Unendorsed

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Andrew Sullivan looks back:


An endorsement should not be entirely instrumental. I'm not trying to spoil the GOP race; I am trying to support the one guy who has resisted both perpetual offensive warfare and out-of-control spending in the years Republicans embraced both. And so I have to accept that I am endorsing him as a candidate for the presidency, not just as a protest vote against the last decade, and think that through fully. 

And I just cannot see how he can be such a president without explaining away the newsletters convincingly. Until he does, I have to say that the balance of the endorsement must now go to Huntsman. Oddly, I think that Paul's courage in challenging the neocon establishment has made a Huntsman candidacy possible. And I tend to prefer the brave to the lucky. 

And I stand by all the things I wrote about Paul's views, his refreshing candor, his happy temperament, his support for minorities, and his vital work to undo the war on drugs and the military-industrial complex. I don't think he's a racist; in fact, I think he's one of the least racially aware politicians I've come across in a long while. 

But the words and sentiments in those newsletters cannot attach themselves - even by mere appearance - to a potential president of this country. I see that now. Maybe my admiration for Paul's courage and his extraordinary resistance to the authoritarianism and intolerance in his own party blinded me to this. But you can't be both the solution and the problem.

Yeah, basically. 

As an aside, I think there's an essay to be written about why any accusation of a racial offense is so often reduced to "Are you a racist?" It would be as if my wife said, "You forgot to check Samori's homework" and I responded, "I'm not a bad father."

But that piece isn't for me to write. It's for some white person daring enough to plumb the depths of their soul. I don't think this is something that can be explained from the outside.
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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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