When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

12 January 2008

Ron Paul and those newsletters

WOLF BLITZER today, speaking in gerund phrases, examining the Ron Paul newsletter controversy, interviewing the Republican presidential candidate, who claims not only that he had no hand in writing numerous racist and homophobic items that appeared under his name over a period of years, but that he does not know—or care—who did write them.

Mr Paul is probably not himself a racist, and many of the sentiments he expresses in his CNN interview are admirable. It is equally plausible that the hateful items published in his newsletter, so different in style from the congressman's own speech and writing, are not his handiwork. But his protestations of ignorance, both about what was being disseminated on his behalf and who was responsible, are much harder to credit...

...[A]ccording to numerous veterans of the libertarian movement, it was an open secret during the late-80s and early-90s who was ghostwriting the portions of Mr Paul's newsletters not penned by the congressman himself: Lew Rockwell, founder of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, and members of his staff, among them Jeffrey Tucker, now editorial vice president of the Institute...

...[I]f the person responsible for spreading venom under his name for many years remains a close associate, it suggests that Mr Paul is at least prepared to countenance pandering to racists, however respectable his own views. The candidate owes his supporters a far more complete explanation than he has thus far provided.

Democracy In America blog - The Rockwell Files - 11 Jan 2008


When the best-case scenario is "I didn't know what was going out under my name," and the worst-case scenario is somewhere on the spectrum from Dr. Paul being a passive enabler of racists to cynically pandering to racists to actively holding and espousing racist beliefs...


I've defended Dr. Paul in the past from accusations of extremism--including on this blog--and I still maintain that a certain percentage of nutty supporters do not, of necessity, a nutty candidate make.

But a much fuller and much more transparent explanation for this sordid business of the newsletters is called for. What we've heard so far are nothing but credulity-straining evasions, particularly repellent coming from a man who claims to espouse a philosophy that values personal responsibility.

I am disappointed, and embarrassed, to learn this evident truth about a man I thought I admired.

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