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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Ron Paul's CNN Explanation

In the last post I said I might comment more on this, when I had more information and some perspective. But I will say that I think it looked a bit absurd for Ron Paul to say to Wolf Blitzer (part I and part II) that he had no idea who wrote those things. I am fully prepared to believe that he didn't write them himself; after all, it's not even his style. But that's all the more reason that he should have been really upset when it was brought to his attention, and at that point he certainly should've found out who was responsible.

Incidentally, I am glad Paul didn't name names. I think that would've appeared that he was trying to make a subordinate fall on the sword for his own (Paul's) political prospects. It's just that I think instead of saying he didn't know who wrote it--which makes it sound like either an obvious lie or that he really wasn't so bothered by those newsletters in the first place--he could've said something like this:

You know Wolf, this stuff is over a decade old. Yes, at the time of course I figured out who was writing this stuff, since I didn't agree with it and it was going out under my name. But I'm the one running for president; there would be no point in me subjecting someone else to these attacks. I take responsibility for what happened, it was an oversight on my part, but this is ancient history. My supporters know that I am the champion of the individual and abhor racism and all forms of collectivism. Let's please move on and discuss the real threats that black Americans and other minorities face today. Believe me Wolf, they're not endangered by my newsletters from 20 years ago!

22 comments:

  1. John T. Kennedy1:36 AM

    Bob,

    A lot of people are saying Lew Rockwell was responsible for putting out those newsletters as writer and/or editor. This seems entirely plausible in light of the history between Paul and Rockwell.

    If Rockwell is responsible as writer or editor should this be publicly disclosed by RP or Lew?

    Paul says he abhors this material, that he'll have nothing to do with such ideas. Isn't it relevant to his presidential run if he's concealing the fact that a current close confidant and key supporter was responsible for the newslettrs?

    For example, if it turned out that Don Black of Stormfront had produced the newsletters and Paul
    had remained friends with Black to this day, wouldn't that be relevant?

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  2. I've heard the Rockwell rumors, and I don't believe them. I believe that Rockwell knows who wrote the particularly bad quotes the media has picked up--he kinda has to. Rockwell is too savvy to have written such stupid stuff himself, and I've never seen any hint of such thinking in his other writings.

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  3. I don't know; relevant to whom? This whole situation is awkward for me since I obviously have worked with the Mises Institute, and that's mainly why I don't want to shoot my mouth off when I really don't know more than what I read on some guy's blog.

    As I said in my post, the only thing I am confident in saying at this point is that I think it sounds goofy for Paul to say he has no idea who wrote that stuff, or that he was surprised by some of what Wolf Blitzer read. I mean c'mon, surely his staff would've gone over every quote in the TNR piece, if only to make sure it was all legit.

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  4. John T. Kennedy2:14 PM

    "I don't know; relevant to whom? "

    Relevant to RP voters and supporters in a presidential run. Paul is passing this off as something that nameless people did in the distant past. It sure would seem dishonest to me if the principals responsible for the newsletter remained friends and business partners with him to this day. It would make his professed revulsion with the material seem a lot less credible.

    I don't know what Rockwell may have done here and I'm not asking you what you think he may have done. I'm asking a hypothetical, like: Would you turn Gene in to the cops if you discovered he was a serial killer?

    That's not such a difficult question, and your answer either way wouldn't imply you thought there was any chance in the world Gene was a serial killer.

    The hypothetical here is: IF Lew was responsible for the newsletters should that information be publicly disclosed by RP or Lew?

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  5. John T. Kennedy2:18 PM

    Rachael Anne,

    It doesn't sound like Lew Rockwell's voice to me either, though voices can change. But would you be shocked if you learned that Lew was the editor of Paul's newsletters?

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  6. John,

    I don't know. I definitely don't like RP's acting as if he barely knows what people are talking about.

    The whole thing is strange and so I'm assuming there is something important that I don't know.

    And no, I can't answer your question about Gene, and this hesitance is partly due to the fact that I can't believe Gene would do that. So, if he were, it would be because he was nuts and heard voices in his head (in which case maybe turning him into the cops isn't the best solution), or because mobsters are holding his kids and forcing him to kill their rivals (in which case the cops aren't the answer), etc.

    It is surely wrong to openly lie about something, regardless of the advantages. But even here as I type this, I feel like a hypocrite, because I don't report every last nickel to the IRS etc.

    If Ron Paul were buddies with the author of those newsletters, then yes, I think many of his supporters would feel betrayed. But if Ron Paul still just associated with people who were technically supervising those newsletters, then I don't see how that's different from Ron Paul still being friends with himself. I mean, he was the ultimate person responsible back then, and we've already agreed that that alone doesn't disqualify him now.

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  7. John T. Kennedy11:03 AM

    Technically supervising??? On CNN Ron Paul said the editor was directly responsible for the content of these newsletters, not him. There was an editor, he apparently picked the writers, he certainly approved the articles for publication, and you know it's quite plausible that he was Lew Rockwell.

