The Dark Side of Ron Paul

This post, written by Richard Blair, originally appeared on All Spin Zone

Earlier this week, I wrote about GOP congressman (and presidential candidate) Ron Paul having more cash on hand in his campaign warchest than does John McCain. I also noted that Paul's campaign is basically grassroots-oriented, and that he doesn't have a lot of the overhead and support personnel baggage of the top tier GOP candidates. Ergo, Paul's monetary burnrate is quite a bit lower than the big boys.

What is it about Ron Paul that inspires a growing legion of supporters? I recall when (several election cycles ago) he ran as a candidate of the Libertarian Party, and he didn't grab nearly as many headlines. Of course, that was pre-world wide web, and the outreach and organizing power of internet.

Apparently, some of Paul's supporters have been kicking up a fuss on GOP boards, and the right wing blogosphere. A Paul supporter, Jason Wharton, was moved to write a column on OpEdNews, encouraging other supporters but at the same time telling them to play nice in online forums. He hints at a darker side to the Paul candidacy:
I remember on the "President of Hip Hop" came out with an initially negative depiction of Ron Paul as a racist. To his credit he said he wasn't concluding his opinion but that he encouraged people to look deeper. There were many who made comments thanking him for helping to expose information about Ron Paul and encouraged him to continue to look for positive aspects of Ron Paul's position on racism. A few weeks later he came back and said he decided Ron Paul is definitely not racist and that he deserves much more consideration. This could have just as easily gone the other way. Over zealous Ron Paul supporters could have hastily disparaged and insulted the "President of Hip Hop" and made an enemy out of him. This didn't happen and now we have a lot more friends...
I never saw the YouTube sendup of Ron Paul and his racial views, but I do know that white supremacist groups are starting to tout him as "the one" (I'm not going to provide a link, but google Ron Paul Stormfront to see what I mean). There is no question that Paul's libertarian and isolationist views preclude any immigration reform that does any more than expel current undocumented workers and make legal immigration almost impossible. He does not believe that taxes should, for example, fund public school systems. And he does not support federal funding of the social safety nets that are frayed after 7 years of Bush, but still in place.

Some would interpret that as racist, and some wouldn't. A "you say tomato, I say tom-ah-to" type of thing. Regardless, I find it a little more than interesting that some progressives have actually embraced Ron Paul (or at least given him a look) because of his anti-war views, while overlooking the rest of his resume.

Back in June, Dave Neiwert wrote up an extensive review of Paul's political history, and provides some biography work on a few of his more ardent supporters. I've actually had the opportunity to rub elbows with at least one of them, and I can tell you, there's some deeper money behind Mr. Paul than I might have imagined.

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