Monday, January 14, 2008

Ron Paul Thoughts I Couldn't Suppress

I've tried not to jump in too hard into the recent brouhaha about the recent New Republic story on Ron Paul. As you readers are aware, I've posted on the subject of Ron Paul's association with racists and racist ideas in the past, but I really want to see the newsletters for myself...

... only my downloads keep timing out before the whole PDF file of any of the newsletters archived here can completely download.

The story is continuing to grow, though: Matt Welch at Reason has dug up newspaper articles from Ron Paul's 1996 return to Congress after a twelve-year absence, when these newsletters first came to light. In these articles, as you'll see, Paul takes credit for the content of the newsletters, saying that the quotes used by his opponent are out of context. Included in the quotes are statements backing up his personal attack on then-recently-deceased Barbara Jordan as a legitimate expression of his differences of political viewpoint with her. This is particularly interesting since, five years later, in the interview with Texas Monthly, Ron Paul denied authorship of that specific newsletter article and claimed he regretted that it ever appeared under his name.

With more news coming out, however- news that "fixers" who committed vote fraud on behalf of George W. Bush in Ohio in 2004 are running Ron Paul's campaign there- and incompetent fixers at that- I figured the least I could do would be to own up to those comments I just couldn't resist making over at Third Party Watch.

(Minor edits made for grammar and for readability outside original context.)

Here’s the money paragraph from the article in question:

“In other words, Paul’s campaign wants to depict its candidate as a na├»ve, absentee overseer, with minimal knowledge of what his underlings were doing on his behalf. This portrayal might be more believable if extremist views had cropped up in the newsletters only sporadically—or if the newsletters had just been published for a short time. But it is difficult to imagine how Paul could allow material consistently saturated in racism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, and conspiracy-mongering to be printed under his name for so long if he did not share these views. In that respect, whether or not Paul personally wrote the most offensive passages is almost beside the point. If he disagreed with what was being written under his name, you would think that at some point—over the course of decades—he would have done something about it.”

Which is more or less the point. These newsletters go back to at least 1978. 1978. When Paul was in Congress the FIRST time round. For twenty years Paul let this sort of thing happen under his name… and, apparently, did nothing about it.

That’s either carelessness in the extreme… or endorsement of the material, if not actual authorship. (And authorship can by no means be ruled out.)

Even if you regard the item as a smear piece and the author as a Giuliani operative- which wouldn’t surprise me at all- that point remains valid. Add to this his ongoing flirtation with Don Black and other white supremacist leaders- “Send me your money, but you’ll be dissappointed…”- and I, for one, find it impossible to find any more doubt to give Ron Paul the benefit of.

. . .

To use {another commentator's} credit card metaphor, Paul handed his credit card over to other people- people who, to this day, he refuses to identify by name- and never demanded any accounting for the spending over twenty years… and TODAY, on Chris Matthews, he actually tried to DEFEND those people to a certain extent.

So, one of these things is true:

(A) Ron Paul is tolerant of bigots and conspiracy nuts and utterly uncaring of his personal reputation being linked to such persons, and wants to be trusted with the reputation of the entire United States; or

(B) Ron Paul is a bigot and conspiracy nut, either one of which should disqualify him from being President, never mind both at once.

The evidence of twenty years of newsletters, fundraiser letters, and other documents does not support any other position, such as “Ron Paul does not allow his name to be linked to race hatred or conspiracy theory, much less indulge in either himself.” SOMEBODY did just that, in his name and with his consent.

. . .

The problem is that every candidate claims to be for freedom. You Ron Paul supporters just happen to believe him when he says it, but not any of the other candidates when they say it.

When you get the ballot, you won’t find the options FREEDOM and NO FREEDOM written anywhere on it, where you can choose between them. Instead you’ll find a list of names, mostly men but some women. You will be asked, among the options given (and usually only those options), which person is the best person to hold the job available.

Some of Ron Paul’s positions are good ones- pulling all our troops home, ending the pro-corporate WTO, NAFTA, GATT and World Bank, shutting down useless or counterproductive Federal agencies and departments. Some of those attractive positions are held by no other candidate among the Republicans or Democrats. Unfortunately, you don’t get to vote those issues; you can only vote for the man who promotes them.

And Ron Paul, as a man, stripped of his campaign issues, is deeply flawed and highly unattractive as a candidate. That’s why he only got 10% in Iowa, why he got 8% in New Hampshire, and quite likely won’t get even that much in any other state primary or caucus. Voters aren’t just looking at his platform, they’re looking at him…

... and what they’re seeing is a strange, semi-coherent old man who, at the very best, is uncomfortably close with some truly despicable people.

Does Ron Paul have the best positions on the issues of the candidates? It’s debatable, but it’s possible.

Is Ron Paul the best man when issues not covered in his campaign literature come up, and he has to deal with them? Probably not- definitely not in my opinion, and based on the fact that independent voters in New Hampshire chose Ron Paul third behind McCain and Romney, probably not most other voters, either.

. . .

{in response to Ron Paul, in an interview, saying there was no point in naming "the true author" of the newsletters}

What’s the point of naming who wrote the articles, Ron?


As it is, you’re refusing to name names. You keep saying “this has been rehashed,” but it hasn’t- a flat denial is not disclosure, and after twenty years of material under your name it’s not credible either. The only way you’re going to be credible when you deny authorship of all these articles and letters is to reveal the true author.

And if you ARE the true author, quit lying about it and make up your mind. Is Martin Luther King a hero or a polygamist? Is homosexuality a civil right or a death-sentence offense? Are Jews the same as everyone else, or are they secretly plotting to rule the world through fiat currency? You may say the politically correct thing on these issues in public, but twenty years of newsletters and other documents with your name and only your name on them say otherwise.

It’ll take more than, “I wasn’t paying attention,” or, “I didn’t write those words,” to put this matter to rest. It’ll take the identification of the true authors.

That’s the fundamental question: if Ron Paul didn’t write all those racist, bigoted, hateful, and outright looney things, who did?

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