In his latest attempt to deflect criticism for racially insensitive newsletters written in the first person and signed with his name in the 1980s and ‘90s, Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul now says, “only eight to ten sentences were offensive.”
While Paul wants the public to know that he didn’t write the newsletters and didn’t see what was in the newsletters and certainly not the eight to 10 racist parts, he is now is accepting “some responsibility” for the offensive portions which he wants us to believe don’t represent what he actually believes.
“These were sentences that were put in, I think it was a total of eight or 10 sentences and it was bad stuff, it wasn’t a reflection of my views at all…So it got in the letter. I think it was terrible, it was tragic and, you know, I had some responsibility because the [letter went out under my name],” said Paul recently.
WATCH NBC NIGHTLY NEWS COVERAGE OF PAUL’S RISE IN THE POLLS:
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Paul wants to create distance between his 2012 campaign and the 20-year-old newsletters but the problem is that the newsletters helped to cultivate his very libertarian audience. That is all well and good but not having written the newsletters with his own pen doesn’t mean he shouldn’t have to answer sufficiently for the content.
The newsletter story is newsworthy not only because of inflammatory quotes such as, “Given the inefficiencies of what D.C. laughingly calls the criminal justice system, I think we can safely assume that 95 percent of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal” and calling legendary former Texas Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, “Barbara Morondon” describing her as the “archetypical half-educated victimologist” whose “race and sex protect her from criticism” (For those keeping count: That’s two) but because of Paul’s inadequate and ever changing responses to recent attention given to the newsletters.
Essentially, Ron Paul is going with what The Atlantic’s Ta-nehisi Coates called, “the Shaggy defense” after the popular song “It Wasn’t Me” where even after the mounting evidence and proof a boyfriend claims all of the evidence is wrong and he’s not really cheating.
Coates notes that it’s bad enough that the offensive quotes are in the newsletters but what’s worse is that at the time when asked about the quotes during his 1996 run for Congress, Ron Paul defended them.
For example, in 1996 when asked about one of his newsletters saying, “we are constantly told that it is evil to be afraid of black men, it is hardly irrational. Black men commit murders, rapes, robberies, muggings and burglaries all out of proportion to their numbers.” Paul’s spokesperson defended the quote by asserting that black leaders such as Rev. Jesse Jackson have made similar comments.
In 1996, Paul defended the newsletters and the content. Yet now all of a sudden in 2012, he has no idea how those offensive portions snuck in there. They must have been thrown in by some “staffer” without his knowledge, or so he, his campaign, and die hard supporters want us to believe.
So here you have yet another frontrunner in the Republican field with a colorful past who’s newly minted frontrunner status brings an increase in media scrutiny. Under the new level of scrutiny a story about the candidate’s distribution of racially insensitive newsletters surfaces and the candidate claims now that he had nothing to do with them and didn’t write them.
Paul profiting off of the direct mail of the newsletters to help subscribers prepare for the coming “race war” is also disturbing. Either Ron Paul really believes these things or he’s willing to exploit these radical beliefs of the most paranoid for cash.
But in the end it’s really it’s not about these selected racially insensitive and offensive rants of the ultra conservative reaching out to find supporters that’s troubling its Ron Paul’s own 2012 policy platform and congressional voting record align with the fringe right views contained in the newsletters.
It’s all about the narrative. A presidential hopeful calling for the elimination of the Department of Education, Energy, Commerce, Health and Human Services, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Interstate Commerce Commission, and the Internal Revenue Service needs to be under this much of scrutiny. And whether the inquiries have to do with his newsletters or his hatred of the federal government presently, one has to wonder why he wants to be the chief executive of a federal government which he despises so much.