“Ron Paul long ago disqualified himself for the presidency by peddling claptrap proposals like abolishing the Federal Reserve, returning to the gold standard, cutting a third of the federal budget and all foreign aid and opposing the Civil Rights Act of 1964. “
We’re familiar with his “positions.”
“Now, making things worse, he has failed to convincingly repudiate racist remarks that were published under his name for years — or the enthusiastic support he is getting from racist groups.
Mr. Paul, a Republican congressman from Texas who is doing particularly well in Iowa’s precaucus polls, published several newsletters in the ’80s and ’90s with names like the Ron Paul Survival Report and the Ron Paul Political Report. The newsletters interspersed libertarian political and investment commentary with racial bigotry, anti-Semitism and far-right paranoia. “
IOW, the usual for Republicans.
“Among other offensive statements, the newsletters said that 95 percent of Washington’s black males were criminals, and they described the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday as “Hate Whitey Day.” One 1993 article appeared under a headline lamenting the country’s “disappearing white majority.” Other articles suggested that the Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service, was responsible for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, praised the Louisiana racist David Duke and accused some gay men with AIDS of deliberately spreading the disease, “perhaps out of a pathological hatred.”
A direct-mail ad for the newsletters from around 1993 warned of a “coming race war in our big cities” and said there was a “federal-homosexual cover-up” to suppress the impact of AIDS.
Mr. Paul, who, beginning in 2008, has disavowed the articles and their ideas, now says that most of them were written by others and that he was unaware of their content.”
He’s well-aware of how to disconnect a mic, however.
“Even if that were the case, it suggests a stupendous level of negligence that should force a reconsideration by anyone considering entrusting him with the White House.
When the newsletters first became an issue during his Congressional campaigns in the 1990s, however, he did not deny writing some of them or knowing about them.
Mr. Paul has never given a full and detailed accounting of who wrote the newsletters and what his role was in overseeing their publication. It’s especially important that he do so immediately. Those writings have certainly not been forgotten by white supremacist and militia groups that are promoting his candidacy in Iowa and in New Hampshire.
The Times reported on Sunday that dozens of members of the white nationalist Web site Stormfront are volunteering for the Paul campaign, along with far-right militias, survivalists and anti-Zionist groups. Don Black, the Stormfront director, said his members were drawn to Mr. Paul by the newsletters and his positions against immigration and the Fed (run by Jews, Mr. Black said), even if Mr. Paul were not himself a white nationalist.
Mr. Paul, saying he still hopes to “convert” these supporters to his views, has refused to disavow them or to chase them out of his campaign. If he does not do so, he will leave a lasting stain on his candidacy, on the libertarian movement and, very possibly, on the Iowa caucuses.”
“Convert” them to what? Being able to finesse their racism as his son Rand does?
Love the “You had to ask me the ‘but’ “
Also the “I become emotional watching the speeches of Martin Luther King”
I’ll bet you do, sweetcheeks.
Here’s Rachel on Rand.
See how this all plays out?
And that brings us to Patient Less Than Zero
“The Dish goes through the process of endorsing candidates in a primary season, not because I’m under any illusions that my endorsement counts. It probably hurts an insignificant amount, if anything. I try to make a decision – because it’s easy to pontificate, debate, counter and riff off the various eddies in the campaign, but in the end, it comes to a choice for all voters in the booth. Why should a blogger avoid that responsibility?”
Or the publicity?
“And I should be clear. This endorsement is mine and mine alone.”
Not the hubster’s?
“For a long time, I thought Huntsman would be my ideal candidate. And indeed, his tax reform proposals – modeled on Bowles-Simpson – are dead-on. Removing every single deduction in one heave would do more to empower market-based decisions in the economy and to throw lobbyists out of work than any other single measure. It’s the most important, simple, productive move we can make right now and Obama has been a coward and a fool for not embracing it.”
Cowardice and foolishness in the Obama administration pertains to its disinclination to indict the Cheney-Bush administration for War Crimes or Wall Street for theft and fraud.
“Alas, the rates Huntsman favors are, to my mind, far too low, given the desperate need for revenues, if we are to tackle the debt seriously. But we are not electing a dictator. We are electing one branch of three that govern us. Huntsman is not the kind of Republican who couldn’t compromise with Democrats. The Grand Bargain may become possible again.”
A Grand Guy Grand Bargain
“On foreign policy, Huntsman also favors a more realist correction to neocon excess, and would build on Obama’s remarkable successes, without invoking some of Obama’s more worrying bleeding heart tendencies.”
