There is no There There -- Ron Paul's Loud, Thin Base

Writing in today's Times, Richard A. Oppel asks, "Whatever happened to Ron Paul?"

Ron Paul has fans, in the traditional sense of the word--fanatics. They foam over this small and strange man, whose career in Congress has largely been ineffectual. Thousands go to his rallies, but as Oppel observes, "A Feb. 27 event at Michigan State University drew 4,000 people. But at polling places the next day, Mr. Paul finished third -- with 3,128 votes -- in Ingham County, where the campus is. Mr. Romney got more than three times as many votes." Paul's supporters attribute this to a failure in conveying the urgency to vote.

Paul is emblematic of the larger libertarian movement, if it can even be called that. Paul's supporters are loud and able to manipulate the levers of public spectacle and the media. They seem omnipresent in Washington, DC, on policy panels and the like, but support for their ideas is not widely shared. In general elections, libertarian candidates routinely capture less than 1 percent of the vote. Perhaps that is a reflection of the power of our two political parties. But Ralph Nader, representing the complete opposite of the libertarian canon, captured over 2% in 2000.

The Ron Paul people remind me of the Lyndon LaRouche supporters who used to plague the Berkeley campus. They typically were good looking young people who would accost others with a message that might be popular on the campus: "Impeach Dick Cheney." That might be a conversation starter. But once one looks at the spectrum of where that conversation goes--in both LaRouche's case and in the case of the libertarians--one might be turned off. All sorts of crazy is on parade, from years-long campaigns against global warming, bluster about the stimulus, and hysterical attacks on Obama's healthcare plan.

One cannot just cause a spectacle and win an election. It takes people, investment, and time. Once one takes the time, invests in people, and actually organizes, one sees that the world is a complex place and perhaps is less likely to vote for the likes of Ron Paul.


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Yawn. Another misinformation hit piece by the statist propaganda media.

By José Mora (not verified) on 28 Mar 2012 #permalink


Yawn. Another misinformation hit piece by the statist propaganda media.

Tell us again how many delegates Paul has for the nomination?

âNever doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.â
â Margaret Mead

The fire that Ron Paul has lit in the 2012 Republican Presidential nomination race will not be watered down by a few derogatory comments from the mainstream media. Nor will it be put out by the withered GOP guard fighting to keep the door closed. It will instead rage when the people finally realize they're being deprived of their liberties, and consume the establishment clinging to the old ways.
As long as the internet is free, truth can always topple tyranny. Geotag on the only realtime worldwide Ron Paul map on the web:

PS- This "journalist" also has the dubious distinction of being the first to suggest that Ron Paul and his camp lack organization. Well done!

By Last Bastion (not verified) on 28 Mar 2012 #permalink

Considering the fact that most of the reported delegate counts are based on non binding straw polls and the delegate process is still ongoing in many many states, combined with only being a few months into a 9 month election cycle, you can bet that no one really knows how many delegates are actually accumulated by each candidate until t hose hard numbers actually come in, andfirst hand reports have favored Paul winning a plurality that the corporate media conveniently forgets to mention.

people need to stop regurgitating msm smear and do some independent research.

By Think outside the tv (not verified) on 28 Mar 2012 #permalink

@2 How about you tell us how many delegates Ron Paul has, or any candidate for that matter. Nobody can, because all of the caucus states (I think around half of the delegates to date) are not determined by the primary "poll." The delegate numbers media outlets put up for those states are based on the assumption that the primary vote would reflect the delegates. So far at the county and district level (then state, then national convention) the delegate distribution is completely different than the primary vote results.

Ah, Libertarians...They are against the Affordable Health Care Act, and they're against funding Planned Parenthood, and are generally against everything. The have not explained how anyone is going to have health care, except "be born rich, and then you'll have no worries."

