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District 14: How Far Right Is Right? BY MICHAEL KING Detective novelist Mickey Spillane, having long since mislaid any distinction between himself and his supermacho fictional creation, Mike Hammer, used to announce cheerfully to interviewers who asked about his politics, “I’m so far right, I’m right out the window!” Voters in Texas Congressional District 14 will be considering a kindred spirit this year in Ron Paul, the one-time Libertarian who defeated turncoat Democratic incumbent Greg Laughlin in the Republican primarydespite Laughlin’s voluble support from his new colleagues, including House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who made a fruitless visit to Texas last spring to campaign on Laughlin’s behalf. Paul, a former Republican Morris describes himself as a “moderate” Democrathis cagey campaign slogan is “Lefty is Right!” and has emphasized campaign finance reancing the budget, and the undeniable credential that he is not Ron Paul. Running as the anti-Paul has definite advantages. Paul has been associated with one or another extreme right movement for many years, and the Morris campaign has been gleefully digging up and publicizing Paul’s own statements and positions. “We just have to get his ideas out,” Morris told the Observer, “and people will know what he really stands for, and they won’t support him.” Morris garnered headlines by quoting writings on the career of the late Barbara Jordan. \(“The University of Texas affirmative action law professor Barbara Jordan is a fraud…an empress without clothes…the archetypical half-educated victimologist.” Morris noted that in 1994, Paul `signed the “Proclamation for the Separation of School and State” of an organization calling itself the Separation of School and State Alliancethe proclamation demands an end to any and all government involvement in education: “Government must be prohibited from compelling school funding, attendance, and curriculum.” Morris cited The Ron Paul Survival Report, which in 1993 counseled “Frightened Americans” \(frightened, that is, of the fedrecommending books on the subject, and noting thatfor the truly frightened who also happen to be truly loadedPeruvian citizenship could be purchased, for a mere twenty-five grand. Most recently, the Morris campaign has been running a televi sion ad featuring Ron Paul, 1998 Libertarian presidential candidate, speaking to a NORML convention \(the National Organization tion of anti-drug laws. “If we want to get rid of the drug dealer,” says Paul, “let’s get rid of the drug dealer by getting rid of all the drug laws.” \(Paul’s own attack ads have described Morris as a Paul has responded to Morris’ attacks, not very convincingly, by accusing him of taking Paul’s past statements “out of context,” and that Paul’s real message is simply that the federal government is too . big and too expensive, and that most federal laws and programs whether they concern the economy, education, or drugswould be better and more efficiently handled at the state or local level. As that response indicates, despite his long career as a rightwing polemicist, this time around Paul has been running a fairly soft campaign, content to recite what have become mainstream Republican mantraslower taxes, no gun control, term limits, abolition of the Department of Educationand to let the Morris campaign spend its energie’s reading up on his old newsletters.. Paul may well believe that the Morris strategy will backfirein the primary, th6 hapless Laughlin also hit him hard, for his libertarian attitudes towards drugsor even that Morris is doing him a favor by indirectly disseminating his more outrageous doctrines for him. “The whole Peruvian passport thing was in response to terrorism, like the Achille Lauro incident,” Paul told the Observer, “when it seemed that having a second passport might save your life….In fact, when Morris brought it up, people were calling me, asking where they could buy the books.” \(The Achille Lauro incident, when terrorists seized a cruise ship and murdered a Jewish-American passenger, occurred in 1985. Paul published his warnings to “frightWhat is more curious about Paul’s current brand of hysterolibertarianism is how easily it slides into what has become the Republican mainstream. With the exception of his stand on the legalization of drugsa position occasionally discussed in conservative journals, but never permitted to leak into law-and-order Republican campaignsPaul’s opposition to the IRS, gun control, the U.N., the N.E.A., foreign aid, affirmative action, abortion, welfare, etc. etc., might as well be excerpted from the Republican 10 THE TEXAS OBSERVER OCTOBER 11, 1996