Ron Paul Ahead in Iowa, But Forget About It

The either unexpected or totally predictable (in the "anyone but Romney"-o-rama we've seen in the past couple of months) rise of Ron Paul has many choking on their cornflakes or desperately trying to distract voters from what's in front of their own lying eyes.

A sampler from around the Web:

*Super poll analyst Nate Silver at 538 has Ron Paul with an over-50-percent chance of winning Iowa.

*Politico sums up the establishment take on this: If Ron Paul wins, the Iowa caucuses are absurd and meaningless.

Leading Republicans, looking to put the best possible frame on a Paul victory, are already testing out a message for what they’ll say if the 76-year-old Texas congressman is triumphant.

The short version: Ignore him.

“People are going to look at who comes in second and who comes in third,” said Gov. Terry Branstad. “If [Mitt] Romney comes in a strong second, it definitely helps him going into New Hampshire and the other states.”

The Paul rise comes at a moment when many Iowa GOP elites are already angst-ridden about their beloved quadrennial franchise. The fretting began four years ago when long-shot Mike Huckabee cruised to an easy caucus win, only to lose the nomination to John McCain, who finished fourth in Iowa after ignoring the state for much of 2007.

*National Review is having none of it, with Rich Lowry hat-tipping to the fact that, yes, Ron Paul is actually serious about all that small government stuff the Right is supposed to like:

 the Texas libertarian stands much closer to the emotional center of gravity of the party in his condemnations of government spending, crony capitalism, the Federal Reserve, and foreign intervention. He brings 100-proof moonshine to the GOP cocktail party. It can be invigorating and fun...

And yet, Paul is unacceptable because he actually recognizes and discusses the malignancy of American foreign policy and has some (powerless and unimportant) associations that believe weird things, so, well, that trumps actual considerations of reining in American government from the overspending, overtaxing, overextended brink it stands on, in Lowry's mind.

*Daniel Larison at American Conservative contextualizes and defends Paul from Lowry's characterization of Paul's characterization of an American war on Muslims.

*Dave Weigel at Slate predicts the storm that will strike Paul if he really becomes the anointed frontrunner, on both policy and unsavory past associations, and says that Romney will be delighted with a Paul rise, as his people are confident he's the Republican that Romney can definitely beat when it comes down to just the two of them.

*Tim Carney at the Examiner for more on the anticipated GOP assault on Paul if he starts winning.

*Jack Hunter (who works for the Paul campaign and co-wrote Rand Paul's book) tries to explain to Republicans at Daily Caller why his foreign policy should be something a good conservative likes the most:

As the Founders understood well, it is hard-to-impossible to preserve limited government at home while maintaining big government abroad. History and experience tell us that one always begets the other. This certainly rings true as we spend trillions of dollars on domestic programs that we match with trillions more overseas. The Founders’ talk of “entangling alliances” requiring “standing armies” was recognition of the inherent dangers of war — and especially permanent war. “Mr. Republican” Sen. Robert Taft would echo similar sentiments a century and a half later in his battles against New Deal liberals. President Dwight Eisenhower’s warning about the “military-industrial complex” reflected the same concerns within a 20th-century, post-WWII context.

Almost alone, Ron Paul today carries on this important Republican tradition. Like every other conservative, Paul believes that America must have a strong national defense — he simply believes we can no longer afford our current irrational offense.

Unfortunately, unlimited Pentagon spending remains the big government too many Republicans still love...

*Iowa Christian right radio man Steve Deace slams Paul for not signing a "Personhood USA" pledge defining life as beginning at conception, and for having supporters who run abortion clinics.

*The Village Voice assembles many right-wing voices raised against the rise of Ron.

*Rachel Maddow, starting around 4:00, collects a sampling of Fox News denying Ron Paul's importance.

*Nationally syndicated right-wing radio host Jerry Doyle, with 3.75 million weekly listeners, endorses Ron Paul.

*Jewish web mag Tablet thinks Paul power in the GOP is bad for the Jews:

we need to start talking about what Jewish Republicans will do if he is the nominee. Which means we need to start talking about the potential for a third-party run, perhaps involving someone Jewish Republicans would find more palatable. I’m not saying, I’m just saying.

*Bumper Hornberger defends Ron Paul from Jonah Goldberg's assertion in the LA Times that his lack of proven ability to effect change in Congress means he's a bad leader. Hornberger writes:

Here’s what Goldberg’s argument boils down to: Congress is filled with statists, both conservatives and liberals. They all love big government. They all love the warfare-welfare state. They are incorrigible. They love America’s vast military empire, the invasions and occupations and endless war, torture, infringements on civil liberties, military detention, socialism, interventionism, the drug war, and so forth.

Therefore, Goldberg’s argument apparently goes, the only thing American voters can do is elect a statist to the presidency—that is, a person who can work with Congress—which, it seems to me, guarantees even more statism!...

