And according to the Huffington Post, he’s also the world’s most popular U.S. Congressman:
“It’s actually building,” [Paul] told the Huffington Post. “It really truly baffles me. I see myself as somebody who’s been saying the same thing for about 30 years and not too many people paying any attention.”
It really is baffling, Mr. Paul!
I first heard about Ron Paul in a substantive way (i.e. not in passing) early in the election cycle when someone showed me a Youtube clip of a diminutive man talking smack on the War On Drugs (which deserves all the smack talking it can get, for what it’s worth) before a largely supportive audience in what looked like a high school auditorium. Moments later I was told that he was a Republican Rep from Texas who was also an Ob-Gyn, and I became moderately intrigued. Then I read that he was a libertarian nutjob who wanted to put us back on the gold standard to solve all of the world’s economic problems, and I duly lost all affection. Let’s face it, the man’s kind of cute, but that’s absolutely insane.
But then a funny thing happened, and Ron Paul started hosting these One Day Fundraising-For-My-Quixotic-Presidential-Campaign Events that, like, toppled the shit out of old records set by One Day Fundraising-For-My-At-Least Plausible-Presidential-Campaign Events. Like, dude was able to pull in a cool million in a day, and there were, like, fucking blimps there and what not. It was crazy.
And it was even crazier when people I knew and worked with would say things like, “I’m going to vote for Ron Paul.”
And it was crazier still when the Paul-ites continued to defend him after this article appeared, which included, among other gems, this choice quotation, regarding the 1992 LA Riots, and plucked from a Ron Paul newsletter–a newsletter, that is (and lest there be any confusion), actually bearing his name on the masthead:
“Order was only restored in L.A. when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks three days after rioting began.”
I know that Paul’s acolytes continued to defend him because it’s evidenced in the Comments section of Kirchick’s article and in the Comments section of the HuffPo article, the latter of which includes the following, by the way:
Last election I wrote in Ron Paul for president. He’s the only Republican I can tolerate. After that I voted for every candidate who wasn’t a Democrat or a Republican. If there’s no third party choice, I won’t vote for anyone. I wish there was a “none of the above” choice on the ballots. Like Jesse Ventura suggested.
That’s absolutely idiotic.
But I think that Paul’s genius, if you can call it that, is his ability to take certain people’s disaffection with the enitrety of the political system and capitalize on the ignorance that such disaffection promotes by appealing to Americans’ libertarian impulses. So, for example, he got a lot of young people who smoke pot and don’t follow politics for shit to jump on his bandwagon because he thinks the War On Drugs is bad. (He thinks that because he’s an anti-government libertarian crazy-man, not a free-spirit, but never mind his reasons as long as the conclusion’s the same.) And he got a lot of gun-loving Minutemen-types to jump on his bandwagong because…well, because he’s an anti-government libertarian crazy-man, just like them. But, the important point is that neither group actually understands the totality of his worldview, which amounts to insane laissez faire capitalism, isolationism, and a dash of good old-fashioned racism social Darwinism to taste. Which amounts, in other words, to some Mad Max shit.
So people of the world, I implore you: Stop putting him on your TV screens. It makes us all look bad.