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Her article and accompanying video were featured on the site, and linked here for your enjoyment! Please head over there and comment, letting them you want more!
Several of these candidates have appeared on our radio show. Get to know the candidates and their positions better by taking a listen:
Allen West (numerous interviews: Look for the AACONS icon here)
Do your “due diligence” in listening to us vet these candidates, and check out the Frederick Douglass Foundation candidate page for contact information for each campaign.
Actually, I have not been an opponent of an individual mandate. It seems to me intuitively correct that the state should not have to pay for the healthcare of a financially secure individual who for whatever reason has decided not to buy healthcare insurance, then finds himself or herself in an emergency room.
Furthermore, I am not opposed to an entitlement program that would aid those who cannot afford health insurance, either through the extension of Medicare or by some sort of welfare supplement program. I don’t see it as a “right”, simply an entitlement program. People on food stamps, for example, receive a card that pays a large percentage of their monthly food bill. The indigent can receive healthcare insurance aid much the same way.
People who have pre-existing conditions can also receive such aid even if they are well above the poverty line and wouldn’t qualify for Medicare, since obviously the cost of someone with cancer who is just now applying for healthcare insurance would be exorbitant.
However, supporting the individual mandate is not the same as supporting Obamacare, which accomplishes remarkably little of the positive ends it claims to set out to achieve. It does provide ‘universal healthcare insurance’. In fact, it leaves about 30 million without healthcare insurance. Nor has it lowered the premiums for those of us with healthcare insurance. 2011, a year with an average inflation rate of 3.2%, saw healthcare costs rise 5.8%. Yahoo News reports that “Most consumers can expect to keep seeing increases in premiums and co-payments because the underlying cost of health care is expected to rise. The law contains a few mechanisms to curb premiums, but it also requires that many insurance providers make their benefits more generous, which will raise their cost.”
What Obamacare does accomplish however is to socialize America’s healthcare system, trampling over individual and state rights. Obamacare gives the president, by way of Department of Health and Human Services, almost unchallengeable power. It is hard to be determine just what the limits of the federal government will be, as Obamacare is sprinkled over two dozen times with the phrase “to be determined”, meaning that if something comes up, suddenly Obamacare grants the executive branch to power to decide upon it.
We recently saw that power exercised with the mandate that Catholic institutions pay for contraception, including aborticides. We saw it as well in the granting of numerous waivers to Obamacare, granted by Obama to his cronies. That’s not a power in the original language of the law, but Obama’s cronies wanted waivers so…there it is. Anything Obama – or any future president wants to do – he or she can, especially if it can be couched with phrases like “social justice” or “fairness.” As Charles Krauthammer wrote, “The new post-Obamacare dispensation is a central government of unlimited power from which citizen and civil society struggle to carve out and maintain spheres of autonomy.”
Obamacare also sets up what Obama and his allies truly desire, the single payer option. Why else would the penalty to employers for not providing healthcare insurance to their employees be so much less than the cost of actually providing such insurance but to push more to government-issued insurance? Why else would Obama attempt to have TRICARE costs rise so dramatically but to push veterans into government issued insurance of his liking?
Obama has also limited the rights of people who want to buy healthcare to shop for it nationally by way of the Internet – live in New Jersey but see an insurance plan in Utah that will save you and your family thousands? Sorry – and has blocked tort reform, not only to appease his lawyer lobbyists but to further discourage the purchase of private insurance by keeping prices unnecessarily high. This is also the major motivation behind the Catholic mandate. Obama knew that many Catholic institutions would simply stop providing healthcare insurance rather than comply with the HHS’s edict that it provide free contraception, which will force many more onto the government’s plan.
But it gets worse. The executive branches power has also increased immeasurably recently with a The Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit’s ruling that the EPA can categorize carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. We now have cap-and-trade, despite the minor fact that Congress never passed cap-and-trade legislation. Thanks to this ruling, the president, by way of the EPA, now has the means to continue his war on the 85% of the economy that uses fossil fuels. Killing the Keystone Pipeline was barely a warm-up.
Furthermore, thanks to the Supreme Court’s Arizona ruling, the president can limit a state’s right to defend itself against an influx of illegal aliens, even if the state is simply enforcing federal law.
