Ron Paul is incorruptible. He has never gone on a government sponsored junket, never voted for a congressional pay raise. He's never voted for a tax increase or an unbalanced budget. He does not participate in the lucrative congressional pension program.
He returns a portion of his annual congressional office budget to the U.S. Treasury every year. And he frustrates his followers by avoiding anything, even slightly, manipulative that might get him elected president.
So you can imagine my surprise when a prominent Republican politician from Iowa passed onto me the gossip spreading across Iowa that Ron Paul’s statement of faith is a fake.
According to the story, a gay staffer on Paul’s team was bragging about having duped those gullible Christians and written it all himself. For the record, this assertion is false. It reveals more about Ron Paul's opponents and their tactics and their panic at his rising numbers than it does about the candidate himself. It also reveals who among the candidates is acting like a Christian.
Now, these sort of things happen in campaigns. In 2000 there was a rumor swirling in South Carolina (supposedly started by certain political operatives from McCain's opponent George W. Bush) that John McCain had fathered a baby out of wedlock. Bush beat McCain in South Carolina and eventually won the nomination and the White House.
Ironically, in 2008, McCain hired the very same political operatives to beat Mike Huckabee in South Carolina and win the nomination. Such is the power of negative, even untruthful, campaigning. And I understand that fathering a baby out of wedlock must have riled some voters in South Carolina just as playing the gay card must seem like a smart thing for Ron Paul's opponents to do to try to hurt him in Iowa.
Remember, this is the place where state Supreme Court justices who had ruled for same-sex marriage were were voted off the bench. But sorry, both stories are false.
Ron Paul, ever the defender of local government favors the right of citizens to vote out judges and applauded Iowans for their actions. And the idea that Ron Paul would fake his faith? Come on.
Several months ago I brought the quiet, behind-the-scenes Republican dealmaker David Lane into meet privately with Congressman Paul. By the way, Lane should not be confused with some of his more infamous namesakes.
This man is the political operative from Texas, now living in Southern California, the man now pushing Gov. Perry into the race. Lane admitted that many Evangelicals were moving in Paul’s direction as are many non evangelicals and he was winning all the straw polls, even the ones with Christian activists.
Candidates were now fighting for the leadership of the tea party, which started as a Ron Paul fundraiser. So Lane wanted to take a closer look. But Lane was hoping for Paul to say something religious, something that he could use to sell to the Evangelical Christian community, something that would make Paul a star at one of Lane’s big events where Christians look to their roots in America and the Founders’ original ideas.
Who better to talk about the Constitution than the one man in America with which it has become synonymous?
Lane thought that I would have the congressman prepared and rehearsed. After all, I had been doing that with candidates and presidents for many years as Lane knew well, had even co-authored a book with a president, which was designed to appeal to social conservatives. But “Ron is Ron,” as campaign manager John Tate loves to say, and no one, not me or anyone else, ever puts words in his mouth.
His faith is a very private and personal thing. A real thing. Not something for political effect. Lane left a bit disappointed. “People are ready for his economic message,” he said. “But Dr. Paul needs to be a little more political.”
Days after the meeting, at my insistence, I asked if there was a Ron Paul statement of faith on the record, and yes there was. It had come after much inquiry on the matter in 2007.
Ron's recent updated statement of faith is much like the earlier one, which talked about accepting Jesus Christ as his personal Savior and endeavoring everyday to follow him in all that he does.
They are all his own words and can now be viewed online at Evangelicals for Ron Paul/Facebook. I guess the difference is that he actually lives those words.
He's that way about his politics too. One of his opponents in the GOP contest claims to be against the bailout but actually voted for it in congress. Ron votes the same way he talks. And he lives the same way he prays.
Years ago he married his high school sweetheart and they are still happily married. His faith is not something he wears to win elections. And he won't violate his faith to lie about a political opponent, which I guess, in light of this false story, puts him at a distinct disadvantage in Iowa.
There was one interesting thing that happened in the meeting with Ron Paul and David Lane. Paul told how the whole constitutional-liberty movement began. He was so shaken by the levels of official corruption in Washington, D.C. that he had almost decided to retire. And then he had an inspiration. He would speak out. He would tell the truth and say it loudly and clearly. No matter what happened.
Carol Paul, his wife, was apparently frightened by this prospect. “They will ruin you if you do that. They will destroy you.”
But a remarkable thing happened. Ron Paul’s message resonated.
There were more people out there ready to listen than either one of them had ever thought. And many of those people, like me, are Evangelical Christians. We too care about the bailouts, the endless wars, the increased money supply which dilutes the spending power of the dollar and inflates food prices, a tax on the poor people of America.
We too care about the loss of personal liberties and are beginning to understand that to deny them to one means to lose them for ourselves. And we too are tired of politicians who take the low road and fight dirty and tell lies to win.
It seems pretty early in the election cycle for this type of a dirty trick. But it is hard to imagine what else it could be.
I will let other journalists run down this story and find out who started it and all the ironies involved. And hopefully, they will find the source quickly this time and not a year later, as in the case of South Carolina. Otherwise, the good people of Iowa just might elect the wrong person.
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