Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Ron Paul's Racist Past

Considered “anti-Israel or anti-Semitic” and shunned from the Republican Jewish Council’s candidates forum for his charitably described “isolationist” stance toward Israel and the Middle East, Dr. Ron Paul, the new Republican frontrunner in Iowa, is now being scrutinized by the conservative magazine Weekly Standard for “lucrative and decades-long promotion of bigotry and conspiracy theories.” The Standard disingenuously reports such is actually the RJC’s concern and not part of a wider effort to slow Paul's momentum:
“While Paul’s views on Israel certainly place him outside the American, never mind Republican, mainstream, there is an even more elementary reason the RJC was right to exclude him from its event. It is Paul’s lucrative and decades-long promotion of bigotry and conspiracy theories, for which he has yet to account fully, and his continuing espousal of extremist views, that should make him unwelcome at any respectable forum, not only those hosted by Jewish organizations.”
The right’s new-found concern for the racist views of Republican candidates might be considered enlightened anti-bigotry sentiment or, as Michael Steele dismissively intoned in a rare contribution to the topic of racism in the Republican Party, simply hardball “politics.” Racism is so pervasive in the Republican Party, owing largely to its history laying roots in the Deep South and becoming the de facto “big tent” confederate, secessionist, and yes, KKK-white supremacist party, that the bigotry of candidates was hardly a matter of concern in past elections. Until now.

Interestingly, the Weekly Standard article is an update, or rehash, of a 2008 article dating to Paul’s previous presidential campaign, by the same author, James Kirchick. It's hard to speculate what the Weekly Standard’s “agenda” may be, or if there is one, given that racism has been a tried and true arrow in the Republican Party’s quiver against Democrats. Speaking strictly Republican primary politics, both the GOP "establishment" and the Romney campaign have an interest in Ron Paul finishing well in Iowa, which means a 1-2 finish ahead of Gingrich, if Romney cannot outright win or place ahead of Gingrich. Still, the WS article should be required reading for all of  Ron Paul’s acolytes, supporters, and admirers including Dylan Ratigan and, of course Rachel, whose flirtation with Paul is like a flight-of-fancy fling by one taking temporary leave of one's senses to ‘heart’ the Paulie:

Rachel’s sympathetic report doesn’t mention Paul’s recent racist past and glosses over the abortion issue, or looks past it, as Dave Weigel said of Paul’s supporters overlooking his schizoid policy inconsistencies. On Paul’s strong anti-abortion stance — he’s running as the “obstetrician,” Rachel notes, which is a weird way to put it since obstetricians aren’t all anti-abortion — Weigel indicates some anti-abortion social conservatives are wary of Paul because they “don't want somebody who just believes it but will enforce it.” Rachel adds: “Will impose it through big government, which he doesn't believe in.”

Yes Rachel, but are you forgetting all of those singular TRMS reports of Republican states criminalizing, limiting access to, and defunding abortion legislatively so that the availability of abortions will in effect wither on the vine, even if they are legal? And if the Senate turns Republican a President Paul won’t have any problem signing federal legislation re-criminalizing abortions. Some issues are simply too hard to “look past” when it comes to Ron Paul. Bottom line is, the racist language of Paul’s newsletters as described in the Weekly Standard and the New York Times is so vile as to defy easy dismissal or rational — a big word in the Paul followers’ vocabulary — explanation beyond the obvious and self-evident: Ron Paul is a racist and an anti-Semite.
His response to the revelations was nothing short of unbelievable. “The quotations in the New Republic article are not mine and do not represent what I believe or have ever believed,” he said. “When I was out of Congress and practicing medicine full-time, a newsletter was published under my name that I did not edit. Several writers contributed to the product. For over a decade, I have publicly taken moral responsibility for not paying closer attention to what went out under my name.” In an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer two days after the article appeared, Paul waved away accusations of racism by saying that he was “gaining ground with the blacks” and “getting more votes right now and more support from the blacks.”
James Kirchick of the Weekly Standard continues, “This sordid history would not bear repeating but for the fact that the media love to portray Paul as a truth-telling, antiwar Republican standing up to the “hawkish” conservative establishment.” (Emphasis mine.) Memo To secret Paulie piners, Cenk and Rachel: Quit trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. Just saying.

The New York Times takes a more understanding view of Paul’s standard denial that he didn’t know who wrote those articles. As for Paul’s claim he was unaware of the content of his newsletters — this is where his denials strain credulity. Kirchick notes in the Weekly Standard the damning lucrative aspect of Paul's newsletters, which was omitted from the Times piece:
"[A] subsequent report by Reason found that Ron Paul & Associates, the defunct company that published the newsletters and which counted Paul and his wife as officers, reported an income of nearly $1 million in 1993 alone. If this figure is reliable, Paul must have earned multiple millions of dollars over the two decades plus of the newsletters’ existence. It is incredible that he had less than an active interest in what was being printed as part of a subscription newsletter enterprise that earned him and his family millions of dollars. Ed Crane, the president of the Cato Institute, said Paul told him that “his best source of congressional campaign donations was the mailing list for the Spotlight, the conspiracy-mongering, anti-Semitic tabloid run by the Holocaust denier Willis Carto.”"

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