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Who Wrote Ron Paul's Newsletters?:

For those interested in such inside-baseball, here is a post by Wirkman saying it was widely known in libertarian circles that the newsletters were ghostwritten, and another by former (and disgruntled) Ron Paul staffer Eric Dondero claiming that Paul wrote half the content, and a prominent friend of Ron's 80% of the rest.

Anderson (mail):
Please, please, please stop assaulting Dr. Paul with the facts!

Why does the VC never post on the gold standard's potential for saving America? Your bias is obvious!
1.9.2008 3:08pm
BGates:
I don't think a post on what is known in libertarian circles belongs in a blog like
-oh, wait.
1.9.2008 3:33pm
Gino:
Thanks for the clarification.
1.9.2008 3:58pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
Who wrote 'Profiles in Courage'? Are we going to hold Obama to what's in his books, or will we give him a pass, if he didn't actually type every word himself?

Gotta hand it to Paul on one count, though. People are actually reading what came out under his name. I bet McCain wishes he could manage that.
1.9.2008 3:58pm
American Patriot:
I am not a Paul supporter, but this emphasis on non-issues is increasingly irritating. I don't actually think that the gold standard is likely to be a good idea, but it would have been useful to actually see a post cover the issue and explain the pro and con. As it is, I don't have the slightest idea what the arguments are on either side. Same goes for the arguments in favor or against the NAFTA superhighway or the Trilateral Commission, or the U.S.'s membership in the United Nations. There are so many interesting issues raised by the Paul candidacy that are completely ignored.

If Paul at least had a chance of winning, I can see why there could be legitimate concerns over the newsletters, but since his candidacy is going nowhere I don't care much more about Paul's shady associations than about, say, Buchanan's or Sobran's shady connections.
1.9.2008 3:58pm
david friedlander (mail):
David Bernstein is now looking for evidence "after the fact", namely, after his post with its untenable defense of Ron Paul's newsletter. Yes a newsletter which NOT ONCE, NOT TWICE BUT 20-30 times had clearly bigoted language. Yet no retraction, no condemnation... for this supposedly "anonymous" Ron Paul newsletter. One can elegantly explain away almost every single blip (including the "ghost-written" declarations of Israel's demise by ghostly PA officials - not in Arafat's name). I wonder if law professors should be held to the same ghost-written standards that David Bernstein is lawyering for.
1.9.2008 3:59pm
PatHMV (mail) (www):
As I noted here yesterday, one of the big unanswered questions, even taking Rep. Paul at his word that he wasn't the author and wasn't aware of what was going out in his name, is who did write them, and whether that person remains associated with Paul and/or his campaign.

Dondero's comment claims that Lew Rockwell wrote the parts that Paul didn't, and of course Rockwell remains close to Paul. If Rockwell is the ghostwriter, or even the editor which allowed that garbage into the Ron Paul Report, then Paul will have to answer why he continues to associate with such a racist, and whether he would appoint any racists to his cabinet.
1.9.2008 4:01pm
tarpon (mail):
It doesn't matter who write them, over the years if Ron Paul disagreed with the content it would be easy to get a court order putting a stop to the use of his name ... Right?
1.9.2008 4:18pm
Mr. X (www):
My guess is that it was probably Rockwell and that Ron Paul doesn't want to throw him under the bus.

I'm taking Dr. Paul at his word that those aren't his views. That leaves me concluding that he exercised piss-poor judgment from about 1989-1991 to let this crap go out under his name.

Does that make me respect him a little less? Yes. Does that mean I don't still think he'd be better than the rest of the field? No.

As he said to Jay Leno, "I have shortcomings, but the message has no shortcomings."
1.9.2008 4:18pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"As he said to Jay Leno, "I have shortcomings, but the message has no shortcomings."

