It seems that Barack Obama is not the only prominent political figure with something of a cult following.
Texas Congressman and GOP Presidential candidate Ron Paul has attracted a huge audience of supporters, and that is all well and good.
Many of them support Paul because in their view, there simply is no viable conservative alternative to the current President. Again, that is just fine.
But a large number of them - dubbed "Paulbots" by many - follow Paul as one might a cult leader.
For those supporters, Paul is the "only man who can save America," a cross between Moses, George Washington and Plato.
Intelligent political disussion with these creatures is literally impossible, as they start with the false premise that anyone who criticises Paul about anything is an unpatriotic, warmongering "neo-con" bent on death and destruction.
A post at kevinwebb22.com notes:
I’ve never seen a group of political supporters more UNWILLING to have a civil, mature, constructive discussion than I have seen from 2012 presidential candidate Ron Paul supporters. And keep in mind that I battle it out with liberal Democrats on a daily basis. It’s almost as if reason does not exist in their world.
The sad part is that Ron Paul has some great ideas, and every time that I start to pay more attention to him, his loony toon supporters provide me with enough Ron Paul ‘birth control’ to last a lifetime. If they are any representation of what the world will be like with Ron Paul as president… umm… no thanks
Some Facebook groups and pages have taken to culling these individuals out once they are identified, and with good reason. Criticize something Paul says and one is instantly set upon with all manner of childish taunts, insults and smears.
Clearly, these individuals do not seek nor desire intelligent political disussion. They want nothing less than total obedience to their earthly messiah - Ron Paul.
Not only do they engage in vitriolic, often hateful and defamatory rhetoric, they engage in spam. Consider this excerpt from an email received by the Spokane Conservative Examiner in response to an article critical of Ron Paul's foreign policy:
'unpatriotic and unamerican ' ? , seems like more zionist b****ery to me , mark levin is one of the biggest zionist islamophobic neoconned losers in american history and is laughed at by everyone around the world alike , you apparently are not much different , if anything you are even more of a failure and less of a man than him .. the only thing you got right is how neocon zionists run it all, and even that you dont seem to type in a fair and factual basis , do you even kno how to spell ? do you even kno what year it is ...? seems like you need to do much soul searchin here son as well as brain searching. that is if you ever intend to be taken seriously as an american and respectful individual, otherise your just left in the zionist neoconned dregs , and that you have no one to blame but yourself , as well as israels lunatic terrorist policy . , israel is not our friend, they are the enemy of america , as well as civilized humanity in general. for anyone, ANYONE , to think otherwise, is truly un patriotic and unamerican .
And on it goes. This screed, dripping with hate and anti-semitism, is fairly representative of the emails received.
But this is what passes for "political discourse" among Paul's most ardent and outspoken supporters. Again, it should be pointed out, not everyone who supports the Texas Congressman engages in this type of behavior.
Many of the emails got quite personal and insulting, but fortunately, this writer has a skin thick enough to handle it. As the saying goes, you know you're over the target when you start taking flak.
Do these supporters of Paul think they are doing him any good with this behavior? Do they honestly think that they can win converts with insults and childish threats?
While some are content to engage in silly schoolyard behavior, others take it to extremes.
A post at the left wing Daily Kos, for example, says that one of these individuals posted a threatening response to a YouTube video.
TJ Walker wrote:
Here is a comment placed on my YouTube page today in response to an editorial video I posted in which I question the notion that Ron Paul somehow hasn’t received his fair share of media coverage:
“mother f........ i will put bullet in ur head if u show up in iowa”
Please note this person’s self-selected YouTube name! And no, this is not some atypical Ron Paul supporter. This is the stuff I get every day, and so does anyone else who every writes or suggests that Ron Paul won’t be or shouldn’t be the next president of the United States. Let’s face it, Ron Paul supporters make Jim Jone's cult members look like Christopher Hitchen’s style skeptics in comparison.
Keep in mind the Daily Kos is as far from conservative as one can get.
Unfortunately, crazy, incoherent hate is not the limit for these individuals.