In 1993, Ron Paul sent a bunch of people letters, warning of impending "race wars" in major cities, gun-toting IRS agents, a federal cover-up of homosexuality, and a plot by the US government to track US citizens by putting chemicals in dollar bills. For the record, we are not speaking of your alcoholic uncle, 'Ol Mad-Eye Paul, but of Representative Paul, who's served twenty-five years in the US Congress and is currently the front-runner to win the Iowa caucus.
The statements were part of a direct-mailer that Paul sent out urging people to subscribe to his newsletter — which I guess was an acceptable way of politicking in the pre-computer days. The mailer's main focus is new chemicals in paper money, an anti-counterfeiting measure, that according to Paul could function as tracking devices. According to Reuters:
The articles [also] called the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. a "world-class philanderer," criticized the U.S. holiday bearing King's name as "Hate Whitey Day," and said that AIDS sufferers "enjoy the attention and pity that comes with being sick."
In the weeks leading up the Iowa caucuses, the Paul campaign is under a high level of scrutiny (since, basically, everyone is totally flabbergasted that he's even in contention) and so the nearly twenty-year-old letters have been getting a bunch of press. Of course Paul's camp, in the grand campaign tradition of "just deny it," is denying the letters came from Paul, despite the fact that they are all clearly signed Ron Paul.
With the caucus under two weeks away, the latest polls are showing Paul either tied with Romney for first or flat out leading. And fortunately, it's still unlikely that a Paul victory in Iowa would do much more than show that winning Iowa doesn't matter, although it's still alarming that someone like Paul could even have a sliver of mainstream credibility. It's a little more proof that we're in a pretty wacky political place right now. And that everyone really hates Mitt Romney.