Could be. But we elect the man, not the message.
1.9.2008 4:24pm
Richard Riley (mail):
The post by Wirkman says it was common knowledge in libertarian circles who was probably writing the Ron Paul newsletters, but Wirkman never names names. Why not? Are they really so horrible that it would be libelous to risk an erroneous attribution? (Haven't read them myself.)
1.9.2008 4:33pm
D Palmer (mail):
I stand by my comments from yesterday.

David, you made a valid point when asking me if I thought Obama or Clinton read everything put out by their campaigns. My answer is no, I don't think so. But I do think that they have someone that they trust who does review everything to make sure that they are not embarassed the way Mr. Paul has been.

Ron Paul is ultimately responsible for what is published under his name. Do you think Martha Stewart allows anything in the magazine that bears her name without making sure that it meets her standards? Damn right she doesn't.

I did take some time to review the scans of the some of news letters via TNR's site. The quote about gays not caring if they live past 50 seems to be attributed to a NY Times article, although no details are provided.

The undated solicitation letter is the most interesting. I have never read such paranoid delusions outside of a science fiction novel. Has anybody asked Paul how he feels about the "new money" now?

If Ron Paul was more than a Nader like gadfly candidate before, he certainly should not be now.
1.9.2008 4:36pm
Brett Bellmore:
I'm still having trouble with the disconnect between asserting that this stuff tells us something significant about Paul's views, and Paul's actual record in Congress. What's the explanation, MPD?

I the mean time, yeah, Paul is a flawed candidate. Better a flawed candidate who wants to restore limited, constitutional government, and the host of flawed candidates who want to finish our nation's transformation into the Leviathan.
1.9.2008 4:59pm
davidbernstein (mail):
friedlander, you don't mean I defended Paul's newsletter, given that I clearly didn't, but that I give Paul the benefit of the doubt when he says he didn't write the material at issue. We still don't have any evidence that he did.
1.9.2008 5:31pm
D Palmer (mail):
In reading some of the news letter scans I am also struck by the fact that they are written primarily in the first person rather than the editorial we, leading the reader to see the words as coming from Ron Paul himself.

I'm sorry, but Mr. Paul needs to do more than just say that the opnions expressed in these newsletters are not his.

while I agree with some of his campaign positions, they are not compelling enough for me to overlook the many examples of his (apparent) belief in vast government conspiracies and his distain for homosexuals, Jews, and blacks.

It is one thing to vote for him to be one of the 435 members of the House. It is something else all together to put him in charge of the executive branch of the Federal Government.
1.9.2008 5:45pm
PatHMV (mail) (www):
David, I'm not willing to give him that benefit of the doubt until he actually discloses who did write the material and whether that person remains connected with him. If he found the views as offensive as he says he found them, one would expect that he immediately fired him from working for the Ron Paul Report and severed any business or political ties with him. Paul's refusal, as a candidate for President, to do so raises sufficient questions in my mind about both his judgment and his veracity in disavowing the racist sentiments expressed in the articles that I see no reason to give him the benefit of the doubt. I already gave him the benefit of the doubt to presume sincere (if to my mind extreme) libertarianism in opposing the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He's now used that up, and I see no reason to so immediately take him at his word.
1.9.2008 6:24pm
davidfriedlander (mail):
There are two options:
Either he was negligent about not checking the content of a newsletter written under his auspices, incorporating bigoted language over a duration of years against many different groups and on many occasions.
-or-
He wrote and had authority over the content

Either possibility does not look promising anyway you spin it. Based on this line of reasoning any future error can be attributed to a "ghost writer" or some third party (Each individual person in Enron also claimed they didn't make any fiduciary error and that it was someone else's fault)
1.9.2008 6:29pm
davidbernstein (mail):
There are at least three good reasons to doubt Paul actually wrote the offensive material, though that doesn't mean he's not accountable for their publication under his name: (1) bad politics, and he's a good politician; (2) doesn't sound like things known to be written by him; (3) does sound like things known to be written by a longstanding friend and supporter of his, who many libertarians have not stated or implied likely wrote these things.
1.9.2008 6:30pm
Mark Bahner (www):
Could be. But we elect the man, not the message.


