Arnold Kling

Ron Paul's Baggage

Arnold Kling
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Folks have dug up some newsletters from the 1980's and 1990's put out under the Ron Paul brand. They do not sound so good.


“[O]ur country is being destroyed by a group of actual and potential terrorists—and they can be identified by the color of their skin.”

“I think we can safely assume that 95% of the black males in that city [Washington, D.C.] are semi-criminal or entirely criminal.”

...“If this walking bomb had gone off, it would have demolished the House Chamber and most of the congressmen in it. Yet this attempted terrorist attack was buried by the media. Why? Because the perpetrator was an undoubtedly mad Israeli, furious over alleged slights to his country… [T]he Israeli lobby deep-sixed the story, and no one outside of Congress ever hea[r]d about it.”


More at The New Republic.

Of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, a newsletter said, "Whether it was a setup by the Israeli Mossad, as a Jewish friend of mine suspects, or was truly a retaliation by the Islamic fundamentalists, matters little."

...In January 1995, three months before right-wing militants bombed the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, a newsletter listed "Ten Militia Commandments," describing "the 1,500 local militias now training to defend liberty" as "one of the most encouraging developments in America."

...A 1988 newsletter cited a doctor who believed that AIDS was created in a World Health Organization laboratory in Fort Detrick, Maryland. In addition, Ron Paul & Associates sold a video about Waco produced by "patriotic Indiana lawyer Linda Thompson"--as one of the newsletters called her--who maintained that Waco was a conspiracy to kill ATF agents who had previously worked for President Clinton as bodyguards.

...His adversaries are often described in harsh terms: Barbara Jordan is called "Barbara Morondon," Eleanor Holmes Norton is a "black pinko," Donna Shalala is a "short lesbian," Ron Brown is a "racial victimologist," and Roberta Achtenberg, the first openly gay public official confirmed by the United States Senate, is a "far-left, normal-hating lesbian activist." Maybe such outbursts mean Ron Paul really is a straight-talker. Or maybe they just mean he is a man filled with hate.


Paul put out a press release in response.

“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.

...“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 publically taken moral responsibility for not paying closer attention to what went out under my name.”


I think this is a very important moment for libertarians.

Possible responses:
1. Accept Ron Paul's explanation, and move on.

2. Stick with Ron Paul, on the grounds that you agree with the sentiments expressed in the old newsletters.

3. Stick with Ron Paul, although you find the material offensive. Argue that this is minor noise relative to his overall libertarian message.

4. Abandon Ron Paul, viewing this as a personal failing on his part that does not reflect on the libertarian movement as a whole.

5. Abandon Ron Paul, and question whether it is a good idea to be part of any mass movement.

My reaction is closest to (5), although I cannot say that I abandon Ron Paul, because I never was a supporter. My problem with (1) is that, even if you accept Paul's statement, the incident illustrates the sort of people who rally to his banner. In fact, part of my reaction is to say I told you so.



TRACKBACKS (2 to date)
TrackBack URL: http://econlog.econlib.org/mt/mt-tb.cgi/785
The author at In the Agora in a related article titled Ron Paul's Scandal writes:
    Well, this certainly takes some of the wind out of the sails. We've known for a while that some awful things appeared in Ron Paul's newletters, but most people generally accepted his explanation that he didn't write them and that... [Tracked on January 8, 2008 8:02 PM]
The author at Nate's Thoughts in a related article titled Notes on NH Primary Day writes:
    Ron Paul's Racist Newsletter: This New Republic story on the racist and homophobic screeds produced in Ron Paul's name is bad news for the Ron Paul Revolution. I disagree with the article's dismissal of the Mises Institute and others (though I fre... [Tracked on January 8, 2008 8:09 PM]
COMMENTS (41 to date)
John Hall writes:

This is like 100% old news and only written in the TNR to coincide with the New Hampshire primary. Not only has he talked about it before, but he has responded to the claims in the past and today on his website. I hope you don't trust everything you read in TNR. Check his campaign website.

