When examined objectively we see that the “Ron Paul Phenomenon” is made up of many components, only one of which is Ron Paul himself. In one very crucial respect the Ron Paul Phenomenon united people across the political spectrum in a passionately held common desire to reclaim at least the promise that once was America.
As such, the “phenomenon” may now be in the process of sowing the seeds for a viable third party that could unite not only the more impassioned elements of the far right and the far left but also a good portion of the more mainstream segments of the electorate. The problem is that there is the very real possibility that this shared dream (and potential third party) may yet again be subverted or destroyed altogether.
The importance of that truly extraordinary, yet-to-be-realized American dream requires that you and I together carefully examine how it was that the “phenomenon” came to be. In so doing we will be better equipped to detect fault lines and possible pitfalls we might need to avoid if we are to keep at least the promise of our shared dream alive. It must be said that this endeavor will also ultimately require a coming together of ALL of us, not just a few target populations, and it must rest on the principles that are actually contained in the founding documents — not just someone else’s interpretation of them.
To begin real movement toward our goal, each of us must examine — with as much deliberate care and objectivity as we are able to muster — the facts as they exist for each of the various components of the larger phenomenon that goes well beyond Ron Paul the man. One such component concerns what Paul himself has described as “ancient history”; that is to say the long defunct “racist” newsletters going under various titles including The Ron Paul Political Report and The Ron Paul Survival Report.
The lingering questions over authorship of these newsletters only add more questions as to exactly who might now be responsible for all or most of Paul’s current and future work and writings. If indeed other individuals assist with — or provide the bulk of — Paul’s material, we might also wonder whether the agenda of these unidentified others completely matches — or subtly re-frames — Paul’s own thinking and philosophy.
Another aspect to consider is that — if it is true that the original purpose of those newsletters was part of a Machiavellian style campaign strategy designed by Paul’s associates in order to build a support base that may not in fact be aligned with Paul’s own sentiments — what assurance do we have that Paul (or his handlers) may not yet again utilize at least a mutated version of such tactics? This is especially troublesome in that Paul himself has so far made NO move to either satisfactorily explain or sever the ties to the relevant, controversial portion of his support base or the tacticians who dreamed it all up.
In the long run, the whole newsletter issue is far less about racism than it is about campaign tactics and what we as voters are willing to tolerate or accept as “part of doing business.” Thus a good portion of our undertaking necessarily involves considerable self-examination. Our own individual responses to and opinions of those old newsletters will tell us as much about ourselves and more importantly how we approach politics in general and our leaders in particular, as they can tell us about Ron Paul the politician. This is a critical element of the task at hand because all too many of us are inclined to take short cuts which eventually can come back to haunt us.
I for one confess that I had watched various reports of the nature of these controversial newsletters which made it to CNN, Tucker Carlson, Wolf Blitzer, and the Bill Moyers Journal. But, like a lot of people, I summarily accepted the answers Ron Paul gave in those interviews.
Suffice it to say, my decision has come back to haunt me, and so today we revisit those old newsletters in order that we might together examine the facts as they exist. We begin with a very cursory review of a few of the statements that were again garnering a flurry of criticism in 2008. We include a series of rebuttals, some of which charged that the quotes cited were made up.
You can be the judge of all of this by carefully investigating scanned copies of the recently recovered original documents for yourself. But as you move through this material, please remember to ponder carefully the real implications of your personal reactions and opinions — as well as the potential long range consequences of even tacit acceptance of this sort of campaign strategy.
Selections from the newsletters are as follows.