Yes, that's true. Let's look at some men. Let's look at the last two winners of Republican primaries, in fact:

1) John McCain...as in McCain-Feingold. If there is a federal law that is a more blatant and dangerous disregard of the First Amendment in the last 50 years, I'm not aware of it. John McCain didn't simply vote for it (of course Ron Paul voted against it)...John McCain was the bill's "champion." It bears his name. Before he championed that bill, he took an oath to follow the Constitution. Just like he'll take an oath to follow the Constitution if he's elected president.

2) Mike Huckabee. Here's what Mr. Huckabee said about abortion, and the federal government's proper role with respect to abortion:

Q: Thompson and McCain both talk about leaving abortion to the states, the way it was before Roe vs. Wade ever became the law of the land in the first place. Why isn't that good enough?

A: Well, it's the logic of the Civil War. If morality is the point here, and if it's right or wrong, not just a political question, then you can't have 50 different versions of what's right and what's wrong. Again, that's what the whole Civil War was about. Can you have states saying slavery is OK, other states saying it's not? If abortion is a moral issue--and for many of us it is, and I know for others it's not. So if you decide that it's just a political issue, then that's a perfectly acceptable, logical conclusion. But for those of us for whom this is a moral question, you can't simply have 50 different versions of what's right.
Source: Fox News Sunday: 2007 "Choosing the President" interviews Nov 18, 2007


So basically, Mr. Huckabee thinks the Tenth Amendment simply doesn't apply any time there's a "moral issue."

If I had to chose among those three men, I would choose Ron Paul.

Why? Because I think Ron Paul would follow the Constitution. And I think it's very clear that John McCain and Mike Huckabee would not.
1.9.2008 6:45pm
PatHMV (mail) (www):
I agree with you that from what I've seen, the style of at least some of the writings does not appear to be his (not that I've made my own evaluation, but enough people who are normally sane and rational have said so that I'll assume that to be the case). But it doesn't matter. It's just as bad whether he wrote them or whether he authorized or approved them. If Rockwell wrote them, or whatever "longstanding friend and supporter" (whom now EVERYONE seems to be refusing to name) wrote them, Paul either authorized it or he didn't. If he did, then he's more than just "morally responsible" for them.

He seems to claim that he didn't authorize them, though I haven't seen a specific quote from him making such a blanket denial. But there's where I would begin to seriously doubt his veracity, particularly if the person who did write them remains a friend of his, a colleague, an adviser, a person to whom Member of Congress Paul lends prestige simply by befriending him.

If some "friend" of mine put vile racist writing like this out in my name, he would no longer be a friend to me. That's the reaction I would have, and it's the reaction I expect that any person qualified to even seek the Presidency of the United States should have.

And what kind of friend and supporter is this, if he continues to let Paul twist in the wind on this issue? Why won't he come forward and say "I'm the racist who penned those words, and Ron Paul didn't know anything about it, and when he found out, he fired me and told me I needed to get help for my racist outlook, and I apologize to him for misusing his name and his friendship in that way"?

I really can't read Paul's refusal to do something along those lines as anything more than show that he is willing, at least, to tolerate such bile in his circle of friends and colleagues. It's one thing to ignore a racist joke or two by family members you're forced to see a few times a year. It's something different to demonstrate such tolerance and forbearance to someone who penned racist screeds, under YOUR name, that you now claim to find repellent.
1.9.2008 6:50pm
wekt:

So basically, Mr. Huckabee thinks the Tenth Amendment simply doesn't apply any time there's a "moral issue."

I think Huckabee wants to amend the Constitution to prohibit abortion, not simply ignore the Tenth Amendment. At least that's what it says on his website.
1.9.2008 8:59pm
Duncan Frissell (mail):
extreme libertarianism in opposing the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Not extreme. Anyone who doesn't oppose the '64 Civil Rights Act (and any of the others that control private conduct) is not a libertarian. Hell, Michael Medved who is an ex-leftie, conservative Jew opposes the CRA of '64. If he can, libertarians certainly must.
1.9.2008 9:34pm
LM (mail):
davidbernstein,

We still don't have any evidence that he did.

