Sunday, January 20, 2008

"Ron Paul is Not A Bigot: Refuting the New Republic Charges" by James W. Harris

Here is the best refutation I've yet read of the allegations of bigotry made against Ron Paul: "Ron Paul is Not A Bigot: Refuting the New Republic Charges" by James W. Harris. It's long but well worth reading.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Show Your Support for Dr. Paul

Dr. Paul has been under enormous pressure lately. Please take a moment to add your signature to an online petition expressing the support and affection of the grassroots for a man who has given us so much.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Why Ron Paul Stands Out In The GOP Against Racism

At last night's D.C. Log Cabin Republicans candidate forum, I had the honor of representing the Ron Paul campaign. Romney and McCain apparently couldn't find a single gay spokesman and instead both sent straight, gray-haired surrogates who could only fumble uncomfortably when asked to say something about gay issues by the audience. (Campaigns more in touch with youth-obsessed gay voters would at least have tried to find younger, if not gayer, representatives. Couldn't Mr. "Perfect Hair" Romney have found some hunky-and-blond-but-straight Latter Day Saint Adonis to tell us about Mitt's "plan" to fix all America's ills through the wonders of high-powered management consulting?) To great collective disappointment, Huckabee's campaign sent no one while Thompson's campaign wasn't invited because they couldn't even collect the ~290 signatures required to make it onto the February 12th D.C. primary ballot.

I'll blog more on the forum and LGBT issues later, but I couldn't wait to share the most interesting part of the evening: after the formal part of the event, I met a dapper young gay, Black, Republican veteran with a fine set of dreadlocks neatly tied up in a pony-tail. He explained that, after researching all the Republican candidates, he was struck by the fact that Dr. Paul is the only GOP candidate to consider racism sufficiently important to be included among the "Issues" pages on his campaign website.

See for yourself: Huckabee lists 19 issues, Giuliani lists 16, Thompson lists 15, and McCain lists 12. While Huckabee considered "Education and the Arts" and "Cuba Policy" issues of noteworthy importance, not one of these candidates considered the subject of "race" or "racism" a priority worth mentioning. By contrast, Dr. Paul proclaims on his "Racism" page (one of his 18 issue pages), “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.”

Dr. Paul also stands out as one of a handful of GOP candidates who bothered to attend the Morgan State University forum in Baltimore on minority issues on September 27, 2007. Then-longshot Huckabee, desperate for any media attention, also joined Dr. Paul, but Giuliani, McCain, Romney and Thompson all snubbed the forum's organizers. Dr. Paul earned cheers from the mostly Black audience for his unequivocal--and lonely--calls to end the so-called "War on Drugs." In this great clip (at 1:22 and 5:10) Ron Paul decried the racially disparate impact of the Drug War as well as its obvious unconstitutionality and violation of individual liberties:
"Blacks make up 14% of those who use drugs, yet 36% of those arrested are Blacks, and it ends up that 63% of those who finally end up in prison are Blacks. This has to change! We don't have to have more courts and prisons, we need to repeal the whole War On Drugs. It isn't working!"
Dr. Paul's record as an advocate of federal drug decriminalization makes him unique among the current field of Presidential candidates, and that record has earned him a top rating from the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). “I attack two wars that Blacks are suffering from,” Paul has said, referring to the Iraq war and the drug war. Paul has also said, “I would pardon all Blacks, all Whites, everybody that was convicted of non violent drug crimes.”

Who else is speaking out against the suffering of Black America under these wars? It is no wonder Ron Paul has polled better among Black voters than any other Republican candidate. The averages of each leading Republican in head-to-head match-ups against Obama and Clinton are Ron Paul (32%), Mitt Romney (24%), John McCain (20%), Rudy Giuliani (16%).

My new dreadlocked friend and I had a thoughtful conversation about these and other issues affecting Black America. Why Blacks would be better off paying into a private retirement account that can be passed on to their children when they die was especially important. (This would promote capital accumulation in inner cities. Under the current system, blacks receive less than whites on average in Social Security benefits because they die earlier.) I daresay I may have made a new convert to the Ron Paul rEVOLution.