“Hmmm. I hate to agree with Rev. Al, but maybe a name change is in order. Welfaria? Zooville? Rapetown? Dirtburg? Lazyopolis…”1
“Order was only restored in L.A. when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks. . . Many more are going to have difficulty avoiding the belief that our country is being destroyed by a group of actual and potential terrorists — and they can be identified by the color of their skin…”2
And: “They [homosexuals] enjoy the attention and pity that comes with being sick…”3
A May 1990 issue4 cites a man by the name of Jared Taylor, who six months later would go on to found the eugenicist and white supremacist periodical American Renaissance. A May 1991 issue5 offers a subscription to American Renaissance.6 Four years later, in July 1994, Taylor was cited by The Ron Paul Survival Report, this time as a “criminologist.”7
In 1996, Paul said that the newsletters were taken out of context. Five years later he said he didn’t write them — but he took “moral responsibility” for them. The chronology goes something like this.
When interviewed separately by the Houston Chronicle, the Austin American Statesman, the Dallas Morning News and elsewhere in 1996, Ron Paul and his staff all claimed that Paul wrote the Political Reports — but insisted the media was taking them out of context. Later, in 2001, Paul claimed someone else had written the controversial passages. “‘Old News’? ‘Rehashed for Over a Decade’? ” by Matt Welch, January 11, 2008. Reason.
Then in January 2008, during an interview on the Tucker Carlson Show, James Kirchick of The New Republic said that Paul spokesman Jesse Benton told Kirchick that he (Benton) had written those newsletters. Shortly thereafter Benton changed his story somewhat by saying the offensive parts were ghostwritten.8
Immediately after this interview, long time friend and one time congressional chief of staff Lew Rockwell posted a short rebuttal to Kirchick on the Lew Rockwell Blog beginning with the charge that “TNR [The New Republic] has a long and checkered history of pro-fascism, pro-communism, and pro-new dealism…”9 Concurrent to Rockwell’s post, a much longer article asserted that “Another hack journalist intent on making a name for himself in the establishment media peanut gallery is the latest to spuriously attack presidential candidate Ron Paul, making completely baseless claims … Ron Paul is a hero. He stands for uncompromised integrity and unwavering adherence to the core principles of the Constitution.”10
These rebuttals notwithstanding, a few days after the Carlson/Kirchick interview, Congressman Paul told Wolf Blitzer that he had “absolutely” no idea who “wrote those things”and allowed that it is the editor, not the publisher (in this case Ron Paul & Associates) of a magazine, who has responsibility for the daily activity of such publications. Paul also stated that there were “some hirings” during that time period, but since “people come and go” he did not know any of their names.11
So we might ask: how and why is it that several of the Political Reports listed Paul as the editor? How often is it that Paul places his name on articles or books he may not even have read? How is it that no one can identify the true authorship of those newsletters inasmuch as there were only four primary employees listed during this time period — Paul’s family and Lew Rockwell — together with another seven nationwide.12 Moreover why were these newsletters (with one exception which carried the byline of another writer) all published under the banner of Ron Paul’s name, thus creating the impression that they were all written by him, and therefore reflective of his views?13
Another question arises: and it has to do with what the nature of those newsletters say about Paul’s supporters, past and present. Specifically, why were there apparently few or no complaints or cancellations from past supporters — and presumably newsletter purchasers — over the twenty year period they were written and during a time period in which their publisher, Ron Paul & Associates, was earning some $940,000 annually?
In other words, were the majority of Paul supporters at that time all racist or “homophobes” — or were only selected publications used to target such groups? Moreover, and given the fact that Paul convincingly asserts that he is not a racist, should we now be at all concerned that the kind of language used in those newsletters clearly appealed to racists and similar “hate” groups who seemed to have helped establish a support base that is still with him?
Additionally, why have so many present supporters, myself included, been so readily dismissive of the many inconsistent explanations — and in turn remiss in considering the long term implications of such campaign tactics (assuming that is indeed what they were)? Part of the explanation rests with the simple fact that the pressure and activity of everyday life often seduces us into relying more on emotion and assumption than might be warranted or required in our decision-making processes, but might this just as easily be as much an excuse as an explanation given the extent of our national problems?
