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The Lethal Fantasies Of Dear Old Ron Paul

Memo Pad Politics

The Lethal Fantasies Of Dear Old Ron Paul


The latest evidence of simmering racial resentment on the American political fringe showed up Monday in a Facebook post by a California man who urged the assassination of the President and his two daughters in obscene, racist language. Aside from the Secret Service, there was little reason for most of us to pay attention to this sick boob — except that he was identified as a local political leader of the Tea Party and an avid supporter of Rep. Ron Paul, the Texas Republican who now seems likely to place first in the Iowa presidential caucuses.

To those who have followed Dr. Paul’s long career as a failed presidential candidate — these campaigns have become a family business — the appearance of yet another racist nutjob in his orbit is scarcely news. The newsletters that earned millions of dollars for him from gullible subscribers over the decades were often soiled with vile invectives against blacks and other minorities. He is a perennial favorite of the John Birch Society and kindred extremists on the right. He once refused to return a donation from a leader of the Nazi-worshipping skinheads in the Stormfront movement.

What is it about the kindly old doctor that attracts some of the most violent and reactionary elements in society to his banner?

For many years, Paul was merely an outlying crank in the ranks of the Republican Party — a “libertarian” who courted the paranoid bigots in the John Birch Society, whose monthly magazine featured his name on its masthead as a “contributing editor.” More than a decade ago, during his 1996 campaign for Congress, the racist ravings in his newsletters were first exposed — the same series of articles that besmirched Martin Luther King and Barbara Jordan and encouraged every racist stereotype about African-Americans as criminals and welfare dependents. He disowns those words now but back then a spokesman defended them as merely “taken out of context.”

Back then, his rhetorical flirtations with the White Citizens Councils hardly mattered. Almost nobody bothered to listen seriously to his urgings that America return to the gold standard, repeal the income tax and the direct election of US Senators, and erase all of the advances of the past century in protecting the public from cyclical depressions, poisonous food, water, air, and drugs, and the insecurities of poverty, old age and ill health. Most Americans still could remember when this Darwinian ideology influenced policy and knew that the nation was not better off — except for a few robber barons — back in the days before Theodore Roosevelt inaugurated the Progressive Era, beginning a century of reform.

On the far right, including wealthy figures such as the Koch family that once supported the Birch Society and now backs the Tea Party, there are many who share Paul’s brand of political nostalgia. Kindly and gentle as he appears, Paul has always known how to sound the dog whistle that excites them, whether it was in the race-baiting that adorned his newsletters for years, the claims that medicine served us better before Medicare and Medicaid, or the campaign against the Federal Reserve. Although Paul has occasionally disavowed his supporters on the ultra-right when political expediency demanded it, they have never abandoned him — and they won’t, because whether or not he is actually a racial bigot, he shares their disdain for the 20th century.

There is little reason to worry about the policies of a Paul administration, despite his current lead in the Iowa polls. But the rise of the Tea Party and the vacuum of leadership in the Republican Party have created a space for Paul’s lethal fantasies, which if enacted would return us to the bad old days of mass poverty, rampant pollution, racial supremacy, and all the other ills that characterized the America of the robber barons.


Joe Conason

A highly experienced journalist, author and editor, Joe Conason is the editor-in-chief of The National Memo, founded in July 2011. He was formerly the executive editor of the New York Observer, where he wrote a popular political column for many years. His columns are distributed by Creators Syndicate and his reporting and writing have appeared in many publications around the world, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, The New Yorker, The New Republic, The Nation, and Harpers.

Since November 2006, he has served as editor of The Investigative Fund, a nonprofit journalism center, where he has assigned and edited dozens of award-winning articles and broadcasts. He is also the author of two New York Times bestselling books, The Hunting of the President (St. Martins Press, 2000) and Big Lies: The Right-Wing Propaganda Machine and How It Distorts the Truth (St. Martins Press, 2003).

Currently he is working on a new book about former President Bill Clinton's life and work since leaving the White House in 2001. He is a frequent guest on radio and television, including MSNBC's Morning Joe, and lives in New York City with his wife and two children.

