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On the Jewish Question

November 13th, 2007 · 6 Comments

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).

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6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Roach // Nov 14, 2007 at 12:09 pm

    This could also be a good “teachable moment.” Look a Constitutional order will appeal to all kinds of people, including extremists, because the whole point is to allow a flourishing of communities, viewpoints, etc. So it’s natural people who one strongly disagrees with would still support Paul because of his support for a return to a Constitutional order.

  • 2 Adam // Nov 14, 2007 at 1:39 pm

    Indeed, politics makes strange bed-fellows.

    And it’s not as if Don Black waltzed into Ro Paul’s Hew Hampshire headquarters, wrote out a personal check, and handed it Congessman Paul personally. It even have been as impersonal as Black donating on-line with his credit card. Had Black not announced his support and donation, no one beyond the FEC would even know about it. Exactly how much sway does $500 hold anyway?

    It’s dismaying to hear harrumphing about this issue, while Major Giulliani stands by a credibily-accused child abuser/priest, his mafia-soaked buddy Bernard Kerik, and his embrancement of the blatantly anti-Semitic, homophobic Pat Robertson. Why is there no gasping and groaning over Giulliani’s CLOSE associates, but Congressman Paul goes through the ringer?

    I suspect a part of it is that Giulliani doesn’t pretend to be anything but power-hungry, while Paul is running a campaign of ideas and principles. Giulliani’s got no principles, just a track record of holding and using power effectively. Therefore, it’s impossible for him to be hypocritical, since he believes in nothing but gaining power.

  • 3 Sigivald // Nov 14, 2007 at 2:54 pm

    I had much the same reaction as your last line.

    I’d have more respect for Paul if his campaign issued a press release saying they were keeping the neo-Nazis’ money on the grounds that while Paul has no dislike of Jews, he’d rather he had their money than that they spent it on furthering their anti-Jewish/Black/whatever cause.

    Any dollar they give to him is one they’re not spending on things more useful to their reprehensible goals.

  • 4 R. Totale // Nov 14, 2007 at 5:06 pm

    Has NAMBLA endorsed anyone yet?

  • 5 Trevor // Nov 15, 2007 at 7:08 pm

    ‘ll happily accept the cash (and then go spend it on Isaac Bashevis Singer novels).

    I always wondered why something like that isn’t more prevalent. Rather than giving the money back, shouldn’t Paul donate it to the ADL?

  • 6 southpaw // Dec 11, 2007 at 8:45 am

    I always wondered why something like that isn’t more prevalent. Rather than giving the money back, shouldn’t Paul donate it to the ADL?

    I can’t say whether it’s the practice for contributions that are simply unsavory, but when the contributor is under indictment in some public way, this is definitely what happens. There were stories about charities that were having banner years on account of all the Abramoff money Republicans were dumping, back when that was a thing.

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