I'm surprised you'd say that, since one of the links in your post is to evidence that he did.
1.9.2008 10:17pm
LM (mail):
Mr. X,

That leaves me concluding that he exercised piss-poor judgment from about 1989-1991 to let this crap go out under his name.

Actually it seems the newsletters with questionable content spanned a longer period than that.
1.9.2008 10:18pm
LM (mail):
American Patriot,

I am not a Paul supporter, but this emphasis on non-issues is increasingly irritating.

I'm sure you're not alone, but speaking for myself and possibly some others who find this emphasis appropriate, I suspect I know more than I'll ever need to about the NAFTA Superhighway, returning to the Gold Standard, or the threats posed by the CFR and the Trilateral Commission. But someone for whom these are significant issues and who's garnering maybe one out of ten Republican primary votes is somebody I think deserves careful scrutiny.
1.9.2008 10:19pm
Mr. X (www):
Actually it seems the newsletters with questionable content spanned a longer period than that.


I distinguish between racist writings and the other far-out stuff and I think Kirchik takes a cheap shot by bootstrapping all of Ron Paul's radical views into his alleged "decades of newsletters."

It's the difference between hateful and eccentric. Opposing all foreign aid (and thus foreign aid to Israel) is pretty radical and outside the mainstream, but it's not hateful and repugnant.

The racist stuff all seems to be within a year or so of 1990, from my review of the documents that TNR posted. Am I incorrect?
1.9.2008 10:25pm
Mark Bahner (www):
I think Huckabee wants to amend the Constitution to prohibit abortion, not simply ignore the Tenth Amendment. At least that's what it says on his website.


Thanks, but I don't think it says that very clearly on his website:

As Governor, I used that Amendment to pass pro-life legislation. The many pro-life laws I got through my Democrat legislature are the accomplishments that give me the most pride and personal satisfaction. I banned partial birth abortion, I required parental notification, I required that a woman give informed consent before having an abortion, I required that a woman be told her baby will experience pain and be given the option of anesthesia for her baby, I allowed a woman to have her baby and leave the child safely at a hospital, and I made it a crime for an unborn child to be injured or murdered during an attack on his mother.

What I accomplished as Governor proves that there is a lot more that a pro-life President can do than wait for a Supreme Court vacancy, and I will do everything I can to promote a pro-life agenda and pass pro-life legislation. If I'm saddled with a Democrat Congress, I'll veto any pro-abortion legislation they pass. I will staff all relevant positions with pro-life appointees. I will use the Bully Pulpit to change hearts and minds, to move this country from a culture of death to a culture of life. I have no desire to throw women in jail, I just want us to stop throwing babies in the garbage.


And it also doesn't explain his response on Fox interview, when he said that McCain and Thompson's "leaving abortion to the states" was not "good enough."
1.9.2008 10:35pm
davidbernstein (mail):
We have evidence (via Dondero) that Paul wrote 50% of the content of the newsletter, but Dondero doesn't say that Paul wrote any of the offensive content.
1.9.2008 10:38pm
Mr. X (www):
We have evidence (via Dondero) that Paul wrote 50% of the content of the newsletter, but Dondero doesn't say that Paul wrote any of the offensive content.


Dondero is a troublesome witness. On the one hand, he has relevant firsthand knowledge. On the other hand, there's a lot of bad blood between him and Dr. Paul.

Still, it's not an implausible story. And the offensive stuff really doesn't sound like his writing style (based on reading a lot of his bylined stuff and speeches).
1.9.2008 10:47pm
juris_imprudent (mail):
How much credibility should we give Mr. Dondero since he claims that 80% was ghost-written and HALF was written by Dr. Paul?

