January 10th, 2008
So, who really wrote Ron Paul’s newsletters?
Ron Paul released a very brief statement claiming that he was acting something like an absentee landlord with regard to those now-infamous newsletters:
When I was out of Congress and practicing medicine full-time, a newsletter was published under my name that I did not edit. Several writers contributed to the product. For over a decade, I have publicly taken moral responsibility for not paying closer attention to what went out under my name.
Former Paul staffer Eric Dondero doesn’t agree:
Let me revise my remarks. I want to be very precise on this.
Lew Rockwell was 80% the Ghost writer for Ron Paul’s Newsletters. Again, key word “Ghost writer.”
I’d say Ron himself authored about half the Newsletter.
He’d have a yellow pad, and every time we traveled by car, he’d break it out while I was driving and scribble on it for hours.
When we got back from Houston, he’d either giver it to his daughter Lori in Clute, or Jean McCiver in Houston. They were the only two who could interpret his hand-writing. If it was Lori, she’d fax the draft to Marc Elam at his office on Fuqua in south Houston.
Jean McCiver worked out of that office directly for Elam.
She was the one who edited and put the Newsletter together. She would gather all the various items faxed from Rockwell, and faxed from Ron to input into the word processing program.
Let me also say, that there were many times Ron and I had to drive directly to the Fuqua office to meet the deadline, to get his “yellow-pad scribblings” to Jean.
Again, while Rockwell had a very heavy hand in the writing of the Newsletter, keep in mind Ron himself wrote a great deal of it as well.
Some caution may be in order. Last May, Eric Dondero announced that he would run against Ron Paul for his Texas Congressional seat, saying “I am the guy that got Ron Paul elected to Congress in 1996. I can and will defeat him in 2008.” Of Dondero, Rep. Paul said, “He’s a disgruntled former employee who was fired.” (Emphasis in the original)
None of this, of course, addresses how such newsletters could go out for at least seventeen years without Ron Paul’s notice or apology. Seventeen years is a hell of a run. And none of Ron Paul’s taking “moral responsibility” happened until long after those newsletters were published.
Whether Dondero is telling the truth or not, Paul’s explanation so far just doesn’t rise to the level of “moral responsibility.” Even if Paul’s explanation were entirely correct, then that means that we would have to believe that he allowed someone to use his name for seventeen years. And yes, I do keep emphasizing that point: Seventeen years! When someone “lends their name” to a cause, it ought to mean something. If it turns out it didn’t really mean anything then, then why should it mean anything now?
A man who doesn’t protect his good name is as bad as whoever who wrote these newsletters. Three short sentences doesn’t even begin to address what went on for nearly two decades. Paul has way more explaining to do.
Hat Tip: Ed Brayton
Update: In my post above, I did not mean to imply that I thought Eric Dondero wasn’t telling the truth. I was pre-emptively pointing out issues which may cause others to suggest that we shouldn’t believe him. I tend to believe him, but my point is that we don’t really have to accept his word. All we have to do is ask why Ron Paul allowed these repugnant opinions to go out under his name for such an incredibly long time. I can’t imagine my name being lent to something without my knowing what was said in my name. Not in a million years. And since I can’t imagine that, I have to assume that Paul knew exactly what was being written — whether he did the writing or someone else.