Ron Paul’s Bad Memory

January 4th, 2012 at 10:14 am David Frum | 33 Comments |

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Odd experience on CNN this morning.

I was on a panel that had a chance to interview Ron Paul. I asked this question:

“I attended a precinct caucus last night where the person who spoke on your behalf praised you as a strong social conservative: pro-life, anti-gay marriage. He also described you as pro-defense, he said you voted in favor of the war in Afghanistan and supported the killing of bin Laden. That’s at variance with the things you yourself have said. Would you today affirm that you support the Afghanistan war and the bin Laden killing?”

Paul said yes, but that is not in fact true, at least as to the killing of bin Laden.

In a radio interview with WHO Newsradio 1040, Paul told radio host Simon Conway that, had he been president, he would have pursued an alternate strategy.

“I think things would be done somewhat differently,” Paul said, of how he would have handled the situation, citing “respect for the rule of law and world law and international law.”

Paul says that instead of sneaking into Pakistan and killing bin Laden, he would have cooperated with the Pakistani government and put the al Qaeda leader on trial – a strategy, he argues, that has worked for the United States in the past.

“I would suggest …the way they got Khalid [Sheikh] Mohammed,” Paul told Conway. “We went and cooperated with Pakistan. They arrested him, actually, and turned him over to us, and he’s been in prison.”

“What’s wrong with that?” Paul asked. “Why can’t we work with the government?”

Paul did cast a vote in favor of the September 2001 measure to authorize force in Afghanistan, but only very unhappily according to his ex-aide Eric Dondero:

Ron Paul was opposed to the War in Afghanistan, and to any military reaction to the attacks of 9/11. He did not want to vote for the resolution. He immediately stated to us staffers, me in particular, that Bush/Cheney were going to use the attacks as a precursor for ‘invading’ Iraq. He engaged in conspiracy theories including perhaps the attacks were coordinated with the CIA, and that the Bush administration might have known about the attacks ahead of time. He expressed no sympathies whatsoever for those who died on 9/11, and pretty much forbade us staffers from engaging in any sort of memorial expressions, or openly asserting pro-military statements in support of the Bush administration.

You wonder: how much of Ron Paul’s support in Iowa rested on more successful misrepresentations of his foreign-policy record?

Update: I have added a link to the video from CNN.

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33 Comments so far ↓

  • Dex

    OK, David, now please address your man Romney’s flip-flop on the OBL question:

    I do not concur in the words of Barack Obama in a plan to enter an ally of ours… I don’t think those kinds of comments help in this effort to draw more friends to our effort.” — Mitt Romney, quoted by Reuters in 2008, on the United States entering Pakistan to kill Osama bin Laden.

    I think other presidents and other candidates like myself would do exactly the same thing.” — Romney, in an interview on MSNBC 12/21/2011, downplaying credit for Obama for ordering the raid in Pakistan that finally killed Osama bin Laden.

    The problem isn’t Paul’s memory. The problem is the entire Republican field’s disinterest in truth.

    • Nanotek

      I’d not look for analytic symmetry when it comes to Romney, Dex.

      “The problem is the entire Republican field’s disinterest in truth.”

      it’s all a shell game — politics is war

      even when spent in a French palace during the Viet Nam war while others were dying

      http://nationalmemo.com/article/strange-true-mitt-romney-spent-vietnam-war-french-palace

    • Graychin

      Good catch, Dex.

      What say you, Mr. Frum?

      • Rich T Bikkies

        The questions I’d like Mr Frum to answer are: (a) if Romney is not the Republican nominee, will he support whoever it turns out to be? The choice is Santorum, Paul, Gingrich or none of the above; (b) if none of the above, who does he predict will get it? I repeat: “will get it”, not “would get it in a perfect world”. I also say “predict”, not “guarantee”.

        I sincerely sympathise with and understand Mr Frum’s personal anguish over the state of the Republican Party (speaking as a decayed old liberal I say they can all rot in hell for what I care), but unless he is prepared to grieve only in private, he should answer the questions.

    • Reflection Ephemeral

      The problem is the entire Republican field’s disinterest in truth.

      That is the fundamental problem with American politics.

