Tuesday, January 8, 2008

More on the Paul Newsletter Story

The New Republic has posted what looks to be several dozen excerpts from Congressman Paul's newsletters, covering a wide number of years. Many of the earlier ones are limited to conspiratorial stuff- but this is not the less-whacky-sounding "conspiracy of ideas" conspiracy talk. Instead, it is deeply focused on things like the Trilateral Commission, Skull & Bones, and stuff like that- not just an irrational fear of NAFTA. In one newsletter he even accuses George Will of being one of the enemies on the Trilateral Commission- interesting now that Will has spent the last several months being one of Paul's best friends in the media. I think that's about to change.

For four consecutive months in 1990-1991, his newsletters threw out all kinds of slurs about Martin Luther King, and/or praising David Duke. Seemingly around the same time, he (or his associates using his signature) issued a solicitation letter talking about a conspiracy of gays and the government to cover-up some unknown aspect of AIDS. The letter is filled with thinly veiled slurs, conspiracy theories, and almost as bad, a blatant attempt to use his position as a then-former Congressman to demonstrate that he knew about all these scams first-hand and, in the process, swindle recipients (who probably deserved it, but still....) out of their cash.

Almost every item highlighted at TNR (except, arguably, the Mises Institute materials) makes the material that came out last summer look like a love letter. I should also point out that every single one of these newletters is written in the first person, bearing Paul's name. While there is no byline, the newsletters aren't set up as standard reports, but rather as personal stories. Even if Paul did not actually write the material (which is plausible), it defies logic to think that he had no idea of the content of the content of the newsletters. Perhaps he is truly reformed; certainly his more recent rhetoric is difficult to jibe with many of the statements in the newsletter. But if he is to reclaim even the slightest bit of my respect, then he will need to make it absolutely explicit that he repudiates everything in the letters and, in my view, he must also come clean about the level of knowledge he had about the newsletters.