Free Paulistine!

Brother Ron's travelling salvation show

It just ain’t fair. Last week you could prowl the streets of Denver for hours and not find a PUMA—a Hillary Clinton diehard who’d pledged her heart and blog to John McCain. Flip on the TV, though, and there they were. This week you can’t take 50 steps without seeing some physical evidence of the Ron Paul campaign, which as far as most people know ended months ago. There they are, holding up signs at the Xcel Center security perimeter. There they are, marching in an anti-war rally. But the cameras are always somewhere else.

A little bit of media love finally arrived on Tuesday, however, as Paul backers swarmed into Minneapolis for the immaculately planned, heavily promoted "Rally for the Republic." Ten thousand tickets were sold for what would be the final Paul event of the campaign. The man’s supporters had finally sorted out their Republican convention credentials, and dozens of them walked smiling past the Timberwolves and Alicia Keys signs of the Target Center, jangling their holographic “delegate” badges. The thousands of other ticket-holders had flown (or just as often, driven) in from all parts of the country for a final election-year salute to Paul—and for the launch of the Campaign for Liberty, Paul’s 501c4 that’s actually been humming for a few months.

”We’re fixing everything that’s been going wrong in the country since the banks took over in 1913,” said Fred Brown, a North Carolinian sporting a “Veterans for Peace” cap. He’d signed up in a political training seminar two days before this, attended a picnic and concert yesterday, and then watched all eight hours of Paul’s mega-rally. “Seven months ago I was just a November voter, and now I want to take back the Republican Party.”

That was one man’s opinion, close enough to the theme of the rally. Organizers handed out calligraphied signs that read “Taking the GOP back to its ROOTS!” John Tate of the Campaign for Liberty explained that the group will not endorse against incumbent Republicans, but will aid the efforts Paul-ish Republicans in open primaries. (Paul’s endorsement of Alaska Rep. Don Young, according to Tate, had nothing to do with the CfL.) The stated mission from the stage was safe and mundane, a gold-and-silver-centric version of a Club for Growth party.

Again: That was what the Campaign for Liberty was saying. The other speakers and sponsors were not so chaste. They gave the roughly 10,000 people in the Target Center what they wanted. Outside the hall, the John Birch Society set up a sprawling, high-tech booth advertising its campaign to link Paul and JBS founder Robert Welch: “Two Leaders, One Cause.” The Constitution Party passed out information on its presidential ticket inside the hall, with CP founder Howard Phillips comparing “the threat of the North American Union” to “the war of Northern Aggression.” The publisher of the best-named fringe newspaper, USA Tomorrow, appeared in the hall’s massive screen to hawk his products, as bushels of copies sat around the arena. “We run the news the good ol’ boys won’t print,” he said, with a 10-foot high smirk.

Here were the reporters, finally covering the Paul movement. Here’s what they were covering: Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura, a vision in a yellow T-shirt and blue blazer, aired 9/11 conspiracy theories while reporters rushed to get comments from attendees. (I walked past a New York Times reporter who was quizzing two Paul backers about controlled demolitions.)

That pissed some people off. “I think the 9/11 Truth Movement as we knew it in 2006 and 2007 is dead,” said Justin Martell, a Franklin Pierce college student who’d spent much of 2007 showing up at New Hampshire candidate rallies asking about a new investigation. "We need to focus on the bigger picture, on issues like Iraq." The 9/11 truth issue roiled a number of attendees. “I might even be sympathetic to it,” said Paul voter Mike Reineke, “but I’m from New York, and that’s a touchy subject that you don’t want to talk to voters about.”

It was unavoidable. The Rally for the Republic was a crystallizing moment for the Ron Paul Nation. Without the focus of presidential debates or voter mail or TV ads, the congressman has become the latest Leader of the Fringe, a pop-political icon for all things outré. The job used to belong to Jesse Ventura. Before that it belonged to the person Ventura talked about the most, Ross Perot. On Thursday, Ventura will speak at a “super-rally” for perpetual candidate Ralph Nader, who wants to be included in presidential debates in part because he’s Ralph Nader and in part because he, too, used to be Leader of the Fringe.

Of course, there wasn't (and isn't, and won’t be until he croaks) anything libertarian about Ralph Nader’s campaign. There was romping anti-government rhetoric on tap at the Target Center, however, from Grover Norquist (who called pro-tax Republicans “rat heads in coke bottles”) and from the ex-candidate himself. Anti-war paleocon Bill Kauffman gave the best-phrased speech, patriotically libertarian, limned with jokes about pro-war Republicans: “Locating the antiwar wing of today’s Republican Party is like looking for the Juice Newton wing in the rock and roll hall of fame.” Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson gave the least far-fetched speech, full of references to decriminalized drugs and vetos he'd delivered, but it got less applause than, for example, Bircher John McManuses' buffet of red meat. (In solidarity with his base, Johnson delivered the speech with lots of distracted laughter.)

Paul’s speech wasn’t as hotly anticipated as, say, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s effort to prove she’s not the new Tom Eagleton will be tonight. “I’ve heard most of this before,” said Ronald Cadby, a transplanted Tennessean wearing a Santa Claus cap. References to legal marijuana got as much applause as attacks on the North American Union. But Paul debuted an affecting argument in his speech. He’d been preceded by singer Aimee Allen (a punky, libertarian Gwen Stefani-alike) who played back to back renditions of her song “Revolution.” (“We don’t want world government/and the Bilderberg Group that pays for it.”) Paul had requested that she play Buffy Sainte-Marie’s folk song “The Universal Soldier,” about the canon fodder summoned by every war-happy leader in history to make pointless conflicts.