      Republicans don’t care about reality, or policy.

      They will say anything– “apology tour”, “death panels”, “government takeover”, “regulatory burden”, “the stimulus made the economy worse”, “entitlement society”, “put free enterprise on trial”, etc.– to justify their deep emotional revulsion toward the president.

      Most of those lies are straight from Mitt Romney’s mouth. (See: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/post/the-method-behind-mitt-romneys-big-lie-strategy/2011/12/21/gIQA7o9Y9O_blog.html and http://www.tnr.com/blog/jonathan-chait/91201/romneys-endearing-lies and http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2011/12/why-does-romney-lie.html ).

      I can’t tell if Frum just lacks the courage of his convictions on creating a more rational conservatism, if he thinks he could be a speechwriter in the Romney administration, or what. But his decision to operate as a Romney surrogate– attacking Paul, Perry, Gingrich, Trump, and all the other frontrunners-for-a-day but never applying rational thought to his Romney-love– is quite mystifying from a rational standpoint.

      • Nanotek

        “… but never applying rational thought to his Romney-love– is quite mystifying from a rational standpoint.”

        imo… human action proceeds perfectly from some impulse, if not some goal

      • LFC

        I can’t tell if Frum just lacks the courage of his convictions on creating a more rational conservatism, if he thinks he could be a speechwriter in the Romney administration, or what.

        I’d like to see David admit that Romney has become the wildest of wildcards. There is no predicting how he would behave as President. How can you support a man who stands for literally nothing?

  • jjack

    Watching a Mitt booster like Frum try to ferret out inconsistencies and flip-flops by Ron Paul (of all people) is hilarious on many levels.

  • Houndentenor

    McCain said in 2008 that he wouldn’t go into Pakistan to get bin Laden. Does that mean if McCain had been elected that bin Laden would still be hiding out in the mountains of Pakistan? Under normal circumstances I would agree with cooperating with the local government in an operation like that, but in this case someone (and it would only take one) in the government would have tipped off Al Qaeda that we were coming. Obama made the right call. It was disgraceful watching Republicans do anything to avoid giving him credit. They certainly would have blamed him if the mission had not been a success.

  • Deep South Populist

    CNN is becoming a joke network. Why did they allow a virulently anti-Paul opinion pundit like David Frum to question Ron Paul? That’s like allowing Sean Hannity or Ann Coulter to question Barack Obama. Come on. CNN is getting as bad as Fox news.

    • hisgirlfriday

      Is it any worse than having Mrs. Alan Greenspan cover Ron Paul’s campaign for MSNBC, when you think about it?

    • Rich T Bikkies

      Look here, DSP, we like kicking DF around a bit in here if he doesn’t shape up, but bracketing him with slime like Hannity or Coulter is beneath contempt. And what on earth is wrong in principle in giving Ron Paul a hard time?

      Considering the toxic filth he endorsed in his newsletters (and publishing them under his name IS endorsing it), a hard time is the least he deserves.

      • Ray_Harwick

        And what on earth is wrong in principle in giving Ron Paul a hard time?

        Frum’s obvious hesitence to *ever* criticize Romney?

    • Graychin

      DSP, if Ron Paul can’t stand up to David Frum, how would he fare against Iran? Or Barack Obama and his billion-dollar war chest?

      I sincerely wish that more TV pundits and journalists had the cajones to ask hard questions of politicians instead of lobbing softballs at them. Then maybe politicians would feel that they could get away with so many outrageous lies, as Romney clearly believes. Too many pundits and journalists are afraid to rile politicians, lest they lose access.

      Mr. Frum, I look forward to the tough questions that you will be asking of your beloved Mitt Romney if/when he appears on CNN.

      • icarusr

        “Mr. Frum, I look forward to the tough questions that you will be asking of your beloved Mitt Romney if/when he appears on CNN.”

        Gray, you kill me … tee hee …

        Maybe it’s time for us to have the first “Top Ten Frum’s Questions to Romney” contest:

        10. “I once argued that you are not as ignorant on economics as you sound; only cynical to fool the yokels in the Republican Party. So could you please clarify whether you are an ignoramus or a cynical, lying pol?”

