I've been willing to take Ron Paul at his word when he said he didn't write the infamous newsletters. I see nothing in the man's political life that suggests he is racist. And I have been willing to accept he did not have hands-on editorial control of the newsletters, despite the fact that they went out under his name, because he said that was the case. Though even that (relatively sanguine) interpretation leaves me with profound questions about his judgement.
Today we learn that some of the people who worked in the organization that published the newsletters claim that Paul was much more involved than he has claimed to be.
I leave it to you to read and decide for yourself if this changes anything. I'm not certain that it really does. After all, anyone can claim anything, particularly under conditions of anonymity.
But speaking only from my gut, here: Paul's explanation has always stunk to me. And kept me from being an otherwise full-throated supporter, despite the fact that I really enjoy watching him give the GOP mainstream such fits.
More than anything, though, today's news makes one thing clear to me: Ron Paul is never going to shake this.
America--right, left and center--has to come to grips with the fundamental unsustainability of empire. And make no mistake about it: when we talk about "projecting power", "securing shipping lanes", and "stabilizing strategic regions", empire is exactly what we are talking about. None of which is to say that we should retreat to our shores; the future lies in more trade, more cooperation, and more interconnectedness with the rest of the world, not less. International security is part and parcel of that. But we have to be able to work as co-equal partners with other countries when possible. And above all, those that we cannot make our friends, we must be able to tolerate as rivals. Because we cannot afford to have enemies.
This isn't isolationism. But it is something very different from global hegemony, from a "Pax Americana". The world will not tolerate unipolarity indefinitely. And attempting to assert it will only doom America (and the world) to an endless cycle of resentment, violence and retribution.
One on which we can blame no one but Ron Paul.
As much as I'd love to be able to vote for a slate of ideas, that simply isn't an option. We vote for people, warts and all, or we do not vote. And making a strategic decision to court the racist and xenophobic underbelly of our society--not in 1890, not in 1955, not in 1964, but in 1992--is a wart that is just too damn big to ignore.