Ron Paul, as you might recall, has demonstrated questionable judgment on matters relating to racism before. Perhaps that's why he was so quick to send in the damage control teams this time.
You may remember that earlier this week I blogged about Bill Johnson aka Danial Johnson aka James O. Pace, who is running for Superior Court Judge in Los Angeles. Some of us think that his qualifications for that office are suspect, given the recent discovery by the MetNews that in the 1980s under the name James O. Pace, he published a book calling for the repeal of the Fourteen and Fifteenth Amendments (those are good ones, let me assure you) and the ratification of the Pace Amendment, which would limit American citizenship to people of pure Northern European descent.
Johnson had claimed an endorsement by Paul. Ron Paul was pretty quick on the draw on this one, throwing Johnson briskly under the blimp:
Although Bill Johnson's name ended up on the endorsement list, he did not go through this process. In light of this fact, and in light of the revelations regarding his past statements and associations, Dr Paul has retracted the endorsement and hopes that, in the future, the process that has been put into place will mitigate the likelihood of similar errors.
The same guy who handled newsletters for Paul probably handled endorsements.
Anyway, the L.A. Times is now all over this. It's received a confirmation from Johnson that he is, indeed, Pace:
Johnson confirmed in a phone call with our own Robert Greene that he is indeed the author of the Pace amendment and of the "James O. Pace" book Amendment to the Constitution.
Johnson's supporters are going nuts and sounding a call to arms to flood comment threads in a fair, if small-scale, imitation of Paulians, as can be seen here and here and especially here. Their arguments seem to be (1) Johnson isn't Pace (this argument is slipping somewhat with Johnson's admission that he is Pace), (2) claims of racism are thrown around too much these days (perhaps, but nobody rational can deny that the Pace Amendment is racist), and (3) he's not racist any more because he's cordial to various ethnicities.
The first two arguments are ludicrous. The third deserves comment. Can an avowed racist reform? Certainly. George Wallace did. But please note that George Wallace had the good grace to get shot before seeking forgiveness. Also, he sought forgiveness — he admitted that his earlier pro-segregation views were wrong and begged pardon from civil rights leaders. Where's Johnson's ackowledgement that the Pace Amendment was wrong? Where's his apology for pushing white supremacist views? Without those, Johnson may have changed, but he hasn't atoned, and by no stretch of the imagination has he earned anyone's vote.
As I wrote before, he could win either way in this nutty county, where the difference between the names "Olson" and "Janavs" can result in a bagel shop proprietor beating a respected veteran judge in a judicial race. But take comfort in this — if he does win, he'll be a pariah. Every hand will be against him. And he'll have very few cases. In California, under Code of Civil Procedure 170.6, a civil or criminal litigant can disqualify a judge once per case, no questions asked. I'd certainly disqualify him in a second if I got assigned to him, and I'm confident that the District Attorney's Office and Public Defender's office would do so en masse. If he wins, he may win nothing but broad infamy. And a nice salary, of course.
Update: my hometown weekly paper does a piss-poor job covering Johnson.