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Mona Charen
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Too Close to Kooky


Memo to: Ron Paul supporters

Subject: Your e-mails

Okay, enough is enough. Like every other journalist in America, and who knows, maybe the world or even the universe, I've been deluged with your letters and e-mails. So I've done as you asked and taken a closer look at your candidate. Here is what I've found:

1. Ron Paul is inconsistent. Though he calls himself a man of principle and is apparently admired as such by his ardent fans, his principles seem somewhat elastic. He rails against the Bush administration for its supposed assault on civil liberties, yet when he was asked at one of the debates whether Scooter Libby deserved a pardon, he said no. "He doesn't deserve one because he was instrumental in leading the Congress and the people to support a war that we didn't need to be in." Notice that he didn't say it was because Libby was guilty of committing a crime. No, because Libby argued for a policy with which Paul disagreed, he deserved to serve time in prison. Ron Paul, the libertarian, who presumably values liberty above all, is willing to deprive someone else of his because of a policy disagreement?

2. Ron Paul is historically challenged. He argues that by embracing isolationism, he fits within a Republican tradition stretching back to Eisenhower "who stopped the Korean War" and including Nixon "who stopped the war in Vietnam." Let's recap. Eisenhower threatened to use nuclear weapons against China. It was the Eisenhower administration that had a hand in toppling Iran's Mohammad Mossedegh (an intervention that Paul has elsewhere cited as causing the U.S. grief 25 years later when the Islamists took power). Eisenhower also intervened in Guatemala, Cuba (planning for the Bay of Pigs began during his tenure) and Lebanon.

Nixon, an isolationist? Most observers, whatever they may make of detente with the USSR and the opening to China, agree that Nixon was an emphatic internationalist. For the record, he intervened in many countries including Chili, Peru and Cambodia. And he saved Israel by resupplying her during the Yom Kippur war. Neither his successes nor failures grew out of a Paulesque policy of "minding our own business."

3. Ron Paul is unserious. Suggesting that you will eliminate the IRS, the CIA, the FBI and other government agencies within weeks of taking office is ridiculous.

These are bumper stickers, not serious reform proposals.

4. Ron Paul is too cozy with kooks and conspiracy theorists. As syndicated radio host Michael Medved has pointed out, Ron Paul's newspaper column was carried by the American Free Press (a parent publication of the Hitler-praising Barnes Review). Paul may not have been aware of this. But though invited by Medved to disavow any connection, Paul has so far failed to respond.

Paul has appeared on the Alex Jones radio program not once, not twice, but three times. Jones is the sort who believes that black helicopters are coming to impose a police state on America. He is quite concerned about the Bohemian Grove, the Bilderbergers, the federal election system (it's rigged, of course) and so on. Naturally, he believes that 9/11 was an inside job. Ron Paul has even appeared in a Jones film, "Endgame," the point of which is apparently that the Bilderbergers are plotting to control the world. They've already got Europe (through the European Union) and now are on the verge of securing America by means of a North American union that would unite Mexico, the United States and Canada.

Even if Paul says nothing insane in this film, his appearance alone calls his judgment into question. I have not seen "Endgame," but I have heard a tape of Paul on the Jones program just after the 2006 election. Jones asked the congressman whether the victory for the Democrats wasn't a "rejection of neo-fascist imperialism." Paul replied, "Yeah . . . This was a healthy election as far as I'm concerned."

Ron Paul is the favorite candidate of a number of racist, neo-Nazi and conspiracist websites. While Paul cannot be held accountable for the views of cranks and kooks, he can disavow their support and return their checks. He received $500 from Don Black, the proprietor of and former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. He has not yet returned it.

Moreover, Paul seems to be playing a sly game with his conspiracy-minded fans. He does not explicitly endorse the crazier theories out there, but he hints at dark forces in the U.S. government threatening our liberties, he inveighs against the "neo-cons" (shorthand for Jews in some circles) and he gives aid and comfort to the paranoid by appearing on their favorite radio shows.

No, Ron Paul is not my candidate. Not for president. He might make a dandy new leader for the Branch Davidians.

To find out more about Mona Charen and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at



5 Comments | Post Comment
I read this article today at work, published in the local paper.
The opening paragraph set the mood - you claim to have taken a closer look at Dr. Paul, but it is clear that you only went looking for ammunition to put in a slam piece. Pathetic - I hope you're satisfied & impressed with yourself - who else could be? Who is going to enjoy such shallow nit-picking? I look forward to seeing you employ the same elementary tactics on the rest of the candidates. And I hope to see some fair-minded person apply them to your words. Even a disinterested person who merely paid attention during the televised debates could argue down each of your points:

1. You claim Dr. Paul is inconsistent, having elastic principles. Then you give a single, poorly constructed example, in which you indict yourself for the same fault mentioned. Perhaps you think Mr. Libby should be pardoned, but had you taken note of the quote you used to condemn the disagreer, you might have realized that it betrays a lack of understanding about the Libby case. Rather than give an informed answer, like "the jury even felt bad about finding him guilty - if he's innocent, an appeal will exonerate him," Dr. Paul used the opportunity to express his belief that the nation was lied into a war. Common debate maneuver.

