The ubiquitous and web-savvy supporters of Ron Paul now have one less forum in which to vent their rage.
The influential conservative blog Redstate.com placed a ban last night on all Paul commentary from readers who are recent arrivals to the blog.
Paul’s followers are angry that the Libertarian congressman can’t seem to get traction in national polls as he bids for the Republican presidential nomination.
Paul — a representative from Texas who ran for president in 1988 on the Libertarian Party ticket — remains mired in the low single digits.
The post on Redstate, “Attention, Ron Paul Supporters (Life is *REALLY* Not Fair),” begins, “Effective immediately, new users may *not* shill for Ron Paul in any way shape, form or fashion. Not in comments, not in diaries, nada. If your account is less than 6 months old, you can talk about something else, you can participate in the other threads and be your zany libertarian self all you want, but you cannot pimp Ron Paul. Those with accounts more than six months old may proceed as normal.”
Redstate founder Erick Erickson said he woke up this morning bombed with hundreds of e-mails, “the overwhelming majority very angry.” His own readers, though, loved the ban.
“It is the most recommended user diary in Redstate history,” he said.
Paul’s energetic online supporters managed to help him raise more than $5 million in the third quarter of this year, roughly tying Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).
They’ve also ticked off an awful lot of people, including, apparently, Leon H. Wolf at Redstate, who calls them “annoying, time-consuming, and bandwidth-wasting.”
Wolf writes he is tired of “responding to the same idiotic arguments from a bunch of liberals pretending to be Republicans.”
Erickson said that he and the regular Redstate readers had just had enough.
“They’re terribly annoying and they don’t add to the debate. If people are adding to the debate we don’t have a problem with them coming here. But they’re just coming to promote Ron Paul. They talk over everyone. They yell at everyone,” he said.
Paul spokesman Jesse Benton said he questioned “the judgment of the decision,” but added: “They are a private entity and they are certainly within their rights to do as they see fit.
“I’m sure there are a few Ron Paul supporters who get a little shrill,” Benton said . “All we can control is what comes from our campaign.”
The ban against Paul-supporting is not categorical, Erickson and Wolf made clear.
“Hey, we’re sure *some* of Ron Paul’s supporters really are Republicans. They can post at any one of a zillion Ron Paul online forums. Those who have *earned* our respect by contributing usefully for a substantial period of time will be listened to with appropriate respect. Those who have not will have to *earn* that respect by contributing usefully in the other threads … and not mentioning Ron Paul. Given a month of solid contributing, send one of us an email and we’ll consider lifting the restriction on your account,” Wolf writes.
Wolf then shut down the comment thread for the post to avoid the deluge of irritation that was headed his way.
Erickson forwarded to Politico a number of the e-mails as examples of that irritation. “You are banning FREE SPEECH. Perhaps next you can forbid discussion of Democratic candidate names. It is a sad day for America when hypocrites who think they are right try to shovel their propaganda onto the rest of us. What goes around comes around,” wrote one reader with an e-mail exchange at socialheart.com.
Erickson finds this sort of complaint hypocritical itself. “So much for their respect for private property,” he said.