The Presidential Race Meets The Wire

thewire The Presidential Race Meets The Wire

This story happens during every campaign. The press – or a rival campaign – review’s a candidate’s list of donors, find one who is objectionable on some level, and then demands that the candidate return the donation and disavow whatever it is about the donor that is objectionable. And usually candidates play along.

But Ron Paul isn’t. And while the headlines that result – “Paul Keeps White Supremacist Donation” – are damning, his reasoning is, at least, refreshingly different.

At issue is a $500 check that Paul received from Don Black of West Palm Beach, who runs a web site whose slogan is “White Pride World Wide.” Black is one of tens of thousands of donors who chipped in to Paul’s campaign – which was launched on a shoestring, exploded in popularity, and raked in more than $12 million in one day last weekend.

Until alerted by the media, Paul said, he had never met nor heard of Black. But he’s keeping the cash. Paul’s logic: If the guy thinks he’s buying any influence, he’s wasted his money. (Plus, he noted in a TV interview yesterday, this makes $500 less that Don Black has to spread his own message.)

Actually, this whole flare-up calls to mind an episode of “The Wire” from last season. In it, Norman Wilson, the black deputy campaign manager for a mayoral candidate, stands by while his boss is greeted by an elderly white voter on the street. The voter tells the candidate, who is white, that he’s supporting him because the blacks – although he uses a different term than this – are ruining his city. The candidate says nothing. As he recounts the exchange later, Wilson is asked by his wife if he was offended that his candidate hadn’t spoken up.

“A vote’s a vote,” Wilson said, “and I never throw one back.”