Thursday, January 10, 2008

Ron Paul's Loonie Brigade Unleashed?

So, is Ron Paul a racist, homophobe, and all-around bigot? An examination of some of his old newsletters implies as much, as this Jamie Kirchick story indicates.

I'm usually wary of Kirchick who too often is so agenda-driven that his work can be shoddy, his conclusions knee-jerk. Nonetheless, the evidence in this case seems compelling enough to raise questions. But the most interesting element of all of this is the way in which Kirchick's piece really smoked out Paul's wingnut brigade of supporters. The typical New Republic article or blog post might elicit a handful of posts if it is interesting or provocative, a few dozen if it is truly controversial or hits a nerve. Kirchick's article has inspired nearly 1400 comments, the huge majority from an obviously mobilized and organized online brigade of Paul groupies. Whatever Kirchick's flaws, he seems to have hit a rich vein. And while it is unfair to taint a candidate by his or her craziest fringe, when that fringe establishes a critical mass, (and when it inspires David Duke to start giving campaign advice) it does raise some serious concerns about the candidate.


Rich said...

I could have sworn that during last night's debate Ron Paul said something that sounded more like "yabbadabbadoo" than an answer to the particular question he was asked.

dcat said...

I'm actually a bit surprised that we haven't gotten one or two of paul's defenders here -- as reader Paul pointed out last time we had a Ron Paul-themed post, we seem to have gotten some of his defenders.

Don't get me wrong -- I still admire his ideological consistency in some ways and his Quixotic approach, but naturally these allegations are disquieting. the uy isn't winning anyway, so I suppose it's all somewhat moot.


montana urban legend said...

His admirers are starting to seem like a new kind of "dittohead".

Check out any YouTube video on Obama and their not-so-crafty handiwork will be littered throughout the comment threads. Paul, himself, was scoffed at during the NH debate when he took to pronouncing comparisons of himself to B.O. based on age demographics of their supporters.

Yep. He's a nut.

Paul said...

I warned you about his supporters. I believe my actual words were, "his campaign is a joke."

The tipoff was when that Marshall guy referred to him as "Dr. Paul."

There is an actual website where the Paulians go to find web-based polls so that they can register fake names and vote repeatedly for him.

Paul said...

and for added fun, check out the comments!

g_rob said...

How dare you attack Ron!

(seen at Andrew SUllivan)

dcat said...

Gentlemen --
I think what it comes down to more than anything is the question I ask in my post, which is, how accountable is a candidate for his or her supporters? My guess is that every single person running for president has some nuts behind them. But there just seems to be such an alarming critical mass when it comes to Ron Paul. And couple that with his crusading tone, and the fact that he really does want to gut government and that his constitutional arguments are pretty flimsy -- amounting to: Where in the Constitution does it say that there can be a federal reserve? Which is a pretty crazily narrow reading of the Constitution.

In any case, i think many of the supporters bear the same characteristics -- as Paul points out, the "Dr. Paul" thing just ends up sounding creepy somehow.

I'm still disappointed that I'm so small time that we haven't had a deluge of comments calling me names and insulting all of our collective intelligence. It's sort of like not getting so much as a mention in one of David Horowitz's books or in another age, a place on Nixon's enemies list or Hoover's FBI files -- I wouldn't expect it, and the downside would be greater than the upside, but I'm still kind of hurt.


montana urban legend said...

Well, if it's any consolation at all, I agree with your stance that his reading of the Constitution is not only crazy, but impractical - as upending centuries of jurisprudence is not something one accomplishes overnight. And I got a run for my money on that one by both Ron Paul supporters and more rational economists/political scientists/Federalists/Hamiltonians here. I posted under the name "Not Supporting Paul".

I guess you just have to know where to find them.

Paul said...

Another blow for the dead horse: