Ron Paul, Bill Ayers, and ‘implausible deniability’

I’ve received quite a response to my most recent column on these pages, entitled “Ron Paul is a bigot.” I’ve learned that Ron Paul supporters don’t take kindly to having their candidate criticized. Here’s a sampling of some of my fan mail:

“Cohen fits the template of those who are using the race card against Dr. Paul,” opined one Paul supporter. “It’s generally neocon, socialist-leaning Jews. It’s a shame Hitler didn’t gas all of you vermin.” As I told guest host Mark Isler on Dennis Prager’s radio show on Monday: It’s all well and good to call me vermin that should have been sent to the gas chamber. Reasonable people can debate that. But to accuse me of being “socialist-leaning”? That’s outside the bounds of civil discourse. How dare he!

Another gentleman named “Filthyjews” (and I suspect that’s not his real name) offered: “The author is yet another filthy scumbag parasite who should have been incinerated along with the rest of his scumbag parasitic family. [Paul] has stated countless times he had NOTHING to do with those comments. I on the other hand fully embrace the fact that all of you scumbag filthy ashkenazi parasites need to be eradicated from this earth! I hope I have been clear.” Indeed you have, Mr. Filthyjews. Indeed you have.

These are just a couple of examples. The comments (440 and counting at this writing) included scores of references to my religion — none of them complimentary, many of them not printable. Apparently, any American Jew who criticizes Paul must necessarily be a “zioturd” agent who would gladly commit treason against his own country out of loyalty to Israel. There were also many disparaging remarks about African-Americans. It makes one wonder why these commenters would be so upset that their candidate was accused of bigotry. After all, they don’t seem to think that bigotry is a bad thing. My advice to anyone with a Jewish name who is contemplating writing a column critical of Ron Paul: use a pseudonym. On second thought, it wouldn’t matter: It wouldn’t prevent them from accusing you of the crime of being Jewish.

I of course stand by my contention that the recent newsletter controversy demonstrates Ron Paul’s bigotry. Paul claims that he knew nothing about the racist, anti-Semitic and anti-gay nonsense that was published in his newsletters in the 1980s and 1990s. I’m reminded of the term “plausible deniability,” coined by Eisenhower-era CIA Director Allen Dulles. The term applies when a public figure’s handlers concoct a strategy to ensure that the public figure can plausibly deny previous knowledge of some incriminating fact (as in “I didn’t know about that and you can’t prove that I did”). Paul’s handling of the newsletter scandal suggests a new concept: implausible deniability. Is it really plausible that Paul would have no knowledge of the garbage that was going out in his name for over two decades in newsletters that earned Paul millions of dollars? For some, like Mr. Filthyjews, the fact that Paul “has stated countless times he had NOTHING to do with those comments” conclusively settles the matter once and for all. Any further inquiry can only be attributed to a conspiracy between neocons and liberals (who otherwise can’t agree on anything) to smear Paul. Others, like the Reason Foundation’s Nick Gillespie — who is generally supportive of Paul’s libertarian views — acknowledge that Paul needs to come up with a better explanation than the shoulder shrug that he has offered thus far. (“Shoulder shrug” is my term, not Gillespie’s.)