Ron Paul: Yea I Wrote The Newsletters, But Not Those Icky Parts

Ron Paul has a new explanation for those newsletters of his.

Ron Paul is equivocating on the newsletters controversy yet again. Back in 1995 and 1996 when he was making his effort to return to Congress, Paul made no effort to disassociate himself from even the most controversial parts oft the newsletters published under his name, even those parts that repeated what can only be called vile smears against African-Americans and homosexuals. At some point during that period a subscription solicitation went out under his signature forecasting a race war. By 2001 or so, Paul was disavowing the newsletters and saying that they weren’t really written by him. During the 2008 campaign, he told Wolf Blitzer said not only that he didn’t write them but that he didn’t know who wrote them. Most recently, Paul has said that he was sorry that he wasn’t paying attention to the “ghost writers” who were writing the newsletters on his behalf.

Now, David Weigel reports that Paul has apparently changed his story yet again, as this transcript from an appearance on Iowa’s WHO seems to reveal:

CALLER: Dr. Paul, how confident were you at the time that the newsletters that bore your name were representative of your views on taxes, on monetary policy, the Second Amendment, the Tenth Amendment, all the things that you hold dear? How confident were you that the newsletter accurately portrayed your views on those things?

PAUL: Well, the newsletters were written, you know, a long time ago. And I wrote a certain portion of them. I would write the economics. So a lot of what you just mentioned… his would be material that I would turn in, and it would become part of the letter. But there were many times when I didn’t edit the whole letter, and things got put in. And I didn’t even really become aware of the details of that until many years later when somebody else called and said, you know what was in it? But these were sentences that were put in, a total of eight or ten sentences, and it was bad stuff. It wasn’t a reflection of my views at all. So it got in the letter, I thought it was terrible, it was tragic, you know and I had some responsibility for it, because name went on the letter. But I was not an editor. I’m like a publisher. And if you think of publishers of newspapers, once in a while they get pretty junky stuff in newspapers. And they have to say that this is not the position of that newspaper, and this is certainly the case. But I actually put a type of a newsletter out, it was a freedom report, investment, survival report — every month since 1976. So this is probably ten sentences out of 10,000 pages, for all I know. I think it’s bad that happened but I disavowed all these views, and people who know me best, people of my district, have heard these stories for years and years, and they know they weren’t a reflection of anything I believed in, and it never hurt me politically. Right now, I think it’s the same case, too. People are desperate to find something.

CALLER: But Dr. Paul, many of the newsletters are filled with conspiracies. You had one newsletter from start to finish with fear that the $50 bill, because it was going to be made pink, and it was gonna have all kinds of things that can track us down, so we should all be afraid that maybe tomorrow they’re gonna require us to turn in all of our old money.

PAUL: The paper money now is pink, you know? No, we haven’t had runaway inflation, but I still fear that.

The money is pink? Well, umm, okay I’m not at all sure what the heck that’s supposed to mean. But, clearly, Paul has changed his story yet again.

Moreover, as Allahpundit points out, the questionable content runs far longer than just “eight or ten sentences”:

Pick through TNR’s archive of the newsletters and see how much there is. Or scroll through this guy’s Twitter timeline; he’s been tweeting the choicer excerpts (sometimes repetitively) since before Christmas. Much depends, I guess, on what you think qualifies as “bad stuff.” Everyone agrees that the racist material is bad; how about the five paragraphs devoted in one newsletter to the idea that AIDS might have been engineered at Fort Detrick? How about the section a few months after the first World Trade Center bombing wondering whether Mossad might be responsible? How about the fact that Paul was willing to speculate on camera in 2008, a year in which he was running for president, that the Bilderbergers were chatting about controlling the world’s banking and natural resources?

Moreover, as Jamie Kirchick notes in the Times today, the paranoid conspiracy elements of the newsletters are just as bizarre as the racial stuff:

In a 1990 C-Span appearance, taped between Congressional stints, Paul was asked by a caller to comment on the “treasonous, Marxist, alcoholic dictators that pull the strings in our country.” Rather than roll his eyes, Paul responded,”there’s pretty good evidence that those who are involved in the Trilateral Commission and the Council on Foreign Relations usually end up in positions of power. And I believe this is true.”