        9. “I understand that you disagree with President Obama’s Israel policy; but could you give me a specific instance of where Obama has apologised for the United States? Of actual ‘appeasement’, in the sense that that word is used by foreign policy experts?”

        8. …

        • Nanotek

          (8)

          Byron York reported that before running for Mass. governor as a pro-choice candidate you traveled to Salt Lake City to brief Mormon Church elders before you made your position known to the people of Mass.

          If you become President of the United States, would you ever brief the Mormon elders before making a decision known to the American people?

    • Primrose

      Well, it was a panel so presumably not everyone on it was out to get Mr. Paul. but I am not sure what is so gotcha about the question. It just required Mr. Paul to reiterate his own beliefs and past actions? Surely, despite sounding barbed, it is really innocuous?

      A phrase like, “Well I can’t sort through what people think they know about me, but just so everyone is clear this is what I said about Bin Laden and this is what I did about Afghanistan and this is what I currently think about those stands now.”

      Surely, a candidate for President is able to reiterate their own beliefs? The inability to do that doomed Mr. Perry and Mr. Cain so I think it is only fair that Mr. Paul be asked the same thing.

      Even Mr. Romney can do that, though of course he does have to remember what year he believed which stand.

    • indy

      I seem to remember Obama submitting to be questioned on Fox News more than once.

  • icarusr

    All Republican flipfloppers are equal, but some are more equal than others.

  • midwest guy

    If and when Mr. Frum analyzes the bad memory, lies, inconsistencies, and pandering ways of Mr. Romney with the same diligence he has shown for Ron Paul, I will believe he is an honest man. Until then, not so much.

    • Rich T Bikkies

      Mr Frum is clinging desperately to Romney as his last forlorn hope. If Romney falls, it’s the abyss – the gaping void – for Mr Frum. Let us all take a moment, and evince a little compassion, please, for this deeply unhappy man.

      BTW, where are all our trolls? Where’s smarg? nhthinker? paul_gs?

  • nhthinker

    “ex-aide Eric Dondero”- the israel war hawk libertarian? Duplicitious/Oxymoronic political faction.
    Like Frum, Rittberg clearly identifies what part of his politics are most important to him…

    http://www.libertarianpeacenik.com/articles/lieberman.htm
    July 31, 2006

    Apparently, some Libertarians believe the key to electoral success is to go dumpster diving in the Demopublican trash heap.

    As Democrats appear on the verge of ditching Senator Joseph Lieberman, a Mr. Eric Rittberg urges the Libertarian Party to endorse this senator who can’t deliver his own party.

    Below is the unedited notice from Mr. Rittberg, as sent over the Libertarians for Peace Yahoo Group:

    Original Message ——–
    Subject: [JewishLibertarians] Libertarians for Lieberman
    Date: Thu, 27 Jul 2006 16:39:13 -0000
    From: Eric Dondero Rittberg
    Reply-To: JewishLibertarians@yahoogroups.com
    To: JewishLibertarians@yahoogroups.com

    Anyone else interested in assisting with Joe Lieberman’s campaign for US Senate as an Independent?

    Any chance of the Libertarian Party of CT endorsing his effort?

    I support Joe, because he is a fierce opponent of Islamo-Fascism. He’s one of the ONLY decent Democrats in the Nation.

    Call me on my cell at 979-799-7077 if you’re interested in helping out with Libertarians for Lieberman.

    Eric Dondero Rittberg (the Rittberg half is Jewish).

    —–

    Seemingly, Leiberman is the perfect candidate for both Dondero and for Frum.

    ——
    Why would anyone trying to be honest ever drop Rittberg as their last name?
    —-

    Here is another “gem” from Dondero…
    http://4and20blackbirds.wordpress.com/2006/12/04/creep-eric-dondero/

    Creep: Eric Dondero

    December 4, 2006 in Creep

    by Jay Stevens

    One of the “benefits” of having a blog gain some notoriety is that I no longer have to comb the Internet for 4&20 blackbirds’ creeps. They come to me.

