Ron Paul’s money problem

When Ron Paul had his fantastic fund raising day, I decided to take a look at his campaign positions as relayed on his website. In other words, I looked at the best Paul had to offer about himself — the carefully considered distillation of his big ideas — and blogged about my reaction to those ideas. Based purely on his lean, mean, campaign-friendly assertions, I concluded that some of his ideas were consistent with mainstream conservatism, some of them were wrong, some of them were wacky, and all of them put together were unlikely to make a package that would sell to the majority of American voters. I was a bit worried when I posted that I’d come in for an avalanche of unfriendly comments, or even attempts to attack my blog, and was most grateful when that didn’t happen.

What did happen was much more insidious. I started getting visits from people who would begin by leaving one ordinary, sympathetic comment to a post. Then, they’d leave another comment to another post that sounded more bizarre, expressing “fact based” antisemitism or racism against ethnic groups. By the third or fourth comment, the comments would bloom into approving statements for Ron Paul, coupled with out-out-out White Supremacist style material. (The ones I deleted yesterday went from “scientific” analyses of IQ tests to statements about blacks being an inferior race. Horrible stuff.) I systematically deleted every one of these comments, since my blog is not a public, government owned forum, and I don’t need to cling to a freedom of speech doctrine that requires my blog to host that kind of thinking.

All of the above happened on a micro scale. It’s now playing out on a macro scale at American Thinker. Yesterday, American Thinker published an article Andrew Walden wrote detailing all the White Supremacists and fellow travelers who have hitched their wagon to the Ron Paul star. What’s worrisome isn’t that they find him interesting, but that he seems to find them interesting — or, at least, their money. That is, sometimes bad people are drawn to good ideas and good causes, so I’m not going to conflate their attraction with Paul into any conclusion that Paul is himself a White Supremacist or something like that, or even that he’s targeting that political market. However, dirty money is dirty money, and Walden details the one-way flow of that money in Paul’s coffers:

The Texas-based Lone Star Times October 25 publicly requested a response to questions about whether the Paul campaign would repudiate and reject a $500 donation from white supremacist founder Don Black and end the Stormfront website fundraising for Paul. The Times article lit up the conservative blogosphere for the next week. Paul supporters packed internet comment boards alternately denouncing or excusing the charges. Most politicians are quick to distance themselves from such disreputable donations when they are discovered. Not Paul.

Daniel Siederaski of the Jewish Telegraph Agency tried to get an interview with Paul, calling him repeatedly but not receiving any return calls. Wrote Siederaski November 9: “Ron Paul will take money from Nazis. But he won’t taketelephone calls from Jews.” [Update] Finally on November 13 the Paul campaign responded. In a short interview JTA quotes Jim Perry, head of Jews for Paul describing his work on the Paul campaign along side a self-described white supremacist which Perry says he has reformed.

Racist ties exposed in the Times article go far beyond a single donation. Just below links to information about the “BOK KKK Ohio State Meeting“, and the “BOK KKK Pennsylvania State Meeting“, website announced: “Ron Paul for President” and “Countdown to the 5th of November”. The links take readers directly to a Ron Paul fundraising site from which they can click into the official Ron Paul 2008 donation page on the official campaign site. Like many white supremacists, Stormfront has ties to white prison gangs.

Walden also explains that, with respect to this money, Paul and his campaign people make no effort to stops it flow, no effort to repudiate it, and no effort to return it. It’s one thing to have bad people follow you around; it’s quite another thing to encourage them to do so.

The article’s publication triggered a storm of something else we are learning to associate with the Ron Paul campaign: attacks on anyone who speaks against him, whether direct or indirect. I’ve described above the indirect attacks that have been trickling into my blog. American Thinker has now come in for the same attacks, on a much larger scale, including surprising ones from people who are taking extreme positions to defend the questions that must inevitably rise about the money trail Paul’s campaign is creating. (Incidentally, I have it on good authority that, while American Thinker has only written about the most significant responses to the article, the site has been inundated by emails, most of which are unfriendly and demanding in tone.)

I should be clear here that I am not making a blanket accusation that Ron Paul supporters are neo-Nazis or that they advocate vile racialist positions. Nor am I trying to say that Paul’s campaign positions, many of which are innocuous (although sometimes silly) on their face, are the type of things that would set White Supremacist warning bells ringing in the average person. I am saying, however, that it is disturbing when an increasingly visible presidential candidate willing accepts money from organizations that represent the worst America has to offer and that, instead of rejecting the money and speaking out against these people, keeps the money and attacks those who point out that there’s something rotten going on.

UPDATE: Incidentally, I’m taking with more than a grain of salt any pro-Ron Paul comments here that purport to come from Jews who have no problem with Paul’s refusal to disavow the White Supremacists who are currently pumping up his candidacy. At least one Ron Paul front organization called “Jews for Ron Paul,” is almost certainly a fraud. (h/t LGF.) If Ron Paul doesn’t want to get pulled down into this kind of muck and mire, he needs to take a stand against this stuff. His positions, for better or worse, are going to get lost in the mud that’s starting to stick.

UPDATE II:  I figured out a way to look at this:  If something is attracting flies, you need to investigate to discover whether they’re drawn because the object is sweet or rotten.  Unless Paul begins to explain why those flies are drawn to him, and begins to take steps to brush them off, the idea that his campaign is a neo-Nazi fly magnet because it’s rotten is going to take hold.  And because most Americans are repulsed by neo-Nazis, it will inevitably jettison any chance he has of success.  Since I’m not a Paul fan, I don’t care if the doesn’t succeed, but you’d think that his supporters would care.