Zaid Jilani, a proud Southerner, doesn't think Ron Paul is at all racist. He tweets:-
Zaid Jilani is the Jimmy Olsen of Think Progress, the little kid they've let sit at the big kids' table; but if his bosses at Think really do think twice, they might think again about letting Zaid roam loose outside his stroller, because he's one of a growing bunch of Progressives who've morphed so much into Paulbots that they're as much in denial about Ron Paul's racist past (and present) as the real hardcore Paulites are in hiding it.
Let's be brutally honest for Zaid's sake: Ron Paul is a racist, and no matter how much he tries to deny it now, for expediency's sake, he is a racist. He invites support from white supremacists. An article in today's New York Times lists the frightening number of white supremacist and militia organisations who have made financial contributions and openly endorsed the Paul candidacy.
One of the organisations listed is Stormfront, which is the online identity of the American Nazi Party. Ron Paul has even, on occasion, allowed himself to be photographed with Don Black, who is the website's director and who is married to the ex-wife of David Dukes:-
Even though Ron Paul "disavows" these people and the views they hold, he doesn't distance himself from them. Once again, let's be simple for Zaid's sake: These people do not like black people. They do not like Jews. They do not like Muslims, especially brown or black Muslims. They have scant regard for Catholics. They believe in the supremacy of white Protestant America.
Regrettably, Zaid Jilani is not a part of white Protestant America.
If Zaid has any doubt about racist rhetoric contained in Uncle Ron's newsletters, he can have a read of them here. Or as The Chicago Magazine summarises them:-
Racist rhetoric is only the half of it. There's homophobia ("the reporter--who certainly had an axe to grind, and that's not easy with a limp wrist"; "[gays] enjoy the attention and pity that comes with being sick [i.e. getting AIDS]"), stock conspiracy theory ("In his speech to fellow Bohemians, Reagan advocated the old Trilateralist agenda item of four-year terms for Congressmen"—okay, the Reagan bit is pretty novel), a bizarro defense of chess legend and legendary antisemite Bobby Fischer ("all the makings of an American hero"), and much, much more. I don't think Paul's stances against the drug war and Pentagon funding are the only reasons the GOP is loathe to embrace Paul; no one much likes talking about the crazy uncle.
Paul's defense is that he disavows the various Ron Paul newsletters, didn't write them, and furthermore had no idea what was in them. There are two options: 1) he's lying, which is bad 2) he's not lying, which is at best embarrassing. If the latter is true, that also means he's been lying about them, at least by omission.
But for all that, Ron Paul is on record as claiming responsibility for his newsletters, as evidenced in this clip from 1995:-
As the divine Bob Cesca points out, Paul is actively promoting these newsletters here. He grasps responsibility by the lexicon he uses - "I do a newsletter" (active mode). He doesn't pass responsibility to others whom he later will claim wrote what they wrote without his knowledge (and from which he earned millions of dollars).
Associations with racist organisations seem to be part-and-parcel of the Paul family. As goes the father, so goes the son. I would imagine that Zaid, like many of his idealogical ilk, hate, detest and despise Ron's son, Rand Paul - but why? There is no difference politically, except that Rand more openly espoused his affinity with the Tea Party movement than his father did, which may make him unpalatable to Progressives. However, since Jesse Benton, a known white supremacist with links to the American Nazi Party, was Rand's campaign manager, it does seem odd that these white-sheet types seem to gravitate toward the Paul political family, who do nothing to separate the wheat from the chaff.
This isn't a matter of bad communication or an old man's views evolving into something more tolerant over time. The one constant that has never ceased to amaze me during the past three years of Barack Obama's seminal Presidency is how the election of our first African American President has succeeded in bringing racist cockroaches crawling from the woodwork on both Right and Left.
Any so-called Progressive or Liberal who is ready to abandon the most liberal President since Lyndon Johnson with the excuse that a curmudgeonly septuagenarian country doctor with racist and homophobic viewpoints, amongst other things, holds the key to their hopes is neither Progressive nor Liberal. If that Liberal or Progressive is comfortable enough to share a tent with Stormfront and other white supremacists, I would remind him of an old Southern saying:-
You lie down with dogs, you'll get up with fleas.
Zaid Jilani is a brown, Muslim Southerner, who says he can't identify racism because he isn't black but brown. Bullshit. In many parts of the South, brown is black - especially if brown is accompanied by the identifying proper adjective "Muslim." Zaid, those nice people you talk to who surround Ron Paul don't really like you. They're nice in the way "Southern hospitality" is superficially nice. For you to want to be like them or join in their jamboree defines you in others' eyes as the most pathetic kind of oreo; because at the end of the day, those people in Paul's court and likewise will only define you as a white man's nigger.
That's your choice.