I’ve said before that there was danger in Ron Paul peaking too early. It is the practice of the mainstream media (MSM) to build up Republican candidates just so they can have fun tearing them down. Having worked on the Paul campaign previously in 2008, I was already aware of what kinds of attacks to expect against him. Because Ron Paul offers little to the MSM by way of dirt or scandal, they have to search beyond the candidate himself to find things to attack him with – such as statements made by some of his supporters.
With only a few weeks to go before the Iowa Caucuses, Ron Paul is surging. It isn’t coincidence that it is this moment that the MSM has chosen to bring up the heretofore unmentioned “Ron Paul Newsletters” scandal. In the past 24 hours, the likes of American Spectator, the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, New York Magazine, Slate and other media have begun reporting on the newsletter story. We have none other than the neo-con Sean Hannity to thank for stoking the fire of this non-scandal and encouraging Jeffrey Lord of the American Spectator to look into the issue. Lord writes:
“As Hannity quite correctly pointed out, with the other GOP candidates having received the political equivalent of an anal exam, somehow Ron Paul has escaped notice. No more.”
Lord goes on to call alleged statements by Paul “the most vile of racist language”, “appalling” and “disturbing”.
This isn’t the first time the MSM has attacked Paul over the newsletters. In 2008, it was the New Republic that claimed it would be releasing a damning expose on Ron Paul. Sure enough, around 3pm EST on the day of the New Hampshire Primary, the New Republic launched their attack and the Drudge Report posted not one, but two, links to the story in bold red font. The last minute assault did little damage to him in New Hampshire because he wasn’t very popular at the time anyway.
But I read the New Republic article. I read the quotes. As I am very familiar with Ron Paul’s articulate style of writing and speaking, I immediately recognized that the shocking quotes could not be his. The quotes were ignorant, angry, used poor grammar and did not reflect Paul’s style in any way. In fact, the author of the expose admitted that Ron Paul denied the quotes were his – but the attack against Paul himself continued.
Then, like now, the publishing of these unattributed quotes is nothing more than a political hatchet job – cold, calculated and poised to cause maximum damage to the political aspirations of Ron Paul and his freedom-loving supporters.
What the MSM insinuates by publishing these quotes is that Ron Paul is anti-gay, anti-black, anti-Jew, and supports the KKK. They suggest that Paul advocates that the “superior” white race should arm itself in preparation for a grand race war with the inferiors among us. This low blow is nefarious and indicative of the lengths to which enemies of Paul’s message of strict-constitutionalism will go. The MSM went after Bachmann’s looks. They ridiculed Perry for his “Oops” gaffe ad nauseum. They brought forth false accusers to destroy the reputation of Herman Cain. And now they are trying to paint Ron Paul as a white supremacist just when such accusations could cause him the most strategic damage. This is politics at its dirtiest.
I recall defending Ron Paul during the 2008 election cycle. His strong anti-Iraq war stance earned him the ire of Jamie Kirchick, a strong advocate of the war in Iraq and who worked as the assistant editor of the New Republic. Kirchick had announced on Tucker Carlson’s show that he had proof that Congressman Ron Paul was a homophobic racist. Kirchick’s article was published on the day of the New Hampshire Primaries to maximize its shock value and rocket his own name into headlines.
The premise of the newsletter scandal is a poor one.
From the 1970’s to the 1990’s, various newsletters were published which bore the name “Ron Paul” in their titles. A vast number of the newsletters were printed without even having been read or reviewed by Ron Paul. Much of Ron Paul’s support comes independent of him or his official organization. For example, Dr. Paul was not personally responsible for the 2008 Ron Paul Blimp, the Tea Party ’07, or the various “money bombs” that catapulted him to stardom. Likewise, past supporters have published their own ideas on subjects, independent of Ron Paul’s involvement or approval.
It would be wrong to hold Mitt Romney responsible for the polygamy of Mormons in the 1800’s. It would be wrong to hold Barack Obama personally responsible for all the statements made by his ignorant supporters. Likewise, it would be wrong to hold Ron Paul responsible for the opinions or statements of all the individuals that share some of his political philosophies.
Unfortunately, since the issue of the newsletters had been raised, Ron Paul knew that he had to address the issue again as he had done in previous campaign cycles. In response to Kirchick’s article, Ron Paul said in 2008:
“The quotations in the New Republic article are not mine and do not represent what I believe or have ever believed. I have never uttered such words and denounce such small-minded thoughts.”
“This story is old news and has been rehashed for over a decade. It’s once again being resurrected for obvious political reasons on the day of the New Hampshire primary.”
“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 when out under my name.”
If Jamie Kirchick knew that this story was old news and that Ron Paul wasn’t responsible for the handful of racist and homophobic remarks written in the newsletters, why did he run the story anyway? The answer to that question may be found by reading Kirchick’s own words. On the “Gays for Ron” website, Berin M. Szoka revealed an excerpt of an email he received from Kirchick about the newsletters. Kirchick wrote to Szoka:
“I don’t think Ron Paul is a homophobe; I’m just cynical and enjoy getting supporters of political candidates riled up. If you were a Giuliani guy I’d have called him a fascist. But I must say, the Ron Paul supporters are the most enthusiastic of the bunch!”
That Jamie Kirchick was a self-aggrandizing pseudo-journalist with a personal agenda to gain attention cannot be denied. Nor can it be denied that the pseudo-journalists making issue of these newsletters in 2012 are just as irresponsible and intellectually dishonest as Kirchick was in 2008.
If you weren’t already aware of the Newsletter scandal, you now know enough about the issue to strongly defend the honor of Congressman Ron Paul. And, if you didn’t already know how low Sean Hannity stoops, you do now. It takes a real slimeball to call another man a racist behind his back.
Jake Morphonios has worked as a political consultant and campaign strategist for over two decades and is the author of Organizing a Grassroots Political Machine, used in the Steve Forbes 2000 Presidential campaign.
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