    And you know Lew has published Bob Wallace. He still publishes Marcus Epstein whose piece on Martin Luther King reads like a mildly sanitized version of the newsletter material. (I realize Epstein is probably to young to have written for the newsletter, but in this case he picked up where it left off.) And Lew has even published Jared Taylor of American Renaissance.

    If Lew was the editor, and thus responsible for the content, should that be publicly disclosed?

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  8. JTK:

    I wouldn't be shocked. I knew Rockwell worked closely with RP for years, and that they have a close relationship to this day. I would be disappointed, for myriad reasons. Like I already said, Rockwell, whatever else he may be, is an excellent politician. So even if he is a closet racist, it was flat out dumb to let those newsletters go out packed with that tripe.

    My guess is that Rockwell was steamrollered in a manner similar to the way RP was.

    As to whether he should step forward (or be pushed forward by the RP campaign)...I don't know. Assuming Rockwell is responsible, he has many reasons to keep that under wraps, starting with funding LvMI. If it was him, then I do wish he'd say something (and with more finesse than RP did), but I'm also not in a position to ask him to based on internet speculation.

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  9. John T. Kennedy12:28 PM

    "So even if he is a closet racist, it was flat out dumb to let those newsletters go out packed with that tripe."

    In terms of communication it was a very different time. Whoever was responsible for this low volume tightly targetted newsletter probably didn't fully appreciate that it could be zipping around the internet now.

    "My guess is that Rockwell was steamrollered in a manner similar to the way RP was."

    I'm not following this statement at all. Steamrollered?

    "
    As to whether he should step forward (or be pushed forward by the RP campaign)...I don't know. Assuming Rockwell is responsible, he has many reasons to keep that under wraps, starting with funding LvMI."


    Well sure, there are always incentives to keep quiet about one's mistakes. But Paul is running for President. And the pajamahadeen are coming now. They're not going to let go of this until the identities of those rewsponsible for the newsletter are established. There were plenty of libertarians who were aware of the newsletters and it's producers at the time, it's a close knit community.

    It's going to come out, and soon. Failure to get in front of it will destroy Pauls political credibility if Rockwell is responsible.

    "If it was him, then I do wish he'd say something (and with more finesse than RP did), but I'm also not in a position to ask him to based on internet speculation."

    That's fair enough.

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  10. Honestly, I'm not too bothered about Ron Paul's political credibility. Cool as his voting record is, he's still small time, and never had a real shot at the presidency. So I don't think preserving RP's credibility is a reason to come forward. Old fashioned honesty ought to be enough for that.

    Maybe steamrollered is the wrong word. From RP's spin, he was used; someone wrote all sorts of bigoted crap under the cloak of his name. I think that Rockwell probably didn't so much sanction it as get voted down. I doubt Rockwell had as much control as you seem to think he did. I think he was more intimately involved in the minutiae of the newsletter than Paul, but I don't think he had ultimate say-so, because I firmly believe that no matter Rockwell's personal views, he knew better than to let out those statements under Paul's name, no matter what the vehicle.

    As far as the communication stuff goes, these newsletters were first written up in Texas papers years ago during Paul's earlier days as a congressman. It's an old campaign issue, just now getting the national spotlight.

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  11. John T. Kennedy2:25 PM

    Honestly, I'm not too bothered about Ron Paul's political credibility. Cool as his voting record is, he's still small time, and never had a real shot at the presidency.

    Hasn't Bob been agruing on LRC that Paul did have a real shot? Did he write this while believing that Paul didn't really have a real shot?

    In any case, Paul has led supporters to believe that he's making a serious run and they've put up tens of millions for that. Maybe someone should tell them that Paul's run is not to be taken seriously since protecting the viability of LVMI and the rest of Lew's empire is a higher priority.

    "Maybe steamrollered is the wrong word. From RP's spin, he was used; someone wrote all sorts of bigoted crap under the cloak of his name. I think that Rockwell probably didn't so much sanction it as get voted down. I doubt Rockwell had as much control as you seem to think he did. I think he was more intimately involved in the minutiae of the newsletter than Paul, but I don't think he had ultimate say-so, because I firmly believe that no matter Rockwell's personal views, he knew better than to let out those statements under Paul's name, no matter what the vehicle."

    Should he have know better than to publish Bob Wallace and Jared Taylor? Obviously he didn't know better.

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  12. Anonymous3:08 PM

    Lew Rockwell responded to the original article author at TNR said that he did not write them, but was more involved in promotional letters for the news letter. He indicated that the writers were freelance and the editor, who he probably knew, but would not name, is no longer affiliated with him (and presumably RP).

    http://blogs.tnr.com/tnr/blogs/the_plank/archive/2008/01/10
    /who-wrote-ron-paul-s-newsletters.aspx

    ReplyDelete
  13. That still leaves a lot of questions like:

    Who was the editor?

    Does Lew know who wrote the offending material?

