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Ron Paul: Racist? (Update)

Or not.

The New Republic did the spade work on Ron Paul. I'm going to bury the lede here just a bit, but I want to be fair. So the dynamite is down in the second and third paragraph:

Finding the pre-1999 newsletters was no easy task, but I was able to track many of them down at the libraries of the University of Kansas and the Wisconsin Historical Society. Of course, with few bylines, it is difficult to know whether any particular article was written by Paul himself. Some of the earlier newsletters are signed by him, though the vast majority of the editions I saw contain no bylines at all. Complicating matters, many of the unbylined newsletters were written in the first person, implying that Paul was the author.

But, whoever actually wrote them, the newsletters I saw all had one thing in common: They were published under a banner containing Paul's name, and the articles (except for one special edition of a newsletter that contained the byline of another writer) seem designed to create the impression that they were written by him--and reflected his views. What they reveal are decades worth of obsession with conspiracies, sympathy for the right-wing militia movement, and deeply held bigotry against blacks, Jews, and gays. In short, they suggest that Ron Paul is not the plain-speaking antiwar activist his supporters believe they are backing--but rather a member in good standing of some of the oldest and ugliest traditions in American politics.

....

Martin Luther King Jr. earned special ire from Paul's newsletters, which attacked the civil rights leader frequently, often to justify opposition to the federal holiday named after him. ("What an infamy Ronald Reagan approved it!" one newsletter complained in 1990. "We can thank him for our annual Hate Whitey Day.") In the early 1990s, a newsletter attacked the "X-Rated Martin Luther King" as a "world-class philanderer who beat up his paramours," "seduced underage girls and boys," and "made a pass at" fellow civil rights leader Ralph Abernathy. One newsletter ridiculed black activists who wanted to rename New York City after King, suggesting that "Welfaria," "Zooville," "Rapetown," "Dirtburg," and "Lazyopolis" were better alternatives. The same year, King was described as "a comsymp, if not an actual party member, and the man who replaced the evil of forced segregation with the evil of forced integration."
And there's more at the link above.

Here's the response, in full, from the Ron Paul website:

ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA – In response to an article published by The New Republic, Ron Paul issued the following statement:

“The quotations in The New Republic article are not mine and do not represent what I believe or have ever believed. I have never uttered such words and denounce such small-minded thoughts.

“In fact, I have always agreed with Martin Luther King, Jr. that we should only be concerned with the content of a person's character, not the color of their skin. As I stated on the floor of the U.S. House on April 20, 1999: ‘I rise in great respect for the courage and high ideals of Rosa Parks who stood steadfastly for the rights of individuals against unjust laws and oppressive governmental policies.’

“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.

“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 publically taken moral responsibility for not paying closer attention to what went out under my name.”

Yeah. That's, um, not going to fly, Congressman. You're either a reformed racist scum, a closeted racist scum, or a fool who let himself be used --repeatedly, over long period of time -- by racist scum. There's no third option. And my money is on option #2.

"Not paying closer attention to what went out under my name?" Really? For decades? That's quite a bit of not paying attention, Congressman.

I feel sorry for what I am sure is the vast majority of Paul's supporters who must be as appalled as every other decent person. At this point, even if you were to accept Paul's statement in its entirety, it is impossible to argue that this guy should be president.

Update: Captain Ed and Andrew Sullivan reach the same conclusions I do. It's not a tough call. Transplanted Lawyer is in with us, too.)

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“Ron Paul: Racist? (Update)”

  1. Blogger reader_iam Says:

    At this point, even if you were to accept Paul's statement in its entirety, it is impossible to argue that this guy should be president.

    Still, by golly, there are those who will try. I've already seen it on, I think, a Reason thread.

    Oh, and speaking of Ron Paul, if you haven't just popped over to Cal's, you ought.

  2. Blogger Michael Reynolds Says:

    Cal was smart. A subtle statement that may avoid the crazy emails and comments.