Ron Paul and the racist newsletter

Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

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178 Responses

  1. Tom says:

    Waiting patiently for the first comment asking why you don’t support Ron Paul.Report

  2. James Hanley says:

    I’ll be honest.  The connection between Paul and racists is one of the reasons I can’t support him, because I think I know where that kind of stuff ultimately goes, and as far as I’m aware Paul hasn’t definitively distanced himself from that stuff.  Maybe I’m verging on conspiracy-theorizing here, but I worry that Paul would trade killing brown-skinned people in other country for turning a blind-eye to the killing of brown-skinned people in this country.  There’s a certain type of neo-confederate that likes to market themselves under the label libertarianism, as though libertarianism isn’t actually about individual liberty, but group/majority liberty at a local level.

    I hurry to add two things.  First, if I’m wrong about the deepness of Paul’s connection with this type, then you are indisputably right about the tradeoff.

    Second, I in no way think that you disagreeing with me about the seriousness of that connection indicates that you are in least bit racist.Report

    • E.D. Kain in reply to James Hanley says:

      As far as I know Paul has said:

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

      This is indeed a failure to delegate. Then again, it’s also quite likely that as Paul navigated the world of paleo-conservatism and paleo-libertarianism he didn’t realize how deeply racist and conspiracy-theory minded some of his fellow travelers were. I mean, you have a gamut of opinion and crack-pottery in that circle from straight Austrians to total wackos. Paul got in with that crowd and they screwed him over royally as far as I can tell. He’s just not an angry, racist guy as far as I can tell. Much more the live-and-let-live type. He’s spoken out against racism as well, calling it a form of collectivism. I just don’t see it.Report

      • Christopher Carr in reply to E.D. Kain says:

        All nutcases of Ideology X support Candidate Y doesn’t mean all supporters of Candidate Y are nutcases of Ideology X.

        That being said, I’m kind of tired of the unimaginative sophism that goes down at BJ. I know they’ve got all those funny words and local idiom saved up from so many years and stuff and that’s cool, but it seems like Balloon Juice offers little but the kinds of masturbatory clip shows, increasingly-more-shameless cries for attention, and faux envelope-pushers that plague most series that fizzle out towards the end of their runs.Report

      • Alex Knapp in reply to E.D. Kain says:

        Out of curiosity – if you were making over $1 million on the “Erik Kain Letters” that were being ghostwritten, wouldn’t you at least GLANCE at the newsletters as they come out?

        Paul has a long, long history of association with the neo-confederates. Particularly the Lew Rockwell folks.Report

        • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Alex Knapp says:

          I think this is the thing that people have to deal with they wave away these newsletters. These weren’t free newsletters being passed out or emailed out on the Internet for free. These weren’t even newsletters that were making a negligible amount of money. These newsletters were making real money. Enough money that Paul should’ve at least taken a look at them before they went out into the populace.Report

      • BradP in reply to E.D. Kain says:

        I gotta say that Paul was too familiar with Rockwell and Rothbard, and Rockwell and Rothbard were too open about their “race war” strategy for Paul to be completely in the dark.

        I agree with you, and believe these are liberal crocodile tears, as Paul openly and strongly opposes the Drug War which probably has more practical effect on black communities than any other government policy.  With that said, the newsletters are a complete and utter disgrace and represent some political roots and sympathies I wouldn’t be keen on reaching the White House.Report

  3. Ken says:

    Let me leave aside, for the moment, the very important “for the love of God, what other better choice is there” question.

    The newsletter has alwaysbothered me quite a lot because I think any explanation for it is bad.  The possibility that he dictated the content is terrifying and makes him utterly unsuitable if true.  The possibility that he knew of and approved the content is also frightening and makes him unsuitable if true.  But the possibility that he was allowing anewsletter under his name, failed to monitor it’s content, and failed to select a non-nutcase author/editor is also very troubling to me.   Much of being President is delegating and supervising in a competent way.  If Paul cared so little about what was being done under his name, why is it unreasonable to question how much he would care about what is done in America’s name?  Thebest possible interpretation is that Paul is guilty of sloppy supervision leading to very embarrassing content.


    That said, it is unserious to say that supporting Paul makes anyone a racist.  On the other hand, it’s perfectly legitimate to question Paul’s views and suitability based on this.Report

    • E.D. Kain in reply to Ken says:

      Sure, it’s always good to question any candidate. But people always act as if I haven’t considered any of this. Like it’s some big surprise that I’m not aware of and that it’s the only consideration that should be made. I simply disagree.Report

      • Ken in reply to E.D. Kain says:

        I get that.

        How do you address the point that Paul initially responded to the newsletters by saying quotes were out of context, and did not disclaim authorial or editorial control until years later?  That’s troubling to me as well.  Even if you accept his later explanation despite thearguably inconsistent prior statement, it suggests a rather vile calculation like “politically I can’t afford to come out and condemn these sentiments now, even if they were made in my name and even if I disagree with them strongly.”Report

        • E.D. Kain in reply to Ken says:

          I would need to look at the link for more context. I fear that much of the original reporting from TNR and elsewhere made a mockery of context in order to take political potshots at Paul.Report

        • Mark Thompson in reply to Ken says:

          That response was what turned my enthusiastic support and indeed endorsement of Paul in 2007 into an at best half-hearted protest vote in light of the crappiness of the other GOP candidates in 2008, and the fact that it was too late for me to change my registration to vote in the Dem primary (i had originally registered as a Republican because the Republican primary is more relevant than the general election in my town). Unfortunately, the options are somehow even crappier this time around, and any hope that Obama would give a hoot about civil liberties that may have existed in January 2008 is long, long gone.

          The good news is that RP has finally been trying to correct his mistakes of 2008. Or at least, that’s what I keep telling myself.Report

          • Kyle in reply to Mark Thompson says:

            Maybe it’s because interviews have been on my mind lately, but I wonder if this is an actual (perhaps sole) benefit of the vetting-gotcha-scandal of the week maelstrom that candidates go through. Not to find mistakes, it’d be more shocking if they hadn’t made any, but to provoke responses that give some insight into the character of the person behind the persona or barring that at least their ability to handle unanticipated/undesierable things that come their way.Report

          • Dave in reply to Mark Thompson says:

            <i>That response was what turned my enthusiastic support and indeed endorsement of Paul in 2007 into an at best half-hearted protest vote in light of the crappiness of the other GOP candidates in 2008</i>


            Oh the memories.  Watching the Rockwell camp response to the newsletters was like watching the martians respond to the bad music in Mars Attacks.Report

            • Mark Thompson in reply to Dave says:

              Oh the memories.  Watching the Rockwell camp response to the newsletters was like watching the martians respond to the bad music in Mars Attacks.

              Oh the memories is right! It’s suddenly all coming back to me.  Wasn’t that whole fiasco how you and I came into contact (perhaps via Tim Sandefur?)?Report

        • Jason in reply to Ken says:

          He defended a view that was expressed in one of the four newsletters being published with his name, it doesn’t mean he wrote it. During the time these four newsletters were being published Ron Paul was working as a full time medical doctor in an area with a large number of minority’s, often working with the less fortunate free of any charge. The head of the Texas NAACP has said their is no way Ron Paul racist. He made a mistake letting people right for him with out reviewing their work, but that does not make him a racist.  As far as I know Ron Paul has had no other history of racism.  I have a feeling that Jon Stewart is going to do a piece mocking how the MSM has tried to play the race card on Paul.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Ken says:

          The theory that I’ve heard is that Murray Rothbard is the guy who wrote the pieces in question. That’s why Lew Rockwell didn’t say “I wrote those!” and, since Rothbard was dead, why nobody was really willing to say “Murray wrote them”.

          That theory makes sense to me and it irritates me because I am a huge fan of Rothbard.Report

          • E.D. Kain in reply to Jaybird says:

            I think at some point Rothbard just seriously lost his way.Report

          • Mark Thompson in reply to Jaybird says:

            This discussion is making me relive some most unpleasant memories from my earliest days in the blogosphere (albeit the portion of those days that probably did the most to build my small readership), the days that first started me down the road of believing that a more robust left-libertarianism was necessary.  Actually, it’s probably where I most clearly began to see the manner in which the libertarian-conservative coalition had ideologically corrupted libertarianism.

