Saturday, January 12, 2008

Newslettergate: Did Dondero Do It?

Ron Paul's campaign is being pressured to release the name of the subordinate who altered his newsletter to include racist comments. I have a suspicion that it is the very person who is the most active in pointing the finger at Paul, and who has positioned himself to gain the most from doing so.

The suspect's name is Eric Dondero. A former member of Congressman Paul's staff, Dondero split with Paul in 2004 in a disagreement over post-9-11 foreign policy. Dondero claims he resigned, but Paul says, "Eric Dondero was a disgruntled employee who was fired."

Since his 'resignation,' Dondero has become chair of a group called Libertarian Republicans. From that perch, he seems to be the major voice in promoting the 'newsletter scandal,' which has been haunting the blogosphere for months now and finally reached the status of print media, in the infamous New Republic article by James Kirchik, 'Angry White Man,' which was published on the day of the New Hampshire presidential primary, so as to maximize damage to the Paul campaign (can you say, 'hit piece?').

Dondero may well be the source for much of Kirchik's article, for he knew Paul during the period in which the newsletters were written. As he writes at

I started on his [Ron Paul's] staff in 1987 during his Libertarian Party Presidential campaign. I served throughout 87 and 88 as his Personal Travel Aide. Ron and I campaigned in over 40 states, including Alaska.

In 1992, I organized Ron's Presidential Exploratory Committee . . . .

In 1997, Ron hired me as his Senior Aide and District Representative . . . I served in that capacity til February of 2004.
The chronology has a gap in 1990, when Dondero graduated from Florida State University and might have sought out his old boss, then in private medical practice. Whatever, at some point he regularly saw the fax headers to the final drafts of the newsletter, as he reveals in a comment posted on the Reason Magazine web site:

The ghost writer was 80% Lew Rockwell.

There were a few others like Gary North from time to time. And even some super RP insiders like Nadia Hayes, Jean McCiver and Marc Elam contributed, and also did some heavy editing out of the Nasa Blvd. 1 office in South Houston and Elam's office on Fuqua.

But I'd say 80% Rockwell.

When I say Rockwell, that also included his interns and helpers like Jeff Tucker, Mark Thornton, and such.

But I remember the faxes of the Newsletter drafts always came from Lew.
When I first read this, I thought: Lew Rockwell? The man who runs, the most popular libertarian site on the internet? Say it ain't true, Lew!

Then that last line echoed in my mind:

"But I remember the faxes of the Newsletter drafts . . . . "

At the time, Dondero had only been Paul's travel aide. Doubtless he had travel-related faxes, but why keep a precise mental tabulation of who was faxing newsletter drafts?

Wasn't that kind of Not-In-His-Job-Description?

Suppose I work in your office, or at least visit a lot in hope of being rehired. Suppose you are faxed drafts of your newsletter, which you mark with editorial changes and leave in the outgoing tray. Suppose I know how to imitate your handwriting. Suppose I am disgruntled . . . .

Dondero's disgruntlement seems to have affected his memory. Take how he has conveniently 'remembered' Paul's bigotry. Early last year, Dondero wrote: "I've been asked by others if my former boss is an Anti-Semite. My answer is an emphatic NO. I am half Jewish. I am familiar with Anti-Semites. Ron is not one of them." But in reaction to the Paul-as-Bigot attack of 'Angry White Man,' he now declares: "Good article. Quite accurate and consistent with what I personally observed in my 12 years working for Ron Paul."

If Dondero 'observed' so much bigotry, why did he stay loyal for so long? It's not as if Dondero was shy with Paul. Here he lays it on thick about how he was once Paul's Best Friend Forever:

I can honestly say that the Congressman was more than just my boss, he was also my friend. We had a good understanding, after years of working together, and were very good Travel mates. Him and I would literally spend hours in the car traveling from one event to another, during campaigning and for District events. We would debate everything under the sun, in a friendly and fun sort of way. Our differences were always over abortion - I am Pro-Choice, he is firmly Pro-Life, and over foreign policy - I am Pro-Defense, he has always been more Non-interventionist. But we always maintained our friendship.
If Paul was a bigot as Dondero alleges, and if their differences were 'always' over abortion and foreign policy, doesn't that mean that Dondero agreed with Paul's bigotry? Or maybe, it means that Paul was never a bigot, and Dondero is making it up as he goes along -- just as did the Mystery Newsletter Writer.

As to why Dondero would alter the newsletters, I think he did it out of frustrated ambition. In illustration of just how consuming his ambition is, Dondero's website mentions that he is now a candidate for Paul's seat in Congress (with friends like these . . . .). Could it be that Dondero was overly ambitious all along, and in the early 90s felt things weren't moving fast enough for him -- and so occassionally snuck in a few newsletter remarks without approval, in a surreptitious effort either to promote his own writing skills or just as a sick prank?

While we contemplate that, wouldn't it be interesting to know how the racist comments in the newsletter match Dondero's own views on race?

