In the Arena

11 Days Till Iowa: Less Paul

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I can’t write about politics without actually hitting the trail and seeing the candidates work, and I’ve learned a lot these past few days in Iowa. (Actually, over the years, I’ve found that I’m better off writing about anything–from inner city schools to the war in Afghanistan–when I go out and experience  it directly.) But there are disadvantages to being on the road in the midst of a hot campaign. It’s hard to keep up with the media–no time to read the blogs or papers or watch cable as you’re driving from event to event–and the media are where a lot of these campaigns happen.

And so I wrote 1,000 words about Ron Paul yesterday without mentioning the racist newsletter scandal that bubbled up this week. My bad–and Paul’s disaster. There really is no excuse for this garbage. 

The newsletters went out under his name. They are replete with hateful filth. They disqualify him from the presidency. The idea that someone else wrote them and Paul didn’t read them is utter nonsense–even if true, it would be a devastating commentary on Paul’s executive abilities. How could he hire whomever wrote this crap? And so, when I called Ron Paul honorable yesterday, I was wrong. He is not.

Once again, I’m not sure how this will play in a Republican primary. But it does seem to me that we’ve gotten this far with only two Republican candidates not having made fools of themselves, or gone off the deep end ideologically on some issue or other–Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman.

The race shuts down over the weekend. But it will heat up around family dinner tables in Iowa. Cases will be made and minds changed. We may be looking at a completely different campaign come Tuesday.