Even when the Reign of Obama ends in four years or a few months, these powers will still exist. Republican candidates may run against these powers, but what politician once elected in office has ever requested less power? Not many.
Ed Klein was recently on our show discussing his book, The Amateur. Smart guy, great book – but Obama is no amateur. He has succeeded what consolidating power to the executive branch in ways even some of his most progressive predecessors could only imagine.
What will a president to do with so much power that cannot be checked by Congress or the voters? That’s hard to fully comprehend. Logic classes teach that slippery slope arguments are a fallacy. Tell that to New Yorkers who saw little harm in their mayor’s war on cigarettes, or even his war on trans-fats or salt, until there was a proposed ban on 16 ounce sodas, and talk of bans on movie theatre popcorn and bacon cheeseburgers. There may be no slippery slopes, but some slopes are a lot steeper than others.
On June 8, 2012, African-American Conservatives (AACONS) Co-Founder, Marie Stroughter spoke to a crowd of approximately 700 at the Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally. **
** The emcee attributes the BigGovernment.com website to Marie, however, she has contributor status only. The late Andrew Breitbart was the genius behind the formation of BigGovernment.com, now part of the Breitbart.com family of sites.
I really tried to stay out of the Trayvon Martin case. But people are writing some really dumb things online –particularly about his choice of attire: a hoodie — and my outrage at the truly ignorant and, frankly racist, remarks I’m seeing online prompted me to spout off on the comment threads of these posts, and on Facebook among my friends. But the fire in my belly still burns, so I really need to process this here, with you.
Two things really set me off:
The first was this article about Geraldo Rivera’s remarks equating a hooded sweat jacket (commonly called a hoodie) with “gangsta” clothing. **
Since when does a hoodie translate into full on “gangsta” apparel? Hoodies refer to the hood attached to the top, not where they are purchased and worn! It’s a sweat jacket…and people of all colors wear them for warmth, exercise, and yeah, a relaxed clothing option (like jeans & a t-shirt). Where has it ever been reported that this kid wore “saggy pants?” It’s a hoodie! A common item sold just about everywhere. Further, one of the comments mentions “gang colors.” As far as I know the hoodie was black, and he was not in known gang territory, but rather an affluent gated community where his father’s fiancee had a home. Nor was there any evidence that Trayvon Martin ever had any sort of gang affiliation at any point in his life. Maybe it’s still my simmering anger, but, the incident itself, and the subsequent commentary about it, seem to imply, by extension, that Blacks cannot be wealthy or live wherever they want…the whole reason George Zimmerman found Trayvon Martin’s presence “suspicious.”
The second catalyst for my “day of rage:” Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson the NAACP, ACLU, athletes and celebrities alike are all harping on the fact that it’s taken a month for all of this to trickle out to the press. Just like Bristol Palin questioned when she might receive a call from the President in the wake of “Fluke-gate,” I ask: Why aren’t all these civil rights “heroes” converging on California and sounding the media alarm about Shaima Alawadi? Since the media is largely ignoring the story, I’ll tell you that she’s the 32-year old Iraqi mother who died after being brutally beaten and left for dead, only to be removed from life support and succumbing to her injuries days later.
Whereas the jury is still out on whether the Martin/Zimmerman case was racially motivated (facts are still being uncovered), we do know the Alawadi murder was. Mrs. Alawadi recieved a letter days before the incident, stating, “Go back to your country, you terrorist.” The assumption is, because Mrs. Alawadi was Iraqi and ostensibly wore a hajib (I say that because her daughter does), she is somehow a member of al-Qaeda — the Trayvon Martin equivalent of automatic “gang” affiliation? Just as with Trayvon Martin, isn’t that a stereotype? Is now the hajib the Middle Eastern equivalent of a “hoodie” (now redefined as “gangsta” apparel?).
I have often said that the last three years of all this “conservatives are racist because they disagree with the President (who happens to be Black) must be racially motivated” ca-ca would result in desensitization of — and confusion about — true instances of racism…and here we are. The Alawadi murder is a case of racism, and the Martin case is being pursued as one.
