Saturday, August 18, 2007

Ron Paul: The Radical Right's Man in Washington

from Daily Kos:

posted last May:


THE STRANGE CASE OF LARRY PRATT

In 1996, presidential candidate Pat Buchanan got in hot water when the Center for Public Integrity revealed connections between Buchanan's campaign co-chairman Larry Pratt and Pastor Pete Peters, a leader of the white supremacist Christian Identity movement. Pratt, the executive director of Gun Owners of America, had been a frequent guest at meetings and on radio and television programs hosted by Peters, who inveighed against "Talmudic filth" as Pratt looked on. On February 15, 1996, Pratt took a leave of absence from the Buchanan campaign, so as to avoid causing a "distraction."

The very next day, reported the San Antonio Express-News on February 18, Ron Paul distributed a press release touting Pratt's endorsement of Paul's candidacy for the U.S. Congress. Pratt's endorsement of Paul was anything but pro forma; the February 22, 1996 issue of Roll Call noted that Paul and Mike Gunn, a Republican candidate for Congress in Mississippi who had done some work for David Duke in the latter's 1991 Louisiana gubernatorial campaign, were the only two candidates formally endorsed for office that year by Pratt's organization. Paul's opponent in the Republican primary, Rep. Greg Laughlin, called upon Paul to repudiate Pratt; Paul declined to do so, with his spokesman saying that Paul opposed racism but that "nothing has been proven against Mr. Pratt. He has denied it." (Pratt's enthusiasm for Paul continues to this day, as this quasi-endorsement of Paul's 2008 presidential campaign makes clear.)

THE COMPANY RON PAUL KEEPS

Paul's disinclination to separate himself from the Larry Pratts of the world is part of a pattern that over the last 20 years has seen him snuggling up to some extremely questionable characters on the far right fringe. Like, for example, secessionists, who gathered at a conference in April of 1995 to hear Paul speak about the "once and future Republic of Texas." Or the beady-eyed listeners of The Political Cesspool. It's the unofficial radio program of the Council of Conservative Citizens--you know, the repainted White Citizens Council that got Trent Lott into a bit of trouble a few years ago. (Tune in tonight for their special program on "the disastrous Brown vs. Topeka Board of Education decision, one which ushered in an era of radical leftist ideology upon the American citizenry.") Paul has been a guest on the program; you'll find him listed under P, right above Prussian Blue, the white supremacist teenage singing duo.

Or the crazy-as-fuck John Birch Society, to which Paul is more than happy to grant the occasional interview and even speak at their dinners (the podcast, I am sorry to report, no longer seems to be available). In fact, Paul is the only member of Congress to receive a perfect 100 from the John Birch Society in its most recent member ratings.

THE KLAN'S MAN IN WASHINGTON

Like many members of Congress, the prolific Paul posts his speeches, columns, and statements on his House Web site. He allows anyone to republish and distribute them, and many do. For example, our old friends the Council of Conservative Citizens occasionally publish Paul in its newsletter, the Citizens Informer (warning: PDF). And then there's David Duke, who can't get enough of Ron Paul; you can find his columns on davidduke.com here and here and here and here and here. If you're more of a dead-tree fan, you can find Paul's thoughts on foreign policy reprinted in the January 2007 issue of the National Times, a white supremacist newspaper that apparently gets distributed through the time-honored neo-Nazi method of throwing the thing onto unsuspecting people's porches in the middle of the night and scurrying away.

For a real look inside the tiny, demented mind of the neo-Nazi, though, we need to go to Stormfront. Stormfront is the oldest and largest white supremacist site on the World Wide Web; its discussion boards provide an unequaled opportunity for eavesdropping on the thoughts and plans of the racist underground in America and around the world. And you don't have to visit for very long before one thing jumps out at you: they positively adore Ron Paul. (Please note that links in this paragraph go to a hate site and should probably be considered NSFW.) An "Is Ron Paul the One?" topic is currently stickied in Stormfront's Newslinks & Articles forum; another active topic on Paul's candidacy has received 446 posts and 12,040 pageviews since late March. A topic called "Ron Paul's Race Problem" (hey, Wonkette musta read my diary!) was just started today and already has 17 replies. They're busy little racists over there.

DOES ANY OF THIS STUFF REALLY MATTER?