            Anyhow, my understanding was that it was a collaboration of Rockwell and Rothbard – witness this post from Wendy McElroy.  There was another post by Wirkman Virkkala that laid it out more clearly, but that specific post of his has been lost to the internets.  His fantastic follow up post that sort of gets at how these newsletters came to be (and specifically at Rothbard’s strategic thinking) has survived, however, and is here.  That post is fantastic for other reasons, though, especially because of its sober assessment of the problems with libertarianism.  For purposes of this specific discussion, though, I wish the original post had survived (and a too-small excerpt of it does at my old site, here), as I recall it was more detailed as to the thinking behind the newsletters and Paul’s specific role in them.Report

            • Koz in reply to Mark Thompson says:

              “Actually, it’s probably where I most clearly began to see the manner in which the libertarian-conservative coalition had ideologically corrupted libertarianism.”

              Yikes. IOW, we are going to blame the Right-libertarians for the sins of the Left-libertarians and from that conclude that libertarianism is in general corrupted from association with the Right, therefore should move toward association with the Left?Report

      • Tod Kelly in reply to E.D. Kain says:

        I suspect that much of this has more to do with tribal markers than anything else.  I would pay it no mind.  And this is me saying this, the least Serious person on this whole site.Report

    • Koz in reply to Ken says:

      “The possibility that he dictated the content is terrifying and makes him utterly unsuitable if true. The possibility that he knew of and approved the content is also frightening and makes him unsuitable if true.”

      I hesitate to write too much since I don’t have a dog in this fight, but why? Why shouldn’t we vote for RP even if he really did write the newsletters. There’s obviously the points Erik mentioned in the OP, but also what should be the realization that the past isn’t the future.

      What are the contemporary consequences if RP still believed today what was published under his name 30 years ago? Not much from what I can see.

      Libs’ racial hangups are really lame. We’d all be much better off if they could acknowledge their own blind spots and deal with it one way or another.Report

      • James Hanley in reply to Koz says:

        What are the contemporary consequences if RP still believed today what was published under his name 30 years ago? Not much from what I can see.

        What are the consequences of electing a virulent racist?  Sure, it’s not like that’s ever gone badly before in world history.  Even beyond any specific policy consequences it would legitimate racism in a way that’s intolerable.

        Put it this way–how would you feel about electing an anti-war, budget-slashing Black Muslim who believed whites were literally devils?  Wouldn’t bother you at all?Report

        • Koz in reply to James Hanley says:

          IOW, some hand-waving about “unacceptable”. I think we could dial down the animosity a little bit if libs (or left-libertarians in your case) actually tried a little bit to connect some dots.Report

  4. Tod Kelly says:

    Erik:  noting your reasons for endorsing Paul despite the newsletters, if I may stay on that topic briefly:

    I must say that I find the newsletters more disturbing than you, even if just from the standpoint of questioning Paul’s poor oversight of something with that carried his name.  However, I has noticed that the two themes I hear in the criticisms I have been reading are:

    A. Paul has been making money off of this newsletter has been going for decades

    B. The offending articles (and they are offending, imho) are from 20 years ago

    I don’t read the newsletter, and have only seen the ones from the early 90s that have been making their way around the internet.  Doesn’t this imply that Paul did at some point exercise proper oversight – or that he changed his mind long ago about some of the crank things that people are now horrified by?

    Seriously, I don’t know… but I find I’d be more apt to take all of this hubbub more seriously if people were pointing to things more recent than 1993.Report

  5. Sam says:

    We can discuss Paul with asserting that his supporters believe everything he says. But given his ardent opposition to the Civil Rights Act, his opposition to affirmative action, and his seemingly ardent opposition to immigration, isn’t at least reasonable to think that those newsletters might be more indicative of his positions than he might otherwise want us to believe?


    • Scott in reply to Sam says:


      Paul is a Repub so it goes without saying that he is a racist, didn’t you see the Venn diagram in the Ask a Republican thread?Report

      • Sam in reply to Scott says:

        So we cannot string together Paul’s policy positions into a greater narrative?Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Sam says:

          To what extent are we allowed to do this? To what extent is it obvious that we’re begging questions?

          If I asked whether we could reach conclusions about Obama due to his willingness to abandon the Magna Carta and the sheer number of undocumented workers he’s deported… would you agree that we could?Report

          • Sam in reply to Jaybird says:

            So we can’t tell a thing about the man’s beliefs based upon the laws he does and doesn’t support, about the articles he does and doesn’t publish?Report

            • Jaybird in reply to Sam says:

              If he’s a Republican, apparently we can.

              If he’s a Democrat, apparently we can’t.Report

              • Sam in reply to Jaybird says:

                Where did I make that claim?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Sam says:

                You didn’t make it. I did.

                We can come to conclusions about Ron Paul that he is a xenophobic racist based on the things that were posted in his newsletters, his opposition to immigration, and his opposition to the CRA.

                Obama’s shrugging off of the Magna Carta and his amazing number of People Who Are Just Trying To Make A Better Life In A Different Country being deported are just things, man. Surely they shouldn’t be pinned on Obama. Other people are responsible.Report

              • Sam in reply to Jaybird says:

                I must not be following. If would seem to me we can come to educated guesses based upon evidence. If the conclusion you’ve come to about Obama is that he’s a racist (because he supports a drug war that affects overwhelming numbers of African-Americans) and a warmonger (because he perpetuated and continued wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan), then we can agree to disagree, but it is coming to a conclusion about the man based on the evidence before you. But you seem to be saying that it is unreasonable to similarly conjecture about Paul based upon things that he has done.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Sam says:

                Who brought up the drug war? Who brought up the wars? I’m being very, very specific here: I talked about abandoning the Magna Carta and Deporting Illegal Immigrants.

                I will ask, earnestly, if it is possible for you to say “well, you know, Obama’s just this guy…” when it comes to Habeus Corpus and/or Deportation policy, why would you not be willing to make similar assumptions about Ron Paul’s newsletters?

                I’m going to go back to my original questions: To what extent are we allowed to do this? To what extent is it obvious that we’re begging questions?Report

              • Sam in reply to Sam says:

                I think you’re trying to imply that I’m trying to play a game with Paul that I’m unwilling to play with Obama, but that isn’t accurate.

                To put that another way, if Obama had repeatedly published racist rants while vocally opposing various legislation seemingly designed to be inclusive of not-white-skinned-Americans, I think it would be just as reasonable to draw racial conclusions about his behavior.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Sam says:

                To what extent is it obvious that we’re begging questions?

                “Pretty Danged.”Report

              • Pierre Corneille in reply to Sam says:


                It seems like you’re positing something of straw man argument.  Some, maybe even many, maybe even a majority of, supporters of Obama are perhaps double-faced and unwilling to apply the same standards to him as they are to, say, Ron Paul, but it seems to me that few of them make it to this site.  Some do, I’m sure, but not many.  And it seems to me that Sam is not denying that people should examine Obama’s record rigorously.  In fact, he pretty explicitly says we should examine his record.  Maybe you should just agree to agree.



              • Jaybird in reply to Sam says:

                I don’t know that the Straw Man is mine, necessarily.

                It seems to me that Sam is begging the question here with his argument against Ron Paul and I’m showing that use of a similar standard against a politician that (I am assuming) he likes is something that he would argue against… which means that he’s also stacking the deck.

                “If you think that Obama is X because of that, then we can agree to disagree.”

                If Sam just wants to be told that, sure, he can reach whatever conclusion he wants about Ron Paul (and we can agree to disagree)… would that similarly end the discussion?

                I posit that it would not.

                The fact that it would not is part of the problem here.

