As even some of Paul's erstwhile supporters are noting, his explanation doesn't exactly pass muster:
As I say in my first comment below, though, his explanation really doesn’t fly for me. His explanation is at least as goofy as the quotes he’s responding to. Well, I’ll leave it for you readers to decide for yourselves.
What will really be the only way to squash this is to point to verifiable quotes from him on the record that repudiate these quotes. Anything he says now will sound like, well, the sound those sandals make when you walk; like he’s not racist now because that would ruin his chances in a national presidential election.
Others are less sanguine:
I don’t know about you but that sounds pretty lame. It wasn’t me but I could never say that…because, what, no one would believe that some opposition plant had done it and you fired his butt and are now correcting the record? So instead of immediately admitting that they came from his office but disavowing those words and ideas was too complex for the voters?…So better to just live with it?
You buy this explanation? I’d like to but it just defies all logic. Let’s look at it this way: assume that his explanation is completely, 100% true; what does this say about his judgment?
"It seems, in retrospect, that it would have been far, far easier to have told the truth at the time.”
Gee, do ya think? It certainly would be easier to believe. Even Kerry eventually came out against the Swift-Boat Veterans’ accusations. What could this man have been thinking? “Gee, I guess its better to be known as an outspoken racist bigot than to repudiate the crap someone else wrote and scurrilously put my name to? Well, I guess if you’re running for office in an area of the country where many people think those things, it may just be better. Better for your chances of winning, that is.
I would ask readers to wonder if Mark would be nearly as willing to embrace this kind of "clarification" if it came from Ralph Peters, Michael Ledeen, or any administration official who outspokenly supported the Iraq war. Like I said, it seems to make all the difference in the world about whose axe is getting gored. For someone who screams at the top of his lungs for anyone he with his telepathic charism believes to be "entering to evil," it seems like there's a world of nuance to be held for those whose heart he believes is in the right place.
* I am going to keep knocking Mark on that one as long as he keeps repeating to it. As someone who cares more about the pro-life movement than being self-righteous, let me just say that I think it is extremely important to actually engage the arguments of abortion supporters instead of attributing their actions to conspiracies or straw men. Abortion can be quite easily explained in the United States without invoking a Marxist-esque conspiracy of the rich to murder the poor.