The Pee-Wee Herman of the Republican Party

Some years ago, after popular children’s television performer Pee-Wee Herman was arrested in a pornographic movie house, a friend commented that he wasn’t surprised, as he’d always felt there was something “off” with respect to Herman. In hindsight, that wasn’t too tough a call. I had a similar reaction to James Kirchick’s revelations about Ron Paul.
Kirchick has unearthed and reviewed newsletters that appeared under Paul’s name from the late 1970s on. What he found isn’t pretty: Paul emerges as paranoid and bigoted, the kind of right-winger that liberals love to imagine but that in reality hardly exists. Paul, however, seems to fit the mold. The contents of the newsletters are bad enough that the Paul campaign’s defense apparently will be that he didn’t write them. It is reasonable to assume, however, that he knew they had his name on them.
It seemed obvious to me during the debates that Ron Paul is not just a principled, if quixotic, libertarian. Like Pee-Wee Herman, he is visibly “off.” Paul’s newsletters reveal him as prone to hatred and fond of conspiracy theories. So, in practice, he is much more like an internet liberal than a libertarian of the Steve Forbes or Cato Institute ilk. This is, of course, exactly how he came across in the presidential debates.
We noted Paul’s shady associations here. Unless someone can somehow rebut Kirchick’s research, this should be the end of Ron Paul as even a marginal presidential contender.
UPDATE: Paul’s response to Kirchick’s article is Clintonian.
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