Sunday, January 13, 2008

Mystery solved

The author of at least some of the racist and/or homophobic material which appeared in Ron Paul's newsletters is: Ron Paul.

In 1996, Paul not only admitted to having written some of the stuff, but defended the material. Some pull quotes:

"Dr. Paul, who is running in Texas' 14th Congressional District, defended his writings in an interview Tuesday. He said they were being taken out of context. ... Dr. Paul denied suggestions that he was a racist and said he was not evoking stereotypes when he wrote the columns. He said they should be read and quoted in their entirety to avoid misrepresentation. ... In the interview, he did not deny he made the statement about the swiftness of black men. ... " -- Dallas Morning News, 05/22/96

"Paul, an obstetrician from Surfside, Tex., denied he is a racist and charged Austin lawyer Charles 'Lefty' Morris, his Democratic opponent, with taking his 1992 writings out of context." -- Washington Post, 05/26/96

"Paul, who earlier this week said he still wrote the newsletter for subscribers, was unavailable for comment Thursday." -- Houston Chronicle, 10/11/96

So, mystery solved -- and I apologize to those at LewRockwell.Com and the Ludwig von Mises Institute who have perceived me as launching on them, and especially to one in particular who felt that I was tarring all those who write at those sites, even those who were completely uninvolved with Lew Rockwell and/or Dr. Paul at the time the newsletters were published, with an unjust brush. I didn't mean it that way. Mostly I was just astonished with LRC's inability or unwillingness to deal with the whole thing rationally instead of retaliating with irrelevant character assassination. They're a bit touchy over there, and they have reason to be. This is not the first time that Lew has been hit with allegations of coddling and abetting racists -- allegations that seem to have at least some basis in fact.

But this thing remains squarely in Paul's court. As George Phillies has pointed out (at least privately to me -- if he's done so publicly, I'll link to it when I find it), the "ghostwriter" excuse was never worth much anyway. To paraphrase George, when you hire a ghostwriter his writing becomes yours. You paid good money for it, right?

Paul might have headed this off if he had been willing to take a ding on his vaunted "consistency" card and just say "yes, I wrote those things. They were actually fairly standard Republican rhetoric of the time and I was a politician riding that wave -- but it was wrong to do that, I apologize for it, and I hope you'll agree that my record in Congress and my message today reflect very different sentiments."

His unwillingness to do that got him the "consistency" ding anyway, and outed him as a liar to boot -- either he was lying in 1996, or he's lying now. Of course, a lot of politicians have survived such scandals, but Paul was marginal as a Republican presidential candidate in the first place. I suppose that white southerners could prove themselves guilty of the worst suspicions that "cosmopolitan" yankees have about them by voting for someone they perceive as "the sheet and hood lite" candidate in the GOP primary, but I'm optimistic and don't believe that will happen.

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