Thursday, June 07, 2007


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Ron Paul's vanishing trick

Ron Paul, Congressman from Texas and candidate for the Republican Party's presidential primary, is my favourite politician. When I think of all the politicians that I've followed, only one has not let me down.

In 2002, when I was at Cato, I tried to visit his office. I missed him by about a week. About two months ago, when I went to visit my buddy Talley in D.C., I also tried to visit Paul. Again, I barely missed him (this time by a day). His staff told me that he loves to meet with people, and told me his schedule for the next week just in case I was going to be around. But I wasn't.

This isn't the Ron Paul vanishing trick I was alluding to, mind you. The vanishing trick is this: Take a website, any website you want. Do you see a Ron Paul related poll, or a place where readers are asked to comment on the performance of the GOP presidential wannabes? Yes? Okay, now wait thirty minutes to an hour.

See Ron Paul absolutely crush everyone else on that poll? See Ron Paul supporters hammering the comment section with post after post about how kick ass Ron Paul is? You do? (Of course you do). Everything is as it always is thus far. Now wait another 30 minutes or so and...

"POOF," the site's down. The polling is closed, and you can't see the results. The comments have been turned off, and the page no longer links to where it once did.

Actually, it's usually the website's of //cue frightening music// the neo-con //pause// that vanish. GOPstrawpolls, for instance, shut down their GOP poll for a week or two after Ron Paul was slaughtering their favourite pro-war, pro-nuclear option candidates (that's basically everyone except Ron Paul. The crucial questions are "how much torture is enough torture?" and "how many nukes?" and "will you put bombs inside of the nuclear weapons before you drop them on --insert new big/bad evil dragon country here--" I digress).

Until yesterday. Yesterday, CNN hosted the debate. And after the debate, they asked an open question on their blog about who won. Here were the first few comments:

Ron Paul

Posted By Neil, Lexington Ky : June 5, 2007 9:13 pm

Ron Paul

Posted By Joe, San Francisco, CA : June 5, 2007 9:14 pm

Only one candidate stood out strongly: Doctor Ron Paul! Ron Paul, Dr. Ron Paul! :)

Posted By Dave, Naples, NY : June 5, 2007 9:15 pm

Ron Paul won. Without a question. It’s so ridiculous to see that these guys keep pumping the same neo-conservative line about them “hating our freedoms” when CIA reports have historically said otherwise.

Posted By Elias Ambler : June 5, 2007 9:16 pm

Ron Paul won the debate. He is the only candidate that seems to be honest and not out of touch. He is also anti-amnesty and believes that Americans have the right to privacy and believes in property rights (anti-eminent domain: none of the other candidates have even touched it). Before this debate I was unsure about who to support (Democrat or Republican) and with this debate I’m totally with Ron Paul.

Posted By Jerel Poor, St Louis Missouri : June 5, 2007 9:18 pm

Ron Paul

Posted By Justin Kansas City, MO : June 5, 2007 9:18 pm

Ron Paul

Posted By Brian, Lapeer, MI : June 5, 2007 9:18 pm

And it continued the same way through about 140 comments before this site was... shut down. Initially, it pointed readers to the "who won the Democratic debate?" blog question. Then it showed a "Nothing here" page.

Luckily, one enterprising young interpreneur (I just made that up) captured the page here.

And it isn't like CNN can shut down all the polls. It would look too obvious if they had closed down this section of debate results. Guess who won that poll?

It's these little mini-victories that make me happy. Because Ron Paul Rocks.

UPDATE: Andrew Banks posted this on Digg. So go there and digg it if you like it.

UPDATE (June 7): CNN explains their vanishing comments section today like so: "The comments section is intended to be informal, of course, but the strain on resources that night prompted us to take down the “Who won the GOP debate” question (though that didn’t stop Paul supporters from commenting; they started adding comments to the “Who won the Democratic debate?” post). The intention was not to censor Ron Paul supporters — right now, you’ll find hundreds of Paul posts on the site."

Okay, cool. Good for you, CNN.