Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Paul Devotees Spark Online Backlash

He may be the Republican version of Howard Dean in this election cycle, creating an impressive online fundraising base made up of Net-savvy activists. But Ron Paul is having a hard time keeping his cyber-supporters in civil debate mode.

Indeed, things have gotten so bad that a growing number of political blogs and discussion boards — not exactly prime outlets of delicacy in public-spirited discourse — have taken the drastic step of barring especially vocal backers of the Texas congressman from their ranks. Two high-profile conservative blogs, redstate.com and littlegreenfootballs.com, have issued selective bans on the more disruptive Paul supporters trolling the sites. And this month, Bobby Eberle, who runs the site GOPUSA.com, addressed an open letter to Paul backers urging civility.

Eberle’s letter took pains to note that he wasn’t singling out Paul supporters per se but rather “the aggressive network of online fans who bombard discussion boards, spam Web sites, flood online polls, and behave in a manner that puts their candidate in an extremely bad light.”

Eberle says that in seven years of running GOPUSA.com, he’s never come across users as routinely abusive as Paul backers can be. “The typical e-mail from a Ron Paul supporter often contains profanity and is filled with name-calling and attacks on the other candidates,” he says. “They throw out slurs such as ‘neo-con’ or ‘fake Republican’ or ‘sheeple’ or ‘jerks’ or worse. They say people are ‘stupid,’ ‘idiots,’ ‘traitors,’ and worse for not supporting Ron Paul .”

In addition, Paul’s backers have spoiled the fun when the site has sponsored unscientific polls to gauge the popularity of the Republican field. In September, when Eberle sponsored one such poll, Paul’s backers bombarded the site. Paul ended up with 66 percent of the vote. Fred Thompson finished second, with 12 percent. By contrast, in the scientific polls sponsored by major news organizations, Eberle noted, Paul routinely finishes with less than 5 percent of the tally.

Meanwhile, last month, redstate.com barred newly registered users from writing any pro-Paul commentary on the site. “Effective immediately, new users may not shill for Ron Paul in any way shape, form or fashion. Not in comments, not in diaries, nada,” wrote Leon Wolf, a senior editor for the Web site.

Wolf added that the reason for the change was his view that backers of the libertarian Paul — who, unlike most Republicans, has always opposed the Iraq War and opposes federal laws criminalizing drugs — are “a bunch of liberals pretending to be Republicans.”

Likewise, littlegreenfootballs.com dropped Paul’s name from its online polls in May after Paul backers racked up another win by alerting colleagues to vote on the site. Site operator Charles Johnson acknowledged that they hadn’t cheated by voting more than one time but said they had clearly skewed the results through their get-out-the-vote campaign. “ Ron Paul ’s supporters are becoming notorious for sleazy, essentially stupid tactics like this,” he wrote.

At least some Paul enthusiasts have begun arguing that their online zeal may be on the verge of becoming counterproductive. “Now that Dr. Paul has more attention from the mainstream media, we have to take extra precaution to ensure that we are being as tactful as humanly possible,” one anonymous poster wrote recently on a popular Paul discussion board about the congressman, who’s also a physician. “We cannot afford to give the mainstream media or any of Dr. Paul’s opponents ammo.”

But the Paul campaign says it’s in no position to enforce such message discipline among its supporters. “These are independent supporters that are acting on their own volition,” says campaign spokesman Jesse Benton. “The campaign doesn’t have control of or influence over that.”

That would seem a considerable understatement, to judge by the candidate’s recent dealings with his fired-up base. The Philadelphia chapter of Paul’s fan club recently won a fundraising thank-you visit from Paul — but then refused to reconnoiter at the site in suburban Valley Forge that Paul had selected for the appearance, according to Slate.com writer Chadwick Matlin. Instead, they scouted an affordable venue in Philadelphia — and won the candidate’s assent to meet them there. Benton shrugs off such episodes as the price of a committed fan base. “None of this campaign’s growth would be possible without these grass-roots supporters out in the field unleashing their creativity and energy,” he says. “We have the kind of grass-roots energy that other campaigns are trying to buy.”


Cracks me up to no end.

Ron Paul is both GOP and the anti-GOP?

The Paulites have zero credibility as they cannot admit any error, any mistake, any fault in their dear leader. Just surf it for yourself and draw your own conclusions.

That type of idol worship is antithetical to American values. Sounds just like the Bustbots but a slightly different tune. Face it all politicians suck. They lie, they cheat, they hate, they love just like everybody and the absolute insistence that Ron Paul has never been anything except the once and future savior of the 1799 America is just mystical and magical but not real or even believable.

Much ado about nothing because for all the blather and bullshit Ron Paul the politician is only polling at 8% so no chance of him being elected or even nominated. Thank your lucky stars.


Anonymous said...

"...no chance of him being elected or even nominated."

If you're really convinced of that, then why waste so many hours being part of The Online Ron Paul Detractor Brigade?

Could we be 'whistling past the graveyard'..?

capt said...


Yeah, I am terrified of Ron Paul.

Thanks I needed a ROTFLMAO.

Paulites, the gift that keeps on giving.

Too bad you are such a scared little bunny anonymous. If I knew you I would be willing to put more than words to my prediction. (my $$$$$ says never going to happen)

Just for fun. How many points do you think Ron Paul will WIN the GOP nomination by? Then how many votes in the general election will he garner to become the regressor in chief?

Post your numbers here for all to enjoy. Really, you are too chicken to be anything but anonymous so what is the cost?

Thanks again, best time I have had in a long while.

Anonymous said...

Force those belly-laughs until you pass out from lack of oxygen for all I care.

The fact remains (and it IS a fact) that one doesn't spend hours and hours, create page after page of online Detraction, targeting a true "no chance, fringe" candidate.

You can fool yourself if you want, but you can't fool the fatman.

What kind of odds are you offering?
100,000:1 sounds about right for a guy with absolutely NO Chance, don't you think?

Anonymous said...

Oh, and thanks for the gratuitous Ad Hominem...

Makes your arguments seem so much more convincing (to YOU).

Mookie said...

I agree with this post, capt. I myself have been "Pauliced" several times already, and indeed, as you said, they exhibit "True Believer" and Right-Wing Authoritarian behaviour. See: http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~altemey/ for more details.

I want very much for the GOP to fall apart from the inside, and Ron Paul may be the candidate that does it. With any luck, we'll end up with four parties and not just another runty third.

Hajji said...

Travel reports from the Deep South say the signs for both Repug-gnats and Demo's, gracing yards and cars, from the Florida Gulf Coast, through rural Bama and Ga are overwhelmingly "Ron Paul '08". Many are hand-made, on private property. Name-branding on regional level?

One wonders if the zealots are a self-fulfilling prophesy?


Hajji said...

Travel reports from the Deep South say the signs for both Repug-gnats and Demo's, gracing yards and cars, from the Florida Gulf Coast, through rural Bama and Ga are overwhelmingly "Ron Paul '08". Many are hand-made, on private property. Name-branding on regional level?

One wonders if the zealots are a self-fulfilling prophesy?