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(Creepy campaign poster courtesy of Cain and Todd Benson, via Flickr)

Let’s do a little thought experiment – You are the publisher of a news letter. It is a sideline but it goes out under your name and you do make a profit on the effort. In some of those newsletters there are racially charged and inflammatory things.

Just how responsible are you for that? And for how long? This is the question that is facing the Mad Elf of the Republican Party, Rep. Ron Paul.

For those that don’t know, during the late 1980’s and the 1990’s Ron Paul had a series of subscription news letters under his name that were written the first person style. These publications had some seriously racist, inflammatory and conspiratorial statements in them. Here are a few that the Atlantic highlighted:

"Given the inefficiencies of what DC laughingly calls the criminal justice system, I think we can safely assume that 95 percent of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal."

"We are constantly told that it is evil to be afraid of black men, it is hardly irrational."

After the Los Angeles riots, one article in a newsletter claimed, "Order was only restored in L.A. when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks."

One referred to Martin Luther King Jr. as "the world-class philanderer who beat up his paramours" and who "seduced underage girls and boys."

Another referred to Barbara Jordan, a civil rights activist and congresswoman as "Barbara Morondon," the "archetypical half-educated victimologist."

This went out under Paul’s name and was sold, not just passed out by itinerant nut jobs. This has come up before but now that Rep. Paul is starting to look like a semi-viable (he is not) candidate it is getting a lot more attention. And the Mad Elf is not liking it at all.

Yesterday he walked out of a CNN interview when the correspondent would not let go of the question. Video below.

For those that can’t watch video it is basically CNN’s Gloria Borger asking again and again about the newsletters. Rep. Paul feels like he has answered the question, several times and says that CNN does not want to talk about anything else.

Paul claims that he did not write the newsletters (even though they went out under his name it is not an uncommon practice for these things to be ghost written) and that he disavows them. And that should be the end of that according to him.

The problem here is one of responsibility. As a supposed Libertarian (no one who wants to put the government in the decisions about reproduction can truly be Libertarian) the Mad Elf should be all about personal responsibility.

This was the very argument he used to defend the fact that a former campaign aid died because he did not have health insurance and could not afford the treatment for the disease that killed him.

Yet somehow just saying he disavows them seems to be enough responsibility for the anti-government candidate.

If something under your name is making you money (over $1 million according to The New Republic) then don’t you think that you should know what is being written? And wouldn’t you be on top of that to make sure that you keep making money, even if it were not the amount that is reported?

To have Rep. Paul claim that he did not know is a pretty troubling from a political point of view as well. It can be read to say a lot of things about how he might run an administration if (gods greater and lesser forefend) he became president.

There is a hands off attitude that is not acceptable for someone who would lead this nation. We have seen in the criminal Bush administration what happens when there is an attitude that the leaders are never responsible. Hell, we are have been unable to prosecute known and admitted war crimes because this idea has become so prevalent.

In the past the GOP Texan Representative has taken moral responsibility for the words written under his name but it appears that a little taste of success is eroding even this weak admission.

In getting flustered and ending the interview with CNN Rep. Paul did not even go that far.

So, we come back the question, just how responsible are you for something that goes out under your name, even if it were two decades ago?

For me you are still responsible and will be until you full explain just how this happened. If Paul did not write them who did? What was the structure of the business venture that allowed someone to write as the soi distant Libertarian?

These are questions that will not go away. Just as the disgraced former Speaker Newt Gingrich is being (fairly) held responsible for his prior statements then Ron Paul needs to be held responsible for the words that he allowed to be published under his own name.

Until that is done we can not know that these are not positions he agrees with. His blanket repudiations should not be accepted either. How are we to know what else he thinks should be disavowed in those letters?

Should the talk of the gold standard be considered invalid? Should the other Libertarian ideas be considered his or was the whole thing just a scam to milk money form fringe elements back in the days of the Clinton administration when such newsletters were in their heyday?

These are things that any voter should know before they consider casting a vote for any candidate. After all Rick Perry has paid a steep cost for the N***er Head sign at his hunting ranch, is Ron Paul wiling to be enough of a rugged individual to do the same for a venture that bore his name? If not is there anything real about any of his positions or is he just another Republican trying to pander to splinter of his party?

The floor is yours.

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