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 Stormfront.org 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 www.creators.com.