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Cynthia Tucker considers how Ron Paul’s libertarian extremism relates to Martin Luther King, Jr. day in her column, “America Would Be Different Place If Paul Had His Way:”

“We can thank (Ronald Reagan) for our annual ‘Hate Whitey Day.'” — 1990 Ron Paul newsletter on MLK holiday

** ** **

It’s tempting to simply forget Ron Paul’s unfortunate history on racial issues, especially since he seems to be trying to forget it himself. He won’t be the Republican nominee, and his years in Congress have done little to popularize his out-of-the mainstream views. The nation won’t be returning to the gold standard any time soon.

So why bother to re-examine his resistance to a national holiday commemorating Martin Luther King Jr.? Why remind voters that he still opposes the 1964 Civil Rights Act? Why not turn the page on Paul, whose campaign will end soon enough as his prickly brand of libertarianism runs out of buyers?

Here’s why: The rise of the tea party, with its virulent anti-government rhetoric, has reanimated a libertarian strain in the Republican Party. And Paul’s consistent criticism of the so-called War on Drugs — along with his unabashed isolationism — has won the hearts of many independent-minded young voters, who see in him a tireless warrior who won’t be cowed by establishment Washington.

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