Ex-Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite
Former member of Congress (R-Fla.) :
That is the Ron Paul profile: Say whatever gets votes at the time then deny and blame others. America deserves much better.
Director, Paul Simon Public Policy Inst., Southern Ill. Univ :
It's hard to see these disclosures repainting this
grandfatherly-looking man into some sort of hate-filled Lester Maddox or
George Wallace. And there's also something of a "statue of limitations"
in voters allow a candidate when unsavory things come up out of the
past. They ask: Isn't this history? Is he or she doing it now? Have they
moved on? We all make mistakes, etc. That statue should protect Paul a
Voters also discount late hits in a campaign.
So the damage to Paul isn't because it makes him look racist, but it
makes him look like he's still a fringe figure just at a time when his
ideas are starting to gain some mainstream traction.
Exec. Dir., Republican Jewish Coalition :
These are Ron Paul's newsletters. They bear his name and
were the main vehicle for him communicating his views to his subscribers
and supporters. Whichever explanation you want to believe - Ron Paul
was either engaged in the substance of these publications and the
horrible, offensive screeds therein or was totally disengaged, duped and
unaware of what was being published under his name and brand. Either
way these not the qualities one would want as a president. These hateful
writings should once and for all disqualify Paul as a credible
candidate for president.
Jeffrey C. Stewart
Professor of Black Studies at University of California at Santa Barbara :
Ron Paul's newsletters are a symptom not an aberration.
Ron Paul's explanations of the racist ranks in his newsletters don't
hold up because there is too much agreement between the anti-black
beliefs they contain and the core beliefs of his candidacy. Lest we
forget, the antebellum defenders of slavery utilized similar arguments
for individual freedom and a limited role for the federal government to
claim that slavery ought to be left to the states if not the individual.
Slave trading, after all, was commerce. If Paul had been president in
1861, he would not have done anything to anger the slave South. That
would have been an overreach of federal authority! Lest we forget, in
the 1950s and 1960s, southern segregationists also utilized arguments
for a limited role for the federal government in combatting Citizen
Council terrorism, unconstitutional segregation, and murderous
disfranchisement of black voters. Ron Paul may not admit to it today,
but if his view of the proper role of the federal government had been in
place during the 1950s and 1960s, Little Rock High School would never
have been desegregated. His core beliefs support the abuse of minorities
by refusing the intercession of the federal government into "private
Attorney, author and Democratic activist :
Ron Paul's newsletters reflect some Republicans' thinking
- otherwise he wouldn't have been elected then and wouldn't be surging
Presidential campaigns shine a bright light on the dark underbelly of
American politics; let's use this sunlight as a disinfectant. All
Republican candidates for president including Dr Paul should renounce
Ron Paul's racist newsletter comments - and please don't forget to
renounce other Republicans' references to watermelon, fried chicken,
spook, monkey, tar baby, boy, and even assassination in reference to the
president of the United States
Rep. Fran Wendelboe
Former member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives (R) :
I find the newsletter situation with Ron Paul very
troubling. He allowed his name to be used, and he made substantial
financial gain from it. I believe it was his absolute duty to make sure
that the content was consistent with his principles and ideals. Just
because this “has been brought up before” and he has disavowed it, does
not make up for the unbelievable lapse in judgment he showed in giving
such latitude with his good name to someone who obviously was someone
with another agenda.
While many of us are weary of Afghanistan and Iraq, I think Ron Paul
is incredibly naïve on foreign policy. Perhaps there is a pattern here,
obviously he was very naïve about letting someone have full editorial
content apparently without review of something that carried his name.
The fact that this has been out there and never front and center shows
that many now see him as a credible front runner in the early states. It
is one of the advantages of the vetting that candidates go through.