The proper response: Ron never wrote it and his only fault is not reviewing his newsletter. Acknowledge that Ron is the best libertarian politician and if you were to vote, he's the only person you should vote for. If you don't vote for Ron, don't vote.

Edward writes:

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Zach Copley writes:

January 8, 2008 5:28 am EST

ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA – In response to an article published by The New Republic, Ron Paul issued the following statement:

“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 publically taken moral responsibility for not paying closer attention to what went out under my name.”

###

http://www.ronpaul2008.com/press-releases/125/ron-paul-statement-on-the-new-republic-article-regarding-old-newsletters

steve writes:

Do some research!

Press Releases › Ron Paul Statement on The New Republic Article Regarding Old Newsletters

January 8, 2008 5:28 am EST

ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA – In response to an article published by The New Republic, Ron Paul issued the following statement:

“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 publically taken moral responsibility for not paying closer attention to what went out under my name.”

The New 'Republic' Posted by Lew Rockwell at January 8, 2008 02:04 PM

TNR has a long and checkered history of pro-fascism, pro-communism, and pro-new dealism. Founded to promote the rotten progessive movement of militarism, central banking, income taxation, centralization, and regulation of business, it naturally hates and fears the Ron Paul Revolution. The mag is also famous for having published a slew of entirely made-up articles by Stephen Glass, which it passed off as non-fiction. Through the 1950s it was an important magazine, of sigificant if baleful influence, but it long ago declined in circulation and significance, like all DC deadtree ops. Long close to Beltway libertarians, for whom its politically correct left-neoconism is fine and dandy, TNR once published a cover story literally comparing Ross Perot to Adolf Hitler when he was running for president. That is the publication's style--hysterical smears aimed at political enemies.

anti-smear writes:

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Zach Copley writes:

January 08, 2008
The New 'Republic'
Posted by Lew Rockwell at January 8, 2008 02:04 PM

TNR has a long and checkered history of pro-fascism, pro-communism, and pro-new dealism. Founded to promote the rotten progessive movement of militarism, central banking, income taxation, centralization, and regulation of business, it naturally hates and fears the Ron Paul Revolution. The mag is also famous for having published a slew of entirely made-up articles by Stephen Glass, which it passed off as non-fiction. Through the 1950s it was an important magazine, of sigificant if baleful influence, but it long ago declined in circulation and significance, like all DC deadtree ops. Long close to Beltway libertarians, for whom its politically correct left-neoconism is fine and dandy, TNR once published a cover story literally comparing Ross Perot to Adolf Hitler when he was running for president. That is the publication's style--hysterical smears aimed at political enemies.

http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/018420.html

CrazyGoatIdol writes:

IMDB is right. You say his name 3 times, and the crazies just come out, just like Candyman.

Adam writes:

"My problem with (1) is that, even if you accept Paul's statement, the incident illustrates the sort of people who rally to his banner."

I would never reject something because I find some of the other people who are attracted to it to be abhorrent. If I did, I could never support any politician or movement.

rhys writes:

"My reaction is closest to (5), although I cannot say that I abandon Ron Paul, because I never was a supporter. In fact, part of my reaction is to say I told you so."

So you are against mass movements? Why would you put so much creedence in an article you found on the internet? You won't be part of a mass movement, but you don't seem to have any qualms about jumping on the bandwagon of a tiny, disreputed internet movement - go figure.

Really, Paul is guilty of trusting people too much. I'm sure he's learned his lesson, since I haven't seen any other dirt that is less than 20 years old.

Ethan writes:

Would the civil rights movement be considered mass'ish?

Brad writes:

I've finally come around to the "new" thinking that pervades the Reason crowd: that libertarianism today is about tolerance rather than being distinctly anti-government or rallying around some theoretical savior and raising money for a blimp. The market preference over government dictates flows from the tolerance principle. This Ron Paul stuff pretty much shows that while he talks the talk now, he hasn't walked the walk. He's unquestionably built his career by appealing to a lot of screwballs. I remember him being a popular figure with the YAFers circa 1992 were dabbling with the Birch John crowd and calling the libertarians "goat-[CENSORED]ers". And there's no question that his invocation of the term "neo-con" is understood by many of his supporters as a codeword for "the Jews". And how weird is it to be talking monetary policy after three decades of unprecedented growth? I mean, he sounds to me like (Arnold will know what I'm talking about) the bridge club nag who gets bent out of shape when someone bids their hand like a card player rather than exactly by convention.

