As political forecasters predict a Ron Paul win in Iowa, an old scandal about the Texas congressman’s newsletters containing “racist, anti-gay and anti-Israel passages” has reared its head, the New York Times reported.
The latest issue of the Weekly Standard delved into issues with Paul’s past: “It is Paul’s lucrative and decades-long promotion of bigotry and conspiracy theories, for which he has yet to account fully, and his continuing espousal of extremist views, that should make him unwelcome at any respectable forum,” James Kirchick wrote.
In particular, Kirchick takes issues with language from a series of newsletters—Ron Paul’s Freedom Report, the Ron Paul Political Report, the Ron Paul Survival Report, and the Ron Paul Investment Letter—Paul published in the ’80s and ’90s. Kirchick excerpted some of more offensive passages, including this line from a 1992 article: “Order was only restored in L.A. when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks.” Another newsletter reported there were roving groups of black teenagers running across New York City poking people with HIV-infected syringes, leading Kirchick to proclaim that “no conspiracy theory was too outlandish for Paul’s endorsement.”
The newsletters were also unrelenting in their criticism of Israel, calling it “an aggressive, national socialist state.”
Back in 2001, Texas Monthly‘s S.C. Gwynne asked Paul about that racist language. “I could never say this in the campaign, but those words weren’t really written by me. It wasn’t my language at all,” Paul said at the time. He did, however, take some responsibility.
They were never my words, but I had some moral responsibility for them . . . I actually really wanted to try to explain that it doesn’t come from me directly, but they [campaign aides] said that’s too confusing. “It appeared in your letter and your name was on that letter and therefore you have to live with it.”
Paul gave a similar answer to Kirchick who asked about the inflammatory language for a piece for the New Republic. “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,” Paul said.
But Kirchick pointed out that the newsletters earned almost $1 million for Paul in 1993 alone. “It is incredible that he had less than an active interest in what was being printed as part of a subscription newsletter enterprise that earned him and his family millions of dollars,” Kirchick wrote.
Last Thursday after the GOP debate, Sean Hannity brought up the newsletters with Ron Paul, asking him “Why do you not take responsibility for the things that were in your individual newsletters?” In his reply, Paul cited his comments to Gwynne for his 2001 Texas Monthly article (and called the magazine a “real liberal newspaper”) saying “So you read that and you’ll find out that I did not write it and I do not support those views and they’re painted as something that maybe I’m racist or something,” the Capital Free Press reported. (Watch his comments below, or skip ahead to the five minute mark to hear his response to the question.)