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  1. TwoAmericas December 21, 2011

    Ugh. The lethal prose of Joe Conason rears its ugly face once again. Yeah, Joe, before you cast stones at Dr. Paul, what about your role in the Journolist scandal where you were one of the reporters who allegedly squelched stories about Barack Obama’s DIRECT LINK to Rev. Jeremiah Wright? See http://bit.ly/ushw5z Great to see you do some “real” investigative journalism using Facebook.

  2. pisces62 December 21, 2011

    Who in hell do you think you are taking to. Rev. Wright can say what he wants in HIS pulpit without the racist bigots opinions. HE never said white children would be better off in 1860 like the tea party did about black kids. Better in 1860 than under a black president. HIS church did not preach you were meant to be our slaves even after death like Romney’s from its inception over 150 yrs ago. Now, you have this village idiot threatening the president and his family, including his daughters and calling them names, just like all you pointed headed, sheet wearing cowards. He accepts donations and will not return them. So spare me your imbecilic diatribe. The John Birch Society, the bigots of the planet society. You have this list of num-nuts going for the presidency and getting an actual look see. It is mind boggling.

  3. TreyHarwell December 21, 2011

    just from the context, I’m thinking this is a democrat who wrote this. And since both parties hate ron paul, that’s the reason I absolutely love him. Ron Paul is the truth. I’m black and people say he wrote all these things in this newsletter. Well guess what? even if he IS A RACIST, i would rather vote for a RACIST who actually does something good for black community because of his PRINCIPLES and BELIEFS than vote for a BLACK PRESIDENT who hasn’t done anything for black people. Both establishments are scared. GOOD!

  4. joris December 21, 2011

    It is a bad logic–though often effective–that, when you cannot argue with the truth of research, to attack the messenger of it by impugning his credentials. Every messenger–every human being–has mistakes and flaws that are “attackable,” but killing the messenger does not stop the message. Ron Paul stands for sugar-coated selfishness, short-sighted politics and a mythical–almost mythological–world that has never existed and whose introduction into this world of ours would damage many people.

  5. Chris December 21, 2011

    Another smear article by another liberal, activist,”journalist”! If you believe this garbage, I feel sorry for you!

  6. VincentReno December 21, 2011

    Sounds like pretty one sided journalism. Really just like a well timed political attack. There are nut jobs in all of the political parties. Anyone with a lick of sense agree despite political differences it is fucked up to post threats against our President. So a Ron Paul/Tea Party leader said some crazy shit.

  7. pisces62 December 21, 2011

    I am black and I do not hate anyone and I have brains enough to know he is the president of America not of you and any other black person. Look to your council person. Your representative. We always want someone to do womething for us just because we/they are black. Wrong. When we start doing for ourselves, that’s half the battle. You will not get help from Paul. You will be put back into the back of the bus without seats. His son, Rand, even said civil rights went too far. this is their mindset. You agree at your peril. Me, I will not get in bed with the devil because someone isn’t giving me a hand out.

  8. pisces62 December 21, 2011

    It is not a smear job. You can google any of this on line. Looke up Jules Manson for the actual threats. Yet, I know you will have selective blindness and see nothing which leads to hear nothing and ends where it usually does at know nothing.

  9. jbakerjonathan December 21, 2011

    Any intelligent, informed reader is going to see what this essay is all about. The author could have been paid by either Party to smear Dr. Paul. More and more people are hearing and understanding his steadfast positions on our nation’s debt, size of federal government, the Federal Reserve bank cabal and realizing that he is the man to lead us away from the corporate fascism that has gripped our country. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that the Koch Bros. are somehow involved in this. The Establishment IS scared. And with good reason: Dr. Paul is gong to win because we, the people, want change! And we’re going to get it!

  10. jmtaylor700 December 21, 2011

    To sum up the fundamentals of Paul and his cult followers, Dear leader knows what is best for his people

  11. pisces62 December 21, 2011

    Wrong. The Koch brothers are avid supporters of his and have been for years. You were saying? I just read this, yesterday. Really suprised me. Republicans are scared. I think it is hilarious and another dog and pony show such as when Cain was considered, gasp, a viable candidate.

