Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Your ideas intrigue me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter

People have been saying that Ron Paul is a racist since the beginnings of his candidacy, and it's well-known at this point that some of his supporters have ties to the white supremacist movement.

But now word is starting to get around that Paul's old newsletters frequently ran articles that were not only crude and bigoted, but also delusional conservative fantasies. The New Republic is running some excerpts from these old newsletters, with names like "The Ron Paul Report" and "Ron Paul's Freedom Report," and they're...well, they're really something. In addition to mocking and criticizing beloved civil rights figures like Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks, the articles generally revel in the kind of conspiratorial nonsense you'd expect from homemade, far-right 1980's pamphlets.

Here's my favorite:

The October 1992 issue of the Political Report paraphrases an "ex-cop" who offers this strategy for protecting against "urban youth": "If you have to use a gun on a youth, you should leave the scene immediately, disposing of the wiped off gun as soon as possible. Such a gun cannot, of course, be registered to you, but one bought privately (through the classifieds, for example)."

So, Ron Paul allowed a publication bearing his name, and bearing no other writer's identification or byline, to run an instruction manual for disposing of the evidence after murdering "urban youth." Solid.

Paul's response to this New Republic report is actually kind of amazing. First, he denies being racist and says he admires Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks. Which is all well and good.

But then, he says this:

This story is old news and has been rehashed for over a decade. It's once again being resurrected for obvious political reasons on the day of the New Hampshire primary.

Okay, fine, it's old news. You have heard these criticisms before. That doesn't make them out-of-bounds in terms of a presidential campaign, does it? I'd agree there are some elements of a candidate's past that don't interest me. I for one don't really care how many wives they've had or whether or not they smoked pot as a teenager. I'm not even as concerned as most people about candidate's changing their positions over the years, so long as there seems to be a rational explanation for the switch.

But if you used run articles in a newsletter featuring your name in big print on the masthead insisting that Martin Luther King "seduced underage girls and boys"...I think you got some splaining to do. Even if it has been brought up before. You can get bored answering that question...it's only fair.

Paul continues his excuse:

“When I was out of Congress and practicing medicine full-time, a newsletter was published under my name that I did not edit. Several writers contributed to the product. For over a decade, I have publicly taken moral responsibility for not paying closer attention to what went out under my name.”

There's just kind of a big gap here. Why did he allow these "several" still unnamed writers to publish this sort of thing under his own name? Even if you believe he didn't know, at the time, what kind of things they were publishing, he obviously agrees that these were like-minded colleagues with whom he willingly entered into a contract. I mean, a former Congressman...he's just going to turn his name and reputation over to a bunch of strangers, allowing them to print whatever they please and sign it with his tacit approval?

Either we believe Paul actually does agree with these sentiments, or we decide that he's the sort of silly person who would trust a bunch of racist whackjob with his good name. It's not a good decision to have to make about a candidate...


Peter L. Winkler said...

The New Republic article is devastating. Pauls answer is completely unconvincing because the racist comments published under Paul's name weren't a one time occurrence, but several newsletters put out under Paul's name are troubling. And there's more to him than newsletters, like his affiliation with the secessionist kooks, too.

Stuart said...

I forget how and why I came here but gdrggggggggg

Fuck it, I even forgot what I was going to say.