One of the downsides of the internet is that any random nobody can make unsubstantiated accusations and they’re out there for everyone to see.
For example, over on Volunteer Voters an anonymous commenter left this stink bomb:
. . . [Mayoral candidate X] is now paying African Americans to put his signs in their yards.
Any proof of such allegation would surely be a most newsworthy event. My guess is that there is no such proof, and that this isn’t happening. I may be wrong, but absent a source, this is crap, and should be regarded as such.
I screen my comments. Sometimes, I even edit them. Kleinheider gets more commenters than I do–especially since I’ve been posting so infrequently of late, so screening might be too difficult a task. But this is the kind of explosive comment that, had I seen it on my website, I would have deleted the reference to the individual candidate in question and would have rewritten it as I did above until the commenter could provide substantiation.
In fact, I’d raise the stakes even higher. I would email the commenter and demand substantiation, and if he couldn’t provide it, I would publish his IP address and link to any previous comments the individual might have left on my site. That could be newsworthy too, if perhaps, said “anonymous” individual had connections to any of the other campaigns.
Also crap is the knee jerk reaction by a recently-arrived anonymous Nashville blogger that the unsourced accusation is the work of an individual whom he names. Where’s your source? (see comment #3)
The unsubstatiated comment accusing one of the mayoral candidates of paying black Nashvillians to put his signs in their yards has now been pulled. I truly hope that WKRN will now expose either that the accusation is true, or if it’s not, the identity of the accuser.
A. C. Kleinheider posted a video of a woman interviewing Fred Thompson at a Thompson rally in Texas. At the end of the inteview, the woman went into a rant about the Council on Foreign Relations and 9/11 conspiracy theories. In the title of the post, Kleinheider labeled the woman a “Ron Paul supporter.
That was apparently enough to bring out the small, but vocal, national network of worshiping St. Pauli’s Girls and Boys.
“Eric,” for example, had this to say:
Please document that this is a Ron Paul supporter or change the title.
The video at YouTube, which you see if you click on the embedded video here, says:
Houston911truth Confronts Fred Thompson
How do you twist that into Ron Paul Supporter, unless it is to further your own agenda.
I’ll have my lawyers get in touch with your lawyers.
As web-savvy as they seem to be, Eric, and the other Ron-Paul’s-flock-is-not-chock-full-of-nuts deniers ought to have followed the links Kleinheider provided. Not only did the interviewing woman leave the scene in a car with a Ron Paul bumper sticker, Kleinheider, linked to another “interview” of a Texas pol by this same woman that clearly indicates her support for Ron Paul.
I lived in Texas a few years back, and I have to say that I was impressed by Congressman Ron Paul’s originalist interpretation of the Constitution. While I do not support his foreign policy positions, I have long admired his principled stands.
What I do not admire, however, is his inability to wrest his own campaign away from the crazies who are advocating on his behalf. They, his own supporters, have defined Ron Paul negatively. And that, now, will be his lasting legacy.
Years ago I spent a semester in college researching and writing about the 1964 election. Barry Goldwater lost in a landslide. He, too, was damned by association with his own supporters–particularly neo-confederate racists who used his campaign to try to preserve legal segregation.
Goldwater lived long enough after that election to resuscitate his image. Perhaps Paul will too. But he will only if he makes a clean break from the nut jobs who are killing him with their support. He needs a “Sister Souljah” moment–not to win the nomination (that will never happen)–but to restore his own credibility.
Still, Ron Paul’s nut jobs are doing the GOP a huge favor. For years–especially the Clinton years–Republicans have been saddled with a few of their own “black helicopter” crowd.
Remember how Y2K was supposed to be a plot so that President Clinton could declare martial law and suspend the 2000 election? Although many of those conspiracy theorists probably ended up voting for the Republican nominee seven years ago, the support of crazies tends to lose more votes than it gains.
Cindy Sheehan is a good example of how a conspiracy theorist nut job can hamstring her own party. As long as she was linked to Democrats, she hurt the Democratic Party. The best news the Democratic Party has had this past month is the announcement that Sheehan is leaving the party and will challenge Speaker Pelosi next November. Pelosi, far too extreme for most Americans, is now safely triangulated as a “moderate” because Cindy Sheehan is foe instead of friend.
Ron Paul’s supporters are the Republicans’ Cindy Sheehans. My sense is that they will support a third-party rather than the GOP next year. That is a good thing for the GOP, since it now puts Black Helicopter Republicans outside of the party–where they belong.
One difference I’ve noted between certain elements of America’s two political parties is that Republicans tend to criticize Democratic primary candidates as being “too liberal,” while Democrats criticize the GOP’s potential offerings as not being conservative enough. (i.e., Fred Thompson’s past lobbying clients, Rudy Giuliani’s past marriages, and Mitt Romney’s present religion.)
One wonders if, come next fall, the Republican nominee will still be “not conservative enough” for his Democratic foes.
I’m guessing not.
Most of what I’ve concluded about the Nashville Mayoral race comes from watching yard signs.
When you live in the same area for a while, and you pay attention to politics, you recognize that it’s always the same houses always sporting the same signs. I can tell you today, which houses will host a yard sign for which party’s candidate next November–no matter who the candidate is. I can also tell you which families will support a no-chance primary candidate, or a third-party candidate because the other offerings are too “moderate”.
The latter group, at least in my part of Nashville, has taken a pass on a mayoral yard sign this year. That, I think is a good omen for Karl Dean. Here’s why:
Many of the more ”conservative” voters I’ve spoken to about this race agree on only one candidate: Anybody-but-Briley. They don’t have a yard sign for their candidate because they haven’t decided which one has the best chance of ensuring Briley doesn’t win.
Among the more “liberal” voters the decision comes down to David Briley or Karl Dean. Again, they don’t have a yard sign because they don’t know which one is more likely to win.(Two curious asides: There seems to be more liberal antipathy for Bob Clement than for either Howard Gentry or Buck Dozier. And, I’m actually surprised that Karl Dean is portrayed as a “progressive” candidate given the disproportionate number of Republicans and “Doug Henry Democrats” who have Dean signs in their yards.)
The single factor that weighs heaviest in the decisions of the more partisan voters on both sides is the perceived performance of David Briley. Among those conservatives whose first priority in this race is to block Briley from becoming mayor, they are likely to vote for the one candidate whom they perceive is most likely to win. To most observers, that’s former Congressman Bob Clement. However, if Briley is perceived as being “out of the running,” as polls seem to indicate, Clement loses some of that consensus conservative vote, thus reducing his margin of victory in the August election.
On the other side, liberals who support either Briley or Dean will gravitate to the one whom they perceive is more likely to win.
The beneficiary of both voter blocs is Karl Dean–directly, in the case of the liberal vote, and indirectly from conservatives, because every vote that otherwise would have gone to Bob Clement, but instead goes to Howard Gentry or Buck Dozier, reduces Clement’s margin of victory.
Don’t misconstrue this as an endorsement of any particular candidate. I can honestly say that I haven’t yet decided whom I’m supporting for Mayor.
However, unless Howard Gentry or Buck Dozier can excite their base in the next few weeks–something very possible in what will likely be a very low turnout August election–I predict a Clement-Dean runoff in September.