  12. Devonshire11 December 21, 2011

    Let’s see now… Joe has never met a Republican he liked. He tried to Destroy Bush’s reputation,Rick Perry’s, Newt Gingrich’s (there’s not much to destroy there)
    Romney, Glenn Beck, the Tea Party, Mormon’s and more.
    Now Ron Paul did talk about violence among Blacks in the 1980’s. If he says something like that he is a racist. If a black leader says that about Black violence then it’s the truth…which Obama had actually spoke that truth.Making truthful statements does not translate to racism. Constantly deriding one group does translate into a form of racism or bigotry. That is the problem with America today. Rather than agreeing to disagree. Every group becomes stereotyped and targeted individually. There are many good Republicans, many good Democrats, many good Tea Partiers, and way to many bigots. In my view Joe Conason is a Bigot and if he provided facts and balanced reporting instead of feeding fodder to a bunch of shills this country may actually begin to unite. We are after all Americans first. But Joe forgot that.

  13. jonnydepp22 December 21, 2011

    For this gentleman & I’m using this term lightly…He is not PRESIDENTIAL MATERIAL..Plain and simple not gonna sling dirt…just telling the TRUTH..

  14. vshepparddesign December 21, 2011

    Ron Paul should have disagreed with this racist idiot from California who urged the assassination of the president and his family. And renounce him and any Tea Bagger that associate themselves with this vile invectives against blacks and other minorities. But he won’t because he feels people have the right to say and think this way without being challenged. The same goes for his son Ran, who thinks that an owner of a establishment has the right to not serve people based on their color. Ron and Ran Paul are a joke to me….and you just have to laugh and take them for who they really are…..RACIST.

    @ TrayHarwell….I understand you brother, you are like Uncle Ruckus from the Boondock. You idolizes old black slave culture, and are a hyperbolic parody of the self-hating black man. You would rather vote for a racist. Well the racist is just that they are against you….Wake up!!

  15. jbakerjonathan December 21, 2011

    According to EconomicPolicyJournal.com, Koch Bros. Inc. has given $35000 to Backmann, $16,000 to Santorum and $5,000 to Perry. No mention of Paul. Why would Koch Bros. Inc. want to support Dr. Paul, who is beholden to no one? You would think that since they also want to reduce the size of the federal government and get rid of the Federal Reserve, that they would support him. Why haven’t they done so? Avid supporters? Where is the support? Could the answer be that they view him as an unbridled radical, and one who – worse, from their perspective – can’t be controlled or reined in?

  16. pisces62 December 21, 2011

    He also wanted to appeal the 14th and 15th amendments as having gone too far. They must not think we read and listen to the bogotted rants. We do not recognize it when it hits us in the head. All they can do is come up with Rev Wright and what he ‘quoted’ in his pulpit and they have EVERYONE race baiting out there. Gingrich and his janitors, Mitt and his church’s belief and practice that we are less than, Bachmann wants our children back in 1860 as a better reality, Paul and his sone wants us back ‘in our place’. Yet, i cannot see this? Hear this? You be deaf, dumb and i emphasize the second and blind. At 62, I am too old and I have granchildren still free. ALLLLLLLL because we had the temerity to elect a black man. Period.

  17. pisces62 December 21, 2011

    I am not saying it. I read it. They were avid supporters of Ron when he was on the board of the John Birch Society and when he left, they threw their money behind the tea party of which he is a darling. Just because you do not see the actual numbers, does not mean an entity did not contribute in another form or fashion. He is beholden to someone. The head of the tea party in California is one. Must be, he did not return his donation. So, how many others not listed. Under the table?

  18. CSW December 21, 2011

    Let’s ask all of you how much trash your hiding. I’ve read about most every Politicians in this race. Some crack head runs his mouth off about the President,and because he liked Dr. Ron Paul,it makes Dr.Ron Paul wrong because of this person. Yes we know mainstream media and others will start talking trash about Dr.Ron Paul. It’s a crying shame. Why are you all not look into other matters? If Dr.Ron Paul was on the take like nearly ever Politicians in Washington DC.He would be OK with you clowns.What makes them all upset in Washington DC is he wants to stop all the free money,the bail outs of meg banks and so on.The American people are so tired of the Corruption in DC….

