What’s In Ron Paul’s Closet?

Jim Burroway

January 8th, 2008

Re. Ron PaulJames 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.

torrentprime

January 8th, 2008

“Does Rep. Paul stand by his statements as well?”

Since he didn’t write the newsletters, but a staffer did, it’s not the same thing. And he’s already addressed the issue and apologized for them going out with his name.

Why do people keep acting like this is new news? This issue keeps getting “rediscovered” every 5 days. Kos had a diary on it from 8 or so months ago! This has been raised a million times now.

If there is new evidence that he himself wrote or defended those attitudes, then fine–share it. But resurrecting an old story doesn’t serve the cause of truth, at all.

Timothy Kincaid

January 8th, 2008

torrentprime

Can you please provide a link to where Dr. Paul repudiates the language and the content of these inarguably homophobic rants published in his name?

Timothy Kincaid

January 8th, 2008

Dr. Paul seems to have opinions about the LA riots that are not only vehemently racist but also factually inaccurate.

Was there a racial underpinning to the whole event? Certainly.

But the notion that all black people are raised to hate white people and are looking for an opportunity to steal from them or harm them is a misconception based more on bigotry and bias than on any observable evidence.

During the time of the Rodney King Riots I lived in an all-black neighborhood. My neighbors went out of their way to make sure that I knew that they held no animosity towards me and that they had concern about my safety.

Although I don’t know if this has ever been proven, it was the belief of those whom I lived around that this wasn’t “our black community” but was rabble-rousers and opportunists from outside of the neighborhoods (or outside the city) who did this damage. I do know that the residents of my neighborhood met together to put out fires and formed a human chain in front of a local grocery store that was the neighborhood’s primary food source.

Nothing that I experienced while living in Pico/Fairfax remotely aligns with Dr. Paul’s (or his ghost writer’s) impression of Black America.

I was not impressed with Dr. Paul before this information was released. Now I find the notion of a Ron Paul administration to be abhorent. He does not share my vision of this nation.

And lest someone argue that these newsletters are not to be taken as Dr. Paul’s words or intentions, let us note that the newletter that accuses Dr. King of seducing children (both boys and girls) concludes with, “My wife Carol, our children and grandchildren, join me in wishing you and your family and wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year. …”

Timothy Kincaid

January 8th, 2008

One more thing…

This from Doctor Paul:

Further note: the largest blood bank in San Francisco succumbed to political pressure and holds blood drives in the gay Castro district, where the people give at three times the usual level. Either they are public spirited or they are trying to poison the blood supply. There is a period of time after infection – perhaps as long as three years – when people can transmit AIDS, but their blood does not show antibodies. And it is the antibodies that the blood screening tests use to detect AIDS.

Medical doctor Paul knew full well in 1991 that blood is screened for the HIV virus, but “tests to detect AIDS” sounds scarier. He knew that the infection window is three to six months, but three years sounds scarier. He knew that blood donation is still forbidden to any man who has had sex with another man since 1977, but to hint that the largest blood bank in San Francisco is going out and seeking infected men sounds scarier.

And then Dr. Paul suggests that the gay community is trying to commit murder by poisoning the blood supply.

Not only is this man a bigot, a homophobe, and a liar, but he is also willing to accuse those he hates of murderous intent.

Thank God that he has no chance whatsoever of winning. Perhaps with his extreme and hateful positions becoming public, he will be shamed enough to shut up and go home.

(and now I’ll stop ranting)

homer

January 9th, 2008

Ron Paul refused to provide copies of his newsletter to the media. He knew what kind of garbage appeared on its pages.

The Snarkmeister

January 9th, 2008

You are reporting accurately on Kirchick’s accusations, but not on their merit. Most of Kirchick’s conclusions are based on guilt by association, emotional appeals, and innuendo. In polite society and credible academic circles, higher standards of argument used to preclude such ad hominem methodology. The Ron Paul Newsletter isn’t the only place with a standards breakdown, but at least Paul is taking responsibility for having let it happen. It will be interesting to see if TNR does the same. It may be time to take a more critical look at the rest of Kirchick’s work.

Jim Burroway

January 9th, 2008

Snarkmeister,

I think a more substantive argument might be made on just about any basis other than shooting the messenger. It doesn’t matter whether it was Jamie Kirchick, Bill O’Reilly, Dan Rather or Edward R. Murrow himself making these public. The eighteen newsletters spanning seventeen years, I think, speak quite loudly for themselves. Leaving aside Kirchick’s article, if only these newsletters were published, then the evidence is damning. There is certainly no innuendo there.

Ron Paul claims he didn’t write them. He doesn’t name who did, nor does he clarify what his own positions are on these matters. If one were to read his statement without seeing the newsletters, one might imagine it was a relatively isolated incident with a rogue editor. But that doesn’t make any sense. It would mean he waited seventeen years before deciding that this associate crossed the line. What line, exactly, would that have been after all that had gone out under Ron Paul’s name?

The way I see it, there is absolutely nothing ad hominem here. These are either Ron Paul’s own words, or they are words that he allowed to be published under his name. When someone “lends their name” to something, it implies some measure of endorsement. And so it is fair to look at those words under his name and draw conclusions. Just as anyone can read words under my name and draw their conclusions about me.

So if he didn’t write this, he should say who did. He hasn’t. And he didn’t bother to distance himself from these sentiments until long after they were published. For seventeen years, he allowed these screeds to go out under his name. If he’s so careless to allow repugnant material to go out under his name — if he’s not willing to protect his own good name — what kind of a man is he?

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