                Again: I am not saying that we should not examine the records of our politicians. I’m saying that we should… but using a hard standard against this one and a “well, you have to understand…” standard against that one should be a warning sign.Report

              • Pierre Corneille in reply to Sam says:

                Again: I am not saying that we should not examine the records of our politicians. I’m saying that we should… but using a hard standard against this one and a “well, you have to understand…” standard against that one should be a warning sign.

                I see it more as a warning sign about the person who uses a hard standard for one and a softer one for another:  it speaks to his or her sincerity and perhaps trustworthiness.  If that’s primarily what you were saying, then I see where you were coming from.

                However, the fact–if it is a fact–that Mr. Paul’s critics tend to equivocate when it comes to criticizing (or not) Mr. Obama does not mean that Mr. Paul’s is not a racist or does not flirt dangerously with racist ideas or constituencies. (I know too little about this newsletter thing and about Paul in general to know my own take on it; but simply saying the same standard is not applied evenly does not, by itself, exonerate Paul.  I’m not sure that you’re suggesting otherwise, but I’d like to clarify what I mean.

                Perhaps I was too harsh in calling what you wrote a “straw man.”  Here’s what I meant:  Sam and others who criticize Paul based on the newsletter do not here seem to be denying that one should similarly evaluate Obama.  Indeed, to the extent they comment on it, they seem to be saying:  yes, let’s evaluate Obama’s record.  Do some gainsay what Obama has done?  Probably, and maybe that gainsaying speaks to their hidden agenda (especially if they don’t posit other arguments or facts that supposedly mitigate Obama’s actions).  But they don’t seem to be denying the importance of the exercise.Report

              • Sam in reply to Sam says:


                I’m not proposing two separate standards. I’m proposing one hard standard, which is that politicians (Obama or Paul or Gingrich or whomever) be judged by the records they have established for themselves.

                I do happen to disagree with you that Obama’s continuation of the drug war is evidence of the man’s racism, just as you apparently disagree with me that Paul’s willingness to put his own name on racist screeds is evidence of his racism. On either position, we can discuss the merits.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Sam says:

                I do happen to disagree with you that Obama’s continuation of the drug war is evidence of the man’s racism, just as you apparently disagree with me that Paul’s willingness to put his own name on racist screeds is evidence of his racism.

                This is why I think you’re coming at this from a position of dishonesty.

                I have *YET* to bring up the drug war in this conversation. Every time the drug war has been brought up, you’ve done it.

                I have used *TWO* examples of things that I think are problematic with Obama’s Presidency. The Drug War was neither.

                I have conceded, for the sake of argument, everything you’ve said about Ron Paul.

                You do not appear willing to even restate what my arguments against Obama actually are.Report

              • Sam in reply to Sam says:

                1. You think Obama should simply ignore the law on illegal immigration. That is fine. I don’t see how a president can easily do so. Look at the hub-bub about his refusal to ignore DOMA.

                2. I have no idea how a president is duty-bound to the Magna Carta. That is not a legal document in the United States of America; it is a historical one. Perhaps I don’t understand the point.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Sam says:

                This is interesting.

                If I have a problem with record deportations, it means that my position is that Obama should just, let me quote you here, “simply ignore the law on illegal immigration”.

                Now I know you’re stacking the deck.Report

              • Sam in reply to Sam says:


                You are repeatedly putting in positions where I have to guess your position. If you’d like to clearly lay out your objections to Obama and explain how Paul will be better, I’m ready to have that conversation. But if you’d like to keep being opaque about what you really believe and gleeful when I can’t figure it out, I’m not entirely certain why we’re having this conversation. (Obama is duty-bound to enforce the law. If you’re saying that you don’t want Obama to enforce the current law, I can only assume you want him to change the law. To which I reply: how?)Report

              • Koz in reply to Sam says:

                “You are repeatedly putting in positions where I have to guess your position.”

                Yeah, Jaybird does that a lot. J’s post aren’t the time or the place to start a Socratic dialog, but that doesn’t stop him from trying.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Sam says:

                You are repeatedly putting in positions where I have to guess your position.

                I have not stated my position. I don’t find my positions to be particularly interesting.

                I do, however, find certain things to be very interesting indeed… foremost, the arguments that this person is a moral agent who needs to have his actions questioned and that person has his hands tied and has no options other than the actions he has taken.

                Now, if you would like to know one of my positions, you’ll probably get farther asking a question of the form “what do you think about X?” than asking “So you think that people should just be able to X and Y and Z, even if it kills children? Even if it kills women? Even if it kills the planet???”

                I don’t tend to bother to answer questions of the form of the latter. (They don’t usually seem to be coming from a position of wanting to know the answer.)Report

              • greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

                Jay- You have made, at times,  good points about the language we use regarding race and racism, about jumping to conclusions and listening. This isn’t your best stuff.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

                Too heavy-handed?Report

              • Nob Akimoto in reply to greginak says:


                Well I think the problem is the whole “Magna Carta” thing…I don’t really think that document’s all that it’s cracked up to be…Report

          • Christopher Carr in reply to Jaybird says:

            Those workers need to file the proper paperwork, goddammit! Don’t they know they’re threatening national security!?

            THIS, not Iraq, will be our generation’s Spanish Civil War.Report

        • Scott in reply to Sam says:


          Is it conceivable that there are principaled objections to those issues that have nothing to do with racism? Or must everything be about racism?Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Sam says:

          Or another issue to think about:

          Let us assume, for the sake of argument, that everything that you suspect about Ron Paul’s racism is true. Every single thing.

          How do you fear this will manifest in Ron Paul as executive? Do you believe that he will issue especially racist Executive Orders? Do you believe that he will have his Justice Department crack down disproportionately on crimes in such a way that there will be disparate impact (e.g., crack vs. cocaine)? Do you believe that he will push for the Republican House to pass particularly racist legislation? Do you believe that he will have Immigration deport, deport, deport?

          What is the worst case scenario, with regards to Ron Paul’s racism, that you see playing out?Report

          • Sam in reply to Jaybird says:

            My opposition to Paul has to do with his embrace of the states rights model more than anything, something I’ve explained in other threads. My fear is his willingness to devolve anything and everything wherever possible to states. Throughout much of the nation, we would see state governments cracking down on all sorts of behavior, crackdowns that would disproportionately be targeted at minority populations (and, in one particular case, majority populations: women).

            So, for example, the voting rights of minority populations would be significantly curtailed and no longer would the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division would become largely toothless at addressing those concerns. Immigrant populations would be repeatedly targeted, regardless of the legality of doing so. Gays would go back to being terrorized by state and local officials hellbent on imposing some vision of morality that excludes them. Etc.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to Sam says:

              So your problem with a Ron Paul presidency would be what people who are not Ron Paul would do… people who, I presume, exist and are in positions of power right now.

              These folks are showing their magnificent prior restraint based upon Obama being in the White House?Report

              • Sam in reply to Jaybird says:


                I have no idea if I’m not communicating clearly or if you’re willfully misrepresenting me, so I’ll simply say this again: Ron Paul’s proposed solutions don’t do anything, in my mind, to right the social problems facing the nation, and in fact exacerbate them by empowering the very people who created the problems in the first place. You don’t fix racism by giving power and authority to older, whiter, conservative men. You don’t fix sexism by giving power and authority to older, white, conservative, Christian men. You don’t fix homophobia by giving power to older, whiter, conservative, Christian, straight men. Ron Paul’s proposals for fixing problems facing this country amount to asking the bullies to stop punching and telling the bullied that they’ll just have to wait until the bullies are willing to stop. I don’t see that as progressive.Report

              • Koz in reply to Sam says:

                “You don’t fix racism by giving power and authority to older, whiter, conservative men. You don’t fix sexism by giving power and authority to older, white, conservative, Christian men. You don’t fix homophobia by giving power to older, whiter, conservative, Christian, straight men.”

                What a horrible answer, like a bastard child of Leninism and myopia.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Sam says:

                Ron Paul’s proposed solutions don’t do anything, in my mind, to right the social problems facing the nation, and in fact exacerbate them by empowering the very people who created the problems in the first place.

