What goes up must come down. Since the recent Iowa State University/ Gazette poll has Ron Paul leading 27% to Newt Gingrich’s 23.5% and Mitt Romney at 17.5%, it only makes sense that Newt is getting knocked off his pedestal. It’s the way of this windsock Republican primary.
Many pundits have predicted Paul pulling an upset victory during the Iowa caucuses next month.
But, really: Who is Ron Paul?
At one point, no one was talking about the eccentric Texas Congressman with a flare for bizarre statements, dismissing him as a libertarian nut-job despite the fact he came within razor’s edge of beating Michelle Bachmann in the state’s straw poll. Now, because of all the rampant Newt-hating out there, Paul is bigger than sliced bread.
But, with that newfound celebrity is unwanted scrutiny. People of color and other minorities might want to pay close attention. During the 1980s and 1990s, Ron Paul published a paid subscription newsletter which included several issues laced with anti Semitic, anti-Gay, racist ramblings. Standout quotes include:
- On Washington, DC – “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.”
- On Black men: “We are constantly told that it is evil to be afraid of black men, it is hardly irrational.”
- Following the Post-Rodney King beating LA riots, one article asserted that: “Order was only restored in L.A. when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks.”
- A piece referred to Martin Luther King Jr. as: “the world-class philanderer who beat up his paramours” and who “seduced underage girls and boys.”
News of the newsletters first surfaced in the 1990s amidst Paul’s Congressional campaign. Predictably, he denied knowledge of the substance of the articles and denied having any editorial control over the newsletter despite the fact they were made under his name. He would later claim responsibility for them, apologize, disavow them, and of course given his rise in clout, once again, he is being made to answer questions about them.
Recently on CNN, Paul cried foul about being asked about the racist writings for a second night in a row. He eventually removed his microphone and walked out on the interview when being hammered on the issue. Why is this old stuff he’s addressed being brought up again, he asks. Never mind that Paul himself had been fine about attacking Romney’s flip flop past and Gingrich’s Speaker of the House “zaniness.”
Paul apologists want Americans to ignore those newsletters as if we would expect to be as dismissive of such toxic vitriol if they were published by President Obama or any other recent past president. Further, a man who wants to head the nation shouldn’t have a past of making money off of vicious verbiage that also demagogues’ chunks of the population he wants to lead.
Some, like the Black-people hating authors of SBPDL and others will defend the statements as truth. Others will point to a 1998 audio of then Houston NAACP Nelson Linder defending Paul against the allegations of racism and demand Blacks accept that as proof Paul isn’t racist.
At the end of the day, voters will have to ask themselves if this scandal is enough to stunt Paul’s momentum heading into the Iowa caucuses. The outcome of that question will say a lot about Iowa Republicans and, we don’t hope, the rest of the country.