There are of course some thought-provoking assessments of those old newsletters and how they might be related to campaign strategy. Here is one such assessment:
The whole newsletter campaign was marketing genius, in a Machiavellian, the-ends-justify-the-means kind of way. It was a bare-knuckled attempt to build a list of donators and supporters that could be mined when Ron Paul returned to the political scene in the 90′s–it was pre-meditated… In the end, the strategy was entirely successful, and worked masterfully. Ron Paul crushed his political rivals, despite voting almost entirely according to the Libertarian platform … I’m sure that the rural Texans were unaware of Ron Paul’s progressive positions … Ron Paul has shrewd (if not always politically correct) campaign strategists working for him. I now see Ron Paul with eyes wide open. He is human, and a political animal.14
In considering the above, we might also want to ask what relationship or relevance these “rural Texans” might have to certain high profile supporters and even certain employees. For example a man by the name of Randy Gray was employed by Paul as the Midland County Coordinator in Michigan for Paul’s 2008 presidential campaign. It so happens that Gray is a member of the KKK, and is also a “white nationalist” who posts under the user name “Central Michigan” on the Stormfront website which carries the motto “White Pride Worldwide.”15
Stormfront brings us to Don Black, another Paul supporter, who donated $500 to the Paul campaign — about which incident Paul spokesman Jesse Benton said, “Ron is going to take the money and try to spread the message of freedom.”16 The fact remains however that Don Black is an avowed white supremacist, owner of the Stormfront website and a former Grand Wizard of the KKK. Black had succeeded David Duke as Grand Wizard of the KKK, and David Duke was another Paul supporter.
To be sure, politicians cannot handpick supporters. But the methods employed to cultivate — and maintain — a support base are by their nature deliberative acts. Thus the strategies employed by those newsletters, together with who is selected for key positions in a campaign and the manner in which issues are framed are all matters which should be of concern to any of us who consider ourselves to be part of the voting public.
So it is that portions of Paul’s more contemporary politics, upon examination, likewise raise some questions within the context of those old newsletters.
For example, Paul wants to end “birthright citizenship” so as to allow the deportation of children of undocumented workers — and he leads an effort to “secure our borders.” One could, and perhaps should, ask whether Paul’s framing of immigration issues might be construed (or misconstrued) by certain factions as a perhaps more subtle form of racism and as such still function as a part of campaign strategy. Some of his 2008 campaign ads and posters indeed seem to support this possibility.17
Importantly, this suggestion in NO way is meant to minimize the severity of the situation that exists along the US/Mexican border. As anyone who has visited or has friends and relatives in the affected areas can well attest, the problem is not only showing no signs of letting up, it is becoming untenable for those living there. Moreover, accusations of “racism” hurled at those who dare to suggest that illegal aliens are, well … illegal are little more than the expressions of the phony war of ideas we are all being subjected to through the work of tax exempt foundations — an issue we will explore in future articles.
This being said, it must be recalled that prior to NAFTA, migrant workers moved freely across the U.S. Border and back without incident. Now they must sneak over as illegal aliens in order to work for pennies on the dollar, and outside US labor laws. Moreover, prior to the TRIPS Agreement and the Agreement on Agriculture which in 1994 became a part of the WTO, many peasant farmers from Mexico and points south were at least able to eke out a living for themselves in their own countries without the need to become migrant workers.
The cumulative economic fallout of these various “free” trade agreements has either forced these peasants off the land and into the cities and newly built industrial border towns — or they have become unwilling pawns of the drug cartels, or they must risk life and limb, quite literally, in order to have a chance at earning a very marginal, fear-infused living. Most troubling is that a big percentage of these illegals are women and teenage children, many of whom, once in the U.S., must risk their lives daily in order to work in slaughter houses, meat packing plants and similar situations where the Clinton-inspired “Have a Cup of Coffee and Pray” regulatory rules now apply.
Moreover, the increased efforts at border security since 9-11 have in fact decreased the numbers of these job-hungry illegals, while at the same time there has been a marked increase in drug-related violence along the Southern border. So it is that peasants seeking to do little more than feed themselves are — together with working Americans — the real victims in a much, much bigger economic game.