What Goldberg fails to recognize is that most members of Congress are not ideologues. They are instead chameleons. If the color of their environment changes, their positions change. Their primary objective is to get reelected, and if that means flip-flopping, then they’re going to be doing lots and lots of flip-flopping as public opinion shifts.

Indeed, an America in which Ron Paul can be, even for a while, the GOP frontrunner in even one state is a very different America than Goldberg, Congress, or I thought we were living in, and the Republican Party at least will have to change in reaction to it--if not in 2012 then down the line. You better get more libertarian or you'll sink like a stone, etc. 

CNN talks to Paul about his rise. Paul isn't declaring himself the winner, but admits his "freedom philosophy is very attractive."

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  • Sevo||

    Cue Max...
    10, 9, 8....

  • isRaHell||


  • Brandon||

    The mainstream Repubs sure put a lot of effort into ignoring Dr. Paul.

  • juris imprudent||

    They apparently can't ignore him enough.

    I understand their problem though - Paul confronts them with their hypocrisy on limited govt.

  • ||

    Wow, Toys Я Us is open until Christmas Eve! Awesome!

  • ||

    You beat me to it. Damn you.

  • Paul||

    What'd be greater is if We Be Toys was open on Christmas. This way parents could give their children a Toys Я Us gift card and a bus pass and have some peace and quiet on Christmas morning.

  • Sevo||

    And you can bet prices would be lower.

  • ||

    Depending on how gullible their children are, they can do that already. "Now remember, they don't open until 2 pm, but if you stand outside the whole time you'll be the first to get in and have your choice of toys.

  • Sarcazmic||

    Egyptian girls still hot.

  • Paul||

    I am disappoint.

    Not because that girl isn't hot, but because a hot girl getting a beatdown by egyptian police isn't a turn on for me. At. All.

  • ||

    Iowa losing its priveleged primary status might also mean the end of Big Ethanol. So it's a win-win.

  • Paul||

    Isn't the Iowa Primary like... the Groundhog Day of politics?

  • ||

    Iowa losing its priveleged primary status might also mean the end of Big Ethanol. So it's a win-win.

  • Paul||

    I appreciate your comment (and agree with it), Tulpa, but the meaning of my question is: Hasn't it already been proven that the Iowa Primaries have no soothsaying value about the national election?

  • ||

    Oh, that. I thought you were talking about the movie.

  • Paul||

    No, I literally mean Groundhog Day, an event where thousands of press people gather around a meaningless event, pretending that it has some predictive value about the future state of things.

  • Apatheist||

    Yeah, how come Huckabee winning didn't discredit it? The fact that that fat statist fuck was being taken seriously was nauseating.

  • Paul||

    Iowan's were confused by the matching outfits.

  • Paul||

    *Rachel Maddow, starting around 4:00, collects a sampling of Fox News denying Ron Paul's importance.

    Yeah it's not just Fox News-- it's NPR, too. I just heard a story on Newt Gingrich and they referred to Gingrich's primary opponents, Mitt Romney and Rick Perry, then made some comment about Michelle Bachmann...and that was it.

  • ||

    No mention at all? I love it. All these twats that ignore him are only shredding what credibility they have.

  • The Angry RPh||

    I agree with this. The efforts to ignore RP have been beyond outrageous for a while. I have my days when I remind myself that an election is just citizens voting and that if enough people vote for RP then he'll win, and I have my days when I remind myself that our system is broken and that the neocons would rather poison the water supply than to allow RP to win anything. Either way, it's gonna be fun watching the GOP tear itself to pieces. Maybe something good can emerge from the rubble.

  • Sevo||

    I'm not sure it's neocon ideology as much as it is that RP as President would pretty much make a hash of the various back-scratching "arrangements" that have taken the pols years to assemble.
    A lot of rent-seekers would probably either have to come out from cover or actually find a way to compete if he vetoed some pork.
    From the article:
    "Their primary objective is to get reelected, and if that means flip-flopping, then they’re going to be doing lots and lots of flip-flopping as public opinion shifts."
    All that flip-flopping is probably not as profitable as 'staying the course'.

  • Realist||

    "All these twats that ignore him are only shredding what credibility they have."
    Only with a few of us, the rest couldn't give a shit less.

  • CE||

    A Ron Paul victory in Iowa will validate it, not invalidate it. All our lives, we've heard that the whole point of having early nominating contests in small states like Iowa and New Hampshire is that it allows the voters to actually meet the candidates, in coffee shops and town halls, to size them up face-to-face, and to consider their ideas and abilities and virtues and weaknesses free of the filter of big-money media, paid or unpaid.

    That is exactly what has been happening in Iowa, and many mainstream Republican voters have decided that Ron Paul and his limited government ideals and his lifelong consistency and evidently strong character are exactly what they want in their nominee.

