Fire From the Right: Trying to Take Down Ron Paul in Congress


I have to admit that I was a bit peeved at Ron Paul for a sleezy ad that his team did with the line in it — “no more visas for students from terrorist nations.” He was supposed to be the Liberal candidate — that is liberal, in the European sense, or the libertarian kind in the CATO sense.
But on the whole — Ron Paul’s views to end America’s Middle East crusade and his belief (for the most part) in personal liberty are ones that should keep him in Congress if not the White House.
But he’s now under attack from the Right — as anti-war Republican Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD-01) was.
A few hours ago, from my current perch in Tokyo, I was checking the Ron Paul for Congress website, and he had raised just about $325,000 this quarter — which is in a banner across his home page. Now, as I write this post, he has surged $726,68.52 as of 9:36 PM Central Time. What is going on?
Digging through my email, I found a note from Ron Paul.
This is what Paul sent, and since he mentioned the now Congressionally defeated Wayne Gilchrest of whom I was fond, I will reprint it in full here:

February 18, 2008
The DC neocons think their old dream is about to come true. They think they can defeat me in the Republican congressional primary in Texas on March 4th. And you know what? They may be right.
My opponent, who describes himself as a traditional conservative, is a dedicated servitor of all the special interests who have given us the disaster of recent years, from unconstitutional wars to a looming recession, from huge deficits to massive new welfare programs.
A Republican operative allied with the worst forces in DC recently said: “Give what you can [to Ron Paul’s opponent]. Ron Paul is running scared — using his Presidential campaign’s donors’ money to subsidize a desperate last-minute attempt to save his Congressional seat.”
That is a lie, of course. It is illegal to use presidential campaign donations in my congressional race. The congressional campaign has to stand on its own. But so far, we have raised only about a third of what a well-funded effort would need.
In my 10 terms in Congress, I have not only been able to serve my constituents, and help them, for example, negotiate federal red-tape. I have also been able to defend our principles of less spending, lower taxes, no inflation, and strict adherence to the Constitution. Some people in DC laugh at the idea that I should obey my oath of office, and ask first of any proposed legislation, is it constitutional? But I know that you share my support for the vision of the framers.
My friend Congressmen Wayne Gilchrest (R-Maryland) was just defeated in his primary election by a neocon fraud similar to the one I face. My friend Walter Jones (R-North Carolina) is under heavy pressure as well. People like our hand-picked opponents will do anything to gain and keep power. They represent everything that is wrong with DC.
If I am defeated in the upcoming congressional primary, our ideas will be held to have been defeated as well. It will be proclaimed from the rooftops in DC that such “ridiculous and outmoded notions” as the free market, sound money, personal liberty, limited government, and a pro-American foreign policy are through.
I am determined not to let this happen. All that you and I believe in is far too important to the future of our country, and to everyone and everything we love, to let the neocons dance on its grave.
Please, help me stop the lies, the distortions, the pressure groups, the special interests that benefit from DC rip-offs. There is still time to run radio and tv ads, to set up phone banks, to get out the vote. But unless you help, my reelection to Congress may be in jeopardy. Please help me return to Congress to fight for the people of my district, and for the ideas that can save our country from the path to trouble we are now on.
I hesitated to ask you, since you have already done so much. But my wife Carol said, “When you need help, you ask your best friends.” So I do ask you, to hold out your hand in support.
Please give today, as generously and as quickly as you can.

I think Ron Paul’s voice has become vital in our national debate and felt that more should be aware of how the Iraq War has become the sad rallying cry of the right.
I’m an Independent — and I believe that the Republicans and Democrats are both complicit in our current mess. But it does really bother me that Republicans who opposed the war are under attack from a new resurgent mania of Iraq War fantasists, and that Dems in Congress failed to pull the plug on this conflict and could have.
— Steve Clemons


12 comments on “Fire From the Right: Trying to Take Down Ron Paul in Congress

  1. Mr.Murder says:

    Gates staying at DoD would be a plus.


  2. Matt says:

    that whole quote is chock full of ambivalence.


  3. sean leslie says:

    Ron Paul does, and you give him credence, what is quite innacurate and is blind to the real power struggle in the GOP – the Realist elements that are allied to McCain and the vituperation of a strong majority of Neocons against his candidacy. Unger, in the Fall of the House of Bush, described the dynamic of this split. The most concrete evidence reveals that McCain is a Realist, not a Neocon. He was at emnity with Rumsfeld and Cheney. He is readily conversent with Kissinger. He said he’d quite probably leave Gates in as SOD. If Paul had admitted the enmity of the National Review and the Neocons at the Washington Post, people could get the real picture: McCain is allied to Scowcroft, the man the Neocons hated the most for speaking out and standing against their schemes. It is no accident that there was great evidence today of Bush Sr’s sincerity at endorsing McCain. He knows very well that the GOP had to return to a Reality based platform on global security – and McCain is his man to do it and return the party to Wake Up mode after the delusions of his errant and straying son.


