Punctuated by his move past Michele Bachmann to third in the race for the Republican nomination for president, Ron Paul has arrived in the "top tier.” While this is a significant positive for his supporters, it does not mean that opposition to Paul from within the party will diminish. On the contrary, now that it is undeniable that he really could win the nomination, Paul’s supporters should expect attacks from the opposition to intensify. They have.
Beginning with a piece in the American Spectator by Jeffrey Lord, conservative opponents of Paul have fired the first shots in what from here on out will probably be an all-out bombardment of Paul and his platform. I say “Paul and his platform” because along with substantive criticism of his positions, one should expect a generous amount of ad hominem directed at Paul himself. Judging from the Lord piece and Mark Levin’s replies in weighing in on the matter, one can expect even more mudslinging than usual.
That is not to single out Lord or Levin as particularly unique in this regard. Mudslinging or “muckraking” has been a part of American politics since the earliest days of the republic. Contrary to what many Americans seem to believe, there never was a “golden age” of American journalism where reporters objectively reported the facts and avoided all political bias. In fact, early American newspapers were not only unapologetically biased; they were unconcerned about even the veracity of the mud they slung. During the election of 1800, John Adams was reported to have “ordered Charles Cotesworth Pinckney to London to procure four pretty mistresses to divide between them.”  Adams laughed off this completely false accusation, saying that Pinckney must have kept them all to himself.