  • ||

    Seriously, this is the entire point of the way it's set up now. Paul has had the opportunity to share his ideas directly with the people, and it's resonating. He polls poorly elsewhere because people are being fed a steady diet of bullshit.

  • The Media and Punditery||

    Seriously, this is the entire point of the way it's set up now.

    Are you people fucking crazy? You aren't supposed to think anything that we don't tell you to think!

  • ||

    If it comes down to Paul vs. Romney that's the best possible circumstance. I'd prefer Paul but he's going to get sunk, it's inevitable. At least the least-noxious alternative would be the nominee in that scenario.

  • Apatheist||

    What a fucking field it is when Romney is the least-noxious alternative. I disagree though I'd vote Perry over Romney any day (not that I'd vote for either in the general). Those two at a minimum have been respectful of Paul though, I'll give them that.

  • ||

    Perry grabbed Paul's arm at the first debate he was at and gave him what-for after Paul brought up his vaccine foibles.

    Also, he ripped him for leaving the GOP in 1984.

  • Apatheist||

    Both Paul and Perry said that nothing of the sort happened, that the picture made it look different than it really was. Ever since those early debates Perry has repeatedly treated RP and his ideas with respect. Romney has basically ignored him.

  • ||

    He's doing Romney's work for him in tearing down Gingrich. If Gingrich ends up going the route of Cain, you can bet Romney will turn on Paul faster than (insert humorous metaphor, then attribute it to me).

  • Maxxx||

    Also, he ripped him for leaving the GOP in 1984

    Funny since Perry was a democrat in 84.

  • ||

    I may have considered Perry not too super putrescent before he put out that anti-gay ad with the nonsense about Christmas and prayer.

  • Paul||

    Those two at a minimum have been respectful of Paul though, I'll give them that.

    In Politics, that means they're trying to ignore him. When you see your opponent as a real and credible threat, the gloves always come off.

  • ||

    I'm hoping it works out like it did for McCain. He was lagging behind and everyone was nice and complimentary to him, and he was able to play elder statesman.

  • Apatheist||

    Romney ignores him but Perry has repeatedly said things like "Paul is right about a lot of things." He even said that Paul opened his eyes about Monetary policy. Perry had no reason to say anything at all like that. It may be some kind of attempt to attract some voters but the others certainly refrain from it.

  • ||

    Okay, new fantasy: Perry drops out and endorses Paul. Haha, I know.

  • Paul||

    New new fantasy. Romney, Perry, Gingrich all drop out, endorse Paul (while apologizing for there former ways) immediately followed by Brack Obama dropping out because "he just wasn't feeling the presidency in '12", leaving a Biden vs. Paul ticket.

  • ||

    Perry's crazy. He looks like the college jock trying out for the debate team to show those nerds what for.

    Although I like some of his arguments, most of the time, he's so blantant in his pandering and sophomoric in his humor, I imagine him as an SNL version of Bush.

  • Paul||

    I'd prefer Paul but he's going to get sunk, it's inevitable.

    It would send an epic message to the GOP. Especially when Romney loses the Nat'l.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    The GOP establishment is deaf. The only answer is to run them out on a rail. I'd love to see Haley Barbour permanently unemployed.

  • ||

    It's not deafness, it's rational self-interest. The GOP establishment makes far too much profit off the status quo to let Paul muck it up for them.

  • ||

    The GOP is deaf and one of the reasons I have left that party this year and became a libertarian. I've been leaning for years, but finally couldn't handle it and had to switch.

  • Curious George||

    None of this commentary matters until John weighs in.

  • ||

    They can ignore Ron Paul, and even deny he exists, but in the end Liberty will ring! I think it is hysterical how the GOP talking heads are falling all over themselves trying to tell people not to vote for Ron Paul! And yet he keeps coming up in the polls!!!!

  • ||

    Might want to hold that thought...for 20 years.

    If we're still around (the USA), we'll get back to that point.

    But I'm just a misanthrope sometimes.

  • ||

    Shit is getting crazy. I love it.

  • Juice||

    Ok, count this as concern trolling, but once the national media makes an issue of the newsletters, it's over for Ron Paul. Even the non-racist stuff will cause most people to think he's a kook.

  • ||

    It's already been happening for the last week.

  • voxpo||

    But, they're in a bit of a fix themselves. If the real media big boys spend a lot of time discussing "concerns" over the oh-so-relevant newsletters, they're admitting that Paul is at the top of the pack. They'd like to do the one but not the other.

  • The Angry RPh||

    It has been made an issue before, and they're trying to make it an issue NOW. Every interview I've seen with him lately mentions the newsletters and he is still rising in the polls.

  • ||

    The newsletters will probably help him in South Carolina, for instance. But nationally they're going to be a problem.

