Ron Paul responds on CNN

Paul manages to most duck questions about how the hell he let this stuff come out under his name, saying only that he was too busy to read it.

He also makes the claim that he’s getting the most support from blacks. Even assuming he means only out of the Republican field, it’s still a suspect claim:

Paul wins the biggest chunk of the black vote, 22.2 percent, topping Mitt Romney’s 18.5 percent. One problem: There aren’t very many black New Hampshire Republicans. Only 27 were sampled in this poll, and Paul won six of them. Hey, he gets bragging rights.

(From Hit and Run).

Paul’s opposition to the drug war and the death penalty are commendable and he’s one of only 3 candidates (the other two are Kucinich and Gravel) to support those positions. Drug peace and abolition of the death penalty would vastly improve life in America for minorities. Looking at the rest of the Republican field you’ve got Giuliani’s racist campaigns, Huckabee consorting with Gary North (a former Ron Paul aide, btw), and a member of a church that wouldn’t allow black priests until 1978. It’s little wonder that Paul would attract comparable support to his competitors.

But it’s still hard to let Paul off the hook. Obviously, a guy who can’t deal with publishing an 8 page newsletter can’t handle running a country – no matter how commendable some of his ideals area. He also says the newsletters from the 1990s are “ancient history.” Here are a few things that aren’t ancient history:

In an interview on Meet the Press Ron Paul said he wouldn’t vote for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 if it were introduced today (discussed on Technoccult here).

Paul voted against An amendment to the Voter’s Rights Act that would have served to reduce voter suppression tactics.

In a rare “yes” vote, Ron Paul voted for H.R.4844, dubbed “a 21st Century Poll Tax” by opponents.

These are specific, policy related positions Paul has taken recently. His rhetoric on immigration has also always bothered me, which is what made me start thinking he had a few race issues before I even found out about his newsletters.

To return briefly to the newsletters, Here’s Right Watch on the origin of the newsletters. Paul’s excuse that the he didn’t know about the content and doesn’t know who wrote them sounds less and less plausible, but until someone comes forward, it’s impossible to know.

Why are the newsletters important at all? The answer is that they contained more than just racially insensitive or politically incorrect rants. The author refers to black people as “animals” and talks about a coming race war. If you don’t understand why this is scary, read about The Turner Diaries and the beliefs of Charles Manson.

These also weren’t limited to personal opinions and paranoias – at least one policy prescription was made, and this was known before the TNR story: the author suggested that black youth, but not white youth, who commit violent crimes should be tried as adults.

2 Comments

  1. It’s possible that he had those beliefs at one point, but then, uh, got over them. I mean, he could have been raised and surrounded by virulent bigots his whole life, shared those views, been immersed in bigot propaganda, but then later had a change of heart. I’m thinking of C.P. Ellis and other reformed racists.

    It’s also possible that those newsletters were some sort of COINTELPRO to discredit him. Maybe he was shown fake copies that weren’t that inflammatory, and then the racist ones were published.

    Who knows? I saw footage of him on Morton Downey Jr. when he was younger and running on a Libertarian ticket. It made Jerry Springer look civilized. There was no civility or even pretense of a debate. He didn’t say anything racist then, and Morton Downey Jr. would always make racial remarks on his show, usually directed at foreigners.

    Or he could be a big fat evil racist.

  2. Alberto Gonzales

    January 11, 2008 at 1:48 pm

    Well, saying I don’t know, can’t recall, and don’t remember worked for me. And I’m sticking to it!

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