A letter to the editor of the Modesto Bee makes a point that needs to be made:
There is a reason why Ron Paul will not be president. It has nothing to do with fraud or Diebold machines. The reason why he lost is that a small but vocal minority of lunatic fringe elements (particularly Holocaust deniers and 9/11 “truthers,” people who believe 9/11 was an inside job done on behalf of a larger Jewish conspiracy) used Ron Paul’s campaign as a vehicle for the dissemination of their propaganda.
They had their own agenda and they didn’t care if it hurt Ron Paul’s chances. Their public statements and antics gave the establishment media the ammunition to unfairly link Paul and his real supporters to the subversive views of a tiny handful of malodorous cranks. Even after Paul made it abundantly clear that their views were not his, they continued to hang around his neck like the dead albatross, scaring away people who otherwise would have voted for him. The 9/11 “truthers” and Holocaust deniers should be expecting a thank you note from the Democrats very soon for sabotaging the presidential run of the only man who could have beaten them in November.
While I don’t agree with the letter writer’s statement that Paul is the only candidate who could win against the Democrats in November — as I noted in January of last year, Ron Paul never really had a realistic chance of getting the nomination to begin with and would have lost to Obama or Hillary if he did — I do agree that the campaign, and any chance it might have had to change the neo-con status quo in the Republican Party, was fatally damaged by a very vocal subset of the supporters it attracted.
It was a problem that I noted, much to the consternation of Paul supporters several times over the past year.
In July, his close association with 9/11 truther Alex Jones and the 9/11 truthers who had gathered around him was already being noticed and Paul seemed to not take notice of the fact that he needed to distance himself from these people. Then, when his strength at the Ames Straw poll proved to be weaker than expected, his supporters started alleging vote fraud even though there was absolutely no evidence of it.
By October, it was clear that there was a whacko fringe element to the r3volution and, shortly after that, the endorsement from Stormfront and campaign contribution from its founder became public knowledge. Paul’s campaign ignored the problem and didn’t respond to calls to repudiate Stormfront and return the donation.
Meanwhile, Paul didn’t help himself much either. He continued to appear on Alex Jones’s show and introduced himself to Republican voters by talking about a non-existent conspiracy to create a North American Union.
It wasn’t just the Neo-Nazis that hurt, elements of the grassroots did as well. In Michigan they hounded Rudy Giuliani during a campaign stop, and did the same thing in Georgia in November, and then, in January, they chased Sean Hannity through the streets of Manchester, New Hampshire.
Shortly after that, the newsletters story broke and, combined with everything else that happened over the past year, reinforced in the minds of many the idea the the campaign really didn’t represent mainstream libertarianism.
On top of Stormfront, the 9/11 truthers, and everything else, the newsletters and a particularly offensive campaign mailer in Texas last month, just seemed to confirm all the worst fears about a candidate that had seemed so promising at the start.
On Tuesday, at The Liberty Papers, I asked where Ron Paul’s supporters would go from here. Would they become a real force for libertarian ideas in the GOP, or would they wander off in other directions.
One commenter made a prediction that I think is largely correct:
[T]here is to many fractions in the Ron Paul “movement”.
Where is it going to go? Well frist and fore most, most of the bandwagon folks will go back to being leftists democrats. They aren’t staying in the Republican party. That’s another reason why he didn’t do well. A lot of the “younger” voters who had signed up democrat, didn’t register Republican. I do blame alot of them. As I said in the other post, most of them got squimish during the “newsletter non-scandel”.
Secondly, a lot us folks who have been fighting this good fight, pryor to Paul showing up on the National stage, didn’t feel right with someone standing next to use, smelling like they just came from a Phish show. And these folks, are the most lazy of the “fighters”. Sorry, but there’s more to life then smoking pot.
Thirdly, the reason why the rank and file hacks of the Republican party didn’t want to hear about Freedom and Liberty, is because while Dr. Paul would be speaking, some jackass would have a sign saying “9/11 was an inside job”. Now, how in God’s name do you think you are going to get Middle America to vote for this idea when these jerks are showing up. And yes, you 9/11 truthers, are a bunch of friggin whack-jobs. Deal with it.
And fourthly, a lot of the folks acted rather childish when Dr. Paul would get attacked. Granted a lot of the attacks were as ridiculous as the folks were acting. But, that doesn’t excuse them for sending rathe evil emails, and phone calls that some people didn’t deserve.
So again, you ask…Where is it going? Here’s your answer. NO WHERE.
Time to work on Plan B.