Politicians can't choose their supporters, after all. Isn't it a bit unfair to tar Paul by association to these lunatics? No, it isn't. This stuff matters because Paul makes so little effort to disassociate himself from the racist, anti-Semitic, crackpot groups that support him. Whether he shares these groups' beliefs or not, the fact that he doesn't care enough to do anything about them speaks volumes. I'll wrap up by turning the floor over to Eric Dondero, a senior aid to Paul from 1997 to 2003, who had this to say in a blog comment in May:

Ron Paul has had some ties that are nothing to be proud of in the past to far-right groups. My former boss IS NOT AN ANTI-SEMITE. However, he is grossly inattentive in dealing with groups who are blatantly anti-Semitic.

...Whether they are using him to gain in credibility, or whether it’s just coincidence doesn’t matter much. It’s the image that counts. No doubt this will all come to haunt him in his race for the Presidency.


MORE FROM LAST MAY'S DAILY KOS:

RON PAUL HATES YOU!

Let's have a look at some of the many, many issues on which Ron Paul places himself squarely in opposition to me and, presumably, you:

Abortion: Ron Paul's "libertarianism" famously does not extend to the right of a woman to control her body. In February he introduced H.R. 1094, "[t]o provide that human life shall be deemed to exist from conception." He voted against overriding Bush's veto of the stem cell bill.

The Environment: Ron Paul may be a Republican, but he's certainly not a Republican for Environmental Protection. That fine organization gave Paul a shameful 17 percent rating on its most recent Congressional Scorecard (warning: PDF). He doesn't fare much better in the eyes of the American Wilderness Coalition or the League of Conservation Voters. Paul's abysmal record on the environment is driven in large measure by his love of sweet, sweet oil: in the 109th Congress alone, he voted to voted allow drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, to shield oil companies from MTBE contamination lawsuits, against increasing gas mileage standards, to allow new offshore drilling, and to stop making oil companies pay royalties to the government for drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Par for the course for a man who called the Kyoto accords "bad science, bad economics and bad domestic policy" and "anti-Americanism masquerading as environmentalism."

Immigration: Paul marches in lock-step with the xenophobic right wing on immigration, calling last month's compromise immigration bill "a compromise of our laws, a compromise of our sovereignty, and a compromise of the Second Amendment." Yet even the hardcore nativists in the immigration debate have been hesitant to support repealing birthright citizenship as enshrined in the Fourteenth Amendment, as Paul has done. His proposed Constitutional amendment, introduced as H. J. Res 46 on April 28, 2005, reads: "Any person born after the date of the ratification of this article to a mother and father, neither of whom is a citizen of the United States nor a person who owes permanent allegiance to the United States, shall not be a citizen of the United States or of any State solely by reason of birth in the United States." Only four other Representatives, all Republicans, were willing to cosponsor this proposed amendment.

Civil Rights: Paul doesn't much care for ensuring your right to vote. Like when he voted with just 32 other members of Congress against reauthorizing the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Or when he voted for the bogus "Federal Election Integrity Act" voter suppression bill.

But at least Ron Paul knows who's responsible for racism in America: you are. "By encouraging Americans to adopt a group mentality," he writes, "the advocates of so-called 'diversity' actually perpetuate racism. Their intense focus on race is inherently racist, because it views individuals only as members of racial groups." So now you know. (Apparently, saying that "[i]f you have ever been robbed by a black teen-aged male, you know how unbelievably fleet-footed they can be" is not racist, as long as it's said with a proper appreciation for free-market economics.)

Gay Rights: Paul's rigid, uncompromising libertarianism leads him to take a number of positions that liberals find objectionable or even reprehensible but which should not in themselves be taken as ipso facto evidence of bigotry. His reflexive opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, for example, is consistent with libertarian positions on federalism and the right of the individual to be free from government "coercion," even if that means limiting the ability of minorities to seek employment and housing free from discrimination.

Still, libertarian orthodoxy can't fully explain Paul's hostility to gay rights, and indeed to gay people in general. The Libertarian Party, which nominated Paul as its presidential candidate in 1988, has strongly opposed the so-called Defense of Marriage Act from the beginning; Paul supports it. While he opposed the "Federal Marriage Amendment" that would have outlawed gay marriage everywhere, he actually cosponsored the odious "Marriage Protection Act," which would nonsensically bar federal courts from considering challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act, which is a federal law. "The definition of marriage--a union between a man and a woman--can be found in any dictionary," he writes condescendingly. Despite Paul's disingenuous claims that he is a "strict constitutionalist," most legal scholars agree that the so-called Marriage Protection Act would be unconstitutional.

