An article published in The New Republic offers a more-detailed account of Ron Paul's controversial newsletters which have been a point of contention between Paul supporters and those who oppose his candidacy.
The New Republic piece, written by James Kirchick and sub-titled, "The bigoted past of Ron Paul" examines various newsletters published under several titles, including Ron Paul's Freedom Report, Ron Paul Political Report, The Ron Paul Survival Report, and The Ron Paul Investment Letter. Some form of a Ron Paul newsletter seems to have been published since 1978, after Dr. Paul was first elected to Congress.
According to the article, the various newsletters were published by the Foundation for Rational Economics and Education (a Ron Paul-founded nonprofit organization) or by Ron Paul & Associates, of which Paul was a partner.
The newsletters after 1999 are archived and available online, but the earlier editions were tracked down by Kirchick for this article. While some of the articles are obviously written by Paul, others contain no by-line.
The reaction by Paul has been - at various times - a claim of "taking words out of context", ghost writers, and others "taking advantage" of Paul's name in a sort of literary hijacking. A complicating factor is that many of the unattributed articles are written in the first person, giving at least the implication that they are the words of Paul himself.
Kirchick summarizes his reading of the articles in this way:But, whoever actually wrote them, the newsletters I saw all had one thing in common: They were published under a banner containing Paul's name, and the articles (except for one special edition of a newsletter that contained the byline of another writer) seem designed to create the impression that they were written by him--and reflected his views. What they reveal are decades worth of obsession with conspiracies, sympathy for the right-wing militia movement, and deeply held bigotry against blacks, Jews, and gays. In short, they suggest that Ron Paul is not the plain-speaking antiwar activist his supporters believe they are backing--but rather a member in good standing of some of the oldest and ugliest traditions in American politics.The New Republic also re-prints a number of excerpts from the newsletters in a companion article, and provides PDF links to the newsletters themselves. Some key points:
Analysis of the Los Angeles riots of 1992:Order was only restored in L.A. when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks three days after rioting began. ... What if the checks had never arrived? No doubt the blacks would have fully privatized the welfare state through continued looting. But they were paid off and the violence subsided.A 1990 newsletter describes Martin Luther King Jr. as a communist sympathizer and "a world-class adulterer" who "seduced underage girls and boys" and "replaced the evil of forced segregation with the evil of forced integration." In February of 1991, the civil rights leaders is referred to as "the x-rated Martin Luther King".
In June of 1990 the newsletter states:I miss the closet. Homosexuals, not to speak of the rest of society, were far better off when social pressure forced them to hide their activities. In October of 1992, advice is given on how to best protect oneself from the "urban youth"; advice which encourages illegal activity: "If you have to use a gun on a youth, you should leave the scene immediately, disposing of the wiped off gun as soon as possible. Such a gun cannot, of course, be registered to you, but one bought privately (through the classifieds, for example).A solicitation letter for The Ron Paul Investment Letter and the Ron Paul Political Report - which is written on "Congressman Ron Paul" stationary and signed by Paul, includes the words: I've been told not to talk, but these stooges don't scare me. Threats or no threats, I've laid bare the coming race war in our big cities. The federal-homosexual cover-up on AIDS (my training as a physician helps me see through this one.) The Bohemian Grove--perverted, pagan playground of the powerful. Skull & Bones: the demonic fraternity that includes George Bush and leftist Senator John Kerry, Congress's Mr. New Money. The Israeli lobby, which plays Congress like a cheap harmonica.The same letter urges people to act now to send them their money, because the government was about to switch the American Dollar with "new money":There's no time to waste. The new money may not come out until next year. Or it may be imposed tomorrow. You should subscribe today.Kirchick spoke to the campaign prior to publishing the article and documents linked to here:When I asked Jesse Benton, Paul's campaign spokesman, about the newsletters, he said that, over the years, Paul had granted "various levels of approval" to what appeared in his publications--ranging from "no approval" to instances where he "actually wrote it himself." After I read Benton some of the more offensive passages, he said, "A lot of [the newsletters] he did not see. Most of the incendiary stuff, no." He added that he was surprised to hear about the insults hurled at Martin Luther King, because "Ron thinks Martin Luther King is a hero."Ron Paul's response is as follows: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.
In fact, I have always agreed with Martin Luther King, Jr. that we should only be concerned with the content of a person's character, not the color of their skin. As I stated on the floor of the U.S. House on April 20, 1999: ‘I rise in great respect for the courage and high ideals of Rosa Parks who stood steadfastly for the rights of individuals against unjust laws and oppressive governmental policies.’
This story is old news and has been rehashed for over a decade. It's once again being resurrected for obvious political reasons on the day of the New Hampshire primary.
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 publicly taken moral responsibility for not paying closer attention to what went out under my name. Kirchick's response in summary:In other words, Paul's campaign wants to depict its candidate as a naïve, absentee overseer, with minimal knowledge of what his underlings were doing on his behalf. This portrayal might be more believable if extremist views had cropped up in the newsletters only sporadically--or if the newsletters had just been published for a short time. But it is difficult to imagine how Paul could allow material consistently saturated in racism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, and conspiracy-mongering to be printed under his name for so long if he did not share these views. In that respect, whether or not Paul personally wrote the most offensive passages is almost beside the point. If he disagreed with what was being written under his name, you would think that at some point--over the course of decades--he would have done something about it.
An MSNBC interview with the author can be seen in this video.
Previous coverage on DigitalJournal.com can be found here and here.