The issue of Ron Paul’s racist newsletters is finally getting some national attention. Yesterday, CNN asked Paul about it — actually just pleaded with him to acknowledge that the question is legitimate — and Paul walked out of the interview.
Let’s stipulate that Paul didn’t write any of those items. He still published a racist newsletter. If Larry Flynt were running for president, I’m pretty sure people wouldn’t care that much that he did not personally take the photographs that appeared in Hustler.
Andrew Sullivan quasi-defends Paul:
I think the papers (and comments almost two decades ago) should definitely be considered, in context, when judging his candidacy, and not because the neocons are determined to smear anyone challenging their catastrophic record. But compared with Rick Perry’s open bigotry in his ads, or Bachmann’s desire to “cure” gays, or the rhetoric around “illegals” in this campaign, these ugly newsletters are very, very old news. To infer from them that Paul is a big racist is a huge subjective leap I leave to others more clairvoyant than myself.
Okay, what about the context? There’s his love-in with the John Birch Society. There’s his fierce opposition, even 40 years later, to the 1964 Civil Rights Act. And his long, deep intellectual and political ties with neo-Confederates.
So, yes, maybe Paul didn’t personally write any of the many racist passages in his newsletter. And maybe he personally likes black people and wants them to be free. Many segregationists genuinely loved black people, too. It’s not some crazy coincidence that the people Ron Paul hired to write the newsletter propagating his worldview are huge racists.