Ron Paul's Baggage
By Arnold Kling
Folks have dug up some newsletters from the 1980’s and 1990’s put out under the Ron Paul brand. They do not sound so good.
“[O]ur country is being destroyed by a group of actual and potential terrorists–and they can be identified by the color of their skin.”
“I think we can safely assume that 95% of the black males in that city [Washington, D.C.] are semi-criminal or entirely criminal.”
…”If this walking bomb had gone off, it would have demolished the House Chamber and most of the congressmen in it. Yet this attempted terrorist attack was buried by the media. Why? Because the perpetrator was an undoubtedly mad Israeli, furious over alleged slights to his country… [T]he Israeli lobby deep-sixed the story, and no one outside of Congress ever hea[r]d about it.”
More at The New Republic.
Of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, a newsletter said, “Whether it was a setup by the Israeli Mossad, as a Jewish friend of mine suspects, or was truly a retaliation by the Islamic fundamentalists, matters little.”
…In January 1995, three months before right-wing militants bombed the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, a newsletter listed “Ten Militia Commandments,” describing “the 1,500 local militias now training to defend liberty” as “one of the most encouraging developments in America.”
…A 1988 newsletter cited a doctor who believed that AIDS was created in a World Health Organization laboratory in Fort Detrick, Maryland. In addition, Ron Paul & Associates sold a video about Waco produced by “patriotic Indiana lawyer Linda Thompson”–as one of the newsletters called her–who maintained that Waco was a conspiracy to kill ATF agents who had previously worked for President Clinton as bodyguards.
…His adversaries are often described in harsh terms: Barbara Jordan is called “Barbara Morondon,” Eleanor Holmes Norton is a “black pinko,” Donna Shalala is a “short lesbian,” Ron Brown is a “racial victimologist,” and Roberta Achtenberg, the first openly gay public official confirmed by the United States Senate, is a “far-left, normal-hating lesbian activist.” Maybe such outbursts mean Ron Paul really is a straight-talker. Or maybe they just mean he is a man filled with hate.
“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.
…”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 publically taken moral responsibility for not paying closer attention to what went out under my name.”
I think this is a very important moment for libertarians.Possible responses:
1. Accept Ron Paul’s explanation, and move on.
2. Stick with Ron Paul, on the grounds that you agree with the sentiments expressed in the old newsletters.
3. Stick with Ron Paul, although you find the material offensive. Argue that this is minor noise relative to his overall libertarian message.
4. Abandon Ron Paul, viewing this as a personal failing on his part that does not reflect on the libertarian movement as a whole.
5. Abandon Ron Paul, and question whether it is a good idea to be part of any mass movement.
My reaction is closest to (5), although I cannot say that I abandon Ron Paul, because I never was a supporter. My problem with (1) is that, even if you accept Paul’s statement, the incident illustrates the sort of people who rally to his banner. In fact, part of my reaction is to say I told you so.