First, he says that he considers MLK and Rosa Parks heroes because:
They practiced the civil libertarian principle of civil disobedience and nonviolence.
So he's still going with the "rewrite history to suit my goals" tack. Because there's nothing more anti-racist than reappropriating two figures of racial equality to advance one's chances at becoming president.
Right after that is when he starts to get excited. He says:
Libertarians are incapable of being a racist, because racism is a collectivist idea.
I think this is where we have a lot of trouble thinking about racial politics in America. We think that racism is something that's only practiced by those people "out there." You know, the people burning crosses or committing genocide or what have you, those awful people that we're nothing like. The thing is, we're all fully capable of racial thinking, we're all responsible for fighting racism, and no one can exempt him or herself from culpability or say that their actions are beyond criticism because
they don't want to look bad they think their politics negates it.
Republicans can be racist. Democrats can be racist. Independents and centrists can be racist. Constitution Party members can be racist. Greens, socialists, Democratic Socialists, and communists can be racist. People who know nothing about politics can be racist. And, yes, libertarians can be racist. To say otherwise is to ignore the problem to prove a point.
He goes on:
I, as a Republican candidate, am probably getting the most number of Black voters and Black supporters, and now that has to be undermined.
Thanks for the polling data or any evidence to back that up, Ron Paul. This sounds strangely like that "Black friend" these folks always seem to have that we can never meet.
(I tried to look up exit polling for proof, but the NY Times puts Black Republican caucus-goers in Iowa at 0%. And I don't think New Hampshire would be all that much different. Something tells me that a sinister scheme to take away voters from Paul would probably have focused on white people.)
He continues by talking about his opposition to Iraq and how "in all wars, minorities suffer the most." Definitely agree with him there - the Iraq War is being fought for the benefit of the mostly-white power elite in this country at the disproportionate expense of racial and ethnic minorities.
Same with the War on Drugs, which he goes on to talk about. He says:
67% of Blacks are in prison.
Ron Paul's not racist, Rosa Parks, Iraq, War on Drugs, lalalalala- BWAH? Where in the world did he get a statistic like that?
The Department of Justice puts the number at 4.7%, disproportionately high and something that must be addressed. But 67% is a far cry away.
Even if he mis-spoke and meant that 67% of the prison population is Black, he'd be wrong. Human Rights Watch says Black people make up just under half the people in prison.
I'm not saying this to pick at details, I'm not saying this to diminish the problem that he's talking about, but when someone has a platform on CNN to talk about these issues that rarely get addressed, the facts should be presented correctly or people will just tune it out. And if someone wants to run for president, he shouldn't be flat-out lying to people on national TV while running for office.
On the issue of homophobia and AIDS-phobia, of course, we get no response. I guess his record on that is not something he'd want to address, considering that he's pretty much against everything out that that could make our lives just a little bit easier.
The absence was conspicuous, yes. Unexpected, no.
(And I'm not giving him libertarian credit on those positions either - remember this is the man who introduced legislation in Congress to overturn the Lawrence decision, the biggest federal gay-rights achievement ever and one of the few things that we wanted that could have been considered "libertarian." And if he really thinks that the states are the place to advance a pro-queer agenda, then he should run for governor.)
He's still saying he didn't write them. When asked how those articles got into his newsletter if he completely disagreed with them:
I have no idea. Have you ever heard of a publisher of a magazine not knowing every single thing? The editor is responsible for the daily activities. And people came and gone and there were some people who were hired. I don't know any of their names. I absolutely honestly do not know who wrote those things.
But I do know that there was a transition, there were changes around.
Wow. Talk about gross incompetence. He didn't even know who was writing and editing Ron Paul's Freedom Report? He even goes on to say that he rarely read the newsletters and wouldn't recognize the writing if Wolf Blitzer didn't have them right there.
If he didn't have time to read them, meet the people writing them, or even learn the names of the people on staff writing under his name, then he should have taken his name off the top and stopped signing the back. There's no excuse for this, even if we are to believe Paul when he says he didn't write them.
And they were obviously meant to be seen as written by him. His name was across the top, there were no by-lines, he signed the back. They even created little details to make it look like he wrote them:
In some excerpts, the reader may be led to believe the words are indeed from Paul, a resident of Lake Jackson, Texas. In the "Ron Paul Political Report" from October 1992, the writer describes carjacking as the "hip-hop thing to do among the urban youth who play unsuspecting whites like pianos."