  19. ghistorywriter December 21, 2011

    Why would we elect a president who has committed himself to sweeping away just about every change and advancement in America’s human condition since at least 1863? What in the world would we gain without some of his chosen targets–like Social Security, Medicare, civil rights legislation, all environmental (such as it is) advancements, equal rights measures, taxes, for that matter? I have never heard that he has any proposal for a way to support government–who does he think will pave the roads, protect his house and personal safety, manage the court system, ensure the accuracy of weights and measures (you know, the old thumb on the meat scale), caring for the disabled. There are dozens of things I don’t think a majority of people want to toss out.

  20. djs062875 December 21, 2011

    Ron Paul is an idiot no matter what his views on race are, and all of you that like him are idiots. What you all should do is go buy an island somewhere leave this wonderful country I fought for and have him as your king.

  21. theholodoc December 21, 2011

    There are a very many ways in which Ron Paul fails as a libertarian. There are many ways in which he doesn’t. This is true of us all. I left the Libertarian Party years ago when I saw many of its leaders moving into or towards the conservative wing of the Republican Party feeling frustrated and wanting to have more power to move their ideas forward. When one compromises one must take the consequences of the total outcome including the racist, intolerant, bigoted, pseudo-religious values that the rabid right wants to impose on the rest of us. True individual freedom, fosters both respect and charity. I won’t be voting for Ron Paul. I will look at Buddy Romer, but will end up voting for Obama, who while still compromised, does not accept most of the mean spirited motives of the right. Theholodoc

  22. truthseeker December 21, 2011

    The truth is now we vote NOT for the best person running but for the lesser of the evils, the smallest pile of crap. I have read about Ron Paul and wanted to believe he was the lesser of the evils but can’t. He is the biggest CORPORATE puppet running and all you have to do it listen to him to know it and a Corporate America is bad for Americans and the industrialized world.

  23. EATHERICH December 21, 2011

    ron paul, newt, mit, all of the hypocrits they are no different from each other than there nazi heros prescot bush,and the bush family.all of whom should be tryed for treason.

  24. noreasterbybirth December 21, 2011


  25. snarky December 22, 2011

    Several of these comments seem to miss the point. America has changed. Is this open hatred now a legitimate political action. It seems to me that America’s thirty year slide into conservative ideology and conservative fiscal policy with Supply Side Economics is separating the cohesiveness that has made our nation unique and prosperous. Congressman Paul and the rise of the right wing is not the cause of this, he is the result of wealth concentration.

  26. habibseraj December 22, 2011

    the days of burning and lynching are over,Ron Paul!
    May God forbid,if anything happens to our president,or his family,
    you and your kind of people should be arrested by law enforcements
    agencies throughout the continental United States,incarcerated,
    prosecuted,and executed by lethal injections.
    Ron Paul,you,and your kind of people are no less than Adolf Hitler,Eichman,Stalin,Pinochet,etc.
    in one simple word,you and your kind of people are just like mad dogs!
    GO TO HELL,RON PAUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  27. Physco Bastard December 22, 2011

    I have been following the Republican debates and I am very concerned by what I have heard and read. I have been asking myself “How did the Republican party get into this mess?” Here is my answer. By voluntarily disconnecting themselves from reality, adopting simple-minded ideology, catering to the lunatic fringe of American society, and treating intelligence and education as deficiencies.

    The time has come for the leadership of the party to stop caring about the opinions of the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Grover Norquist, the brothers Koch, Michael Savage, Glen Beck, and the lunatics who follow them. The party would be better served by reconnecting with its mainstream members, Independents, and moderate Democrats.

    There is no place in a modern society for people such as Ron Paul, Michelle Bachman, Rick Perry, or Rick Santorum, and the lunatic idealogy they promote. Their time has past.

  28. FredGates December 23, 2011

    Watch him go nuts and call Bruno “queer” etc:




  29. Physco Bastard December 23, 2011

    I find it to be quite funny that anyone is stupid enough to think that Ron Paul will be the next president. To do that he has to win the nomination and that isn’t going to happen. What a bunch of idiots. I had no idea that there are so many mindless trolls in this country. There is no place in a modern society for your kind. You idiots should either commit mass suicide or move to some remote island and live out the rest of your pathetic meaningless lives.

  30. cminhtown January 3, 2012

    I will vote for whatever candidate has the strictest adherence to the constitution and Bill of Rights.


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