Friday, November 16, 2007

Charen's Irrational Assault on Ron Paul

Mona Charen has a column this morning that makes the usual "Ron Paul is kooky" attacks. For the most part, the column just recites the same old crap that others have said.

Some of her claims are downright silly, including the usual "Ron Paul is an isolationist" falsehood. For this claim she uses Nixon's detente policy as evidence that Nixon's foreign policy was different...trouble is, detente is exactly the sort of foreign policy Ron Paul and libertarians more generally would support- peace through trade and dialogue. She calls the idea of getting rid of various agencies "unserious", ignoring that he has never said that he would do it overnight as she claims. Finally, she makes the point about Ron Paul's connection with Alex Jones- which is a legitimate point, but one that hardly covers new ground.

But her silliest, most bizarre point is her first: Ron Paul is inconsistent on civil liberties because he is opposed to a pardon for Scooter Libby. Really? This is the biggest inconsistency you could find? I'm trying to wrap my mind around the concept that he's inconsistent on civil liberties because he opposes pardoning someone whose crime was closely related to the violation of civil liberties. Can someone please explain this one? She claims Paul's reasoning for opposing a Libby pardon is just because Paul disagrees with Libby's involvement in the runup to the Iraq war. But this isn't a mere policy disagreement, as she claims- the act that led to his imprisonment actually WAS his involvement in the runup to the Iraq war. So Paul's comments can, should, and must be interpreted merely as saying that Libby's crime was far, far too severe to warrant a pardon.

Don't get me wrong, there are some areas where I find Paul to be inconsistent, as I have said here and here. But I really don't see how the Scooter Libby issue fits the bill.