By Navigator (not verified) on 28 Mar 2012 #permalink

I am still amazed how so called reporters like you still have a platform to spew this kind of garbage out. You need to get your facts straight before you find out just how many loyal supporters Ron Paul really has! You've offended many good people including many military personel who fight for your freedoms!


first hand reports have favored Paul winning a plurality that the corporate media conveniently forgets to mention Paul is actually winning even though everybody except the true believers thinks he's losing. And Marshall Applewhite really did travel to that comet/spacecraft.


the delegate distribution is completely different than the primary vote results

So the primary votes and caucus results that show others being ahead really are in Paul's favor? I guess saying otherwise is doubleplus ungood?

Seriously, what crazed conspiracy are you nutjobs going to concoct when somebody else (likely Romney) is actually nominated? The OP has you dead to rights: A pure LaRouche-ite mentality.

Ron Paul has a lot of delegates. Let me explain:

He has a clean sweep for Missouri's state-wide nominating contest.

St. Louis City Caucus
All 36 delegates and 36 alternate delegates to both the 1st Congressional District and to the Republican State Convention.

Jackson County

5th Congressional District

Ron won 63 delegates, won all 144 alternate delegates, won 105 delegates to the Republican state convention, and won 144 alternates to the state convention.

6th Congressional District
Ron won all 39 delegates, won all 39 delegates to the state convention, and won 144 alternates to the state convention.

Countywide totals for Dr. Paul include 246 Congressional delegates, more than double Mitt Romneyâs 120, and 360 alternate delegates for Ron Paul, a clean sweep in that regard.

That's just in Missouri. He's doing exceptionally well in Nevada, too!

Las Vegas, Paul supporters were elected to two-thirds of the board positions in the Clark County Republican Party after winning more county convention delegates than any other candidate at the caucuses â including Mitt Romney.

In Iowa, the state co-chair of the Paul campaign was elected as the chairman of the Iowa Republican Party in February. Last week, Paul supporters swept all the delegate slots in two of Seattleâs largest legislative district conventions.

So, I wouldn't bank on the delegate count that the MSM is shitting out, because they clearly do not understand how the delegate process works and, as a result, neither do you.

Ron Paul is currently in second for delegates (if not 1st). His total numbers are not completely known, but that's just how his campaign likes it as they plan for an upset at the convention.

Have a nice day! :)

By Nightingale (not verified) on 28 Mar 2012 #permalink

i like Paul for standing up and expressing the truth on the 9/11 attacks (they came here because we are there), that endless war in foreign countries is unsustainable , unwinnable and un-christian (though i am an atheist) and that the drug war is a total farce. I am disappointed some of the bloggers on here keep playing politics, demonizing anything remotely non-Democratic Party. it's a huge turn-off to see folks who champion the cause of logic and reason get mean-spirited and biased when someone does not share their political views.

By sick of the politics (not verified) on 28 Mar 2012 #permalink

I am a Canadian. I don't really care who you elect.
As an observer I must say that the reporters in your once great country are incredibly ill informed. I know a great deal more about your political system than all of your major news outlets.
As a reporter you are an embarrassment to your profession as are most of your colleagues.

I agree with you, and I live in the US. Our so-called reporters are only fit to comment on what someone is wearing today, and don't have any understanding of the issues before us today.
So, if Minnesota wants to succeed from the union (we are the great socialist state in the north) and join with Canada, are you ready to receive us:)

By navigator (not verified) on 28 Mar 2012 #permalink

I couldn't disagree more with your assessment of Ron Paul. A poll done a few days ago shows that he would draw 17% of the vote today if he ran on a third party ticket against Obamaa and Romney. The Democrats and Republicans are hell bent on spending more than they take in, be it building empires around the world or ensuring entitlements. Whenever a new movement emerges, it starts out as a minor element and then grows. That is what is happening with Ron Paul and the Libertarian movement this year. I think we are seeing the birth of a new movement in the US. One dedicated to prosperity and peace.

The LaRouche comparison is quite apt. I can't prove it, but I'm pretty sure it's the same bunch of wingnuts who just shifted their allegiance from LaRouche to Paul.