I encourage everyone who has not done so to pledge for Dr. Paul's "Free at Last" money bomb, to be held January 21 in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, another fearless critic of state-sanctioned bigotry. I also invite commenters to guess: (i) which GOP candidate will be the first to slap together a "Racism" issue page now and (ii) how long it will take for them all to do so once the scramble to cover up this glaring omission starts? I've saved screen shots of all the GOP candidates' issues pages, lest they pretend they had such pages all along.

* * *

On the Democratic side: While Barack Obama has a page on "Civil Rights" and John Edwards has pages on no less than eight identity groups, Hillary Clinton says nothing about racism on her issues page--an omission made all the more glaring by the fact that one of her thirteen issue pages proclaims her a "A Champion for Women." One wonders whether, in their gynocratic frenzy, Hillary and her army of Amazons have simply forgotten about non-gender bigotry?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Ron Paul Revolution at Gay Gyms & on Craigslist

The Ron Paul rEVOLution started spreading across gay gyms throughout America last fall. The best anecdote came from Vida Fitness in D.C.'s Chinatown, arguably D.C.'s second gayest gym.

One of our own Gays & Lesbians for Ron Paul was attacked in the D.C. Craigslist m4m "Missed Connections" forums (for all those gays who think Mr. Right stared back on the Metro, etc.) for wearing a Ron Paul 2008 shirt for several weeks.

The leading DC gossip blog Wonkette picked up the posting and the flame-war that ensued. Most m4m readers came to the defense of Mr. "Ron Paul Shirt"--not only agreeing that he is indeed, "really hot," but defending his right to political self-expression against the intolerance of gay gym political orthodoxy. Read the reaction of the Ron Paul grassroots on RonPaulForums.

Buy your very own Gays & Lesbians for Ron Paul gym shirt (sold at cost) today!

January 14: Gays & Lesbians for Ron Paul Happy Hour in D.C.

In preparation for upcoming DC, MD and VA primaries on February 12, please join Gays & Lesbians for Ron Paul for a happy hour at Nellie's Sports Bar on Monday, January 14. We'll lift a glass to the only presidential candidate to call for getting the government out of the business of defining marriage.

When: Monday, 14 January, 5:30 - 7:30 PM
Where: Nellie's Sports Bar (U St & 9th St NW) - two blocks from the Shaw-Howard (Green/Yellow) metro

See who's coming on our Facebook event page.

This is the last day for D.C. and Virginia residents to postmark their voter registrations to be eligible to vote for Dr. Paul in the primaries, while Maryland registrations must be received by January 22!

We recommend double-checking your registration status (in Virginia and in Maryland ). We will have voter-registration materials at Nellie's.

Friday, January 11, 2008

2008 Log Cabin Republicans Convention in San Diego: April 10-13

Here's the LCR page for the event. See who's going on Facebook.

I'll be wearing my Ron Paul shirt--one of many to do so, I hope.

See you at the Ron Paul Pool Party?

Ron Paul's Dirty Little Secret: What Kirchick Missed

The Attack. Is Ron Paul a bigot? Anyone who reads the series of offensive Ron Paul Newsletter articles collected by Jamie Kirchick can reach only three conclusions:
  1. The articles are complete forgeries;
  2. Dr. Paul actually did write these articles or was fully aware of their contents; or
  3. Dr. Paul didn't write any of the offensive parts and simply let others write them without scrutinizing their contents.
Although some of the Paul signatures on the newsletters collected by Kirchick are clearly not Paul's, this is likely the result of an auto-signature. Absent better evidence for Door #1 (although the Stephen Glass affair does make one wonder), we must ask, as between Doors #2 and #3, whom should we believe?
  • Jamie Kirchick, who, being better familiar with the evidence he collected than anyone, publicly accuses Ron Paul of bigotry (Door 1) OR
  • Jamie Kirchick, who candidly admitted to me on the eve of his "big break" as a smear-journalist that he didn't actually believe Paul was a homophobe?
Indeed, if Jamie doesn't really believe Dr. Paul is a homophobe, on what basis can we expect that he really believes Dr. Paul is guilty of any other kind of bigotry? (Read my response to the National Review's laughable suggestion that Kirchick only came to realize what a bigot Paul truly was after Kirchick told me he didn't actually think Paul was a homophobe.)