Sounds like Yogi Berra statistics.
1.9.2008 10:56pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
On the one hand, he has relevant firsthand knowledge. On the other hand, there's a lot of bad blood between him and Dr. Paul.
To say the least. Dondero goes around the internet and everywhere else he can find badmouthing Paul. It's kind of comic relief over on Reason's Hit and Run blog.
1.9.2008 11:39pm
LM (mail):
Mr X,

Personally I cast a wider net, sweeping in the most implausible with the racially offensive. But your distinction is certainly a fair one.
1.9.2008 11:56pm
LM (mail):
juris_imprudent,

How much credibility should we give Mr. Dondero since he claims that 80% was ghost-written and HALF was written by Dr. Paul?

I read his comment to mean 80% of the half that wasn't written by Paul was ghost-written by Rockwell.
1.9.2008 11:59pm
Syd Henderson (mail):
PatHMV (mail) (www):
As I noted here yesterday, one of the big unanswered questions, even taking Rep. Paul at his word that he wasn't the author and wasn't aware of what was going out in his name, is who did write them, and whether that person remains associated with Paul and/or his campaign.


I find it hard to believe that over a period of several years, this stuff came out under Ron Paul's name, and in all that time not one person bothered to inform him about it. Wouldn't a reader have mentioned to him or sent him an offended letter during that time? If the reader suspected it was ghost-written, wouldn't he have given Mr. Paul a warning?
1.10.2008 3:05am
Dakota (mail):
One other problem with Dondero's story. He worked for Paul starting starting in 96. The racist crap comes from the early 90's when Paul didn't have a "staff" to speak of, and certainly no Dondero, and was out of the game.

Also the REALLY troubling stuff comes from an even smaller period June 90 to Feb 91. If Paul was relatively disconnected with the printing I could see 8 or so issues of this newsletter slipping by. Before someone told him hey you see this crap, you might want to put the clamps down on this.


What's troubling about these newsletters is the same thing that is troubling about the LP. There's a small but vocal minority in the LP who make a lot of noise with this crap. If you ask me the style and substance of the survivalist race war stuff smells a little like Gary North.
1.10.2008 10:03am
Burt Likko (mail) (www):
When my first-year associate writes something in a pleading, signs it, and it gets filed with the Court, my name is on the caption. Her words are my words. I don't get to go into court the next day and say, "Oh, gee, Your Honor, that was my first-year associate, not me, so just disregard it please." Now, Paul isn't a lawyer, but he is a politician and I don't see any reason why he shouldn't be held to a simialr standard for things that are published in his name.
1.10.2008 11:47am
Mr. X (www):
When my first-year associate writes something in a pleading, signs it, and it gets filed with the Court, my name is on the caption. Her words are my words. I don't get to go into court the next day and say, "Oh, gee, Your Honor, that was my first-year associate, not me, so just disregard it please." Now, Paul isn't a lawyer, but he is a politician and I don't see any reason why he shouldn't be held to a similar standard for things that are published in his name.


Your analogy doesn't quite fit. As an attorney, you have a defined legal duty to be responsible for everything filed in a case where you've entered an appearance. In Ron Paul's case, he lent his name to the title of the newsletter and the newsletter was written generally without bylines. If I started a blog called "Mr. X's Political Report" and let 4-5 people post on it without attribution, I'm responsible for choosing the people, but the words are not mine.

Newsletters were the early 90s version of blogs. Polemical and sensationalist at times, freewheeling, and often nutty.
1.10.2008 1:43pm
Dave D. (mail):
..."Often nutty".....Hmmmmm. Ron Paul says often nutty things. He associates with often nutty people. His forums are filled with often nutty folks saying awfully nutty things involving Neoconish Jews, Fiat money and the great depression it will bring any day now.