    Today’s creep, Mr. Eric Dondero, emailed me, I presume, in response to my article in the American Prospect on Idaho’s Proposition 2. According to Mr. Dondero, I made up the notion that there was pervasive fraud involved in the gathering of Montanans’ signatures for Howie Rich’s ballot initiatives (mistakes are his, invectives edited for your Internet filters at work):

    Mr. Stephens, you are a f*cking *sshole

    Stop lying you pr*ck!

    You repeat only tired old Communist/Fascist leftwing talking points in regards to brave libertarian petitioners who stood out in the blizzard cold, and then 95 degree heat, to collect 80,000 signagtures for property rights all over Montana. And instread of praising those of us who petititioned you accuse us of engaging in “fraud.”

    How f*cking dare you, asshole!!! I want a mother-f*cking retraction.

    I’m a Veteran you f*cker. I served 4 years in the Navy. I have three medals and an honorable discharge to show for it.

    How many years did you serve? If your a non-Vet than shut the f*ck up.

    You are on shaky ground Sir. If I ever, EVER hear you accuse me or my fellow libertarian petititioners again of “engaging in fraud” on an on-line Forum, I will slap you with a liable lawsuite so quick it will make your head spin.

    Notice you didn’t say a word about the left-wing petititioners in MT for Minimum Wage and Stop the Lobbyists. You want some examples of serious shenanigans in petitition gathering. Check your own side. Oh, and btw, we libertarians and conservatives are no longer going to sit by and let you leftwing f*ckers get away with blocking us. We may have been polite in 2006. But expect us to fight you all every step of the way in 2007 and 2008. You’re hereby on notice.

    NOW F*CK YOU AND HAVE A NICE DAY!!!

    Libertarian Republicans

    Fiscally Conservative, Socially Tolerant & Pro-Defense!

    Dondero is a US Navy Veteran, former Libertarian Party National Committeeman, fmr. Senior Aide to US Congressman Ron Paul R-TX, and Founder of the Republican Liberty Caucus.

    ——
    As to whether Ron Paul supported the killing of Bin Laden- Of course he did, he just wanted a capture, then a trial and conviction first.

  • LFC

    Eric Dondero was quoted as saying…

    Ron Paul was opposed to the War in Afghanistan, and to any military reaction to the attacks of 9/11. He did not want to vote for the resolution. He immediately stated to us staffers, me in particular, that Bush/Cheney were going to use the attacks as a precursor for ‘invading’ Iraq.

    Sooooo what he’s saying is that Ron Paul absolutely nailed the prediction of an Iraq war started by Bush/Cheney that was based on bulls***? Wow. I have a whole new respect for Ron Paul. Our nation would have been better off if his words had been heeded.

    • Deep South Populist

      Sooooo what he’s saying is that Ron Paul absolutely nailed the prediction of an Iraq war started by Bush/Cheney that was based on bulls***?

      Yes, that would seem to be exactly what he is saying. Good catch.

  • nuser

    no. 7
    Do you support the illegal settlements in occupied territories ?Will you war with Iran if they
    continue the development of nukes?Who were you addressing when you stated:”We must show Israel , we are their friends”?Please explain why you think President Obama is a socialist.
    Are you aware of many if not most of your talking points are almost verbatim to Palin’s?

  • WaStateUrbanGOPer

    Someone please explain to me why, on the one hand, Frum considers Ron Paul’s strong finish in Iowa a demerit to the state’s caucus; but, on the other hand, is apparently okay with Iowa voters affirming the candidacy of a man who lost his swing-state senate seat by nearly twenty points, and who holds veritably premodern views on everything from birth control to pre-emptive nuclear war?

  • LibertyAndFreedom

    Instead of wondering “how much of Ron Paul’s support in Iowa rested on more successful misrepresentations of his foreign-policy record?”, I wondering how much more support Ron Paul would get if the mainstream media stops intentionally misinterpreting his foreign policy.
    The fact is: the US government can’t tax American people enough to sustain wars around the world, which only benefit the special interest group siding with the war-advocating Republicans like Bush, McCain and Santorum.
    Claiming Iran a threat to US is a joke, there are US military bases surrounding the tiny Iran from all directions in almost all its bordering neighbors.

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