Who Won the GOP Debate? (Fox News American Idol-Style Voting Edition)

For all the yapping about Rep. Ron Paul soiling himself on Iraq in last night's GOP presidential debate, somebody out there likes him enough to text messages in to Fox News, a la American Idol:

You Decide GOP Primary Poll Results

- 29% Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney
- 25% Rep.
Ron Paul, R-Texas
- 19% Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani
- 8% Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee
- 5% Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif. Hunter
- 4% Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.
- 3% Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo.
- 1% Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan.
- 0% Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore
- 0% Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson

The poll was conducted between 9 p.m. EDT, Tuesday, May 15, 2007, and 12:30 a.m. EDT, Wednesday, May 16, 2007. The poll reflects the opinions of those who choose to participate and may not reflect a scientific sampling of the population.

More here.

Sure, that poll's crap, but the Republican candidates are mostly as out to lunch when it comes to the Iraq War as they are when it comes to evolution. In fact, they're more in tune with Americans when it comes to dissing Darwin's dangerous idea. The candidates and the party faithful really don't get the polls that consistently show eroding support for the war (this isn't the same, to be sure, as support for Democrats).

And they continue to misread the results of the midterm elections, which were a total bitch slap to the GOP. Here's McCain from last night's brouhaha:

"We didn't lose the 2006 election because of the war in Iraq. We lost it because we in the Republican Party came to Washington to change government, and government changed us," McCain said. "We let spending go out of control. We spent money like a drunken sailor. Although I never knew a sailor - drunk or sober - with the imagination of my colleagues."

He's half-right of course, and half-wrong. The GOP government wildly overspent. But exit polls showed that 57 percent of all voters disapproved of the war in Iraq. So the GOP did lose because of the war.

It's not clear to me that voters are pissed about the war mostly because it's been run in such an idiotic, incompetent fashion or because they've come to realize the folly of the whole region-building fantasy underlying the invasion of Iraq (somehow, I suspect it's the former).

The GOP and D.C. establishment--and certainly the frontrunners for the party's presidential nomination--can mock Ron Paul as a loon, but when it comes to the war, he's the Republican candidate speaking for the majority of Americans.

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  • ||

    The Republicans are suffering the same intellectual collapse that the Democrats went through during the Mondale/Dukakis era.

    "The American people can't possibly believe that. The polls are wrong. We just need to fight harder for the same goals, increase turnout among our base, and find a better spokesman."

    Heck, they've spent almost five years accusing people of opposing the "liberation" of Iraq of being...of course...racists.

  • ||

    joe,

    People opposing the "liberation" of Iraq are cowards, not racists. They want to see the terrorists win and establish a caliphate, which is of course much worse than the benevolent ministership by the right wing of the party...

    I don't understand how you can be a coward in a war most people have no personal stake in. I'm not afraid of dying regardless whether we're in Iraq or not, but apparently I'm a yellow belly cut and runner for opposing it. Oh well, I'm sure there's a whole slew of things I never knew I was until someone else told me I was.

  • jet||

    Ron Paul is being mocked as a loon not because of his opposition to the war, but because he claimed that 9/11 was a consequence of US foreign policy. My guess is that most Americans don't agree with Paul's analysis of the causes of 9/11.

  • ||

    Mitt Romney also said that Roe v. Wade is responsible for embryo farming.

    Romney's performance in the post-debate interview was also a bust. He couldn't get off the spat with McCain, he had some lame academy awards speech about his local organizations having debate-watching parties, and generally looked like a plastic asshole, metaphorically.

  • ||

    I'm happy to see that Fox News is starting to get seriously marginalized for the garbage that they produce. This "debate" was irrelevant. The Republicans are irrelevant this next election, but more importantly, Fox News is becoming irrelevant.

  • ||

    If he is sooo crazy, then WHY of WHY has he been elected and re-elected to Congress? He is known as Dr. No because he opposes ALL legislation that is not Authorized Specifically by the Constitution. Those of us who believe in America, have no choice but to vote for the Ron Paul Revolution to return to Constitutional Law

  • ||

    jet,

    The truth hurts and people don't like feeling bad. But the words were out there on national television and anybody watching has one more thing to think about. Ron never stood a chance anyway, so why not be the gadfly that makes the other candidates have to show their true colors.