You also will not find Paul listed among the 124 co-sponsors of the Military Readiness Enhancement Act of 2007, which would repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" policy barring gays and lesbians from serving in the military. Maybe he's worried that they'll take their "gay agenda" to far-flung corners of the world. He also doesn't want gay people adopting children while they're not serving in the military, either.

On a personal level, we have this 1993 quote wherein Paul equates homosexuality with "sexual deviance." And let's not forget his wink-wink characterization of Hillary Clinton as "a far leftist with very close female friends".

Church-State Separation: From keeping "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance to co-sponsoring the school prayer amendment to keeping the Ten Commandments on a courthouse lawn, this "strict constitutionalist" isn't a big fan of the Constitutionally-mandated separation of church and state. "Religious morality will always inform the voting choices of Americans of all faiths," he writes. "...The collectivist left" --that's you!-- "is threatened by strong religious institutions, because it wants an ever-growing federal government to serve as the unchallenged authority in our society.... So the real motivation behind the insistence on a separation of church and state is not based on respect for the First amendment, but rather on a desire to diminish the influence of religious conservatives at the ballot box."

And just in case the dirty liberals in the federal court system might take it into their heads to enforce the Establishment Clause, Mr. Strict Constitutionalist introduced a bill to bar the federal courts from hearing any such cases. No wonder James Dobson's Family Research Council gave Paul a 75 percent rating on their 2005 scorecard.

International Relations: Like crackpot paleoconservatives everywhere, Paul wants us out of the United Nations, which is just a bunch of un-American non-Americans out to destroy America. Darfur is also filled with non-Americans, so you certainly won't find Ron Paul lifting a finger to stop the genocide, or even acknowledge that genocide is taking place. I guess that's why he's one of only four members of Congress to receive an "F" rating on Darfur from the Genocide Intervention Network.

Peace and Military Issues: With all the hooting and hollering about Paul's opposition to the Iraq war, it sure seems like he should have been able to get better than 58 percent from PeacePAC, doesn't it? Even Joe Lieberman managed to get 63 percent. (Still, it beats the 45 percent Paul got from them in the previous Congress.) He did a little better from Peace Action, managing 67 percent--easily the top score for a Republican, but a below-average score for Democrats. (Still, it beats the 40 percent he got from them in 2004.)

And while Paul may oppose the Iraq war, he doesn't seem to have much use for the men and women who have to fight it. Paul received an "F" rating from the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. It's not easy to get an F from the IAVA; Paul shares this distinction with only six other members of the House.

Taxes: Do we even need to go into this one? If you audaciously believe that we need a progressive system of taxation in this country, here's what Ron Paul thinks of you:

* "[W]e have exactly the kind of steeply progressive tax system championed by Karl Marx. One might expect the left to be happy with such an arrangement. At its core, however, the collectivist left in this country simply doesn’t believe in tax cuts. Deep down, they believe all wealth belongs to the state, which should redistribute it via tax and welfare policies to achieve some mythical 'social justice.'... The class war tactic highlights what the left does best: divide Americans into groups. Collectivists see all issues of wealth and taxation as a zero-sum game played between competing groups. If one group gets a tax break, other groups must be rallied against it- even if such a cut would ultimately benefit them.... Upward mobility is possible only in a free-market capitalist system, whereas collectivism dooms the poor to remain exactly where they are."
* "Collectivist politicians forget that the American dream of becoming wealthy is alive and well. They seek to encourage resentment of the wealthy, when in truth most Americans admire successful people. They forget that upward mobility, the chance to start from humble beginnings and achieve wealth and position, is virtually impossible in high-tax socialist societies. Most of all, however, the pro-tax politicians forget that your money belongs to you. As a society, we should not forget their dishonesty when we go to the polls."

