Friday, January 27, 2012

Capping off a busy week in GOP racism: Ron Paul. Willing AND Stupid?

Here we go...again.  First Jenny Sanford, then Rick Santorum, Chris Christie, Jan Brewer, and certainly not forgetting Newt "Food Stamps" Gingrich...

Thus, I give's Washington Post:

Ron Paul, well known as a physician, congressman and libertarian , has also been a businessman who pursued a marketing strategy that included publishing provocative, racially charged newsletters to make money and spread his ideas, according to three people with direct knowledge of Paul’s businesses.

The Republican presidential candidate has denied writing inflammatory passages in the pamphlets from the 1990s and said recently that he did not read them at the time or for years afterward. Numerous colleagues said he does not hold racist views.

But people close to Paul’s operations said he was deeply involved in the company that produced the newsletters, Ron Paul & Associates, and closely monitored its operations, signing off on articles and speaking to staff members virtually every day.

“It was his newsletter, and it was under his name, so he always got to see the final product. . . . He would proof it,’’ said Renae Hathway, a former secretary in Paul’s company and a supporter of the Texas congressman.


In the past, Paul has taken responsibility for the passages because they were published under his name. But last month, he told CNN that he was unaware at the time of the controversial passages. “I’ve never read that stuff. I’ve never read — I came — was probably aware of it 10 years after it was written.’’ Paul said.

A person involved in Paul’s businesses, who spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid criticizing a former employer, said Paul and his associates decided in the late 1980s to try to increase sales by making the newsletters more provocative. They discussed adding controversial material, including racial statements, to help the business, the person said.

“It was playing on a growing racial tension, economic tension, fear of government,’’ said the person, who supports Paul’s economic policies but is not backing him for president. “I’m not saying Ron believed this stuff. It was good copy. Ron Paul is a shrewd businessman.’’

The articles included racial, anti-Semitic and anti-gay content. They claimed, for example, that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. “seduced underage girls and boys’’; they ridiculed black activists by suggesting that New York be named “Zooville” or “Lazyopolis”; and they said the 1992 Los Angeles riots ended “when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks.’’ The June 1990 edition of the Ron Paul Political Report included the statement: “Homosexuals, not to speak of the rest of society, were far better off when social pressure forced them to hide their activities.”

It is unclear precisely how much money Paul made from his newsletters, but during the years he was publishing them, he reduced his debts and substantially increased his net worth, according to his congressional and presidential disclosure reports. In 1984, he reported debt of up to $765,000, most of which was gone by 1995, when he reported a net worth of up to $3.3 million. Last year, he reported a net worth up to $5.2 million.

The newsletters bore his name in large print and featured articles on topics ranging from investment advice to political commentary. Frequently written in first person, they contained personalized notes, such as holiday greetings from Paul and his wife, Carol.


Hathway, the former Ron Paul & Associates secretary, said: “We had tons of subscribers, from all over the world. . . . I never had one complaint’’ about the content.

No, I suppose you wouldn't.

Andrew Sullivan, in serious slinging bullshit mode:

I cannot and will not defend the newsletters. And Paul's apparent lies about his involvement make the matter worse. And I don't think Paul is the "best vehicle" for advancing the ideas TNC cites. He's a very flawed vehicle, like most politicians and human beings. And I corrected immediately the record on the MLK holiday.

But when Paul has said what he has said in these debates, when he has walked into the lion's den of a GOP primary and attacked the criminal justice system for racial bias, lacerated the war on drugs, and cut to the core of the delusions behind American global aggression, he deserves to be judged on his recent history as well as his increasingly distant past. His message that more liberty makes diversity more possible is a vital one.

Would TNC have excoriated Robert F Kennedy in 1968 as someone who could not possibly channel progressive ideas because he was once a hatchetman for Joe McCarthy?

I acknowledge this newsletter incident is ugly, indefensible and, above all, cynical. I don't think it is all that matters in the remarkable late career of congressman Paul. And that hunting for heretics rather than celebrating converts is a losing political strategy.

Ta-Neishi Coates (written before Sullivan):

If you believe that a character who would conspire to profit off of white supremacy, anti-gay bigotry, and anti-Semitism is the best vehicle for convincing the country to end the drug war, to end our romance with interventionism, to encourage serious scrutiny of state violence, at every level, then you should be honest enough to defend that proposition.

What you should not do is claim that Ron Paul "legislated" for Martin Luther King Day, or claim to have intricate knowledge of Ron Paul's heart, and thus by the harsh accumulation of evidence, be made to look ridiculous.

Let me provide answer Mr. Sullivan's "question":

Would TNC have excoriated Robert F Kennedy in 1968 as someone who could not possibly channel progressive ideas because he was once a hatchetman for Joe McCarthy?

Now, Mr. Coates, can write his own response, but the answer is yes, provided Mr. Coates, me and rest of the black community were convinced RFK had not changed, that he was, deep down, hostile to African-Americans (or in the parlance of the time: Negroes). When RFK emerged from McCarthy's shadow, blacks were wary of him, but he eventually came out from under that cloud through good works, and more to the point, good deeds.  He came out of that cloud enough so that Mother to the day she died, would almost burst into tears just thinking about 1968.

Ron Paul, through his own actions, and the actions and statements of his son Rand, remains racially hostile (at the very least racially suspect) to African-Americans, with their combined statements against the Civil Rights Act, and Lunch-Counters being a matter of "defending property", and not as a matter of Human Rights, etc.

Simply put, yes, Ron Paul is saying some stuff in front of GOP Debate Audiences, and that seems to be the limit of what he's willing to do. He's said some equally onerous things about race in recent memory that make us believe that the Ron Paul from the 1990s has not changed one damn bit.