Could you imagine this breaking the month before the November 2012
election if he were the Republican nominee? Won’t faze his die hard
supporters but will give many pause, even those who were impressed with
receiving the kitschy (but so nice) Mrs. Ron Paul’s family cookbook at
Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto
Visiting Scholar at the University of Texas; Director of Communications for Latino Decisions :
Rep. Ron Paul's views never hurt him in his Republican Texas district, why should they hurt him in the Iowa Republican primary?
Radio Talk Show Host :
My mother told me never write down anything you don't want the world to
read. Ron Paul should've listened to my mommy. It is not whether he
wrote these or not, it is that they went out under his name. More so,
does he BELIEVE what is written there? It is convenient when one is
running for president to try to be all things to all people; but you
cannot dismiss any remarks of bigotry if you desire to represent a
nation that is comprised of people of all colors in the racial spectrum.
I'm not running for president, but nothing goes out with my name on it
that I haven't looked over. I'm not buying Ron Paul's memory lapse and
many undecided voters won't either.
Professor of Law, George Mason Law School :
Ron Paul clearly deserves substantial blame for
publishing racist and anti-Semitic material in his newsletters in the
early 1990s. Although he almost certainly did not write those articles
himself, it is difficult to believe that he was completely unaware of
their contents. Moreover, there is no disputing the fact that, in the
early 1990s, Paul was part of a small group of libertarians led by Lew
Rockwell and Murray Rothbard who sought to forge an alliance with
“paleoconservative” elements by adopting a political strategy of appealing to white racial resentment. Rockwell is the probable author of the racist content in Paul’s newsletters.
Paul is not a racist himself. But at least for a time, he was clearly
willing to get into bed with political allies who sought to exploit
racist sentiments. In some ways, Paul’s situation is similar to that of
other politicians with dubious past associations. Indeed, there are
parallels between Paul today and Barack Obama in 2008, when he was
attacked for his past relationships with anti-American and anti-Semitic
minister Jeremiah Wright and ex-terrorist and self-described communist
Bill Ayers. Paul’s defense is strikingly similar to Obama’s. Just as
Obama claims he didn’t know about Wright and Ayers’ despicable views and
doesn’t agree with them, Paul claims he didn’t know about the
newsletters and doesn’t endorse their content. When the issue became a
public controversy, Obama distanced himself from Ayers and Wright, and
Paul has similarly denounced the newsletters.
Despite their respective efforts at damage control, it is entirely
legitimate to hold these past associations against Obama and Paul. While
they were not bigots or terrorists themselves, they clearly were
willing to ally themselves with people who are. Such errors of moral
judgment can and should be held against a candidate. But one can agree
with that while still believing that the candidate is sufficiently
superior to his opponents on other grounds to outweigh this defect. I am
not a Paul supporter myself – both because of the newsletter issue, and
because I think he is badly misguided on some other issues. But
I can understand why a reasonable person might reach the conclusion
that Paul’s strong libertarian stance on a number of issues today
outweighs his earlier sins.
One of my concerns about Paul’s candidacy is that it could end up
tarring libertarianism by association with his past misdeeds. It is
important to recognize that the Rothbard-Rockwell strategy was opposed
by most libertarian intellectuals and movement organizations when they
and Paul pursued it in the early 1990s. That includes the Cato Institute
(the most prominent libertarian think tank), Reason (the best-known libertarian magazine), the Koch brothers, and many others.
Rockwell and his associates remain alienated from most other
libertarians to this day, in large part because of their willingness to
traffic in racism and homophobia. Ron Paul enjoys a better reputation in
the movement – but only because he has pursued a very different
approach for the last 15 years. Even so, numerous libertarian commentators have denounced Paul’s equivocations about the newsletters during the 2008 campaign
and this year. We have neither excused nor ignored his very real flaws.
Rothbard and Rockwell’s “paleo” strategy was widely opposed in
libertarian circles long before it became a major public controversy
during Paul’s most recent presidential campaigns.
Paul’s relative success this year shows that the libertarian message
has considerable appeal even when the messenger is deeply flawed. It
remains to be seen how much the messenger’s sins will tarnish the
libertarian cause in the long run.
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