I don’t think I’ll ever run for public office — but if I do, I think I’d hire Andrew Kascynski as my oppo researcher. That’s not just because he’s good, but mainly to keep him from working for my opponent. Andrew just started a new gig at Buzzfeed, and his maiden post unearths another 1995 interview in which Ron Paul promotes the newsletters he claims now not to have read at all at the time:
Q: As we get started, I’d like if you could, give us, er, tell us a little bit about yourself, and your background and your experience. Thank you.
PAUL: Okay, just as an aside about the book that you refer to, although that book was put together in the early 1990s, it has materials from years before that, too.
PAUL: Like the minority views from the Gold Commission Report. That would have been done about ten years earlier. Anyway, I’m a physician here in Lake Jackson. I deliver babies for a living, but I also do an investment letter. It’s called the Ron Paul Survival Report, and I put that out on a monthly basis —
Q: I’ve heard of that.
PAUL: — which is a gold-oriented newsletter, but it’s also, uh, convening — expressing concern about surviving in this age of big government, where there’s a lot of taxes and regulations, and attacks on our personal liberties. I was concerned about this many years ago. Even in 1974 I had a lot of concern about this, and, uh, advocated some of the things that they’re talking about right now.
This is similar to the clip Andrew found last week, in which Paul promoted his newsletters with very specific recollections of what they contained. In this interview, Paul presents the more notorious of his newsletters not just as experience, but as the primary qualification for getting back to Congress. That makes Paul’s recent assertions that he didn’t have a clue what the newsletters that he published, sold, and from which Paul derived a healthy income contained look a little disingenuous and self-serving now. These two interviews from 1995 show that Paul wasn’t shy about promoting the newsletters when he thought it would benefit his political aspirations.
The New York Times does a little digging into Paul’s connections to the people who responded to the race-baiting and conspiracy theories published in the Paul newsletters — and who continue to respond to them today. If that embarrasses Paul, it doesn’t embarrass him enough to tell the white supremacists to take a hike:
Mr. Paul’s surprising surge in polls is creating excitement within a part of his political base that has been behind him for decades but overshadowed by his newer fans on college campuses and in some liberal precincts who are taken with his antiwar, anti-drug-laws messages.
The white supremacists, survivalists and anti-Zionists who have rallied behind his candidacy have not exactly been warmly welcomed. “I wouldn’t be happy with that,” Mr. Paul said in an interview Friday when asked about getting help from volunteers with anti-Jewish or antiblack views.
But he did not disavow their support. “If they want to endorse me, they’re endorsing what I do or say — it has nothing to do with endorsing what they say,” said Mr. Paul, who is now running strong in Iowa for the Republican nomination.
I agree with that — to a point. Candidates cannot control who does and does not vote for them, of course, although every candidate for every office must fantasize about having that kind of power. Candidates can control who joins their campaigns, even in volunteer roles. The NYT reports that Don Black, the leader of the white-supremacist group Stormfront, claims that “several dozen of his members” have volunteered for the Paul campaign this year, but they don’t provide any evidence that this is true. Accepting a claim from Black on his word is a bit much, though, and without any other evidence, readers should treat this claim with a great deal of skepticism — although it should be recalled that Paul refused to return a $500 donation from Black in the 2007-8 primary campaign, which created a big controversy at that time.
If you’re more interested in Paul’s policy than his record, the Washington Post’s Charles Lane delivers perhaps the ultimate insult for a Republican contender to square off against Barack Obama. Lane told Fox News Sunday that Paul actually comes closest to the foreign policy views of Obama’s longtime religious leader, Jeremiah Wright:
Texas Republican Rep. Ron Paul’s foreign policy outlook isn’t so dissimilar to that of President Obama’s long-time pastor and mentor the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, says Washington Post editorial writer Charles Lane.
On “Fox News Sunday,” Lane made the ideological connection between Paul and Wright, who claimed after the 9/11 attacks that “America’s chickens” had come home to roost.
“Well, I think one of the amazing things that this all shows that this is the Republican Party might be about to crown the winner of the Iowa caucuses, somebody with the foreign policy views of Jeremiah Wright,” Lane said. “Remember that? I mean, Ron Paul goes around blaming the United States for 9/11, etc., etc. So it is obvious he’s not going to be the nominee.”
In a similar vein, former Paul staffer Eric Dondero put out a statement yesterday, which we received but John Hawkins published at Right Wing News. Read the whole thing, which defends Paul from charges of racism and anti-semitism, but not of being a kooky conspiracy theorist. The big problem for Dondero is Paul’s foreign-policy views, which Dondero claims are even more odd than we think. Also, Jonah Goldberg explains why he’s not buying the Paul defense.