If Ron Paul should be slammed for anything, it’s not some silly remarks he’s made in the past in his Newsletters…
—Eric Dondero, former Ron Paul aide
Ron Paul was, is, and always will be out there. I can’t remember who called him the GOP’s crazy uncle, but that pretty much sums it up. The Republican Party has never known exactly what to do with him. (Remember RMG banning discussion of Ron Paul discussion during one election season)? His libertarianism, I think, has thrown off the mainstream media, which has largely given him a free pass. He’s too different from the rest of the party to fit the he said/she said mold of our truth-averse 4th Estate and so has only ever received also-ran treatment.
Recently, Paul’s conspiracy-laden, racist newsletters from the 80s and 90s came to widespread attention. Newsletters, Jonathan Chait notes, were the blogs of the pre-internet era. I remember working with my right-wing great uncle in the declining years of my family’s shoe store; I was frequently dosed with old copies of Reed Irvine’s Accuracy in Media and newsletters from Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum. Newsletters allowed the Far Right to stay in touch and, because they came with a subscription, to make money.
The racist content in Ron Paul’s newsletters–which are mainly written in the first-person without a byline–has earned the support of some white supremacists. James Kirchick has documented some of the bile. His first excerpt (about the LA Riots after the beating of Rodney King) is disgusting, but hardly unheard of from conservatives that swing racist:
“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,” read one typical passage. According to the newsletter, the looting was a natural byproduct of government indulging the black community with “‘civil rights,’ quotas, mandated hiring preferences, set-asides for government contracts, gerrymandered voting districts, black bureaucracies, black mayors, black curricula in schools, black tv shows, black tv anchors, hate crime laws, and public humiliation for anyone who dares question the black agenda.” It also denounced “the media” for believing that “America’s number one need is an unlimited white checking account for underclass blacks.”
This excerpt, however, is right out of Charles Manson and The Turner Diaries:
“What To Expect for the 1990s,” predicted that “Racial Violence Will Fill Our Cities” because “mostly black welfare recipients will feel justified in stealing from mostly white ‘haves.’” Two months later, a newsletter warned of “The Coming Race War,” and, in November 1990, an item advised readers, “If you live in a major city, and can leave, do so. If not, but you can have a rural retreat, for investment and refuge, buy it.” In June 1991, an entry on racial disturbances in Washington, DC’s Adams Morgan neighborhood was titled, “Animals Take Over the D.C. Zoo.” “This is only the first skirmish in the race war of the 1990s,” the newsletter predicted.
Paul has disavowed these newsletters (though he was taking credit for them in 1995). A former aide to Paul has issued a statement in defense of his former boss. With friends like these, who needs enemies?
Paul, it seems, has no problem with Hispanic culture, just the Spanish language:
[Paul] is completely clueless when it comes to Hispanic and Black culture, particularly Mexican-American culture. And he is most certainly intolerant of Spanish and those who speak strictly Spanish in his presence, (as are a number of Americans, nothing out of the ordinary here.)
He also has no problem with Jews:
American Jews, Ron Paul has no problem with. In fact, there were a few Jews in our congressional district, and Ron befriended them with the specific intent of winning their support for our campaign.
And that campaign tactic for which the aide evidently dressed up in stereotypical Jewish garb? Yes, it happened. But that was
to push back on Anti-Jewish charges from the Morris campaign, yes, that did happen. The Victoria Advocate described the press conference very accurately. Yes, I was asked (not forced), to attend the conference dressed in a Jewish yarlmuke, and other Jewish adornments.
And Paul yelling at Jewish Young Republicans? That was all about Israel.
There was another incident when Ron finally agreed to a meeting with Houston Jewish Young Republicans at the Freeport office. He berated them, and even shouted at one point, over their un-flinching support for Israel. So, much so, that the 6 of them walked out of the office. I was left chasing them down the hallway apologizing for my boss.
And gay men? No problem.
[Paul] told me very clearly, that although he liked Jim [an openly gay man helping with Paul’s campaign], he did not wish to use his bathroom facilities. I chided him a bit, but he sternly reacted, as he often did to me, Eric, just do what I say. Perhaps “sternly” is an understatement. Ron looked at me directly, and with a very angry look in his eye, and shouted under his breath: “Just do what I say NOW.”
Just don’t ask to use his bathroom. Or shake his hand:
“Bobby,” a well-known and rather flamboyant and well-liked gay man in Freeport came to the BBQ. Let me stress Ron likes Bobby personally, and Bobby was a hardcore campaign supporter. But after his speech, at the Surfside pavilion Bobby came up to Ron with his hand extended, and according to my fellow staffer, Ron literally swatted his hand away.
Again, let me stress. I would not categorize that as “homo-phobic,” but rather just unsettled by being around gays personally.
The current slate of Republicans may not be the worst ever, but it’s got to be close. That’s good news for Obama in 2012, but it’s bad news for America. At a time when we need the best and the brightest of both parties, we’ve got a convictionless incumbent and a group of wingnuts with the passionate intensity of the insane.