Yesterday's article by Andrew Walden on the Ron Paul campaign's disturbing unwillingness to distance itself from neo-Nazi supporters predictably drew a lot of reaction. Some of the responses were rather surprising, and one of them, from a respected website, deeply disturbing.
David Weigel of Reason Magazine's Hit & Run blog wrote:
Curious on two counts: there is no example given of "rage" by Walden, because quite frankly there is no intemperate language whatsoever in the article. If anything the tone is sadness. Weigel apparently is "enraged" (or at least angry) that anyone would dare broach the subject.
And why the scare quotes around "neo-nazi support"? Does Weigel really think that it is wrong to consider Stormfront a neo-Nazi group? Their fundraising for the Paul campaign continues unhindered by the campaign (despite the matter being raised repeatedly). Mr. Weigel apparently lives in a dream world where neo-Nazis are not real, only a figment of the imagination of enraged paranoiacs.
I suppose that, given the title of his blog, Weigel has run away from further consideration of his strange take on the matter.
Some of the Paul supporters with blogs posted rather amusing and revealing takes. My favorite is this one: The neocons at the American (Group)Thinker must have gotten the memo. The ugliness has just begun. You know they are running scared. They have resorted to their trump card, and it is only November.
Yep! It is all a conspiracy. That's the only possible explanation. But I am curious. Who sent out the memo? I certainly haven't seen it. Now that Karl Rive has retired, who exactly is the puppet master supposedly directing the conspiracy against Paul?
I love it when conspiracy nuts prove the point about them with no help.
But by far the most disturbing comment came from John Derbyshire, writing on The Corner blog at National Review Online, whose founder William F. Buckley helped create modern conservatism by repudiating antisemites in the 1950s.
Derbyshire wrote, in addition to some puzzling verbiage about Goebbels:
Don't the American Thinker folk understand how paranoid bullying like that just reinforces the worst stereotypes about ethnocentric Jews?
What on earth does this mean? Is he alleging that Walden is an ethnocentric Jew? That would be news to Walden, who is not Jewish. Does it mean that Derbyshire regards American Thinker as a Jewish website? If so, why? Because we are upfront about our dedication to the survival of Israel? Or because we have a number of identifiably Jewish names among our contributors? Too many of those people?
As it happens, just the other day a blogger parodied our ostensible membership in the Christian conspiracy:
Derbyshire and the above atheist blogger need to get together and figure out exactly which nefarious religious group pulls the strings on American Thinker. And when they come to their conclusion, I hope one of them will let me know.
Ron Paul is reaching the big leagues, he's going to have to start answering big league questions. The American Thinker has a whole bunch.
And following the avalanche of email from Paulbots, updated:
... if he's going to be considered a serious candidate, he should know how to handle these questions like a serious candidate. There is nothing in the above post that amounts to a "smear" or anything of the sort. If you Ron Paul fans think the American Thinker is going to be the only outlet to raise these issues, you're naive. And your hysterical caterwauling and insult-hurling in Paul's defense does not reflect well on you or your candidate.
After Derbyshire's post, Jonah took took issue
I do think that Paul - if he is the real deal - has a special obligation to draw bright lines between himself and a lot of the fringe-folks who are flocking to him. He is an extremist after all. Not in the way the left uses the term necessarily, but an extremist nonetheless. All you need to do is look at his positions, compare them to where the two parties and 98% of journalists, intellectuals, academics, bureaucrats, politicians and the like are and it's almost impossible to conclude otherwise. Heck, the whole appeal of his campaign is that he's an extremist by the standards of the Beltway. [....]
The left is perfectly happy to blur the lines between a mainstream conservative and a Klansmen. For this and other reasons, it's that much more important for conservatives to make those distinctions very clear. [....]
Ron Paul is getting real money, real attention and, increasingly real poll numbers. It's time he learned how to dance like a pro.
