Ron Paul Plays Hardball With National Review

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Sept. 15 2011 11:49 AM

Ron Paul Plays Hardball With National Review

The cover story of the new issue of National Review is "Ron Paul's Last Crusade," a long, reported piece on the congressman's presidential campaign by the magazine's economics writer Kevin Williamson. The focus of the piece is Paul's almost-successful effort to win the Ames Straw Poll, but Williamson ends up shooting most of his ammo at Paul's "cult of personality." One reason, according to Williamson: The Paul campaign didn't like a May 2011 piece titled "Border Wars," in which Williamson identified a "change of heart" for Paul on immigration.

Ron Paul won’t talk to the media — at least not the little media outlet called National Review, not if it is represented by your obedient servant named above. Forgive the personal aside, but it’s a part of the story: Ron Paul’s campaign, cheesed off at me for having noted that their guy has seemingly become softer on illegal immigration, refused to speak to National Review unless I was taken off the story. During my time stalking Ron Paul around New Hampshire and Iowa, I spoke with dozens of his supporters, with his son Sen. Rand Paul, and a few longtime associates, but the campaign never consented to an actual interview with the candidate. The Paul campaign went so far as to call Rich Lowry, editor of National Review, and ask that somebody else be assigned to the story. (Mr. Lowry, of course, was having none of it.) And that’s the weird personality cult of the Ron Paul movement on full display: I doubt that there’s anybody at National Review who is closer to Ron Paul politically than I am, but I do not believe that Ron Paul is the “one man who can save America,” or endorse the risible notion that he is the “most electable” candidate, or think that it’s fun to run with the Birchers.

The Paul campaign politely declined to comment. "We don't discuss private discussion or negotiations with journalists," said campaign spokesman Jesse Benton. The story, which is pretty harsh -- and which will probably be the last NR cover story on the 21st century's unlikely libertarian icon -- is a lesson in what can happen if you blow a reporter off.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 



Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore, and Schools Are Getting Worried

The Good Wife Is Cynical, Thrilling, and Grown-Up. It’s Also TV’s Best Drama.

  News & Politics
Sept. 19 2014 9:15 PM Chris Christie, Better Than Ever
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 19 2014 1:34 PM Empty Seats, Fewer Donors? College football isn’t attracting the audience it used to.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 4:48 PM You Should Be Listening to Sbtrkt
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 19 2014 5:09 PM Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?   A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.