”I used to be the universal soldier,” Paul said. No more rhetoric about how many “troops” had given money to his campaign: The armor clanked off. “We need to replace the universal soldier with the universal campaigner for liberty.”

Still, despite the weirdness of Paul's movement, and despite the fact that it can be so easily pigeonholed by the fringers trying to exploit it, it is still, at its core, a libertarian campaign. But the odder it gets, the less the GOP worries about it.

David Weigel is an associate editor of reason.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Bingo||

    Aka SWMCon2008

  • ||

    Why did Paul have to go and fuck it up. If he had come clean on the news letters, the crowd would have been twice as big and half as loony.

  • The Extispicator||

    Maybe Lovecraft was right. Seeing reality as it truly exists does lead directly to insanity.

  • Andrew ||

    It's sad that the Paul movement has come to this. There are a lot of "normal" people out there who truly believe in Paul's message about the Constitution, limited government etc. I'm still proud I voted for Paul in the VA primary, but I always stayed away from the rallies for the reasons outlined in the article.

  • The Extispicator||

    Same with me. I originally signed up for a meetup group, but very quickly realized it was a magnet for every crackpot in town.

  • Bingo||

    Remember when Ron Paul had an opportunity to throw the loonies under the bus but didn't? Well now the loonies are the only thing that's left because they scare away normal people. What a great campaign!

  • d||

    Weigel,

    So now Reason has nothing better to do than to disparage the only sane Republicans left (Norquist being one of the most level-headed and effective among them)?

    Please let's not air our personal opinions of how 'weird' free-minded individuals' political views are...unless, of course, you're willing to strap one on and do the same for the McCain and Obama crowds. But I don't suppose you're willing to do that, are you? It might harm your D.C. street cred., I supppose, if you, say, called McCain and Obama's campaigns 'weird' without any factual basis (when, in fact, their views on gas tax holidays and taxation, resp., are just as weird and irrational as any 9/11 conspiracy theory).

  • Bingo||

    d:

    Excpet I'm pretty sure the gas tax holiday doesn't involve the Bilderburg Group or "the Zionist Conspiracy" in any significant manner.

  • Warty||

    See? This is what happens when you allow Truthers their freedom of speech.

  • DixieFlatline||

    Thankfully the Reason, pro-government wing of the libertarian movement continues to disapprove and talk down Ron Paul and his message.

    The worst thing that could happen to his movement is not Alex Jones or the Truthers, but the Reasonites and beltway bloggers who wouldn't know radicalism if it approached them for a date in the locker room of a DC gym.

    Yep, all of those folks who disapprove, you're exactly why Paul is still in play, still making headlines, and still speaking truth to power. If the Reasonites had co-opted his campaign, it would be watered down just like the Kochotopus watered down the brand by rejecting Rothbard.

    Just more elitist and mindless personality politics for people more concerned with alternative lifestyles and drugs, than challenging the stats on it's fundamental crimes of theft, violence and coercion.

  • 3... 2... 1...||

    reason sucks

  • Rationalitate||

    No account mark in "outre"

  • Bingo||

    DixieFlatline:

    The problem is 95% of the population doesn't see taxation as theft or police power as violent coercion. Your message will never resonate with them. They expect to pay taxes, they expect to follow what authority tells them. You seriously expect libertarians to win votes from people that believe that?

  • Rationalitate||

    ...ACCENT mark.

  • ||

    Dixie - thanks for that incoherent Paultard rant of the day. Maybe you would like to state some facts instead of just rattling off stupid sarcasm?

  • blarny||

    anti-government + revolution + legalized drugs + Ventura = what do you expect?

    To win anything libertarians will have to 1) figure out how to answer the question "Are you in favor of legalized drugs?". 2) Wait until things get so bad that "average" people will actually entertain revolutionary ideas (which is probably only a couple more presidents away - so take heart).

    My point is that no matter how right and necessary the libertarian ideal may be, most people have bought the idea that drugs and such are evil and we need protection from them. One silly question destroying an entire platform. that's reality.

  • lunchstealer||

    Why did Paul have to go and fuck it up.

    You do realize it's all your fault, right?

  • Adam||

    From a rag that has hated Paul since Day 1, this article is no surprise. Good luck selling subscriptions, Beltwaytarians.

  • libertytexan||

    All of us Paul supporters have to acknowledge the strong presence of the loons such as the truthers as this article does. If you look around and don't see them then guess what....

  • Fats||

    Beltwaytarians? Hell, there ain't no kind of 'tarians around here. Maybe this crowd would be more aptly described as Capitalists In Drag.

  • Shane Brady||

    People like the message they think Paul is pushing, but rarely like his actual message. His newsletters are his real message. He's only refined the language he uses, not the basic ideals.

  • New World Dan||

    While my kid was waiting for the school bus this morning, we were treated to the sight of a plane towing a Ron Paul Revolution banner, which I then tried to explain to her.

    Personally, I enjoyed the run and did my part for the cause, but most of the people I met in the movement were some seriously fired up social retards. When I went to my local caucus, it was pretty easy to scan the crowd and spot the Paul supporters. In fairness, the Huckabee supporters were nearly as obvious.

  • The Extispicator||

    Good point, Texan.

