Kevin D. Williamson’s piece on presidential aspirant Ron Paul (“Ron Paul’s Last Crusade,” September 19), coupled with Jack Hunter’s subsequent retort (October 3), brought to mind my own encounter with the Texas congressman.
Sharing a plane headed out of Manchester, N.H., with Candidate Paul (it was the morning following one of 2008’s early GOP-primary debates), I approached him to a) thank him for his defense of unborn human life; and b) encourage him to rethink his opposition to our military exertions in Iraq. Interrupting, the libertarian standard bearer brusquely informed me, “You can’t be pro-life and support this [Iraq] War!”
I say “brusquely,” but that is probably too mild a modifier. Dismissively? Irritably? Rudely? Those’ll all work. Did I mention that I am a lifelong, outspoken anti-abortion activist? Or that, at the very moment of that exchange, my Marine-infantry son was stationed in Mesopotamia, where he’d been dispatched to freeze, more often bake, and serve for weeks at a stretch without a shower? Oh, yes, and get shot at? For this proud father-of-a-jarhead, it was Ron Paul’s low point.
Let me note, two or three other Republican bigs observed the confrontation and, to their credit, seemed genuinely embarrassed by it.
If I’d ever had any doubts, I knew at that moment Ron Paul would never snag the Oval Office brass ring. Any politician that socially bereft — to borrow Williamson’s priceless phrase, “the nation’s most successful awful retail politician” — will never be promoted to the White House by an electorate which prefers its president to have, at least, a working handle on basic manners.
It is libertarians’ true misfortune that their most visible figurehead happens to be this occasionally admirable, frequently bewildering, sometimes fatally unpleasant man. I discovered it face to face.
I’m guessing that after putting your October 31 issue to bed, the first thing you did was to order a new supply of asterisks. On page 8 we have f*****g, on page 22 it is mother****er, and on the last page, there’s muthaf***in’ and p***y a*s.
Assuming my profanity skills are up to date, I see no consistent principle at work regarding which letters are included and which are omitted. Does your house style guide contain a section on this?
Robin E. Black
The Editors Reply: None of your g**h d*rn business.