Ron Paul and the shame of the "left"
It is a sad day indeed. The most prominent website on what is popularly (if not quite accurately) perceived as the political "left," Counterpunch, on Dec. 27 runs a piece by Dave Lindorff, "Why the Establishment is Terrified of Ron Paul," plugging the far-right populist as "Better Than Obama" (because he opposes the "War on Terror" and will stand up to the Israel Lobby, of course). All Lindorff can say about the ugly racism that repeatedly appeared under Paul's name in his own newsletter is, "The racist bit is funny. After all, if we're honest, the whole political infrastructure of the US is riven with racism." As if the institutionalized racism of the system lets an individual—much less one who is running for president!—off the hook for personal racism. The particular irony is that Paul getting a pass from his supporters for his serial racism is part of the institutionalized racism of the system! This is merely the disgraceful left-wing equivalent of the right cutting a pass for the blatant racism displayed on the Palin-McCain campaign trail in '08. And as the "alternative" media fall for right-wing populism and betray anti-racist principles, it is the dreaded "MSM" that ironically rise to the occasion. The same day Counterpunch ran Lindorff's apologia, the goddam New York Times ran an editorial that said exactly what needs to be said about Ron Paul:
Mr. Paul's Discredited Campaign
Ron Paul long ago disqualified himself for the presidency by peddling claptrap proposals like abolishing the Federal Reserve, returning to the gold standard, cutting a third of the federal budget and all foreign aid and opposing the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Now, making things worse, he has failed to convincingly repudiate racist remarks that were published under his name for years — or the enthusiastic support he is getting from racist groups.
Mr. Paul, a Republican congressman from Texas who is doing particularly well in Iowa's precaucus polls, published several newsletters in the '80s and '90s with names like the Ron Paul Survival Report and the Ron Paul Political Report. The newsletters interspersed libertarian political and investment commentary with racial bigotry, anti-Semitism and far-right paranoia.
Among other offensive statements, the newsletters said that 95 percent of Washington’s black males were criminals, and they described the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday as "Hate Whitey Day." One 1993 article [PDF] appeared under a headline lamenting the country's "disappearing white majority." Other articles suggested that the Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service, was responsible for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, praised the Louisiana racist David Duke and accused some gay men with AIDS of deliberately spreading the disease, "perhaps out of a pathological hatred."
A direct-mail ad for the newsletters from around 1993 warned of a "coming race war in our big cities" and said there was a "federal-homosexual cover-up" to suppress the impact of AIDS.
Mr. Paul, who, beginning in 2008, has disavowed the articles and their ideas, now says that most of them were written by others and that he was unaware of their content. Even if that were the case, it suggests a stupendous level of negligence that should force a reconsideration by anyone considering entrusting him with the White House.
When the newsletters first became an issue during his Congressional campaigns in the 1990s, however, he did not deny writing some of them or knowing about them.
Mr. Paul has never given a full and detailed accounting of who wrote the newsletters and what his role was in overseeing their publication. It’s especially important that he do so immediately. Those writings have certainly not been forgotten by white supremacist and militia groups that are promoting his candidacy in Iowa and in New Hampshire.
The Times reported on Sunday that dozens of members of the white nationalist Web site Stormfront are volunteering for the Paul campaign, along with far-right militias, survivalists and anti-Zionist groups. Don Black, the Stormfront director, said his members were drawn to Mr. Paul by the newsletters and his positions against immigration and the Fed (run by Jews, Mr. Black said), even if Mr. Paul were not himself a white nationalist.
Mr. Paul, saying he still hopes to "convert" these supporters to his views, has refused to disavow them or to chase them out of his campaign. If he does not do so, he will leave a lasting stain on his candidacy, on the libertarian movement and, very possibly, on the Iowa caucuses.
Apart from shooting themselves in the foot by saying "anti-Zionist" instead of "anti-Semitic," the Times editors get it just right.
Meanwhile, Counterpunch and its voluminous readers and donors are paradoxically blocking with the neo-Nazi Stormfront. Lindorff's bio on the vile Counterpunch informs us he "is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, the new Project-Censored Award-winning independent online alternative newspaper." Another reason why Project Censored is incredibly lame.
See our last post on Ron Paul.