Ron Paul Newsletters Become Campaign Fodder
Dave Weigel, the associate editor of Reason Magazine, warned back in May of 2007 that if Ron Paul started to generate any kind of a buzz in the Republican presidential primaries, someone would bring up the newsletters.
In the 80s and 90s, Paul was involved with newsletters (Ron Paul's Freedom Report, Ron Paul Political Report, The Ron Paul Survival Report) that regularly made racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic remarks. They were first reported by the Houston Chronicle in 1996, and have been circulating around the Internet ever since.
When Paul was first confronted with these comments, Ed Morrisey of the Captain Quarter's blog said he explained them this way: "They were never my words, but I had some moral responsibility for them . . . I actually really wanted to try to explain that it doesn't come from me directly, but they campaign aides said that's too confusing. 'It appeared in your letter and your name was on that letter and therefore you have to live with it.' "
In response to the New Republic article, Paul's website contains the following statement: "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 ... This story is old news and has been rehashed for over a decade. ... For over a decade, I have publicly taken moral responsibility for not paying closer attention to what went out under my name."
Kirchick wrote in his piece, anticipating the "I didn't write it" explanation: "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."
3:21 PM ET | 01-10-2008 | permalink