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Ron Paul is Not a Truther

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Ron Paul has worked very hard through two presidential campaign seasons to cross the line from being the Republican Party’s token libertarian gadfly to emerging as a legitimate leadership figure with a chance of winning the nomination in 2012. In his quest he has been both helped and hindered by his own followers. On the one hand their devotion to Paul and their enthusiasm are amazing, giving him an edge in fundraising and promotion which none of the other Republicans can match. On the other hand, a fraction of those enthusiastic supporters are just plain nuts and their statements and beliefs have been used against Paul by his critics inside his party, in the other party and in the media.

Ron Paul is in no way responsible for the beliefs and delusions of his followers in the same way that Jodie Foster was not responsible for John Hinckley’s attack on Ronald Reagan. It might be different if he encouraged them or deliberately pandered to them, or shared their more radical obsessions, but he has not done that, and has often made very clear where he disagrees with them. Bizarrely they seem oblivious to this and in many cases are convinced that Dr. Paul shares their beliefs no matter how often he clearly states that he does not.

One striking example of this is his relationship with the 9/11 “truth” movement, the tumultuous cabal of conspiracy fanatics who advocate an assortment of bizarre and contradictory theories about the attack on the World Trade Center, each one more implausible than the last. Many Truthers are outspoken Ron Paul supporters and are absolutely convinced that he agrees with their beliefs, despite all evidence to the contrary. When confronted with direct statements disagreeing with them from Dr. Paul their cognitive dissonance kicks in and they translate what he says into something different which fits their delusions.

In a recent discussion a Truther said to me “I watched a video on national TV where he (Ron Paul) renounced the official version of 9/11 and called for more investigation. He even said that he couldn’t rule out an inside job.” Yet when challenged to produce a video of this statement he could not provide a link to one. What he and other truthers progably actually saw was one of several television interviews like the one below:

In these interviews Paul criticizes the 9/11 investigation, but not on the basis that they came up with the wrong explanation for the attacks. What Paul always focuses on in these interviews is his concern that the investigation did not look at root causes of the attacks in our foreign policy or the incompetence of government agencies which failed to prevent the attacks. Nowhere does he ever support any alternative theory on the 9/11 attacks.

That’s a provocative and potentially controversial position for him to take, but it’s decidedly not the same as advocating or in any way supporting any of the popular conspiracy theories. Paul’s views still fall within the political norm and they don’t in any way endorse any alternate interpretation of the basic facts of the events of 9/11.

Because there is this common perception among his own supporters that he holds beliefs which he seems not to, he ends up being asked about it a lot. Those supporters are delusional, so they pretend his answers denying their movement don’t exist and for his part, Paul seems puzzled and annoyed that the rumors persist, as you can hear in this radio interview:

Paul has even rejected 9/11 conspiracy theories in a presidential debate, early in the 2008 election. But in this case, as often happens, when offered an opportunity to speak directly to his supporters and urge them not to continue to promote delusional ideas which hurt his candidacy dy association, his natural inclination to support free thought and free speech lead him into the error of appearing tolerant of their beliefs. Despite having every reason to whack them on the knuckles and send them to bed without dinner, he’s too tolerant and too nice a guy to be firm with them, even if it may well cost him the presidency again in 2012 as it did in 2008.

A lot of this is a function of wilfull denial of reality, a kind of cognitive dissonance where the truthers are absolutely divorced from reality. In this video truthers ask him about the conspiracy and he gives a reasonable and compelling explanation for why their theories are irrational, because the government is too inept to have actually carried out a conspiracy on that grand scale, and that if anything went on it was just a coverup of government incompetence.

Clearly some people get the mssage, but a core group among his followers won’t accept the truth about 9/11 even from a revered leader like Paul. The response you can see on the message thread which goes with the video shows how delusional his truther followers are. One writes “yeah sure.. he can’t say it was a total inside job even though IT WAS. You have to be cautious about these harsh comments.” Another rationalizes away Paul’s statements saying “I think Paul suspects that it was an inside job too, but he doesn’t want to cross that line, for it would completely ruin his presidential aspirations.”

