Monday, March 10, 2008

Schadenfreude, cont.

It's funny how such an inconsequential rube with such a silly platform can stir up such passions in people -- both for and against. And yet, Ron Paul manages to do just that in so many people. Now that his Presidential aspirations are once again thwarted, it's time, I'm sure, for the ronpaulians to hunker down and lick their wounds. As is typical with all cults once their raison d'etre has been removed (be it the untimely death of a leader, failure of prophecy to materialize, or, as in this case, reality sinking in), it seems likely that a whole host of rationalizations of their over-exuberance and commitment will begin. In the coming months, if we care enough to pay attention (which may be hazardous to one's health), I expect the following (with considerably worse grammar and spelling, of course):

"Well, we knew we were doomed from the start, but we got out the bigger message!"

"It's not about winning -- it's about shaping the arguments!"

"We were Swift-Newslettered by McCain's neocon goons! Otherwise we would have won!"

"First the twin towers, now Dr. Paul's campaign! How much more do the nasty neo-con jooooos have to destroy before their bloodlust is quenched????"

"That's it, I'm moving to <insert country that, upon closer inspection, actually has nothing in common with Ron Paul's actual politics and is actually demonstrably less free than the USA here>, where at least they have freedom!"

"Super Tuesday was an inside job!"

"In my meticulously internet-researched YouTube documentary, I prove beyond all doubt that through voter fraud, manipulation, and suppression, the Ron Paul vote was stolen, and that he should have won by at least 90% of the electorate, Democrat and Republican alike -- by using the same cluster analysis techniques perfected by The Lancet to prove that 600,000,000 people died in the first four hours of Bushitler's War on the Innocent Iraqi Babies and Puppies!!!!!!"

Now of course I'm using the smallest bit of hyperbole in a few of these, but in particular, the first couple of them I've already begun to see, and I'd like to comment on how completely and utterly wrong they are: how did Ron Paul's candidacy and exuberant support shape the overall campaign? Did John McCain moderate any of his positions due to pressure from the Ron Paul camp? Of course not. One might argue that McCain and Paul had similar views on government spending, through McCain's anti-pork stance and Paul's status as "Dr. No", but Paul himself has always been a considerable porker, ill-fated and obviously doomed no-votes aside, but those positions existed well before Primary Season.

Have Barack or Hillary taken up the mantle of 9/11 "trutherism", or stepped up their anti-war rhetoric to try to capture the vote that Ron Paul's supporters claim is burgeoning on both the right and the left? Hardly. If anything, the Democratic candidates have begun to moderate their own positions, recognizing the realities on the ground regarding the successes of The Surge and the "Anbar Awakening", facts the ronpaulians have had to steadfastly deny or obfuscate over the last year.

As for the now-common "admission" they they already knew he didn't have a chance "all along": liars. You don't call someone "The Only Man Who Can Save America" with the understanding that he can't win. And I've heard it directly from the lips of his most fervent local supporters that a) he's the only person who stands a chance of beating Hillary/Obama (with no evidence, statistical or otherwise, to back this up, of course), b) silly transient "trends" in his polling numbers indicates that he'll run away with the nomination, and c) that he's got a "very strong chance" in both the primary and general election (this last one I heard both before Iowa, after Iowa, and even after New Hampshire).

So what did the Ron Paul campaign accomplish in the way of "getting the message out"? Well, by refusing to prune the undesirables from their ranks (a lesson the late great WFB taught us re: The John Birch Society), they managed to marginalize and "fringe-ify" even the facets of his platform that genuine conservatives might have found appealing -- sound money, states' rights, individualism, limited government, etc. So to all you "true believers" out there, through whose lunacy of zeal and fervor for a darkdead-horse candidate with kooky ideas and kooky supporters you managed to drive several important planks of the conservative platform farther into obscurity: Thanks a whole f***ing lot. Jerks.



Anonymous Chris said...

I'm willing to bet that Ron Paul will set a record this year for write-in votes. They will have no significant impact on the race, but that will be an interesting bit of trivia for years to come.

You'll tell your grandkids "The answer is Ron Paul", and they'll say "WHO?"

8:56 PM  
Anonymous J to the D said...

I think you hit it on the head: there are some key ideas lurking beneath the RP noise floor, if you will (such as states' rights, individualism, etc.), which were unfortunately obfuscated by the rabid fervor of his apologists (ronpaul-ogists?), as well as some of Dr. No's wackier ideas.

Also, on a totally unrelated note, I'd like to point out that the Google ad currently atop your blog page is for "hot black women". Make of this what you will.

10:51 PM  
Blogger Benjamin said...

I noticed the "hot black women" thing too. I must say I'm very unimpressed with Google's context-sensitive advertisements. F'rinstance, in my gmail account, which uses the same system based on the context of your own emails, more often than not the ads are for Spam recipes, I kid you not. Because, presumably, of the large amount of spam email I receive.

As for RP's occasional correctness, I'm fully convinced now that it's a clear-cut case of the stopped clock being right twice a day, rather than some inherent conservative principle.

And heh... "Ronpaulogists". I like that.

7:27 AM  
Anonymous Marty said...

I think RP is right more often than you say, Ben. After all, he is a man of "principle", though he has taken those principles to idiotic extremes, and usually forgets them when it suits him. The libertarian principles are a good place to start, but you usually need a lot more in your political argument to make it workable, and not just something for the sandbox.

7:42 AM  

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