H. Paine writes:

Headline: Establishment media machine reaches back in time more than ten years and revives a long dead and dismissed story for a primary day political snipe job.

The only question is, will the public be manipulated by a deliberate and unethical smear, or will this backfire as all other attempts to discredit Ron Paul have?

Paul answers the attack with a shrug:

“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.

And takes responsibility for his error:

“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.”

Local Texans agree, citing the fact that Paul chose to practice medicine in a 40% minority area and treated all patients graciously. Long time Jewish associates and minority supporters who have known and met Paul insist that the statements are entirely out of keeping with his character. The New York times, making similar allegations in 2007, were forced to print an apology, admitting there was no evidence linking the statements directly to Paul and that their story constituted irresponsible reporting.

The real question this story raises is, why, when this information has been readily available for better than a decade—when it has been debated and dismissed because it lacked genuine merit--is it suddenly “breaking news”?

Jeff Bubb writes:

You failed to mention a possible sixth response:

6) Realize the material is not Ron Paul's sentiment, it only comes from a newsletter from years ago, and means nothing toward his run for presidency.

I'm leaning toward response #6.

matt writes:

#4 is closest to my view. What Paul was saying over the last few months makes perfect sense; what he was saying back in the 80s doesn't.

Elizabeth writes:

http://www.ronpaul2008.com/press-releases/125/ron-paul-statement-on-the-new-republic-article-regarding-old-newsletters

January 8, 2008 5:28 am EST

ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA – In response to an article published by The New Republic, Ron Paul issued the following statement:

“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...."

[This comment has been edited to elide the rest of the quote because the full content of the quote has been posted above in the thread a few times already. Thanks, Elizabeth.--Econlib Ed.]

James Madison writes:

Ron Paul will end the racist war on drugs. He will also pardon every black person in federal prison for a victimless drug "crime". A real racist would never do that. Obama will let 'em sit.

John writes:

It's not about Ron Paul, it's about his message of Liberty. Ron is a messenger, and thank God for that. May his message proliferate through the hearts and minds of many Americans, and maybe we can make the country what the Founding Fathers envisioned it to be.

Bill writes:

U.S. Debt clock

http://www.brillig.com/debt_clock/

each American's share of our debt $30,264 and growing.

Someone needs to stop this. If not Ron Paul then who?

Chris Rasch writes:

My problem with (1) is that, even if you accept Paul's statement, the incident illustrates the sort of people who rally to his banner.

Paul's newsletters are disappointing, in that either a) he demonstrated great negligence in letting them go out under his name or b) wrote the articles himself. Neither reflect well on him. I think too his response to their discovery was underwhelming.

But I don't think that the newsletters reflect at all "...the sort of people who rally to his banner..."

The vast bulk of Ron Paul supporters learned of him in the last 8-9 months. So what they know of him comes from his campaign materials.

And Paul has been running on a campaign of limited government, sound currency, and a humble foreign policy. The racial stereotypes expressed in his newsletter were never expressed in any of his campaign materials or his public appearances. Very few people were even aware of the content of the newsletters until Kirchik's article.

So I think your insinuation that racists make up a significant fraction of Ron Paul's support is highly implausible.

Could it be that your support for the Iraq war is affecting your objectivity when analyzing Ron Paul or his supporters?

TGGP writes:

It is claimed Kirchick sent an e-mail saying he doesn't really believe Ron Paul believes some of the things stated but enjoys getting his supporters riled up.

DiLorenzo disputes the characterization of the talk Ron Paul attended as "neo-confederate".

oldhand writes:

I choose response #2.

(just imagine how many of us crazies are out there)

Click Here for Image

Todd writes:

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Tony writes:

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FrancisM writes:

Did you read the pieces? they don't sound like Paul, Paul's explanation follows. this is disgusting that this even continues.