The Truth. I suspect that Kirchick knows the truth but has chosen to ignore it for the sake of a "great" story: Ron Paul's dirty little secret is not that he is a bigot--it is that he all too often places his trust in persons who do not deserve it and fails to exercise appropriate scrutiny over their activities--as many observers of this controversy and the official campaign have noted as in this excellent suggested statement.

As a principled and personally consistent advocate of freedom, Dr. Paul is second to none. He is a true statesman in a field full of crass politicians. In less than a year, he has inspired a grassroots movement prophesied by Barry Goldwater in his classic Conscience of a Conservative:

The turn will come when we entrust the conduct of our affairs to the men who understand that their first duty as public officials is to divest themselves of the power that they have been given. It will come when Americans, in hundreds of communities throughout the nation, decide to put the man in office who is pledged to enforce the Constitution and restore the Republic.

Who will proclaim in a campaign speech: "I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose toto pass laws, but to repeal them. It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel the old ones that do violence to the Constitution, or that have failed in their purpose, or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden. I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is 'needed' before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible. And if I should later be attacked for neglecting my constituents' 'interests,' I shall reply that I was informed their main interest is liberty and that in that cause I am doing the very best I can."
I have no doubt that Ron Paul is that man. But if Americans decide not to put him in office, if Goldwater's "turn" does not come in this election, that failure may have more to do with Dr. Paul's failure to be more involved in the ongoing operation of his official campaign staff than with the appeal of his message.

If even half the complaints about the official campaign staff on the Ron Paul
grassroots forums are true, one might reasonably wonder whether Dr. Paul has made the same mistake in managing his Campaign as he did with his newsletters: not choosing bigots this time (not by any stretch of the imagination) but simply choosing persons ill-suited for key roles. A single such person in a position of authority could sour the culture of even best of organizations--presidential campaigns included.

Feedback Sought. Dr. Paul has just asked his supporters for constructive criticism. This demonstrates exactly the kind of self-examination and active involvement needed from Dr. Paul. The intensity--and yes, diversity--of grassroots support for Dr. Paul's campaign has been nothing short of astonishing. By the same token, there are a good many dedicated and talented persons on the staff, some of whom it has been my great honor and pleasure to know. The Ron Paul rEVOLution can succeed only by marrying these two elements--an energetic grassroots and a savvy professional staff--into a single force that can do electoral battle with the other Republican candidates (militarists and statists all, if to varying degrees).

We need the sort of political sophistication and self-awareness that can produce such campaign-saving lines like Hillary Clinton's brilliant, "I listened to you, and in the process, I found my own voice."

My Advice. I hope the hundreds of thousands of Americans from all walks of life who constitute the "Ron Paul grassroots" will take up Dr. Paul on his request and voice their constructive criticism on RonPaulForums.

Whatever else happens, my own suggestion would be that Dr. Paul immediately hire an impartial ombudsman--ideally someone who:
  • Has experience in Republican presidential campaigns;
  • Shares and can articulate Dr. Paul's philosophy in a way that makes it meaningful to the average American;
  • Understands the bewildering array of grassroots constitutencies supporting Dr. Paul; and
  • Who can command their respect.
That person should be given full authority to implement swiftly the best constructive criticism received from the grassroots. Whatever managerial problems there are with the campaign, they must be addressed now--whatever that requires.

