June 22, 2015

A complete breakdown of Rand Paul’s lies about the founding fathers


51XwyYSTKML._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_A key part of campaign law if you plan to run for president requires that you write a book, and it have a boring title. So it should come to no surprise that Tea Party candidate Rand Paul has written several, with such sparkling titles as Government Bullies, The Tea Party Goes To Washington, and Taking A Stand, which I believe is about stealing used Stephen King paperbacks.

However, Government Bullies and The Tea Party Goes To Washington may have some problems, and I’m not just talking about resale value. BuzzFeed recently published a very, very long list of quotations from various founding fathers (with special emphasis on Thomas Jefferson) which Paul employed to liberal (gasp!) effect throughout these two books.  Unfortunately, most of them are fake.

The final line in Paul’s book The Tea Party Goes to Washington is a fake sentiment attributed to Jefferson:

“The Constitution is very clear about it. The Tea Party’s job is to keep making things clearer, and this is only the beginning. It is not a job that will be finished overnight or even in an election cycle. Thomas Jefferson believed that the price of liberty was eternal vigilance — and now the Tea Party must prove it.”

“We currently have no evidence to confirm that Thomas Jefferson ever said or wrote” this phrase, the Thomas Jefferson Foundation has said of “the price of liberty was eternal vigilance,” which Paul uses twice in his book.

The Thomas Jefferson Foundation goes on to politely refute many, many other quotations that Paul attributed to Jefferson, and Buzzfeed points out numerous mysteriously sourced quotations from Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and James Madison used by Paul to bolster his small-government position. And this isn’t limited to years-old books, either.

In the past three weeks, Paul has misattributed a quote to former President Abraham Lincoln (a quote he again repeated in a speech today) and used a fake quote from Founding Father Patrick Henry. Previously, Paul used a fake Thomas Jefferson quote in his Senate victory speech.

This may come as no surprise to those of us who recall Paul’s love of plagiarism and ripping off Wikipedia (that godless commie hellhole), but while it’s easy to attribute these laughable and numerous fabrications to a sloppy ghostwriter pandering to a readership that already doesn’t care about what the founding fathers actually did, I would caution against such a reductive interpretation. Paul’s material about Jefferson isn’t strictly limited to bungled quotes. It goes much, much deeper.

I dug out both my first editions of Government Bullies and The Tea Party Goes To Washington and went back through them, this time with a critical eye. And what I found was shocking.

Liam O'Brien is the Sales & Marketing Manager at Melville House, and a former bookseller.