Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Rand (I'm not a racist - I only pander to racists) Paul

Joe Conason had an excellent article in Salon.com about the candidate from Kentucky:
"To understand Rand Paul's agonized contortions over America's civil rights consensus, let's review the tainted pedigree of the movement that reared him. Specifically, both the Kentucky Republican Senate nominee and his father, Ron Paul, have been closely associated over the past two decades with a faction that described itself as 'paleolibertarian,' led by former Ron Paul aide Lew Rockwell and the late writer Murray Rothbard. They eagerly forged an alliance with the 'paleoconservatives' behind Patrick Buchanan, the columnist and former presidential candidate whose trademarks are nativism, racism and anti-Semitism."

. . .

"The last time that anyone examined the details of the Paul family's gamy history was back in 2008, when the New Republic dug up copies of newsletters sent out under Ron's name to raise money, and found that they were replete with ugly references to blacks, Martin Luther King, homosexuals and other targets of the racist far right. At the time, Reason magazine, a libertarian magazine that opposed the 'paleo' deviation, gave the most revealing account of its movement's degenerate element.

"Following Ron Paul's dismal performance in the 1988 presidential campaign as the Libertarian Party candidate, Rockwell and Rothbard 'championed an open strategy of exploiting racial and class resentment to build a coalition with populist "paleoconservatives," producing a flurry of articles and manifestos whose racially charged talking points and vocabulary mirrored the controversial Paul newsletters' uncovered by the New Republic. Rothbard died in 1995, but in 2008 Rockwell was still at Paul's side as a top advisor, 'accompanying him to major media appearances; promoting his candidacy on the LewRockwell.com blog; publishing his books; and peddling an array of the avuncular Texas congressman's recent writings and audio recordings.'

"According to Sanchez and Weigel, the tone of Paul's newsletters shifted to reflect his political circumstances. Between his first presidential campaign and his return to Congress in 1996 as a Republican, they were filled with slurs against blacks generally and Martin Luther King Jr. in particular, including the accusation that the civil rights leader 'seduced underage girls and boys.' Rothbard hated King deeply, describing him in November 1994 as 'a socialist, egalitarian, coercive integrationist, and vicious opponent of private-property rights ... who was long under close Communist Party control,' and concluding that 'there is one excellent litmus test which can set up a clear dividing line between genuine conservatives and neoconservatives, and between paleolibertarians and what we can now call "left-libertarians." And that test is where one stands on "Doctor" King.' (Then again, he hated Lincoln too, whom he disparaged in the same essay as 'one of the major despots of American history.')"

. . .

There is a reason why Rand Paul is choosing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as his primary example of the government over-stepping its boundries. There are a lot of other pieces of legislature at which he could have taken aim: anti-trust laws, OSHA, the newly-passed financial reform law... But in speaking out against the Civil Rights Act he's secretly winking at the far, far-right wing racist factions of the GOP. This is just like Reagan giving his first major campaign speech in Philadelphia, Mississippi where civil rights workers were killed in the 1960's. In speaking about the importance of "State Rights" at that speech he was giving a little wink and nod to racist southerners in a code that they clearly understood.

This veiled, secretive embracing of racism is present at every level of GOP campaigning. From the '08 presidential campaign where McCain did nothing to dispel or disavow the rampant racism that infected his campaign. It was only when he couldn't put the genie back in the bottle that he actually took the trouble to address the xenophobia and racism that began to overshadow his message. Just look at the TV ad campaign Linda McMahon is pushing in Connecticut: the whitest, white people in the whole state talking about how Linda is "one of them" and "understands their concerns." It may be a bit more innocuous than Sarah Palin blathering about "Real Americans" in redneck central but it essentially sends the same message.

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