Ron Paul may look like an also-ran, but he's raising ducats like a maybe-so, especially after the pile of money he hauled in yesterday got tallied--a one day raking that amounted to $4.2 million. Want perspective on that amount? The New York Times' notes that the amount "approach[ed] what the campaign raised in the entire last quarter." It's the best single-day take of any of the Republican candidates, besting the previous record held by Mitt Romney for the $3.14 million he raised on January 8, 2007.
Of course, the flip-side of Paul's impressive day is the tale it tells about Paul's supporters, an off-center lot who are perhaps best known for spamming the hell out of the blogosphere: a few weeks ago, the conservative blog RedState.com put the kibosh on Paul "pimping" in the harshest possible terms, titling the relevant post, "Attention, Ron Paul Supporters (Life is *REALLY* Not Fair)."
Are the Paulites a wee bit tweaked? Well, consider: this massive fundraising haul was themed around Guy Fawkes Day, a holiday in Great Britain where celebrants gather around bonfires to burn the eponymous Fawkes - who was a conspirator in a sectarian plot to bomb Parliament and kill King James I - in effigy. It's a reference that the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza finds to be awash in "semi-creepiness." But the Paulites add a second strata of semiotics to the Guy Fawkes Day theme by rooting their movement within the context of the movie V For Vendetta, which is about mysterious insurgent who, whilst wearing a clownish Guy Fawkes mask, works to destroy a fascist, dystopian future British government.
That movie is based on a comic book of the same name, and...well, I think with that knowledge, we're starting to understand why observers of the Paul campaign fret that it's "not yet clear that Paul's online national community can deliver actual votes for him." And given the worrisome invocation of Fawkes, maybe that's for the best, though the Paul campaign has assured, through campaign spokesman Jesse Benton, that Paul "wants to demolish things like the Department of Education...but we can do that very peacefully, in a constructive manner."
It's all but certain, though, that the Paulites will continue to be anything but peaceful or constructive as they bedevil online critics. Woe betide those who taunt them, like the good people at Wonkette, who found themselves on the business end of this online lashing:
Sir, I found you article about the Ron Paul campaign to absolutely disgraceful. I am a supprter of Ron Paul. I am not a zombie or a retard or any other insulting name you can call me. I am an American whose family came here 370 years ago and whose family served and gave room and board to George Washington at the battle of Trenton and was with him at the crossing of the Delaware.
Wow. They both model themselves on British comic-book terrorists AND brag about quartering troops in their own homes! Libertarianism sure has gotten edgy!