David Frum

01.17.12

Paul: Attacks Ok, Except Against Me

The Daily Beast has a wonderfully useful compilation of the key moments in last night’s Fox News Debate in South Carolina.

Clip #3 has Ron Paul defending his negative ads—and lamenting that he his one-minute ad against Rick Santorum did not allow him room to express all the negative things he wanted to say.

Of course, of all the candidates, Ron Paul has the worst record to defend. Jamie Kirchick adds new material in The New Republic today, including celebration of violent militia movements and urgings that 13-year-old black boys (but not whites) be tried as adults. The latest Kirchick culling also cast light on the reported refusal of Ron Paul to shake the hand of a supporter he knew to be gay:

Paul’s newsletters were particularly obsessed with the casual transmission of AIDS, a hallmark of right-wing fear-mongering at the time. A Survival Report item referred to the Americans With Disabilities Act as a “totalitarian law” because “dentists can no longer refuse to work on the bloody mouths of AIDS carriers.” The piece referred to then-Assistant Attorney General and future Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick (inaccurately called “Patrick Deval”) as “evil.”

Yet let anyone cite the record of material published under Paul’s name, written by Paul’s closest supporters, for the profit of the Paul family finances—and the Paul campaign howls dirty pool. Would it be a valid defense for Rick Santorum to say: “I didn’t cast that vote, I don’t know who did, and it was 20 years ago so how dare you ask me about it?” Hardly. Nor should there be any such pass for the one candidate in the race who exploited racism, anti-semitism, anti-gay bigotry, and all-purpose crank paranoia to extract upwards at least $1 million per year of personal gain from his deluded followers.