    BTW, I don't see how Reason can be said to hate Dr. Paul. They are exactly how I found out about him and started following him early on. All of the coverage was positive except for a few late pieces, which rightly pointed out some of the newsletter crap.

    But, then I guess I just haven't been enlightened about the fact that Reason is actually owned by a secret Pentaverate run by the Gettys, the Queen, the Pope, Colonel Sanders (who isn't actually dead) and Sarah Palin's baby who doesn't actually have Down Syndrome, but is actually an alien god-like creature hiding in an unthreatening form.

  • Brian Defferding||

    Ron Paul is making his mark reforming the Republican Party from within. If he loses, he'll drag the party down with him. Good for him and good for his supporters.

  • ||

    How do you call yourself a libertarian, and then want Ron Paul to exclude some of his supporters because you think they are a little loony? Seriously. Thats it. Just answer that. No more. Just think about that question.

  • ||

    If you are a snarky hipsteroid, derision and dismissal accompanies every step from the hotel lobby. It's all part of the training.

    DW has made his way covering this movement by approaching the supposed fringe and then withdrawing back into his obvious suburban angst ridden tepid shell. It is a very common trait amongst the same set found in basic liberal/progressive settings.

    He could have taken a sentimental tact about the country doctor whose passion for the Constitution and Republic lead to this vindicating shining movement while the war mongering, debt riding death race continued across the river, but not DW. Indeed, a movement that harnessed the best of the Internet, grassroots and yes, fringe elements.

    Paul even takes in the anarchists and atheists. What mainstream politician would shake Johnny Rotten's hand ? Who else would quote Lysander Spooner to Cavuto or even mention a non-agression principle in proper context? The great sin was the newsletters that some shill from the New Republic had to get out of Kansas or whatnot. Only then and not the Suicide Girls revelation, was it acceptable to bash and pound the paleos, evoking Rothbard's rednecks rising.

    But the safe route is the kookiness, weirdness and otherwise mundane conspiracy type stuff. This probably relates back to a rigorous dental hygiene regimen as a child and an equally fastidious disdain for hand dirtying labor (picture DW as a plumber or carpenter). It also keeps the cool apartment with all those specially ordered trinkets and nicknacks paid for and secure.

    Reason as very little passion associated with it anymore. Let Welch reign over the milquetoast safety of the cool middle, Gillespie might get some more mileage from Carey's gig, but really, whose's watching ?

  • Bingo||

    But the safe route is the kookiness, weirdness and otherwise mundane conspiracy type stuff. This probably relates back to a rigorous dental hygiene regimen as a child and an equally fastidious disdain for hand dirtying labor (picture DW as a plumber or carpenter). It also keeps the cool apartment with all those specially ordered trinkets and nicknacks paid for and secure.


    What

  • zoltan||

    I thought he was just pointing out weirdos at the Ron Paul rally.

  • jj||

    zoltan, ALL Weigel does is point out the Ron Paul weirdoes. One wonders if Reason is more afraid of being "weird" than of being un-libertarian.

    With friends like these...

  • Gene Berkman||

    Having been a libertarian for more than 40 years, I was actually quite excited to see so much libertarian and anti-government rhetoric on my tv screen.

    The Libertarian "Movement" is actually an interconnected network of circles. The Paul circles interconnect with elements of the antiwar Right and anti-NWO groups like The Constitution Party and The John Birch Society. Good that he exposes those people to a hardcore libertarian position.

    But indeed Gary Johnson's speech did add realistic experience of Republican dissidence, and Jesse Ventura added the opposition to Bipartisan statism.

    Maybe someday the Cosmotarians can put on a similar rally with an appropriate range of speakers and entertainment.

  • jj||

    If you want to see what real journalism looks like, check out the New York Times' video (currently on the front page at nytimes.com) detailing the campaign.

    Weigel thinks that he is so very clever, but is writing his way out of being respected.

    A simple little article that stated just the facts would have been better than Dave's fashionista hit-piece.

  • ||

    Maybe someday the Cosmotarians can put on a similar rally with an appropriate range of speakers and entertainment.

    Thanks, Gene. I just threw up a little in my mouth.

  • jk||

    Maybe someday the Cosmotarians can put on a similar rally with an appropriate range of speakers and entertainment.

    You'll have to content yourself with Gillespie's Elvis jacket.

  • Derrick||

    My point is that no matter how right and necessary the libertarian ideal may be, most people have bought the idea that drugs and such are evil and we need protection from them. One silly question destroying an entire platform. that's reality.

    blarny: public opinion on the drug issue has shifted *immensely* since I first became a libertarian 23 years ago. policy change *will* happen, and we need to be there to claim credit (and enhanced credibility) when it does. so, now is not the time to back off on drug legalization. it is time to press it even harder.

  • ||

    The Ron Paul movement weird? People thinking for themselves? Less government, no policing the world? No status quo? No bombing innocent nations because of lies? End the fiat money system owned by private bankers? Bring back habeas corpus? Actually have due process? Sound economic policy? People being responsible for themselves? No big bureaucracies under the guise of helping the "children" while taking the money themselves? That's LUNACY! INSANE! haha... you guys slay me.