Screw this; this diary's way too long already. Worker rights: Voted to defund OSHA's ergonomics rules. Voted against increasing mine safety standards. Hates unions. Campaign finance reform: Opposes. Social Security and Medicare: Repeats the Republicans' lies about the programs' solvency. Consumer protection: Voted for the bankruptcy bill. Voted to make it harder to file class-action lawsuits. Universal health care: don't make me laugh. Privatizing everything: the Internets are not large enough to hold all the citations.

"But he's against the war!" Yes, he is. So is Pat Buchanan. So is David Duke. If either of them were on the stage in New Hampshire today, full of sweet words about the war, would you be as quick to praise their "independence," to gush about how well of course I wouldn't vote for him myself but he sure is awesome anyway? Do you truly require nothing from a political candidate other than that he oppose the war?

Think about it.

5 comments:

Concerned said...

Is this some sort of hate site? I find no difference between this and the so called hate sites you have cited other than the political direction... it's still hate. You apparently want everyone who doesn't think along the same narrow lines as yourself to be executed... that's criminal.

Egosumabbas said...

I would like to point out how all candidates attract their own breed of crazies (communists, ecoterrorists, etc.), but that is a whole other debate.

You reject the idea that individuals have the power to change the world, and that only Big Government can save us. Big Government to save the environment. Big Government to redistribute the wealth. Big Government to change the way you think and feel. The truth of the matter is, that left to their own devices, people will take care of the planet and give to the poor on their own. That is the core of Ron Paul's message. If you have the right to your property, you will defend it from pollution. If you are allowed to become wealthy, you will give to the poor and help out your neighbors in need. I need only mention Hurricane Katrina as an example of how help from individuals exceeded the pure incompetence delivered by FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers. Universal Health Care? Ron Paul believes we should go back to the universal health care we had 50 years ago: it was called charity! And it worked! Government meddling in the way you do business with your doctor effectively destroyed charity care, and resulted in the mountains of paperwork you have to go through just to get a referral.

The truth of the matter is that white supremacists make up the Ron Paul campaign probably as much as Communists make up the Hillary campaign - that is to say they are nearly invisible. I was THERE are the Illinois Straw Poll. We were mostly young, but we were people of all color and means. The Mitt Romney supporters even chided us for being "hippies"!

I think you are perhaps misdirecting your anger... if you want to see a White Nationalist candidate look no further than Tom Tancredo. He is the anti-all-immigration, anti-evolution, pro-fundamentalist boogieman you should be fearing.

Adam Holland said...

First, I most certainly do not "reject the idea that individuals have the power to change the world". This is merely your bias against government showing. In fact, the examples of bad government which you cite, such as the Katrina response, show precisely the result of anti-government ideology in action. FEMA was decimated by Bush, who replaced competent professionals with partisan patronage hacks. This pattern has been repeated throughout the government under Bush. The Army Corps' failures were indeed scandalous and need to be addressed. Do you think that New Orleans would be better off without ANY levies, or, as I believe, with effective levies? Maybe you think that individual New Orleans residents should each bring a handful of dirt to rebuild the levies.

The "universal health care system we had 50 years ago" allowed millions of people to go without medical care. So much for "charity". By the way, what prevents charity from doing the job now? At this moment, tens of millions of CHILDREN are without health care. Does this make you feel charitable? We need a government solution as every other advanced nation has. (By the way, Medicare has worked well for the elderly. It needs to be shored up and expanded to include children, if you ask me.)

With respect to the racist (I do not think the euphemism "white nationalist" which you favor is truthful) support for Paul is greater than you think. The internet is rife with it, and there is a concerted effort by Paul supporters to conceal or minimize it. I plan to post at greater length on this subject and expect that, if you're telling the truth about how little you know of this support, you'll be shocked by what I've found.

I agree with you about Tancredo, who seems to represent the nuke-em-all wing of the Republican party.

Adam Holland said...

To "concerned":

Why is this a hate site? I don't want ANYONE to be executed. I don't know what "narrow lines" you think I operate within. What are you talking about?

Susan said...

I am confused as to the remarks from "concerned." Where have you said you want *anyone* executed, much less just for disagreeing with you? Where have you used any terms that are anything like those from hate sites? And I haven't seen anything like a narrow point of view. A narrow *focus* to the blog, yes, but, isn't that the point?

Okay, I lied. I'm not confused. It's extremely obvious that 'concerned" is projecting his own bigotry onto you because you oppose his bigotry. Good for you.

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