Thursday, January 10, 2008

Surviving Ron Paul

-- by Dave

I've got a post up tonight at Firedoglake about Ron Paul, titled "Moral Responsibility":
Unsurprisingly, Ron Paul's defense regarding the revelations in The New Republic about his newsletters was of a piece with his previous dubious defenses regarding this subject. As we noted, all the newsletters really do is confirm what we already know about Paul: that he built his political career around making appeals to the most noxious far-right elements in American society.

Here's the press release he issued in response:

"The quotations in The New Republic article are not mine and do not represent what I believe or have ever believed. I have never uttered such words and denounce such small-minded thoughts.

"In fact, I have always agreed with Martin Luther King, Jr. that we should only be concerned with the content of a person's character, not the color of their skin. As I stated on the floor of the U.S. House on April 20, 1999: 'I rise in great respect for the courage and high ideals of Rosa Parks who stood steadfastly for the rights of individuals against unjust laws and oppressive governmental policies.'

"This story is old news and has been rehashed for over a decade. It's once again being resurrected for obvious political reasons on the day of the New Hampshire primary.

"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."

Well, we have two choices here:

-- Paul allowed racists and homophobes to publish material under his name for over a decade and did nothing about it until called on it, at which point he in fact denied any responsibility for its publication (his response at the time: "I could never say this in the campaign, but those words weren't really written by me. It wasn't my language at all."); or

-- Paul is lying, and these newsletters really do reflect his longtime views.

Either choice, as it happens, should disqualify the man from the presidency.

Meanwhile, the folks at the Ron Paul Survival Report are doing great work. Ron Lawl's post on Paul's attempts to claim he's now the anti-racist candidate by holding a fund-raiser on Martin Luther King Day is a must-read:
In today's interview with Wolf Blitzer, Ron Paul claims that he's the "anti-racist," and denies the allegations against him involving the recent newsletter. As proof of this fact, he lists the upcoming freeatlast2008, where he plans to hold his next "money bomb" on Martin Luther King Day. This is an event that's so tasteless that even a large group of Paultards from the ronpaulforums thought that it was a bad idea, although mostly because they didn't want to sully Dr. Paul's reputation by associating him with a filthy communist. I haven't written much about this in the past, because a) it didn't seem to be getting much publicity, and b) the Paultards could deny it by insisting that it wasn't part of the official campaign. Guess what? Not anymore. Check 1:50 into the video.

As it happens, this complements the point I made at Firedoglake:
If Ron Paul were serious about assuming "moral responsibility" for more than a decade's worth of allowing vile xenophobic hate and conspiracy-mongering to be published under his name, he'd be doing his utmost to decry the racists and xenophobes who have been supporting his campaign. He would have avoided, during the "decade" of "taking moral responsibility" he now claims, appearing before (and accepting money from) white-nationalist groups like the Council of Conservative Citizens and the Patriot Network. And he would return that $500 donation from Stormfront's Don Black.

Instead, he's refused. Instead, he happily poses for pictures with Don Black and his son at the January 10, 2007, "Values Voters" Conference in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., as he does in the photo atop this post. ...

As Chip Berlet observed: "Those neo-Nazis have a First Amendment right to endorse Ron Paul, but Ron Paul has a moral obligation to disavow that donation.

"There's two issues: Why would anyone have to ask Ron Paul to disassociate himself from the endorsement of neo-Nazis? And the second is that when they did ask him, his silence spoke volumes about his values. You know, 'I don't enjoy the endorsement of neo-Nazis' -- how hard is that to say? And why hasn't he refunded it? It's not like this is a gray area."

But I'm sure we'll keep hearing how straight a shooter Ron Paul really is.

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