    The author's ignorance is apalling, your apathy revealing, and cynicism apparent. Why not be a journalist and write about why there is a need for such a rally to occur, about the illegal shenanigans of the Republican party at the state and national levels, and the lack of an open convention acoss the river and anointing of a candidate who only received 47% of the vote? Why not write about how the RNC is mistreating a duly elected congressman from participating freely at the party convention or the fact that Dr. Ron Paul is the only politician who is addressing the real problems of this country: the war, the deficit, unsound monetary policy, the illegal usurpation of power by the office of the president, the nullification of the Constitution, the porosity of our borders and the reduction of our liberties due to the Patriot Act- just to name a few- which no other candidate is talking about. Dr. Paul is a true statesman while those others are mere puppets of Bush's new world order tripe. Next time, write from a position of strength (knowledge) and not weakness. You know not of which you speak but soon you will understand why "end the Fed" was the constant refrain at the Rally.

    Enough foolishness! Wake up!

  • Sean Scallon||

    Let a wanna-be establishment writer view a non-establishment rally from his perspective and Dave Weigel's summation of the Rally for the Republic here at Reason.com is exactly what you'd get.

    Although I must say you couldn't beat out neocon John "The Toad" Taranto" of the Wall Street Journal in snarkiness. Sorry.

    Let me ask you this Dave and any other cosmo, do you honestly think Sarah Palin would be John McCain's running mate if they weren't worried about the potential of Bob Barr costing them several states and would Barr have run if Paul's campaign hadn't stirred up libertarian activists again and made the LP nomination a prize worth having?

    And what voting base is Barr, and even Chuck Baldwin for that matter, tapping into into right now? The very fringers you lambast.

    For a whole day, a group of writers, politicians and and other political leaders who had been confined to print and internet were able to broadcast their libertarian views unfiltered to the whole nation on televison. Without Ron Paul and the "fringers" who bought tickets, they would not have had that chance.

    Amazing isn't it you have a magazine that celebrates drug users and yet it sees Paul supporters as "weirdos." What, too many straight edgers in the crowd for you?

    Instead of saying "these guys are libertarian but they're giving us (cosmos) a bad name because they're fringe." You could have said "these fellows are potential third force in politics and in fact in some ways they already are thanks to Paul's campaign. They could decide who becomes president in a razor close election and the major parties could come courting the movement's younger voters (wouldn't you agree the more far out types tend to be older?) after this year. It will interesting to see if the CFL can organize and keep the movement of diverse and in some cases very opposing views and lifestyles together, especially with no Paul campaign to support or rally around."

    There, would have been so hard to write Dave? or was Nick or some other editor looking over your shoulder saying "Nope, Nope Nope. More snarky. More smart ass. Got get some zingers in there. Those guys are nuts Dave, lets make sure everyone knows it so we're not associated with them"?

    Oh well, par for the course I guess. At least you didn't mention the newsletters. Then you really would have been an asshole.

    By the way, nice haircut. I sure that made you feel self-concious amongst all us "fringers."

  • svf||

    kooks or no kooks... there was more substance in Ron's one hour speech than in the entirety of the Democratic and Republican conventions combined.

    and damned if Ron didn't give the speech of his lifetime last night -- no small task for a charisma-challenged fella like him.

    despite the birchers and the truthers and the CPers, the Rally for the Republic frankly kicked some major ass.

    bravo to all involved. "wish I coulda been there", etc.

  • ||

    I have to give Jesse Ventura the award for the most daring speech. He knew he'd be laughed at by the likes of Davy Weigel, but then again little Davy Weigel actually believes the government version about 9/11

    Let the American people know the truth

  • blarny||

    Derrick,

    I hope you're right. Maybe I am being a sell-out but I'm just so tired of the libertarian being dismantled in front of the "majority" crowd when pressed on these "victimless crime" issues; Issues which I don't feel are urgent in comparison to reducing government size, power and unconstitutional taxation... But perhaps to jettison these liablities with the voting base is too deeply un-libertarian to justify.

  • ||

    Sean Scallon summed up the Reason crowd beautifully, especially with this bit: "Amazing isn't it you have a magazine that celebrates drug users and yet it sees Paul supporters as "weirdos.""

    Ron Paul supporters are Reason's demographic, the same people Reason has been defending for years from spurious attacks by right and left wing pundits.

    I can only infer from Mr. Weigel's article is that, quite frankly, the people which comprise the foundation of Reason are the very types which embarrass him.

  • B||

    "We're fixing everything that's been going wrong in the country since the banks took over in 1913."

    It is impossible not to roll your eyes when you read shit concerning Ron Paul and his supporters.

  • ||

    Fact is that most the folks at that Paul convention in St. Paul would alienate 98% of the American public -- not because their ideas are kooky or paranoid, though certainly some of them are -- but because the people presenting those ideas are unmarketable/bad sales people/ however you want to put it -- I've meet many a libertarian that have expressed ideas I 147% agree with but do so in ways that make me want to run from the encounter. Its he marketing/presentation that will make their efforts in vein, not the ideas themselves...

  • B||

    "I can only infer from Mr. Weigel's article is that, quite frankly, the people which comprise the foundation of Reason are the very types which embarrass him."

    If the foundation is made up of Ventura-style Truthers, he should be embarrassed. Jesse Ventura is a fucking embarrassment, period. Any group that invites that fucking clown to speak deserves to be ridiculed, mercilessly.


    Paul's insanely bigoted newsletter rantings don't really help matters either.

  • B||

    "The worst thing that could happen to his movement is not Alex Jones or the Truthers.."

    Actually it is the worst thing. Most sane people don't want to be associated with a group of loons that insists the United States is responsible for the terrorist attacks on 9/11.