Dan Riehl, of Riehl Word View was scathing: "Derbyshire's posting was as irresponsible as it was ignorant."
Both Andrew Walden and I wrote to The Corner about Derbyshire's troubling post, but so far we have received not even the courtesy of a reply by email, much less publication on The Corner. So I am posting Andrew's letter here:
Aloha Mr Derbyshire,
In regards to your commentary 11-14:
Facts speak for themselves and I have no ability to discern what lies in Ron Paul's heart. The issue is plain: Paul has substantial and open support from KKK, neo-Nazis, Holocaust deniers, and other anti-Semites. Paul is aware of this and has made no real effort to repudiate this support. He clearly reaches out to the "truthers" and to the holocaust-denier American Free Press. Stormfront now links directly to the Ron Paul 2008 fundraising site without bothering with the fig leaf of an intermediary such as the 5th of November site. This comes after RP 2008 communications chief Doug Brandow said he would "look into" blocking the Stormfront IP address from delivering donations.
The issue here is not "amateur campaign staff". There is a clear pattern of accepting (and sometimes seeking) this kind of support. Even the head of "Jews for Paul" defends his candidate by saying in essence-- yes there are white supremacists, I've been working with one of them and I've turned him around and maybe will invite him to dinner. In the real world, white supremacists are shunnned, not invited to dinner or invited into the campaign. Any other candiate running for President today would be wiped out by his refusal to reject/refund/or redirect the $500 from Don Black and the $$$ from the "truthers." Why not Paul?
We are not talking about a stray quote here or there popping up on a racist website. That's a red herring.
Paul breaks from a previously nearly unanimous (recent) tradition of major party candidates using their moral authority to keep such elements marginalized. I find that method superior to that used in Europe where Holocaust deniers can be (and are) imprisoned for their speech. It also prevents any elected officials from "owing" anything to these scum who are mostly tied in with white prison gangs.
As for "paranoid bullying like that just reinforces the worst stereotypes about ethnocentric Jews", I must point out:
1) It is not paranoia to report the facts
2) I am not Jewish, much less an "ethnocentric Jew" and I don't know why anyone would see AT.com as an "ethnocentric Jew" site
3) Your remark implies that anti-Semitism in some part results from "paranoid bullying" by "ethnocentric jews" which then "reenforces the worst stereotypes". I disagree.
Racism is a social construct devised by various political forces in order to assist them in achieving their sociopolitical ends by mobilizing ignorant people. Racism is not the natural outgrowth of the fact that some people look different than others or that some cultures have different levels of national achievement than others. For instance Democrats use the PC hunt for "hidden racism" in order to indoctrinate young black and other non-white students into believeing that they can never get ahead in life. Why try to succeed? -- "hidden racists" are always out there lurking. That is probably the largest and least examined example in the US of the use of racism to achieve political ends.
The Libertarian Party is committed to American pacifism which I view as unleashing al-Qaeda and every other type of power-hungry despot. That means American pacifism is the most violent force in the world today. So I have no use for Paul's (or the LPs) foreign policy agenda and do not mourn the fact that it (and the so-called anti-war movement) is being tarred by association with its enthusiastic neo-Nazi supporters. The real anti-war activists are in uniform risking it all to defeat the real warmongers.
The real tragedy in the Libs increasingly threadbare defense of Paul is that libertarian domestic agenda concepts (which I mostly support) might become tarred by their association with the Paul campaign. I see otherwise intelligent Libertarians (in person and on line) debasing themselves by inventing every type of excuse and justification for Paul's failure to distance himself from the racists. The damage done by this will linger--I think particularly in the Libertarian-heavy state and national "think tanks". What credibility does Ludwig von Mises Institute have left after its head, Lew Rockwell, has dragged it through all of this? There are others. They are so blind I would be embarassed to be associated with them. This problem isn't huge when compared to the size of the other Presidential campaigns, but it is real. It will not go away because some people choose to ignore.
Hawai`i Free Press