What’s In Ron Paul’s Closet?
January 8th, 2008
James Kirchik at the New Republic has been digging around some of Texas congressman Ron Paul’s old newsletters from the 1990’s. It’s not a pretty sight. The wacky conspiracy theories were entertaining, but comparatively speaking that’s nothing. The true horror is with the atrocious racial bigotry (including full-throated defenses of the old Confederacy and kind words for David Duke), anti-Semitism, and hysterical homophobic rants:
In 1990, one newsletter mentioned a reporter from a gay magazine “who certainly had an axe to grind, and that’s not easy with a limp wrist.” In an item titled, “The Pink House?” the author of a newsletter–again, presumably Paul–complained about President George H.W. Bush’s decision to sign a hate crimes bill and invite “the heads of homosexual lobbying groups to the White House for the ceremony,” adding, “I miss the closet.” “Homosexuals,” it said, “not to speak of the rest of society, were far better off when social pressure forced them to hide their activities.”
…(in 1990), citing a Christian-right fringe publication, an item suggested that “the AIDS patient” should not be allowed to eat in restaurants and that “AIDS can be transmitted by saliva,” which is false. Paul’s newsletters advertised a book, Surviving the AIDS Plague–also based upon the casual-transmission thesis–and defended “parents who worry about sending their healthy kids to school with AIDS victims.” Commenting on a rise in AIDS infections, one newsletter said that “gays in San Francisco do not obey the dictates of good sense,” adding: “[T]hese men don’t really see a reason to live past their fifties. They are not married, they have no children, and their lives are centered on new sexual partners.” Also, “they enjoy the attention and pity that comes with being sick.”
Southrn Baptist minister and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee has been questioned extensively about his anti-gay comments, statements which are positively genteel compared to Paul’s. Rev. Huckabee refused to back down. Does Rep. Paul stand by his statements as well?
Update: The New Republic has posted a PDF of one of Ron Paul’s newsetters.
Update: The New Republic has now posted eighteen newsletters, all PDF’s. This isn’t us just taking Jamie’s word for it. True, almost none of these newsletters are actually bylined by Ron Paul. But they all have his name emblazoned across the top.
And this, I think, brings up a very important point. This blog doesn’t carry my name across the top, but as far as I am concerned it might as well. I am responsible for every post that appears in it, even for those few posts that I don’t necessarily agree with. While I don’t always agree with every post, I at least believe they are well reasoned and well written, and I will stand by them.
Ron Paul has tried to escape responsibility for these newsletters by claiming someone else wrote them. That doesn’t wash with me. These eighteen newsletters span from 1978 to 1995! This was not a one time thing.
But more importantly, Ron Paul’s name is emblazoned across the top of these newsletters. If you had a newsletter named after you, would you allow these articles to appear on your behalf? The answer couldn’t be easier: I wouldn’t. I’d have stuff like this killed in a New York minute. And if through some strange machinations the newsletter with my name on it were somehow wrested away from my control and stuff like this were printed under my name, I’d find the biggest, loudest bullhorn I could find to denounce it and everyone associated with it. That’s what responsibility looks like in the real world.