David Corn, lefty hack from Mother Jones, has a hit piece designed to take out Rand Paul. It’s full of spin and exaggerations, but let me highlight one particularly nasty piece of dishonesty:
Jones’ show has also been a hub of the so-called truther movement, which claims that the 9/11 attacks were mounted or permitted by the US government. During Paul’s 2010 Senate campaign, it was revealed that his campaign spokesman was a truther (as well as a death-metal musician with racist and satanic tendencies). When a Kentucky newspaper asked if Paul agreed with this view, his campaign replied that it was a “complicated situation” with “truth on both sides.”
Well. That’s a strong charge. First Corn claims that Paul’s campaign spokesman was a 9/11 truther, defined as someone who “claims that the 9/11 attacks were mounted or permitted by the US government.” Then Corn claims that Paul’s campaign sanctioned this view.
I looked into this. It wasn’t hard. What Corn says simply isn’t true.
Paul’s campaign spokesman was dismissed after several aspects of his online life were distorted in the press. Relevant here is a letter he wrote to a Kentucky newspaper in which he defended Ron Paul’s position that the 9/11 terrorists were motivated in large part by the United States’s military actions in the Middle East. Ron Paul, an adamant noninterventionist, has long argued that the United States’s penchant for becoming embroiled in military expeditions overseas has unintended consequences. One of those consequences is that it motivates people to plot terrorist attacks on the United States.
The point of my post is not to defend this claim on its merits — although it is certainly beyond dispute that the 9/11 terrorists were motivated in part by the U.S. presence in the Middle East, as is evident to anyone who has read bin Laden’s diatribes. I don’t think this mitigates the terrorists’ responsibility for their awful and indefensible actions on 9/11, but I don’t know if Ron Paul (or Rand Paul) thinks that either.
What I do know is that this argument is very different from saying that “the 9/11 attacks were mounted or permitted by the US government.”
And when Paul’s campaign said the issue was complicated, with truth on both sides, they weren’t saying: “Maybe the government was behind 9/11. Who can say?” They were saying: “We don’t want to be distracted by this controversy, which is why we have fired this guy, but there are aspects of what he said about U.S. foreign policy and interventionism that we can’t honestly disavow.”
That’s very different from what Corn claims.
In short, David Corn is simply lying. Shocking, I know.
(Corn’s claim about the spokesman’s supposed racist tendencies appears to be more exaggeration, for what it’s worth. You can follow the links and see for yourself.)
This post, by the way, is not link bait. Although Rand Paul recently linked this blog when it defended his comments about what the CDC says about Ebola, I doubt very much that he will be linking this post — although he is certainly welcome to, if he likes. The post speaks the truth, but it’s my impression that Paul is currently downplaying the aspects of his previous foreign policy statements that might make GOP donors nervous. My guess is that, even though this post shows that Corn is lying about him sanctioning Trutherism, Paul will take a pass on anything that draws further attention to his noninterventionist statements from the past.
The details, for those who are interested, are in the extended entry.