2. You accuse Dr. Paul of embracing isolationism. Perhaps you have your own special definition of "isolationism" - this might be a battle of semantics, but you have the option to read what the man says about that in some detail. During other debates, he has stressed his desire to see the U.S. "trade with" and "talk with" and "be friends" with other nations, but to "stay out of their internal affairs" unless called upon by such a nation and a consensus here at home. It seems that we are currently isolating ourselves by demanding that world affairs be conducted our way, and refusing to speak with dignitaries who don't like our policies.

3. If you & I can see that eliminating the IRS, CIA, and FBI within weeks of taking office is ridiculous, how can you pretend that a man with Dr. Paul's credentials cannot see the same? You are like an arrogant toddler, smug about the flavor of candy in your mouth, unaware that everyone in the room can smell it. The man has said time and again that he wants to implement his policies as quickly as possible and with a congressional consensus. Calling him unserious is absurd, as he has been advocating such things for two decades in congress, and has been spending millions of donated dollars to explain it to as many people as possible. If he is guilty of being brief in such places as debate answers, radio & TV commercials, and interviews, I'm sure you understand. Perhaps you could have elaborated more on your little points of contention here.

4. Dr. Paul is too cozy with kooks, etc. I suppose you're not good with kids. Isn't it virtuous to entertain the company of rejects, even if only to give them a chance? Perhaps you would prefer a candidate who's quick to judge, and will not tolerate information he disagrees with. After all, it might be true that obscure information is always 100% false and useless. But you have to understand something in order to actively & consciously dismiss it - or at least I do.

I have read what you have to say, and what miniscule substance is to be found (i.e. the opinion), I dismiss. It's articles like this that only make sense when I pretend their target audience is children. Maybe you should include stick figures next time. I assume you're aware of what you've done... unless you're incapable of patiently considering another person's actual thoughts, or of writing actual analysis. Perhaps the cliche is true, that what qualifies you as a journalist is not an ability to translate thoughts into fluid writing, or even an ability to understand what you've already written, but merely a lack of scruples.

And, no, I'm not going to e-mail all my kook buddies the link to your article.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Jacob Cochrane
Tue Nov 27, 2007 3:39 PM
Mona is clearly biased against Ron Paul. Why? Is she a mouthpiece for the Neocons? She nitpicks micro inconsistencies as a reason not to vote RP. The remainder of the "memo" is filled with her subjective attitude, IMHO.
Comment: #2
Posted by: driedjello
Wed Nov 28, 2007 1:55 PM
I would also like to point out that she substitutes skepticism with "Kooky" and marginalizes and generalizes his supporters. Nice one.
Comment: #3
Posted by: driedjello
Wed Nov 28, 2007 1:57 PM
Never mind how crazy it SEEMS, have you ever even actually seriously considered that some or most of what Alex Jones talks about is TRUE? If you listen to Ron Paul's speeches and read his writings, it is clear that he is a lot more intelligent and well-informed than you are, and no serious intellectual writes off a theory as crazy without seriously investigating the evidence for and against it. I'm sure that Germans in the 1930s would have said it was crazy to imagine their leaders boiling people alive, baking people in ovens, or throwing them into gas chambers by the hundreds. Unfortunately, in the end, they really did those things, and those Germans who ignored the signs had to live with that guilt. Anyone who doesn't draw parallels between the actions of the Bush Administration and Hitler or Stalin is not a serious intellectual. In fact, you, Mona, are the crazy one, because you believe what you WANT to believe rather than objectively observing what is actually happening. From your picture, you look like you have entered the golden years of life, so maybe you should consider the possibility that your mind has lost some of its edge and is no longer able to accept new concepts--especially when they are radically different from what you thought you knew or when they are particularly vile. But anyone with common sense will agree--it has happened before that men have proved themselves to be capable of unthinkable evil, so it is beyond foolish not to be on the lookout that they might do it again.
Comment: #4
Posted by: johnpp2
Fri Dec 14, 2007 1:31 PM
Re: johnpp2Thank you- you just proved an interesting point- the biggest problem about Ron Paul is his supporters.
"As crazy as it seems" Alex Jones cannot provide factual evidence for any statement he makes. What he does do very well is incite drama, which you confuse as fact. Any person who has an elementary level of education and is functional in society sees through his charade as it really is. This is a trait that the Mommies Basement Dwellers ( they like to be called "conspiracy theorists"- it sounds to them like it's a job title they can use - because they don't have a real job, life, education, etc- ) use- dismissing peer reviewed evidence and expert documentation for the means of creating drama and to draw attention to themselves. He does not have critical thinking skills. When challenged , Jones really loves to play the bully card- just like you are doing. Is she insulting your manhood? Have you ever once in your pathetic life ever been able to make a point based on facts rather than running your mouth in a tirade of rhetoric?
Comment: #5
Posted by: G Michael Leonard
Wed Apr 29, 2015 10:30 AM
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