I would also encourage every friend of liberty to sign up today to be a Ron Paul Precinct Leader on the new Ron Paul Grassroots Central. While still evolving (discuss here with the grasroots), this powerful tool is exactly what we need to get out the vote for Paul in every precinct in the country--and the only way for Paul to win. Also be sure to watch the volunteer training videos (here for those who have signed up as Precinct Leaders or for here those who have only signed up as volunteers).

The Kirchicking of Berin Szoka

I shouldn't be surprised that the Kirchick smear campaign against Ron Paul has turned its sights on me after I made public my email exchange with Jamie Kirchick, in which he frankly acknowledged on December 18, "I don’t think Ron Paul is a homophobe; I’m just cynical and enjoy getting supporters of political candidates riled up."

Nor should I be surprised that the attack came from the National Review--which so proudly "stands athwart history yelling, 'Attack!'" and applauds the growth and violent outbursts of our national security state. (This, instead of "Stop!," as Buckley declared in 1955 would be his new magazine's noble cry.)

But I was surprised to realize that the National Review piece was written by my old friend Noah Pollak. Indeed, I noticed the byline only after reading the piece--which refers to me in the distant third person. Noah, just as you were so cautious about assuming that the "Berin Szoka" referenced by Andrew Sullivan was, indeed, the Ron Paul-supporting gay Berin Szoka you know, perhaps I should pause before assuming that the "Noah Pollak" who attacked me is indeed the Noah Pollak I know--the one who seems unable to have a conversation without joking about killing either an Arab, a Muslim or a German (another Munich, 1938 lurking around every corner for any good neo-con).

Pollak attacks Andrew Sullivan for linking to my post about my email exchange with Kirchick:
Sullivan obviously didn't like what he had learned, and so engaged in a bit of sly messenger-killing. He innocuously linked to a post by a guy named Berin Szoka, a foot soldier in Paul's army of fervent acolytes, as a way, said Sullivan, of showing that we need not believe that Paul is a homophobe, because even Kirchick, the author of the expose, doesn't seem to believe so — as evidenced by Szoka's posting of an email Kirchick had sent him weeks ago saying as much.
Pollak questions Sullivan's journalistic ethics and asks, "Does anyone actually believe that Sullivan himself wouldn't have liked to write such words [as mine]?"

Pollak then attacks me for "post[ing an] email ... that was neither intended for publication nor given approval by its author for public disclosure." Well, Noah, old friend, do you suppose the noble Kirchick called Dr. Paul to ask him for a response before publishing his smear piece? Certainly we should expect nothing less from an upstanding journalist like Kirchick and a highly respected publication like The New Republic.

And, Noah, how do you know that I didn't check first with Kirchick? (Indeed, I did not.) Did you check with me before attacking me for not checking with Jamie? No, of course not. I emailed you 21 hours before posting this response to see if we could have a civilized conversation by phone--but have received no response. So much for our eight (nine?) years of friendship. As Dorothy Parker said (actually said, unlike 90% of what she is credited for saying):
My land is bare of chattering folk;
The clouds are low along the ridges,
And sweet's the air with curly smoke
From all my burning bridges.
Pollak's silly double-standard aside, his suggestion that publishing personal correspondence without the permission of both parties is a grievous sin of journalistic ethics is ridiculous--as he knows full well. If I have committed the journalistic equivalent of character-assassination, Jamie Kirchick is the Josef Stalin of the low art.

I have thus far refrained from publishing the full text of my exchange with Kirchick in order to keep both of our email addresses off of the internet. I have forwarded the exchange only to a few persons (Andrew Sullivan included) who can therefore attest to its authenticity. Although neither Kirchick nor Pollak have questioned whether the email exchange took place as I've said (as indeed Kirchick knows it did), other readers quite reasonably have wondered. Unless Kirchick objects, I plan to post here soon a scanned PDF of the exchange with the email addresses removed.

Pollak's Attack. Now, to the substance of Pollak's piece:

... the email that Szoka posted on his blog had been sent before Kirchick had discovered the homophobic content of Paul's newsletters, thus rendering moot Sullivan's judgment that Kirchick does not believe Paul to be a homophobe.