Hot air, spouted from a teacher of falsehood under the guise of an embrace of truth and rejection of denial. Are you so in denial of your own fraud that you are unaware? Sad place to be in. I guess it gives you "something" to hang on to. I encourage you to seriously ask yourself if you really really believe the stuff you say, keeping in mind the actual truth does not depend on your belief, nor does believing in something really hard or intently necessitate truth. And it is truth we are interested in, is it not?

This article is long on assumptions, generalizations, and stereotypes and short on thoughtfulness, reason, and facts. I also got a laugh at the reference to a New York Times article about Paul. Relying on the New York Times (or any other mainstream media outlet) for accurate information about Ron Paul is like relying on an Amazonian tribesman for tech support. I recommend you and everyone else check out @Ron Paul vs. the #HONESTMISTAKE on Youtube. It might just open your eyes a bit.

By Anonymous (not verified) on 28 Mar 2012 #permalink

...I should note that I myself spoke in generalizations with regards to NYT and the MSM there. To be fair, that article was the fairest I've seen on Paul in the NYT thus far.

Also, in response to some of the comments here, you clearly weren't paying attention when the Associated Press/CNN/whoever told you that the delegate counts are "projections", "estimates", or synonyms thereof. At this juncture, not even the Republican Party itself knows what the true delegate counts are.

By Anonymous (not verified) on 28 Mar 2012 #permalink

So, why exactly would the "mainstream media" be against Paul? Think about how much fun it would be to cover his campaign compared to santorum!

There's all this objection to the basic facts of the article, but many of them are confirmed by Paul himself. His campaign is concerned about turnout. So where is this revolution that all the Paul posters proclaim is imminent?

Why are the paul bots calling someone here a "reporter?" Is this some sort of cut and paste spam thing, or am I missing out on some inside joke?

Chris H.@19: It's hard to definitively impute motive on the mainstream media without inside information; but one theory assumes they somehow benefit from aspects of the status quo and have decided to obstruct Paul in an attempt to ensure he doesn't have a chance to alter the present paradigm. Another theory relates to the fact that major media organizations are units of international corporate conglomerates, which are controlled by moneyed interests that are diametrically opposed to Paul's policy positions. Yet another is that those that are subtly or overtly supportive of Obama are holding Paul back since his appeal to certain segments of the independent and Democratic electorate would make him a more formidable general election candidate than one of the other guys.

Whatever the case, view the full 17-minute YouTube video entitled @Ron Paul vs. the #HONESTMISTAKE if you're at all skeptical about Paul supporters' claims of media bias and obfuscation. Also keep in mind that I've witnessed many other examples that are not included in the video.

By Anonymous (not verified) on 28 Mar 2012 #permalink

i would say he does not get wide support because voters don't think he could form a working government.

"I can't prove it, ". awesome! then head over to naturalnews or mercola. btw great hit piece by Laden on the Koch brothers. Oooooooooooooooooh eeeeeeeeeeeeeevil! Greenwald is totally unbiased!!! stick to science, guys,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

By sick of the politics (not verified) on 28 Mar 2012 #permalink

Your blog sucks.

By Ronpaulblican (not verified) on 29 Mar 2012 #permalink

I had heard about this blogger attack thing, but this might actually the first time I've seen it in action. No doubt there's some Ron Paul blog site coordinating the swarm towards whoever falls victim to the mistake of writing about him in a negative tone. The fascinating thing is that these guys probably aren't bots, but just people who are "informed" of a infringing site, and then go on to make some disparaging comment, and move to the next target.

The paultards washing up here and excreting their whiny BS need to realise that there is no conspiracy against your precious racist ronny. The corporate media tend to ignore anyone who they think doesn't stand much of a chance; it's destructive and anti democratic, bit it's what they do consistently.

By RightWingAlway… (not verified) on 29 Mar 2012 #permalink

I watched the honestmistake video. So, news programs, which run 24/7 and make graphics and decisions on the fly, failed to include Ron Paul in a number of segments.

