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Posted at 09:00 AM ET, 01/07/2012

Ron Paul supporters and that awful Huntsman attack ad

One of the best arguments against Ron Paul? The people who support him.

First, there was that fellow who wrote Ron Paul's newsletters.

Now there’s NHLiberty4Paul, who just released a rather shoddily made video decrying Jon Huntsman's ties to China and showing footage of him speaking Chinese and of his two adopted daughters, one Chinese, the other from India.

And months ago, another of them was behind the ad in a Texas newspaper asking for people who had slept with Rick Perry to come out of the woodwork.

With supporters like these, Paul hardly needs detractors. I can’t think of a single thing a Paul supporter has done that has made me more inclined to see his candidate in a favorable light. Paul supporters are the ones who won’t stop talking to you on airplanes. They show up at caucuses and ramble on at length about finding the bones of giants in the earth. They comment indignantly on your blog posts and link you to conspiracy Web sites.

Stop doing this! You’ve crossed the line from self-parody into campaign liability.

One commentator even raises the possibility that this might not be a real Ron Paul supporter. It’s an interesting question. Before, to make a terrible ad that was seen by thousands and backfired horribly, you had to identify yourself and shell out money to your local TV station. But with the Internet, it is intensely easy to make an egregiously bad ad and get a great deal of attention very quickly, and no one need know who you are. It’s so easy to make an attack ad that a child can do it — apparently, in this case, a child with limited Photoshop skills. And the ad’s creator joined YouTube on Wednesday and has no other videos.

I worry that theorizing that something is all a conspiracy makes me sound like a Ron Paul supporter myself. But it seems so peculiarly unsubtle. And when you consider its impact — bring down everyone's wrath on the Paul camp, allow Huntsman to make touching, sweet remarks about his daughters — its outcome clearly favors Huntsman.

But then again, have you met a Ron Paul supporter lately?

That’s the trouble. Our experience with Ron Paul supporters makes it possible for us to believe that this is the work of a Ron Paul supporter. And when you’re the candidate of such fans, it’s a bad sign.

No one should be blamed for a supporter who goes too far. And it’s impossible to stop bad, backfiring ads. The ads that make me not want to support Rick Perry? All made by Rick Perry.

But at this point the ones who are doing Paul the greatest harm are often the ones trying to make his case. So I would appeal to whoever is doing this: Please, stop. You’re hurting Ron Paul. Unless that’s your intent.

By  |  09:00 AM ET, 01/07/2012

Tags:  Ron Paul, GOP 2012, oy

 
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