Friday, December 23, 2011

Could Ron Paul Be A Racist?

Republican Presidential candidate Ron Paul has gotten himself into a bit of hot water, with an old controversy over a 'newsletter' he published called the Ron Paul Political Report that contained some racist comments.  Michael Tomasky writes about it at The Daily Beast:

If you’re unfamiliar with the particulars, you should read James Kirchick’s original New Republic piece from 2008. These are not your run-of-the-mill euphemisms. These are blatantly racist comments by, I would hope, nearly any measure. Jews and gays get their moment in the sun, and there are code-word comments of the sort we’ve come to expect about matters like secession, the right of which “should be ingrained in a free society”; but all those are just warm-up acts for the race stuff. The “Special Issue on Racial Terrorism,” produced after the Los Angeles riots, offers many gems, including this advice: “I’ve urged everyone in my family to know how to use a gun in self defense. For the animals are coming.”

I invoke this quote because the “I” in the above sentence is problematic. It would seem, in the pages of something called the Ron Paul Political Report, that that “I” would represent, well, Ron Paul. But he denies authorship—and more. As he said to Borger: “I never read that stuff. I was probably aware of it 10 years after it was written and it’s been going on 20 years that people have pestered me about this...”

So here is the first thing Paul can do, which is to provide an answer to a simple question: If he didn’t write those sentences, who did? Why not say? If he genuinely disagrees with the statements and truly disavows them, there could be no good reason not to name names. He acknowledges that he’s been aware of the sentences for a decade. Well, did he look into the authorship question at the time, when he was made aware? It seems to me that if I were a member of the House of Representatives (as Paul was at the time) and not a racist, and I discovered that racist screeds had been issued under my name, I’d want to know who wrote them. I suppose one could argue that they were written by a friend, and Paul is honorably protecting that friend from scrutiny. I might counter by stating that (again) if I were not a racist and discovered that racist screeds had been penned under my name by someone, it’s not very likely that that someone would still be my friend, on grounds of both his dubious integrity and our incompatibility of world views.

The second thing Paul could do is give a speech, or at least an informal talk, about his actual racial views. Paul has said that he doesn’t hold those views, and that “anyone who knows me” can affirm this to be the case. Well, doctor: a) that’s awfully fuzzy and doesn’t fill in much of the canvas, and b) the vast majority of us don’t know you. So how about filling in that canvas? If his views are as advanced as he assures us they are, there can be no downside.

Or can’t there? Paul will of course take neither of these steps. He won’t do the first because—well, the first theory of the case, hardly discredited to this point, is that he is in fact the author, and he’s clearly not going to admit that. But even if it is someone else, he won’t. It could be someone he’s still close to, someone he’s praised recently, or a dozen other things. And he won’t do the second because among his core supporters, there is utterly no reason for him to answer these questions. Doing so—giving some Obama-style “race speech”—would constitute capitulation to the liberal media, and if he committed that mortal sin, he’d quickly find himself back in the single-digit rooming house where he has flopped down for so many years already. And so, the real reason the truth is likely to remain unexamined, stated directly: Among Republicans and conservatives, there simply aren’t enough people who care whether he’s a racist or not. If there were a demand for an explanation, he would supply one. But there is not.

1 comment:

  1. Our past lives live on in perpetuity on the internet. Not a medium that can be unspun easily since it IS the ultimate spin machine. Those who don't care if Ron Paul is a racist or not will either vote for him or against him depending on how they identify with his views or how they are offended by his views. To me, Libertarians are one step removed from being anarchists therefore I won't be voting for Ron Paul!!