Those of you who have read Mona Charen’s column attacking Ron Paul should take note that Jesse Benton, Communications Director for Ron Paul, has responded to the article in a very impressive, articulate, and convincing letter to the editor of the National Review.
I reproduce it for your edification here:
I read Mona Charen’s column on Friday and I had to clear a few things up. Outside of the name-calling (“kook,” as I’m sure you remember, was the attack word of choice used by critics of Barry Goldwater), Charen was way off base.
1. Dr. Paul’s commitment to principle is second to none, so to attack him, Charen twists the understanding of what a presidential pardon really is. A pardon is a constitutional check by the executive branch on the judiciary to protect against cruel or unusual punishment. When considering a pardon, a president examines extenuating circumstances to decide whether a punishment for a conviction under the law was unjust. Scooter Libby was convicted of a crime; that is not the issue here. Dr. Paul is not sympathetic to issuing him a pardon because he finds Libby an unsympathetic character. There is nothing inconsistent here. President Bush, who has issued the fewest pardons of any president since World War II, hasn’t pardoned Libby either, by the way.
2. If Charen paid much attention to the campaign, she would know that Dr. Paul never utters the word “isolationist” except to explain why he is not one. He believes in the foreign policy of the founders: peace, commerce, and open friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none. When he references Nixon and Eisenhower, he is clearly talking about past successful Republican campaign strategies, not what they did in office. Eisenhower campaigned to end the Korean War, Nixon to get us out of Vietnam. Dr. Paul argues that the GOP can only win in 2008 with a candidate who will bring hope troops form Iraq. Last I checked, many National Review readers cared a thing or two about Republicans winning elections.
3. Ron Paul is dead serious and very sober about what it will take to reform things like our oppressive tax system. Clearly, a Paul administration cannot end the IRS on January 29, 2009. Ending the income tax, a goal all real conservatives should share, would take major cooperation with the Congress. But, with honest communication and a lot of hard work, Dr. Paul knows that we can end the end the income tax over the course of just a few years. Over half of federal government revenue presently comes from sources other than the income tax. The United States could end the IRS and still fund the same level of big government we had less than ten years ago. There is nothing “unserious” about that.
4. Dr. Paul is a modest man with a sparkling record and unimpeachable personal integrity. I understand why you need to attack him by linking him to less-than-savory individuals (there is simply nothing else to use), but it is just not going to work. Some of your charges are silly. Dr. Paul’s “Texas Straight Talk Column,” for example, is public record and anyone, from the American Free Press to Cat Fancy, has the right to reprint it.
Yes, Ron appears on the Alex Jones radio program. But you know who else talks to Alex Jones? People like Judge Anthony Napolitano. Guess who hosts Alex Jones? FOX’s John Gibson and National Public Radio. Dr. Paul has said time and again that he does not believe 9/11 was an inside job. He does, however, think we should always question authority. When, by the way, were conservatives supposed to become trusting of big government?
Dr. Paul stands for freedom, peace, prosperity, and the protection of inalienable individual rights. He knows that liberty is the antidote for racism, anti-Semitism, and other small minded ideologies. Dr. Paul has focused all of his energy on winning the presidency so he can cut the size of government and protect the freedom of every American. Neither he nor his staff is going to waste time screening donors. If a handful of individuals with views anathema to Dr. Paul’s send in checks, then they have wasted their money. I cannot profess to understand the motivations of Don Black as neither Dr. Paul nor I know who he is, but a simple Google search shows that his $500 contribution has netted him at least 88 news hits, including Charen’s column. Perhaps a better explanation for his “contribution” is not support for Ron, but the attention he knew he would receive.
Mona, I can not expect everyone to support Dr. Paul, especially those who have sunk so much of their own credibility into supporting the Iraq war. In fact, Dr. Paul welcomes open and spirited discussions, and even legitimate criticism. But, I had to get a few things off my chest.