There's just about a week to go before the crucial Iowa caucus. Predictably, the lead is see-sawing back and forth between former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Republican Rep. Ron Paul who—up to this point—most everyone but his most loyal supporters have treated as something of a gadfly rather than a serious candidate.
Now that he is flirting with front-runner status, Paul's record is coming under closer scrutiny. He's getting hit pretty hard for some of the positions he's taken, some of the votes he's cast in Congress and some of the opinions which have appeared under his name. This, of course, makes his most loyal supporters angry but the renewed attention is long overdue as many of Paul's positions are well outside the mainstream of American political thought.
To some, it is this very fact that provides Paul with his strongest appeal. He is certainly not a "business as usual" kind of guy but is that alone enough to recommend him for the job of president of the United States? Those who know him best are divided on the subject.
Writing for the website Rightwingnews.com Eric Dondero—who describes himself as a former longtime "close personal assistant" to the congressman and who Paul's campaign dismisses with the classic appellation "disgruntled former employee"—has produced a lengthy essay describing his experiences working for who is arguably the GOP front-runner in Iowa.
Among his observations:
- "He is what I would describe as 'out of touch,' with both Hispanic and Black culture. Ron is far from being the hippest guy around. He is completely clueless when it comes to Hispanic and Black culture, particularly Mexican-American culture. And he is most certainly intolerant of Spanish and those who speak strictly Spanish in his presence…
- "He is however, most certainly Anti-Israel, and Anti-Israeli in general. He wishes the Israeli state did not exist at all. He expressed this to me numerous times in our private conversations. His view is that Israel is more trouble than it is worth, specifically to the America taxpayer. He sides with the Palestinians, and supports their calls for the abolishment of the Jewish state, and the return of Israel, all of it, to the Arabs…
- "Ron Paul is most assuredly an isolationist. He denies this charge vociferously. But I can tell you straight out, I had countless arguments/discussions with him over his personal views. For example, he strenuously does not believe the United States had any business getting involved in fighting Hitler in WWII. He expressed to me countless times, that 'saving the Jews,' was absolutely none of our business. When pressed, he oftentimes brings up conspiracy theories like FDR knew about the attacks of Pearl Harbor weeks beforehand, or that WWII was just 'blowback,' for Woodrow Wilson's foreign policy errors, and such."
"If Ron Paul should be slammed for anything," Dondero concludes, "it's not some silly remarks he's made in the past in his Newsletters. It's over his simply outrageously horrendous views on foreign policy, Israel, and national security for the United States."
The piece is likely to be given broad circulation among Iowa voters over the next few days. Whether it will make a difference is anybody's guess but, say GOP insiders, it certainly should.
- See pictures of the 2012 GOP candidates
- Check out 2011: The Year in Cartoons
- Read Scott Galupo: How Ron Paul Should Address The Newsletter Controversy