How Responsible Is Paul For His Newsletters?

TNC takes on the controversy:

Note Paul's language: It "ended up" in the newsletter. "Other people" wrote the words. "Campaign aids" said that honesty was too confusing. No actual named person did anything.

Racism, like all forms of bigotry, is what it claims to oppose–victimology. The bigot is never to blame. Always is he besieged–by gays and their radical agenda, by women and their miniskirts, by fleet-footed blacks. It is an ideology of "not my fault." It is not Ron Paul's fault that people with an NAACP view of the world would twist his words. It is not Ron Paul's fault that his newsletter trafficked in racism. It is not Ron Paul's fault that he allowed people to author that racism in his name. It is anonymous political aides and writers, who now cowardly refuse to own their words. There's always someone else to blame–as long as it isn't Ron Paul, if only because it never was Ron Paul.

This issue comes up again and again. Paul has taken two stands on it: the first was to take formal responsibility, even though he claims he didn't know about the contents; the second was to insist he didn't write them or know who did. Some of his early responses cited by TNC do seem defensive and cranky. But the notion that he has been actively seeking victimology in all this or that he is defined by these isues seems unfair to me. I think the papers (and comments almost two decades ago) should definitely be considered, in context, when judging his candidacy, and not because the neocons are determined to smear anyone challenging their catastrophic record. But compared with Rick Perry's open bigotry in his ads, or Bachmann's desire to "cure" gays, or the rhetoric around "illegals" in this campaign, these ugly newsletters are very, very old news. To infer from them that Paul is a big racist is a huge subjective leap I leave to others more clairvoyant than myself.

But ask yourself: you've now heard this guy countless times; he's been in three presidential campaigns; he's not exactly known for self-editing. And nothing like this has ever crossed his lips in public. You have to make a call on character. Compared with the rest on offer, compared with the money-grubbing lobbyist, Gingrich, or the say-anything Romney, or that hate-anyone Bachmann, I've made my call.