  • Alberta Blue||

    If Ron Paul really wanted to be taken seriously he would have told all the loons and conspiracy theorists to take a hike. Same with the people who incessantly posted "Vote Ron Paul" in every youtube video thinking that would be the magic bullet to get elected.

    Why can't we have a sane libertarian like Jeff Flake run for the GOP. He seems more respectable and less likely to attract truthers and other associated idiots.

  • B||

    " and Jesse Ventura added the opposition to Bipartisan statism."

    All Jesse Ventura adds is the comic relief.

  • Sean Scallon||

    Cody, I should have also mentioned biker gangs, hippies, nudists, pot growers, punks, eccentrics and non-conformists of all types. Explain to me why Reason and libertarians want to cater to such people as readers, but when such persons organize politically, they're attacked for being on the fringe?

    What would have made you cosmos happy, that crowd at the Target Center looked exactly like the crowd that's at the RNC? Of course that's a chicken or an egg question (Then you be in control in St. Paul, you wouldn't have needed to be in Minneapolis). Perhaps. But who else would respond to Paul's message? Certainly not the powers that be over in St. Paul. They like their subsides, their cheap credit, their war, their God, and their lifestyle. Paul was a threat to them, which is why he was shut out and it wouldn't have mattered if we were as well-coiffed as Dave Weigel was yesterday.

    Most Americans, I believe, are conformists by nature because of the environment of where they exist, which for most people is either suburbia or the gentrified townhome. If dressing up in a suit and tie and saying everything your neighbors say and doing everything they do is what gets you ahead or brings you peace of mind for you and your family in this crazy world, then that's what they do. It's not a crime and there's nothing wrong with it. It's just reality.

    But when you come face to face with someone who goes againt the grain and does not conform to what you think is normalcy and does exercise their freedoms a little more than you do, one of two things happen. If you're younger, you think this person is totally cool and are fascinated by them and wanna be like them. Or if you're older, you become frightened and repelled by them because they threatened that peace of mind, mostly by appealing to your children.

    That's was Ron Paul's problem in a nutshell. He could attract younger people and they showed up in Minneapoils Tuesday. But in a GOP primaries where the majority of voters were 45 and up and didn't use the internet much less computers, RP and his views were frighting and repelling, not because he attracted the occasional nutball. All major candidates do on the edges of their rallies.

    Far from being individualists, most Americans want something to belong to, a community live in. Even libertarians. Dave and Orange Line buddies have chosen cosmopolitanism to belong to. The Paulians have chosen something else.

  • B||

    "If you want to see what real journalism looks like, check out the New York Times' video (currently on the front page at nytimes.com) detailing the campaign.

    Weigel thinks that he is so very clever, but is writing his way out of being respected.

    A simple little article that stated just the facts would have been better than Dave's fashionista hit-piece."


    Yes go back to the NY Times for real journalism. Those guys never run "fashionista hit pieces"

    Now if you will excuse me, I have to get back to the NY TImes and the three front page stories they did on Bristol Palin.

  • ||

    f the foundation is made up of Ventura-style Truthers, he should be embarrassed. Jesse Ventura is a fucking embarrassment, period. Any group that invites that fucking clown to speak deserves to be ridiculed, mercilessly.


    Israeli WTC Employees Warned of Attack

  • B||

    "I have to give Jesse Ventura the award for the most daring speech. He knew he'd be laughed at by the likes of Davy Weigel, but then again little Davy Weigel actually believes the government version about 9/11

    Let the American people know the truth"

    This is exactly the kind of shit I mean. Not only do we get a good dose of Trutherism, but we also get a link from which one can only infer, given the context, that the author believes Israel is responsible for 9/11. You can feed me a bunch of bullshit about fighting conformity all you want, but I don't ever want to be part of a "movement" (and believe me that is the right word for these pieces of shit)that entertains, or fails to condemn, the notion that the Jews are responsible for the murder of 3000 people on 9/11. Providing a forum for Ventura and his ilk to perpetuate this bullshit speaks volumes about the integrity of the people involved.

  • ||

    Did I say Israel was responsible for 9/11?? I just said Weigel actually believes the governments official version. Sorry, but while the twin towers were still burning the FBI wasn't arresting Muslims, but Israeli intelligence agents.

  • ||

    I thought overall, the Rally was pretty fantastic. The biggest question mark I had going in was Barry Goldwater Jr. doing Paul's introduction. I think here we see just how loyal Paul is to his friends. I've seen Barry Goldwater Jr. and whether it is outright senility or the fact he was never the sharpest tool in the shred to being with I don't know, but the guy doesn't belong anywhere near a microphone. Miraculously, Junior managed a speech of such wondrous stupidity that it exceeded even my painfully low expectations. I was embarrassed listening to it. Remarkably, at the end he brought me back in with the rambling story about the naked women and the bucket. I guess the "alligator" punchline must have meant something in relation to an earlier part of the story that I had already forgotten, but whether it made sense or not, it was a huge let down.

    Tucker brought a whole lot of class to the whole affair. Jesse gave a very good speech but if I may give him some advice for 2012, I think he needs to lighten it up just a little bit. He was at his best as a wrestling personality when he threw in a little humor along with the bombast. Lew Rockwell broke from his dour professor personality for a second and seemed genuinely touched that the audience recognized and cheered for Murray Rothbard. Gary Johnson doled out plenty of red meat for the cosmos with a very safe, predictable speech. And Aimee Allen justified the faith the Paul people had put in her by giving a very nice performance. Her touching rendition of Universal Soldier marked the musical high point of the show (at least until the Jimmy Vaughn afterparty).