Pollak (and Kirchick) would have us believe that the intrepid young Kirchick spent the holidays finally uncovering dusty old newsletters associated with Paul and only came to realize after our exchange on December 18 that Paul really was a hardened bigot after all--just in time for Kirchick to get his piece released on the very day of the New Hampshire primary (in which Ron Paul had been polling at 14% and which was widely recognized as his opportunity to "break out" of the pack).

An old Hungarian expression used by my grandfather comes to mind: "Bullszhit!" (The 'z' is silent, as I frequently must tell those who mispronounce my last name.)

At the Reason happy hour on December 17, Kirchick boasted of all the anti-semitic, racist and homophobic material he had read and that he attributed to Dr. Paul. Yet the very next day, Kirchick acknowledged frankly to me that he didn't actually believe Dr. Paul to be a homophobe. When I pressed him further, he simply ended our exchange:

Me: I'm glad to hear that you don't actually think Ron Paul is a homophobe but you seemed pretty upset last night about whatever homophobic/racist/anti-semitic remarks you've found that you attribute to him. Will I have to wait to read your TNR piece on Ron to see what you're talking about?

Kirchick: Patience, my friend :-)

Me: Well, we'll have to continue this conversation after the piece comes out, then--just in time for Iowa & NH, eh?

Kirchick never responded. (I was, of course, crushed when he recently removed me as a Facebook friend.)

So, did Kirchick genuinely change his mind about whether was a bigot? Judge for yourself (and whether I am indeed a "fanatic," as Pollak labels me) as I reveal "Ron Paul's Dirty Secret: What Kirchick Missed."

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Kirchicking of Ron Paul

The Smear Piece. Jamie Kirchick's smear piece went live on The New Republic's website earlier today. The substance of the piece is simple:
  • A series of different newsletters published using Ron Paul's name (many by a company in which Ron owned only a minority stake) included statements that Kirchick finds offensive.
  • Some of these statements are truly odious.
  • Some are merely politically incorrect (but accurate) and/or contradict Kirchick's ignorant, knee-jerk misconceptions of American history.
  • Not a single one of these statements is actually attributed to Ron Paul himself.
  • All the stylistic evidence suggests just the contrary: that these statements were written by someone other than Dr. Paul.
In a meandering 3700+ word piece resembling a book report written by a very precious middle-schooler dying to display his budding genius to the world, Kirchick bombards the reader with series of "offensive" newsletter quotations and anecdotes about Paul and people with whom Paul has associated over the years. Without a shred of evidence that Paul himself believes any of these things, Kirchick leaps to the gestalt conclusion that Paul must be "a man filled with hate" against gays, blacks and Jews--and asks his readers to trust him in making the same leap.

But Why Should We Trust Kirchick's Gut Instinct? Indeed, why should anyone trust him at all ever again? As I mentioned in my post last night, when I asked Kirchick weeks ago whether he actually thought Paul was a homophobe, he responded (by email):
I don’t think Ron Paul is a homophobe; I’m just cynical and enjoy getting supporters of political candidates riled up. If you were a Giuliani guy I’d have called him a fascist.
Kirchick's jaunty candor about his true motives makes him resemble a caricature of the classic Shakespearean villain who proudly confesses his depravity in an aside to the audience.

Lest one doubt Kirchick's utter lack of journalistic scruples, consider again the timing of this piece: having gloated publicly for weeks, Kirchick delivered the thrust of his attack the night before the New Hampshire primary, then waited till noon on the Paul Campaign's big day to show his cards. This was a transparent, shameless attempt by Kirchick to sabotage Paul's campaign--which seems to have accomplished its goal, given current voter returns in New Hampshire. No doubt Kirchick will delight if his piece saves his cherished Rudy Giuliani from once again finishing behind Paul--and ensure himself a lofty place in the history of American journalism.