Even though Paul is clearly rejecting the 9/11 conspiracy theories in these statements, that core group of crazy followers can’t accept the possibility that he disagrees with them and they have convinced themselves that Paul, who they revere for his truthfulness, is lying to protect himself and actually agrees with them no matter how many times he denies it.

There’s no question that Ron Paul’s relationship with the truthers, as with other fringe groups, is a mostly one-sided relationship. They like Paul, but he clearly doesn’t like them very much. He finds himself involuntarily saddled with a cadre of fanatical nuts who follow him around and end up associating themselves with his campaign and no matter what he says and does he can’t get rid of them. They don’t realize they’re dragging him down to defeat by tainting hm with their lunacy and he’s too nice a guy to tell them to go to hell.

It’s really a tragic situation and the irony of it is painful. Ron Paul has made his position on this issue very clear, but some people love their delusions more than they respect Paul himself. The behavior of those followers may well cause Paul to come up short in his last and greatest campaign in 2012. After the fact those followers will gather over a beer and blame his defeat on the grand conspiracy they also blame for 9/11, never understanding that it was them and their actions which doomed their hero, because they could not bring themselves to shut up and accept reality and listen to what he was actually telling them.

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About Dave Nalle

Dave Nalle is Executive Director of the Texas Liberty Foundation, Chairman of the Center for Foreign and Defense Policy, South Central Regional Director for the Republican Liberty Caucus and an advisory board member at the Coalition to Reduce Spending. He was Texas State Director for the Gary Johnson Presidential campaign, an adviser to the Ted Cruz senatorial campaign, Communications Director for the Travis County Republican Party and National Chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus. He has also consulted on many political campaigns, specializing in messaging. Before focusing on political activism, he owned or was a partner in several businesses in the publishing industry and taught college-level history for 20 years.
  • About to, hope by the end of the year.

  • pablo

    Hey Dave,

    I wonder if you would care to comment, since you almost come across as a supporter now of Dr. Paul. He said several days ago on the Alex Jones show at infowars.com the following:

    “For the CIA to really be running the show….the CIA is involved in war, they’re involved in military activity, they pick targets from Langley in Virginia, they can shoot missiles to any spot in the world, generally killing a lot of people they shouldn’t be killing and missing the one’s they’re trying to target,” said Paul, adding that such activity was even outside the realm of Obama’s unconstitutionality in terms of the Libya bombardment.

    “Now we have the DoD person Petraeus going over to the CIA and then the CIA head going over to the military,” said Paul, adding, “I know the CIA’s been involved in so many elections around the world, they pick and choose dictators….I don’t think there’s any doubt they’re very much involved in these revolutions going on in the Mediterranean, we’re just trying to pick dictators,” said Paul, adding that the CIA’s secrecy was “out of control”.

    Dr. Paul also said this in 2010 at a Campaign for Liberty Regional Conference in Atlanta, GA.

    “There’s been a coup, have you heard? It’s the CIA coup,” stated Paul. “The CIA runs everything, they run the military. They’re the ones who are over there lobbing missiles and bombs on countries. … And of course the CIA is every bit as secretive as the Federal Reserve. … And yet think of the harm they have done since they were established [after] World War II. They are a government unto themselves. They’re in businesses, in drug businesses, they take out dictators … We need to take out the CIA,” he added.

    Since I know that your family has a deep and abiding relationship with the agency over the years, and as I also recall you having no compunctions whatsoever with our government engaging in coups all over the world, and interfering and sabotaging other sovereign nations, I was wondering if you would care to comment on Dr. Paul’s assertions Dave. I happen to agree with him wholeheartedly. 🙂

    Nice to see you Roger, did you move back to the bay area yet?

  • Have you checked my recent, BTW, as per link?

    It’s short and sweet, page and a half, that’s all.

  • Stop is, Pablo, you’re gonna give our Davey a heart attack.

    Have you got a link, BTW? And good talking to you, long time no see.

  • pablo

    Hey Davey,

    Ron Paul is on the Alex Jones show today! I think this is his 120th appearance on inforwars.com. You know how much Ron Paul hates truthers! LOL

  • Clavos

    Heh. Point taken, Doc.

  • Clav, if you must yawn into the teapot you could at least take the lid off first.

