More scans of Ron Paul’s newsletters, including racist and homophobic conspiracy theories can be found here.
Recent developments in the Republican contest for the presidential nomination have put Ron Paul in the leading position.
I never imagined that I would write the sentence above. Paul has always been considered an extremist, someone who might swing a race by attracting a few votes, but never a serious candidate for President of the United States. Many believe that it’s impossible for him to be nominated and even more so that he would be elected, but the increasing paralysis of our government, its inability to deal with even simple issues, the downward spiral of the world economy and its possible implosion, have angered and frightened many to the point that almost anything ‘different’ looks good — the more different, the better. And we all know historical precedent of yesterday’s extremist, even laughing-stock, becoming the leader of a great nation.
And Ron Paul is very different. Let’s just take his attitude toward Israel. Here’s what Philip Klein wrote recently:
Nearly three years ago, Israel launched a counterattack on Palestinian terrorists in Gaza who had been firing thousands of rockets at Israeli civilians. In early January 2009, Paul released a web video in which he charged that Israel was launching a “pre-emptive war,” that Palestinians were living in a “concentration camp” and that they merely had “a few small missiles.”
He then repeated this claim on Press TV — the state-owned propaganda channel of Iran’s Islamist government. “To me, I look at it like a concentration camp, and people are making homemade bombs,” he said of the situation in Gaza, adding sarcastically, “like they’re they aggressors?”
Here’s the Iranian TV interview:
But there’s worse. Ron Paul tries to present a reasonable image today, and the Romney and Obama campaigns are happy to let him do it in order to draw support from candidates to the right of theirs. But Paul has a paper trail that is downright ugly. Here’s how James Kirchik described it in 2008:
Paul’s newsletters have carried different titles over the years–Ron Paul’s Freedom Report, Ron Paul Political Report, TheRon Paul Survival Report–but they generally seem to have been published on a monthly basis since at least 1978. (Paul, an OB-GYN and former U.S. Air Force surgeon, was first elected to Congress in 1976.) During some periods, the newsletters were published by the Foundation for Rational Economics and Education, a nonprofit Paul founded in 1976; at other times, they were published by Ron Paul & Associates, a now-defunct entity in which Paul owned a minority stake, according to his campaign spokesman. The Freedom Report claimed to have over 100,000 readers in 1984. At one point, Ron Paul & Associates also put out a monthly publication called The Ron Paul Investment Letter.
The Freedom Report’s online archives only go back to 1999, but I was curious to see older editions of Paul’s newsletters, in part because of a controversy dating to 1996, when Charles “Lefty” Morris, a Democrat running against Paul for a House seat, released excerpts stating that “opinion polls consistently show only about 5% of blacks have sensible political opinions,” that “if you have ever been robbed by a black teen-aged male, you know how unbelievably fleet-footed they can be,” and that black representative Barbara Jordan is “the archetypical half-educated victimologist” whose “race and sex protect her from criticism.” At the time, Paul’s campaign said that Morris had quoted the newsletter out of context. Later, in 2001, Paul would claim that someone else had written the controversial passages. (Few of the newsletters contain actual bylines.) Caldwell, writing in the Times Magazine last year, said he found Paul’s explanation believable, “since the style diverges widely from his own.”
Finding the pre-1999 newsletters was no easy task, but I was able to track many of them down at the libraries of the University of Kansas and the Wisconsin Historical Society. Of course, 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.
There’s lots more that could be said about Ron Paul (see here for example). But I’ve seen more than enough.