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Ron Paul has been in the political news quite a bit lately, because of a New Republic piece unearthing a series of news letters that were published in his name over the coarse of twenty some years, featuring many racists and homophobic rants. The articles in question contained no bylines, so the identity of the author who penned the fowl features is not known at this time. Yesterday, Paul was interviewed by Wolf Blitzer on CNN, and gave a spirited defense that I think absolves him of the question of authorship. Toward the end of the interview, Ron Paul states that he is against the drug war, which has resulted in a disproportionate number of African Americans going to prison on non-violent drug possession charges, and he supports the immediate release of those convicted of that crime. He states that he could not be a racist and support that position. He also challenges Blitzer to find any quote by him that shows any racist tendencies. Paul is firm and is convincing here.

There are, however, parts of Paul’s defense that I must question.

Paul says that the publication was not run by him, and the writings do not reflect his views. He says he did not pay attention to, and was not aware of, the contents of the newsletters in question because he was busy, either serving in his private practice, or serving as a congressman….. If I was allowing someone other than myself to publish stuff under the Sonicfrog.net monicur, I would want to know what was published in my name, I would make sure it was clear any second party contributions to this blog do not reflect my POV, and I would make sure the readers understood this to be the case. Anyone who wrote something stupid and blatantly offensive (OK, my blatherings ARE often intellectually offensive, but it’s my stuff, deal with it) would not be permitted to continue using my name.

Is it possible he didn’t see the articles in question? It’s possible. But I find it hard to believe that there was not ONE person within Paul’s inner circle of friends, business connections, or political contributors or advisors that did not know about the letter or it’s contents; that there was no-one who would bring these putrid diatribes to his attention. The Economist makes a point of the fact that the publishing company that produced the letter was run by Paul’s long time campaign manager, Mark Elam, though I will caution there is no indication so far that the guy published the newsletter during the period in question. There is also a lot of talk about the probability that Lew Rockwell was the ghost writer of many of the articles in question. From the Economist:

…it was an open secret during the late-80s and early-90s who was ghostwriting the portions of Mr Paul’s newsletters not penned by the congressman himself: Lew Rockwell, founder of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, and members of his staff, among them Jeffrey Tucker, now editorial vice president of the Institute.

He denies it, and he may be telling the truth. But both of the men cited above have been long involved in Paul’s political career, and appear to have been involved in some capacity with the Ron Paul Newsletter, and are also adherents of a specific brand of libertarianism that garners a limited following. This type of political camaraderie often stick close together and watches each others back; “an attack on the one is an attack on us all”. So far, I see no proof that these guys were directly involved in the production of the articles in question; it all looks like innuendo. But I would like to know this; how could someone publish this kind of clap-trap in a widely distributed letter with your name on it, it goes on for ten to fifteen years, and not one of your friends or political allies ever sees it and brings it to your attention?

What is my take on this? I find it hard to believe that the ghostwriter is not known, or could not easily be identified by the Paul camp. Although I don’t believe that Paul wrote the offensive letters, it does appear that Paul knows who it is, and, for whatever reason, he is protecting the identity of that person. Right before the Iowa caucus, I wrote that he would be the Republican I would support if I were to vote for a Republican. In a nutshell, here was my reason why:

I like the guy, maybe simply because he is a rebel, a nonconformist within his party, and is not afraid to stand for what he believes. How very rare that is in modern politics. For all his faults, he would be an honest broker.

In my mind, Ron Paul has lost the appearance of being an honest broker. So, for what it’s worth, I hereby withdraw my endorsement, and offer this little video to commemorate the un-endorsing of Paul…

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