  4. Mr.Murder says:

    Had the GOP in Washington not stopped the vote count with 13% remaining to report, Ron Paul would have finished higher than 3rd place.
    I’m not a great fan of his, just sayin’ the trend was moving his way.


  5. Carroll says:

    O.K. it’s time to make a donation to Paul.
    And to my own congressman, Jones as well.
    We should support only those who aren’t “Stepford” party members….in either party.
    The repubs are trying to replace anyone who is not 100% war and flat tax.
    I have been keeping up with the Jones re election and R- Joe McLaughlin who is a county commissioner in the county where the marine base, Camp Lejuene is located.
    All anyone needs to know about this contest is that Grover Norquist of all people has been in NC campaigning against Jones and for McLaughlin and his “flat tax”.
    I’ve never gotten actively involved in campaigning for someone but in Jones case I may make an exception and get out and do something grassrootsy to try and help defeat McLaughlin. Maybe I should run off copies of the flat tax plan and go hand them out where McLaughlin is speaking….maybe some republican voters actually read details.


  6. pauline says:

    From 2005, Ron Paul wrote,
    “The Central America Free Trade Agreement, known as CAFTA, will be the source of intense political debate in Washington this summer. The House of Representatives will vote on CAFTA ratification in June, while the Senate likely will vote in July.”
    “I oppose CAFTA for a very simple reason: it is unconstitutional. The Constitution clearly grants Congress alone the authority to regulate international trade. The plain text of Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 is incontrovertible. Neither Congress nor the President can give this authority away by treaty, any more than they can repeal the First Amendment by treaty. This fundamental point, based on the plain meaning of the Constitution, cannot be overstated. Every member of Congress who votes for CAFTA is voting to abdicate power to an international body in direct violation of the Constitution.
    “We don’t need government agreements to have free trade. We merely need to lower or eliminate taxes on the American people, without regard to what other nations do.”
    Steve, It’s too bad Ron Paul relies so much on the U.S. Constitution (our land’s ultimate law), unlike the bush cabal and a money-dirty congress who don’t adhere to either the written federal code or constitution for basing many of their ill-conceived ideas/actions.


  7. Matt says:

    I think what Ron Paul and Kucinich have in common is that they’d be quick to throw up trade barriers, in one manner or another. I don’t have anything to back that statement up, it’s just my sense of the interests they think they are representing. It’s also probably the main reason they don’t enjoy much media support, and I can’t really say I disagree with it too much. I think if the US really wants to play the lead internationally, there’s no choice but to remain a free-trading country.


  8. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Something very similiar is happening to Kucinich.
    And Steve, I have to agree with Tom that your concern for Paul is a bit belated, although I do know you offered him a forum here through one of his reps, and she never responded, (a dumb move, if thats the case.) If in fact she DID respond, please, let me know, so I can revise my opinion of her apparent IQ and competence level.
    What has happened to Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich is what distresses me the most about Barack Obama, and makes it impossible to trust him. Running on a campaign based on “change”, his “message”, (if you can call shallow conceptual promises of a “new direction” a “message”), the media has made this empty suit a rock star. Yet two candidates that have truly and steadfastly stood for change are being destroyed by the political/media machine of BOTH parties. If the machine is so viciously engaged in destroying any politician that dares rock the boat, as illustrated by what is happening to Kucinich and Paul, then how can we be so naive as to not recognize the sinister truth about the motives behind the creation of this paper mache tiger, Obama?
    I can’t stand Hillary, but she sure seems to scare the shit out of the far right. So much so, in fact, that their opposition to Obama seems almost tepid. One has to wonder why.


  9. DonS says:

    “Dems in Congress failed to pull the plug on this conflict and could have. . . .”
    Exactly. My guess goes like this:
    1. there is a “pause” in the “surge” next Summer.
    2. Dems win the WH.
    3. Troop withdrawals are resumed, even at minimal rates.
    4. “Violence” increases, or the concensus reportage of violence hypes a trend. (Part of Wurlitzer “anti-liberal” barrage.) Petraeus, and other compliant generals “retire” in faux outrage, hit the lecture circuit, take teaching posts, populate military-related boards.
    5. Dems “lose Iraq”. Presto. Vietnam redux. Bush hagiographers work overtime.
    Voices like Paul’s are absolutely need to critique and call out the neocons from the conservative point of view.


  10. liz says:

    I have a lot of respect for Dr Paul and what he believes in. He’s right too. America is gone. Neocons cross party lines and are destroying America.


  11. Steve Clemons says:

    Tom — give me a call at the Okura Hotel. If you don’t have the number, email me at
    best, steve


  12. TokyoTom says:

    Great post, Steve. But honestly, I hope you will remedy your rather thin coverage of Paul to date by referring to his principled, limited-government views in contrast to Clinton, McCain and Obama during the coming months. Sure he doesn’t have a chance, but a huge amount of what he has to say is spot-on.
    Any chance to see you here?


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