Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Is The Ron Paul Revolution Really Just Revolting?

I'm going to diverge only slightly today from my usual monitoring of the activities of Thomas Naylor's Second Vermont Republic to exam an aspect of the growing power of secessionist supporters like Ron Paul.   During the course of gathering information for this blog over the past 11 months, I've repeatedly come across secessionist principals associated with Thomas Naylor's SVR and "Vermont Commons", as well as secessionist websites and chats, supporting Ron Paul's candidacy.

Perhaps as interesting has been the support that Ron Paul has also been getting among neo-Confederates, Aryans, white nationalists, neo-Nazis and the like.   Many of them view him as a stealth candidate for their interests.   Many of their websites fund raised on his behalf.   This fall Ron Paul refused to return the campaign donation that he'd received from Don Black, the owner of the neo-Nazi website, Stormfront.org.   We know the furor that erupted when Hillary accepted and returned a contribution from a convicted felon but it was barely a one day story when Paul keep the money from this neo-Nazi convicted felon, Don Black.   Recently there's been a war of words among various white nationalists and neo-Nazis about whether or not Ron Paul meets with other white nationalists at Virginia Thai restaurant (am I the only one who finds something humorous about swaggering, knuckledraggers meeting in a Thai restaurant?).   Some of the argument has come down to Paul's accuser, a neo-Nazi named Bill White, not being Gentile enough.   Some libertarian bloggers have complained about Ron Paul's support for the League of the South.   Like Naylor, Ron Paul is a favorite interview of James Edwards on his racist and anti-Semetic Political Cesspool.

Today The New Republic published a piece on Ron Paul.   There's a lot in it about earlier Ron Paul publications that should be of concern, including his neo-Confederate views and apparent bigotry, that you can read about via the link, but I want to point these statements.   Paul's campaign spokeman, when first asked by the article's writer about Paul's involvement, said...
...that, over the years, Paul had granted "various levels of approval" to what appeared in his publications--ranging from "no approval" to instances where he "actually wrote it himself." After (the writer) read Benton some of the more offensive passages, he said, "A lot of [the newsletters] he did not see. Most of the incendiary stuff, no." He added that he was surprised to hear about the insults hurled at Martin Luther King, because "Ron thinks Martin Luther King is a hero."

In other words, Paul's campaign wants to depict its candidate as a naïve, absentee overseer, with minimal knowledge of what his underlings were doing on his behalf. This portrayal might be more believable if extremist views had cropped up in the newsletters only sporadically--or if the newsletters had just been published for a short time. But it is difficult to imagine how Paul could allow material consistently saturated in racism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, and conspiracy-mongering to be printed under his name for so long if he did not share these views. In that respect, whether or not Paul personally wrote the most offensive passages is almost beside the point. If he disagreed with what was being written under his name, you would think that at some point--over the course of decades--he would have done something about it.
Today he did.   Here's the "new" Ron Paul position on the matter from his campaign website statement:
Ron Paul Statement on The New Republic Article Regarding Old Newsletters
January 8, 2008 5:28 am EST

ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA – In response to an article published by The New Republic, Ron Paul issued 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.

“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.”
Here's one of the Ron Paul newsletters from March 1990.

With supporters like Ron Paul, Thomas Naylor's secession plans have far bigger problems than its many Vermont opponents.

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Much more here.


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