In one on my rare forays into political blogging (albeit with an emphasis on “alternative” non-evidence-based and non-science-based medicine), I discussed Ron Paul’s record of supporting quack-friendly legislation and in not accepting evolution. Because of my interest in Holocaust denial, it also interested me that Hutton Gibson, a notorious Holocaust denier and conspiracy theorist, would endorse Paul for President. Whenever anyone criticizes Ron Paul for being associated with white nationalists (whom I like to refer to as “white power rangers” or, when I’m feeling really snarky, “mighty white power rangers”), inevitably the complaint is that it’s not his fault, that he’s not a racist, that the vision limited government and of states’ rights from before the Civil War just overlap with the somewhat less loony parts of the belief system of white supremacists. We’re told that we should pay no attention to that. Really.
Now I know why the mighty white power ranger contingent loves Ron Paul so much. Yes, The New Republic has found and reproduced a number of copies of Ron Paul’s old newsletters, such as Ron Paul’s Freedom Report, Ron Paul Political Report, The Ron Paul Survival Report, and The Ron Paul Investment Letter, which had been pretty scarce and which Ron Paul (now understandably) would not release to the media. For one thing, much of the complete text of the infamous A Special Issue on Racial Terrorism about the 1992 L.A. riots is reproduced, in which Paul or someone working for Paul wrote:
Order was only restored in L.A. when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks three days after rioting began.
What if the checks had never arrived? No doubt the blacks would have fully privatized the welfare state through continued looting. But they were paid off and the violence subsided.
There’s even more.
In November 1990, Ron Paul praised David Duke:
Duke lost the election, but he scared the blazes out of the Establishment. If the official Republican hadn’t been ordered to drop out, he might have won…Duke carried baggage from his past, but voters were willing to overlook that. And if he had been afforded the forgiveness that an ex-Communist gets, he might have won.
No wonder David Duke likes Paul so much!
Paul also had a rather special contempt for Martin Luther King, Jr. and other African-American activists and this showed up in his newsletters. For example, at various times his report referred to MLK Jr. as “a world-class adulterer” who “seduced underage girls and boys” and “replaced the evil of forced segregation with the evil of forced integration”; “world-class philanderer who beat up his paramours” and a “flagrant plagiarist with a phony doctorate”; and X-rated. Another newsletter, he ridicules black activists, led by Al Sharpton, for demonstrating at the Statue of Liberty in favor of renaming New York City after Martin Luther King. I will admit that this concept, if it was really pushed by Sharpton et al, is worthy of ridicule, but not of the sort that Paul’s newsletter engaged in, which was downright racist. The newsletter suggested that “Welfaria,” “Zooville,” “Rapetown,” “Dirtburg,” and “Lazyopolis” would be better alternatives–and says, “Next time, hold that demonstration at a food stamp bureau or a crack house.”
And I didn’t even mention the homophobia expressed in several newsletters or conspiracy theories about the Trilateral Commission! Or, best of all for all those Jew-hating white power rangers, there’s the part where Paul’s newsletter characterizes Israel as an “aggressive, national socialist state” (yes, it called Israel a Nazi state!) that apparently has unrivaled power to muzzle its lapdog media in the U.S., where it mentions “tens of thousands of well-placed friends of Israel in all countries who are willing to work for the Mossad in their area of expertise,” or where he compares Salman Rushdie to Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel, in which he asks:
How much of the whole media brouhaha is fed by people who are antireligious and want to paint anyone who takes takes religion seriously as an Ayatollah-like zealot?
And Paul’s denial that he had anything to do with the newsletter published in his name is truly laughable:
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 publicly taken moral responsibility for not paying closer attention to what went out under my name.
So let’s see. There’s no two ways about it: Either Paul is lying, or he’s just admitted that he’s the sort of person who should never be elected President. After all, he just admitted in a press release that he’s so careless that he didn’t bother to read the newsletter printed in his name for two decades. Even if Paul is not a racist homophobe and militia nut, at the very least he is guilty of hiring racist homophobes and militia nuts to write his newsletters and then failing to supervise them, and then not disavowing what was said in them for years until, of course, he decided to run for President. How convenient. These are not qualities I’m looking for in a President. It’s also particularly telling that Paul has refused to release these newsletters to the press; after all, James Kirchick had to track them down in the libraries of the University of Kansas and the Wisconsin Historical Society. As Kirchick says:
…Paul’s campaign wants to depict its candidate as a naïve, 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.
All I can say is that I’m very grateful that the phenomenon that was Ron Paul’s campaign is now, as we say in the medical biz, “circling the drain” in the wake of Iowa and New Hampshire, the excuses of his apologists notwithstanding. My concern about Ron Paul’s quackery-friendly policies is the least of my concerns about him. In fact, it’s rather depressing to see such a crackpot in national office of any kind. Of course, when I look at the rest of this year’s depressingly uninspiring Presidential field, not a single one of whom gives me any good reason to vote for them, I become even more morose. 2008 is going to be a long year.