    Makes for easier cleanup.

  • Clavos




  • pablo

    Typical Nallism, nuff said.


    Shades of Vox Populi…

  • Dave, if you are going to maintain two identities – presumably because you just have too much personality for one to contain – surely the convention is that you keep them separated?

    I’m assuming that your error is in the name box not the comment body so will amend it accordingly.

    Christopher Rose
    Blogcritics Comments Editor

  • Dave Nalle

    Right now it’s not an issue. The article I’m currently researching is only controversial in a good way.


  • Baronius

    Dave – It sounds like you miss the sneakiness of your old pseudonym, and that’s what troubles people. If “Dave Nalle” never posts here again, but “RandPaul4Prez” starts writing articles about libertarian politics in Texas, I don’t think anyone would be troubled by that. Heck, if “Gordon Trenchard” keeps posting articles, they wouldn’t be under your name, and that’s probably sufficient for any employer as long as you’re not revealing inside information.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Comments were deleted, actually. I understand the nature of the clean-up, but don’t pretend like it didn’t happen.

  • zingzing

    “I never engaged in any two-sided discussion with the two separate accounts. They never talked to each other or responded to each other or engaged in any deceptive activity.”

    as long as that’s true, all good… but you’re walking a very thin line there. i just checked out the articles in question, and you are correct in what you say up there, but only just.

    if you felt you could speak your mind in the comments, why not so in the articles? (i did see you take a swipe at some former colleagues in the comments section under your real name.)

    if the editors (although obviously not your fellow politics editor,) are going to allow you to do this, it would probably be best that you never allow your pseudonym and “dave nalle” (if that is your real name…) to meet.

  • Gordon Trenchard

    Last fall, because of a political job which I held at the time, I received permission from the editors to create a second account under a pseudonym (Gordon Trenchard) to use on those articles which could not be published under my own name. Historically this has been common and generally accepted practice when publishing controversial political material. As someone noted above, Trenchard and Gordon from whom I took the name both wrote under pseudonyms, as did many of the founding fathers.

    It’s not unethical and I have absolutely nothing to apologize for. And no comments were deleted. I only corrected the attribution of the comment I made which accidentally retained the wrong name because my browser had cached it.

    If Baronius had looked more closely in reviewing my comments he would have noticed that I never engaged in any two-sided discussion with the two separate accounts. They never talked to each other or responded to each other or engaged in any deceptive activity.

    As it turns out, I no longer have the job for which I needed the anonymity of the pseudonym – it was not my chairmanship of the RLC. I now have a different political position which may require similar sensitivity, but I guess I won’t be using the Gordon Trenchard pseudonym, which was nicely established.

    And for the record there are plenty of other people writing on BC under pseudonyms for similar reasons.


  • It’s unethical.


  • Baronius

    I remember that. I remember people taking so many shots at him on an ongoing basis that it ruined the boards, and I thought that he and BC were right for moving past it.

    I’m not looking to light torches and grab pitchforks. But a lack of an explanation would be just weird.

  • zingzing

    i gotta say i’m having a hard time believing he’d try the same thing again, and then be stupid or arrogant or whatever it is he was enough to trip himself up again the same way.

    damn, dave…

  • Baronius, that was my guess behind Dave’s reasoning now that he is a Liberty Republican Chairman or whatever his title and totally agree he shouldn’t be agreeing with himself.

    Some of you may remember he pulled a similar stunt years ago where he commented as “Vox Populi,” a persona that allowed him to get more abusive and insulting with those he disagreed with. You can read about it in Comment #279 as Shark breaks it all down.

    Dave revealed himself in the exact same way and then tried to edit and delete comments to cover his tracks. Unfortunately and inexplicably, EO and the others in charge turned a blind eye to it.

  • #53 BC . . . policy on people writing or commenting under multiple identities . . .

    Presumably it would depend on both the quality and quantity of such a psychological condition.


  • Jordan Richardson

    Yep, count me in as desiring an explanation.

  • Baronius

    I just checked out the comments sections on Gordon’s articles, and Dave shows up there a lot. If Dave wants to write under a pseudonym, maybe to keep from alienating libertarian friends in Texas or fellow Republican Liberty Caucus members, I have no problem with that. I comment under a pseudonym. But switching back and forth between personalities just isn’t kosher. I thought that people had been booted from this site for using more than one handle.

