UPDATE — Did you know that the redesigned U.S. currency with the color tints and holograms is "a portable inquisition" designed "to allow the feds to keep track" of you, your purchases and your movements? You can read about this and a plethora of conspiracies — "the coming race war in our big cities," "the federal-homosexual cover-up on AIDS," "the Israeli lobby" and more — just by sending $99 to subscribe to an assortment of Ron Paul newsletters. You can even get "the unlisted phone number" of his Financial Hotline. "A $224 value for just $22!" –read it in this solicitation signed "Congressman Ron Paul."
Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) has been cultivating a reputation as a likeable old curmudgeon, but many people say a more apt description of the GOP presidential candidate would be racist, anti-Semite, anti-Zionist, homophobe, xenophobe and bigot.
The evidence comes out clearly in his writings and speeches going back two decades. He has been trying more recently to distance himself from many of the most loathsome statements as his campaign for the Republican nomination puts him closer to the front of the pack. Some polls indicate he could win the January 3 Iowa Caucuses.
He has denied responsibility for what was published under his name and in the first person in newsletters with titles like the Ron Paul Political Report, Ron Paul's Freedom Report, the Ron Paul Survival Report and the Ron Paul Investment Letter as well as in fundraising letters over his signature. He knew nothing about it and never read any of it because he was too busy doing other things, he testily insists now, blaming it all on his staff. That alone should tell a lot – none of it good — about what kind of president he would be.
When CNN's Gloria Borger brought it up in an interview last week, Paul said, "I absolutely, honestly do not know who wrote those things," but when she persisted he ripped off his mike and walked off, lashing out at the media for digging into his past.
The Paul record of newsletters, fundraising letters and speeches begins in the early 1990s but the efforts to distance himself from his record is more recent, much of it coinciding with his presidential ambitions.
A former top aide, Eric Dondero, who says he was a "close personal assistant" to Paul from 1997 to 2003 and is half Jewish, said the congressman is "absolutely" not an anti-Semite but "most certainly Anti-Israel." Writing on the website Rightwingnews.com, he stated:
" [Paul] wishes the Israeli state did not exist at all. He expressed this to me numerous times in our private conversations. His view is that Israel is more trouble than it is worth, specifically to the America taxpayer. He sides with the Palestinians, and supports their calls for the abolishment of the Jewish state, and the return of Israel, all of it, to the Arabs."
Dondero said Paul is an isolationist who believed the United States was wrong to get involved in fighting Hitler in World War II, and "He expressed to me countless times, that 'saving the Jews,' was absolutely none of our business."
According to JTA, Paul’s campaign dismissed the report, calling Dondero a “disgruntled” fired staffer who had “zero credibility.”
Here's a sampling of statements attributed to Paul:
• The 1993 World Trade Center bombing may have been "a setup by the Israeli Mossad."
• The 9/11 WTC attacks were a response to American aggression and military actions and produced "glee in the administration because now we can invade Iraq."
• Israel "is an aggressive, national socialist state."
* "[T]he Israeli lobby…plays Congress like a cheap harmonica."
• Foreign aid to Israel and all other countries should be halted.
• Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are unconstitutional, and so was the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
• Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad never mentioned any intention of eradicating Israel, it was just a mistranslation.
• The 1992 Los Angeles riots “ended when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks three days after rioting began.”
• People with HIV AIDS should be barred from restaurants because "AIDS can be transmitted by saliva."
• He dubbed the Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday "Hate Whitey Day," and accused King of having "seduced underage girls and boys" and being "the world-class philanderer who beat up his paramours."
• “We are constantly told that it is evil to be afraid of black men, it is hardly irrational.”
•"Homosexuals…were far better off when social pressure forced them to hide their activities."
•“Given the inefficiencies of what DC 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.”
• "Hamas was really started by Israel because they wanted Hamas to counteract Yasser Arafat."
• Sanctions are "acts of war" and the way to persuade Iran not to build nuclear weapons is "maybe by offering friendship to them."
Paul, 76, has said he has made no effort to block extremist groups from distributing his writings and has refused to disavow the support of white supremacist, anti-Semitic, militia, survivalist and racist groups. "If they want to endorse me, they're endorsing what I do or say – it has nothing to do with endorsing what they say," he said, according to New York Times.
Conor Friedersdorf wrote in The Atlantic, "[I]t is difficult to imagine how Paul could allow material consistently saturated in racism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, and conspiracy-mongering to be printed under his name for so long if he did not share these views."
The Republican Jewish Coalition showed good judgment in excluding the Texas congressman from its early December candidates' forum. Too bad the rest of the party doesn't share that sense of decency. Can you imagine how the GOP would be acting if a Democratic candidate carried such pernicious baggage?