Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul's endorsement of Mitt Romney last night is igniting a fury of rage from his father's hardcore fan base. In a sort of libertarian version of Bob Dylan going electric (ask your parents), the Kentucky senator's enthusiastic endorsement of Romney has Ron Paul forums fuming with cries of "Judas" and "Benedict Arnold."
"Rand is dead to me," wrote, Ruffusthedog at the Daily Paul, a heavily-visited pro-Paul website. "He should have never done this." "Rand Paul is a sell out," user Alxnz exclaimed. "He just lost my vote in 2016." "All he had to do was not open his mouth," wrote user Conalmc. Others even took their anger out on Ron Paul himself. "What will it be Old Man Ron? Will you be forever remembered as the leader in the greatest liberty movement since 1776, or will you go down as Benedict Arnold incarnate," threatened lionsuar7788. "We will never vote for Romney or your flimsy son."
What's interesting about Sen. Paul's announcement last night on Fox News is he appeared highly aware of the backlash the endorsement might cause on Internet forums and repeatedly referenced his father's "legion" of online followers. Paul said he and Romney "talked about issues frankly that are important to me, important to my dad and to many of his followers." "My dad has a legion of young followers who are on the Internet," Paul told Fox News host Sean Hannity, "and they think they rule the Internet and maybe they do or maybe they don't, but they're very concerned about the freedom of the Internet." But pointing out he and Romney's shared opposition to the Stop Online Privacy Act could not quel the anger of libertarians who despise Romney on a range of issues foreign and domestic.
On the popular Ron Paul fan site RonPaul.com, the headline of the news said it all via emoticon: ":-("
"What the heck! If Ron Paul supports/endorses Romney next I will forever lose faith in change and the belief that there are still individuals out there that think for themselves and want to strive for true Liberty," wrote Ran at RonPaul.com. User Scott R worked his way into a slow building fit of rage. "Rand, you really have let me down big time," he wrote. "Many of us were hoping that you could fill Ron’s shoes going forward in another 4 years say. By endorsing Romney, you are endorsing all the overseas wars, the FED (a private banking cartel), state mandated health care and the patriot act. WHAT THE F%&* IS WRONG WITH YOU???"
On both forums, the tide of incredulous—and highly personal—comments continued ad nauseam. With Ron Paul's diehard supporters being one of his most formidable assets, especially when it comes to winning straw polls or online money bomb fundraisers, you've got to wonder if Rand Paul risks jeopardizing the family brand. Here's the traitorous endorsement in all its glory:
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.