Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Ron Paul Is Not Too Fond Of Blacks. Or Gays. Or Jews.

If there's one thing about politricks that really peeves me, it's the constant game of guilt by association that typically pops up during political campaigns. People's past business partners, 3rd cousins 5 times removed, and college weed man all become co-signers through which a candidate's character is judged. This special brand of nonsense reached its zenith during the 2008 campaign when Barack Obama's occasionally nutty occasional pastor became a household name.

"...coming home... to roost"

So when I first heard about Ron Paul's alleged newsletters back in 08', I sorta dismissed it as more of the same. Paul wasn't registering high on anyone's polls, and really wasn't in any danger of actually, you know, winning a primary or caucus. This year, Paul's still in no danger of actually, you know, winning a primary or caucus, but with slow news cycles leading up to Iowa, the press has to have something to talk about. Cue the Newsletter Outrage, complete to fact checking via the Washington Post.
Accusations of racism against Paul first surfaced during the candidate’s 1996 congressional campaign, when Democratic opponent Lefty Morris unveiled racially tinged quotes from a newsletter the Texas libertarian had published during his 12-year hiatus from public office.

The national media latched onto the issue during Paul’s 2008 presidential bid, after the New York Times and the New Republic highlighted derogatory statements about blacks and gays from the bulletins.

The issue resurfaced as Paul moved to the front of the GOP pack in recent weeks, and the congressman appeared to be fed up with the matter as he walked away from an interview in which a CNN reporter pressed for more answers.

We won’t be the judge of whether Paul is a bigot, but we can examine the extent to which he had control over his publications. Are we to believe he never reviewed the newsletters that bore his name? Would he have eliminated the messages if he’d seen them?

Paul helped form the Ron Paul & Associates corporation in 1984, and the now-defunct company, for which he served as president, began publishing newsletters the following year. The monthly publications included Ron Paul’s Freedom Report, the Ron Paul Survival Report, the Ron Paul Political Report and the Ron Paul Investment Letter.

Many of the derogatory comments came from a 1992 commentary in the Political Report titled “A Special Issue on Racial Terrorism.” The article blames African American men for the L.A. riots, saying, “The criminals who terrorized our cities — in riots and on every non-riot day — are not exclusively young black males, but they largely are.”

Another passage from the article tries to explain how the tumult finally ended, saying, “Order was only restored in L.A. when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks three days after rioting began.” The writer gives no credit to police, state troopers or soldiers from the National Guard and Army and the Marines who helped end the chaos.

That wasn’t an isolated incident with Paul’s newsletters. A separate article from the Survival Report said, “If you have ever been robbed by a black teenaged male, you know how unbelievably fleet-footed they can be.”

The Paul publications also criticized homosexuals, saying gays “enjoy the attention and pity that comes with being sick,” referring to AIDS.

The articles contain no bylines and no signatures, just Ron Paul’s name in giant letters on the publications’ mastheads. This leaves a tiny bit of wiggle room for the Texas congressman to defend himself. That’s what he’s done, telling the media he has “no idea” how the inflammatory comments made it into print.
Hosting a blog that runs ads and occasional guest posts is a fair enough parallel to running a newsletter back in the mid 90's, so I'm gonna put on my expect hat here. Paul was supposedly making enough money to supplement his income as a doctor, so there's a good chance this wasn't something he just did for a few hours a weekend over the kitchen table. His haul for these newsletters was supposedly in the millions, so there's little to no chance he had no clue what was actually being written there. Even if he didn't know, he was responsible for hiring the people who did.

On this blog, when I run guest posts, it's with the (unwritten) disclaimer that I don't necessarily agree with everything the guest says. On that note, since it's technically my house, it's (correctly) assumed that I made the decision to run the post, thus, I've got a reasonable amount of culpability should people object to what's said, because, after all, I made the decision to post it. And yeah, there have been lots of times when I regretted running a guest post. CJames, I'm looking at you.

On that same note, Paul can't both profit from a newsletter and feign ignorance at its contents. It's not fair to assume that he thinks "95% of black males in DC are are semi-criminal or entirely criminal", but it he made the editorial decision (or hired someone who did) to publish such an ignorant statement, and profited from it, there's some sliver of a co-sign there.

I'm just sayin'.

Of course, none of this matters. Paul won't make it to Super Tuesday. Mitt Romney was born to lose to Obama, and that's pretty much all she wrote.

Question: Is it fair to make Ron Paul guilty by association because of the ignorant comments in his newsletter? How about guest posts on blogs? It is partially assumed that if I run a guest post, I sorta agree with it?

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