Are Ron Paul's Supporters Being Taken for a Ride?
Among Ron Paul's selling points is the idea that he is more reliable and consistent in his beliefs than the other candidates. His supporters frequently cite his consistency, and use it to contrast him with the other candidates whose positions have changed on one or more issues. But is Ron Paul's consistency real, or is it myth?
If Ron Paul is so consistent, then why does he say one thing to one audience and something else to another? Take these interviews about 9-11. On John Gibson's mainstream radio show, Ron Paul clearly disavows 9-11 Truther theories. He doesn't disassociate from Truthers or from Truther-in-Chief Alex Jones, but does reject Truther theories. But when he talks to Truthers from WeAreChange or Students for 9-11 Truth, he tells a very different story. He tells the student group that he's interested in working with Dennis Kucinich to open up another investigation of 9-11, and tells WeAreChange that he won't say what he really thinks about 9-11 because he can't handle the controversy. If he isn't a Truther, then what's the controversy? It doesn't seem likely that the controversy he can't handle is dealing with disappointed 9-11 Truthers. If he cannot handle such a fringe controversy, he is incapable of performing as president. As for another 9-11 investigation, I was no fan of the official 9-11 commission or its report. Jamie Gorelick and others seem to have been placed on and around that commission for the express purpose of papering over their own failures leading up to the attack. But it's fair to say that given their own records, two fringe back-benchers are unlikely to improve on the commission's work.
Seeing how Paul handles the different audience makes a couple of things clear. One, he does understand who Truthers are and where they can be found. And two, he is pandering to one of the two audiences. He is either pandering to the Truthers while not being one himself, or he is pandering to the mainstream while hiding his Truther beliefs.
We see the same behavior play out regarding the newsletters. He wrote them or allowed them to be published under his name and actively promoted them while they were being published, but now disavows their contents and claims not to have even read most of them. He clearly understands that they pose a problem for him now. But one of two things must be true: They either reflect his views, or they don't. If they do, he is pandering now by disavowing them. If they don't, then he took his subscribers for a ride in selling them a product published in his name that did not reflect his views at the time. There is a third possibility, that they reflected his views then, but don't now. He has not made that argument, though, so it's not in play.
Again, his behavior leaves no middle ground here. Ron Paul is pandering to someone, and is not the consistent figure he presents himself as and that his supporters believe him to be. Ron Paul is taking someone for a ride concerning what he really thinks. The questions are, who and when?