                Allow me to ask you this question, then: What legislation has Obama signed that will help rectify the problems of racism? What legislation has Obama signed that will help rectify the problems of sexism? What legislation has Obama signed that will help rectify the problems of homophobia?

                It seems to me that you assume that Paul will have much, much more power in office than Obama had. I don’t know that that assumption is warranted.Report

              • Kim in reply to Jaybird says:

                Racism: something on school lunches. kids gotta eat, if 1 in 45 is homeless…

                Homophobia: gays in the military, openly serving.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kim says:

                School lunch legislation addressing racism is not something that I was able to successfully google.

                1 in 45 children being homeless is something that apparently got reported in the last week. I’m pleased that Obama has addressed that so very quickly. (Will Ron Paul sign the law repealing the one Obama signed?)

                The Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010 definitely counts toward rectifying the problems of homophobia. (Will Ron Paul sign the law that repeals this law?)


              • Sam in reply to Kim says:


                The question isn’t whether Ron Paul rolls back Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell. (He won’t.). The question is whether he would have spent political capital on the issue in the first place.Report

              • Kim in reply to Kim says:



                what, I should have pulled the stats on how many kids are food insecure? so sue me, I pulled what was on the top of my head.Report

              • Sam in reply to Jaybird says:

                1. Racism: repeated interventions by the Justice Department in voters rights laws and immigration policy.

                2. Sexism:

                3. Homophobia:

              • Sam in reply to Sam says:

                Dammit. Sorry about the formatting there.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Sam says:

                Of those, which do you think that Paul would be significantly different than Obama?

                Certainly not 1. He voted for the law in 3 so it doesn’t make sense to say that he’d have opposed it. 2 is the only one on there that he voted against (and, granted, that’s not nothing).

                With that said… how much of that was due to the Congress? (It seems that most of it was.)

                If Ron Paul were to be elected, do you think he’d veto more bills than Obama has or fewer? (Quick! Off the top of your head! How many bills has Obama vetoed?)Report

              • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Sam says:

                No offense, JB, but if we ask the difference between Ron Paul and Barack Obama hereabouts, we’re irretrievably lost in the tall weeds and we deserve to die in them.

                I’m a fishing Republican and not only do I vote BHO over Ron Paul, I write a check to his campaign.  I think he’s a sucky president, but he is not mad.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Sam says:

                This is Sparta, Tom.

                I’d rather a President that I am pretty sure will veto most stuff to cross his desk and otherwise obstruct (whoops! I mean “checks and balances” or something) government than actively collude with it against the citizenry.

                I also suspect his nominees to be Supreme Court justices will be worth half a damn. (The one question I’d have for a prospective justice would be “could you give a list of things that are not interstate commerce?” and I suspect that his nominees could provide a list while Kagan and Sotomayor strike me as being likely to be stumped by it.)

                But I’m the last person in the world who would say something other than “vote your conscience”. If Obama is the direction your heart takes you, then follow your heart.Report

              • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Sam says:

                JB, I can’t imagine who Ron Paul would nominate to the Supreme Court—as an academic discussion, since that lunatic will never be elected POTUS.

                Have at it—this is your framing of the debate, not mine.  I’d join all our resident lefties and Dem apologists in voting for Barack Obama over that weirdo.  Who would/should President Paul nominate?

                [You have been a man who poses and answers direct questions as a matter of principle, Brother Jaybird.  Your answer will be cool, no doubt.]










              • Jaybird in reply to Sam says:

                I remain a big fan of Janice Rogers Brown… who, if not nominated, is somewhat similar in temperment to the person who would be nominated by Paul.

                Who would Obama nominate?

                Someone who worked in the Prosecutor’s office. Someone who went to an Ivy League school.

                Someone who, when there is a question over whether a power is Federal, State, or belongs to The People, always picks State over The People, or Federal over State.Report

    • Brandon Berg in reply to Sam says:

      I love that opposition to a policy of institutionalized racism is considered evidence of being a racist. The left-wing mind is truly a remarkable thing.Report

      • Sam in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        Ron Paul proposed that there should be no remedy whatsoever for the virulent, institutionalized, and nationwide racism that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 attempted to account for. He believed that the market would eventually come around, which is fine for him because he was white and wasn’t suffering. What about all of the people left to wait until the market decided that treating blacks as a subhuman species wasn’t the best plan? And what if the market never made that decision? Ron Paul implicitly supports all sorts of institutionalized racism by favoring a states rights approach that allows for individual states to make decisions based upon all sorts of horrendous criteria.

        (Just as Paul attempts to have it both ways on abortion. He might as well say, “Although I am firmly pro-life, it won’t be me taking away a woman’s right to choose. It’ll be the state governments that I support who do it.”)Report

        • James Hanley in reply to Sam says:

          Ron Paul proposed that there should be no remedy whatsoever for the virulent, institutionalized, and nationwide racism that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 attempted to account for. He believed that the market would eventually come around,


          While I fully agree with you that it’s easy for white folks (like me) to be cavalier about how racism played out in pre-Civil Rights era (and even today, of course), i do want to note that believing in the market is a proposal for a remedy.  The idea is to make people aware of the problem, both how wrong racism is, so that they value equity (in the market we pay for what we value) and how badly it can affect the bottom line (something sports teams figured out long before anyone else, it seems).

          I’m not asking you to believe the market will be an effective remedy for racism.  I want to make that clear–I am not, right now, arguing for this approach, nor am I arguing against what I expect would be your claim that it’s a hopeless approach.  I just want to note that people who oppose government action in particular areas are not necessarily “proposing that there should be no remedy.”

          I think that’s where some of the confusion between liberals and libertarians comes into play.  Opposition to government solutions is seen as opposition to social change and improvement, which is not always true.

          (Now as to whether Paul wanted real social change on the issue of race I can’t say, and I won’t speculate.)Report

          • Sam in reply to James Hanley says:

            The problem I have with the “free-market” solution is that it prioritizes the power, the position, and the authority held by those who have created the problem in the first place. What Paul is doing (whether he intends to or not) in opposing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (amongst other legislative remedies) is effectively announcing that those who have benefitted the most from the system shouldn’t be harmed by any attempts to reform it, and that instead, reform should occur naturally over an indeterminate amount of time (assuming it ever happens at all). That’s a great solution if your supporters are part of the problem. That’s a great solution if you haven’t suffered as a part of the problem. That’s a terrible solution for those that are suffering.

            (I’m dredging this up again: Ron Paul says he believes deeply in the importance of property rights, but presumably that belief stops at recognizing treaties signed with native populations through American history. It stops at 40 acres and a mule. It stops at anything in which our current entrenched power structure is harmed in any significant way. Which is convenient for Paul, but not so much for the thing he claims to believe so deeply in.)Report

            • James Hanley in reply to Sam says:

              The problem I have with the “free-market” solution

              I’m not arguing that point, and I’m more than happy to grant your criticisms.  I’m only noting that the conflation of being opposed to government solutions with being opposed to solutions in general should not be made.  Think of it in Venn diagram terms–certainly there is overlap, and in that joint space opposition to government solutions is synonymous with opposition to any solution (and no doubt some of the writers/readers of Paul’s newsletter fit in that space).  But outside that joint opposition to government remedy and opposition to any remedy are two distinct positions.

              I’m less bothered by a liberal critique of a particular libertarian proposal for a remedy than I am by the claim that libertarians oppose remedies.  The latter we can have meaningful and intelligent discussions about.  The latter denies libertarianism its own grounds, which makes reasoned discussion impossible.Report

              • Sam in reply to James Hanley says:

                I think I criticized the proposed remedy on its mechanisms, and not its ability to exist. If I did imply elsewhere (and I have a hard time keeping track) that libertarians offer no remedies, I apologize for the error.

                I recognize the libertarian remedy for some problems and in fact, embrace those proposed solutions. At times. But there are other scenarios in which I find the proposed solution insufficient. (I suppose such a statement could be made about most people.)Report

          • Kim in reply to James Hanley says:


            Yeah, you make good points. But I don’t see any libertarians here coming out full bore on libertarian ways to change society for the better. I’m more likely to bring them up than most self-identified libertarians around here!