  • ||

    I don't think any of the canadiates are viable, it is just the same old shit, with a different shovel.

    The Government cannot balance it's checkbook, how can it then do anything else.

    Being in congress is not about doing the right thing - it is however, about getting reelected.

    Blood suckers, the last president with any balls was Harry Truman.

    Bud

  • ||

    Great debate! One question though I'm not one for conspiracy theory.... but i have watched the debate about 3 times now and can figure out after Gulianis remarks to ron paul the crowd goes WILD! but no is clapping? in the over view shot everyone is very still not not excited. Then when the close up comes you here clapping but everyone is looking around and yet again NO ONE IS CLAPPING WTF HAHAHA

    check it out for your self
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RudGQOjmsew
    weird huh?

  • ||

    jet -

    I guess most Americans disagree with Ron Paul, the CIA's analysis, the 9/11 Commission report, and every other reasonable analysis of the events. If that's the case were in big trouble. Then again, I guess that's probably correct because there are a lot of stupid people.

  • Grotius||

    ...he's the Republican candidate speaking for the majority of Americans.

    He may be speaking like or with the majority of Americans, but he isn't speaking for them.

  • Russ 2000||

    Nick,

    (somehow, I suspect it's the former)

    This is too important of a point to be a parenthetical. If your suspicions are an accurate view of the voters, then what they want is a presidential candidate that would "go Nagasaki on their ass". Which means that "I'll be even tougher than Bush" is more of a winning strategy than the "Let's stop wasting anymore money on this bad idea" approach.

    Seems like the bulk of the candidates have the same suspicions as you.

  • randy grant||

    Seems you were watching a different debate then I did. The poll results indicate that Ron Paul's constitutional position trumped Giuliani's attempt to divert responsibility for the 9/11 attacks from himself and CIA blowback.

    Fox posted the results to their viewer poll and while the audience, no doubt majority rabid neo-con, applauded loudest for Giuliani the online poll shows Ron Paul got 25% approval to Giuliani's 19%.

  • ||

    "Ron Paul is being mocked as a loon not because of his opposition to the war, but because he claimed that 9/11 was a consequence of US foreign policy. My guess is that most Americans don't agree with Paul's analysis of the causes of 9/11."

    And that's what Ron Paul is trying to educate the public on. That our meddling foreign policy is putting Americans in danger of acts of terrorism.

  • ||

    I have a great deal of respect for Ron Paul, but his foreign policy, like most potential Democratic candidates', is based on the absolutely idiotic, historically speaking, premise that the world's major economic and military power is going to adopt a policy of non-intervention regarding a region where the largest concentration of the world's most important natural resource is located. Such a thing has never happened, and will never happen, and a candidate who holds to this possibility is either an utter and complete fool, so much so that he makes George W. Bush look like Metternich, or is simply lying.

    Yes, yes, the people of the Persian Gulf, and the despots that rule them, as a whole, will want to sell the world oil. That does not preclude, however, groups within these countries, especially Saudi Arabia, trying to temporarily interrupt the flow of oil in order to aid their attempt to seize power. The world populations generally, and the U.S. population specifically, will not tolerate even a temporary interruption of extraction from the Persian Gulf (and must the concept of fungibility be explained yet again?). The politicians who are elected around the world and the U.S. know this, and thus will be forced into being supporters of the House of Saud. To be a supporter of the House of Saud is to intervene in the Persian Gulf, and it is an intervention which will inevitably carry with it consequences.

    The only way out of this trap is for the House of Saud to peacefully give up power, with that nation peacefully transitioning to a government in which the population as a whole rules itself, and thus pursues it's own interest in having the oil continue to flow on an uninterrupted basis. Nobody has the slightest notion as to how to facilitate such a development.

    Pretending as if this dynamic does not exist, however, is no virtue, unless one's goal is to simply hoodwink voters. Of course, the politicians who do so in this manner are usually the same ones who attack the Bush Administration for it's own disingenuous rhetoric. Such is politics.

