By Tony Silva
Just in from Area 51: The latest Ron Paul poster. The good doctor gets a bad rap as an old guy with crazy ideas. Unfortunately, people are getting their information about him from talking heads who are in bed with establishment candidates — the people who got us into this mess in the first place.
Worse yet, Ron Paul’s most ardent supporters come off more like tin foil conspiracy nuts — even when they are promoting sound political ideas. Visit any other candidate’s Facebook page or forum and it won’t be hard to ferret out he Ron Paul Troll Brigade. Some of them are just plain foul mouthed nasties who have too much time and an unsupervised Internet connection. It wasn’t until I listened to Dr. Paul during a recent debate — and read some of his speeches that I had a clear impression of who he is and what he believes.
While some of his positions may be out of the mainstream, they’re not ideas that are outside the mainstream of American Libertarian thought — some of which dates back to the founders. So why does he attract such unsavory folks as the bomb throwers (now taking over Michele Bachmann’s forums) or the White Supremacists, most of whose major blogs endorsed him in 2008? Perhaps it’s his isolationist views — particularly toward Israel — that give them the impression he’s an anti-Semite. Maybe his are ideas that resonate with college kids who go on a weekend bender and read Ayn Rand before firing up their computers for another trolling session.
Nobody really takes this perennial candidate seriously. And even fewer people take his most rabid tin-foil hat supporters seriously. But they should. Ron Paul articulates many uniquely American Libertarian positions, as do the more rational people among his followers. To disregard him because his most vocal supporters miscast him as the “crazy relative in the basement” does both the candidate and the current debate about limited government a disservice.