Ron Paul - Viral Marketing or Viral Infection?
Words that are spoken often leave permanent scars - and regardless of one's efforts they cannot be taken back. People can change. People can alter their ideologies. What people can't do is keep those beliefs hidden forever. Presidential hopeful, Ron Paul, may not have a snowball's chance in hell of ever hearing "Hail to the Chief" as he graces the red carpet - but he is making his mark among those who believe him to be the "Great White Hope."
Watching the drama unfold as the 2008 Presidential Candidates bloody each other up while seeking their party's endorsement may not be something that tops the list of America's entertainment seekers. However, even the most apathetic among us would have to agree that the list of candidates is an interesting one. An African-American, a woman, a bevy of right wingers and a racist are all jockeying for position and ultimately the right to lead the country.
One of those candidates, Ron Paul, probably won't make it to the forefront but he is creating a ruckus on the internet. A few days ago, Political Editor of the Huffington Post, Thomas B. Edsall, wrote a column entitled, "To His Dismay, Ron Paul Becoming Magnet for White Supremacists." Well…DUH! As I read Edsall's piece I couldn't help but wonder where this man had been all his life. The article states:
"The Paul campaign dismissed the pro-Paul activities among these groups. "We don't know who these people are," said Jesse Benton, Paul's communications director. "Their support has "nothing to do with Ron Paul, and what he stands for....His message of freedom, peace and prosperity - that's why people support him."
"Paul has not made racist or anti-Semitic appeals to the controversial organizations and their members. Instead, their support is based on Paul's libertarian opposition to government generally, including the IRS and the powers granted to the federal government under the Patriot Act - views that are shared by many on the conservative fringe of the spectrum."
Forgive me, but I think I might be sick. Let's just look at who this Dr. Ron Paul is. Ron Paul is no newcomer to the political arena and no newcomer to extremism. That's always been his stock-in-trade. From far right-wing milita and tax-evasion groups to downright racist organizations and individuals Paul has built a bastion of bigotry and laid the foundation for this moment.
Like the racists, he couches his rhetoric in euphemistic speech and coat-tails on to popular movements as a means to further his racist and anti-Semitic agenda.
It has been said that Ron Paul is so far right that he is almost left. It's a very weird and, sometimes confusing, set of precepts and concepts with which Paul has spun his web. He was once a Libertarian and sought the Presidency in 1988. Today he runs as a Republican with some claiming that he is the closest thing to what a Republican conservative should be and others claiming that he is anything but.
Highlighting the confusion, and almost bizarre, incongruences that Paul is noted for, the late Molly Ivins, well known Texas columnist had this to say during the 1996 congressional race in Texas:
"In the amazing 14th, Democrat Lefty Morris (his slogan is ''Lefty is Right!'') faces the Republican/Libertarian Ron Paul, who is himself so far right that he's sometimes left, as happens with your Libertarians. I think my favorite issue here is Paul's 1993 newsletter advising ''Frightened Americans'' on how to get their money out of the country. He advised that Peruvian citizenship could be purchased for a mere 25 grand. That we should all become Peruvians is one of the more innovative suggestions of this festive campaign season. But what will the Peruvians think of it?"
Ron Paul has had a long-standing relationship with the "Patriot Movement" and the "Tax Resistance Movement." The Patriot Network, an anti-tax, anti-government group, held a dinner in Paul's honor in 2004, and heavily endorses him for President. The Patriot Network has overlapping ties with a lot of other militia and Christian Identity groups.
The alliance with these types of groups doesn't stop there for Dr. Paul, however. If you are truly judged by the company that you keep, then it shouldn't be too much of a leap to determine just who Ron Paul really is. Among his friends and supporters you can add Tom DeLay, who contributed at least $6,000 to Paul's campaign. In return, Paul voted to allow DeLay to continue in his position after an indictment was handed down for criminal conspiracy and money laundering.
Perhaps even more disturbing is Paul's close and enduring friendship with Christian Reconstructionist Gary North, who is a leading figure in that movement and who served on Paul's staff at one time.
Gary North has many ties to the radical right and to policy makers in the halls of government. Some might remember North best for his inaccurate prognostication of a cataclysmic event concerning Y2K. According to Wikipedia, "North's economic views are libertarian, and he is a believer in the Austrian School of economics. However, socially, he is an advocate of theonomic rule ("the rule of God's law") and proposes a strict legal system based on Biblical laws, which might execute people for violations of those laws (such as sodomy, adultery, witchcraft) that are not capital offenses under current U.S. laws."
North was also a harbinger of doom over the spread of AIDS. According to NNDB,
"In his wryly-titled 1987 essay The Plague Has Come at Last, North predicted millions of deaths by AIDS, full hospitals by 1992. Quoting Camus and forecasting a global epidemic, North wrote:
"In 1992, we will run out of available hospital beds. This means that when you take a family member to stay in the hospital, you will either be sent away, or be sent to a very expensive private hospital, or they will start stacking AIDS victims up in minimal-care, crowded facilities.
"By then, many victims will be heterosexuals.
"But after 1991, it starts getting really serious. Unless a cure is found, or for some reason the disease ceases to be lethal, the doubling process gets us. Those infected today now number between three million and four million. The incubation period, says Dr. Koop, is ten years. They don't know how many people presently infected will actually get full-blown AIDS, but it may be as high as half. It may be 100%, if we wait long enough. But the disease is spreading fast. If it continues to double, 64 million Americans will be infected by the end of 1990. If it slows to half the present rate, and does so immediately, then "only" 15 million will be carriers in 1990.