“His longstanding ties to America’s most important global partner, China, make him uniquely qualified to take that relationship to a new level. Unlike Romney, he is not for starting a trade war. And his sanity on climate change – certainty that it is man-made but real skepticism about how to tackle it – is, in my view, the conservative position. And, almost alone among the Republicans, he acknowledges that gay people exist and that our committed relationships merit recognition in the law.”
On a “Separate But Equal” basis , of course.
“So why not Huntsman? The sad truth is: he simply hasn’t connected with the voters, generates little enthusiasm, and has run a mediocre campaign.”
“He started timidly, and failed from the get-go to make a clear distinction between him and Romney. He isn’t even campaigning in Iowa; and remains behind in New Hampshire. Nationally, he is at a sad 3.2 percent, a number that has barely budged since the summer. For all intents and purposes, he is a one-state candidate. I welcome his participation but view it as a marker for 2016, if the GOP crashes and burns next year, as they well might with Newt Romney. With such a defeat (and one would hope it is decisive), there will be an opportunity to rebuild a reality-based conservatism. And Huntsman may well be the man to lead it. I sure hope so.”
You forgot the “Gee Whiz.”
“Which brings me to Ron Paul. Let me immediately say I do not support many of his nuttier policy proposals. I am not a doctrinaire libertarian.”
“Paul’s campaign for greater oversight of the Fed is great, but abolition of it is utopian and dangerous. A veto of anything but an immediately balanced budget would tip the US and the world into a serious downturn (a process to get there in one or two terms makes much more sense). Cutting taxes as he wants to is also fiscally irresponsible without spending cuts first. He adds deductions to the tax code rather than abolish them. His energy policy would intensify our reliance on carbon, not decrease it. He has no policy for the uninsured. There are times when he is rightly described as a crank. He has had associations in the past that are creepy when not downright ugly.”
(See video above top)
“But all this is why a conservative like me is for Obama. What we are talking about here is who to support in a primary dominated by extremes, resentment, absence of ideas and Obama-hatred.”
“And I see in Paul none of the resentment that burns in Gingrich or the fakeness that defines Romney or the fascistic strains in Perry’s buffoonery. He has yet to show the Obama-derangement of his peers, even though he differs with him. He has now gone through two primary elections without compromising an inch of his character or his philosophy. This kind of rigidity has its flaws, but, in the context of the Newt Romney blur, it is refreshing. He would never take $1.8 million from Freddie Mac. He would never disown Reagan, as Romney once did. He would never speak of lynching Bernanke, as Perry threatened. When he answers a question, you can see that he is genuinely listening to it and responding – rather than searching, Bachmann-like, for the one-liner to rouse the base. He is, in other words, a decent fellow, and that’s an adjective I don’t use lightly. We need more decency among Republicans.”
We need more honor among thieves.
“And on some core issues, he is right. He is right that spending – especially on entitlements and defense – is way out of control.”
“Defense” is out of control.
HANDS OFF SOCIAL SECURITY !!!!!
“Unlike his peers, he had the balls to say so when Bush and Cheney were wrecking the country’s finances, and rendering us close to helpless when the Great Recession came bearing down. Alas, he lacks the kind of skills at compromise, moderation and restraint that once defined conservatism and now seems entirely reserved for liberals. But who else in this field would? Romney would have to prove his base cred for his entire presidency. Gingrich is a radical utopian and supremely nasty fantasist.”
“I don’t believe Romney or Gingrich would cut entitlements as drastically as Paul. But most important, I don’t believe that any of the other candidates, except perhaps Huntsman, would cut the military-industrial complex as deeply as it needs to be cut.”
IOW, he’s —
“What Paul understands – and it’s why he has so much young support – is that the world has changed. Seeking global hegemony in a world of growing regional powers among developing nations is a fool’s game, destined to provoke as much backlash as lash, and financially disastrous as every failed empire in history has shown.”
We’re all aware of the Fool’s Game, dear
“We do not need tens of thousands of troops in Europe. We do not need to prevent China’s rise, but to accommodate it as prudently as possible. We do need to get out of the Middle East to the maximum extent and return our relationship with Israel to one between individual nations, with different interests and common ideals, not some divine compact between two Zions.”
Eyeless in Gaza now are we?
“We do need a lighter, more focused, more lethal war against Jihadism – but this cannot ever again mean occupying countries we do not understand and cannot control. I suspect every other Republican would launch a war against Iran. Paul wouldn’t. That alone makes a vote for him worthwhile.”
