Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Is Ron Paul a racist? TNR says, Ron Paul is an "Angry White Man"

Click here for the New Republic's scoop. James Kirchick went and dug up Ron Paul's old newsletters, the ones that hadn't (to my knowledge) come to light yet.

Bottom line: Ron Paul is either a racist or naive and clueless. Either he knew what was being written in his own newsletter and allowed the bigotry to go on, or for years he allowed his name to be put on material with which his supporters still claim he so strenuously disagrees.

It has to be one of those. Either is enough to disqualify him from holding public office.

The response from RP supporters to Kirchick's article is revealing. Here's the first one that caught my eye:

Unfortunately, your information is simply that propaganda that is misleading, inaccurate, and definitely with a political agenda. I am ashamed that I read your entire post. Moreover, you contradict yourself. Van Meses was a jew- so how can Dr. Paul be an anti-Semite.
Gee, I don't know, "Ken." My grandma is uncomfortable with "the gays" but still likes the movies of Carey Grant.

Lots of Paul supporters respond with some variation of, "A-ha! Ron Paul has the powers-that-be running scared in New Hampshire so OF COURSE they choose tonight to reveal this information." As usual, invoking a conspiracy allows the evidence to be ignored.

Those commenters who do address the evidence suggest that it's not fair to attribute the quotations to Ron Paul, since other people also contributed to his newsletters. Fine. But who has the burden of proof? As Kirchick points out, many of the newsletter articles were unsigned, so it's now impossible to attribute authorship. But whose choice was it to allow so many unsigned articles into the newsletter?

Why should we assume that Ron Paul didn't write some or all of the objectionable pieces? Many of Paul's supporters beg the question and assume that he couldn't have written them because, hey, he's such a nice guy. But RP's character is precisely what is at issue.

As for Dr. Paul himself, he recently addressed the New Republic's report, saying:

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.

But, as others have pointed out, before Ron Paul offered this explanation for the racist remarks in his newsletter, he used to simply say that the words were taken out of context. But if the hate-filled articles are bad enough to completely disavow now, why weren't they before?

Finally, we should get back to a primary purpose of this blog: understanding the level of support racists show for Ron Paul's campaign. We could construct countless epicycles to explain this phenomenon, but that no longer seems necessary.

Whether or not Ron Paul wrote racist articles, for a long while he allowed people to believe that he either wrote them, or was simply ambivalent about the articles being published under his name. Understandably, racists have taken that as evidence (perhaps not conclusive, but so what?) that Dr. Paul is one of them. He says what they're thinking, or publishes people who do.

As my past forays into the wasteland of neo-Nazism on the net show, the racist denizens understand that most people aren't free to express their hatred openly. Publishing a newsletter full of hate-filled, but unsigned artices is one way around that problem, and they know that. And they know enough to disbelieve or discount Ron Paul's recent public rejection of their views because that's exactly what they would have to do if running for public office.

Update: It looks like Ron Paul is not doing so well in NH. How long until the Ron Paul people blame it on Kirchick's TNR article?


East Coast Libertarian said...

Great summation. Only one person deserves blame, regardless of what people may say.

I noticed you left a response at my blog a while ago and I apologize for not getting back to you. In any event, this is a great analysis you put together. Take care!

Anonymous said...

At least he took the blame for it. He really is the most honest candidate running for president. What he said 20 years ago, he still says today and he doesn't flip-flop around with his ideas, they stay the same. Thanks for getting BOTH sides of this, and not just bashing him without seeing it from 2 viewpoints.

Anonymous said...

anonymous, it is because this author is only "libertarian" when it suits the author.

nevermind the articles that have been written that explain this controversy in much more detail.

"As usual, invoking a conspiracy allows the evidence to be ignored."

in other words.....touche.