Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The crazy past, present and future of Ron Paul

Oh my. Oh my, my, now this is juicy. Normally, I'm not a terribly big fan of The New Republic, but one of their reporters, James Kirchick, has gone and done something that quite a few people have been chomping at the bit to do for quite some time: he's dug up old editions of Ron Paul's newsletter. You know, the one that included bits about blacks being inferior? The ones that Ron Paul didn't really want anyone to see during his dark horse run for the Republican nomination? Yeah, those.

Thanks to the resources of the libraries at the University of Kansas and our very own Wisconsin Historical Society, Kirchick was able to find and now publish these rambling newsletters. It will be very interesting to see how Paul's most rabid followers, many of whom claim to be liberals, react to the things written about in these newsletters. Kirchick explains:

...with few bylines, it is difficult to know whether any particular article was written by Paul himself. Some of the earlier newsletters are signed by him, though the vast majority of the editions I saw contain no bylines at all. Complicating matters, many of the unbylined newsletters were written in the first person, implying that Paul was the author.

But, whoever actually wrote them, the newsletters I saw all had one thing in common: They were published under a banner containing Paul's name, and the articles (except for one special edition of a newsletter that contained the byline of another writer) seem designed to create the impression that they were written by him--and reflected his views. What they reveal are decades worth of obsession with conspiracies, sympathy for the right-wing militia movement, and deeply held bigotry against blacks, Jews, and gays. In short, they suggest that Ron Paul is not the plain-speaking antiwar activist his supporters believe they are backing--but rather a member in good standing of some of the oldest and ugliest traditions in American politics.

The article (and the excerpts from the newsletters) is well worth a close reading. Among other things, they and Paul's own public actions point to his support for the Confederacy (and possible continued support for secession), his bigotry toward blacks, Jews and homosexuals, his view that the end of apartheid in South Africa was the "destruction of civilization," his hatred of Martin Luther King Jr., his admiration for former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard, David Duke, and the list goes on and on.

Any half sane person should have already been able to see through Paul's bullshit, but once a person has had the opportunity to peruse his archives, I see no further excuse to support him or his candidacy. Unless you're a racist, homophobic, xenophobic clod, that is.

Look, I understand that some of Paul's more public positions against the war and such are very appealing. But please do a little research before you throw your full, zealous support behind the man...or anyone for that matter. No one's perfect, sure, but there's a spectrum of decency that people fall on, and Ron Paul is pretty damn far down near the bottom. Even you crazy hardcore libertarians can do better.


The CDP. said...

Yeah, Ron Paul is a nutbag.

Isn't it terrifying and amazing how much power a guy like this can snag, simply because he's crazy enough to be the voice of the crazies? We see another guy like this every 4 years.

Emily said...

Indeed. Part of the reason I'm so saddened by the whole thing is that I know some of the people who support him support the total package: racism, bigotry, conspiracy theories and all. The other part is baffled by how many people refuse to see that part of him and his message. There's so much cognitive dissonance going on, it's positively LaRoucheian.

The Lost Albatross