  • ||

    "the last president with any balls was Harry Truman."

    Dropping atom bombs on innocent civilians takes alot of balls.

  • Dave W.||

    To be a supporter of the House of Saud is to intervene in the Persian Gulf, and it is an intervention which will inevitably carry with it consequences.

    Conspiracy theory?

  • ||

    "I have a great deal of respect for Ron Paul, but his foreign policy, like most potential Democratic candidates', is based on the absolutely idiotic, historically speaking, premise that the world's major economic and military power is going to adopt a policy of non-intervention regarding a region where the largest concentration of the world's most important natural resource is located. Such a thing has never happened, and will never happen, and a candidate who holds to this possibility is either an utter and complete fool, so much so that he makes George W. Bush look like Metternich, or is simply lying."

    There are other solutions besides spilling blood for oil. We can develop our own domestic reserves and turn to alternative forms of energy.

  • ||

    I'd like to think the American people could be against both the war and fiscal irresponsibility. I'd like to think that, but two hundred years of history is against me.

  • Alex Hammer||

    See also:

    The Ron Paul Internet Dilemma
    http://themoderatevoice.com/politics/12850/guest-voice-the-ron-paul-internet-dilemma/

    Romney, Paul, Giuliani Won SC Debate - Fox News Viewers
    http://hammer2006.blogspot.com/2007/05/romney-paul-giuliani-won-sc-debate-fox.html

    VIDEO: Ron Paul vs. Rudy Giuliani
    http://hammer2006.blogspot.com/2007/05/video-ron-paul-vs-rudy-giuliani.html

  • ||

    No conspiracy, Dave W. The price of gasoline has a very predictable impact on the popularity of American presidents specifically, and American incumbent politicians generally. Any interruption of oil extraction in the Persian Gulf would cause the price of gasoline to spike in a way that make the current, predictable, spikes seem extremely minor. American politicans, if they desire relection, will support the House of Saud against any possibility of being overthrown. That support will have consequences.

    If Ron Paul was truly honest, or not a moron in this regard, he'd say, "Yes I support a policy of nonintervention in the Persian Gulf, and this might very likely mean that the House of Saud is overthrown, and Saudi oil is taken off the market for several weeks, if not months. Your prices for gasoline and heating oil will then skyrocket, in a manner that the make price run-ups of recent years look very, very minor. Please vote for me."

    Gee, I wonder. Why doesn't any candidate adopt such honesty, while advocating nonintervention in the Persian Gulf?

  • ||

    Will Allen,

    You must be seriously optimistic about the electoral prospects of Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel, because Paul's policy of non-intervention in the Middle East doesn't remotely describe Clinton, Obama, Edwards, Biden, Richardson, Dodd, Biden, or Gore.

  • ||

    Yes, Rattlesnake, and the American electorate might be convinced to to vote against the practice of transferring wealth from poor young people to wealthy old people. How's that working out?

    The job of a politician is first and foremost to get elected. Everything, and I mean everything, flows from that. The U.S. will not be ending it's support for the House of Saud, no matter who occupies the White House, or which party controls Congress. Anybody sensible is thus simply confronted with the question as to what is the best way to help prop up the House of Saud.

  • ||

    Not at all, joe. Kucinich and Gravel are morons, but they are honest morons. The other people of which you speak are intelligent, but like any politician with a chance of cobbling together a majority in an electorate as large as the U.S. electorate, they are fundamentally dishonest, and thus will simply rail against the incumbent for his various dishonesties, while engaging in their own. That's how the game is played.

  • ||

    Yes, Will, but each and every one of those candidates has a record behind them demonstrating their willingness to use force in the Middle East - not as foolishly or promiscuously as President Bush and his crowd, but much more than Pual, Kucinich, or Gravel.

    It's been 25 years since George McGovern, Will. What's next, "Acid, Abortion and Amnesty?" I don't expect right wingers to be current, but could you at least fast forward to the early 90s?