In a written response released earlier today, Paul denied writing any of these statements but took full "moral responsibility for not paying closer attention to what went out under my name." He said much the same today in an interview with Reason Magazine. But these statements are not the real issue.

The Bait-and-Switch. When Tucker Carlson asked Kirchick last night whether he had any evidence that Paul had himself ever said anything racist or offensive, Kirchick pulled a classic bait-and-switch, accusing Paul of "speaking in code" to bigots:
You mean, said it out loud, or in person?.... I haven't seen that.... No, we do know however, I have found out that [Paul] spoke at a pro-secession conference in 1995. This was a neo-Confederate organization putting this on.... Just this last week on MSNBC, he touted a book called The Real Lincoln, by Thomas DiLorenzo, who is a neo-Confederate.... And what does, Tucker, is he speaks in code. He's a transmitter. He'll say certain things that might not, at first, appear to be overtly racist, but to certain audiences, they know what he's talking about. So when he talks about secession, he says it in a way that isn't exactly neo-Confederate, or it isn't exactly explicitly neo-Confederate, but to people who are in the know and to people who are a part of those neo-Confederate communities, know exactly what he's talking about.
Suddenly, the issue is not who wrote any of Paul's newsletters, but Paul's flirtation with the dangerous notion of "secession." But here, it is really Kirchick who speaks in code. Rather than engage those with whom he disagrees on history and political philosophy (read Tom DiLorenzo's excellent response on response to Kirchick's attack), Kirchick simply brands his opponents with the "neo-Confederate" label to imply that anyone who believes in the decentralization of power wants to re-enslave African-Americans (and probably gays and Jews, as well). You see, Tucker, that's just what those Neo-Confederates really want--but they dare not say it!

The allegedly "neo-Confederate" organization he attacks at greater length in his article is the Mises Institute, which for twenty-five years has been dedicated to advancing the intellectual legacy of the great Austrian Jewish economist Ludwig von Mises, whose recent biography aptly dubbed him the Last Knight of Liberalism. For Mises, the history of liberalism was a struggle against the consolidation of power. He supported secession down to the lowest level practical as a vital check against the centralizing tendencies of the State. Mises' work was continued by Murray Rothbard, another libertarian Jew committed to the principle of secession.

Given Kirchick's equation of decentralization and secession with some grand "neo-Confederate" axis of hate, one can only assume that, back in 1991, he would have cheered alongside Prof. Eric Foner of Columbia University (a former president of the American Historical Association) in urging Gorbachev to "Save the Union!"--the Soviet Union, that is--by preventing the secession of Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia. You see, Tucker, those damnable little Baltics wanted to enslave blacks, gays and Jews, but they had to speak in code using words like "Freedom" and "Independence."

Two Libertarianisms. Here, finally, we "strike at the root" of the issue, as Thoreau said. While Kirchick currently describes his political views on Facebook as "Other," he until recently used the word "libertarian." So it's hardly surprising that Kirchick is careful to distinguish the Baltic-loving neo-Confederate Paul/Mises secessionist "libertarians" from the "urbane libertarians who staff the Cato Institute." The split between these two organizations has never been more public than it is today. In a recent profile in the Nation, Cato Vice President for Research Brink Lindsey said, of Paul, "He doesn't strike me as the kind of person that's tapping into those elements of American public opinion that might lead towards a sustainable move in the libertarian direction."

For some at Cato (though certainly not all) and perhaps for Kirchick, libertarianism is simply about maximizing personal autonomy for the individual on any and every issue. This "libertarianism of autonomy" (if you will) holds a natural and powerful appeal for those who, like gays and lesbians, have been victimized (however recently) by the state and by private actors. Thus, someone like Kirchick might genuinely believe that Giuliani would be a "libertarian" president because of his record as mayor on "gay issues" like marriage or adoption. (Never mind his recent pandering to social traditionalists.) It also becomes easy to marry such a focus on social policy issues with a foreign policy that attempts to promote personal autonomy by invading countries like Iraq and "teaching them to elect good men," as President Wilson put it. One can even see how those who question heavy U.S. subsidies for Israel--a bastion of personal autonomy surrounded by people who probably don't like the Jews, gays, blacks or the Baltic states--could only seem like anti-semites "speaking in code."

