For a different take on the Ron Paul newsletter controversy, click here.
Let’s stop dancing around the issue. Let’s stop trying to parse what he knew and when he knew it. It doesn’t matter. All roads lead to the same inescapable conclusion: Ron Paul is a bigot, and should not be taken seriously as a potential standard-bearer for a major party.
Paul is now coming under fire for racist newsletters that were issued in his name in the 1980s and 1990s. James Kirchick’s excellent reporting in both The New Republic and The Weekly Standard has brought several unsavory excerpts from Paul’s newsletter to light. For example, Paul’s newsletter opined that order was only restored in the 1992 Los Angeles riots “when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks”; frequently disparaged that prominent leader of “the blacks,” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., including by referring to the holiday in his honor as “Hate Whitey Day”; warned of “The Coming Race War”; used the headline “Animals Take Over the D.C. Zoo” for a story on disturbances in Washington involving minority youth; and made the following complaint: “We are constantly told that it is evil to be afraid of black men, it is hardly irrational.”
Paul’s newsletter also trafficked heavily in paranoid conspiracy theories, many of them targeting Israel. Israel was characterized as an “aggressive, national socialist state,” an unmistakable and offensive attempt to compare the Jewish state to Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. A piece on the 1993 World Trade Center bombing mused that “[w]hether it was a setup by the Israeli Mossad, as a Jewish friend of mine suspects, or was truly a retaliation by the Islamic fundamentalists, matters little.” Actually, it matters much, and Paul’s transparent attempt to inoculate himself by citing his (imaginary?) Jewish friend (“I can’t be anti-Semitic! Some of my best friends are Jewish!”) hardly excuses the delusional speculation at Israel’s expense. Paul’s newsletter also dredged up the classic anti-Semitic canard of Jewish dual loyalty, alleging that there are “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.”
These are not new revelations. Snippets had been reported over the years, and Kirchick wrote a comprehensive article on Paul’s newsletters in 2008. I would presume, though, that many of Paul’s idealistic supporters were unaware of the reprehensible newsletters until recently.
Paul has denied writing the articles. He claims that the articles do not reflect his views, and has made two assertions that strain credulity: that he was unaware that this material was going out in his name, and that he does not know who wrote the offensive articles. As reported by Kirchick, Paul has brushed off accusations of racism by claiming that he is “gaining ground” with “the blacks” and “getting more votes right now and more support” from “the blacks.”
Paul is trying to act as if all pertinent questions about the newsletters have been, as they say in the courtroom, “asked and answered.” The standard courtroom retort to that assertion should be directed at Paul: “asked but not answered.”