Ron Paul: Live by the Internet, Die by the Internet

December 26th, 2011

So Ron Paul made the bigtime today: a feature in the New York Times. What about? Those little newsletters that came out in his name a couple of decades back. You know, the ones that (among other things) predicted an upcoming race war and “contain[ed] bigotry against black, Jews, and gays and an obsession with conspiracies.”

Perhaps the only surprise is that it took this long for the big guys to notice: plenty of people have known about the more controversial parts of the Paul oeuvre forever (Dave Weigel notes that he wrote about the newsletters four years ago). But the interesting part from an online politics point of view is that this is a classic example of the internet’s double-edged nature.

Paul’s message has long resonated on the internet, and in the 2008 cycle his supporters were everywhere online, even helping him top all other Republicans in fundraising in the last quarter of ’07. This time around, he’s running perhaps a more balanced campaign, with a strong grassroots structure married to social media buzz (tops on Twitter!) and a digital fundraising machine that’s paying for a wave of television ads. Online/offline integration indeed!

But if you live by the ‘net, you can die by it, too: the internet gives old, old documents a new shot at prominence, including those newsletters apparently aimed at winning at least a few of the white supremicist crowd over to the Libertarian creed. Just as Romney’s flip-flops are lovingly preserved on video on sites like WhichMitt.com, the words that went out in Paul’s name in the early 90′s can spread infinitely farther in digital form than they did on paper, and in the process potentially convince a lot of people who might have given an iconoclastic candidate like him a chance to stay the hell away instead. Consistency is Paul’s main virtue, and a rare one in a politician. But consistency with these words? Political doom — and rightly so.

Thanks to long-time friend and Epolitics.com reader Burt Edwards for suggesting that a Ron Paul piece would be a good idea right about now.

cpd

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Chris Uchman  |  December 27th, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    Dear Mr. Delany-

    Since the HUFFPO is reposting your writings on their website….. Perhaps I could offer some critic,, to include in your further postings— just so that you can be seen as a fair and balanced correspondant— rather than a one sided story—

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/27/ron-paul-drugs-drug-war_n_1170878.html

    This Video was taken 4 years before the supposed letters in question were written (video 1988- inflamatory letters1992)

    Please tell me how this type of philosophy could really exist in a man , who is Libertarian and would be a complete contradiction in terms by holding racist view of collectivism..

    If persons would take him for his word—- and then look at (C-SPAN) footage from the time period… THE PROOF IS OUT THERE…….

    Please become an INFORMED distributor of information for the People….. rather than a missinformation agent for the status quo–

    THanks

    Chris Uchman

  • 2. john elliott  |  December 29th, 2011 at 3:05 am

    Good article. I actually don’t think Ron is a racist, etc. and he didn’t know what was being written in his news letter. But as you say, live by the sword-die by the sword. Mucaca moment. Unfortunately or fortunately, that is the way it works…

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