I see that I’m in good company in my curiosity about why Ron Paul enjoys so much crank magnetism. And his crank magnetism and appeal to racist groups can’t be denied. Here for instance, is Ron Paul posing with Don Black, culled from the neo-nazi Stormfront website:
Now, I think its unlikely Ron Paul knew who this was when he posed for this shot, but between this and their endorsement of Paul on Stormfront radio, I think it’s pretty well confirmed who their candidate is. Also note, this picture was taken at the “Values Voters Presidential Debate” just as a reminder of who “Values Voters” debates appeal to.
One of my commenters, quoting Digby, made the point that Ron Paul support isn’t so much a political position as a sign of disaffection. Based on the wide political spectrum of cranks that seem to think this anti-government radical is their guy (including the poorly-named Reason magazine as PZ points out) I think Digby’s assessment is the correct one. Cranks recognize one of their own.
I’m not actually concerned about Ron Paul’s candidacy, I believe his appeal is overblown as any real exposure to his beliefs will turn off the 95% who realize such a fervently anti-government radical libertarian would be the worst candidate one could conceivably elect. He scores easy points at these debates mocking the rather pathetic Republican presidential field and appealing to the people’s populist sentiments, but underneath this facade is a crank, and crank candidates rarely poll higher than about 5-10% (and I include Nader in this category – deal with it). So while it’s been fun mocking this also-ran all week, I don’t think we’ll be seeing much more of this guy after Iowa and New Hampshire.