Friday, January 06, 2012

Should Ron Paul have to disavow this ad?

Here's a video made by some group that seems to support Ron Paul:

I guess this is the issue. A group that supports Ron Paul's presidential bid made this incredibly offensive commercial attacking Jon Huntsman, basing its attacks on Huntsman's ability to speak fluent Mandarin, and his long-running relationship with China, which is one of the reasons President Obama appointed Huntsman ambassador to China. However, since the Paul campaign didn't make the ad, does the Ron Paul campaign have a responsibility to comment on it in one way or another?

It's a legitimate question. Until recently, our election laws banned such attack ads, not allowing shadowy groups with God-knows-how-much money to make them. More importantly, it used to be that if a presidential candidate had an affiliation with one of these groups, he or she had to say so. In the wake of the Citizens United decision, in which the Roberts Court decided that money is speech, that's no longer the case. The group who made this ad could very well be affiliated with the Paul campaign—or with the campaign of any other candidate, including Barack Obama. Or maybe I made that ad. There's no way to know, and no one has to come forward about it.

The ad was made by someone saying they're in favor of Ron Paul. Even that might be kind of dubious. That ad makes me hate Ron Paul even more, which makes me wonder if it couldn't have been done by someone trying to embarrass Paul. I know that a lot of xenophobes are drawn to Ron Paul, but this seems to be a bit beyond the pale, even for them. Maybe I just think too highly of people in general, so I wind up giving them the benefit of the doubt.

I think Ron Paul should say something and move right past this. It's not a great solution, but I can't think of anything better. The bigger issue is that we're likely to see more ads like this in 2012 and beyond, which will make this election one of the ugliest ever. Unlimited funds to make anonymous attacks on candidates—how in the hell could even the partisan, activist judges aligned with Justice Roberts fail to see the danger here?

Fasten your seatbelts. We're in for one nasty ride.

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