Commentary Magazine


Do Ron Paul’s Newsletters Still Matter?

It’s the question that continues to pop up campaign cycle after campaign cycle – if Ron Paul maintains that he never wrote the racist and extremist content in his newsletters, then who did?

In 2008, Julian Sanchez and Dave Weigel reported that a source close to the Ron Paul campaign claimed that Lew Rockwell actually penned the offending articles, but Paul didn’t want to publicly acknowledge it because the two were still close friends.

Rockwell is something of a fringe extremist, so it’s believable that he could have ghosted the newsletters. But it does seems strange that Rockwell – who has published plenty of offensive columns in his own newsletter and website – would be so concerned about being exposed as the author of these particular articles that he’d let Paul take the heat instead.

Plus, if Paul believes the racist content in the newsletters was repugnant, as he claims, why would he still be friends with the guy who allegedly wrote it? Why would he still associate with him professionally? Could Paul really be that forgiving of someone who supposedly churned out bigoted content under his name, and then let Paul take the fall?

Apparently, a lot of Paul’s supporters think so. And now they’re ready to shut the book on this uncomfortable topic.

Of course, it’s not that simple. At the Washington Examiner, Phil Klein takes issue with Paul’s supporters who expect the media to give the congressman a pass on the newsletters:

Rick Perry and Mitt Romney have both attacked each other for what was written in their respective books. If either of those books had included a number of overtly racist statements, their candidacies would be over before they started. If they used the Ron Paul defense – that they didn’t write the words themselves, they didn’t know what was in the books and don’t even know who wrote them, it would only make matters worse. They could kiss their political careers goodbye.

Forget a book – remember how hysterical the media became over something that was written on a rock at a house Rick Perry’s father once rented?

Even if Paul didn’t write the newsletters, he defended the content when it was first exposed in 1996. At the time, he even took responsibility for writing the bigoted comments himself, and blasted his opponents for taking his words “out of context.” A few years later, he backtracked and claimed he never wrote them, demanding the media move on. Of course, nobody can move on until he answers the questions that have gone unanswered for years: Who wrote the newsletters? Did Paul know what was in them? And if not, why?