driving away contributors.

    Yes, both have stated their opposition but it is not heavily emphasized or hard-hitting. Ask former Catoite Ivan Eland. He’ll tell you. I could also mention, of course, the friendly reception to Fred Thompson (from Tanner and others) which has usually not included any criticism of his bellicose foreign policy.

    Cato’s relatively lethargic approach to the war stands in contrast to LRC, antiwar.com, and the Independent Institute. Personally, I’d love a world where the independent Institute (my favorite free market policy group) could carry the ball but unfortunately it does not have anywhere near the resources of Cato or Mises.

    If the folks at Cato want to throw stones now at antiwar libertarians who don’t toe their line, fine. They should be reminded, however, that they were they were the ones who largely abdicated a leading role in a libertarian antiwar movement and thus indirectly empowered Rockwell and company who filled the vacuum.

    Comment by Dodsworth — January 16, 2008 @ 8:53 pm
  33. Dodsworth:
    Fair enough. And I most certainly would have preferred them to take a more public role on the war; had they done so, you’re probably correct that it would have decreased the influence of LRC, etc.

    But that in no way, shape, or form equates to support of the war or to the ridiculous accusation often leveled at them and others that they are “neocons.” What is amazing is that the people who view any criticism of Ron Paul – however valid – as a “smear,” have no problem calling anyone who disagrees with them a “neocon,” regardless of their position on the war.

    Comment by Mark — January 16, 2008 @ 9:57 pm
  34. Hey,

    Did Hillary write those letters? Check this out:

    http://archives.cnn.com/2000/ALLPOLITICS/stories/07/16/hillary.book.response.02/index.html

    Comment by Red — January 16, 2008 @ 10:35 pm
  35. Doug are you a globalist? If you are thats fine, your opinion. But it would sure explain your total dislike for Ron Paul. America does not exist in globalization. There wont be an American Constitution, freedom of Americans will be decided be the new world order. Is that the America you pine for, really? Are you ready to give up your freedoms for security?

    Well the fine Americans that support Ron Paul love America and freedom! Our Founders knew about Big Government and made the Constitution of this great country to keep the Government limited, which keeps the people free!

    But what do we have now? We have Government involved in everything. We get writers like you telling us, the people, that thats how it is sapposed to be? We get media pundits that say Ron Paul is unelectable?

    So Doug, maybe you can answer a question for me. Why do you hate America so much?

    Comment by Adrian Veloz — January 17, 2008 @ 7:49 am
  36. Wow. Adrian managed to hit like 10 rules in a comment of only a couple lines: Rule 1, Rule 2, Rule 4, Rule 6, Rule 7 (big time!), Rule 11, and the oh-so-difficult Rules 11 and 12.

    …And the priceless argument that one who does not support Ron Paul therefore hates America.

    Not to mention the bizarre argument that globalization (ie, voluntary free trade) undermines freedom. There is nothing more amusing to me than someone claiming that freedom and liberty means that national sovereignty is more important than individual sovereignty and the right to contract with people from other nations.

    Apparently, only people physically born within the boundaries of the USA who support Ron Paul are capable of understanding freedom.

    Comment by Mark — January 17, 2008 @ 12:02 pm
  37. Including our Founding Fathers. Bunch of trouble-making illegal immigrants they were. If only we’d had tougher border restrictions to keep that rabble out.

    Comment by UCrawford — January 17, 2008 @ 12:04 pm
  38. This website should be bannered wall to wall with Ron Paul material – if you were real libertarians rather than closet-GOP-lackies. What are you guys (the regulars) afraid of? Pissing of your redstate.com buddies? How pathetic. Thank god for the real pauliticians that are taking up the stand for liberty and running for office with platforms that show respect for the constitution and guts. For all those that drafted Fred out a box of mothballs, c ya!

    Comment by Ken — January 17, 2008 @ 6:21 pm
  39. Ken:

    if you were real libertarians rather than closet-GOP-lackies.

    I just got home from a two day business trip and was seriously in need of a drink. Since I’m sure that this invokes at least one rule, SCORE! Now I can drink and not even feel guilty. The rules say I must. Thanks Ken.

    On a more serious note, WTF?

    Comment by Adam Selene — January 17, 2008 @ 7:16 pm
  40. “Ron Paul Is Not A Bigot: Refuting the New Republic Charges.”

    Basically argues that Ron Paul is a good guy, clearly didn’t write the racist stuff, and deserves support regardless of the particulars. Doesn’t “refute” all the New Republic charges, but makes the case for cutting him some slack.

    http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_james_w__080116_ron_paul_is_not_a_bi.htm

    Comment by Carlton Meyers — January 19, 2008 @ 12:13 pm

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