As tonight's Republican presidential debate winds down, I expect to see the diaries humming with praise for Texas Rep. Ron Paul, whose forceful, eloquent anti-war rhetoric sticks out like a sore thumb from the undifferentiated conservative yammerings of the other candidates. The Simi Valley debate earlier this month was many Kossacks' first exposure to Paul, and many of them liked what they saw. Before any other well-meaning liberals decide that we and Ron Paul were made for each other, I think it's important that we dig a bit deeper and learn more about exactly who, and what, he is: a vicious, contemptible racist who comforts the radical right wing like no presidential candidate since David Duke.
We need jump to no conclusion to arrive at this judgment. His own words convict him.
THE RON PAUL EXPERIENCE - A Diary Series
After his 1979-85 service in Congress as a Republican and his 1988 campaign for the presidency as the nominee of the Libertarian Party, Ron Paul returned home to Surfside, Texas and devoted himself to a variety of pursuits, one of which was his self-published newsletter, The Ron Paul Political Report. Founded in 1985, the eight-page newsletter featured Paul's extreme libertarian perspective on a number of different issues, notably crackpot theories about the Federal Reserve and the money system and a tireless advocacy of a return to the gold standard—a longtime Ron Paul hobby horse. The Ron Paul Political Report would come to feature in the stable of "underground" publications and photocopied "zines" that fed the nascent "patriot movement" that arose in the early 1990s, spurred by anger over federal government actions in Waco, Texas and Ruby Ridge, Idaho, and by fear of a supposed "New World Order." Indeed, Paul changed the name of the newsletter to the Ron Paul Survival Report around 1993 in what we may presume to be an effort to tap into the survivalist sentiments then peaking among the radical right wing.
It is extremely difficult to track down content from the Ron Political/Survival Report today. The Report only had about 7,000 subscribers, and Paul has—unsurprisingly—refused to release copies to the media. Lexis/Nexis is of no help, as the obscure publication largely escaped the notice of major media publications during Paul's hiatus from electoral politics. What remains to us today comes almost entirely from secondary sources, such as quasi-samizdat publications and contemporaneous Usenet postings from sources like Google Groups. These few fragments of a much larger body of work—almost all of which have been preserved by Paul's supporters, not his opponents—give us an illuminating and frightening look into his demented, racist worldview.
The only complete article from the Ron Paul Political Report on the Internet that I am aware of is a 1992 piece titled "LOS ANGELES RACIAL TERRORISM," on the subject of the so-called Rodney King riots in South Central Los Angeles in 1991. It is available to us today because it was posted to the talk.politics.misc newsgroup on July 30, 1993 by Dan Gannon, a notorious white supremacist and Holocaust denier, and archived by the Nizkor Project, an anti-revisionism organization that was active in cataloging hate speech on the early public Internet. You can read Nizkor's copy of the article here, and see a reposted version on Google Groups here. Some relevant passages from the article (emphasis mine):
Regardless of what the media tell us, most white Americans are not going to believe that they are at fault for what blacks have done to cities across America. The professional blacks may have cowed the elites, but good sense survives at the grass roots. Many more are going to have difficultly avoiding the belief that our country is being destroyed by a group of actual and potential terrorists -- and they can be identified by the color of their skin. This conclusion may not be entirely fair, but it is, for many, entirely unavoidable.
Indeed, it is shocking to consider the uniformity of opinion among blacks in this country. Opinion polls consistently show that only about 5% of blacks have sensible political opinions, i.e. support the free market, individual liberty, and the end of welfare and affirmative action.... Given the inefficiencies of what D.C. laughingly calls the "criminal justice system," I think we can safely assume that 95% of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal.
If similar in-depth studies were conducted in other major cities, who doubts that similar results would be produced? We are constantly told that it is evil to be afraid of black men, but it is hardly irrational. Black men commit murders, rapes, robberies, muggings, and burglaries all out of proportion to their numbers.
Perhaps the L.A. experience should not be surprising. The riots, burning, looting, and murders are only a continuation of 30 years of racial politics.The looting in L.A. was the welfare state without the voting booth. The elite have sent one message to black America for 30 years: you are entitled to something for nothing. That's what blacks got on the streets of L.A. for three days in April. Only they didn't ask their Congressmen to arrange the transfer.
Reading the entire article will show that I have not taken these quotes out of context, though the article is definitely not for everyone: it's a 3700-word racist tirade that is frankly stomach-turning in its depiction of African-Americans as violent, unevolved savages and even rapists. Without a doubt, it was articles like this one that prompted the Heritage Front, a Toronto-based neo-Nazi organization, to include the Ron Paul Political Report in its list of "Racialist Addresses and Phone Numbers."
During Paul's 1996 Congressional run, the Houston Chronicle unearthed some additional racial comments from his newsletter (emphasis mine):
Texas congressional candidate Ron Paul's 1992 political newsletter highlighted portrayals of blacks as inclined toward crime and lacking sense about top political issues.
Under the headline of "Terrorist Update," for instance, Paul reported on gang crime in Los Angeles and commented, "If you have ever been robbed by a black teen-aged male, you know how unbelievably fleet-footed they can be."
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."
... [I]n the same 1992 edition ... [Paul wrote], "We don't think a child of 13 should be held responsible as a man of 23. That's true for most people, but black males age 13 who have been raised on the streets and who have joined criminal gangs are as big, strong, tough, scary and culpable as any adult and should be treated as such."
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.
And the November 1, 1996 issue of the alt-weekly Austin Chronicle offered some additional gems from Paul's oeuvre, including his thoughts about his former House colleague, the legendary Barbara Jordan (D-TX):
University of Texas affirmative action law professor Barbara Jordan is a fraud. Everything from her imitation British accent, to her supposed expertise in law, to her distinguished career in public service, is made up. If there were ever a modern case of the empress without clothes, this is it. She is the archetypical half-educated victimologist, yet her race and sex protect her from criticism.
Years later, in an interview printed in the October 2001 issue of Texas Monthly, Paul changed his story about these and other racist comments: "I could never say this in the campaign, but those words weren't really written by me," he said. "It wasn't my language at all." Unfortunately, this explanation doesn't really withstand scrutiny. The Ron Paul Political Report was an eight-page newsletter, not a 200-page magazine; whether he employed other writers or not, it beggars belief that Paul would not have had full control and approval over its contents. Moreover, the L.A. riots article does in fact bear some evidence of having been written by Paul, at least in part. (For example, the article relates the observations of one Burt Blumert, who is labeled "expert Burt Blumert" but who is actually just a gold coin and bullion dealer in San Francisco who happens to be a longtime personal friend of... Ron Paul.) Regardless, the fact remains that Paul suffered these words to be published under his name in his newsletter as a representation of his views, and his efforts to distance himself from them are more than a little bit disingenuous.
I understand how important, how visceral, opposition to the war is for a lot of people. It is for precisely this reason that it is so important that Kossacks understand that, opposition to the war aside, Ron Paul is not our friend.