If that is Paul's grudge, he is not prepared to be president. Far more unfair things happen in politics. And it has nothing to do with whether people who come to rallies actually show up to the polls. Again, one cannot just create a spectacle and win an election. Paul's grudge seems to be that since the media is not foaming over him, he cannot win the election. That's his problem--the media aren't dolts and they understand electability.

By Chris Hoofnagle (not verified) on 29 Mar 2012 #permalink

More generally, I'm surprised to not see anyone attack one of the foundations of my argument--that Paul was an ineffectual member of Congress. Everyone is so quick to blame the media for his failures, but when I look at his Congressional record, it is pathetic.

By Chris Hoofnagle (not verified) on 29 Mar 2012 #permalink

What Entrophy said, though I could be convinced that some of the comments are bots, considering (as Rev.Enki pointed out) the number of complaints spanking Chris Hoofnagle for being a Bad Reporter. What a hoot!

If a person needed some fast and dirty denialism data, any story about Ron Paul could bring a ton in minutes.

Next do a story about Apple fanatics. Maybe compare how quickly comments accumulate versus comments on Ron Paul stories? Perhaps some nice students would be willing to break the comments into categories, based on The Denialists' Deck of Cards?

@Tree, I am an apple fanatic and am deeply disturbed by my willingness to give up freedoms (former Linux user) in exchange for elegance :)

By Chris Hoofnagle (not verified) on 29 Mar 2012 #permalink

At one level, I can understand why Ron Paul might be appealing to some people. It's not just the Larouche faction either (Larouche generally self-identified as a Democrat, for one). There is a growing recognition in this country that our economic system, and increasingly our government, are unduly favoring the already-wealthy. Paul has been tapping into that discontent. He even proposes a solution to the problem: end the Federal Reserve. It's almost certainly the wrong solution (at best, it's incomplete), but it is at least a concrete proposal. That's enough to make a plausible argument that Paul is the best Republican candidate for President this year (though that comment says more about the rest of the field than it does about Paul).

On the other hand, Paul does have a number of views on a number of subjects that are, at minimum, "out there." Advocacy of the gold standard is one of them (I agree with many economists who don't think we can have a modern economy and a gold standard simultaneously, and the gold standard will do nothing at best to eliminate economic boom-bust cycles). Some of his views on race, even though they have been mainstream when he was young, are now generally considered to be fringe. In addition, I understand that Paul does not believe in evolution, which ought to be a dealbreaker for anybody who considers himself rational (the rest of the Republican field shares this position). And as the OP says, evidence that Paul has been a particularly effective representative is in short supply (the one possible exception to that is NASA; I'm told that Johnson Space Center is in his district, and Paul has generally favored NASA spending).

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 29 Mar 2012 #permalink

If the Apple Mac came with a free Claudia Schiffer, then I'd agree with you.

@Chris, I think the standard 'Paulista' defense of his congressional record is 1) his consistency in fiscal conservative voting, and 2) the idea that being unsuccessful in introducing legislation isnt necessarily a bad thing, but reflects that he is the 1% that stands against the 99% (apologies for using that allusion.)

I think RP has a non-insignificant following of fiscal conservatives, who don't necessarily agree with all of his stances. But we (yes, I count myself one of the above) don't mind our smaller differences with the man; we approve of his fiscal history. Also, congress has something like a 9% approval rating right now. The gross majority of America feels that they are doing a terrible job, and that corruption is likely. And then we see the rest of the members of congress talk about how they never try to get RPs vote once he has made up his mind, because they know he doesn't trade votes, can't be bought, etc etc.... and all of a sudden he becomes a lot more appealing, because of his apparent integrity.

Anyways, I'm not claiming there is/isnt media bias (although Jon Stewart's old bit still makes me chuckle). I'm just stating the case for why people (whether koolaiders or casual fiscal conservatives) like him despite/because of his voting record.

Joe G.

"The LaRouche comparison is quite apt. I can't prove it, but I'm pretty sure it's the same bunch of wingnuts who just shifted their allegiance from LaRouche to Paul."

Wow. Conspiracy theories are for winners.Haha 'i cant prove it". . Thanks for playing.....

