Racism Watch: Presidential “Candidate” Edition

In celebration of the end of Donald Trump’s fake campaign here’s some racism from some other white dudes sort of running for president. That’s right, it’s time to play racist shit white man presidential candidates say! We had a Sexism Watch series in the last election so it might be time to revive it for 2012. The next year and a half’s gonna be magic.

We’ll start with Ron Paul, who’s DC rally last year may have actually looked more like an Aryan nation reunion than the Tea Party rally.

From Think Progress, Paul went on TV Sunday to spout his bizarre view that Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are unconstitutional:

Transcript via Fox News after the jump.

So, as even Chris freakin’ Wallace points out, that’s just wrong. There are plenty of wingnuts who don’t even go so far on this one, cause it just makes no. freaking. sense. But ah, Ron Paul, I see what you did there with the “welfare state” thing. When you say “welfare” your followers hear “welfare queen.” Ya know, that scary black spectre leeching of the state who politicians like Paul keep not-so-subtly referring too, even when the economy’s in the tanker. Welfare=the government wasting money on poor people of color, which is sadly the line getting fed to poor white folks.

Ron Paul also went on Chris Matthews’ show Friday to say he would have opposed the Civil Rights Act. His “logic” was some sort of bullshit about property rights – totally not about racism at all. I’m paying less attention to this one since he stole the line from his son, Senator Rand Paul.

Now let’s move on to Newt Gingrich, who is apparently still alive. In a speech in Georgia, Gingrich called President Obama the “food stamp president.” By which he meant poor black guy. He went on Meet the Press Sunday and defended the comments:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Transcript via Jack and Jill Politics after the jump.

The lovely thing about this brand of I’m not racist I don’t see race and I’m not really talking about race racism is that Gingrich can totally say he wasn’t being racist, while the kind of people who would support him (OK, seriously, is there anyone who would support Gingrich in 2011? For actual?) totally know what he means. Food stamps! Poor black people! Obama is the president for the black people leaching off the state! Panic!

And don’t worry, I’m sure Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann will each say something super racist soon so I can correct the gender imbalance of this post.

Video Transcripts:
WALLACE: You talk a lot about the Constitution. You say Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, are all unconstitutional.

PAUL: Technically they are.

WALLACE: Why? Why?

PAUL: There’s no authority. Article 1, Section 8 doesn’t say I can set up insurance program for people. What part of the Constitution —

WALLACE: OK. All right. Well, I don’t know that I’m a liberal, but let’s put it up on the screen, because that’s exactly the point. Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution: “The Congress shall have the power to lay and collect taxes — to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States.” Doesn’t Social Security come under promoting —

PAUL: No. Absolutely —

WALLACE: — promoting the general welfare?

PAUL: Absolutely not.

WALLACE: Why not?

PAUL: General welfare is a general condition — maybe sound currency is general welfare, maybe markets, maybe judicial system, maybe a national defense, but this is specific welfare. This justifies the whole welfare state — the military industrial complex, the welfare to foreigners, the welfare state that imprisons our people and impoverishes our people and gives us our recession.

So, no. Why would you have Article 1, Section 8? And why would you have the Amendment number 9 and 10? That means there is no reason for article 1, number 10 if you believe that? Revenue clause?

That is such an extreme liberal view point that has been mis-taught in our schools for so long. And that’s what we have to reverse, that very notion that you’re presenting.

WALLACE: Congressman, it’s not just a liberal view. It was the decision of the Supreme Court in 1937 when they said that Social Security was constitutional under Article 1, section 8 of the Constitution.

PAUL: Yes. And the Constitution and the court said slavery was legal, too. And we had to reverse that.

So, I’ll tell you, just because a court in ’37 went very liberal on us and expanded the role of government — no, I think the original intent is not a bad idea. I think limitation of government power.

DAVID GREGORY: You gave a speech in Georgia with language that a lot of people think could be coded, racially-tinged language, calling the President, the first black president, a food stamp president.

Oh come on, David.

What did you mean and what was the point?

That’s– that’s bizarre. That– this kind of automatic reference to racism. This is the President of the United States. The President of the United States has to be held accountable. Now the idea that– and I– and what I said is factually true. 47 million Americans are on food stamps. One out of every six– Americans are on food stamps. And to hide behind the charge of racism? I have– I have never said anything about President Obama which is racist.

Well, what did you mean?

I’m– it’s very simple. His policies– and I– I used the very direct analogy. He follows the same destructive political model that destroyed the city of Detroit. I follow the model that Rick Perry and others have used to create more jobs in Texas. You know, Texas, two out of the last four years, created more jobs than the other 49 states combined. … I’m suggesting we know how to create jobs. … The Obama system is going to lead us down the path to Detroit and destruction. I think we need a brand new path. It’s a path of job creation. And one of the central themes of this campaign is going to be paychecks versus food stamps.

