With the Iowa caucuses just days away and a strong showing from Texas Rep. Ron Paul likely, a controversy has erupted over a series of newsletters once issued in the Texas congressman’s name. But while some of his supporters dismiss the kerfuffle as a “liberal smear campaign” and the natural result of his climb in the polls, a libertarian magazine editor isn’t so sure.
Nick Gillespie’s Reason magazine is often sympathetic with Paul’s causes. But in an appearance on CSPAN’s “Washington Journal” on Tuesday, Gillespie said Paul needs to address the newsletter issue. He doubted, however, allegations that Paul is racist or homophobic.
“[T]hey seemed to have been written by him,” Gillespie said. “Most sources close to him say he did not actually write them. But they do contain a lot of racially horrible material. I mean, things that are not good by any stretch and he does needs to explain how that came about. Most people around him and if you look at his legislative history — he is not a racist, he is not a homophobe. He is not any of the things that have been imputed to him. And that came up in the newsletters in dark and disturbing ways.”
“But he needs to explain — I think, fully — for his candidacy to go forward: How did this happen, and how does it or does it not reflect on his ability to manage the White House?”
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Gillespie noted that Reason has been digging into those newsletters since the 2008 election cycle, hatching ideas about who was behind them.
“It seems to me,” he added, “[Paul] needs to do a better job explaining why his stories have kind of changed over time to a certain degree and how this fits into where he is now.”
Gillespie said getting to the bottom of this controversy is important, but that Paul’s appeal comes from his policy positions — not from his strategic political abilities or charisma.