  • ||

    When I discovered Ron Paul and was able to read about his beliefd, I thought how odd and short sighted he was. Then I met and observed his supporters, I decided that if this is his base, he is really weird and and they should get a life and find out what is out there and how we need to solve our problems. Talk is cheap and being obnoxious is really cheap.

  • Nemo||

    These comments remind me of why I left the Ron Paul campaign. The best decision I ever made was going Gene Callahan on the Rockwellians.

  • DixieFlatline||

    Bingo, the whole point of libertarianism is individual liberty, not democratic majorities or mass movements. I could care less what 95% of people think or want, I have a right to my personal liberty, and if you and others enjoy being slaves, knock yourselves out.

    But if you are any kind of real libertarian, then I don't understand how you can be for liberty with compromises. Sorta like partial slavery, or partial freedom.

    Which is exactly the problem with Reason. It's a pro-government magazine, that focuses on the very social issues that most people are not for. There is little to no focus, in fact, there is sneering, at the mere notion that economic and personal liberty are one in the same. There is little genuine criticism of a government that steals through counterfeit, to pay for murdering foreign civilians with bombs, that can't be reformed by winning the drug war, but has to be confronted by people of conscience and philosophy who aren't afraid to make a stand.

    But then Reason has been the front for Koch Industries (Google: David Koch Reason) for some time, so it's no surprise that it's a libertine right wing magazine that is totally divorced from any libertarian philosophy or economic study.

    When I wrote my first comment on this post, 4 of the 8 front page stories were about McCain. You've got the largest libertarian convention ever, and a nationally recognized libertarian presidential candidate, and Reason is spending most of it's time talking about John McCain. How is this rag any different from the Drudge Report or Huffington Post? The answer is, it isn't.

    Here is a real review on the largest grassroots libertarian event. Gee, you'd think a so-called libertarian magazine like Reason could do more than dispatch the Human Rat to write a blog entry about the largest libertarian event ever...

  • ||

    B, I am so with you.

    DF, hilarious posts. You may not care what everyone else thinks, but some of us would like to actually elect some people who might increase the amount of freedom we have. That means making a realistic appraisal of the public appeal of our candidates.

    Apparently you don't want to read anything that isn't 100% "rah rah rah" about RP and his minions. Some of us prefer to do more critical thinking, even about a movement we agree with.

    But if you are any kind of real libertarian, then I don't understand how you can be for liberty with compromises.

    Well, sorry to break this to you, but real life involves compromises. Look, this magazine (even Weigel) agrees with 95% of your cause, even on a bad day. If you're going to argue that they're the antichrist, it's hard to see how you're going to find enough people on your side to accomplish anything.

  • Fearful Symmetry||

    Ron Paul hasn't only tolerated harmful associations, he has given then a rallying banner, hence the resurrection of fringe hobgoblins - the "New World Order", for instance. He has done a profoundly poor job of defending free trade, the one thing most in need of defense and most central to modern libertarianism. What do we have instead? Tirades about immigration, NAFTA, and the gold standard.

    The Revolution is no longer a Libertarian movement, it is a populist movement with libertarianism a coincidental component. The ideology has been consolidated with its mob. Count me out.

  • ||

    Reason is in trouble when The Nation, The American Spectator, and Al Jazeera all cover an event more fairly:

    http://www.thenation.com/blogs/jstreet/353587/the_party_of_taft

    http://www.spectator.org/dsp_article.asp?art_id=13819

    http://english.aljazeera.net/news/americas/2008/09/200893194738167535.html

  • ||

    Boo.

    Poor article.

    Poor author.

  • ||

    Now be fair, Weigel is just using a different criteria than us flyover-country folk - would you invite most people from a Ron Paul rally to a beltway dinner party? Could they survive in the snark-filled conversations? Earnest doesn't play well in that group - it's one thing to make fun of government policy, but it's more important to know what red wine goes with the entrée.

  • ||

    You know, it truly is revealing that the Ron Paul convention gets much better treatment from the American Spectator than Reason

    Doug Wead, a veteran of the first Bush administration, was also applauded when he appealed to the party of Taft: "I say to the Republicans across the river, come home, come back. This is where you started, these are your roots. Join the campaign for liberty." Another former governor, Republican Gary Johnson of New Mexico, talked about his record of wielding the veto pen, cutting taxes and spending, and promoting school choice.

    Barry Goldwater Jr., the former Republican congressman from California and son of Mr. Conservative (to whom he bears a striking resemblance), criticized the Republicans' abandonment of first principles but suggested in his introduction of Paul that the movement for small government had a home within the GOP. Goldwater cited his father's 1960 admonition to the right: "Grow up conservatives. We can take this party back."

    Although Paul's pitch for ending the war in Iraq, repealing the Patriot Act, and legalizing drugs would have been out of place at the convention in St. Paul, much of his speech seemed like the GOP platform on steroids. He criticized the teaching of Keynesian economics, complained that tax cuts shouldn't be counted as a cost to the government, called for abolishing the Department of Education, and argued that needs aren't the same as rights. Free-market types wearing shirts that said, "Gold is money," began chanting, "End the Fed! End the Fed!"
    .

  • DixieFlatline||

    Brian24, who said anything about Rah-Rah Ron Paul? Weigel has been covering and talking down the revolution for what must be well over a year. This is the typical Reason treatment, criticize Paul, conflate him with his supporters, and then paint all of those supporters as loons.

