Most people have hobbies: golf, model trains, restoring old cars, whatever. A year after Ron Paul announced his Republican presidential bid, I have concluded that his supporters must not do these things. They can’t possibly have the time. While others are at rest or at play, Paul’s supporters are on the Internet, googling his name and diving into the comments sections of news articles to register their opinions. Maybe it’s a measure of their dedication or their web savvy, or both. I don’t know. But they always show up, sometimes 500 or 600 in force or more. And since they often complain about the media giving their guy short shrift, I thought I’d give them a chance to tell Paul’s story, now that it’s in its last chapter. (There, the media just did it again.) What follows is a collection of comments, culled from TIME’s archive, that span the epoch of Ron Paul 2012.
April 2011: As Paul begins to examine another presidential campaign, his supporters take to the comments section to lay out the stakes of the election in stark terms:
America has a choice. Complete collapse, or elect Ron Paul for president. -Athan
clowns on the left, jokers to the right….the 2 party failure is over / vote a libertarian into office and see what a president should do. -JHOWA
June 2011: Ron is running. TIME interviews him about his third presidential candidacy. His supporters are riding high.
Ron Paul speaking is what freedom sounds like, he is the real deal. -Glugzy
The “dark horse” candidate speaks (and votes) good, common “horse” sense…Dr. Paul has my vote, support and prayers. I even have his bumper sticker on my car—a first for me! Go Ron Paul and clean house! :) -Elizabeth
August 2011: Despite a close second-place finish in the Ames Straw Poll, Paul skepticism abounds in Washington. The commentariat is fed up.
[TIME reporter] Alex Altman is another perfect example of an employee of a firm paid by The Fed to make sure that dangerous Ron Paul doesn’t get elected. Why point to a bygone election which has no relevance? Why not point out the numerous polls showing him ahead by a wide margin? Why not “Support Our Troops” the way our troops, me included(as a veteran), support Ron Paul? Or would you rather sentence the soldiers and sailors to endless agony? Support Our Troops!!! End the senseless wars. Defend the American Way!!! Vote Ron Paul!! -Paul Wilson
Many are rankled by being labeled fanatics:
Their [sic] not fanatics; their [sic] PO[ed]! Nobody wants a talking head in office anymore. It’s embarrassing to have these puppets represent us to other countries. I’ll take the guy that has always been honest and patient when those around him refused to see what eventually came true. He reminds me of my grandfather, a WW II vet that always looked out for me, no matter how dumb I was as a kid. -James Stevens
Others seem intent on proving that the shoe fits:
Most everyone knows that Time Magazine is in bed with the CIA. Ron Paul as President means that Global Banking Elite will lose money, so he’s being Blacked-out by the MIC Media. Paul’s “weaknesses” are his strengths, actually, you big Fart! -Military Industrial Web
And at least one isn’t entirely sure where he is:
Ron Paul is the leading contender in alternative media. His campaign will be fought and won there not in establishment drab like the Times. I don’t even read the Times, I only heard about this article from an alternative media source and wanted to state my opinion. -Jeremy_db
But they are confident that their own presence is proof that they are right:
The fact that this article has more comments than the previous 6 combined just shows the fact that Ron Paul is winning, can win and will win. And journalists like Alex Altman will go in prison once things turn around. -SlickR
December 2011: Paul has been gaining in the polls, slowly but steadily as other candidates rise and fall. Despite a lingering gap, hubris rears its head:
Dr. Paul has already won. We will not vote for just another criminal. The race is now between Ron Paul and Obama. -John Wyatt
After all, how could someone who is popular on the Internet lose an election?
Here’s a poll for you. Go to Youtube and see how many hits/likes/ there’s been in 24 hours on Ron Paul’s new ad regarding neocreep Newt Gingrich: SERIAL HYPOCRISY. -yonish
For the more grounded Paulists, hope comes in the form of the unbound convention delegate:
The primaries are just beauty contests, but where the rubber meets the road the delegate selection caucuses are where the real action is. -Club_ed
Iowa approaches, and skepticism from reporters continues to frustrate the faithful.
You keep asking “how far can Dr. Paul go?” You should write a story asking why no other candidate has this question asked of him/her. Why is Ron Paul’s surge so different than the others? It is deep in the [Mainstream Media] DNA and it is poison. -Brad Hudgens
Paul is like Apple Computer, one explains.
Emotion is really powerful. For a long time, Apple Computer thrived by being loved by some and hated by others. Paul evokes strong emotions in people, and that’s a good thing. Not enough people question the political landscape they are given and told to play upon. -Dixie10
Everyone else is worse than soggy bread, writes another.
Id vote a soggy peice [sic] or [sic] bread before I’d vote for Obama or Romney. I didn’t meant [sic] to bash soggy bread, but that’s how I feel. -Ghxh
Above all, the future is bright:
We got this!!!!! Ron Paul 2012! -Kerry Fogarty
January 2012: Moment of truth: The Iowa caucuses. The commenters fire themselves up. Exclamation points and caps lock keys are deployed with abandon:
To my fellow Ron Paul supporters in Iowa. MAKE IT HAPPEN TOMORROW. SHOCK THE ESTABLISHMENT TO ITS CORE AND PUT RON PAUL IN FIRST PLACE!!!!! The country is counting on you guys. R O N P A U L 2 0 1 2 -AASDF
Ron Paul for president! Bring the troops home! Legalize the Constitution! -Laurie RonPaul Shuck
And then, disaster. Woe. Tragedy. Paul finishes a close third in Iowa behind Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum. There’s anger…
Ron Paul was clearly ahead in the Iowa Caucuses, and then the establishment fix was in. I will write Ron Paul’s name if I have to, but I will never vote for any of the pompous, pandering plastic puppets the bank owned establishment is trying to push our way. -mitchie124
Santorum and Ahmedinajad [sic] are two of a kind, manipulating religious emotions for their self-aggrandisement [sic]. -Sal20111
The International Church of Satan today publicly endorses Mitt Romney as Republican Presidential Candidate, and as the next President Of The United States. -International Church of Satan
…and finally, solace in the delegate count.