I really do hope that reason, evidence, hard-cold facts and cooler heads prevail in following wherever the trail leads in the Trayvon Martin case. But, as with most things that get stuck in my craw, I had to point out the hypocrisy in the outrage in one instance (Trayvon Martin’s case) and the utter silence of the other (justice for Mrs. Alawadi). I want justice for all crimes — including hate crimes — and without regard to the color, race, religion or orientation of the victim or the perpetrator. Now that’s the real definition of “post-racial!”!
** I think Geraldo’s words were ridiculous in the extreme. But to say that these comments cost him his “credibility” is equally ridiculous….He lost that years ago with Al Capone’s tomb.
Newt Gingrich was the only presidential candidate to make an appearance at the California Republican Party conference (CRP) this weekend in Burlingame, CA.
With introductions by Michael Reagan, Herman Cain, and Callista Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House refuted point by point President Obama’s speech on energy given this past Friday.
Blessed to be onstage with such political luminaries was African-American Conservatives’ Co-Founder, Marie Stroughter.
Conservatism, when it moves forward, does not dash out like a sprinter from starting blocks, but rather it stumbles forward like a prizefighter, weary from the blows he’s received, dreading the blows to come, yet determined to press ahead.
Recent elections speak to the resiliency of Conservatism. In 2008 – the year of the economic collapse, Bush stimulus, TARP, and bailouts – Conservatism suffered as great imaginable, yet it managed to climb up from the canvas. 2008 saw the emergence of the Tea Party, and with millions of people protesting for lower taxes, smaller government, and Constitutionalism we soon saw the largest number of Conservatives elected to Congress since 1992. Republicans picked up 6 Senate seats, 63 House seats, and 6 governorships in 2010, but more important than the sheer number of victories won by Republicans was that the Republicans who won did so by running on Conservatism. The Republican Party seemed to be moving away from being a party of Arlen Spector and becoming the party of Pat Toomey, Allen West, Mike Lee, Rand Paul, Nikki Haley, Tim Scott, and Marco Rubio.
In 2011 we saw how Conservatism could endure being bloodied and battered without being beaten particularly in Wisconsin, where its newly elected Conservative governor Scott Walker became a national punching bag for progressives. In protest of the Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill; which required public union members to pay more for their health benefits and pension plans while limiting their union’s ability to collectively bargain; Wisconsinites, fueled by union money and the leftwing media, particularly MSNBC, unleashed a storm of protest against Walker. They occupied the State Capitol and college campuses, shadowed and heckled Walker at every public event, and eventually began a recall campaign that has succeeded in forcing later this year. One talking point circulating on the liberal blogs and MSNBC was that “Walker betrayed Wisconsin values”, which is extremely odd considering that Walker did what he promised to do while campaigning and eventually winning a majority of Wisconsin votes.
The expected and easiest course of action for Walker would have been to work out a compromise or to shelf the Budget Repair Bill indefinitely, or to attempt some sort of trickery to make it appear that he was conceding without actually doing so (much like the “compromise” Obama used to escape the “Catholic contraception controversy”). Yet Walker endures, the Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill stands, and the recall effort goes forward.
It is worth mentioning the plight of Governor Walker if only to contrast his courage with the often perverse vision of Conservatism and timid leadership shown by the current crop of presidential candidates.
Almost every candidate who has campaigned for the presidency since 1980 has attempted to appear to be Conservative. Even, incredibly, Barack Obama, who saw to it that 2012 State of the Union address hit several Conservative notes, such as tax cuts and energy independence, attempts to appear Conservative when campaigning. Yet even for Republicans, it is easier it seems to run as a Conservative than to serve as a Conservative.
This is especially evident with the leading candidate for the GOP nomination. It is the onus of the Mitt Romney campaign to convince voters that Romney is a Conservative despite the fact that Romney has held a liberal position on almost every conceivable position- including illegal immigration, global warming, cap and trade, and even abortion. Today Romney says he is “severely Conservative”, whatever that means, but even his 2012 presidential platform is one of a Moderate. It is easily the most liberal platform of any of the remaining candidates.
