The Paulbots: Should Redstate Have Banned Them Or Not?

Over at Redstate, they’ve actually gotten so tired of Paulbots that they’ve decided to ban them,

“Effective immediately, new users may *not* shill for Ron Paul in any way shape, form or fashion. Not in comments, not in diaries, nada. If your account is less than 6 months old, you can talk about something else, you can participate in the other threads and be your zany libertarian self all you want, but you cannot pimp Ron Paul. Those with accounts more than six months old may proceed as normal.

Now, I could offer a long-winded explanation for *why* this new policy is being instituted, but I’m guessing that most of you can probably guess. Unless you lack the self-awareness to understand just how annoying, time-consuming, and bandwidth-wasting responding to the same idiotic arguments from a bunch of liberals pretending to be Republicans can be. Which, judging by your comment history, you really don’t understand, so allow me to offer an alternate explanation: we are a bunch of fascists and we’re upset that you’ve discovered where we keep the black helicopters, so we’re silencing you in an attempt to keep you from warning the rest of your brethren so we can round you all up and send you to re-education camps all at once.”

What has been the result of this banning? A massive surge of traffic from blogs talking about the ban and hordes of crazed Paulestinians showing up to convince Redstate that they’re wrong cause trouble, complain, and act even nuttier than usual.

So, was Redstate right to ban Ron Paul’s supporters? Well, it’s not the way I would have gone — ehr, I think — but, then again, if I had lots of RP supporters posting on RWN regularly, I might be tempted to go that route myself.

Why?

Well, I am sure that there are plenty of nice, normal people who support Ron Paul and generally like other Republicans, but that description does not fit 95% of his supporters I have actually run across on the web.

What are they like?

* Everybody knows that any online poll featuring Ron Paul will be swamped by Paulbots who post the poll address on Paul fan forums and social networking pages. This is why Ron Paul keeps getting banned from online polls. People who post online polls want to know what their readers think, not how many Paul supporters can show up to vote in their poll. That’s not to say that none of the other candidates’ supporters have done the same thing, but it’s the exception with other candidates, while it’s the rule for the Paulbots.

* Paul’s supporters regularly go too far. Personally, I can tell you that his supporters wrote the Duncan Hunter campaign and unsuccessfully tried to get me fired after I wrote the The Conservative Case Against Ron Paul. Matt Margolis at Blogs for Bush had Paulnuts calling his web host’s home address complaining after Paul wasn’t included in one of Matt’s polls (Incidentally, he dumped Paul in part because his supporters were using scripts to multi-vote for him, trying to deliberately lower the rankings of other candidates, and for being generally rude). I’ve also had more than one other blogger tell me that they received lots of obnoxious email from Paul supporters not because they insulted him, but merely because they didn’t mention Paul in articles about the debates or top contenders in 2008.

* As people who have received hate mail from the Paulbots can attest, maybe 1 out of every 4 emails are from people who are ranting about 9/11, the North American Union, or some other wacky conspiracy and their emails are unusually rude and moronic.

* ……Which brings me to another important point about Ron Paul’s biggest fans: they don’t seem to have much use for Republicans or conservatives other than Ron Paul. In the post at Redstate, they speculate that this is because Paul’s supporters are a, “bunch of liberals pretending to be Republicans,” but I don’t think that’s true for the most part.

However, from what I’ve seen, most of Ron Paul’s most zealous supporters seem to come from outside of the mainstream conservative movement. They’re “Big L” Libertarians who will be wasting their vote in 2008 for whatever sacrificial lamb the Libertarian Party puts up — Truthers, white power afficionados who like that Paul is anti-Israel, along with a few assorted Paleocons, a few anti-war conservatives, and even a few anti-war liberals. Are there some run-of-the-mill conservatives in there, too? Sure, but not many, and they certainly don’t make up the bulk of the 2-4% of the vote that Ron Paul usually pulls in national polls of Republicans.

Does that mean conservatives shouldn’t try to reach out to Paul’s supporters (the ones that aren’t crazy or white power freaks, anyway)? No, but I don’t get the impression that they much care for the Republican Party in the first place or that Paul would even be interested in having them support anyone other than him. Although Paul doesn’t seem to be gearing up for the third party run, he has made it clear that he’s not going to be endorsing the eventual winner of the primary.

So again, banning the Paulbots? That’s not something I plan to do, but I understand where Redstate is coming from.

PS: You’ve got to wonder if the Paulbots realize how many Republicans they’ve turned off to Ron Paul with the way that they behave? Every so often, you see one that seems to have an inkling of how badly they behave, but they’re distinctly in the minority.

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