But his bronze medal got him 6 delegates, just like Romney and Santorum got. There was no “winner” in Iowa. -Shane Price
The commenters quickly become students of history…
Re[a]gan never won anything til North Carolina just saying. -Minute Man 721
[H]ow can Romney have 107 delegates and Santroum have 45 delegates? Its mathematically impossible. Romney ( 7 NH+ 2 SC+ 50 FL + 14 NV = 73) Gingrich ( 23 SC+ 6 NV= 29) Paul (3 NH + 5 NV= 8) Santorum ( 3 NV).. Associated press is waaaaaayyyyyy off. You discredit yourself using them as a source. -Johneverymann
Voter Fraud -Measurmentinc
February 2012: The contests have continued, but still no victories and few points on the board for Paul. TIME asks the question: When can we call Paul’s strategy of going after small caucus states a bust? The commentariat is irate, straining at the bonds of the little boxes below the stories.
When can we call Ron Paul’s caucus strategy a bust? Well, when can we officially call journalism a bust? Oh wait, that’s right, we can’t. We only get the comment section, not the headlines. Bummer. -Freedom_Baby
March 2012: TIME reports that Paul advisers have had backchannel conversations with other campaigns about cutting an endorsement deal. Down in the comments, denials, paranoia and capslocking continue apace.
This is neocon disinformation, their fantasies of how they would like for Paul to sabotage his movement. Not going to happen. Romney is no more electable than Santorum. It’s more likely to be a Paul-Romney ticket than the other way around. -SethK
Ron Paul will never make any backroom deals! This alleged deal between Paul and Romney is nothing but a conspiricy INVENTED by Rick Santorum because he knows he, nor anyone else can stand in the daylight and debate Ron Paul on the issues! -jsknow
WHAT A LOAD OF BS!! PAUL DOES NOT “CAHOOT” WITH ANYONE! -Katrina Cristoff
There is at least one constructive suggestion, even if its relevance is difficult to understand.
When are we going to get rid of the Electoral College? It’s so stupid. -SweetBetsy
April 2012: Election news has slowed to a trickle as Romney runs away with the nomination. But the Disciples of Paul return to herald some good news: He has been named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by TIME Magazine, though even that distinction is too generous to the other 99 people on the list in one commenter’s estimation.
The only one that really matters in 2012 is Ron Paul. We have too many things to fix in this county, and he’s the only one with the answers. -Rand Paul Review
May 2012: Sad tidings: To conserve resources, Paul has announced he will no longer actively campaign or run ads, refocusing himself on securing the remaining unbound delegates and soldiering on toward the convention, all but out of the race. But that changes nothing for the commenters. There are still insults…
You really work for Time magazine? They pay you for this drivel? -Len DiCenso
…herculean feats of delusion…
This is the most publicity Ron Paul has had through the entire campaign. Smart Move…at just the right time! -Scott Elsom
…and as always, a healthy regard for the power of the comments section.
As usual, skip the article and read the comment section if you want to be informed. -Gino G
Update: We’ve arrived at the natural conclusion of our journey. Here are the 10 best comments from Ron Paul supporters in the comments section of this article about Ron Paul supporters in the comments section:
this is one of the most boring and irrelevent [sic] articles i have ever read. its [sic] not over for Ron Paul 2012. The revolution hasnt even climaxed -Veronica
You should make a time line of hit articles on dr Paul in chronological order, that would make a great article, instead of attacking your readers, sorry ex readers -DanielTourtillott
This has probably been said… but Ron Paul should be Person of the Year. It’s a mediocre award for starting an intellectual revolution, but hey, Time is a mediocre news outlet.-Rand Paul Review
lol. This is a really lazy piece. You ought to pay the people that wrote the comments. -sameolbs
I’m a full time digital artist. I work on Games, movies, eviroment [sic] art, you time it. I’m a busy person. That said googling ron paul once a week and leaving a few comments does not get in the way of me playing starcraft2 and EVE, and doing my own personal projects and playing Tactics orge when I go to bed. Oh and I’m married and have to take care of our 3 pet bunnies. Oh right and I support ron paul because everyone else is MORE of a nut case. -Jaron DiTommaso
ADAM SORENSEN why are you so jealous of Dr. Paul’s popularity and success? Nothing you can achieve in your lifetime. Ouch!!! -MosesLavine
If ever a news “article” could be called trolling this is it. -DuderAbides
Well no matter how you slice it up, Paul supporters are active and at least trying to make heads or tails of the trials and tribulations our country and the world is going through. Right or wrong, I give them all the kudos I can for at least caring and trying to be active in US politics. Not many have the nerve to wade daily in the knee deep BS that comes with the territory. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.. -Jay Urbanik
I’m surprised TIME even did this article (let’s guess to see how many comments will say this is trash journalism (when it’s actually a pretty accurate timeline)). Unless you completely and totally praise Ron Paul like he’s perfect (which he doesn’t believe he is, he’s a Christian. All sinners ring a bell?) the comments get flooded with these hateful kids who must have Google alerts for ‘Ron Paul’ on their news feeds. Grow up. -celach
Can someone with the appropriate credentials ( from Government or a former prize winner)please Nominate Doctor Ron Paul for the Nobel Peace prize. -Supernevadasmith