“Vote For Ron — He Won’t Nuke Iran”
Not exactly a winning slogan.
“Breaking the grip of neoconservative belligerence on conservative thought and the Republican party could make space again for more reasoned and seasoned managers of foreign policy. Embracing the diversity of a multi-cultural, multi-faith America is incompatible with Christianism and the ugly anti-illegal immigrant fervor among the Republican base.”
Love the “Christianism”
Not to be “confused” with Christianity.
“But it is perfectly compatible with a modest, humble libertarianism that allows a society to find its own way, without constant meddling and intervention in people’s lives. Just as vitally, no other Republican (or Democrat) would end the war on drugs, one of the most counter-productive, authoritarian campaigns against individual liberty this country has known since Prohibition.”
“We wuz wit you, boss — at Rigoletto’s”
“He could also begin to unwind the imperial presidency. We would no longer go to war without a full Congressional vote and approval.”
I’ll have what he’s having!
“Torture would not return under Paul, making it more likely that we can contain that virus to the criminal regime of Cheney and Bush.”
And spoil everyone’s fun?
“Politics would be marked more by what wasn’t done, rather than what was – a truly conservative move and in stark contrast with the man who really would have made a good Marxist, Newt Gingrich.”
He would have made a good Trotskyite like you pal Hitchens.
“The constant refrain on Fox News that this man has “zero chance” of being the nominee is a propagandistic lie.”
Uh, no it’s not.
“Nationally, Paul is third in the polls at 9.7 percent. In Iowa, he may win. In New Hampshire, it is Paul, not Gingrich, who is rising this week as Romney drifts down. He’s at 19 percent, compared with Gingrich’s 24. He is the third option for the GOP. And I believe an Obama-Paul campaign would do us all a service.”
In what Alternate Universe?
“We would have a principled advocate for a radically reduced role for government, and a principled advocate for a more activist role. If Republicans want a real debate about government and its role, they have no better spokesman. He is the intellectual of the field, not Gingrich.”
He’s every bit the “intellectual” Gingrich is.
“I am, like many others these days, politically homeless. A moderate, restrained limited government conservatism that seeks to amend, not to revolt, to reform, not to revolutionize, is unavailable.
I’m a Tory who has come to see universal healthcare as a moral necessity that requires some minimal government support, who wants government support for a flailing recovery now, but serious austerity once we recover.
I favor massive private and public investment in non-carbon energy, because I am a conservative who does not believe our materialism trumps the need for conserving our divine inheritance.
I back marriage equality and marijuana legalization as Burkean adjustments to a changing society.”
IOW, “I’m a Hit Broadway Musical!”
“I see a role for government where Paul doesn’t.
But Paul’s libertarianism may be the next best thing available in the GOP. It would ensure real pressure to make real cuts in entitlements and defense; it would extricate America from the religious wars of the Middle East, where we do not belong. It would challenge the statist, liberal and progressive delusion that for every problem there is a solution, let alone a solution devised by government. As part of offering the world a decent, tolerant conservatism, these instincts are welcome. As an antidote – and a very strong one – to the fiscal recklessness and lawless belligerence of Bush-Cheney, it is hard to beat. The Tea Party, for all their flaws, are right about spending and the crony capitalism it foments. So is Paul.”
Oh we know what the Tea Party is all about. And so is Ron Paul.
“I regard this primary campaign as the beginning of a process to save conservatism from itself. In this difficult endeavor, Paul has kept his cool, his good will, his charm, his honesty and his passion. His scorn is for ideas, not people, but he knows how to play legitimate political hardball. Look at his ads – the best of the season so far. His worldview is too extreme for my tastes, but it is more honestly achieved than most of his competitors, and joined to a temperament that has worn well as time has gone by.
I feel the same way about him on the right in 2012 as I did about Obama in 2008.”
We’re well aware of how borderline bi-polar you are dear.
“Both were regarded as having zero chance of being elected. And around now, people decided: Why not? And a movement was born. He is the “Change You Can Believe In” on the right. If you are an Independent and can vote in a GOP primary, vote Paul. If you are a Republican concerned about the degeneracy of the GOP, vote Paul. If you are a citizen who wants more decency and honesty in our politics, vote Paul. If you want someone in the White House who has spent decades in Washington and never been corrupted, vote Paul.
Oh, and fuck you, Roger Ailes.”
But that was then.
