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The rabid supporters of twice unsuccessful Presidential candidate Ron Paul claim their candidate is different from the others but when he comes under attack for using his foundations to further his political career, they chime in with a defense that claims other candidates do the same thing.
In the end, the partisan supporters of the Texas Congressman who is sometimes a Libertarian, sometimes a Republican and always a conspiracy-touting extremist are no different than the die-hard backers of former presidents George W. Bush or Bill Clinton.
“It is kind of funny that the standard defense of Ron Paul using his foundations for political purposes is that old excuse that ‘everybody does it.’ Everybody doesn’t do it. Most use political action committees for that purpose,” GOP strategist John Lawrence tells Capitol Hill Blue. “It is typical of the ignorance of Ron Paul’s faithful that they don’t know the difference between a not-for-profit foundation and a PAC.”
Another fantasy from the Paul camp is the claim that his positions have never changed, that he has always been consistent. Paul’s changing story about his role in the racist, homophobic, anti-Semitic and conspiracy-touting newsletters that bore his name in the 1980s and 1990s lays that lie to rest. At first he claimed the words were his and taken out of context, then his story changed to “I wrote some of the articles.” Now the story is “I didn’t write them, I didn’t read them and I disavow them.”
Ron Paul’s hypocrisy on the newsletter issue is so blatant that more questions are being raised about his handling of the matter.
Writes Brett Budkowsky in The Hill:
If Ron Paul wants others to take responsibility for their actions, he should take responsibility for his. Otherwise his credo is the same serial hypocrisy he correctly accuses Newt Gingrich of. If materials go out under Ron Paul’s name, advancing Ron Paul’s interest, it is not enough to say, in effect, “I did not know, I never knew, don’t blame me.”
I believe if Ron Paul did take personal responsibility it would help his campaign, but in any event, he should hold himself to the same standards he applies to everyone else.
Writes University of Maryland political science professor Thomas F. Schaller in The Baltimore Sun:
Nice try, congressman. There’s his name in giant, bold letters at the top of each issue. On some editions his face appears at the top, or his signature at the bottom. The lack of bylines attached to specific articles, his defenders say, means Dr. Paul can’t be held accountable for the words they contain. But the newsletters include first-person, biographical mentions like “my wife Carol” and “my youngest son … starting his fourth year of medical school.” His wife’s name is Carol; his youngest son, Robert, is a physician.
Even if surrogates actually wrote the material for Dr. Paul, so what? When politicians authorize press secretaries and ghostwriters to pen their statements, speeches and books, it is universally understood that the politician whose name appears atop the stationery or on the jacket cover is accountable. Once those newsletters went in the mail, Dr. Paul owned every word they contained — period.
But don’t let Dr. Paul’s impish, avuncular and professorial style fool you. He’s arguably the most megalomaniacal candidate in a 2012 Republican field that includes Newt Gingrich. And he’s trying to squirm out of taking responsibility for his writings.
I now brace myself for the torrent of emails from Dr. Paul’s vigilant supporters. When those emails arrive, I shall adopt the Ron Paul Defense: Despite my name and picture at the top of this column, I’m so busy lately I can’t remember for sure whether I wrote all the words in this column, nor did I read them before or after the column went to press. So I can’t be held responsible for calling their guy the racist, anti-gay conspiracist he is.
Hypocrisy, however, has long been a Ron Paul trademark but such facts don’t matter to Paul’s cult-like followers. Their candidate — in their narrow, parochial view of the world — is incapable of mistakes, of human fallacies. He is the political messiah they blindly claim will save all of us from themselves. In the end, American voters will save us from Ron Paul by rejecting him at the polls.
If Paul were caught screwing a nun on the steps of the Capitol, his followers would probably claim it was a trap by a “liberal” Catholic church.
Such is the nature of blind partisanship.
Paul’s followers are also well-known for spamming any web site that dares question the sainthood of their candidate. An editorial last week that suggested their candidate was selling America short to get rich brought the usual avalanche of hate email, spam and computer generated comments.
Capitol Hill Blue’s spam filters caught more than 5,000 fake emails from a handful of IP addresses. More than 2500 came from phony email accounts. More than 1500 contained racial, homophobic or anti-Semitic slurs. Some claimed racism by other candidates or slams against their religions.
Such comments don’t make it onto this site. We verify email addresses, look for spam from singular IP addresses and flag comments that contain obscenities, racial slurs or threats.
One trend we did find interesting in looking at the comments: More than 500 questioned our use of a quote from an anonymous former Paul staff member. All came from posters users anonymous “handles” instead of their names and 83 percent from fake email addresses.
Pot, meet kettle. Kettle, meet pot. The color for the day is black.
(Updated at 7:30 p.m. EST to add new material)