It’s interesting to observe what qualifies as beyond the pale in American politics. For bigoted newsletters written two decades ago, Ron Paul is deemed by many to be disqualified from the presidency. I don’t fault anyone for criticizing those newsletters. I’ve done so myself. They’re terrible. So is the way he’s handled the controversy. But isn’t it interesting that Paul has been more discredited by years-old, ghostwritten remarks than has Newt Gingrich for bigotry that he’s uttered himself, on camera, during the present campaign? It’s gone largely ignored both in the mainstream press and the movement-conservative organs that were most vocal condemning Paul.
That’s because Muslims are the target. And despite the fact that George W. Bush was admirably careful to avoid demonizing a whole religious faith for the actions of a small minority of its adherents — despite the fact that Barack Obama too has been beyond reproach in this respect — anti-Muslim bigotry in America is treated differently than every other kind, often by the very same people who allege without irony that there is a war in this country against Christians.