“I sat down and re-read some of the Ron Paul newsletters last night. I don’t think he wrote them; I don’t think they represent who he is; I do not believe the man is a racist, although seeing into men’s souls is not something any of us is very good at. But you have railed and railed and railed at me these past few days – and it’s my duty to sit down and re-think. It’s happened before and will happen again. I write and think in real time.
In my view, my friend Joe Klein goes too far:
‘The newsletters went out under his name. They are replete with hateful filth. They disqualify him from the presidency. The idea that someone else wrote them and Paul didn’t read them is utter nonsense–even if true, it would be a devastating commentary on Paul’s executive abilities. How could he hire whomever wrote this crap? And so, when I called Ron Paul honorable yesterday, I was wrong. He is not.’
This is too much (I think it’s perfectly possible, rather than ‘nonsense’, that Paul used these newsletters as fundraising tools without full oversight).”
Love the “Full”
“But it is not nothing. A fringe protest candidate need not fully address issues two decades ago that do not in any way reflect the campaign he has run or the issues on which he has made an appeal. But a man who could win the Iowa caucuses and is now third in national polls has to have a plausible answer for this. It’s what happens when you hit the big leagues. Obama did it with Jeremiah Wright, openly grappling with the past toxic association, owning it, explaining it. Paul has not had the wherewithal or presence of mind to do that. Indeed, he has not even named the association, the first step to disowning it. And unlike Obama with Wright, Paul got money from these newsletters.”
“It seems to me that even though I don’t believe these old screeds reflect Paul’s own beliefs, his new level of prominence demands a new level of accountablity, even on issues this old. If Paul did not write these newsletters, then he has an obligation to say if he knew who did, or conduct an investigation. “
“He has had years to do this, and hasn’t. And here’s what you’ve persuaded me of in the last few days: a person who has that kind of bigotry directly printed under his name without a clear empirical explanation of why he is innocent cannot be an honorable president of the United States. The hatred of groups of people in those letters – however gussied up by shards of legitimate arguments – is too deep and vile to be attached to a leader of the entire country. It is far too divisive. The appearance of things matters; and until Paul explains why this appears so horrible, he cannot shrug off the burden of proof.”
Yes it’s all about “keepin up appearances.”
“My endorsement was complicated and I’d like to ask hostile readers to do me the favor of re-reading it before they get all worked up again. “
We’ve been in the Wayback Machine
and were less than impressed.
“It’s a very delicate maneuver between Huntsman and Paul. But there was an illogic in it that I now understand: There are times when [Paul] is rightly described as a crank. He has had associations in the past that are creepy when not downright ugly. But all this is why a conservative like me is for Obama. What we are talking about here is who to support in a primary dominated by extremes, resentment, absence of ideas and Obama-hatred.”
Now he understandsthe implications of what he wrote a few weeks back?
“This works as an argument if you endorse Paul, as I did, as the best medicine for the GOP, not the best president.”
“But I’m not sure, in retrospect, that I can have that cake and eat it too. An endorsement should not be entirely instrumental. I’m not trying to spoil the GOP race; I am trying to support the one guy who has resisted both perpetual offensive warfare and out-of-control spending in the years Republicans embraced both. And so I have to accept that I am endorsing him as a candidate for the presidency, not just as a protest vote against the last decade, and think that through fully.
And I just cannot see how he can be such a president without explaining away the newsletters convincingly.”
See how it works. You don’t explain. You “explain away.”
“Until he does, I have to say that the balance of the endorsement must now go to Huntsman. Oddly, I think that Paul’s courage in challenging the neocon establishment has made a Huntsman candidacy possible. And I tend to prefer the brave to the lucky.”
“And I stand by all the things I wrote about Paul’s views, his refreshing candor, his happy temperament, his support for minorities, and his vital work to undo the war on drugs and the military-industrial complex. I don’t think he’s a racist; in fact, I think he’s one of the least racially aware politicians I’ve come across in a long while.”
See how it works? If you’re aware of racism — then you’re a racist.
Therefore all non-whites are racists.
“But the words and sentiments in those newsletters cannot attach themselves – even by mere appearance – to a potential president of this country. I see that now. Maybe my admiration for Paul’s courage and his extraordinary resistance to the authoritarianism and intolerance in his own party blinded me to this. But you can’t be both the solution and the problem. And so, until Paul fully explains this incident, in the kind of way Michael Tomasky recommends, I have to say there is an alternative, as I described at length in the endorsement: Jon Huntsman. He’s what my super-ego tells me is the right choice. My id remains with Ron. But I write with the rational part of my brain, or at least I try to.”
Your brain, Sully?
Lady Day will sing us out