"The article begins as a somewhat cogent diatribe, but quickly degenerates into the usual palm-waving and all-caps text of a junior high Robert Mcelwaine:
"The only long-term solution is MORAL AND RELIGIOUS. ... THERE IS GOING TO BE A WILD EXODUS FROM THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS. You KNOW I'm right. All talk about "white flight" will end; regardless of race, color, or national origin, THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS ARE GOING TO BE ABANDONED. ... Look, PEOPLE DON'T USE CONDOMS WHEN KISSING. ... WE NEED A PROPHET, NOT A PUBLIC RELATIONS AGENT FOR CONDOMS. ... THE AIDS VIRUS ATTACKS THE BRAIN. DEMENTIA IS THE RESULT. ... THERE IS NO SAFE SEX ANY MORE. ... SENTENCING YOUNG PEOPLE TO DEATH ... STRICT ISOLATION ... INSECTS ... WORLDWIDE PANIC ... LIFETIME CONTAGION ... CRITICAL MASS ..."
Gary North, on top of everything else, sits on the Council for National Policy along with several of his friends. The Council for National Policy is a highly secretive group of extreme right wingers who are very wealthy and very powerful.
In 1992, Ron Paul produced an independent newsletter. During this period, statements made by Paul raised more than a few eyebrows and are coming back to haunt him today. Here are Paul's own words:
"Opinion polls consistently show that only about 5 percent of blacks have sensible political opinions, i.e. support the free market, individual liberty and the end of welfare and affirmative action,"
Paul continued that politically sensible blacks are outnumbered "as decent people." Citing reports that 85 percent of all black men in the District of Columbia are arrested, Paul wrote:
"Given the inefficiencies of what D.C. laughingly calls the `criminal justice system,' I think we can safely assume that 95 percent of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal," Paul said.
"…although we are constantly told that it is evil to be afraid of black men, it is hardly irrational. Black men commit murders, rapes, robberies, muggings and burglaries all out of proportion to their numbers.
Paul even had the chutzpah to say that African-American youths who commit crimes should be tried as adults. He has come under severe criticism not only for his remarks, but for using statistics that were published and skewed by the infamous racist Jared Taylor.
Not surprisingly, once this information surfaced, Paul started back-pedaling claiming that he didn't write those remarks and that a "ghostwriter" had been the culprit. Few believe this to be true, but even if it were he would not escape culpability as he allowed the statements to stand until that time when they might prove harmful to his bid for office.
Consequently, it is with great amusement that I have watched bloggers - of the conservative kind - ask the question, "Why is Stormfront endorsing Ron Paul? Moreover, they wonder why Paul doesn't rebuke their ideology and refuse their support.
Well…um…first of all, as reprehensible as the Stormfront website might be, they do have the right to support and endorse anyone they choose. Secondly, Ron Paul, as one reporter put it, is a "magnet for white supremacists." He attracts them because of his extremism and his right wing stance. He has also attracted a few from the other end of the spectrum, because of his stand on the war. So…what did they expect?
An endorsement from Stormfront is a logical and not unexpected move as David Duke and Jamie Kelso have tipped their hat in Paul's direction. Duke and Kelso have a huge following among Stormfronters and are joined at the hip with Don Black, Stormfront's owner and leader.
Ron Paul has also been a favorite among those at the Council of Conservative Citizens and the League of the South. He has been interviewed on Political Cesspool, the wildly popular radio show which proffers the racist and anti-immigration stances of the Council. Additionally, Paul's campaign progress is continuously monitored by the Council and Political Cesspool.
He is also the chairman of the Liberty Caucus, which includes some of the most conservative members of the House including Tom Tancredo, Jimmy Duncan, and Virgil Goode. Ron Paul is a member of Tom Tancredo's Immigration Reform Caucus, as well.
Tom Tancredo is another favorite among the racist and neo-Confederate groups to which he has pandered.
Paul has been termed the "Internet Darling" by the media because of his wide-spread support on the internet. He is ranked among the top internet search engines as generating the most hits and his YouTube videos have achieved an all time high with at least 33,000 subscribers.
Some claim that it is a mere handful of puppets who are "padding and skewing" the internet statistics, while others prophesy a real upset in the making.
Redstate.com, a popular Republican website, recently banned new Ron Paul supporters from engaging in any commentary referencing Paul. Chastising and warning Paul posters, the notice read as follows:
"Attention, Ron Paul Supporters (Life is *REALLY* Not Fair)," begins, "Effective immediately, new users may *not* shill for Ron Paul in any way shape, form or fashion. Not in comments, not in diaries, nada. If your account is less than 6 months old, you can talk about something else, you can participate in the other threads and be your zany libertarian self all you want, but you cannot pimp Ron Paul. Those with accounts more than six months old may proceed as normal."
Redstate founder, Erick Erickson stated, "They're terribly annoying and they don't add to the debate. If people are adding to the debate we don't have a problem with them coming here. But they're just coming to promote Ron Paul. They talk over everyone. They yell at everyone."
Actually, Redstate.com isn't the only internet site that is upset with Paul's computer savvy group of well-wishers. Many discussion groups throughout cyberspace have been the recipients of the spam-like overzealousness of Paul supporters.
Ron Paul has been repeatedly ignored and omitted by the media as well as many prominent groups seeking the presence of presidential hopefuls. That's not too surprising given the fact that, generally speaking, front-runners get most of the publicity. This is frustrating for those who seek to push Paul into the Republican forefront and perhaps accounts for the rabidity with which they promote their candidate.
Certainly, Ron Paul cannot be held responsible for those who seem to like his ideas. Certainly, no one can be held responsible for the fact that unsavory and unscrupulous people align themselves with him - that is, if they are uninvited. The question that looms and begs an answer is whether or not he sent the invitation.
I contend that by virtue of those with whom Ron Paul associates with, and by virtue of his comments the invitation is a tacit one - but an invitation just the same.