Both Aesop, and my Grandmother knew that a person is known by the company they keep. GOP Presidential contender Ron Paul, a Loonitarian nut job who currently has a good chance of winning the Iowa Republican Caucus doesn’t seem to care .
Paul, who has been bedeviled by overtly racist statements publsihed in newsletters and fundraising mailings a few years ago, has been denying that he even knew what was in the letters sent out in his name. Set aside for a moment the implications of irresponsibility that such alleged lack of knowledge implies and whether or not that denial of accountability should be a disqualifier in and of itself, Paul still has much to answer for and has so far not been particualrly adept and his handling of the situation.On page A1 of today’s New York Times you’ll find a story headlined Ron Paul Disowns Extremist’s Views but Doesn’t Disavow the Support. That headline should probably be prefaced by the adverb Currently. At question is the support that Paul receives from and his apparent relation ship with Don Black, director of the neo-Nazi, white nationalist website Storm Front. He accepts the support but says he doesn’t share the extremist views of Black and his followers yet, according to the NYT article:
Mr. Paul’s presidential campaign, and a site forum titled “Why is Ron Paul such a favorite here?” has no fewer than 24 pages of comments. “I understand he wins many fans because his monetary policy would hurt Jews,” read one.
The friends we keep, indeed. Conservative blog Little Green Footballs offers a photo of Paul, Black and Black’s son taken at the Value Voters debate in Ft. Lauderdale in July of 2007.
The Times article quite clearly points out that Paul has sought accepted and still accepts the aid and assistance of white supremacists, anti-semite neo nazis and so-called militia groups from border to border. The extremist Montana Militia to our north are firmly in the Paul camp. Paul wants us to believe that he “disavows” the extremist’s views while still accepting their help.Little Green Footballs also had this to report:
Four years ago, conservative blogger Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs reported that the Vanguard News Network, “one of the ugliest neo-Nazi sites on the Web,” was complaining that Paul had whispered sweet nothings in their ear while taking a very different stance in public.
Johnson reproduced part of a post by Bill White, the “commander” of the American National Socialist Workers Party, who wrote:
Both Congressman Paul and his aides regularly meet with members of the Stormfront set, American Renaissance, the Institute for Historic Review, and others at the Tara Thai restaurant in Arlington, Virginia, usually on Wednesdays. This is part of a dinner that was originally organized by Pat Buchanan, Sam Francis and Joe Sobran, and has since been mostly taken over by the Council of Conservative Citizens.
I have attended these dinners, seen Paul and his aides there, and been invited to his offices in Washington to discuss policy….
Paul is a white nationalist of the Stormfront type who has always kept his racial views and his views about world Judaism quiet because of his political position.
At the time, New York Times blogger Virginia Heffernan made mention of Johnson’s findings and got slapped down in an “editor’s note” for passing along “unverified assertions” and for failing to contact Paul for comment. You can no longer find Heffernan’s post at NYTimes.com, but I wrote about it for the Guardian. I also sent an email to the Times’ then-public editor, Clark Hoyt, asking why a Times blogger was being punished for blogging, but I never received a response.
So when is it appropriate to write about the claims of the “commander” of a neo-Nazi group? I’m not sure there’s a good answer. As Johnson began his item four years ago, “Take this one with a grain of salt, please.” But given that the Times today goes page-one with a detailed report about Paul’s ties to Stormfront and other white-supremacist groups, it seems to me that White’s assertions are relevant and worth checking out.
Occam’s razor is a principle that generally recommends that, from among competing hypotheses, selecting the one that makes the fewest new assumptions usually provides the correct one, and that the simplest explanation will be the most plausible until evidence is presented to prove it false. I think that it applies here. If you, over a number of years, allow a newsletter and other documents filled with racial slurs and innuendo and, if you associates with and accept money and assistance from white supremacists, neo-nazis, and hate groups of the most extreme right, if you do these things and then someone suggest you are a racist bigot, you probably are. That would be simplest, most plausible explanation, absent any evidence to the contrary. My Grandmother would haver said, ” You are known by the company you keep.
- Why Ron Paul’s Racist Newsletters Didn’t Hurt Him in Texas (theatlantic.com)
- Report: Paul OK with Some Endorsements (myfoxphoenix.com)
- Ron Paul’s Extremist Connections Redux (littlegreenfootballs.com)