Paul and Paul’s fans are perhaps the only people in American politics right now who are head over heels in love with their politicians. President Obama’s supporters used to have enthusiasm like this, but it’s tempered. He’s had to disappoint them by governing the country.
The Pauls’ adherents can’t be disappointed. They got this far, didn’t they? And they are unavoidable at CPAC, aren’t they? According to Ron Paul’s camp, his organization spent about $100,000 on discounted tickets (students could attend for $15 through Campaign for Liberty) and booths. More than 1,000 people here are Paul supporters.
This annoys CPAC organizers, for two reasons. First: Paul’s supporters have all the lungs and confidence of fourth-century Christians overwhelming the pagans. They boo loudly and interrupt the “war criminals” and “neocons” that the rest of the crowd spent the last decade venerating. “I led the walkout of Rumsfeld!” claims Ian Saggese, a student at the University of Scranton who got a $15 ticket. (He is wearing a Ron Paul 2012 button.) “I was the first one to shout, ‘RON PAUL!’ ” He describes his politics: “I’m more of a market anarchist than a libertarian, but I know that’s not going to happen.”