The libertarianism of Ron Paul and the Mises Institute is different. While Ron has always been outspoken in defense of personal autonomy (see, for example, this terrific 1988 clip of him defending drug legalization), he is as concerned about the liberties of the individual as he is about the institutional structure that protects liberty. When he describes himself as a "constitutionalist," he is not "speaking in code" to express some kind of bigotry, but to defend the liberalism for which the American Revolution was fought: the restraint and diffusion of power through constitutionally limited government.

The Ongoing Battle. Kirchick's attacks on Paul begin by attempting to attribute to him statements that no one can reasonably believe Paul actually wrote and--which is more--that are completely antithetical to the principles of individual liberty consistently expressed by Paul throughout his career. When pressed, Kirchick reveals his true colors: as he told me, he doesn't seriously believe that Paul is a homophobe (or, presumably, any other sort of bigot). If one assumes that anything other than personal advancement motivates his attack, it is genuine and fundamental disagreement about the nature of political power.

For Kirchick and those like him, it seems that the State could be a powerful instrument for good--if only it would spend less time picking on gays and more time picking on those gay/Israeli/Baltic-hating Muslims. To such persons, Cato's personal autonomy libertarianism makes sense--even if it might go a bit too far. But for Paul and the Mises Institute, our Constitution is our first line of defense against the natural centralizing tendencies of political power. For them, the essential struggle of liberalism in American history has been fought against the "consolidationists"--starting with Alexander Hamilton, Daniel Webster, Henry Clay and, yes, Tucker... Abraham Lincoln (and the list goes on). Secession is merely the natural extension of Jefferson's battle with Hamilton over the proper role and size of the Federal government--which continues to this day. Without the possibility of secession, the strongest check on the consolidation of power in Washington disappears.

As gays and lesbians, we should be able to see through the smear tactics of people like Kirchick to appreciate the true friends of freedom. Yes, Ron Paul should have exercised much closer scrutiny of things written in his name. One might fairly question his managerial skills--but he is no bigot. Paul articulates a consistent and coherent philosophy of politics that is deeply rooted in the liberal tradition. Those gays and lesbians who reject Paul's Constitutionalism in favor of candidates who might promise greater personal autonomy do themselves a great disservice. Institutions, constitutions and decentralization matter profoundly to sustainability of personal autonomy, as the doomed liberals of 1920s Weimer Germany would learn at the expense of Germany's gays, Jews and other minorities.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Jamie Kirchick: "I don’t think Ron Paul is a homophobe; I'm just cynical"

UPDATE: I have responded to Kirchick's article in a longer piece.

Jamie Kirchick, assistant editor of The New Republic, appeared tonight on Tucker Carlson's show to announce--with a smirk on his face the size of Manhattan-- Ron Paul of racism, homophobia and anti-semitism would be appearing online the nextthat his hit piece accusing day--which, by astonishing coincidence happens to be the very day of the New Hampshire primary.

I first met Jamie at a holiday party held by the venerable libertarian magazine Reason just a few weeks ago. When Jamie saw my "Ron Paul 2008" button, he snickered and said, "Oh, Ron Paul... I've been reading up on him. Have you read the stuff that guy's written? Nasty stuff! Racist, anti-semitic, homophobic!"

I emailed Jamie the next day to engage him further and to ask just what he found so offensive. His response:

Hi Berin,

Thanks for writing; and I’m glad you enjoyed by [sic] piece in the Boston Globe. I’ll try and make the [DC Log Cabin Republicans] party tonight, though [LCR President] Patrick Sammon isn’t particularly happy with me after I wrote this piece [attacking LCR for not endorsing Giuliani, whom Kirchick calls "the most pro-gay Republican White House contender in history"]

Anyways, I don’t think Ron Paul is a homophobe; I’m just cynical and enjoy getting supporters of political candidates riled up. If you were a Giuliani guy I’d have called him a fascist. But I must say, the Ron Paul supporters are the most enthusiastic of the bunch! [Emphasis added.]