            I ‘unno. Is it because they’re obvious? Or is it because libertarians are too busy putting up fences to show how green their grass is? Or is it because they care more about the fence than the grass from the getgo?Report

  6. I think this kind of a cop-out, but I’ll give it a side-blog post.Report

  7. Craig says:

    Kain’s response is right on target.  The racism of the imprisonment of blacks in the USA and the pre-emptive war that kills millions of color abroad (policies supported by all candidates other than Ron Paul) is far more significant than being affiliated with a newspaper where some other writer wrote some racist comments.  I mean give me a break already.Report

  8. Lee says:

    You don’t have to wade very deep into the waters of “paleo” libertarianism and conservatism to realize that the racism (and anti-Semitism for that matter) goes very deep in this particular element of the Right. For that reason, I don’t see these newsletters as some one-off thing but a symptom of a much larger sickness in these movements.

    Whether or not Ron Paul is personally racist, the movements that have made him their hero have serious racist elements. I’m not sure what implications, if any, that should have for how one votes, but I think honesty should compel one to recognize that the problematic nature of these movements goes beyond a few bad apples.Report

  9. Murali says:

    I see it as a matter of life and death. I know you see it as a matter of Your Team vs. The Others. But that’s just not enough for me.

    Made of pure Win!


  10. Chris says:

    I care about reproductive freedom, about universal health care, about social safety nets, about sane economic policy, and I care about peace. I have been an anti-war activist most of my adult life, starting with Kosovo, so I definitely care about peace. But I’ve been around long enough to know that there’s nothing Paul can do to stop war. I suspect, though I’m far from certain, that a Paul presidency wouldn’t give us any Libyas, but I am certain that a Republican presidency with a Republican congress (a very real possibility) will make Iraqs and Afghanistans (in Iran, Syria, or any number of other places) much, much more likely, regardless of who that Republican president is.  He may be anti-foriegn war now, but war is what this country does, it’s the foundation upon which it’s built. Putting the more hawkish of the two hawk parties in power, even if it is headed by someone like Paul, is tempting the beast.

    Is Paul a racist? I don’t know (I’d like to know: better to know who you’re dealing with), but even if he’s not, there’s no way in hell I’d vote for him.Report

    • Chris in reply to Chris says:

      By the way, I was thinking about this recently: most of the league bloggers on the masthead, from Mark down through Tom (sorry Will, I haven’t read that much of your stuff, so I’m reserving judgment) seem to have been around the block a few times, to have seen a bit of the world. When Kain posts, however, be it about politics or unions or Paul, I get the distinct impression that he’s been a bit sheltered, economically and intellectually, and that his perspective is limited as a result. Am I the only one who gets this impression, or does it make sense to some of you?Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Chris says:

      But I’ve been around long enough to know that there’s nothing Paul can do to stop war.

      The War Powers Act (specifically: ignoring it) would allow Ron Paul to not send units over to a place without explicit legislation from Congress. Perhaps he cannot stop war.

      He could, however, refrain from starting it.

      Look at the last 40 years.

      This is no small thing.Report

      • Chris in reply to Jaybird says:

        Oh, wouldn’t it be nice if the War Powers Act could stop a president using the military without Congress’ approval. I mean, look at the last 40 years.


        • Jaybird in reply to Chris says:

          So you assume that Ron Paul is just as likely to use the military without really caring about Congress the way the last, oh, fivish Presidents have?

          It seems to me that it’s *MUCH* more likely that Paul would say “no, I’m not going to send troops”. (Even in clear-cut cases like Libya!)Report

          • Chris in reply to Jaybird says:

            Like I said, fewer if any Libyas, as many or more Iraqs. I think Paul believes what he says. I don’t think the presidency allows people to believe what they say, particularly when it comes to war. War is too ingrained in our national identity, and more importantly, in our economy, for that to work. We are the “police force of the world” (the new name for imperial states), and it would take a radical reworking of virtually every aspect of our politics for that to change. Paul can’t do that, Paul won’t do that, and with Republicans running congress, Paul will be worse than any Democrat should the rhetoric on Iran or Syria heat up (which it almost certainly will). That’s not to say that the Democrats will be good — I give you Kosovo, Libya, Pakistan, and a ramped up Afghanistan (maybe even Somalia). War is a bipartisan thing. But I’d rather have a Libya here or a Kosovo there than another Iraq.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to Chris says:

              I disagree, if only because of the difference between an “authorization of hostilities” and a “declaration of war”.

              The former provides cover for not only Libyas but Iraqs. If one is unlikely to do the one, it seems to me that one would be unlikely to do the other.

              The latter pretty much forces the hand of the President… and I don’t see the Congress willing to declare war anymore.

              (Of course: Perhaps Paul is lying about this and he’s just another politician whose turn it is to pretend to not be just like Romney. The fact that this strikes me as less likely could reflect much more on me and my judgment of such things than it accurately depicts Paul.)Report

    • Kim in reply to Chris says:

      gotta get Zandi’s stimulus somehow, amiright?Report

  11. The thing you have to understand about Paul is that he’s a politician — a successful politician.

    When a cult of personality blossoms around a successful politician, there will inevitably be ugly, discordant truths buried beneath the pretty foliage. And those truths will tend to undermine the foliage rather than support it.

    One of those ugly discordant truths is that Ron Paul lies. That’s not an opinion, that’s a fact that can be deduced from comparing contradictory statements that he’s made. In 1996, he claimed to have authored the newsletter articles, but complained that they were taken “out of context.” By 2007, he was denying authorship, repudiating the content, and blaming an unnamed ghost writer. He was lying in 1996, or he was lying in 2007.

    Does that mean that no one can, in good conscience, support him? No, it doesn’t. But if you make him into a plaster saint, he will shatter on you.


  12. Nob Akimoto says:

    We can disagree with the desirability of intervention. The jury and the evidence on the efficacy of humanitarian intervention is mixed to say the least. I keep going back and forth on this matter because, frankly, I’m not sure there’s an actual way to make the effects of war black and white and assign blame.

    That said…

    I find the consistent characterization of Libya or Afghanistan as somehow being entirely caused by the US Administration to be, well let’s be frank, myopic and uncharacteristically thoughtless. Moreover, you also consistently argue that the issue is simply about whether or not US forces are committed in their use of air power or drone strikes in a country as being the sole decider of war or peace. The simple fact that Paul expresses a distaste for involving US armed forces in a handful of conflicts abroad does not in it of itself make for a policy that advances peace or war.

    Indeed, you can look at his position that the US should empower private military contractors by (going against international convention and) issuing Letters of Marque and Reprisal. This would scarcely reduce the likelihood of conflict, and depending on how such letters were worded, could in fact increase the amount of bloodshed.

    Further, unilateral disengagement does have large consequences on how the world perceives the costs of certain actions. While the correlation most definitely does not indicate causation, the past 40 years have seen a decrease in the totality of armed conflict, along with the conceptualization of human security and responsibility to protect. Simply put: there is at least an emerging norm that killing your own people for the hell of it is becoming less and less an accepted method of ruling a country.

    Granted, there are dozens of caveats attached to this rule. It’s spotty, the enforcement is selective, the US isn’t very good at differentiating or preventing collateral damage when it happens. But the general trend and the direction of international norms IS towards a reduction in “state sovereignty” over a form of human sovereignty that privileges human rights over state rights.

    Now there are emerging powers that are vehemently trying to fight against this trend. Of the BRICs, at least Russia and China are in the attitude that sovereignty is a substantially more important concept (along with national stability) than individual rights. Further in the absence of US engagement abroad, the most likely to fill the gaps are NOT the European powers (who have substantial funding problems) but rather resource-diplomacy oriented states like China. The potential here is that we can see a rapid unraveling of the norms being build against “realist” norms of crackdowns and supporting states that go for your economic interests.

