The mischaracterization begins right in the first sentence:
By Matthew Mosk
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, May 27, 2008; Page A03
Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) has built a national following largely by preaching an isolationist foreign policy.
Isolationism is a “loaded word” and the article fails to clarify the difference between isolationism and non-interventionism:
Non-interventionism is a foreign policy which holds that political rulers should avoid alliances with other nations and avoid all wars not related to direct territorial self-defense.
Isolationism is non-interventionism combined with economic nationalism (protectionism). Some non-interventionists are not isolationists. America’s founding fathers, including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, favored non-interventionism combined with free trade and free cultural exchange.
What is the origin of this common misunderstanding? Quite possibly John McCain, who famously claimed in a Presidential debate that the type of isolationism allegedly advocated by Ron Paul is what brought Hitler (!) to power:
Ron Paul cannot possibly be an isolationist because he strongly favors free trade and diplomacy. He asserts that the United States should trade and talk with everyone, that free trade promotes democracy and that economic embargoes actually create dictators and allow them to stay in power by giving them the opportunity to blame an external scapegoat (America) for all their problems.
During the Spanish-language Univision debate in Miami, after his opponents did their best to pander to Hispanic voters, Ron Paul courageously expressed this very stance, and it wasn’t too well received by audience members who still have an axe to grind with their countries of origin:
In summary, Ron Paul is a non-interventionist, not an isolationist.
The Washington Post continues:
Stick with your own kind, says the maverick presidential candidate.
That’s the end of the first paragraph, and we’ve already been told that Ron Paul is an “isolationist” who wants us to “stick with our own kind”. That almost sounds like racism! But here’s a quote straight from Ron Paul:
“Racists believe that all individuals who share superficial physical characteristics are alike: as collectivists, racists think only in terms of groups. By encouraging Americans to adopt a group mentality, the advocates of so-called “diversity” actually perpetuate racism. Their obsession with racial group identity is inherently racist.
The true antidote to racism is liberty. Liberty means having a limited, constitutional government devoted to the protection of individual rights rather than group claims. Liberty means free-market capitalism, which rewards individual achievement and competence, not skin color, gender, or ethnicity.
More importantly, in a free society every citizen gains a sense of himself as an individual, rather than developing a group or victim mentality. This leads to a sense of individual responsibility and personal pride, making skin color irrelevant. Rather than looking to government to correct our sins, we should understand that racism will endure until we stop thinking in terms of groups and begin thinking in terms of individual liberty.“
It is baffling how anyone but a trained propagandist with ulterior motives could describe this philosophy as “Stick with your own kind, says the maverick presidential candidate.”
After this brief “introduction” to Ron Paul, the article further descends into insinuation and innuendo and describes how Ron Paul convinced members of his family to work on his Presidential campaign – a perfectly legal practice, as long as family members are qualified for the job and are paid the going rate for their work:
There are no laws prohibiting candidates from hiring relatives, though the Federal Election Commission does require family members to be qualified for the job and be paid the going rate for their work. Melanie Sloan of the group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington said her organization has twice issued reports critical of the practice among members of Congress.
“This was never intended to be a family business,” Sloan said. “The reason this is troubling is that it’s not clear to donors whether their campaign donations are really going to support the candidacy or to support the family.”
Sloan said this was not the first time Paul has hired relatives to perform campaign work on his behalf. The group found payments to daughter Lori Pyeatt during his three previous congressional races, and payments to grandson Matthew Pyeatt and daughter Joy LeBlanc during Paul’s 2004 congressional campaign.
The author then crows how Ron Paul paid his “extended brood” (direct quote) the following amounts of money over the course of his campaign:
- Wayne Paul (accountants): $38,894.10
- Lori Paul Pyeatt: $27,864.44
- Nora LeBlanc: $25,655.66
- Valori Pyeatt (manages fundraising receptions): $17,156.71
- Matthew Pyeatt (manages MySpace profile): $3,250.88
- Laura Paul (handles orders for merchandise): $2,723.61
- Peggy Paul (campaign logistics): $2,224.14
- Robert Paul (campaign travel, appearing at political events): $375.00
- Randall Paul (campaign travel, appearing at political events): $345.55
Included on the list of Ron Paul’s “extended brood” is Jesse Benton, Ron Paul’s Communications Manager:
“You always think about those kinds of things,” said Jesse Benton, Paul’s spokesman and, it just so happens, the fiance of one of the candidate’s granddaughters (he has been paid $54,573).
However, Jesse Benton and Ron Paul’s granddaughter actually met while working on the campaign, a fact conveniently ignored by the author.
The article continues in the same spirit and while there are no specific accusations made, you can’t help but take away the impression that Ron Paul did “something” wrong. What exactly that’s supposed to be isn’t made clear.
But what is the reality?
Ron Paul followed both the letter and the spirit of the law. If anything, he paid his relatives way too little to compensate them for disrupting their lives and helping him out. There’s no doubt they could have made a lot more money by working elsewhere.
Additionally, the Washington Post’s article completely fails to mention Ron Paul’s decades-long record of financial frugality. Ron Paul…
- Always refused to participate in the lucrative congressional pension system, labeling it “immoral”.
- Returns a portion of his annual congressional office budget to the U.S. treasury every year.
- Sent three of his children to medical school with no student loans.
- Runs a debt-free and fiscally conservative campaign.
- Refused Federal Matching Funds for his campaign with the quote “I don’t take stolen money“.
Please help us set the record straight about Ron Paul and his continuing work for freedom on behalf of all of us.