With this in mind, wouldn’t it be far more productive, and less open to misinterpretation, for Paul to maintain a primary focus on the root of the problem — which is the WTO, the TRIPS agreement and other portions of the “economic/police state matrix” against which Paul himself so eloquently and frequently expresses strong opposition?18
In the interim, why not demand that appropriate authorities take actions against employers who hire illegal aliens — under current laws already in effect. Why call for still more laws and most importantly why allow employers to escape penalty when it is — to a significant extent — their actions which pit American workers against immigrants, illegal and otherwise? Finally, why not expose the phony drug war for what it is, which is a tool by which to fuel the economic engines of the “industrial north” at the expense of the peasant farmers in the south?
Without question, Paul’s biography reveals an impressive individual who seems to be endowed with almost super human abilities — even if others do substantial ghost writing for him. In addition to his medical and political careers, Paul co-owned a coin dealership, Ron Paul Coins, for twelve years, and is the author of numerous books.
Paul also had what was reportedly a minority stake in the publishing group known as Ron Paul & Associates (which was dissolved in 2001), out of which variously came the infamous Ron Paul Political Report along with The Ron Paul Investment Letter, and The Ron Paul Survival Report. Indeed, Paul and his associates seem to have a “midas touch” if the earnings from Ron Paul & Associates alone are any indication.
Impressively, these diverse careers are in addition to his being the father of five children and now grandfather of 18.
Adding to a VERY long list of activities, publications and books together with multiple careers and an apparently full family life, Paul has also established a number of foundations, together with a variety of political action committees or PACS.
For example: Paul established the non-profit (tax exempt) “think tank” known as the Foundation for Rational Economics and Education or FREE in 1976, while on the House Banking Committee and after a political career was added to his medical career. FREE was “intended to be a vehicle to increase understanding of the economic principles of a free-market society.”
In 1989, FREE established the National Endowment for Liberty (NEFL) in order “to develop programs that take advantage of electronic media.”
Paul is also a “distinguished scholar” for the Von Mises Institute, even teaching at its seminars. The institute has also published a number of Paul’s books — and is itself a tax exempt foundation.
It is the tax exempt foundations which leads us to the subject of Part 3 of The Ron Paul Phenomenon Is NOT Dead. Stay tuned.
- October 1990 issue of The Ron Paul Political Report, 4. [↩]
- June 15, 1992 Special Issue of The Ron Paul Political Report, 6. [↩]
- January 1994 of The Ron Paul Survival Report, 5. [↩]
- May 1990 issue of The Ron Paul Political Report. [↩]
- May 1991 issue of The Ron Paul Political Report, 3. [↩]
- American Renaissance Magazine [↩]
- July 1994 issue of The Ron Paul Survival Report. [↩]
- “Ron Paul Revealed,” Tucker Carlson Interview with James Kirchick. [↩]
- “The New Republic” post by Lew Rockwell, LRC Blog, January 8, 2008. [↩]
- “Vicious Ron Paul Hit Piece Hits the Barrel of Yellow Journalism,” by Paul Joseph Watson and Steve Watson. Prison Planet, January 8, 2008. [↩]
- “Ron Paul Accused of Racism by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.” [↩]
- “More Selections from Ron Paul’s Newsletters”, January 14, 2008, The New Republic. [↩]
- “Angry White Men”, by James Kirchick. January 8, 2008. The New Republic. [↩]
- “Ron Paul’s Klansman Kampaign Koordinator”, by “phenry”, Jan 15, 2008, The Daily Kos. [↩]
- “The Authors of Ron Paul Newsletters: Discovered”. January 16, 2008. Intellectually Stimulating. [↩]
- “Paul Keeps Donation From White Supremacist”, Associated Press, MSNBC, Dec. 19, 2007. [↩]
- “Ron Paul: The Deep Dark Details Part 2,” 7 minute mark. [↩]
- “The Encroaching Economic/Police State” slide presentation by Geraldine Perry. [↩]