    With that considered, would you still support Paul as a matter of “life and death”?Report

    • Nob Akimoto in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

      I suppose too, if I were being plithy…

      Do you think children care if they’re blown to pieces by drones or shot in the back of the head by militants and Taliban gunmen?Report

  13. DensityDuck says:

    If Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers didn’t matter, then neither should the newsletter matter now.Report

    • Kim in reply to DensityDuck says:

      The number of black nationalists supporting BHO is less than the number of racists supporting Paul. The fact that Paul’s supporters are either diehard racists or diehard libertarians says something…Report

  14. Sam says:


    Those guys did matter. There were literally millions of Americans howling about them. Please turn on Talk Radio at any time of any day of any week of any month. The problem for that argument is that there were millions more Americans saying, “Hey, this doesn’t bother me, either because there is an explanation I’m willing to accept or because it was too inside baseball in the first place for me to be worried about.” If it plays out that way with the newsletters, so be it, but as of right now, they remind a potent criticism of Paul, because he had his name plastered all over racial paranoia, regardless of whether or not he believed it.Report

    • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Sam says:

      Sam, you don’t listen to Talk Radio or you wouldn’t have written this.  Limbaugh, Hannity, Hewitt, et al: all have shunned the Paulites and still do.

      In fact I heard about the Ron Paul racist newsletters 3 months ago on Michael Medved, and he brought it up himself, not a caller.

      [I adore Medved, BTW.]

      Mr. Duck is making an ironic defense of Paul, I think [or hope]: I find Paul’s self-defense plausible [he didn’t “know”], but insufficient—he should have known.

      Barack Obama used the same defense and he fucking got away with it, all the way to the presidency.  I think that’s Mr. Duck’s point and if it isn’t, it’s mine.




      • Sam in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

        What’s with all the spacing after your posts?

        Anyway, I never said Talk Radio was ignoring the skeletons in Paul’s closet. I’m saying that they repeatedly attempted to hit Obama with Wright and Ayers and it didn’t work out for them politically. It wasn’t for a lack of trying though.

        As for Obama “getting away with it” I’m not sure what you mean. You think he should have been punished politically (more than he has been already) for people he knew?Report

      • DensityDuck in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

        Yes, that’s exactly what I mean.  If it was reasonable to believe that Obama’s associations didn’t tar him just because he said so then the same should apply to Paul.Report

  15. dollared says:

    ED, I used to think there was some hope for you.  But you have crossed over into the line into pure intellectual and moral dishonesty.   Endorse Ron Paul if you like, for whatever reason.  I actually don’t believe you want FEMA and the FDA abolished, but maybe I’m granting you 100 IQ points in error.

    But to suggest that LIBERALS allied with the neocons to start wars (who wanted the Iraq War?) is so heinously deceitful and slanderous, when they were the only people with political power and careers at risk resisting the Conservative’s amoral, war profiteering, hypocritically Christian call for a Crusade in the Holy Land, is in itself deeply immoral.  You should apologize.  Now.  Start with Phil Donohue.  Then you can call the Dixie Chicks.  Then Bill Maher.  Then move onto the dozens of Democratic congresspeople who lost their jobs, along with their staffers.

    Shame on you.Report

    • Christopher Carr in reply to dollared says:

      98 Senators voted for the USAPATRIOT Act, right?Report

      • dollared in reply to Christopher Carr says:

        yes, and…?


        • Christopher Carr in reply to dollared says:

          Weren’t some of them LIBERALS (i.e. roughly half)?Report

          • They were being held hostage.Report

          • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Christopher Carr says:

            Um, whatever you think of the Patriot Act, dollared didn’t bring it up. He specifically brought up the Iraq War. Which isn’t connected to the Patriot Act in any way. So, it’s a nice pithy line with no actual connection to the argument.Report

            • Christopher Carr in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

              Well, regardless of what dollared was specifically talking about, the thrust of his argument was that liberals shouldn’t be blamed for their complicity during the Bush years. I say no, and point to the USAPATRIOT act as Exhibit A of liberal High Varysism.Report

            • Patrick Cahalan in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

              I’m not so sure you can throw out the Patriot Act as not being connected to the Iraq War in any way.

              But the Iraq War resolution numbers are downstairs.  The Democrats had a majority in the Senate.  They could have prevented it from happening.

              Nice of you to use the 61% number to show that a majority of Democrats were against it.  That’s fair enough (although it’s 58%, to be accurate… you don’t get Jeffords).  Certainly there are more hawks than doves in the GOP, and more doves than hawks in the Donkey party.Report

    • Erik Kain in reply to dollared says:

      How many liberals in congress voted to invade Iraq?Report

      • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Erik Kain says:

        EDK, Sen. Hillary [by extension, Bill?] voted to authorize the Saddam whack.  Are they not “liberals?”  If not, we need to [re-]define some terms around here.

        They’re among MY favorite liberals, anyway.  Many liberals still think Hillary was the better choice over Barack Obama as the 2008 Democratic Party nominee [she’d have handily beat McCain too], and BHO would lose a 2012 primary against Bill by a landslide.

        And I suspect this Republican would find himself voting for Bill over Newt and the rest of the GOP field except Mitt.  And when Bill kicked Mitt’s ass like he did Dole’s, I’d again be OK with it, like I was the first time.

        “Liberal” used to be largely synonymous with “Democrat,” but I think we’re getting into some new territory here.


        Your call.Report

        • Patrick Cahalan in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

          Yanno, Tom, at the time I thought Hillary was making the coldly political call.  The authorization bill was going to pass, and signing off when it’s a huge majority just means you have cover if it goes down the tubes and you can’t be accused of being weak in the upcoming election.

          Since she took the State job, though, she’s shown herself to either be a pretty coldly political cat, or a fairly hawkish liberal.  I think the liberals have to take ownership of her even on that basis.  Just my $0.02.Report

          • Christopher Carr in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

            Hillary’s scholarship (I’m thinking specifically of “It Takes a Village“) puts her square on the liberal side of the fence for sure.Report

          • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

            Pat, Hillary’s speech in favor of authorizing the Saddam whack was mugwumpery in the laughable extreme.  I remember reading it awhile back, which is why I can google it so easily.


            Every paragraph in favor is followed by an equivocation.  Beautiful, if you admire BS, which I do.

            But she voted yes.  As hard as it is for me to imagine Bill & Hill as an actual married couple, I am no disrespector of her smarts or her integrity.  If Bill thought her vote would be unwise or unprincipled, I think as the consummate political couple in American history—she a Senator and he a former POTUS—she’d have voted the other way instead.

            [For the record, I largely speak well of Bill Clinton as POTUS.  As I just wrote elsewhere here, I’d vote for him today—as so many other LoOGies would—over BHO or whoever the GOP comes up with.  Exc Romney, although with no disappointment when he lost, which he would.]




      • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Erik Kain says:

        Well, let’s see here. I’m not going to get into the House, but considering 61% of House Democrat’s voted no on the original Iraq War vote, I’m going to guess most of the House Progressive Caucus voted no.

        But, hey, let’s look at the Senate.

        Here are the Democratic Aye’s –

        Baucus – Um, yeah. Not a liberal.

        Bayh – Moderate tooljob.

        Biden – 1 Liberal.

        Breaux – Blue Dog.

        Cantwell – 2 Liberal.

        Carnahan – I actually don’t know what Jean Carnahan’s ideological record was, but hey, let’s say Liberal.

        Carper – Moderate.

        Cleland – Moderate.

        Clinton – I don’t actually think Clinton is that liberal, but hey, on this site, sure. 3 Liberal.

        Daschale – Nope.

        Dodd – 3 Liberal.

        Dorgan –  4 Liberal, even though I don’t know his foreign policy record off the back of my hand.

        Edwards – Shocking fact. Edwards actually had a moderate Senate voting record.

        Feinstein – Feinstein has always been one of the biggest hawks in the DNC. It’s why lefties like me hope she retires every cycle.

        Harkin – 5 Liberal

        Hollings – Yeah, no.

        Johnson – Again, no.

        Kerry – 6 Liberal

        Kohl – 7 Liberal

        Landreiu, Lieberman, Miller – Never foreign policy liberals.