...Why would that make anybody conclude the Doctor was...Often nutty ?
1.10.2008 2:14pm
formerbeltwaywonk (mail):
At the first sign of political incorrectness, all the below-the-Beltway "libertarians" have dumped Ron Paul like yesterday's garbage. Now they can rest easy that they will still be invited to the parties thrown by their lobbyist and government employee and contractor friends, who for a second or two got worried by all those Google searches that Ron Paul might have some influence, resulting in some of them losing their jobs (end the income tax with no replacement?! The guy is obvioiusly a kook, and we don't invite the supporters of kooks to our parties!). Now everybody around the Beltway can go back to partying at the taxpayer's expense. All the money will keep flowing in, hooray!

The lesson millions of young libertarians have now learned from our beltway "libertarians"? Libertarian electioneering is futile. Voting is futile. Democracy is futile. Anybody who actually wants liberty is a kook, as can be proven by their association with kooks. Beltway wonks posing as "libertarians" are happy to write things to inflame your hopes for liberty that they don't really mean. Then they make sure that we elect the politicians their friends want -- the ones that will enslave your future to pay for full social security for Baby Boomers. The ones that will send you off to foreign lands to kill and die. Our Beltway "libertarians" are happy to sell a whole new generation of libertarians down the tubes in order to keep their Beltway friends happy.
1.10.2008 5:09pm
Andy C.:
Let's assume that Ron Paul, in his heart of hearts, is a bigot. Let's assume that he's a sexist. Let's assume that he's homophobic. Let's assume that he hates everybody, just to keep things simple.

What policies has Ron Paul supported, while in Congress (remember, he has a fairly large record), which have resulted in a reduction in personal liberty of Americans? What policies has Ron Paul espoused during his campaign which would result in a reduction of personal liberty of Americans? What policies do you think Ron Paul would enact which would be harmful towards blacks, Jews, women, etc.?

Many people mistakingly get caught up in intentions versus results. For instance, there's a good argument to be made that the policies enacted by liberals over the last 30-40 years have had a very negative impact on black America, even though we know there's not a racist bone in any liberal's body. In fact, some have gone so far as to say that liberal programs could have been designed by the KKK for what they have done to black America.

Do we care about intentions, or do we care about results?

Personally, I favor someone who would advance personal liberty, regardless of what he may believe in his heart versus someone who says all the right things but would decrease personal liberty.

But that's just me...
1.10.2008 5:09pm
fishbane (mail):
I have to wonder, if I started a blog titled "Ron Tells It Like It Is", and simply republished this trash, what the reaction would be.

Sure, there's a copyright claim.

But since I'm merely republishing what came out under his own name, he wouldn't complain about the content, eh?
1.10.2008 8:52pm
byomtov (mail):
What policies has Ron Paul supported, while in Congress (remember, he has a fairly large record), which have resulted in a reduction in personal liberty of Americans?

Paul's supporters turn ever more complex somersaults. Maximum points for degree of difficulty.

I don't think too many segregation laws have been introduced in Congress recently.
1.10.2008 10:23pm
fishbane (mail):
The lesson millions of young libertarians have now learned from our beltway "libertarians"? Libertarian electioneering is futile. Voting is futile. Democracy is futile.

Dude - as a young libertarian, I can tell you that the takeaway for me is, "don't pander to racist and homophobic assholes". I'm sure for every two young libertarian out there, there are three opinions, but from the admittedly small sample of libs I know, this is their opinion, too.

Paul may just be as pure as the driven snow we're not getting this year, but even if that's the case, it would display an incredibly dense lack of interest of what was done in his name. Not something I look for in an executive.
1.10.2008 11:14pm
Ron Paul Will Pardon All Nonviolent Drug Offenders:
Allegedly racist Ron Paul has stated he will pardon all nonviolent drug offenders. Civil rights leaders like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton have campaigned against the fact that blacks face harsher penalties under the Amerikkkan justice system for small doses of drugs. More blacks are in jail than whites. What race will gain the biggest benefit from a Ron Paul presidency?
1.14.2008 2:41pm