Ron Paul is a model for all the world to follow.

I don't know who you're supporting, but if you understand economics and/or market forecasting, I'd suggest you take a look at whats to come.

the only one here who can stop the coming depression is Dr. Ron Paul.

there is no other option.

badmedia writes:

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mike writes:

6. Stick with Ron Paul, and forgive his past transgressions and realize everyone makes mistakes, but has atoned for it through his service record, and modified view through living and learning.

Hard to simply dismiss this candidate because of his past errors in judgment that has been corrected over the course of 20 years.

So, what did you tell us Mr. Kling? That the military support he's been getting was fully aware of this fact last month when this came out? This is old news. Most of us focus on the economy, war, and foreign policy; since racism is such a dated issue. Anyone who cries racism these days is probably racist themselves and uses it as a punchline just to get attention. It amounts to paranoia. It's pretty clear Ron Paul is for individual rights now and not pandering to any special interests (his voting record is his voice). And pretty much, he's the only one (other than maybe Kucinich and Gravel) that is telling us the truth. But you decide your fate. You will get the government you vote for. You'll deserve it. :-)

Matt writes:

Why would a libertarian be concerned with race?

Wes Johnson writes:
I'm done trying to help my fellow Americans if they are incapable of understanding things better than this.

No! Please don't abandon us! What will we do without you?

Serious questions though: When and in what way did Ron Paul repudiate these newsletters?

Are there links to what he has said about the newsletters historically?

Floccina writes:

I would choose nuber 3. There is no other candidate who would end the war on drugs. The war on drugs is worse than all of that.

Discontent writes:

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common sense writes:

It's nice to see so many people give Paul the benefit of the doubt. I'm not sure why so many of you trust him, but it's still nice to see.

The bigger question: why vote for this guy? His debate performance was pathetic. At one point he 1) blamed the Iraq war for medical inflation, 2) claimed that inflation due to excessive borrowing had led to the high price of oil.

No doubt all the Paul supporters will bash me now....but read through the NH debate transcripts. Both statements were strongly implied. If Paul believes what he said, then I question his intelligence. If he doesn't believe what he said, then he's pandering and he doesn't deserve my respect.

Paul Zrimsek writes:

Obama will let 'em sit.

More precisely, he'll make harmless speeches while his subordinates do the dirty work of putting 'em in jail. Which, logically, ought to entitle him to the same sort of pathetic excuses I see people here offering on behalf of Ron Paul.

Sara DiNicola writes:

ZERO comments?...Not surprising, the only reason I clicked on this article is because I was led to believe I could read more about a video on Waco that I also own...It shows very blatantly the ATF attitude of NO RESPECT FOR HUMAN LIFE, and how they couldn't wait for a chance to kill women & children.

NH writes:

Wow so much hysterical bullshit with nothing to back it up!
I doubt Dr Paul who delivered lots of minority babies for free is a racist. But we all know Hillary and Obama are!

Hillary Picks La Raza Leader As Campaign Co Chair
Thu, 04/12/2007
The former president of an extremist group that organized many of the country's disruptive pro illegal immigration marches and advocates the return of the American Southwest to Mexico will co-chair Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.
Best known for his radical pro Chicano work during 30 years as president of the National Council of La Raza, Raul Yzaguirre is being promoted by the Clinton campaign as a prominent Hispanic activist who will lead the New York senator's outreach to Hispanic voters.
The reality is that Yzaguirre alienates many American citizens of Hispanic descent (in other words, those qualified to vote) with his so-called La Raza rhetoric, which has been repeatedly labeled racist.
The National Council of La Raza describes itself as the largest Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, but it caters to the radical Chicano movement that says California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and parts of Colorado and Texas belong to Aztlan.
The takeover plan is referred to as the "reconquista" of the Western U.S. and it features ethnic cleansing of Americans, Europeans, Africans and Asians once the area is taken back and converted to Aztlan....