Paul then went on to stress the negligible differences between various “Rockefeller Trilateralists.” The notion that these three specific groups — the Trilateral Commission, the Council on Foreign Relations and the Rockefeller family — run the world has been at the center of far-right conspiracy theorizing for a long time, promoted especially by the extremist John Birch Society, whose 50th anniversary gala dinner Paul keynoted in 2008…

Paul knows where his bread is buttered. He regularly appears on the radio program of Alex Jones, a vocal 9/11 and New World Order conspiracy theorist based in his home state of Texas. On Jones’s show earlier this month, Paul alleged that the Iranian plot to kill the Saudi ambassador on United States soil was a “propaganda stunt” perpetrated by the Obama administration.

In light of the newsletters and his current rhetoric, it is no wonder that Paul has attracted not just prominent racists, but seemingly every conspiracy theorist in America.

It’s not surprising, because it all started with Lew Rockwell’s decision in the early 90s that libertarians should appeal to the so-called Old Right and the culture warriors. It’s a strategy that led so-called libertarians like Rockwell, Rothbard, and Paul to ally themselves with a revanchist like Pat Buchanan, and it’s the kind of strategy that allowed them to look the other way while Paul received endorsements by outright racists like David Duke and the people at Stormfront and, most recently, a Pastor who thinks homosexuals should be put to death. It may be the pathway to big bucks, but it’s not a pathway to freedom. How Paul has been able to get away with it for so long is another question entirely.

Here’s the audio of Paul’s appearance, which runs a full eight minutes:

FILED UNDER: 2012 Election, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. michael reynolds says:

    Simple logic test: if you, Doug, wrote crazy racist and paranoid conspiracy stuff here at OTB, not for days or months but for years . . . would Joyner be responsible?

    Easy answer: Yes.

    Is my publisher responsible for what I write? Yes.

    Is the Washington Post responsible for what it’s writers put in the paper? Yes.

    This isn’t a hard question.

    But it’s worse than that, because you, Doug, even if you were so inclined, would not dream of writing that kind of thing here at OTB because you know it would be inappropriate. You would have taken the temperature of the room. You would know it wouldn’t fly. You’d know Joyner would freak out.

    Whoever wrote this stuff knew Paul would be okay with it. And quite obviously Paul was okay with it. Otherwise it would not have gone on for years.

  2. @michael reynolds:

    You’re right. But you left about the other part.

    I’d never run for President. Because a quick Nexis search would find things I wrote in college that would disqualify me from office 😀

  3. Herb says:

    Yeah……Ron Paul’s not the straightest shooter, is he?

  4. michael reynolds says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    All things equal I would prefer to vote for someone who had written or done things that he later found embarrassing than someone so safe and calculating that he’d played it safe his whole life.

  5. de stijl says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Ah, that stuff has got turned way down the last decade or so. Clinton got away with weed, Bush with booze, and Obama with coke.

    Unless we’re talking about some impressively imaginative ST: TNG slash fanfic featuring Wesley and Picard, you could probably slide.

  6. That´s is more troubling, politically speaking, for Paul than these newsletters.

  7. Looks like your all wrong says:
  8. Gustopher says:

    Not to get all racist like Ron Paul, but I can see the possibility of race riots, if not actual race war, in America’s future. Brown people get treated like second class citizens in this country, especially African-Americans, and they don’t have the same opportunities as white folks — and that leads to resentment, which will eventually lead to something nasty if things don’t change.

    Yes, we elected a brown president, and that’s great, but it also raises expectations. And the Great Recession has hit African-Americans harder than white folks, so the paths to a middle class life are much less numerous.

    And, on the subject of Paul and his newsletters, I’d actually respect the man if he owned up to them, accepted responsibility, and said that he probably wouldn’t like the Ron Paul of twenty years ago. People change, even old people, and every once in a while that change is for the better.

  9. Richard says:

    Paul is a hypocrite who to this day is still trying to appeal to the same scumbags to which his old newsletters were aimed at.