Perhaps we can't answer that directly, but we do know that ever since 9-11 Changed Everything, Dondero has become a rabid (there really is no other word) supporter for Rudy Giuliani. And Giuliani seems to attract the Type:

John Deady, co-chair of New Hampshire Veterans for Giuliani, who said: "Muslims need to be chased back to their caves." (December 2007)

Peter King (US Congress, R-NY), member of Rudy Giuliani's Homeland Security Advisory Board, who said: “Unfortunately, we have too many mosques in this country." (September 2007)

Bernard Kerik, Giuliani's former Correction Department Commissioner and nominee for Director of US Department of Homeland Security, who was charged with racial discrimination for passing over for promotion an African American subordinate six times. The case was settled out of court by the city of New York for $125,000. (2007)

Richard Stanek, chairman of Minnesota Law Enforcement for Rudy, who was forced to resign as Minnesota public safety commissioner and director of homeland security when it was discovered that he had a long history of using the 'N-word.' (2004)

Arthur Ravenel, Jr., Giuliani's campaign co-chair in South Carolina, who referred to the NAACP as the "National Association for the Advancement of Retarded People.' (2000)

Rudy Giuliani, starring in a video that compares welfare recipients to lazy animals (which just happen to come from Africa). (2000)

As can be 'observed,' Dondero doesn't have a problem with Giuliani's present-day 'racial insensitivity.' With that in mind, let's compare the literary styles of the Mystery Newsletter Writer and Eric Dondero.

"If you have ever been robbed by a black teen-aged male, you know how unbelievably fleet-footed they can be," wrote someone in Ron Paul's newsletter. "Given the inefficiencies of what D.C. laughingly calls the 'criminal justice system,' I think we can safely assume that 95% of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal."

Sarcastically zooming from histrionic anecdote to universal ethnic slur -- who writes like that? Well, Dondero does. Here's a blog entry of his present-day 'crime reportage,' in which he sarcastically exploits a double-murder in Dallas as an argument to de-legitimize Muslim grievances toward US intervention:

Two teenage girls were brutally murdered by their Father - Yasir Abdel Said, a Dallas Taxi-cab driver last week. He hunted them down, and reportedly shot both of them execution style . . .

. . . Yaser Abed Said, was no doubt thinking about the War in Iraq, and US Troops stationed in Afghanistan the moment he put a bullet through the heads of both of his two young daughters.
Whether or not he ever had ethnic prejudices, the Ron Paul we have come to know today would never condemn an entire ethnic group. But today, Eric Dondero, Saint Rudy, and all the other neocons proudly exploit ethnic fears. Isn't neocon foreign policy itself based on the racist generalization of attacking the entire Muslim world in retaliation for the actions of a small group of madmen?

Maybe Dondero didn't write those newsletter comments, but it would have taken a racist, and while Ron Paul doesn't fit that profile, Eric Dondero does, and all too well.


Tannim said...

I don't like Dunderhead either, because is a moron and a balthering fool, but in all airness, innocent until proven guilty. Besides, my own contacts from that time indicate that it was people other than him. No proof, either, other than anecdotal.

zariou said...

Why all the concern about learning the identity of the authors or editors? We know who the publisher was.

You can run toward him or run away from him. The direction you choose will determine the viability of the libertarian movement in American politics for many years.

Kevin said...

Out of Context!

Here's an example of my problem with how TNR is report this (and how we are playing right into their hands by repeating it.)

The quote "Given the inefficiencies of what D.C. laughingly calls the 'criminal justice system,' I think we can safely assume that 95% of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal."

Is selectively cut from a larger quote: (N.B. "the Center" = The National Center on Institutions and Alternatives)

"The Center also reports that 70% of all black men in Washington are arrested before they reach the age of 35, and 85% are arrested at some point in their lives.

Given the inefficiencies of what D.C. laughingly calls the 'criminal justice system,' I think we can safely assume that 95% of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal."

See how that changes it? The author is making a lazy cop joke. (a poor one to be sure, but not an outright statement of personal belief that an entire class of people are criminals simply because of their skin color.)

Besides, the real Ron Paul would have made the observation that we all fall into the catagory of "criminal" due to the plethora of [unconstitutional] laws we are faced with.

The "kind words for David Duke" are nothing of the sort, they are a simple reporting of electoral results. There isn't a kind (or harsh) word in any of it. The support for Duke's platform is put in the mouth of the voters who voted for him (an entirely reasonable supposition), not in the mouth of the author.

The MLK charges are a re-telling of FBI files, and MSM reports. Even so, the criticism of MLK is not based on his race, and is not used to attack his ideas or movement, but is attacking the idea of having another Federal Holiday in MLK's honor.

Each of TNR's examples have been very carefully cut to twist them into the worst possible interpretation.

But TNR hardly has a sterling reputation. This is the same publication that brought you Stephen Glass - 'nuff said

As for Dondero's account of his dismissal. It seems to me that he was fired for failure to understand (and support) the Constitutional procedure for declaring a war, not for supporting the war on "terrir" or for haing muslims (as all "real" Republicans, seemingly, must.)

Clay Rhanul said...

Most of the arrests, then as now, are for drug related charges, which Dr. Paul has always opposed. Also, I doubt that the statistic is true.

Whoever wrote this would fit right at home with the neocons, and have no qualm about leaving the libertarian movement and accepting financial support from the neocons, which the neocons have always been willing to supply to those willing to do their dirty work.

We're looking for somebody who was close to Ron Paul, and then joined the neocons because Ron Paul wouldn't participate in the race-baiting 9-11 hysteria over a 'Clash of Civilizations,' and has since been boosted by the neocons as reward for his services -- say, with support for a political career of his own.

The List of People Who Fit That Description has only one name.

P Campbell said...

Somewhere on the net is a wonderful interview of Dondero where he is in full, foaming-at-the-mouth rant. Wish I could find the darn link. Anyone else know to what I refer?