Take corporate taxes, for example. At 39.2% American corporations pay the second corporate tax rate in the world and will soon pay the highest rate, which discourages job creation and investment. The average corporate tax rate of the 34 countries that comprise the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is 25.5%. Newt Gingrich wants to cut the corporate tax rate to 15%, Santorum to 17.5%, and even President Obama (running as a Conservative, remember) wants to cut the corporate tax rate to the high 20s. Mitt Romney wants to cut the corporate tax rate to 25%, only .5% lower than the OECD average, and still significantly higher than the corporate tax rate of many other nations, including Canada.
Also, Romney has reaffirmed his support for a linkage between the minimum wage and the inflation rate. As Dr. Thomas Sowell says, “to people who call themselves Conservatives, and aspire to public office, there is no excuse for not being aware of what a major social disaster the minimum wage law has been for the young, the poor and especially for young and poor blacks.”
Romney explains away the liberalism of his administration by pointing out how heavily Democratic a state Massachusetts is. Yet Massachusetts is that much more of a blue state than Wisconsin. Instead of complaining about how many liberals are in Wisconsin and using that as an excuse to campaign as and govern as a liberal, Walker has remained a Conservative.
As someone who supported McCain in 2008 over Romney, it is really surprising how the so-called Conservative media has turned on Romney in 2012. I remember being battered for voting for a “liberal” over a candidate everyone – people like Mark Levin, Jim DeMint, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, and even Rick Santorum – was telling me at the time was the real Conservative, a portrait of Romney I found strange, given the Governor’s record. It seems that now, in 2012, all of these people are agreeing with me, though I don’t know what happened in the interim that the 2008 Real Conservative is now the 2012 Massachusetts Moderate. Now many of the very same people are telling me the real Conservative in the race is Rick Santorum.
Another politician who was previously considered to be a Conservative but is now generally perceived to be a Moderate by Conservatives is George W. Bush, due to his record on spending and increasing the size of the government. Yet if Bush is a Moderate, how then can a candidate who voted with him 97% of the time be considered a Conservative? Yet Santorum has been labeled as such, and he carries that perception despite of, rather than because of, his record.
Does a Conservative support earmarks or giving felons the right to vote? Would a Conservative support Arlen Specter over Pat Toomey? Would a Conservative have supported the spending under the Bush Administration, including Medicare Part D? Would a Conservative against NAFTA and for tariffs on steel? Would a Conservative vote against the flat tax? Would a Conservative have voted for raise the minimum wage six times?
Would a Conservative vote against a National Right-To-Work Act? Santorum did, and the reason he gave is “When I was a senator from Pennsylvania, I didn’t vote for it because Pennsylvania’s not a right to work state, and I didn’t want to vote for a law that would change the law in Pennsylvania, number one. Number two, what can unions do? They can do training. They also do a lot in the community. I work with a lot of labor unions in Philadelphia and other places to do a lot of community involvement work and they try to participate as good members of the community like the business does.”
In other words, Santorum did not want to stand up to the unions. Again we see a candidate for the presidency failing to show the courage of leadership and adherence to Conservative principles that we witnessed from a freshman governor of Wisconsin.
Santorum’s chief argument for being The One True Conservative left in the race, besides his stance on social issues, is his record against the individual mandate, which he uses to bludgeon both Romney and Gingrich during every debate. But how pure is his stance against that mandate? Yet the 1994 Santorum-Graham bill called for ““Any individual with family income exceeding [100%] of the official poverty line . . . but who fails to purchase [the required] coverage . . . within 1 year of the date of the enactment of this Act, shall not be eligible for the insurance pool program under title V of this Act.” Also, ““No provision of Federal, State, or local law shall apply that prohibits the use of any statutory procedure for the collection of unpaid debts for medical expenses incurred by [these] individuals” As Bradley Latino continues in Health Reform Watch, under the Santorum-Gramm bill, not only would the person who does not have health insurance, s/he would “suffer the same tax disadvantages in the similarly-structured Stearns bill, but noncompliance at any point apparently nullifies whatever bankruptcy protections that would help relieve medical debt. “
More clearly, The One True Conservative’s plan imposed financial penalty upon those who could afford but did not buy health insurance. That makes sense, in my opinion, yet the line between an individual mandate and imposing a financial penalty upon people who don’t buy health insurance is a thin one.