When I responded to ask him when his article might come out so I could read more, he answered: "Patience, my friend :-)"

Patience, indeed.

Let me not mince words. Jamie is a muckraker, a charlatan, and a hypocrite. For being so careless about concealing all these, he is a fool to boot. His bottom-feeding journalism dishonors The New Republic's history as a bastion of high-minded political discourse. His story was deliberately timed to inflict maximum political damage on a man of such uncommonly principled integrity that he is attacked for statements written decades ago by others in his name.

The richest irony is that the Ron Paul grassroots campaign in Washington, DC--Jamie's hometown--has found its earliest and strongest supporters in DC's gay community. It would not surprise me if our slate of delegate and alternate delegate candidates for Ron Paul is the gayest slate in DC (measured by number of gay individuals--not gayness of individuals), very probably the gayest slate in DC ever, and probably one of the gayest slates for a major party Presidential candidate of any state ever.

Ron Paul on Don't Ask Don't Tell

As a Constitutionalist, Dr. Paul's solution to issues like gay marriage is simple and principled: it's no business of the Federal government. As a libertarian, his broader answer is that these issues are no business of government at any level. But since Ron's running for President and not for the statehouse or governor's mansion, it's ultimately not for him to say what states should or should not do.

There are, of course, a few inherently federal issues on which a President and a Presidential candidate must take a stand--domestic partner benefits for Federal employees, for example. But only one of these issues has yet attracted significant public attention: what do do about gays in the military, the infamous "Don't Ask, Don't Tell Policy."

Here is Ron Paul's most concise statement on the issue, from the Republican Presidential Debate, June 5th, 2007: "We don’t get our rights because we’re gays or women or minorities. We get our rights from our creator as individuals. So every individual should be treated the same way. If there is homosexual behavior in the military that is disruptive, it should be dealt with. But if there’s heterosexual sexual behavior that is disruptive, it should be dealt with. So it isn’t the issue of homosexuality. It’s the concept and the understanding of individual rights. If we understood that, we would not be dealing with this very important problem."

We're Everywhere!

I called the Washington Blade--the country's oldest gay paper with a readership of 85,00+--today to ask about running an ad for Gays & Lesbians for Ron Paul. I started out by asking general questions about buying ads without telling her what ad or group I had in mind.

Like any successful person in sales, the woman I spoke to was cheery and pleasant, but when I mentioned Ron Paul, she suddenly became... ECSTATIC! A Paul supporter herself, she couldn't believe her ears. "You made my day!" were her exact words.

Also, it seems no other campaign--Republican or Democrat--has asked about running an ad with the Blade yet. So much for the other "pro-gay" candidates.

When I mentioned this to my partner, he told me that the other saleswoman he called was pro-Paul, too! She expressed interest in seeing Dr. Paul in DC and wished the campaign well.

So take heart: Ron Paul supporters are everywhere!

Ron Paul: Gays Should Be Allowed to Marry

John Stossel: Homosexuality. Should gays be allowed to marry?
Ron Paul: Sure.
Stossel: The State says, we will believe in this?
Paul: Sure they can do whatever they want and they can call it whatever they want , just so they don’t expect to impose their relationship on somebody else. They can’t make me, personally, accept what they do, but they gay couples can do whatever they want. In fact, I’d like to see all governments out of the marriage question. I don’t think it’s a state function. I think it’s a religious function. There was a time when only churches dealt with marriage, and they determined what it was. But 100 years or so ago for health reasons they claim that the state would protect us if we knew more about our spouses and we did health testing and you had to get a license to get married and I don’t agree with that.

Watch the rest here.