The Paul smear (which will probably stay online unless Tim Russert really runs with it tomorrow) has been an interesting test for me. As I reported in my piece on the Ames straw poll, I saw Stormfront stalwart Jamie Kelso in the Ron Paul tent, blogging on the site. I took a little shit from commenters and e-mails for even mentioning it, but I thought it would have been irresponsible not to. The unifying effect Ron Paul has on the political fringes – Truthers, white pride types, colloidal silver junkes – is one of the true, wacky phenomena of the campaign. But that’s how I saw the story, as the fringes-and-Paul. I didn’t think anything of the white pride people since there’s like 12 of them and the Paul campaign doesn’t pay attention to them unless asked.
So do I feel sheepish for not poring through the Stormfront threads to find pictures like the Don Black snapshot? Wouldn’t that have been a big story, blogwise? I guess so. But I don’t feel like I missed anything. To go after a candidate because of his supporters strikes me as unfair. Paul has invited some criticism for not dumping donations from racists, because he says he doesn’t agree with that principle. I basically agree with him. The Paul campaign is acting like a safety valve for a number of angry, dumb, powerless people who if he wasn’t running would be harassing FBI officials about 9/11 coverups or joining KKK marches or typing up their Turner Diaries sequel. Instead they’re following around an Old Right libertarian candidate for the presidency. They’re not acting violent. They’re not harassing anyone. So I’m not trying to shake them out of the trees. Hell, there’s a chance that their Paul obsession turns them on to Murray Rothbard and they start wondering: “Wait, do I really hate the Jews?”