More troubling to me is Santorum’s view on Libertarianism. I, as someone who considers himself a Reagan Conservative, agree with his famous quote that
The very heart and soul of Conservatism is Libertarianism. I think Conservatism is really a misnomer just as liberalism is a misnomer for the liberals–if we were back in the days of the Revolution, so-called Conservatives today would be the Liberals and the liberals would be the Tories. The basis of Conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what Libertarianism is.
Now, I can’t say that I will agree with all the things that the present group who call themselves Libertarians in the sense of a party say, because I think that like in any political movement there are shades, and there are libertarians who are almost over at the point of wanting no government at all or anarchy. I believe there are legitimate government functions. There is a legitimate need in an orderly society for some government to maintain freedom or we will have tyranny by individuals. The strongest man on the block will run the neighborhood. We have government to insure that we don’t each one of us have to carry a club to defend ourselves. But again, I stand on my statement that I think that Libertarianism and Conservatism are traveling the same path.
I also agree with Senator Jim DeMint, who says “I’d like to see a Republican Party that embraces a lot of the libertarian ideas.”
But this is very different than how The One True Conservative sees Libertarianism. He says “I am not a libertarian, and I fight very strongly against libertarian influence within the Republican Party and the Conservative movement. I don’t think the libertarians have it right when it comes to what the Constitution is all about. I don’t think they have it right as to what our history is, and we are not a group of people who believe in no government… I’ve got some real concerns about this movement within the Republican Party and the Tea Party movement to sort of refashion Conservatism, and I will vocally and publicly oppose it.”
Nor is Newt the perfect conservative. Newt has an enduring belief of the potential positive power of government which I do not share. Another Reagan quote – “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’” – comes to mind.
At CPAC, Sarah Palin corrected stated that “our candidate must be someone who can instinctively turn right. It’s either there or it isn’t.” Unfortunately, the politicians who best demonstrate this Instinctive Conservatism are in places like Madison or Indianapolis; or are junior senators from South Carolina, Utah, and Florida; or are representatives from Florida’s 22nd District and Wisconsin’s 1st District.
Romney lacks this instinct. By his own admission he came to conservatism late, and it is questionable if he yet arrived at conservatism. Santorum clearly has an instinct towards social conservatism, yet on other matters he has displayed an instinct towards Big Government Conservatism, which is a problem for us who do not want a government that more powerful and more intrusive. As Eric Erickson of RedStateUpdate.com pointed out, Santorum is a “prolife statist.”
I believe Gingrich has an instinct towards Conservatism, though, perhaps due to his academic training, this instinct is muddied with an addiction to senseless intellectual exercises. Look at his experiments on issues like global warming and cap-and-trade. Witness his pointless determination that life began at implantation rather than at conception, which undermined his exemplary prolife record and needlessly irritated his fellow Catholics. Or recall his unfortunate attacks on Romney’s record at Bain, which made it appear that he was against capitalism.
Even his energy policy, though pro-growth, is encumbered by “the helpful hand of government.” In fact, during one his interviews on our show, we challenged him on his views about on tax credits and investments in alternative energies.
Yet I would argue that while neither Romney’s nor Santorum’s records are as Conservative as their rhetoric, Newt’s record is the inverse. His record is one of a solid Conservative, despite his bad habit of saying things that make it seem otherwise. His proposals are anchored in Conservative principles, even if not as libertarian as I would prefer. It may also be worth noting that the American Conservative Union’s lifetime rating for Newt Gingrich is 90, a bit higher than that of The One True Conservative, which is 88. I’d hate to think what Romney’s ACU rating would be if he had been a congressman.
The election of either Rick Santorum or Mitt Romney would change Conservatism. Santorum would crush Conservatism’s ‘libertarian heart and soul’, while the election of a candidate so moderate as Romney may effectively end the Conservative movement. Newt might create a Conservatism more active than should be but, of the three, I believe Newt has the best ideas and the best record on issues like economic growth, energy independence, and foreign policy. Most importantly, he has demonstrated the best instincts towards Conservatism. And it is hardly a surprise that the politician who best epitomizes that Reagan-esque Instinctive Conservatism mentioned in her CPAC speech has given Gingrich her tacit endorsement as well.