        Nelson & Nelson – Nope. Not liberals.

        Reid – 8 Liberals, even though I really don’t see it.

        Rockefeller – 9 Liberals. Even though I’m sure Rockefeller’s probably always been a bit of a hawk, but hey. I’ll say sure.

        Schumer – 10 Liberals.

        Toricelli – I honestly don’t know his record. He’s from New Jersey, but then again, 9/11, I honestly don’t remember. Give me a mulligan on this one.

        Now, the Nay’s.

        Akaka, Bingman, Byrd, Conrad, Corzine, Dayton, Durbin, Feingold, Graham, Inoyue, Levin, Leahy, Kennedy, Milkulski, Murray, Reed, Sarbanes, Stabenow, Wellstone, Wyden.

        Out of that group, maybe Byrd or Graham isn’t considered a ‘liberal’, even though I vaguely remember Graham always being dovish for some odd reason.

        Anyway, so a total of 11 Aye’s, 20 Nay’s. Outside of the libertarian caucus of one and the times, I’ll take that record, especially against every other conceivable political opinion at the time, even among Democrat’s.



        • Patrick Cahalan in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

          Here’s a question for you, Jesse.

          Let’s say we all agree with your breakdown; the Dems are made up of 10 liberals who voted for the war, 16 non-liberals who voted for the war, 18 liberals who voted against the war, and two non-liberals who voted against the war.

          So 16/46 of the Dems weren’t liberals and were hawks, another 10/46 were liberals and hawks, 18/46 were liberals and doves, and 2/46 were non-liberals and doves.

          Do you think these proportions are close to static?  Highly variable?  How much of a presence do the doves have today?  Is it still about twenty out of forty-six?

          ‘Cause if so, I’d say Erik’s point is dead-on.  The Democratic party isn’t a home for the voter who puts peace ahead of liberalism.  Maybe if you put liberalism ahead of peace.

          Now, if you think that the proportions have changed, you can back that up.  If you yourself put liberalism ahead of peace, you can argue that point, too.

          But 43% of the party isn’t enough to get ‘er done.Report

        • Michael Drew in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

          Man, is it depressing to read this.  (But important.)  Harkin, really?  We hardly knew ye, Tommy.Report

  16. BlaiseP says:

    A political endorsement, like a conversion experience or a poker game, eventually resolves to pushing your little stack of chips forward and saying “All In”.   It doesn’t mean you completely understand what you’re committing to in the process nor are you required to approve of everything implied in the choice you’ve made.   It means you’ve weighed all in the balances and made a decision based on the alternatives.  In this election, there are few good alternatives;  you have made your choice.

    In a choice between words and bombs, I observe words inevitably precede the bombs:  those who have made the choice for Team Ron Paul must be clear about their positions on the rhetorical bombs he’s been throwing about of late.  If given free rein to do exactly what he says he wants to do, the economy would grind to a halt as it did in the days of Jimmy Carter, a point I’ve made before, as you very well know.

    Therefore, this business about Words or Bombs is a false dichotomy.   Words lead to Bombs of many sorts and Ron Paul scares me to death:  not because he would lead us to war on other nations but to war of iconoclasm, tearing down much that is good in our government.Report

    • Christopher Carr in reply to BlaiseP says:

      This, the Burkean conservative fear of Ron Paul, I can definitely sympathize with.Report

      • BlaiseP in reply to Christopher Carr says:

        Well, I’m a Liberal, not a Burkean conservative, though today’s Liberals could learn a great deal from Burke.   Conservatives, too, it’s like that recent diary on Hobbes:  once a thinker has fallen into eponym, he’s become a self-referential bumper sticker, a shortcut to sound thinking.

        I believe in the notion of perfectible government.   Perfection is an asymptotic function, therefore it’s an ongoing process.  Regulatory law is usually written in blood: we abolish regulations at our peril without a complete understanding of why those regulations came into being.   We all know that old truism about insanity doing the same experiment over and over and expecting different results.   It has a corollary:  the only lesson we learn from history is that we don’t learn from history.

        What goes through the brains of these simpletons and manifest jackasses?   I’m a Liberal, talking about government as a continuing process, one which ought to be concerned with the betterment of this country across the board, providing the level playing field and the regulations required to run honest markets.   And here’s Ron Paul babbling about the Gold Standard.   He might have delivered a truckload of babies but this man is an economic imbecile.   Dangerous kook.   Yeah, I can forgive him for being quoted in the context of some racist magazine.   I will not forgive him for economic innumeracy.Report

    • Sam M in reply to BlaiseP says:

      “If given free rein to do exactly what he says he wants to do…”

      Is there any fear of that happening?Report

  17. dollared says:

    EDK, still waiting for the apology.  You’ve been a reasonable person in the past.  You seem to have been radicalized recently.  You know that liberals did not support the Iraq War, but often voted in favor of elements of it because they could not win the vote and did not want to be electorally vulnerable for no good reason.

    For you to pretend that they were “allies” with the Neocons is to knowingly misrepresent history.  In a despicable way that twists reality on a critical issue.

    One last chance to walk it back.  You’ve earned that chance.   Now use it.Report

    • Sam M in reply to dollared says:

      “You know that liberals did not support the Iraq War, but often voted in favor of…”

      Is there a real difference between not supporting something and voting for it? I mean, that’s ultimately how you show your support, right? When it comes up for a vote, that’s your chance to weigh in. In which case they did, in fact, support it. I don’t care why. Or for what reason. Doesn’t the fact that they did so for cynical political purposes actually make it worse?

      But forget all that. I like this line of reasoning. The next time I accidentally go to a bar after work with my buddies, I will calmly explain to my wife that I didn’t actually SUPPORT the idea of going to the bar. I was against it. But the cool kids were doing it, and you don’t want to look like an outlier and all that, so why burn bridges?Report

    • Patrick Cahalan in reply to dollared says:

      Really don’t think you’re going to get one.

      You don’t deserve it, either.

      You know that liberals did not support the Iraq War, but often voted in favor of elements of it because they could not win the vote and did not want to be electorally vulnerable for no good reason.

      Electorally vulnerable?  So their constituents would have voted them out if they didn’t vote for the war?  Well, now, who are their constituents?  Conservatives?

      In the Senate, there were only 48 Republican “ayes”.  One “nay”.  There were 29 Democratic “Ayes”, and 21 “Nays”.  Without three Democrats voting in favor, it doesn’t happen.

      It’s fair to say that the Democrats, taken en masse, supported the war less than the Republicans.  But you’re talking revisionist history here, to claim that they were railroaded.  They could have stopped it from starting.


      • dollared in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

        No amount of context-free vote counting from you wingnuts is going to change the fact that calling Liberals and Neocons “allies” is a lie.  It is a deliberate lie.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to dollared says:


          Hurray! Now *WE* can wait for an apology!


        • Patrick Cahalan in reply to dollared says:

          You realize that… never mind.

          Suffice to say, I’m not who you think I am.Report

        • Mark Thompson in reply to dollared says:

          You are reading Erik’s use of the phrase “neoconservatives and their liberal allies” with an extraordinary lack of charity.  The phrase does not mean, and cannot be read to mean “neoconservatives and every liberal on the face of the planet.” Hell, it doesn’t even necessarily mean “neoconservatives and most liberals.”   It means “neoconservatives and those liberals with whom they are allied.” That quite clearly leaves room for the notion that some, perhaps most, liberals were firm opponents of the Iraq War (and/or other wars – Erik’s claim is not limited to Iraq).  That it does so does not change the undeniable fact that there were (and are) indeed at least some liberals in good standing who have knowingly aligned with neoconservatives on these issues, and that the support of those liberals is a not insignificant contributing factor to why certain wars have been and are fought.

