My old friend Dan Sieradski (how old? he designed the ANSI screen for my dial-up BBS. that old.) has a sympathetic but tough story in Jewcy about Ron Paul’s complicated relationship with some of his less savory supporters:
According to the Lone Star Times, White Nationalists have become a noticeable source of financial contributions to the Paul campaign. Indeed, even Don Black, the founder of Stormfront, and one of the most notorious neo-Nazis in America, has personally contributed $500 to Paul’s campaign.
Though it’s true that Paul’s campaign has no control over who sends them money in advance, once it becomes apparent that a neo-Nazi leader is sending money, any sensible politician who does not wish to be identified with neo-Nazism should send the money back. Not so for Ron Paul, however, whose campaign is still making up its mind as to whether or not to return Black’s money.
I actually understand the reluctance here: It’s a bit like the moderation dilemma faced by the operators of online fora. You want to keep your comment space free of all sorts of undesirable content: spam, bigotry, threats, perhaps even personal attacks and off-topic rambling. The trouble is, the more aggressively you edit, the stronger the impression that you at least tacitly condone whatever remains. So it’s easy to imagine the campaign thinking: “Do we really want to set a precedent such that we can be called upon to signal our endorsement or condemnation every time someone controversial throws us a few hundred bucks?” I mean, hey, if I have any neo-Nazi readers who want to hit my tip jar, I’ll happily accept the cash (and then go spend it on Isaac Bashevis Singer novels).