It’s just too bad Scott Walker isn’t running.
African-American Conservatives Co-Founder, Marie Stroughter, appeared on today’s episode of To the Point on KCRW, an NPR affiliate. Ms. Stroughter spoke to the conservative viewpoint, with panelists Dr. Peniel Joseph, Walter Rhett and Mikki Taylor espousing the liberal perspective. Click the hyperlinked show name above to listen in, and share your thoughts with us!
On the eve of the primary in South Carolina, the Obama administration is invalidating a voter ID law in South Carolina. Attorney General Eric Holder invoked the race card to justify his stance. Today SC governor Niki Haley has vowed to fight back.
“South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said Tuesday that federal officials are waging war with South Carolina over laws the people want, like new voter ID requirements that she and other leaders pledged to defend from challenges by the U.S. Justice Department.
The Republican governor said ‘the will of the people was we wanted to protect the integrity of our voting process and if you have to show a picture ID to buy Sudafed; if you have to show a picture ID to get on a plane – you should have to show a picture ID to do that one thing that’s so important – which is that right to vote.’”
S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson on Tuesday said the state will file suit against the U.S. Department of Justice, which last month rejected the state’s new Voter ID law requiring all voters to show a valid state-approved photo ID in order to cast a ballot.
Voter fraud’s old friend ACORN is also involved: New records courtesy of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch on August 19, 2011, detail communications between the DOJ and Estelle Rogers, a former ACORN attorney currently serving as Director of Advocacy for Project Vote. These documents leave no doubt that a suspiciously close relationship between Project Vote and the DOJ is developing behind closed doors.
A CALL TO ACTION
The rally in SC is sponsored by the Houston-based True The Vote, a grass roots voter integrity project staffed by volunteers. True The Vote is a nation-wide organization that has affiliates across the country, every day citizens interested in the integrity of the elections in their home district.
After a successful rally in Austin, Texas to protest the intrusions of the DOJ, True the Vote and Anita MonCrief are calling all black conservatives to SC on 1/20/11 to wave their photo id’s and prevent those who wish to divide us from using the race card. Previous actions have shown that when there are black willing to speak for themselves they tend to disavow the rhetoric of race coming from the left.
It is especially painful to see an organization like the NAACP, after years of fighting against genuine racism, now playing the game of race-card fraud.
The rally is open to all citizens and the goal is to spur citizens to get involved. Democrat or Republican voter fraud is unacceptable but it is up to us to stop it.
We would like to hold the rally on Friday during a break in SRLC events but before the dinner starts. We hope to pull in the governor or other speakers for a screening of former NAACP chapter head, CL Bryant’s “Runaway Slave” and hold a roundtable discussion on race and how to remove the race card from being used as political theater.
– Anita MonCrief
Allen West – a man who, having served over 20 years in the military, and is now currently serving as one of the most outspoken voices of Conservatism in Congress, has certainly seen his share of enemy fire – said recently “You know, we have a saying in the military: You don’t receive flak unless you’re over the target.”
We have seen this play out in the 2012 GOP presidential primaries as well. Candidates who have been saddled with the bull’s-eye “front runner” have been hit with flak from the MSM, the Democratic Party and, of course, rival candidates, usually involving some position and action the candidate held years, or even decades ago;; and often we have seen these campaigns collapse because of it. We have seen it happen to Bachmann, Perry, and Cain; and Newt has seen his support halved by attacks by a constant barrage of negative ads being aired against him.
Ron Paul is no stranger to this truism. In fact, when it comes to firing upon his rivals, Ron Paul is the Red Baron. He has shown deftness at hitting his opponents with harsh criticisms. Paul has hit other frontrunners with attacks, such as calling Rick Perry, whose campaign was much more successful at the time, “Al Gore’s Texas cheerleader.” Paul has also said of Michele Bachmann “She hates Muslims. She wants to go get them.” (Obviously Paul isn’t above harsh but unfair criticisms as well.)
