First of all, let me apologize for all the Ron Paul stuff lately. Being a dumb yokel from Nashville who has never lived or worked in or near Washington, DC, I am powerless to resist the mind control rays from the Establishment, who have ordered me to continuously assault Ron Paul (or at least this is the answer to my posts that I most often find from Paul's followers). Almost nothing I have written on in the last week is new from 2008, so I know that many of you already know it. On the other hand, based on the response, a surprising number of people didn't know a lot of this stuff - which I guess makes sense. It's difficult to explain Paul's rise in the most recent Iowa polls without theorizing that he is duping at least some actual Republicans, as opposed to leftists disgruntled by Obama's aggressive foreign policy stance [pause for hysterical laughter]. This one, however, is genuinely new to me.
A lot of ink has been spilled about Ron Paul's racist newsletter that was printed in the late 80s/early 90s. At this point, literally no one will defend the content of the letters, not even Paul himself. It is universally recognized that some truly repugnant stuff went out in Paul's name during this time period. If you want a sampling of this material, click here. Now, this stuff has been known about for years, and was known about in 2008. Paul's explanation back then was that he didn't know about what was going out in the newsletter, didn't read most of the issues, completely disavowed their content. In other words, the exact same thing he is saying today. So although this demonstrates that Paul is not really built to withstand the sort of scrutiny that every other frontrunner has to take as a matter of course, you can at least understand why he got exasperated and walked off during an interview with CNN's Gloria Borger on the topic:
What I did not know until just today is that when these original allegations came to light back during Ron Paul's 1996 Congressional run, his defense was absolutely not that he didn't write them or know what was in them; his defense was that he was being taken out of context. He defended the comments on their merits. His campaign spokesman literally said that the problem was that the media was too intellectual to understand them. Yes, well, admittedly some people miss the intellectual nuance in statements like "If you have ever been robbed by a black teenaged male, you know how unbelievably fleet of foot they can be" (a statement which Paul specifically defended when questioned by the media).
Now comes this: in 1995 CSPAN did an interview with then-former Congressman Ron Paul, asking what he'd been doing with his time. One of the questions that came up was, essentially whether he was still involved in politics. Paul's answer? "Oh, yeah, I've got this great newsletter, let me tell you about it..."
"Along with that I also put out a political, uh, type of business investment newsletter, sort of covered all these areas. And it covered, uh, a lot about what was going on in Washington and financial events, especially some of the monetary events since I had been especially interested in monetary policy, had been on the banking committee, and still very interested in, in that subject.. that, uh, this newsletter dealt with that... has to do with the value of the dollar [snip] and of course the disadvantages of all the high taxes and spending that our government seems to continue to do."
You know, for not reading the newspaper and not having any inkling about what was in it, Paul was remarkably well informed as to its contents and general thrust.
Apparently, Paul did not change his story on these newsletters until 2001, when he started to tell people that maybe the racist remarks in his newsletter were not okay and he in fact did not write them. When asked why he did not just say that in the first place, Paul responded that he felt like he had a "moral responsibility" for these words since they were published in his name (and presumably since he profited from them). Suppose we believe this story - what has happened since then to change that?