  • Baronius

    Thomas Gordon and John Trenchard were British writers who promoteded John Locke’s writings. They wrote under the pseudonym Cato. They were popular with the Founding Fathers, and are held in high esteem by libertarians (the Cato Foundation is named after them). Gordon Trenchard is definitely a pseudonym.

    Looking at Gordon’s first article, I see that Dave commented on it. I asked Dave what he thought of Gordon’s analysis, and Dave agreed with it. Dave owes me an explanation and possibly an apology.

  • I don’t know who changed the name of the author of comment #44 or deleted the comments picking up on the incident, but I do know it wasn’t Dr Dreadful or myself.

    I assume therefore that it was Mr Nalle himself, who is not authorised to make such changes. For that reason I have restored the deleted comments, although it would not make sense to return the comment author name to Gordon Trenchard.

    I’ve no idea if BC even has a policy on people writing or commenting under multiple identities so have asked for clarification of the matter.

    Christopher Rose
    Blogcritics Comments Editor

  • zingzing

    dave can have a pseudonym… but if he’s been using it to agree with himself, that’s a bit over the line. again…

  • zingzing

    jesus. really? i did miss it.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Yep. Comment #44 was under the name of Gordon Trenchard (Gordo to his friends).

  • Did you miss it this morning? Dave accidentally revealed himself to be Gordon Trenchard, a writer here at BC for the past few months, one-upping the embarrassing Vox Populi incident. Don’t know why unless Dave needed to hide his views now that he is some kind of leader of folks.

    Clavos, Jordan, and I commented this morning, but it has been since whitewashed. Don’t know if Dave still has access to edit comments or one of the comment eds bailed him out again.

  • zingzing

    what, what, el b?

  • So who deleted the comments where Dave outed himself as Gordon Trenchard?

  • Jordan Richardson
  • Clavos

    Oops — now we know who Gordon Trenchard is…

  • Dave

    Between the early delusional commenters, TaxesRus and the ever entertaining Pablo, the comments here are a tribute to exactly the kind of cognitive dissonance I address in the article.


  • Clavos

    Then there are those of us who are convinced the gummint is malignant and incompetent and inefficient, but who aren’t Truthers…

  • Q: Ron Paul?

    A: RON PAUL!

  • Baronius

    Handy, it’s not that great considering this is his second Republican run for the presidency.

  • 78% name recognition is pretty good actually.

  • They also believe that only they are smart enough to see it for what it really is.

  • I knew Paul was a doctor, but this is the first I am hearing he’s a cook as well. That makes him a more appealing candidate in my book. Might be able to cut the federal tax dollars spent on the White House chef if Paul gets elected. Why has the media suppressed that information?

  • Cannonshop

    Truthers are just another form of Statist-they believe in a government that is entirely more competent and efficient than the one we have, they just think it to be malignant rather than benign.

  • Baronius

    Dread, like the old saying goes, Objects on the internet may appear larger than they really are.

  • pablo

    You can go back to sleep Dread, all is well.

  • pablo

    I must say Nalle you chose a great book to pimp with this article. The author of the book
    “Among the Truthers” Jonathan Kay is a member of The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies LOL. This is one of the biggest CFR fronts out there these days. Among their “Leadership Council” are the following Council on Foreign Relations luminaries:
    Krauthammer CFR, Bill Kristol CFR, Robert Mcfarlane CFR, Joseph Liebermann CFR, James Woolsey CFR, Jack Kemp CFR, and Richard Perle CFR.

    That’s almost as funny as Daniel Pipes CFR writing a book on conspiracy theories! Good job Davey. 🙂

  • Paul’s name recognition is too low to be considered a first-tier candidate.

    I’m surprised about that, considering that he’s all over the internet. And people’s car bumpers. And lampposts.

  • According to NIST the official government arm that issued a report on building 7 said that it was due to a fire.

    A fire that just happened to start by itself on the same day that two planes hit WTC 1 and 2?