  • CL||

    I have a great deal of respect for Ron Paul, but his foreign policy, like most potential Democratic candidates', is based on the absolutely idiotic, historically speaking, premise that the world's major economic and military power is going to adopt a policy of non-intervention regarding a region where the largest concentration of the world's most important natural resource is located. Such a thing has never happened, and will never happen, and a candidate who holds to this possibility is either an utter and complete fool, so much so that he makes George W. Bush look like Metternich, or is simply lying.

    The importance of the Middle East is overstated, though. There was a fantastic piece in Prospect recently laying out why.

    http://www.prospect-magazine.co.uk/article_details.php?id=9302

  • ||

    Yes, Joe, I'm a real right winger. Sigh. Now that the idiotic ad hominems have been engaged in, let us examine the record. When Al Queda attacked American embassies, the Clinton/Gore Administration responded with, as Central Command CINC Zinni called it, "A one in a million shot", in the form of cruise missile attacks. An extraordinarily stupid thing to do, because the chance of success was practically non-existant, while having the effect of engendering yet more contempt in the enemy, much as contempt was engendered in the wake of violence in Mogadishu early in the Clinton years, or Beirut in the first Reagan administration.

    Now, are all the current candidates as openly dumb as Gravel and Kucinich, or have a decades- long record of being wrong like Kerrey did? No, of course not. I actually have some respect for Richardson, although anybody who thinks the current President is alone in regard to cronyism should examine the record of the Governor of New Mexico. None of them, however, like their opponents, are willing to openly discuss what the realities of the Persian Gulf are, and what implications follow.

  • ||

    So, as evidence of the commitment to non-intervention in the Middle East you attribute to all Democrats, you bring up the fact that they responded to terrorism by launching military attacks on the Middle East?

    If I was stuck with your position, I'd try to change the subject, too. If "committed to non-intervention in the Middle East" meand "unwise in their strategy of intervening in the Middle East," Dick Cheney would win the Libertarian nomination in a landslide.

    "None of them, however, like their opponents, are willing to openly discuss what the realities of the Persian Gulf are, and what implications follow." Wow, I didn't even notice that you completely abandoned your assertion that they believed in a Ron Paul-esque policy of complete nonintervention in the Middle East. Slick!

  • ||

    CL, I'll note that Edward Luttwak, the author of that "fantastic piece" does not have to run for office to further his career. I'm not saying that the temporary interruption of oil from the Persian Gulf (and Luttwak fails to note that such oil has flowed on an uninterrupted basis precisely because the House of Saud has been able to maintain power, while those that seek to topple it are trying to use the tactic of interrupting the flow of oil to achieve their goals) would be a permenant economic catastrophe. I'm saying it would be a career catastrophe for an American President, and a lot of Congressional incumbents, and that is the kind of catastrophe which is avoided at all costs.

  • ||

    It's easy to explain those online polls. It's not because of hacking. It's not because of 'bots. It's not because Ron Paul supporters cheat.

    It's because Ron Paul HAS supporters! All the other candidates have is name recognition. While that may be enough to win an election, that doesn't mean people won't be holding their noses when it comes time to choose between the big government Democrat and the big government Republican.

  • ||

    Yes, Joe I should have more accurately stated that some advocate non-intervention in the Persian Gulf, while others pretend as if they won't be fully supporting the House of Saud, and thus continuing to add fuel to a conflict that they deride the Bush Administration for adding fuel to.

  • ||

    "while others pretend as if they won't be fully supporting the House of Saud"

    Will,

    That's an odd charge to make about the Democrats.

    Let's discuss it.

    While holding hands.

    (Mendozaaaaaaaaaaa!!!)

  • Dave W.||

    American politicans, if they desire relection, will support the House of Saud against any possibility of being overthrown.

    1. I agree on this.

    2. I think your statement that holding up the House of Saud requires an "interventionist" foreign policy is less certain. Maybe it is. I don't know one way or the other.

    3. However, if the House of Saud is requiring the US to engage in interventionis foreign policy, I think that would amount to a conspiracy. It is known and expected that the US does what it can to keep the House of saud in power. It is less understood and would be less expected that the House of Saud can have the US fight proxy wars for them at will. I am not saying that that is untrue -- just that it would fit my definition of "conspiracy."

