The American Conservative Goes For Ron Paul

by James Kirchick | February 4, 2008

When Ron Paul's newsletters were unveiled, respectable libertarians like the writers at Reason magazine and the Cato Institute almost immediately disassociated themselves from the fringe presidential candidate and his works. As Cato's David Boaz summed up his view at the time:

Libertarians should make it clear that the people who wrote those things are not our comrades, not part of our movement, not part of the tradition of John Locke, Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill, William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass, Ludwig von Mises, F. A. Hayek, Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman, and Robert Nozick. Shame on them.

Paul claimed that he had no role in the production of the newsletters, and his mendacity was compounded several weeks ago when his own congressional chief of staff told me that his campaign was prepared to name Lew Rockwell as playing a principal role in the production of the newsletters the day before my article appeared, only to scuttle the announcement at the behest of the campaign chairman. Several days later, in a CNN interview, Paul averred that he had no idea who was involved in the newsletters. Paul is a bald-faced liar.

As I wrote several weeks ago, "the only people still defending Ron Paul are the openly bigoted or the comically credulous." The sort of person whose support for a candidate is strengthened from the knowledge that said candidate referred to blacks as "animals" on repeated occasions or longed for the days when gay people were closeted, is hardly the type that a 21st-century libertarian movement would want to make common cause with, and seemed to be limited in scope to National Review's John Derbyshire, the crypto-white supremacists at VDare.com and David Duke. Now you can add Pat Buchanan's American Conservative to the list of individuals and institutions at best unbothered and at worse bolstered by the news that Ron Paul profited from the sale of bigoted, paranoid newsletters.

In its endorsement of Paul, the American Conservative makes no mention of the newsletters, and concludes with this:

Ron Paul has been a breath of fresh air in an otherwise desultory Republican campaign. Long may he run. 

Claiming that AIDS was invented at Ft. Detrick military base is many things; a "breath of fresh air" it is not.

A month ago, an endorsement of Ron Paul would have been intellectually acceptable. Endorsing him now, knowing what we know, puts one out of the bounds of intellectually acceptable debate and into the fever swamps. Indeed, to have chosen a time such as this to make an endorsement -- weeks after the newsletters had been read over and scrutinized in the blogosphere and mainstream media -- is to invite ridicule.

For a long time, Ron Paul and his supporters have been telling us that the Republican Party needs to return back to its roots, and that the Texas Congressman is the man to do it. They have yet to reconcile themselves to the fact that the GOP is the party of Lincoln. 

--James Kirchick 

Source URL: http://www.newrepublic.com//blog/the-plank/the-american-conservative-goes-ron-paul