The controversy that just won’t go away, a series of newsletters published by aging Texas representative Ron Paul that clearly contain racist content. They have haunted him for several years now and in spite of several denials from Ron Paul, they just won’t go away.
Thanks to the efforts of the New Republic we can now view portions of several newsletters that clearly contain racist and offensive content.
Much speculation has been made over who authored such inflammatory rhetoric in the newsletters. Unconfirmed claims state that it was Murray Rothbard and Lew Rockwell who were the main authors, but Ron Paul remains mum on just who authored the newsletters bearing his name if he did not.
A May 22, 1996 Dallas Morning News has him not denying authorship and actually claiming, “they were being taken out of context” and “It’s typical political demagoguery. If people are interested in my character . . . come and talk to my neighbors.”
To objections raised by the NAACP over the racist comments in 1996, Ron Paul was quoted, “If someone challenges your character and takes the interpretation of the NAACP as proof of a man’s character, what kind of a world do you live in?”
In an October 2001 Texas Monthly interview Paul admitted, “I could never say this in the campaign, but those words weren’t really written by me. It wasn’t my language at all. Other people help me with my newsletter as I travel around,” but those “other people” remain hidden.
The New York Times reminds us when Ron Paul was confronted about the newsletters in 2008 he then claimed, “I absolutely, honestly do not know who wrote those things,” adding that he did not monitor the publications closely because he was busy with a medical practice and “speeches around the country.”
Confronted on the newsletters by CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger Dec. 21, 2011, Paul said, “I’ve never read that stuff. I’ve never read – I came – I was probably aware of it 10 years after it was written and it’s been going on 20 years that people have pestered me about this and CNN does it every single time.” Pressed further he stated, “I didn’t write them, didn’t read them at the time, and I disavow them.”
But, in 1987 he was promoting the newsletter during his failed Libertarian run for president.
Although he denies authorship of the newsletters, his signature appears on a 1993 solicitation letter that warns of a “coming race war” and is filled with paranoid ramblings on the “new money” introduced in the early 1990’s.
The letter warns, “The New Money will steal our freedom and our prosperity; it will accelerate the transfer wealth and power from the people to the government and its friends” as we would be forced to exchange all money for these new bills that would be used to track our transactions and monitor us.
In spite of his signature clearly seen at the bottom of the letter, the Ron Paul campaign issued a denial claiming, “Dr. Paul did not write that mail piece and disavows its content.”
Other than some questionable comments on Israel, claims made by former Ron Paul senior aid Eric Dondero and the newsletter published under his name, you would be hard pressed to find any racist comments actually made by Ron Paul.
That leads Michael Brendan Dougherty at Business Insider to believe the newsletters were part of a failed political strategy he calls the “redneck strategy,” given that “Murray Rothbard argued that libertarians ought to engage in ‘Outreach to the Rednecks’ in order to insert their libertarian theories into the middle of the nation’s political passions.”
Dondero is quoted in a Reason article, “Paul’s inner circle learned between his congressional stints that the wilder they got, the more bombastic they got with it, the more the checks came in. You think the newsletters were bad? The fundraising letters were just insane from that period.”
As Steve Horwitz puts it, “although I don’t think Ron Paul is a racist, like Archie Bunker, he was willing to, metaphorically, toast a marshmallow on the cross others were burning.”
Ron Paul did not help help his cause when he accepted donations and the support of known white supremacists and neo-Nazi’s in his 2008 bid for president nor with his initial pandering to the 911 Truthers
Personally, I feel the use of such racist material as a political strategy, failed or otherwise and to raise campaign funds even more offensive than actual racism.
Paul is looking more and more as just another cheap political opportunist, willing to say anything and pander to whatever group he feels will help propel him forward. We can see that in his long held stance of being against earmarks, but packing more earmarks onto bills than any other Republican in congress. That he then votes against them, knowing the bill will pass anyway is an old political trick, allowing him to divert federal dollars to keep buying votes while claiming he opposes them.
Ron Paul has long showed he is not suited to hold any office higher than he now has. It matters not exactly who authored the racist newsletters as they appear to have only been a poorly designed political strategy of pandering to fringe groups in hopes of building political power.
It also accounts for why they will forever haunt him as long as he strives to be elected to the presidency.
I doubt any of this will matter to those starry eyed worshippers of his, the ones that believe he does no wrong and excuse every utterance he makes. To them, he is as a cult leader and they hang on every word he speaks while launching scathing assaults on any who dare question their “messiah.”
No, it is doubtful Ron Paul is actually a racist. But, he is not fit to be president either. The newsletters that continue to haunt him only reveal his willingness to pander and say what he thinks people wish to hear.