By sick of the politics (not verified) on 29 Mar 2012 #permalink

Oh goody, a Ron Paul article. This thread is going to fill up, me thinks. I never understood how quickly Paul supporters take over a comment thread when their precious hero is even remotely criticized. Do they have the equivalent of a Bat symbol installed on their computer to lead them to wherever a criticism of St Paul is present? "Quickly, to science blogs! We will protect Ron from the haters!"

@20, 25, 34: Speaking only for myself (although I'm sure it applies to many other supporters) I get a collection of links to "articles" that mention Ron Paul from Google News once or twice a day. If anyone's mistaken about this blog being a news site, their sourcing may be why (although I'm not similarly confused). It's a question of semantics, though, anyway. The OP isn't writing about his personal life or things with which he has personal familiarity or knowledge, he's writing about national politics; although it may count more as editorializing than reporting.

@26, 27: I can (to some degree) understand ignoring or failing to include someone that's below a certain threshold, but this explanation doesn't hold water here. We're talking about "forgetting" to mention him in 1st or 2nd place while including 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, etc. We're talking about acrobatics to avoid even mentioning his name in a positive light on-air. We're talking about lists that place him at the bottom or otherwise below his proper position regardless of the results being displayed and with no obvious logical reason (like alphabetization) for doing so. We're talking about segments in which he outperforms most or all of those being discussed within the context under discussion and yet "forgetting" to mention him. We're talking about hastily going to commercial when someone brings him up unexpectedly. We're talking about intentionally minimizing his debate participation to the point that the audience has to audibly object, and then following this with lengthy post-debate commentary that contains little or no discussion of him. And even though this has been going on since Day 1, and has an impact on the more programmable segments of the electorate when they arrive at the polling place, now the media points to his vote/delegate totals to self-justify what was going on before any justification was available. It's sickening.

@28: I second the portions of #32 that respond to your post, Chris. Calling Paul ineffectual because he's unable to effectuate sweeping changes in policy from his lone house seat is like calling a meter maid ineffectual for failing to clean up the mean streets of Chicago; i.e. the criteria you seem to be applying to determine effectiveness doesn't correspond with reality.

By Anonymous (not verified) on 29 Mar 2012 #permalink

Face it, Ron Paul is a joke. He will always be a joke. He wants to revive the gold standard for Jebus' sake.

He's like that wacky uncle your dad tells not to talk politics with. That's why the media doesn't care about him. He's not electable, he's not even particularly interesting other than for entertainment value discussing his unworkable, absurd, antiquated ideas. He's in a different century.

Worse, he's not reasonable. And I realize the libertarians and Randtards think being uncompromising and Roark-like is heroic, but it's not. Just like Nader on the left, he's so rigid he will always be politically ineffectual. Part of growing up is realizing that other people's ideas will work too, there's more than one way to skin a cat, and your morality might not mesh with everyone else's. That's the scariest thing about people that support Paul, their total lack of doubt. That level of ideological certainty is creepy, and I get it when the LaRouche comparisons are made. It's creepy-culty.


Part of growing up is realizing that other people's ideas will work too, there's more than one way to skin a cat, and your morality might not mesh with everyone else's.

So are you trying to imply that you haven't grown up yet? You appear to exhibit symptoms of the very rigidity you decry, and I have a feeling you refer to Paul as "a joke" and "wacky" because you're unwilling or unable to debate substantive points. Rational, reasoned, substantive arguments only, please.

Do you find Richard Nixon to be a historically trustworthy figure that always did what was best for the country? I have a feeling you don't. So why, then, do you appear to place such immense faith in the correctness of his decision to take us off of the gold standard? You're aware that the United States was on the gold standard until the 1970s, right? ...and that the primary impetus for Nixon to take us off the gold standard was the need to make it less financially painful for the United States to continue to prosecute the futile and unconscionable Vietnam War, right? You're also aware that having our finances disconnected from reality has been a primary driver of government waste, easy money, related cronyism, and endless war ever since, right? Nevertheless, those who deride Paul with the words "gold standard" are misinformed; Paul wants to audit and potentially abolish the Fed and would like to see our currency again backed by something of intrinsic value, regardless of what that something is. It could also be backed by multiple things.

