03 May 2012

Stealth insurrection on the right

The Gingrich and Santorum camps have folded their tents, and the Christian Right and the teabaggers have (mostly) reconciled themselves to supporting the despised Romney in order to remove the hated Obama.  But below the MSM radar, a stealth insurrection soldiers on.

My observation of the right wing of the internet includes the Ron Paul cult, an alternate reality far more divorced from real reality than the "normal" right-wing bubble is.  In that alternate reality, Ron Paul is the only true voice of the people, virtually a messiah -- if he hasn't actually won any states, that's because of deluded voters, or fraud, or media conspiracies.  If he gets almost no news coverage, it's not because he's a fringe crank with no chance of winning, it's because of a "media black-out" conspiracy.  Think of the kind of person who sits in a remote cabin in Montana writing unreadable pamphlets "proving" that Federal Reserve notes aren't real money, fuming about the Illuminati and the gold standard and CIA mind-control rays*, and gloating about some vague impending "collapse" of society.  Now imagine a whole subculture made up of such people.  You'll be pretty close.

And the hard-core Paultards are not falling into line behind Romney.  They have a plan, and it involves exploiting arcane procedural rules of the Republican party to achieve two goals:

1) Securing enough Paul-loyal delegates, despite the actual popular vote in the Republican primaries and caucuses, to win the nomination for Paul at the convention.

2) Taking over control of the Republican party at the state and local level, the ultimate aim being to take over the party nationally.

For a sense of the mind-set at work, check out the comment threads (more than the actual posts) here and here and here.  Mainstream Republicans have started to notice the problem.

Why is this happening now?  Paul has run for President before without his cult resorting to such measures.  But he's now 76, and this is probably his last shot.  And the Paultards are at least as paranoid about Obama as the teabaggers are.  Some believe that if Obama wins a second term, he'll become a dictator and there will be no more elections.

What's the likely actual outcome of this insurrection?  If Paul did somehow win the nomination, Obama would have an easy victory -- he'd be running against an aging fringe crank whose ideology would horrify most voters once they understood it, while the millions of rank-and-file Republicans who voted for Romney at their state primaries and conventions would be outraged at seeing their votes swept aside by an organized minority exploiting obscure rules and technicalities.  Such a scenario is, of course, very improbable.  But if (as is likely) the Republican establishment swats down the insurrection and Romney's nomination goes according to plan, the party will have another problem.

You really need to spend some time in the Paultardosphere, soaking in its ambiance, to grasp how utterly cut off from reality these people are.  They really think they can do this.  And they've been telling themselves for months that Paul must be nominated or the country is doomed.  At the convention, when their bubble world is inevitably burst by collision with reality, the shock will be profound.  The results could include a massive tantrum disrupting the convention, a third-party run pulling some percentage of votes from Romney, and the Devil knows what else.  It probably won't include falling quietly into line behind the nominee.

Romney will likely try to buy off Paul with a major speaking slot at the convention, which he's said to covet.  But for all we know, Paul himself may endorse the insurrection and expect it to produce results; and in any case, the cult may not renounce its dreams and fall into line even if the messiah commands it.  They're too worked up for that.

Years ago the Republicans made a pact with the Devil, embracing teh crayzee in various forms to win the support of small but fanatical armies of true believers, and lately the Devil has been coming round to collect.  O'Donnell and Angle were just the beginning.

[*I don't mean they believe in those specific things, though some of them may -- I'm trying to give a sense of the general mentality.  Actual Paultard conspiracy theories are too boring to form any clear impression.]


Blogger Shaw Kenawe said...

Excellent summary of where this band of true Paulist believers are going with their leader.

I wonder. Do the Paulists believe that if they clap loud enough, their Tinkerbell will be kept alive?

03 May, 2012 06:18  
Blogger Leslie Parsley said...

Frankly, I'd love it if Paul ran on a third party platform. We've seen what happens with such parties throughout history. Nothing - except to pull votes from the base party.

03 May, 2012 07:26  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

SK: Thanks. In this case, it's more like clapping to keep Captain Hook alive.

LP: Me too. Even if he doesn't, we can hope that a lot of Paultards will vote for Gary Johnson instead of Romney.

03 May, 2012 12:44  
Blogger Robert the Skeptic said...

Paul has run for president before on the Libertarian ticket... which became sidelined as all third party campaigns do. So it was no surprise to me that he donned the Republican costume to see if he could further his run this time.

The Republicans have always had an identity crisis; the word "conservative" means "narrow, restrictive". When you define an ideology, some people are not going to not feel they fit entirely into the picture.

But again, I feel that when people enter a voting booth, they act on simple choices: black or white, yes or no, Obama or Romney. At some point, a person is going to identify more closely with one party over the other when they vote. Exit polls show reveal that people actually LIE about how they voted. Issues, facts, or any minor level of critical thinking will not enter into the rationale for a majority of voters.

03 May, 2012 12:59  
Blogger Tommykey said...

CIA mind-control rays

I used to work in the clerk's office for the Eastern District of NY federal court, and we had a pro se plaintiff named Norman Rabin who was suing various Federal government agencies claiming that they were using satellites to "assault" him.

At some point, a person is going to identify more closely with one party over the other when they vote

Robert, that's very true. A lot of people will pull the lever for a Republican candidate, for example, simply because they perceive a Democratic candidate as being for big government, high taxes, out of control spending, soft on crime, soft on terrorism and so forth.

03 May, 2012 19:18  
Blogger Ronbo said...

I must question any writer (right or left) who writes as if he knows what is in the minds of other persons. Use surveys or polls - but to create "straw men" to merely knock them down is just cheap and pathetic. It's a sure sign of adhering to rhetoric - not facts.

I know you can do better in the future (you could hardly do worse!)

04 May, 2012 06:29  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

RtS: I think there's a spectrum. Some people do vote on the basis of careful consideration of issues. At the opposite extreme there are those who vote on the basis of a full-blown delusional world-view -- as in the case of the Paultards, and what Smartypants calls the "poutragers" (leftists so extreme they won't vote Democratic even if it means letting the Republicans get in).

TK: I wonder how people like that explain the fact that such an omnipotent and evil government would vaguely "assault" them and leave them free to rant and file lawsuits, instead of just rubbing them out.

Ronbo: Sorry, but I can't figure out what the hell you're referring to (unless this is an intentional parody of Paultard rhetoric).

05 May, 2012 10:22  

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