Paul also flooding Iowa with anti-Gingrich ads as well as even saying during one debate that Gingrich’s “influence peddling” for Freddie and Fannie set us upon a path to fascism : “He has a different definition of the private sector than I have, because it’s a GSE, a Government Sponsored Enterprise. It’s completely different. It’s a government agency…If it’s government-sponsored, it’s a mixture of business and government. It’s very, very dangerous. Some people say that if it goes to extreme, it becomes fascism, because Big Business and Big Government get together”.
Yet now, thanks largely to Iowan Democrats who relate strongly to Paul’s “bring them home” message, Ron Paul is finding himself to be a front-runner. According to the latest polls, he is leading in Iowa, or close to it. Paul is over the target, and he is taking flak.
Much of the incoming Paul is receiving is due to his publication of newsletters that many find offensive, racist, homophobic, and/or anti-Semitic. For example, one such newsletter claimed that homosexuals were planning to engage in a sort of mass donation of blood in order to infect the American blood supply with AIDS. Regarding Blacks, the newsletter urged its readers to “know how to use a gun in self-defense. For the animals are coming.” Paul – or the newsletter –called the end of apartheid in South Africa the “destruction of civilization.” Paul – or the newsletter – also claimed that the Mossad (which is sort of the Israeli version of the CIA) had ‘tens of thousands of well-placed friends of Israel in all countries who are willing for work for it,’ as well as speculated that the Mossad may have been responsible for the first World Trade Center attack.
In 1969 Kübler-Ross published On Death And Dying in which she chronicled the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Politicians caught in controversy usually go through similar stages.
The first stage is usually denial, whether its denying having sex with that woman, claiming one’s Twitter account was hacked, or saying that one simply has an extra wide stance in a men’s room stall. Barack Obama attempted to overcome his Jeremiah Wright problem by claiming he sat in Jeremiah Wright’s church for 20 years – allowing Wright to marry him and Michelle, baptize their children, and consider Wright to be a family member – without ever hearing Wright make the sort of incendiary remarks.
Ron Paul’s embrace of denial in regard to the newsletter controversy has been grander than most, but still somewhat unfulfilling. He claims that he did not read and was unaware of what was being published in his newsletter, and does not even know who wrote them. Rarely has anyone made a more specious claim than that. The newsletters were eponymous. Paul was the publisher. The publishing company was M&M Graphics, run by Mark Elam, Ron Paul’s congressional campaign manager. Paul earned money from the newsletters, according to some reports as much as one million dollars a year. Members of Paul’s family worked for the newsletters. Paul is shown on video promoting his newsletters, telling his audience the sort of information he puts out in them. A solicitation letter that warned of the “Israeli lobby,” “the federal-homosexual cover-up on AIDS,” and “the upcoming race war” has been re-released, featuring Ron Paul’s signature. And in 1996 Ron Paul admitted to writing at least some of the most controversial passages, such as saying that 95% of Black men in Washington, DC were “semi-criminal or entirely criminal.” Paul continues to ally himself with White Supremacist groups. One would have to work very hard to accept that Paul did not even read or write his newsletters.
Paul and especially his supporters has also often shown a willingness to show anger when confronted with the newsletter controversy, as evident by his recent CNN interview in which a journalist pressed him on the issue (though he did not storm out, as CNN tried to portray it). But this anger is more typically expressed as outrage that he would be considered a racist, as he believes he is incapable of racism: “Libertarians are incapable of being a racist because racism is a collectivist idea. You see people in group. A civil libertarian like myself see everybody as an important individual. It’s not the color of their skin that is important. As Martin Luther King said. What is important is the character of the people.”
This sounds great until one realizes the author of the following quote from one of Paul’s newsletters – whether it be Paul or some other person – is someone who considers himself or herself to be a libertarian: “I think we can safely assume that 95 percent of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal.” It seems as though the color of skin can be important to civil libertarians after all.
Paul also resorts to a crude form of bargaining to African Americans, essentially offering a bargain to Blacks that in return for their vote and their silence on the issues of racism he will reward them with a more coddling judicial system: “I am the antiracist because I am the only candidate, Republican or Democrat who were protect the minority against these vicious drug laws.” While we can hold a good debate on the benefits of drug legalization, it does seem odd and offensive that Paul would choose this issue, and not for example a more equitable educational system, to emphasize. Is the freeing of the Black drug criminal really the primary concern of the Black community?
