Ron Paul's fans finally got what they wanted--the media have stopped ignoring Ron Paul--but it hasn't been as much fun as they hoped. Like every other serious candidate, Paul has to suffer through people digging up every weird fact in his past. Anyone following the Republican presidential primary race knows that Paul wants to eliminate the Federal Reserve and get out of Afghanistan. But few people know that his pitch to potential subscribers to his newsletter back in the 1990s warned of a "coming race war."
Reuters' Mark Hosenball and Samuel P. Jacobs report on Friday that Paul's newsletter offered tips on "how you can save yourself and your family" from the IRS once "New Money" is issued. It was written in the '90s--not the 1890s!--and it's signed "Congressman Ron Paul." Some really interesting passages from the eight-page letter, posted in full by Reuters (the highlighted bits on their scanned original):
And then there's the part that mentions the "race war":
Paul says he didn't write his newsletters--and he has disavowed their content, even though he promoted them on C-SPAN in 1995. Politico's Ginger Gibson ticks through some other questionable statements, including that Ronald Reagan's agenda was a "disaster"; that Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the Civil Rights Act are unconstitutional; and that drug laws are meant to fund "some terrorist government someplace." Paul felt he had to defend his comments on the causes of 9/11 at a campaign stop in Iowa on Thursday, ABC News's Shushannah Walshe reports. "But, very clearly--it was so tragic--but I just point out that a different foreign policy might have diminished the incentive [for the attack]," Paul said. It can't be a good thing to have to reassure people you thought 9/11 was a bad thing.
Talking Points Memo's Benjy Sarlin points out that The Daily Show's Jon Stewart has sounded like a big Paul fan this year--highlighting the candidate's antiwar views. Stewart probably didn't know about Paul's racist newsletter problems. But that hasn't always hurt Paul among voters. The campaign manager for Paul's Democratic opponent in 1995 wrote to The Atlantic's Molly Ball to explain how he got elected despite his newsletters getting a thumbs-up from the Ku Klux Klan. The campaign ran a focus group of 12 Texans, but the KKK didn't get quite the reaction the Democrats were expecting:
The focus group got really quiet. Then one man pops off, "There's nothing wrong with the Ku Klux Klan." Another man in the group says, "The Ku Klux Klan has done a lot of good things. For example, if a man wasn't taking care of his family, the Ku Klux Klan would take him down to the town square and tar and feather him." Next a woman says, "It's the media. They never report the good things that the Ku Klux Klan does."
The media is ignoring the Klan? That sounds familiar!