    I know it irritates Dave Weigel and his Republican, right-wing fanatic bosses at Koch Industries that Paul has lit a fire under people to talk about the meaningful, like the immorality of taxation, or the consent of the governed. Like the known and documented abuses of the monetary system by the private federal reserve, or that war itself is a racket.

    What's truly sad, is that the Reason crowd is a minority, and does not agree with 95% of Paul's positions. If you do not understand that the state uses inflation through counterfeit to bypass the check of direct taxation on warfare and socialism, then you will never be able to make principled changes to effect liberty.

    You will be caught in the mindless dross the shames the front page of Reason, personality politics about Palin and McCain.

    Instead of headlines like

    Sarah Palin's Ripping Yarns!
    Bristol Palin is pregnant. Who's intolerant now?
    Is McCain Gulling the Immigration Hawks?
    McCain's Interventionist Schizophrenia
    John McCain's fetishization of service may sound harmless, but it's representative of his anti-individualist politics

    Paulites want to talk about monetary policy, welfare policy, drug policy, foreign policy. fiscal policy, victimless crime, civil liberties, history, the rule of law. Reason is, and remains a Republican outlet to subvert the libertarian movement, and engages in the same identity politics that has dragged the debate between Statist A and Statist B into the depths of hell. Why is McCain more prominently featured than Barr? Or Paul? Or any other Libertarian icon?

    Because the Reason Foundation is paid for by the same people who gave millions to the GOP over the last several decades. Bought and sold, to convince you the Paulites are weirdos, Paul is a bad guy, and that the only things worth talking about, are Sarah Palin's daughter.

    Enjoy.

  • ||

  • ||

    Is Ron Paul truly a magnet for crazies? Let us consider the statement "Without the focus of presidential debates or voter mail or TV ads, the congressman has become the latest Leader of the Fringe, a pop-political icon for all things outré." Francis Crick in his great book "What Mad Pursuit", wrote, "A knowledge of the true age of the earth and of the fossil record makes it impossible for any balanced intellect to believe in the literal truth of every part of the Bible in the way that fundamentalists do. And if some part of the Bible is manifestly wrong, why should any of the rest of it be accepted automatically?" Thus, Crick believed that people who believe in miracles, immortal souls, and supernatural entities are either ignoramuses or unbalanced intellects. Do people who believe in Jesus, the Miraculous Wine-maker, or Mohammad, the Miraculous Astronaut, really merit any more confidence that the far-out intellects who use Ron Paul as a means to gain attention? For that matter, how sane and balanced are any of us?

  • JMR||

    Nicole & others have it exactly right. Must hurt a bit to be 0wn3d in your article's own comments section, eh??
    JMR

  • Zephram Stark||

    That was so entertaining that I read the whole thing. Thanks for the laugh, Dave. You may not understand anything about the M3 Index or the underlying reasons we gathered at the Target Center, but your efforts to reduce the growing constitutional movement to a dying fringe reincarnation of Perotism had me rolling on the floor. You're a funny guy.

  • windycityatty||

    I dont know about the rest of you, but I was at both the Monday night concert at the Blaine Sports stadium and the Rally for the Republic. I, being a lowly "Paul supporter" didnt have back stage access or a media pass. Perhaps thats why my take on the crowd is completely different from the author's piece here.

    What I saw was inspiring. Instead of commenting on how stimulating it is to have people from so many diverse backgrounds converging in one place for liberty - you focus on a few fringe groups and positions.

    Let me put the record straight: The average attendee at this Rally was not a truther, was not an anti-Isreali bigot, or whatever other clowns you found to focus your pathetic story on.

    This article is deceiving, to say the least. I attended ALL events except the book signing - I met people who believe like I do that the federal reserve needs to be abolished, that foreign spending needs to be trimmed down considerably and that our federal income taxes need to be lowered, if not eliminated, that our govt is too big, too intrusive and needs to be decreased, that state's rights need to be enforced, that we dont need a real id, that medical marijuana should be legal, etc..etc...

    Whether the person was a harley rider, a texan cowboy, a lawyer from Chicago, a homeschooler mother from Utah or whatever, we were there in large numbers and it was US, not the truthers, who were the majority at this rally and who make up the majority of Ron Paul's base across the country.

    Shit, there were probably just as many McCain delegates/RNC attendees who came by to check out the rally than truthers. I was in the crowd talking to them, where the fuck were you Weigel? Backstage hobnobbign with Tucker Carlson?

    Did you guys forget to mention that Tucker Carlson opened the rally with a plea for people to listen to all the speakers, even those they don't agree with and give them a fair shake? And then Tucker quits MC'ing because Ventura asked, Why havent we indicted Bin Laden yet??

    Looks like both Weigel and Tucker can go fly a kite on the sun, each are equally worthless. How bout a comment on the fact that a guy who no longer was officially running for president sold 10,000 fucking tickets to a counter-convention a few months after having his supporters meet and march in D.C.?

    WTF are your priorities here?

  • Anthony Gregory||

    "The problem is 95% of the population doesn't see taxation as theft or police power as violent coercion. Your message will never resonate with them. They expect to pay taxes, they expect to follow what authority tells them. You seriously expect libertarians to win votes from people that believe that?"

    Who said anything about winning votes? We want a free society. The more people who recognize that taxation is theft, the freer the country would be.

