The RedState ban of new arrivals (less than 6 months) voicing support for Ron Paul (it seems that the precise terms of the ban have often been lost in the back and forth) has been generating a lot of online media attention.  The old “there is no such thing as bad publicity” rule applies here–at least for Ron Paul.  The ban ironically rewards the Paul supporters, both reasonable and obnoxious, with additional media coverage of our candidate.  It makes more people ask a question that’s very helpful to Paul: “What do Republicans have against Ron Paul?”  If RedState really wanted to vex and irritate the Paul supporters, they would never have turned whatever annoyance they felt from the legions of Paul supporters into a major story.

Even though the ban is aimed at his supporters (some of whom probably are as obnoxious and crude as they are accused of being–this is the Internet, folks, deal with it), the impression it leaves is that RedState is trying to cut Paul and his message out of their site, which redounds to Paul’s advantage and puts RedState in an awfully awkward position.  Frankly, I find any post-ban complaining from Paul supporters about censorship a little silly, if only because proper libertarians and conservatives should acknowledge the right of voluntary associations (which is what a community blog is) to govern their memberships as they see fit.  It is government censorship that should exercise us, not the stance of a few community blog mavens.  Nonetheless, a decision taken out of frustration will be seen to have been taken out of fear and a feeling of inferiority.  In the end, the ban is just one sign of the inability of the modern movement to maintain its support for the dreadful policies of the last six years and still have a space for antiwar libertarians and conservatives.  If the war takes priority over everything else, as it seems to have done, it really becomes impossible for the movement to accommodate those whose chief difference with the movement is over the war.   

These folks run a politics and commentary blog, but they seem to have no grasp on how politically clumsy their move truly is.  There are already millions of people who think that the GOP and the movement are incapable of rationally coping with dissent, and this has just given them another reason to believe it.  If politics is supposed to involve persuasion, RedState has just abandoned any attempt at persuading Paul supporters that there might be some grounds for compromise and cooperation.  The typical objection is that Paul supporters are already implacably opposed to the rest of the GOP field, so there’s no point in trying to win any of them over.  That’s certainly one way of approaching the problem, but it is a loser. 

Think about it: Republicans and conservatives are already reportedly badly demoralised.  Turnout is likely to be a major problem next year.  Fundraising already is a problem.  Who is generating some enthusiasm and better-than-expected fundraising?  Ron Paul.  Whose supporters do the geniuses choose to ban from talking about their candidate?  Ron Paul’s.  If I were Tom Cole and interested in maximising turnout next year, I would be banging my head against a wall at such patently self-destructive tactics.  RedState is prominent and well known enough that its decisions will have consequences far beyond its own precincts.  The thing is that Ron Paul supporters have known all along that they were not welcome in the modern GOP–this is just one more helpful reminder.   

Update: The Politico story has an interesting detail:

Redstate founder Erick Erickson said he woke up this morning bombed with hundreds of e-mails, “the overwhelming majority very angry.” His own readers, though, loved the ban.

“It is the most recommended user diary in Redstate history,” he said.

That will simply reinforce the view of Paul supporters, such as myself, that RedState’s readers and we have little in common.  This was not exactly news to me, but it is worth being reminded that this is not some arbitrary decision handed down by the people who run the blog, but is quite representative of the opinion of the regulars there.

Second Update: It’s a bad sign for RedState when Kossack diarists are more politically astute than the RedState folks.