Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Ron Paul's Bigoted and Racist Past and Present?

It seems as each member of the GOP presidential nomination clown car reaches near the top of polls, suddenly a raft of sleazy information and/or evidence of racism and bigotry comes swirling to the surface. The latest to be engulfed by his past heinous statements and positions is Ron Paul. Newsletters that Paul circulated to supporters are gaining new levels of scrutiny and the picture that is emerging is anything but pretty. Indeed, before the nomination process is over, they yet be his undoing no matter how popular the racist and anti-gay positions may be with the Christianist/Tea Party base of today's Republican Party. Andrew Sullivan, who had previously endorsed Ron Paul largely because of some of his libertarian positions has re-thought his support and has now disavowed Paul. Here are some highlights:

In my view, my friend Joe Klein goes too far: The newsletters went out under his name. They are replete with hateful filth. They disqualify him from the presidency. The idea that someone else wrote them and Paul didn’t read them is utter nonsense–even if true, it would be a devastating commentary on Paul’s executive abilities. How could he hire whomever wrote this crap? And so, when I called Ron Paul honorable yesterday, I was wrong. He is not.

But it is not nothing. . . . . a man who could win the Iowa caucuses and is now third in national polls has to have a plausible answer for this. It's what happens when you hit the big leagues. . . . Paul has not had the wherewithal or presence of mind to do that. Indeed, he has not even named the association, the first step to disowning it. And unlike Obama with Wright, Paul got money from these newsletters.

It seems to me that even though I don't believe these old screeds reflect Paul's own beliefs, his new level of prominence demands a new level of accountablity, even on issues this old. If Paul did not write these newsletters, then he has an obligation to say if he knew who did, or conduct an investigation.

[A] person who has that kind of bigotry directly printed under his name without a clear empirical explanation of why he is innocent cannot be an honorable president of the United States. The hatred of groups of people in those letters - however gussied up by shards of legitimate arguments - is too deep and vile to be attached to a leader of the entire country.

I just cannot see how he can be such a president without explaining away the newsletters convincingly. Until he does, I have to say that the balance of the endorsement must now go to Huntsman. Oddly, I think that Paul's courage in challenging the neocon establishment has made a Huntsman candidacy possible.

[U]ntil Paul fully explains this incident, in the kind of way Michael Tomasky recommends, I have to say there is an alternative, as I described at length in the endorsement: Jon Huntsman. He's what my super-ego tells me is the right choice.

You can read Michel Tomasky's article and timely questions referenced by Andrew here at The Daily Beast.

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