  10. Ben Wolf says:

    So if Paul were to get the nomination, it would be a choice between a Republican bigoted conspiracist and a Democratic warmonger pushing military confrontation with Iran and China and claiming it has authority to suspend constitutional rights at will.

    I’d probably go with the bigot.

  11. Just nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    The fascination that people have with the newsletters is as interesting to me as the purient interest in Herman Cain’s sexual peccadillos (or is that peccadilli?). These things are not essentially disqualifications from office–since the founding of our nation, we have had men who believed things just a racists as what RP believes or who couldn’t keep it in their pants (a recent President comes to mind–I think his name began with a C or something) who turned out to be ok as leaders.

    We don’t need to know what Ron Paul wrote back in 19-whenever to disqualify him. We can disqualify him because he says things right now that show that he has no grasp of workable economic or foreign policy. He’s a loony isolationist, hard currency fanatic–that’s enough to do it (except for the other isolationist hard currency fanatics in the audience–roughly 5% of the electorate).

    The other part of my fascination comes from the counter to this argument, i.e. we don’t need to worry about his weirdo beliefs because he will never be able to act on any of the really nutty stuff he believes. Which brings me to my second point–why are we willing to elect someone who won’t be able to govern in the first place? I can go with contrarian thinking as well as the next guy, but this seems to be taking the idea to extremes that seem foolish in the current time and situation.

    To clarify one point–I understand the people on the right who are opposed to electing a RINO. Those people really and truly believe that most of America is as conservative as they are. Whether it is because they listen to Rush or Fox too much or live in too much isolation, I don’t know, but I do know they are out there because I have known far, far, far too many of them to deny their existance. It is the rest of you that I am worried about. Get a grip, folks!

  12. DRS says:

    We are a nation of 330+ million people. We are the wealthiest country on earth, and probably one of the wealthiest, by any standards, in all of human history. We are the envy of people around the world.

    And this is the best that one of our two major parties can come up with: the current crop of Republican Party candidates.

    If we ever take time out from throwing confetti and flowers at ourselves for our wonderful exceptionalism we might want to cringe with embarassment.

  13. ed says:

    @michael reynolds:
    All things equal I would prefer to vote for someone who had written or done things that he later found embarrassing than someone so safe and calculating that he’d played it safe his whole life.

    Excellent call! Sure, Harvey Gantt was an impressive fella who toed the line and overcame serious obstacles to achieve great success. But where’s the controversy? Anyone can play it safe. Not like that Jesse Helms. (Or was he not embarrassing? Did Mr. Helms play it safe?)

  14. Barb Hartwell says:

    I think some people just do not want racism to go away, the war between the classes of late must be scaring some people and people like Paul are great for stirring things up. Most of the people that i listen to who support Paul are 30 somethings blue collar kinda redneck and believe they are safe enough in their jobs and don`t want to share them with people of color. The way they keep it going is by telling these guy we need to have our quotas of minorities and keep the fire going. Paul says he will stop all that and of course he knows he won`t and things go on. This keeps the lower-class fighting among themselves and keeps the heat off them. I think that is why they all hate the occupy movements.

  15. Barb Hartwell says:

    @ed: Many people change opinions when they get older for many different reasons. Some have their opinion changed after it has been challenged by others. Yes they may have to eat some humble pie but they had the courage to say what is on their mind. I have had that bad taste of foot in mouth enough.

  16. Mr. Prosser says:

    @Doug Mataconis: You touched on it lightly and Charlie Pierce and David Frum summed it up well today. Old line conservatives and libertarians made a devil’s bargain with the racists in order to further their political goals as far back as 1964 (remember the Southern strategy?). It didn’t work but they can’t disavow it now.
    Another thing, why do you spell yeah, yea? It gives your posts a strange King James biblical look.

  17. M. Bouffant says:

    The money is pink? Well, umm, okay I’m not at all sure what the heck that’s supposed to mean.

    Have you not taken a good look at a $10.00 bill lately?

  18. An Interested Party says:

    …a Democratic warmonger pushing military confrontation with Iran and China and claiming it has authority to suspend constitutional rights at will.

    How’s that?