The Watcher Cat

The Watcher Cat

Friday, January 27, 2012

We are What We Pretend to be, So We Must Be Very Careful What We Pretend to Be

So says Kurt Vonnegut in Mother Night, and I think this is the key to understanding the whole Ron Paul and race business.

The Washington Post has found three people involved with the Ron Paul Newsletters who have gone on the record, by name, stating unequivocally that Paul was aware of the material being published in his name--that he approved it and proofed it. A fourth, anonymous source, confirms this account as well.

I was always skeptical of Paul's claims that he was unaware of the content of the newsletters; if you're trying to build a brand, you don't just blindly delegate the making of that brand without checking the results. At this point, this implausible tale hangs in tatters. Mind you, I think Paul's statements are pretty consistent with the overall tenor of the Newsletters, albeit more discreet:

And here he is again with the UN conspiring to take over the United States. Or with the "coming race war" fundraising letter. All of which reflect the obsessions and views in the Newsletters.

But here's an interesting slice of the article:
Paul “had to walk a very fine line,’’ said Eric Dondero Rittberg, a former longtime Paul aide who says Paul allowed the controversial material in his newsletter as a way to make money. Dondero Rittberg said he witnessed Paul proofing, editing and signing off on his newsletters in the mid-1990s.

“The real big money came from some of that racially tinged stuff, but he also had to keep his libertarian supporters, and they weren’t at all comfortable with that,’’ he said.
I've been involved in some discussion as to whether Paul is himself a racist; this article tends to suggest he isn't, but that he appeals to them in an exercise in coalition building. My earlier position was that I didn't know Paul's mind or heart, and I stand by that. But ultimately, does his specific intent matter? He has for decades supported the "Lost Cause"mythology, made statements supportive of racist tropes, and sought the cash and support of racists. Whether he sincerely shares their beliefs, or not, he has worn their mask.

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