          It strikes me as beyond doubt that there were at least some liberals who indeed allied with neoconservatives over Iraq (and have continued to do so on other matters of war), or at the very least quite willingly and knowingly enabled them.Report

        • Erik Kain in reply to dollared says:

          It’s not just the politicians either. Lots of liberal pundits were pro Iraq War especially at first.Report

          • dollared in reply to Erik Kain says:

            Ah, so he appears!  Some liberal pundits reluctantly supported the war.  But how many were “allies” of the neocons?  Allied to achieve what goals?  How conscious was the alliance?   How often did they meet and plan?

            You know the answers.  None, none, not at all, and never.Report

    • Christopher Carr in reply to dollared says:

      I don’t think prevailing Bush-era liberals were “allies” so much as they were afraid of being labeled Soft On Defense for taking the sane position. This, for me, is a worse offense than if they had actually supported Bush’s agenda and one of the reasons I still haven’t given up completely on Obama (although I prefer Paul and possibly Romney at this point).Report

    • Koz in reply to dollared says:

      “One last chance to walk it back. You’ve earned that chance. Now use it.”Report

    • James Hanley in reply to dollared says:

      One last chance to walk it back.

      Oh, noes!  What will happen if he doesn’t!?Report

    • Tod Kelly in reply to dollared says:

      May I just suggest that we not circle the tanks around dollard? He’s like the only guy I can ever remember coming here from somewhere else to disagree with Erik and not act like a total d**k. He even says nice and respectful things about our lord and master.

      I’d rather this NOT be the driveby guy we send away forever.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        I would like to be the first to offer an apology to Dollard.Report

      • dollared in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        That is thoughtful of you.   For my part, I recognize the desire to “like” Ron Paul.   I love that he and Bernie Sanders can completely agree on the surveillance state and our foreign wars, and I loved that he would just stand up there and say his peace to those colossal morons at the Tea Party Debates.    And that on those issues, he is more right than anybody since, well, Jimmy Carter.

        It’s just that I really am glad that none of my family has died from infected food or counterfeit drugs, and I think the FDA has had something to do with that.  And Ron Paul thinks that is bad.  Never mind all those dog whistles over all those years to unrepentant confederates.

        I know, I sold my liberty for just a few doses of clean amoxicyllin…..Report

        • Patrick Cahalan in reply to dollared says:

          I think this is a false comparison, though.

          Look, I’m not voting for Paul even in the general, should he get there, which he won’t.  But really, I highly doubt that should he get to the general, and get elected (highly unlikely and more improbable than a lightning strike on the moon)… that this would lead to Captain Paul and the Triumph of the Destruction of Government.

          First of all, the Executive branch can’t just shut down the (whatever) by Executive Order and not expect court challenges (and these aren’t always resolved in the favor of the executive branch).  Ron Paul will have to have coalitions to get what he wants, just like George W Bush did and Barack Obama does now.

          Politically, having the President be (effectively, that’s what Ron Paul is) a third party candidate means he or she will have less leeway than either a moderate Democrat or Republican.  The only power they will effectively have is that of the veto.

          And the veto will only get you so far, when you’re going against all of Congress.  Tearing down the federal government isn’t politically feasible.  Congress wouldn’t let you do it.  It doesn’t matter how divided they are, if the President tried to railroad them, they’d get their collective back up.Report

          • dollared in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

            So electing him would be pointless.  So you would vote for him because…..Report

            • I thought he said he wasn’t going to vote for him.Report

            • Patrick Cahalan in reply to dollared says:

              No, it wouldn’t be *pointless*.

              I’m sure he could still get some things done. In the main, I imagine that the things that got through the political process I would find both disagreeable and agreeable.  But that’s been the case for every President.  GWB was pretty bad, but he was also an outlier for badness.  I imagine Romney (if he wins) will annoy me about as much as Obama does; much more than Clinton or Bush the Elder, much less than GWB.  Paul would definitely be inside the “not as bad as GWB” envelope.

              On the particular case of being a peacenik, though, I think it would be very unlikely that he would bust out the military short of an actual bona-fide formal declaration of war, such has not been seen since June 5th, 1942.

              I don’t think that Congress would declare such a war.  Both the Legislative and the Executive have certainly gone out of their way to avoid it while still busting out the things that go “boom”.

              So if you’re voting first as a dove, and second as anything else, Paul is a justifiable choice.  That’s all I’m sayin’.Report

              • dollared in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

                On that last point I agree.  However, on your first point, I’m not sure that Ron Paul couldn’t abolish the EPA.  If he were to get elected, he would certainly have a 19th century Congress, and he already has a 19th Century Supreme Court.

                You might really be amazed at how close we could get to a return to 1901.   Ask the good people of Wisconsin.



              • You might really be amazed at how close we could get to a return to 1901.

                Good.  There’s time to save McKinley.


  18. Sam says:

    This is a good article that from Coates. I’ll just assume in advance that Paul’s biggest fans won’t like it.Report

  19. Morzer says:

    A simple question for you, ED.  Do you consider yourself responsible for blog-posts that go out under your name?  If so – why let Ron Paul off the hook for what went out under his byline?  If not – why not?

    Incidentally, as recently as 2007, Ron Paul was posing for pictures with the owner of Stormfront and his son, and signing autographs for them.

    Not so long ago he was arguing that the Civil Rights legislation was wrong.

    Do you need more evidence that Ron Paul has, at best, some deeply troubling views on race?  If so, what more do you need?  What would satisfy you?

    You ask: “How could you endorse a candidate who bombs the brown-skinned people in Libya and Afghanistan?” The rather obvious point here is that Obama wasn’t bombing them because they were brown-skinned.  In the case of Libya, the idea was, possibly optimistically, to remove an unpleasant little dictator, if possible for minimal casualties on all sides.  In the case of Afghanistan ( a war which wasn’t, incidentally. begun by Obama and is also not a war on brown-skinned people) the idea of bombing the Taliban is, at least theoretically, to get them to give up their friendship with al-Qaeda and, more hypothetically, to make Afghanistan a better place.   There is a rather obvious difference in motivation compared to the openly racist vitriol of the Ron Paul newsletters.

    When you posted at Balloon-Juice, you used to debate matters more openly and honestly than you have in this post.  Was that just a pretense?Report

    • E.D. Kain in reply to Morzer says:


      To tell you the truth, the pushback from both liberals and libertarians I’ve gotten on this matter has given me serious pause.

      I’ve already written mistermix to apologize for the tone of this post, which came on the heels of some nasty Twitter exchanges that had me rather ill-tempered.

      So, I will have a follow-up post written shortly.Report

  20. rk21 says:

    I’m late to this, and haven’t read all the comments, so I may just be repeating something someone else has said. As a non white female I’m looking at Ron Paul and thinking “no way I’m buying this BS”. He made money off of this newsletter (lots of money by all accounts). A normal person would have thought “I’ve got a good thing going on here, wonder what’s so great in those newsletters being published in my name”. “Let me just take a peek at them”. Anyone who believes that Ron Paul did not know what was in the newsletters is deluding themselves.  Is he a racist now? Who knows? He does not come across as one now. Was he a racist then? Well for a non racist to publish such vile stuff, it’s bizarre. If a man knowingly publishes hateful stuff and is not a racist, then no one is a racist. In my opinion people like Ron Paul are the most dangerous type of racists.  There is enough doubt there for his devoted followers to rationalize his behavior.

    ED your question about Obama is a strange one. Obama is not bombing brown people because they are brown. It has nothing to do with their skin color. And yes I can support Obama because the only choice I will have is between him and the GOP jokers. Paul as a third party is a joke, as was Nadar. I would never vote for Paul. White people can twist themselves into pretzels justifying Paul. I say, no thanks, to a man who once wrote “95%of black males in DC are criminal or semi criminal” (and yes if it’s in your name you damn well own it).



  21. Orinocle says:

    Paul’s racism is so tragic for our nation to observe young people get side tracked yet again by a coward and racist like Ron Paul stings.
    One hopes once Paul becomes a deserved footnote this weekend of course this leaves hime ample  time editing his newsletters.
    Then perhaps he will visit Black venues and hugg old black woman with big tits and hats..I bet Ronnie will love those photos…
    The audacity of a petty garden variety bigot like Paul thinking he could get in the white house..WTF..Report