    I don’t know about you, but if two of the largest buildings in the world, each containing thousands of tons of concrete and steel (with, in this case, a generous garnish of flaming jet fuel) suddenly collapsed, I’d be very surprised if one or two of the surrounding buildings didn’t also collapse.

  • Baronius

    I looked up the candidates’ name recognition (among Republicans), along with the percentage of those who have a highly favorable opinion of the candidate (among Republicans who recognized the name). These are the latest Gallup numbers.

    Palin ——— 97 — 24
    Rudy ——— 91 — 23
    Mitt ——— 86 — 18
    Newt ——— 85 — 12
    Bachmann ——— 83 — 21
    Paul ——— 78 — 14
    Perry ——— 67 — 25
    Santorum ——— 51 —- 9
    Cain ——— 47 — 29
    Huntsman ——— 40 —- 6

    Paul’s name recognition is too low to be considered a first-tier candidate. He’s sixth ranked. The other candidates who have run a national campaign before are ranked 1, 2, and 3. It’s reasonable to suppose that Perry is going to pass him soon.

    In popularity, Paul has an even bleaker picture. His claim to fame is the devotion of his supporters, but six other candidates have a higher percentage of strong supporters. Paul is two point above Newt in popularity. For all the complaints about Romney, he’s lit more of a fire under the base than Paul.


  • Jay R.
  • pablo

    15 Dread
    “I could go on and on about the questions the investigation left including how 3 buildings came down when only two were hit by a plane.

    Building 7 may not have been hit by a plane but it was hit by a much larger building which had, in its turn, been hit by a… ahem… plane.

    Wow Dread it is so good to see you too disputing the official 9/11 conspiracy theory regarding Building 7!

    According to NIST the official government arm that issued a report on building 7 said that it was due to a fire. You are coming along my friend, keep up the good work pal.

  • 25:

    I thought he was an OB/GYN, not a cook.

  • pablo

    At the end of the first page Nalle says:
    “Nowhere does he ever support any alternative theory on the 9/11 attacks.”

    Which is exactly what the official account of 9/11 is a theory. All can agree that this act was carried out by more than one person, in a concerted effort, hence the name conspiracy theory.

    So what we have is an official conspiracy theory that Osama Bin Laden the son of the man who was doing business with the Bush family for over 25 years, was behind the attack.

    I suspect that Nalle also believes that that funny looking dude that was filmed watching TV was Osama bin Laden too! Not to mention the porn that was found at the venerable Wahhabist compound! Talk about gullible.

    Incidentally STRATFOR an independent global intelligence company, has rejected the government’s account of the bin Laden killing.

    STRATFOR has been cited by media such as CNN, Bloomberg, the Associated Press, Reuters, The New York Times and the BBC as an authority on strategic and tactical intelligence issues. Barron’s once referred to it as “The Shadow CIA”

    Due to the fact that a considerable part of Nalle’s family has been active in working for the Agency, it does not come as a surprise that this so called libertarian would make fun of those that challenge and question the official conspiracy theory of 9/11.

    Something that Nalle also will not tell his reading audience is that in point of fact, Dr. Paul has appeared on the Alex Jones show far more times than any other radio show in the country by a mile. In fact he has appeared well over 100 times on Jones’s show at infowars.com. Jones himself being one of the biggest 9/11 truthers in the country if not the most outspoken on it.

    Nall will proclaim how absurd and silly people are to question the official narrative. What is even more silly to me is those of you believe the government’s obvious lies. That truly is absurdity at its zenith.

    I do however always enjoy Nalle’s rants, as they always expose who and what he really is, a fake. Thanks for a great article Dave!

  • ConspiracyFearist

    I recently heard an interesting conspiracy theory that Ron Paul is a crazy, unelectable cook and his followers are really just a couple of pimply-faced hackers with state-of-the-art spamming technology.

    Fortunately, I don’t believe conspiracy theories.

    Ron Paul 2012

  • Arch Conservative

    Paul is not a 911 truther but when it comes to discussing the most pressing issues facing the nation today, he is the only truther. He is the only national politician in the nation, save perhaps Dennis Kucinich, who won’t lie through his/her teeth to you as he is shaking your hand and looking you straight in the eye.

