I know that every candidate has passionate supporters, but it’s obvious that Ron Paul’s followers are especially passionate to the point of being downright touchy whenever he is strongly criticized. Or am I being unfair in my assessment?
Last week, I received an email via Townhall from an apparent Ron Paul supporter. He wrote, “You want war with Iran send your own [expletive] kids, not mine. Stop sucking up to Isreal [sic]. What a piece of [expletive] this Townhall spews. One can clearly see your [sic] for the Tea Party of Hate. I know becuase [sic] of your hate for Ron Paul.”
Now, the funny thing is that, in several dozen Townhall articles written in 2011, I mentioned Iran a total of twice (in passing, at that), I mentioned the Tea Party twice (in the space of one article, without criticism or endorsement), and most importantly, I never once mentioned the name of Ron Paul. Not once! Yet somehow I am fashioned a Ron Paul hater.
Obviously, this is just one email from an anti-Israel, anti-Tea Party, profanity-using, spelling-challenged reader, and in no way do I judge Ron Paul or the rest of his supporters by one foolish email. Of course not. And yet, there’s something all too familiar about this pro-Paul email, specifically, its unusually rabid tone.
It is an open secret that no one has supporters who are more devoted, loyal, or committed than Ron Paul, and if other candidates had followers as dedicated as his, the current political landscape would look very different.
So is that the answer to my question? Is it simply that Paul’s followers are more passionate than others, implying that they will also be more defensive and even touchy?
Or is this overly simplistic? Perhaps the real issue is that, for years, the media has seemingly failed to give Paul his due, giving other candidates more coverage and attention and even time to respond in public debates. And so Paul’s followers have simply had it with being slighted, becoming especially sensitive to criticism.
Or maybe Paul’s supporters have emulated some of his own style, being more didactic than dynamic and more cantankerous than charismatic? Maybe this is one the reasons they are attracted to him?
Michael Brown holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University. He is the author of 25 books, includingLine of Fire. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.