    Have any of those writers been published at LRC?

    It's very suspicious that Paul and Rockwell won't name names; one natural suspicion is that they're protecting people who remain close to them.

    Aren't writers and editors responsible for what they produce?

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  14. You're right Kennedy, it was me. Rockwell didn't want to see my name dragged through the mud.

    (I hope this post doesn't draw another three question marks from you.)

    I would continue this except I feel that whatever my position, you would disagree.

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  15. I'm seriously offended that you assume Bob's opinions = mine. I'm perfectly capable of drawing my own conclusions, and I always thought that in the end, RP's presidential run in this election would just draw attention to him, and would end after the primaries.

    I never said that protecting the LvMI was more important than his run for presidency; I said that Rockwell might value it more, assuming he has info that would simultaneously implicate the Institute and put RP in the clear.

    Also, getting a relatively small number of people to put up large donations doesn't translate into a win; each of those people still only have one vote.

    About Wallace and Taylor, did he actually run racist crap written by them? (I honestly have no idea.) If he's just running other pieces by them not including that stuff, that's borderline.

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  16. John T. Kennedy8:51 PM

    Rachael Anne,

    "'m seriously offended that you assume Bob's opinions = mine."

    Then you get seriously offended pretty easily. What I actually think is that Bob's real opinion is the same as your's: Paul had no real shot. Bob knows he's fudging, and that his Paul pieces don't accurately reflect his views. He's admitted it bothers him. But who campaigns without fudging?

    "About Wallace and Taylor, did he actually run racist crap written by them? (I honestly have no idea.) If he's just running other pieces by them not including that stuff, that's borderline."

    Borderline stuff adds up after a while.

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  17. Bob,

    "I would continue this except I feel that whatever my position, you would disagree."

    You think I argue dishonestly?

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  18. John T. Kennedy8:58 PM

    Another queation Lew leaves unanswered: Did he know what was going out in the newsletters? If so what did he do about it besides not telling Ron Paul?

    Rachael Anne has suggested that Lew may have been outvoted with regard to the content of the newsletter, but in that case notifying Paul seems the natural thing to do. But that never happened apparently.

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  19. OK Kennedy, since my previous post was a bit childish, I'll make a more serious, but final, one now.

    First, no, I don't think you are arguing dishonestly. But I do think that no matter what position I took, you would find some minute logical inconsistency. If I had originally said, "The real writer of those newsletters must come forward!" then I am quite confident you would have challenged my reasons for it. Then you would have asked me ridiculous hypotheticals like, "Isn't lying justified sometimes? What if the Gestapo came to your door and you were housing Anne Frank? What happens to your much ballyhooed "full disclosure" then, Murphy?"

    So no, it's not dishonest, it's just annoying. Of course if someone with your intelligence--and knowledge of everything I've written in the past 10 years--puts ten minutes into it, you are going to come up with inconsistencies in anything I write except geometric proofs.

    On top of that, like Silas X would do at anti-state, you go further and speculate as to the insidious reasons for my inconsistency. Like here, you speculate that I knowingly write false LRC columns about Ron Paul's chances.

    OK back to the matter at hand: Yes those newsletters bother me, and because I respect Lew Rockwell I hope he didn't write them. Since he told that reporter for TNR he didn't, I believe him; i.e. he could have just declined to be interviewed.

    OK, so do I think he was somehow connected? As I've said repeatedly, I don't know. I haven't carefully inspected the timelines of the newsletters and Rockwell's relationship with Ron Paul. I frankly don't have time.

    Is it conceivable that inappropriate things went out when he was in charge, and still I wouldn't think he was a closet racist? Yes, by all means. And I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt until I see concrete evidence otherwise. I would have to examine those newsletter dates again, but a different spin to the "this was continuous for 15 years!" aspect is that something bad only went out once every 3 years. So maybe those were the months when Rockwell had the flu.

    Of course I'm playing into the libertarian-haters' hand here, but the problem with those racy quotes is that they take a genuine grievance and attribute it to race, rather than bad apples. I.e. it's not as if the ghostwriter slipped up and had Ron Paul advocating a national ID card. Rather, it's that the ghostwriter was complaining about looters and other lawbreakers, and instead of focusing on their behavior, switched to their race. And moreover, did so in a way that betrayed personal hatred.

    So suppose every 3 years Rockwell fired such a ghostwriter. Would that be so shocking? And yet that would be consistent with the TNR timeline--or could be, I haven't checked the dates.

    Of course I'm not saying this is what happened, or that it's even plausible. I'm just saying I'm not going to give in to your hypotheticals just to satisfy your demand for logical consistency.

    Why don't you email Rockwell yourself and ask him what the deal is? You are apparently on a first name basis with him.

    (BTW I'm not nearly as p*ssy as I sound from the above words. No body language, tone, etc. on the Internet. You know how it is.)

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  20. Yes John, your sexism offends me as much as the racism in the RP newsletters.

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