  • 21:

    Unbelievable! This conspiracy runs deeper than even I realized…

    I’ll be in my underground shelter adjusting my tin foil chapeau and drinking unfluoridated water if anyone needs me.

  • zingzing

    and he doesn’t seem to understand how the ads work… “TaxesRUs” doesn’t seem to know the first thing about money. odd.

  • RJ, I just did what you suggested and guess what? Google sent me straight back to this article! It’s a conspiracy, I tell you! A conspiracy!!!

  • Google “lunar zombies did WTC with death rays” and do your own research.

  • Jordan Richardson

    So the dude upset about this article wasting his time elects to waste more of his time clicking on the ads…


  • TaxesRUs

    This site runs Google ads, just keep clicking on them, people. He will lose his AdSense account because he will be seen as a risk to advertisers, lol Piss poor journalism… you deserve Google to kick your A$$!

  • TaxesRUs

    I’ve already used the Google “block this site” from the search engines. What a piss poor article. Thanks for wasting my time. How about giving readers the important information about candidates, not just your opinion, author.

  • Paul and Cain could champion a formidable 3rd Party, when they lose in the GOP primaries. Palin and Bachmann could create an equally formidable 4th Party when they lose in the primaries. Substance remains the issue.


  • I could go on and on about the questions the investigation left including how 3 buildings came down when only two were hit by a plane.

    Building 7 may not have been hit by a plane but it was hit by a much larger building which had, in its turn, been hit by a… ahem… plane.

  • 9/11 Questioner

    Paul has stated in essence that while he may not be a truther per say, he acknowledges that there are several unanswered questions about 9/11 and he would support a INDEPENDENT investigation.
    BTW way at leat 7 of the alleged hi-jackers have been widely reported as “ALIVE”, now which story is really implausible? Can some guy in a cave thousands of miles away get NORAD to stand down? I could go on and on about the questions the investigation left including how 3 buildings came down when only two were hit by a plane. Google, “building 7” do your own research.

  • Steve, are you under the impression this is an anti-Paul article? Did you read it?


  • The Death Star was an inside job.

  • steve kimsey

    More staus quo propaganda’ Don’t listen to it people. Look in to Ron Paul for yourselves via Ron Paul speeches and his voting record.

  • Yes, the giant robotic termites clearly visible In the Video chewing away at the girders are a dead giveaway. In one or two frames you can also clearly see Bush and Osama operating the remote control.

  • Architect

    If everyone looks at the Video For World Trade Center 7 They would all Agree we Need a new investigation.

  • Baronius

    Ron Paul’s silence on the issue makes me wonder, has anyone proven that he wasn’t involved in the 9/11 attacks? He’s a congressman with serious connections and a seemingly limitless supply of money, and he doesn’t want to pursue the 9/11 investigation any further. What’s he trying to hide? Who’s he really representing?

  • Thomas Jefferson


  • Ewoks did 9/11.

  • Dave, a few typos in there you can easily correct.

  • Frank

    Anyone who believes that it is reasonable to give up a little freedon to gain saftey must believe that a slave is the most secure person. This is obviously false. Freedom IS security.

  • Fascinating.

    Dave, you’ve come up with a hypothesis that is genuinely testable and repeatable… right here in the comments space. Kudos.

    Keep ’em coming, folks!

  • KSH

    I am a passionate seeker of the truth. Whether it is current events or biblical events. I want to seek it, and if I do, I will find it someway someday. I think that the truth is not always the government sanctioned story. Some are downright fairy tales. The attacks on this country on 911 are worthy of delving into the facts available. Many have, and still do. I think that those who do it to find the truth are valiant. Those who would rather be called Liars than Truthers, will always be the majority. One day, we will know all the facts, but not on Obama’s watch.

  • truth seeker

    Infighting and division are the number one tactic of divide and conquer. Ron Paul stands for the constitution as our forefathers intended. A 911 investigation revealing the “truth” will only occur when the elite cease to control the process. If our constitution was followed, the coverup would not stand. Tell me what establishment candidate will alter the status quo so that “the people” can have justice and truth? Only Ron Paul by reducing govt.s control as the constitution requires.

    Wake up – Seek the truth!
    Liberty and freedom!