Boston, MA

Jos Truitt is Executive Director of Development at Feministing. She joined the team in July 2009, became an Editor in August 2011, and Executive Director in September 2013. She writes about a range of topics including transgender issues, abortion access, and media representation. Jos first got involved with organizing when she led a walk out against the Iraq war at her high school, the Boston Arts Academy. She was introduced to the reproductive justice movement while at Hampshire College, where she organized the Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program’s annual reproductive justice conference. She has worked on the National Abortion Federation’s hotline, was a Field Organizer at Choice USA, and has volunteered as a Pro-Choice Clinic Escort. Jos has written for publications including The Guardian, Bilerico, RH Reality Check, Metro Weekly, and the Columbia Journalism Review. She has spoken and trained at numerous national conferences and college campuses about trans issues, reproductive justice, blogging, feminism, and grassroots organizing. Jos completed her MFA in Printmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute in Spring 2013. In her "spare time" she likes to bake and work on projects about mermaids.

Jos Truitt is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Development.

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Join the Conversation

  • http://feministing.com/members/researcher/ William

    I hate defending Ron Paul, and he really is a horrible racist, but the use of “welfare state” is not in itself racist. It is a technical political term, going back decades, to mean a state that takes care of its residents. It predates the use of “welfare queens”, etc. While it is horrible to try to dismantle it (and often predicated on racist reasons), just using the term is not a racist thing.

  • http://feministing.com/members/dzuunmod/ Josh

    I am by no means defending Ron Paul’s political views, but I think you’re reading something into “welfare state” that isn’t there. That’s a general concept of political science and lots of politicians have, in their careers, uttered those words.

    There’s even a lengthy wikipedia page on it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welfare_state

    These are words that people can say, and it doesn’t have to mean racism.

  • http://feministing.com/members/gibby/ Nina

    Thank you for the above comments. Exactly my thoughts.

  • http://feministing.com/members/alicia/ Alicia

    Firstly, I am not a supporter of Ron Paul. I find his ideas to be extreme and his cherry-picking of what constitutes as the “general welfare” to be unjustified. Why it is acceptable to Paul to pay for national defense but not cancer treatment, food, and shelter is beyond me.

    Nonetheless, I must point out your logical fallacy of begging the question (an argument without evidence). Referring to governmental assistance as welfare does not inherently signify racism. In the interview, he spoke nothing of race. Therefore, to assume his remarks are racist is begging the question. I’ll offer a comparison. Your argument is the equivalent of when people opposed to Obama claim he is a socialist when he mentions anything about healthcare. Even though public healthcare and socialism have connections, one does not equal the other. Because Paul is such a puritanical libertarian, it could well be he opposes these things as part of his government hands-off ideology or for economic reasons. I’ve listened to him speak of welfare and healthcare before and it was never an issue of race, but of economics or individual rights.

    Also, his talk on civil rights had no mention of race, but of property. It is not impossible that someone opposes civil rights merely on the basis of property rights. While it might be detestable for him to oppose civil rights, for you to assume racism is still a logical fallacy of begging the question. It is still the assumption without evidence. Plus, since civil rights is not just about race (and spans many different groups of people), to point to one subset of civil rights (racial equality) and claim Paul is spitting out “racism” while ignoring the rest of things that might be affected as a result of opposition to civil rights is also cherry-picking.

  • http://feministing.com/members/caveneil/ Neil

    I agree with above, as well. Paul’s comments do not strike me as racist. While most would find his constitutional interpretation idiosyncratic, he is entitled to it. While I don’t agree with everything Paul says, I find him to be principled and honest for a politician. I am in substantial agreement with his disdain for American militarism and the carceral state, the latter of which is extremely harmful to minorities.

  • http://feministing.com/members/toongrrl/ Jessica “Jess” Victoria Carillo

    AAaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *pulls hair out* AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhsssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssshhhhhhhhhhhooooooooooooooooooooooolllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeesssssssssssssssss!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I don’t know what makes me mad: Ron Paul and his position on the Civil Rights Act, Newt Gingrich still running around, Ron Paul if it weren’t for CRA racist douches would still be kicking out any person of color out of their establishment, did I mention Newt Gingrich gave his first wife who was in the hospital with cancer divorce papers in front of their daughters? AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://feministing.com/members/researcher/ William

    Despite the fact that the term “welfare state” is not in and of itself racist, I would like to add that Ron Paul has, at the VERY least, promoted some extremely racist views in the past through a newsletter he published. The New Republic did an intense look into that newsletter during the Republican ’08 primary, and it was pretty horrifying, especially compared to anything here.

