Ron Paul: liar?

Ummm, yes.  Not to go all Ron Paul crazy this week, but it is a slow news week and I think the way the story of his racist, paranoid newsletters is interesting in a number of ways (and Weigel is all over it).  First of all, now that he’s getting serious national attention, he’s, of course, claiming that he didn’t write these newsletters.  That was not the case 15 years ago:

It’s nice to have this in the public record, but what’s new about it? Paul made money from the newsletters. Paul advertised the newsletters. He doesn’t claim anything new in these videos. No — as Sam Stein notices, with a look back into the Nexis machine, it was only in 1996 that Paul acknowledged that he wrote some of the newsletters. In a Dallas Morning News report from May 1996, Catalina Camia asked Paul to explain some of the more embarassing stuff in the survival reports. Paul had not yet seized on his current line, that he had “no idea who wrote” this stuff.

Of course, just as my post went up yesterday, GMA was actually running a story that made, somewhat fleeting, mention of his newsletters.  Nothing detailed mind you, more of a “look, all the leading candidates have baggage,” but still.  The simple truth is that for a “mainstream” candidate, Paul’s past publications is utterly disqualifying.  The fact that this story is still being treated more as a curiosity, if anything, shows that the media just doesn’t consider Paul a serious threat.  And he’s not!  For one, if he ever were, this stuff would make Rick Perry’s baggage look like a handy-sized carry-on.  Love this Weigel summary:

How did Paul slide through a year of televised debates, where his rivals were asked about their opinions of “submission” in marriage and accusations of affairs, and never get a question about this stuff? Paul’s associations haven’t changed in four years. His explanations haven’t changed. You can see why Paul’s fans might get annoyed or paranoid about this. They thought they’d litigated this stuff already, and earned a pass.

Of course, that’s the other interesting aspect– none of the other candidates have the cult-like following of Paul, in which the candidate can do no wrong (just read the comment thread to any negative–i.e., fact-based– critique of Paul, if you doubts about that).  There’s clearly an interesting dynamic going on there worthy of more study.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

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