Precious Cargo

Refreshingly Bitter And Twisted Observations On Life's Passing Parade.

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Friday, January 11, 2008

Ron Paul, Andrew Sullivan and the Unreliability of Pundits

By now, anyone who has any interest in the candidacy of Ron Paul has read or heard about the revelations about him published in an article in the New Republic. It's fitting that I became aware of this article when Andrew Sullivan noted it on his blog. Fitting because Sullivan, who only recently endorsed Paul for the Republican nomination, reveals a great deal about not just himself, but pundits as a class, by his reactions to the article.

Here is an email I sent Sullivan earlier this morning to which I've received no reply.

Subject: You Didn’t Want to Know About Ron Paul’s Newsletters When I Apprised You of Them Last Year

Dear Andrew:

“But I'm not going to deny I feel embarrassed for not
knowing more about this.”

You didn't want to know about Ron Paul's newsletters
when I apprised you of them last May. Excerpts from
Ron Paul’s newsletters were already being posted on
blogs in May, 2007 (see link below). I happened to
click on a link to the story placed on the blog Making
Light around that time. When I read Paul’s past
comments, I was appalled and emailed you with a link
to the story on May 22, 2007

Given how enamored you were of Paul, I felt that you
should consider your support for him in light of his

You never responded to me, nor, apparently did you
bother to read the story. If you did, you never
discussed it on your blog and it had no impact on your
support for Ron Paul.

You were too infatuated with Ron Paul to even consider
that he might be seriously flawed. Even today, you’re
trying to minimize the impact of these revelations.
Also, as Kirchick’s article reveals, there are other
objectionable aspects to Paul, not merely his
newsletters, such as his pro-secessionist views,
affinity with conspiratorial paranoids like Alex
Jones, etc. You haven’t bothered to acknowledge and
contend with them.

As the old song goes, you fall in love too easily. You
fell or Bush in 2000, even though his unsuitability
for the presidency was patently obvious. You fell in
love with Ron Paul last year, and simply avoided
anything that might disillusion you. It was quite easy
to discover some of the information the New Republic
published long before they broke the story without
strenuous effort. You just didn’t want to hear it.

Peter L. Winkler

And here is Sullivan yesterday, commenting on the just concluded Republican debate:

And, yes, thank God for Ron Paul.

No one else, except McCain, copped to the GOP's rank betrayal of fiscal conservatism, limited government, prudent foreign policy and civil liberties. When he was asked to disown the 9/11 Truthers, he gave a revealing answer, and one that reflects on the newsletters issue. It just isn't in his nature to adopt other people's views, or to tell anyone else what to believe or what to say. He doesn't just believe in libertarianism; he lives it. This means that he doesn't have the instinct to police anyone else's views or actions within the law or the Constitution. I don't think it excuses his negligence in the past, but it does help me understand it better.

"It just isn't in his nature to adopt other people's views, or to tell anyone else what to believe or what to say."

How deep in denial can Sullivan be? When you publish newsletters over a ten year period using the imprimatur of your name and issued by the Ron Paul Publishing Company, then it is obvious that you approve of the opinions expressed within because you share them. Paul didn't adopt these views because they were already his.

Here's what a commenter wrote on John C. Dvorak's blog:

gregallen said, on January 10th, 2008 at 9:09 pm

Oh, C’mon. This is absurd. OF COURSE he knew what was in his newsletter.

They were published for many years, right? And this racist and homophobic crap wasn’t just one little thing that slipped in but an on-going theme, right?

I can only conclude that Paul is a liar.

These kind of newsletters were my stock-in-trade for a number of years. While it’s true that the executive didn’t write every word of the newsletter, s/he ALWAYS wrote the rough draft of the main editorial and gave oversight to ALL the article decisions.

Most significantly, the executive ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS signed off on the final proof before it went to press. Always. Yes, it’s possible that a little something might slip through — but not repeated stuff. Especially not offensive, insulting stuff that he would surely hear about later.

Seriously, I’ve done HUNDREDS of these kind of newsletters and every single issue the executive signed off on it. Always.

SO, I can only conclude that Paul is lying.

But back to Sullivan. Read this again in light of his "Thank God for Ron Paul" comment:

“But I'm not going to deny I feel embarrassed for not
knowing more about this.”

Love means never having to admit your mistakes or rethink your position. Sullivan is embarrassed because his foolishness has been caught out thanks to the New Republic's story, which he couldn't ignore. But his minor embarrassment hasn't stoppd him from continuing to make goo-goo eyes at Ron Paul.

Sullivan is just like Chris Matthews and the pundits who orbit him on his TV show. When Barack Obama won in Iowa, they were talking about Obama like he was an amalgam of the founding fathers, FDR, JFK and Jesus Christ. Matthews, who's enthusiasm often leads him to give gushing praise for wholly undeserving recipients (he said Ann Coulter and Laura Ingraham are great writers), said Obama's speeches are the greatest political speeches he's heard in his lifetime.

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Blogger Micgar said...

Jon Swift BB Posts of 2008 led me here! Great post! Ron Paul is a nut! It really pained me to see some people give any kind of cred. to this guy. During the campaign there were numerous ads in the local "alternative weekly" newspaper asking for help with the Paul campaign effort. I am sure that there were numerous college kids who joined up because they felt (and were misled) to think that Paul represented some kind of revolution for civil liberties, and against the war, etc. He may have supported a few things that progressives would want, but he also had (as you mentioned)some rabidly racist and nativist anti-immigrant views and had support from some unsavory anti immigrant types, and had some real nutty views on gov't and 9-11.
I am glad you emailed Sullivan. I wonder if he was ashamed to respond?

9:48 PM  
Blogger Peter L. Winkler said...

I'm glad you read and enjoyed my comments on Sulivan. I'm sure Sullivan gets a great many emails daily. Maybe he didn't read mine. If he did, I assume he didn't respond because he's unwilling to admit that he could have but didn't research Ron Paul before Kirchick's TNR article was pubished.

11:46 PM  

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