    A small look can be seen here. The full article is behind a pay wall.

  • http://feministing.com/members/kellykarhu/ kelly

    You are completely misunderstanding Ron Paul and his position. He is for true liberty. Better, yet check out the new and improved version of Paul in Gary Johnson, the one who should be the GOP presidential candidate.

    • http://feministing.com/members/james/ James

      He is for true liberty.

      Unless, of course, you’re a woman who wants to exercise her right to an abortion.

      Or a person of color who wants equal access to a public or private facility.

      Or anyone with a conception of “liberty” that goes beyond pure negative liberty.

      Ron Paul’s libertarian vision of “liberty” is obscene. The elderly have the “liberty” to die sooner without Social Security or Medicare; the poor have the “liberty” to take low-wage jobs without any guarantees for workplace safety, a minimum wage, minimum benefits, or their right to organize into unions; children have the “liberty” to not get any education at all if their parents can’t afford it.

      • http://feministing.com/members/comradekim/ Insurgence

        While I am not a supporter of Ron Paul, as I am not a supporter of any manifestation of government, you seem to be mischaracterizing liberty in this context.

        There is no liberty in using force to take money from people in the form of taxes, regardless of where the money is going. And there is nothing racist, classist, or sexist about wanting to get rid of the welfare state. Poverty was steadily declining until LBJ’s Great Society expanded FDR’s New Deal. The rates of poverty have fluctuated since, but there has been no progress since the 1960’s expansion of state power.

        Not to mention that we all know damn well the social security we’re paying in isn’t going to come back to us. It’s just a disgusting excuse to heap debt onto the next generation.

        Again, I’m no supporter of politicians or the system they work within, but when people talk about getting rid of social security and welfare it is not necessarily because they dislike or don’t care about the poor. It’s most likely because historically the welfare state has increased, not decreased, poverty.

  • http://feministing.com/members/crystal/ Crystal

    “Paul’s alliance with neo-Confederates helps explain the views his newsletters have long espoused on race. Take, for instance, a special issue of the Ron Paul Political Report,published in June 1992, dedicated to explaining the Los Angeles riots of that year. “Order was only restored in L.A. when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks three days after rioting began,” read one typical passage” (http://www.tnr.com/blog/jonathan-chait/88421/ron-pauls-racism)

    I think this puts any doubts to rest as to whether or not his supposedly neutral comments about welfare mask a deep seated racist logic.

  • http://feministing.com/members/weenta/ Weenta

    I don’t think either of these men were being racist or using racist rhetoric and I’m especially appalled that the newscaster interviewing Gingrich would even imply racism from his food stamp comment. Jos writes: “Gingrich called President Obama the “food stamp president.” By which he meant poor black guy.” Really? Prove it. To call Gingrich racist is to assume that the only people on food stamps are people of color, and “food stamps” is somehow suspiciously a buzz word for “poor racial minority/poor black people.” I’m not sure of the exact stats on the race of those on food stamps, but poor people are poor regardless of color–ah, now, wait a minute, I know what you’re thinking–but the issue of people of color disproportionately being poor is a whole separate issue, one that we should argue about on its own terms instead of using it as a chance to argue about whether or not welfare is necessary. And anyways, isn’t it our own racist problem if we always equate “food stamp” with “poor person of color?” The people who support Gingrich might be totally racist and would “totally understand what he means”–but it doesn’t mean we have to be. Especially since he posits it against a solution of job creation, which would theoretically help those poor americans (of color, mostly) on welfare off of welfare. I’m sure that’s not what would happen in our political reality, but it’s pretty impenetrable rhetoric if you’re trying to analyze it for racial undertones.

    This is why I advocate that we actually focus on Gringrich’s politics and stop spending time drumming up racist rhetoric that isn’t there, we would take issue with a whole host of other comments made, mainly Gringich’s belief that successfully addressing the problem of poverty and welfare is only a matter of creating jobs. Yet, how would those jobs be made and and at what cost? It would be more interesting to criticize his model of job creation and government regulation (or more aptly, deregulation).

    I am a liberal and am not a supporter of Gingrich’s politics. I am also a black woman who would be interested in finding some kind of racial undertones/slurs in his speech–that is if there were any to find. Just because Obama is black doesn’t mean he can take a political jab like the rest of the big boys because that’s all this was, a political jab. It happens all the time. This horrible attempt to imply racism is just as dirty and reactionary as some of the rhetorical tactics of extreme right wing conservatives.