  • Michael Woods||

    So this is what Reason has come to... sigh.... so sad. So pathetic.

  • ||

    dave, you are an idiot.

  • d||

    Bingo:

    > Excpet I'm pretty sure the gas tax holiday doesn't involve the Bilderburg Group or "the Zionist Conspiracy" in any significant manner.

    I'm not going to respond with how racist many of the policies of Israel are
    (like importing Eastern European and Ethiopian Jews to out-populate those pesky, fertile Aaaaarabs who have been in Israel for millennia [damn them!]). I won't...even though I probably should since I find Weigel's title a bit racist and unnecessarily pro-Israel.

    As for the nuttiness of the Dem's and Republicrats, well, just refer to Obama's insistence that he will raise capital gains taxes and end the limit on income taxation (even though every economist worth his or her salt says it will LOWER federal revenue) b/c it's 'fair' (paraphrase). And the Hilary/McCain gas tax holiday will not lower gas prices one iota (and deplete federal coffers to boot). Who's 'weird' now?

    Or how about the fact that Obama grew up nearly idolising an open communist and has served on a board with a home-grown terrorist nut who bombed the Pentagon (http://noquarterusa.net/blog/2008/04/16/
    obama-asked-about-william-ayers-in-tonights-debate/)? Whether or not Obama approves of Ayer's views, he's way more buddy-buddy with him (his neighbor, fellow member of [board X] and terrorist) than Paul is with the [conspiracy-theory-X] nuts. Put that in your biased pipe and smoke it.

  • Paul in 08||

    This article may have just pushed me over the edge in not renewing my subscription.

    Join the movement and you'll see a quite different face than reason is portraying. Reason is just wanna-be MSM in disquise. Way to go insulting a man who dedicated his life to promoting freedom. What the hell have you done to better the world? You've pretended to speak for the libertarian movement while spouting out the same BS I can read in any other magazine or hear on any TV station.

    The Ron Paul movement is not interested in winning over all the idiot voters in the US, we're interested in showing the light to enough of them that a sensible candidate like Paul can win without watering down his message.

  • DixieFlatline||

    Windy, the priorities of Reason are to subvert the Libertarian movement by tacitly endorsing the GOP. Just look at the # of McCain/Palin articles on the front page. One might be inclined to expect a libertarian magazine to, you know, talk about libertarianism! Not [T]Reason!

    @ Anthony Gregory, thank you. Much better put than my attempt.

    @ Paul in 08, it doesn't matter if you cancel your subscription. Koch Industries, the big time Republican backers will continue to subsidize the [T]Reason to keep libertarianism from subverting conservative Republicanism with rational philosophy.

  • ||

    Fake journalism and a poor attempt at it.

  • ||

    The Reason There Will Never be a Libertarian President Elected:

    To everyone who is in such a big damned hurry to label everyone with ideas they don't understand as "loonie", "nutty" or similar derogatory labels- While I'm curious and willing to listen to the Ventura's and the Truther's and everyone else you pass judgement on, I'm also willing to respect your right to not agree with these types of ideas. However, there are things we all agree on, and we need each other if we want to achieve any level of success. The corporate types in the GOP are certainly embarrassed by some of the Fundies. But they know they need them to win, and they do agree in important areas. I've never understood why people are so threatened by ideas that seem strange to them that they are willing to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Why not have an adult conversation about it rather than ridiculing. But I guess that would be too much work and not nearly as much fun. If you want to know why this movement will never bear fruit, don't look at the Paulites you call wierdos, look into a mirror.

  • inibo||

    Whatever you car to say about fringe elements of the Ron Paul campaign, there were an awful lot of people like be who got a crash course in free market economics and a yearning for for simple liberty. Leaven, perhaps. Give the ideas some time to propagate. In retrospect the fringe label will anachronistic.

  • ||

    Just take a quick stroll through the Dailypaul and you will read all you need to know about the "revolution". The bigotry, alienation, and just plain freakish level of paranoia is astounding.

    This message will NEVER resonate with the average American until the crazier sub-plots are isolated. And thank heaven for that

  • ||

    Weigel is about as libertarian as Alexander Hamilton. He likes liberty, he just doesn't like when people use it.

    Ron Paul supporters Crazy ? Perhaps next He should look at all the republicans in the evangelical movement, you know, the ones that think it is their job to protect Israel, so they can begin Armagedon and the rapture. Perhaps he should look at all the republicans that Believe that we are doing God's work in the middle east, besides 9-11 is jesus' Birthday (look it up). Perhaps he Should look at the silly elephant hats they were all wearing, or that weird Texan marching hat dance on display be some of the texas delegates. Or maybe He should look at all the democrats that also belong to PETA, and value animal life more than Human life, or maybe he should check out how many Scientologists are also democrats. - No Wiegel, you are an Eric Cartman Libertarian (whateva, I do what I want) whose tolerance for independent thought of others ranks right up there with the Pope's

  • ||

    I accept the crack pots..better them than the crack pots in Washington..

    Freedom is popular..Who cares who jumps on our bandwagon..the more the merrier..

    God Bless the R3volution!!!
    Let it GROW!

  • Daniel Bland||

    Want to wake America up to the truth regarding 9/11? Here’s how…….

    http://blandyland.com/?p=388

    Please leave a comment voicing your support for this idea. It is a very small price to pay considering everything that has happened in our world based on the tragic events of that fateful September morning.

    Thanks,

    Daniel Edd Bland III
    http://www.BlandyLand.com

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