By Anonymous (not verified) on 30 Mar 2012 #permalink

Oh I love it, because Nixon did it it was bad!1!!!!1eleventy!

Just like the clean water act or the EPA, those terrible Nixonian actions were all marred by Watergate. Not to mention by the time he ended it we were the last country tied to the standard and the French were using it to screw us.

What a joke. No economist worth a damn supports the notion and there isn't a single country left in the world with a gold standard because the idea is now unworkable. Give up. Whether or not Nixon made the right decision to abandon the standard, or the motivations for it, we're never going back. There's not enough gold in the world to tie to the various currencies in existence and the second any country does it, every other country will then exchange their untied currency to deplete the gold stock (part of the reason Nixon ended it were the French were exchanging their dollars for gold). The first sucker into that market will have a bad, bad day.

Economic recovery from the great depression was directly related to abandoning the standard. Worse, the Eurozone crisis is another perfect example of how rigid monetary policy worsens economic downturns. If Greece wasn't stuck with the Euro, and if their Eurozone partners weren't focused on austerity, they might have recovered by now.

This is why we point and laugh.

You're also aware that having our finances disconnected from reality has been a primary driver of government waste, easy money, related cronyism, and endless war ever since, right?

That you imagine that having us on a gold standard anchors it in some sort of reality is, in itself, disconnected from reality. BTW - Nixon was also one of the only presidents *ever* to suggest that the proper solution to drug use was programs to understand how they worked, and help people get off them, instead of just arresting them, and looking confused, when somehow they get smuggled into the prisons, like we do now. Sadly, while a good idea, it turned out that the guy he picked to try to promote it was a crook too, and got arrested before it even started. No president since has wanted to be associated with such a program.

Just because he was a megalomaniac, and a crook, among other things, doesn't mean ***every*** idea he ever had was bad. Claiming otherwise is like being the idiot in the classroom, who, upon being told by someone, "Everyone lies", states, "Then you could be lying right now.", as though its somehow clever. It is, "everyone lies", not, "everyone lies all the time". Nixon was a bad president, with a lot of bad ideas, this doesn't qualify as being bad **100%** of the entire time. Even people like Bugsy Seagel didn't manage that.

And, frankly, the only explanation I have ever gotten about how a "gold standard" would be better ignores the fact that a) inflation happened when we where on it to, b) the government waste is a result of "loans" not real money, so not having any isn't the problem, its borrowing it from other countries that is, c) cronyism exists everyplace, regardless of what standard they are on, and is actually worse where, say, one family can "own" nearly every scrap of gold in a country, d) the gold standard didn't stop wars. It also fails to explain what happens if that "intrinsic value" disappears. What does that even mean, other than, "We agree it has some value that other stuff doesn't, so you can trade with it." And, how the bloody hell does saying that gold has it, but printed money doesn't, make that claim anything but total gibberish? All Nixon did, and a lot of other nations, who, oddly, don't seem to be starting a lot of extra wars, or have any more of the rest than we do, even having, in some cases, given up the standard "long" before we did, is say, "Ok, instead of gold having the intrinsic value, or money does." Its unique, theoretically rare, etc. You could pick "anything" that falls into that category, and money has the advantage that, if someone found something like a new gold rush, or some way to use nuclear energy, or something else, to produce **huge** amounts of gold, you wouldn't have a sudden economic collapse, due to the stuff suddenly becoming "common". (This could happen. Diamonds, for example, are actually so damn common, due to the size of the mine most of them come from, that the only reason a $10,000 ring is worth that is because they **prevent** them from reaching the market, to keep the price from collapsing). If someone duplicates money, you just print different money, you don't have to go looking for some other substance with this delusional "intrinsic value".

Paul's supporters are loud and able to manipulate the levers of public spectacle and the media. They seem omnipresent in Washington, DC, on policy panels and the like...

What are you smoking?