By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

More on Ron Paul’s ties to the racist far right

Ron Paul in 2007

Now that information about Ron Paul’s long-known ties to white-supremacist groups such as Stormfront has finally gone mainstream, it’s time for the media to dig into a particularly incendiary tidbit.

Four years ago, conservative blogger Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs reported that the Vanguard News Network, “one of the ugliest neo-Nazi sites on the Web,” was complaining that Paul had whispered sweet nothings in their ear while taking a very different stance in public.

Johnson reproduced part of a post by Bill White, the “commander” of the American National Socialist Workers Party, who wrote:

Both Congressman Paul and his aides regularly meet with members of the Stormfront set, American Renaissance, the Institute for Historic Review, and others at the Tara Thai restaurant in Arlington, Virginia, usually on Wednesdays. This is part of a dinner that was originally organized by Pat Buchanan, Sam Francis and Joe Sobran, and has since been mostly taken over by the Council of Conservative Citizens.

I have attended these dinners, seen Paul and his aides there, and been invited to his offices in Washington to discuss policy….

Paul is a white nationalist of the Stormfront type who has always kept his racial views and his views about world Judaism quiet because of his political position.

At the time, New York Times blogger Virginia Heffernan made mention of Johnson’s findings and got slapped down in an “editor’s note” for passing along “unverified assertions” and for failing to contact Paul for comment. You can no longer find Heffernan’s post at, but I wrote about it for the Guardian. I also sent an email to the Times’ then-public editor, Clark Hoyt, asking why a Times blogger was being punished for blogging, but I never received a response.

So when is it appropriate to write about the claims of the “commander” of a neo-Nazi group? I’m not sure there’s a good answer. As Johnson began his item four years ago, “Take this one with a grain of salt, please.” But given that the Times today goes page-one with a detailed report about Paul’s ties to Stormfront and other white-supremacist groups, it seems to me that White’s assertions are relevant and worth checking out.

And given the facts that we now know about Paul, it doesn’t seem too outlandish to believe he might have sat down and broken bread with these hate-mongering whack jobs.

It’s interesting to see this stuff finally going public. As I recall, Paul was doing well in the polls four years ago, too. But I guess since he was in no position actually to win the Iowa caucuses or the New Hampshire primary, as he is (or was) today, the executives at major news organizations saw no need to devote the resources needed to investigate Paul’s background.

Paul’s last defense seems to be that though these groups support him, he doesn’t support them, and that he’ll accept help from anyone who offers it. Which means that he may not actually be a racist in the sense of believing that non-whites are genetically inferior to whites. But how finely do Paul’s supporters want to parse this?

And here’s some fresh goodness from Charles Johnson, who has stayed on Paul’s case.

Photo (cc) by R. DeYoung and republished here under a Creative Commons license. Some rights reserved.

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  1. Indeed.

    I’ll give Ron Paul one thing- he’s a persistent if not very talented dancer.

  2. When I was an editor at the Daily Cougar in the late ’70s and Ron Paul, then a representative from the 22nd District, would come to talk on campus, I chanced to interview one of our student-body politicos, an African-American who supported Paul. When I asked why, he said it was because Paul was against abortion and for legalization of drugs. “Abortion was legalized to prevent black families from increasing, and drugs were made illegal to keep the black man in jail.” I said one of the tenants of libertarianism (which Ron Paul said he was, but ran as a Republican because he was spending too much time explaining what a libertarian was) was to keep government involvement out of peoples’ lives, so how could he support government interference in a woman’s body? I never got a good answer to that one.

    I wonder what that University of Houston graduate would say now.

  3. Reggie Giguere

    Mr. Kennedy: I thank you for this article. However, the more I read-including the links to several of Mr. Paul’s “Survival Reports” -the more disillusioned I became. Not that I had decided to cast my vote for him; for I had not. Can you tell me if there is any truth to Mr. Paul’s contention that “more servicemen & women have donated to his campaign than all the other candidates combined”? What other revelations will surface about Mr. Paul and the other candidates that will only service to add to the citizens disgust &/or disappoint?

    As tired as I am of the plethora of Republican debates that have taken place to date, I can see the benefits as well. Imagine what the fallout would be if the “underbelly” of the candidates were not vetted until the list was narrowed down to just the selected nominee?

    On the other hand, how can any citizen expect to make an informed decision based on sound bites and political ad rhetoric? Yes, I know it is the citizens’ responsibility to utilize multiple sources to educate themselves. Moreover, if they do not then they “get the government they deserve.” However, there are millions of Americans who do not have the time, energy, or inclination (regrettably) to research the details. While many others are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of rhetoric assaulting them on a daily basis. So much so that they throw up their hands in utter defeat and tune out all together. And the many others who, quite frankly, do not respect the media enough to believe them either. Far too many (in the media) voicing their own agenda instead of simply reporting facts.

    I recently watched Mitt Romney in a one-hour interview on Charlie Rose. Though I hesitated to tune it at first, I decided I needed to IF I really wanted to be a citizen making an informed decision. My assessment of Romney after that interview? I still do not agree with the bulk of what he said. However, I did come away with a more in depth understanding of that which he had only been able to voice-in sound bites-during the debates. So I asked myself; why can’t/won’t/don’t all of the candidates do the same? No political ads, no commercial interruptions, and no panel discussions: Just one-on-one. From their lips to our ears. And then allow the rest of the media print &/or televise what each candidate said. No embellishments and no personal opinions. Just what they said. After all, we citizens are being asked to make a major decision about who will represent our country for the next four years! I, for one, am very tired of each candidate-yes, President Obama, too- telling me what “the other guy” is or is not doing or saying. Let me decide that! Stick to telling me WHAT you would do. Most importantly, tell me HOW the heck you would do it.

    Ron Paul? You want to get rid of the Federal Reserve. It is an interesting idea. But tell me HOW you would accomplish it? Newt Gingrich? You want to establish some sort of amnesty program for illegal aliens. OK. That idea has some merit. But HOW would you implement it? Details please. Mitt Romney? You embrace the “free enterprise” system and letting the market work it out internally. However, you recognize the benefit of some rules governing the finance industry. OK. But what are the rules? How would you implement them?

    The candidates seem to have (conveniently) forgotten-or are ignoring-one central fact: We, the citizens are their employer. And this political process is their resumes and job interviews. Before I agree to any four-year contract, I want to know what they would do and how they would do it.

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