At the Intersection of Faith and Culture

Dear Michael Medved,

On August 25, you had Jeffrey Lord on your nationally syndicated talk show.  Lord had written an essay for The American Spectator in which he articulated several criticisms of Texas Congressman and Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul. Anyone who has ever listened to your show for any given length of time knows full well that you had no intention of taking Lord to task for his comments.  Quite the contrary, as expected, your interview with this former Reagan staffer proved to be but one more opportunity to feed your apparent obsession with ruining Paul’s reputation among the ever growing number of voters who are gravitating toward him.

It is interesting, though, that for however misinformed and, thus, uncharitable, Lord’s criticisms of Paul were, they weren’t unqualified.  In addition to conceding Ron Paul’s soundness of character, he acknowledged as well the single-handedness with which he has altered the national dialogue by reshaping the dialogue within the GOP: in 2008, Paul was well ahead of the curve when it came to the Federal Reserve and spending generally. For Paul’s contributions to altering the character of the GOP, Lord confesses to being grateful.

One need not read Lord’s critique of Paul or listen to your exchange with him in order to know that it is the good doctor’s conception of foreign policy above and beyond anything else that renders him the object of your rage.  Ron Paul has consistently, passionately, and—judging from his increasing number of supporters—persuasively argued against the prohibitively costly enterprise of compelling the peoples of other countries to replicate America’s political framework.  In observing the practical impossibility of simultaneously supporting, on the one hand, “limited government” and the “fiscal responsibility” that this entails and, on the other, a gargantuan military with engagements the planet over, Paul has exposed the rhetoric of his party as confused at best, deceptive at worst.

For this, there can be no pardon.

Yet because Paul’s vision carries significantly more resonance with American voters in 2011 than it did just a few years earlier—an inconvenient fact born out by poll after poll that shows Paul holding his own with, and sometimes even besting, the top-tier Republican presidential contenders—the contempt that you breed for Paul is fueled as much by fear as by wrath. So, in order to discredit him, you choose to both ridicule him as a marginal or “fringe” character and demonize him as a “racist” and “anti-Semite.”

I would kindly urge you, sir, to bear in mind just a couple of considerations. 

First, the media in both its so-called “mainstream” and “conservative” guises regularly reports on there being three top-tier Republican presidential candidates: Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, and Michele Bachmann.  Latest polls, however, show that Ron Paul has beaten the latter out of her third place showing.  What this means is that if Bachmann was a top-tier candidate when she was in third place, then Paul is a top-tier candidate now that he is in third place.  Simply put, far from being a “fringe” and unviable candidate, Paul is quite viable indeed, to say the least.  In fact, his showing in the polls aside, your insistence upon availing yourself of every conceivable opportunity to mock Paul proves that you yourself are painfully aware of what a formidable force he truly is (how often do you ridicule, or even mention, Gary Johnson?). 

Second, the attempts that you have been making on the life of Paul’s character for the last so many years are bound to backfire on you. 

For one, they are transparently disingenuous.  Lord launches these same slurs against Paul while at one and the same moment affirming that this much maligned champion of liberty is a “good man.”  But if “anti-Semitism” is the most egregious of all moral offenses, and if Ron Paul is an “anti-Semite” or at least associated with “anti-Semites,” then how can he be a “good man?”

Another reason to let up with these ad hominem attacks is that in resorting to them, you reveal your true identity.  That is, because it is the leftist who is known for the readiness with which he convicts his opponents of the litany of politically correct crimes, your readiness to do the same to your opponents—especially your opponents, like Paul, who are to your right—vindicates those who have been insisting all along that neither you nor your colleagues are the “conservatives” who you claim to be.  Your impulse to besmirch Paul and everyone to your right as politically incorrect miscreants confirms your critics’ assessment that you remain enthralled to the leftist ideology within which you were nurtured.  The ease with which you charge Paul with PC thought crimes, in other words, promises to vindicate those who have sworn all along that you are not a conservative, but, rather a neoconservative.

The problem is that neoconservatism is woefully unpopular among the American electorate.  If more people awake to the fact that the “conservative” establishment isn’t conservative at all but, of all things, neoconservative, then this could prove to be quite damaging to the Republicans’ electoral prospects—and, for that matter, Mr. Medved, your ratings. 

Besides, outside of those leftists who would vote for neither Ron Paul nor any other Republican, there is no one who will be deterred from voting for him because of the charges that you level.  And since it is on the basis of nothing other than what you and your fellow neoconservatives deem to be Paul’s insufficient support for Israel and his determination to identify your ilk as neoconservatives that you accuse him of “anti-Semitism,” some of these leftists may even begin to warm to him.

Stop with the silly name calling Mr. Medved.  I know that you can rise above it.

Paul has been under fire for what his critics take to be his frighteningly wrong-headed position on the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran.  Paul thinks that, short of war, there is nothing that we can do to impede Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon.  Sanctions, we know, not only contribute to the oppression under which the innocent subjects of brutal regimes are forced to live, but almost always lead, ultimately, to war.  Nor does Dr. Paul believe that we are incapable of protecting ourselves against a country, even a country like Iran, with one nuclear weapon.

Mr. Medved, if this is such an unacceptable point of view, I ask you sir, what would you have a Republican president do?  Do you endorse but another Middle Eastern war, a military invasion ofIran?  If not, then why make such a huge deal out of Paul’s stated position?  If so, then why not just come right out and say so?

The prospect of a Paul presidency scares the daylights out of neoconservatives.  What, Mr. Medved, do you imagine would happen in the event that your nightmare came to fruition?  How would things in our country worsen?  Please, be specific—and realistic.   

Resist the hysteria over Paul that has prevailed over your reason for far too long and, as you regularly tell callers to your show, “focus like a laser beam.”

 Finally, since, as you and Lord would have us believe, it is those of your ilk who are the “real” conservatives, please tell us: if Republicans maintain control of the House and reacquire the Senate and the White House, what should they do in order to prove that they really are the party of “limited government?” What policies should they enact, and what programs and agencies should they aspire to abolish? 

In short, sir, how, in your judgment, would, say, Mitt Romney’s or John McCain’s or Rick Perry’s Americadiffer from that of Ron Paul’s?

With all due respect, if you make the attempt to tackle these questions, I suspect that even you may find your answers quite telling. 


Jack Kerwick, Ph.D.         


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