The depression phase of a politician’s response to scandal is the most difficult to identify as it is usually the least likely to be displayed in the public eye. Typically however one can see it in the expression of the view that one has become a victim of a conspiracy, whether it be a “vast right-wing conspiracy” or conspiracy of some other sort. Paul clearly feels hounded by being asked repeatedly about the newsletters, blaming the continuing questions about them not on his unsatisfactory and sometimes contradictory responses but rather on an effort to get him: “Maybe this is part of the ‘knock down Ron Paul’ (effort) because he’s gaining grounds with the blacks. I’m getting more support right now, more votes from the blacks because they understand what I’m talking about and they trust me.”
As in Kubler-Ross’ model, the last phase of a politician’s response to scandal– acceptance – is the healthiest. It in this stage where the politician finally realizes that s/he has done or said things that are unacceptable to his/her electorate, and that s/he will not be able to make the issue just go away. Some do. President Clinton did. So did Barack Obama. But this requires the cooperation of the media and one’s party. Paul enjoys neither luxury.
This will ultimately be the most important thing Paul can do in response to Newsletter-gate if he is to be our next president. Reluctant and hesitant confessions under duress from Ron Paul that he ‘may have had some responsibility for what was being published in the Ron Paul newsletters’ and that he did write for the newsletters but ‘only the good parts’ are not enough. He has to move away from his specious disavowals of the regrettable portions written within the newsletters, admit to writing and being aware of what was being written by others – and say what many of his supporters have been longing to hear, that those views are no longer his.
Once we at AACONS interviewed Virginia’s George Allen, and Marie Stroughter confronted him about some of his past racial comments, including the allegations that he regularly used the word “nigger” while in college. Allen didn’t try to deny it or blame someone else for it. He instead spoke of his growth as a person since his youth, even quoting Muhammad Ali in saying “Anybody who looks at the world at age 50 the way they did at age 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.”
This is an approach Paul should mimic. While it is a good thing to say that Martin Luther King is your “personal hero”, as Paul has made a habit of doing recently, but without a confession that Paul approved a characterization of King in his newsletter as a “pedophile”, Paul’s praise of King rings hollow, regardless of how much support Paul claims he is getting from “the blacks”.
Paul must also acknowledge the support his campaign receives from KKK, Neo-Nazi, and White Supremacist groups, and firmly denounce them. Paul is not a member or supporter of any of these groups, but they are inspired by Paul’s rhetoric, particularly his stance on Israel, which, according to attendees of the last CPAC, led to swarms of Paul supporters to, quoting David Horowitz, “vent their spleen against Israel as a Nazi state”, simply saying ‘these people support my ideas, I do not support theirs’ does not go far enough, especially when he continues to accept their campaign donations. One example of this sort of Paul supporter is Jules Manson, who claims that “Ron Paul is my god” and adds of our president that we should “assassinate that nigger and his family of monkeys.” Other Ron Paul supporters include Don Black of the American Nazi Party, former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke (whose gubernatorial race was endorsed by one of Paul’s newsletters), and, of course, Lew Rockwell, the supposed author of many of the newsletters.
Paul’s weaknesses are his views on foreign policy, which many see as isolationist and naïve, and, I would argue, his character, as revealed by both his newsletters and his inability to accept his role in the publication of those newsletters. His strength is his ability to articulate the libertarian arguments on issues on our ever increasing and ever encroaching size of the government. Though Paul has become synonymous with the libertarian movement, the movement could and would survive on the power of its ideas, without such a shady figurehead whose flaws would ultimately endanger the success of both the Libertarian and Conservative movement. Hopefully Ron Paul will soon falter from his current high perch and will allow other, more worthy speakers to succeed him as a spokesman for Libertarianism; perhaps it will be Paul’s son, Rand. Until that day, libertarians of conscience should look for others who would better lead this country in a better direction, and many are undoubtedly already doing so.
To that last point, let me point out that one of the premier libertarian intellects alive today is Dr. Thomas Sowell. Recently, Dr. Sowell has endorsed Newt Gingrich.