The remainder of the above quote can be read at http://judicialwatch.org/http%3A//www.corruptionchronicles.com/2007/04/hillary_picks_la_raza_leader_a.html

[NH: Comment edited. Please do not quote copyrighted material in full, as it violates fair use laws. Please give sources for quoted material! Thanks--Econlib Ed.]

NH writes:

This is not bad news, it's OLD news and junk that no one cares about. I doubt many people are going to worry about this.

Ron Paul will be the next MLK. To attack him is like smearing mother theresa.

If you knew him personally as I do, you'd know he was a saint and you'd be ashamed of yourself for making up this garbage.

NH writes:

EconLog doesn't like my references to Hillary, so I will post an original article here:

A while back, Hillary, Obama and Richardson appeared to speak to the biggest organization of racists/terrorists in this nation: LaRAZA. Their name alone strikes terror into those who live in border states and are having their property stolen, children terrorized and adults abducted....

[The remainder of the above quote can be read at
http://www.janeaitken.org/concord/?cat=8 ]

Clinton, Obama, and Richardson caught pandering to an openly racist group

Racist group plays host to Democrat candidates, Richardson is actual member.

It has been revealed that Democrat Presidential Candidates Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Bill Richardson have been pandering to the well-known racist group ‘National Council of La Raza’ whose stated goal is to overpower and eradicate ‘white’ Americans and take back the land to form a new country called ‘Aztlan’....

[The remainder of the above quote can be read at
http://www.nohillaryclinton.com/2007/07/26/clinton-pandering-to-an-openly-racist-group-la-raza/ ]

[NH: Comment edited for violating copyright. NH--this is the second time I've discovered that you've pasted in full copies of material that appears elsewhere on the web, even after you were warned. You have claimed that the above posts were original to you, which does not appear to be true; you have not cited sources (I added the sources myself after discovering the original articles elsewhere); and you have been rude in your ongoing comments on EconLog in this and other threads. Your comment privileges have been revoked.--Econlib Ed.]

NH writes:

The I told you so what? Did you tell us Hillary and Obama were racists too? We demand equal time.

Richard writes:

#5. Abandon Ron Paul and all other "libertarians" yourself most emphatically included.

The libertarians who could have an impact politically, foremost among which is Ron Paul, are compromised by non-libertarian ideas on abortion or immigration, as well as affiliation (loosely or not-so-loosely) with racist, nativist or whatever unsavory sorts.

The "pure" libertarians are angels-on-the-head-of-a-pin types who will never amount to a hill of beans as far as any concrete impact on the contemporary political scene, except to join in the pig-piling on the few long-shot politically active libertarians.

Just wait for society to collapse and try to rebuild at that time.

Rimfax writes:

#3, except that I do not think that it is "minor noise". I think that it is a big deal and that Ron Paul screwed up and he has continuously failed to demonstrate that he realizes just how foul the sentiments were or explained why he did not put a stop to the repeated appearance of such sentiments in his newsletter. It was no isolated incident.

Regardless of his repeated errors, he has also continued to demonstrate that he advocates a government that has less power to apply the racist discretion of its officials. He is still the far lesser evil.

est. writes:

Anyone who says this is old news is wrong. The previous stories were about one newsletter which Paul dismissed as having happened without his knowledge. Now we find it was many newsletters over a period of years. His denial no longer works. Paul published the newsletter and promoted it and profited from it. His office sent it out. He can’t claim he didn’t know what was going on in his own office for years on end.

The editor of Paul’s newsletter was Lew Rockwell who is responsible for the content but who still is Paul’s close friend and adviser. So Rockwell’s denunciations are self-serving at best -- Rockwell was one of the owners of the newsletter.

What is happening now is that lots of libertarians are now confirming the stuff about Paul and Rockwell. By the way this didn’t impact NH at all. Only the New Republic reported on it that day. CNN didn’t have anything to a day later. No major newspaper has yet run with it. The concerted “media campaign” wasn’t very concerted and most media has not reported at all on this. That will change as more material comes out.

I’m baffled by why people think it is meaningless that Paul’s newsletter published this. If Paul didn’t like it why keep publishing it? And why do it for several years? And why is Paul still close friends with the people responsible for the articles?

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