The author then offers advice from others on how to avoid being carjacked, including "an ex-cop I know," and says, "I frankly don't know what to make of such advice, but even in my little town of Lake Jackson, Texas, I've urged everyone in my family to know how to use a gun in self defense. For the animals are coming."
It's entirely possible that someone would get on the staff of a newsletter Ron Paul owns and publishes, write something clearly meant to be seen as Ron Paul's words, insert random details to bolster the idea that Ron Paul wrote them, and make it completely racist and homophobic and crazy for no reason other than to make Ron Paul look bad. Then, the owner/publisher of that publication wouldn't even read those words or look at the newsletter that he signed on the back, no one else on the staff would bother to mention it to Ron Paul or try to stop that guy, the newsletters would get sent out, and then he'd be stuck the next decade completely shocked about what was in them.
I also think Occam's Razor, if applied to this item, would mean that Paul just wrote those articles or directed someone else to.
But he still doesn't understand the gravity of this outside of the way it's affecting his career:
This is the politics of it all. If it were important enough, why didn't the people in my district who have heard this for ten years or so.... It came up, and people believe me. Why don't you believe me and just say, "Look, it's in there, it's bad." I recognize that, I had a moral responsibility. But that doesn't mean that you can, you know, indirectly charge as being a racist.
He goes on to describe it as "nit-picking" and say that he's fund-raising on MLK Day, so how can he be racist?
This is just too much. I feel for the people who believed in him but stopped, I really do. He actually had one of the most complete visions for America of all the candidates running for president, as well as a people-powered campaign that gained traction.
But however these newsletters came about, they demonstrate that he's completely unqualified to be president.
Update: Mike Kole has some unsolicited Libertarian advice for Ron Paul.
Second update: The libertarian Reason magazine took issue with Ron Paul saying that this story is old news that has already been dealt with.
While they couldn't find much by the way of Paul actually apologizing or taking responsibility for the articles before the 2008 TNR article, they did find a dozen articles from 1996 with quotations from the Paul campaign saying that he was quoted "out of context," actually defending the newsletters.
From the Dallas Morning News:
Dr. Ron Paul, a Republican congressional candidate from Texas, wrote in his political newsletter in 1992 that 95 percent of the black men in Washington, D.C., are "semi-criminal or entirely criminal."
He also wrote that black teenagers can be "unbelievably fleet of foot." [...]
In the interview, he did not deny he made the statement about the swiftness of black men.
"If you try to catch someone that has stolen a purse from you, there is no chance to catch them," Dr. Paul said.
From the Houston Chronicle:
Paul, a Republican obstetrician from Surfside, said Wednesday he opposes racism and that his written commentaries about blacks came in the context of "current events and statistical reports of the time." [...]
Paul also asserted that "complex embezzling" is conducted exclusively by non-blacks.
"What else do we need to know about the political establishment than that it refuses to discuss the crimes that terrify Americans on grounds that doing so is racist? Why isn't that true of complex embezzling, which is 100 percent white and Asian?" he wrote.
Yes, the out-of-luck white man. Let me grab a tissue.
From the Austin Statesman-American:
"Dr. Paul is being quoted out of context," [Paul spokesman Michael] Sullivan said. "It's like picking up War and Peace and reading the fourth paragraph on Page 481 and thinking you can understand what's going on." [...]
Also in 1992, Paul wrote, "Opinion polls consistently show that only about 5 percent of blacks have sensible political opinions."
Sullivan said Paul does not consider people who disagree with him to be sensible. And most blacks, Sullivan said, do not share Paul's views. The issue is political philosophy, not race, Sullivan said.
"Polls show that only about 5 percent of people with dark-colored skin support the free market, a laissez faire economy, an end to welfare and to affirmative action," Sullivan said. [...]
Nothing racist about separating people according to their color of skin and then only insulting Black people for their political beliefs. Nothing at all.
From the Washington Post:
Paul, an obstetrician from Surfside, Tex., denied he is a racist and charged Austin lawyer Charles "Lefty" Morris, his Democratic opponent, with taking his 1992 writings out of context.
"Instead of talking about the issues, our opponent has chosen to lie and try to deceive the people of the 14th District," said Paul spokesman Michael Sullivan, who added that the excerpts were written during the Los Angeles riots when "Jesse Jackson was making the same comments."
K, that's enough. You can read the rest here. The dude defended the articles when running back in '96, but now it's really inconvenient, so he's distancing himself.
What a liar.