Bob Franken

King Features Column–Paul

(As usual, the arrangement with the syndicators means this column appears here a week after its newspaper release)


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I love the season right after Christmas. You can say “Happy holiday” without someone getting bent out of shape. And we can all drop the forced yuletide smiles and return to the normal sneer.

That’s good, because the subject at hand is something to snarl about … the efforts to put the best face on the hateful writings in the name of Ron Paul.

This is major league bigotry. After the 1992 Los Angeles riots, according to his newsletter, “order was only restored … when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks.” He predicted the “coming race war in our cities” and, to spread the poison around, warned of a “federal homosexual cover-up.” This was in between Paul’s gigs in Congress and before he went from despicable fringe hater to widely celebrated weirdo.

Now his people say he had nothing to do with the vile words. He did make an estimated million dollars from them. They were the work of “ghost” writers, as one staffer told Reuters. That would be opposed to the “night riders” of the Ku Klux Klan, who, like ghosts, also wore sheets. Paul himself told The New York Times, “I was pretty careless about what was going into my own newsletter.”

Call me a skeptic, but it sure seems highly implausible (translation: probably a lie) that Paul or anybody could be that “careless” and not be aware of such invective going out in his name. And if that is true, then one has to question how grossly unqualified he would be as an executive of anything, to say nothing of the United States chief executive.

Now that such racist, homophobic — and anti-Semitic, by the way — sentiments are no longer widely accepted, at least in public, Paul has concocted a new way to say the same thing and appeal to the multitudes who are understandably furious at the way our government corporate cabal has stuck it to us.

Actually, it’s an old way. Ron Paul, nowadays, simply rants about how the feds intrude into our lives far beyond their mandate and need to be bled dry of any power.

It’s code. And it’s the same code bigoted demagogues have been using for centuries. “States’ rights” was the argument Southern segregationists made in the ’50s, ’60s and beyond as their excuse to maintain Jim Crow laws.

While it is not altogether fair to visit a son’s sins upon the father, let’s do it anyway and point out that, while he was a candidate, now-U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky and child of Rep. Ron Paul, Republican of Texas, got into a heap of trouble over his criticism about the Civil Rights Act of 1964, when he argued that private businesses, such as restaurants, have the right to discriminate. Just like Daddy did.

The argument for oppression goes back centuries. The South seceded over claims to state sovereignty (same thing). Among the complaints: The Northern states wouldn’t return fugitive slaves.

Perhaps Congressman Paul would have been right at home back then. Is that too big a stretch? Maybe

Maybe the creators of the Confederacy had ghostwriters. Maybe Ron Paul still does. The ones he claims authored his poisonous essays called themselves “paleolibertarians.” Frankly, the explanation for the term is too tedious and goofy to explain. Let’s just suffice with “paleo,” which in this case really means it’s the work of knuckle-draggers.

On TV, I was asked to spend a warm and fuzzy moment listing my favorite holiday movies. I thought about some of the candidates and which ones they might name, like “Mitt’s a Wonderful Life” or “The Gingrich Who Stole Christmas.” I’m guessing that Ron Paul is deeply into Ebenezer Scrooge’s story, except that, in Paul’s case it would be ghosts of writers past and present. He certainly has a soft spot for “Holiday Inn,” since that’s the one where they sing “White Christmas.”

© 2011 Bob Franken

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