Ron Paul: racist nut?

So, I haven’t followed the Ron Paul racist newsletter stuff all the closely because it just doesn’t seem worth getting into the weeds on this.  From what I have followed, it seems pretty clear that whether he himself is actually a racist or not, he clearly is using racial animosity for political gain.  This Drum post, however, although actually about his truly laughable ideas about creating dollar bills which are more difficult to counterfeit, made me take notice.  Here’s Drum’s take on Paul’s “new money” fears:

Answer: as near as I can tell, he’s babbling about the introduction in 1991 of new currency designed to be harder to counterfeit. It made his skin crawl! The bills were tinted pink and blue! And they were being printed in — a nondescript building that has security measures and three-color printing presses!

Anyway, I so enjoyed that, that I followed the link to the source, a blog that has scans and discussion of over 50 “Ron Paul Newsletters.”  I realized he has claimed he didn’t author these things, but I didn’t realize the actual document was entitled “The Ron Paul Newsletter.”  Seems to me, when something goes out under your name, you bear some responsibility for the content.  As the blogger (presumably not actually an African dictator) writes, there’s really just no winning this:

As I said in my rundown on the Paul platform over atVice, reasonable fans of Dr. Paul now must accept that

there’s no way Paul could have been ignorant of the content [of] 8-12 page newsletters published under his name for over ten years. Paul supporters face three losing propositions:

• He lacks the competency to control content published under his own name for over a decade, and is thus unfit to lead a country.
• He doesn’t believe these things but considers them a useful political tool to motivate racist whites, which makes him fit to be a GOP candidate, but too obvious about it to win.
• He’s actually a racist, which makes him unfit to be a human being.

Yep,  those are pretty much the only possible logical conclusions.  It’s definitely worth taking a few minutes to read over some of these newsletter highlights.  Pretty odious stuff.  Here’s one quite typical example of the absurd paranoia, when it’s not race-baiting:

“I believe, in reality, the [Panama] Canal is now “owned” by facist-oriented [sic], international banking and business interests and is merely managed by the Marxist-oriented Torrijos dictatorship, with the bills being paid by the American taxpayers….”

And, as for racial stuff:

“Boy, it sure burns me to have a national holiday for that pro-communist philanderer, Martin Luther King. I voted against this outrage time and time again as a Congressman. What an infamy that Ronald Reagan approved it! We can thank him for our annual Hate Whitey Day. Listen to a black radio talk show in any major city. The racial hatred makes a KKK rally look tame.”

Riiiiiiight.  And the only reason more people don’t know about Paul’s absurd and offensive rantings is because the media has never taken Paul as anything more than a curiousity with no chance to win the nomination.  If anybody actually thought he had a chance, he’d just be killed by this stuff in the mainstream press (and probably even Fox).

It’s also fun to watch the Paul fans try and grapple with this in the comments.   I would love to see Ron Paul have a moment in the sun as a front-runner and see him face some tough questions about this in the light of day. That, I strongly suspect, though, is not to be.

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About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

One Response to Ron Paul: racist nut?

  1. itchy says:

    I think it’s unfair of Mobutu to have singled out conclusion 2 as making Paul “fit to be a GOP candidate.” The other two possibilities also are perfectly acceptable for Republican voters.

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