Up until very, very recently, Ron Paul, and his son, Rand Paul, have shared not only surnames, but similar reputations. Like his father, Rand Paul has been somewhat of an outlier within his party. They both make sense every now and then, but more often than not, their sensible views on subjects like war are overshadowed by stands on other issues — namely race. Rand has tried to evolve from the days in which he voiced objections to the Civil Rights Act on national television. More recently he has reached out to Black voters as well as joining Cory Brooks to reform criminal background checks and the juvenile justice system.
Unfortunately, Ron Paul is reminding all of us of how racist he is at a time when his son Rand would like most of us to forget the past. His father’s latest utterance is mighty inconvenient as Rand is testing the waters for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016, and seeks a greater portion of the Black vote typically allocated to Republicans.
Speaking with author and fellow libertarian Lew Rockwell about war, Ron Paul said:
“I was always annoyed with it in Congress because we had an anti-war unofficial group, a few libertarian Republicans and generally the Black Caucus and others did not—they are really against war because they want all of that money to go to food stamps for people here. But when it came to sanctions they just could never vote against sanctions that would prevent war and they wanted to look tough and they would go on with the sanctions but never get the results that they thought there were going to get.”
Ron Paul’s casual racism is unsurprising to anyone who knows even a smidgen of the former Texas congressman’s history, or better yet, the history of his newsletters. If I were Rand Paul, I’d call my father and tell him to politely be quiet as I seek the nomination of a party who desperately wants me to appear as Kooky Jr. to primary voters. I imagine Jeb Bush and former President George W. Bush have already had a chat about laying low as little brother explores seeking the highest office in the land.
As for the crux of Ron’s comments, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) was the lone dissenter in the post-9/11 vote to authorize military voice. When speaking on the House floor, Lee said her dissenting vote was on the basis of, “My moral compass, my conscience, and my God for direction.” Lee voted on the basis of the basis of principle, and while she was painted as a traitor at the time, history has proved her right. Years later, others would join her in her dissenting voice against possible war in Syria.
To dismiss a voice like hers under the pretense of just wanting more money for those begging, shiftless, hungry Blacks waiting on the government to send them food stamps is to be shortsighted, stereotypical, and to be blunt, stupid. It is also wrong given that White people are the biggest beneficiaries of food stamps — living in red states, no less.
Unfortunately, even if Ron Paul is considered to be within a fringe sect under the GOP umbrella, he is perpetuating a stereotype that is often used in the GOP. In the last presidential primary, both Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum spoke of Black folks’ purported reliance on food stamps. This was their twisted way of “outreach” to Blacks. No wonder the GOP reportedly dropped efforts to do so in 2012.
Last week, freshman Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-Wis.) reportedly called on constituents of his district to monitor purchases made with debit cards from Food Share, which is Wisconsin’s name for SNAP benefits.
It’s a GOP myth that’s been discredited over and over again. For the lone GOP presidential contender claiming to want to bring more Black people into the party, it’s time for him to speak against such mythology and those who spread it. Even if one of them is his own father.