Wednesday, January 9, 2008

I'm Withdrawing My Support of Ron Paul's Candidacy

I am withdrawing my support for Ron Paul. I have been urging, since last March, that people should support the best candidate in each of the two parties, and Ron Paul was far and away my choice among the Republican contenders.

My reasons for that support remain. Ron Paul's respect for our Constitution, and his opposition to our undeclared war which follows from that, and his support of the First Amendment which also stems from his standing up for the Constitution, are still among the most crucial issues of our day. Ron Paul's positions on those issues are better than any other candidates' positions in either party (including the positions of Barack Obama, whom I am supporting for the Democratic nomination).

But I nonetheless can no longer support Ron Paul's candidacy. The reasons are presented in some detail, with citations, in this Wikipedia entry entitled the Ron Paul Report newsletter controversy. This newsletter, published under various, slightly different titles for decades, but always under Ron Paul's name, contained racist and homophobic remarks utterly repugnant to me. Here's a sample from The New Republic article:

The January 1991 edition of the Political Report refers to King as a "world-class philanderer who beat up his paramours" and a "flagrant plagiarist with a phony doctorate."

A February 1991 newsletter attacks "The X-Rated Martin Luther King."

An October 1990 edition of the Political Report ridicules black activists, led by Al Sharpton, for demonstrating at the Statue of Liberty in favor of renaming New York City after Martin Luther King. The newsletter suggests that "Welfaria," "Zooville," "Rapetown," "Dirtburg," and "Lazyopolis" would be better alternatives--and says, "Next time, hold that demonstration at a food stamp bureau or a crack house."


In the course of defending homophobic comments by Andy Rooney of CBS, a 1990 newsletter notes that a reporter for a gay magazine "certainly had an axe to grind, and that's not easy with a limp wrist."

The June 1990 issue of the Political Report says: "I miss the closet. Homosexuals, not to speak of the rest of society, were far better off when social pressure forced them to hide their activities."

Ron Paul, to his credit, has taken "moral responsibility" for such comments, explaining that they were written by ghostwriters and did not represent his views. Reuters yesterday carried an official statement by Ron Paul that further said he did not directly edit the offensive newsletters.

Nonetheless, he also has failed to identify said ghostwriters, let alone vociferously denounce them, and sue them for every penny.

What would you do if a newsletter under your name, authorized by you, published such comments - or any comments that you vehemently disagreed with?

Whatever Ron Paul did, however much he disagreed with those comments, his response was not enough. Not enough for a person who is seriously putting himself forth as a candidate for President.

To be clear, I will continue to hold arrogant media such as Fox News to account for abusing Ron Paul's candidacy and the democratic process by excluding him from debates. And the same to ABC News and other mainstream media for belittling his levels of support.

And I will think about whom I can now support as the best Republican.

But it can longer be Ron Paul. Much as I admire his clear thinking and courage in speaking up for the Constitution, he should have done more in speaking out about and denouncing the scurrilous, sickening comments in the newsletters published under his name.

See also this angry, understandable reaction from another Ron Paul supporter: Ron Paul's Betrayal of America
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