Banning Ron Paul Supporters
RedState‘s recent decision to ban those with new accounts from “shill[ing] for Ron Paul in any way shape, form or fashion” has understandably drawn a strong reaction, including condemnations from conservative Republicans like Ed Morrissey and David All, who’ve criticized RedState for close-mindedness and short-sightedness.
Erick Erickson has weighed in to clarify RedState‘s reasoning.
I have a world of respect for Captain Ed and recognize the value in the high minded discussions that Captain Ed and his commenters regularly engage in. But I think RedState is a different case. Ed is one high minded blogger. RedState is a community of bloggers of various minds and opinions and the community consensus was that we needed to do something dramatic against the Code Pink and Neo-Nazi lurkers who support Ron Paul and come to RedState.
And let’s be clear, there are a lot of decent Ron Paul supporters who are welcome here. But we’ve been overrun by the retarded vulture fringe who just drop by to yell about the Zionist Conspiracy to shut Ron Paul out. And I make no exaggeration in saying that. Today, I got my favorite piece of email so far. It said “I smell Hebrews.” That sums up the sentiment of the folks we’ve tossed.
He provides several examples of hateful emails from Paul supporters or those posing as same.
Most of us who have open comment forums and have posted on Paul have experienced the same kind of thing as Erick although, at OTB at least, I haven’t gotten a lot of anti-Semitic comments. What I have had — with Paul posts much more so than those for any other candidate — is a lot of what I refer to as “drive by” comments: Long, typically link-filled, comments pasted into any post mentioning Paul from people who are not regular readers. Generally, these people post the same boilerplate all over the blogophere and various political fora to get the message out.
So long as that remains the case, I’m inclined to continue to treat Ron Paul supporters like any other commenters: They’re welcome so long as they actually discuss the content of the post and otherwise abide by OTB’s comments policy. Violators have their comments deleted and replaced with a notice that they were in violation of site policies and instructions on how to buy advertising. But, like Ed, I’m running a single blog, not a giant community forum. A blanket ban may well be RedState‘s only recourse.
DailyKos did something similar a while back with Cindy Sheehan and her supporters, for similar reasons. Both are, above all, partisan and ideological activist communities trying to promote a specific agenda. They’re not in the business of sponsoring free-for-alls.