  • Cesar||

    How about we 1) drill for oil in Alaska 2) start building nuclear power plants again and 3) seriously develop alternative energy sources, ultimately giving us the power to tell the Saudis to go fuck themselves?

  • ||

    Dave W., you define "intervention" rather more narrowly than I do, if you restrict it
    to actually waging war. By the way, whatever one wishes to say in criticizing the Bush Administration, toppling the Baathist
    regime in Iraq was vehemently opposed by the House of Saud.

  • JohnD||

    Mr. Gillespe, are you not aware that exit polls are notoriously inaccurate?

  • ||

    "How about we 1) drill for oil in Alaska 2) start building nuclear power plants again and 3) seriously develop alternative energy sources, ultimately giving us the power to tell the Saudis to go fuck themselves?"

    That's exactly what I say, Cesar, but Will doesn't buy it.

  • ||

    "Mr. Gillespe, are you not aware that exit polls are notoriously inaccurate?"

    Current polls show that over 70% of the public is opposed to the Iraq war. It seems like the Republicans are committing political suicide.

  • ||

    Rattlesnake, Cesar, do have some idea how many decades are entailed in "ultimately"? Now, that isn't to say I oppose the measures, but some realism regarding the time required is preferable as well.

  • ||

    Nuke plants sound good at first blush, but there are problems with cost. It takes 10 years to find a site and get a permit, another 5 to 7 to build the plant, and then there is no guarantee that it will ever produce power because of environmental and political problems. Who pays for such a risk? The utilities' ratepayers. In many states, utility customers are still paying for nuclear plants that went out of service 25 years ago.

  • ||

    It's easy to explain those online polls. It's not because of hacking. It's not because of 'bots. It's not because Ron Paul supporters cheat. It's because Ron Paul HAS supporters!

    Uh, it's probably because Democrats are voting in these polls. Don't expect it to translate into any success in the primaries...

  • Mark Bahner||

    "...largest concentration of the world's most important natural resource is located."

    Ummmm, no. If you're looking for the world's most important natural resource, start here:

    http://www.juliansimon.com/writings/Ultimate_Resource/

  • ||

    It's easy to explain those online polls. It's not because of hacking. It's not because of 'bots. It's not because Ron Paul supporters cheat. It's because Ron Paul HAS supporters!

    That's right, you 'Paulsian' True Believers:

    Put on your tinfoil hats and keep skewing internet polls with your spam in your dishonest attempts to show Paul having anything more than 'lunatic fringe' support. It'll just show how nutty him and his cultist followers really are.

  • ||

    "Uh, it's probably because Democrats are voting in these polls. Don't expect it to translate into any success in the primaries..."

    Exactly. Ron Paul appeals to the same, old crowd of terrorist appeasing, pacifist, defeatists on the left who live in la-la-land.

    We need someone tough on Islamofascists. Someone who will lead our Country to victory and win!

    In this day and age and in the wake of 9/11:

    Isolationist = Defeatist/Terrorist Appeaser

  • rhetoricus||

    jet:

    Paul's assessment of the provocation for 9/11 came from the 9/11 Commission Report and long-term CIA specialists in charge of the Middle East division.

    Republicans need to unplug their disinformation Kool-Aid drip coming from their right-wing media.

  • KindredSpirit||

    I want a stronger dollar backed by gold.
    I feel I work to damn hard for my money to give it away to $4.00 a gallon gas,
    the misguided war with false targets, Taxes money better spent in my pocket..
    but now that same dollar facing inflation...

    Our government has never been closer to its own roman like collapse.

    I am sickened by this media spin machine with the message of Fear on repeat...
    We are the land of the free because we are the home of the Brave!

    I feel with the last of my freedoms the right to vote I am going to vote for the brave Ron Paul.

    I want my Habeas Corpus back the right to know my children will never mistakenly be torched here or abroad. I want my constitution back I so lovingly learned about in childhood. Do you remember all the great songs of this nation we sang.

    What an opportunity it is to have a well educated human being with conscious of a doctor to lead our county when it is absolutely most vital to its constitution!

    DR Ron Paul is the Medicine this country needs.

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