  • Bingo||

    Not as big of a problem as the last 4 years have been for Obama.

    RP: Newsletters
    Obama: 4 years of corruption, cronyism, bailouts, war, bigger government, and crushed civil liberties.

  • Bingo||

    No one who even considers voting for Ron Paul cares about the newsletters.

    People are sick of war and the cronyism. There's only one candidate who is serious about reform. Newsletters from 20 years ago mean jack shit in the face of the massive issues facing this country.

    It's a non issue. If you are voting for RP you are already voting against the status quo and aligning yourself with an outsider.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    All at once I hear people saying to ignore Newt's voting record but pay attention to third party newsletters for Ron Paul. Seems a little ridiculous.

  • Bingo||

    I've told people who are RP supporters and who pay wayyy less attention to politics than I do about them and they don't care. Lots of people don't agree with everything (particularly his hard money stance or abortion), but they still see that there are big problems in DC and he has a track record of being principled a mile long.

    Newsletters and kookiness really doesn't matter, people are sick of the bullshit. Newt, Romney, Obama, and just about anyone else represents more of the same.

  • Maxxx||

    Even the non-racist stuff will cause most people to think he's a kook.

    And most likely discredit libertarian ideas for a generation.

  • ||

    Bad Maxxx, you wet the new rug again *smacks Maxxx with a rolled up newspaper*

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Which creates a dilemma for the corporate media. If they talk about "TEH NUSLEDDERS!" they have to talk about what Ron Paul believes and says along with it.

    If they try to ignore the newsletters and Paul, then RP keeps his narrative to the public firmly in his own hands, something they cannot abide.

    Personally, I'd shout "association fallacy!" at the top of my lungs, then point out that most of the Pro-bamas are busy fellating a guy who hung out with Mr. "Goddamn America" and the Team Reders want to dry hump Reagan's gun smuggling corpse in the vain hope that he still has a rigor mortis stiffy they can ride.

    Sure it's dirty pool, but it's not like the establishment, Red or Blue, is interested in having a civilized discussion of ideas and policy. A Presidential election is little more than a popularity contest combined with an advance auction on stolen goods.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    There are Jewish Republicans? And they have a website?

  • Jerry||

  • Paul||

    Off topic:

    You guys catch this one? The headline alone had me rolling.

    Marriage Economy: 'I Couldn't Afford To Get Divorced'

    "We never had enough income to pay bills, to pay rent. We were constantly late on rent," Reynolds says. "He always wanted to go do things. He wanted to go buy things. And I said, 'No, we can't. We have to be fiscally responsible.' "


    So essentially, he was Barack Obama, and she was Ron Paul.

    Let me hip you to something: What people actually can't afford is getting married. They just don't realize it until the divorce happens.

  • Apatheist||

    Wait the whole first paragraph tries to say that she couldn't afford the divorce and then she got a divorce. WTF? Taking her word for it, it sounds like she couldn't afford not to get divorced if he was going to spend all of their money.

  • ||

    Nobody can afford to get married. Why the gays want marriage is beyond me.

  • Paul||

    This. And I love gay marriage!

  • Paul||

    . Why the gays want marriage is beyond me

    In all seriousness, I suspect it's lower earning gay people who want it for the divorce, if you get my meaning.

    I mean, really?

    To Olivia Higgins, 30, and Jackie Kiang, 35, the law has practical consequences. It means that Higgins can place the baby Kiang is expecting in a few weeks on her health insurance at work, even though she is not the birth mother.

    When Kiang, a physician, has the baby, Higgins' name will go on the birth certificate as the second parent, although the state has yet to print gender-neutral forms. The couple's recently purchased home in Oakland, their incomes and pensions are shared in the eyes of the law. Kiang's more than $200,000 in medical school debt probably is too, although the legal status of student loan debts remains uncertain.

    Wow, hooking up with someone who could hand over $100k in student loan debt to you the moment she doesn't "feel the relationship" anymore.

  • ||

    Social Security and Medicare.

  • ||

    People can afford to get married. What they can't afford it idiotically extravagant weddings.

  • Paul||

    Which you're still paying off when the divorce happens. That's gotta sting.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    The best thing that can happen is for the Iowa results to narrow the field. As the dead weight is shed, the media will have to give RP more time. That will mean he will have more of an opportunity to present his ideas in direct contrast with Romney's. That's a good thing for him and it will highlight the divisions in the GOP.

  • Chupacabra||

    What planet do you live on?

    If it comes down to Romney and Paul, the media will just name Romney the winner.

  • waffles||

    I really like this turn of events. It is really exciting to witness Ron Paul's timely rise to greater and greater relevance. Watching the media bend over backwards to ignore then attack him makes me sure he is scaring them stupid.

    Ron Paul has nothing to lose and everything to gain in this. But more importantly it brings substantive attention to the ideas of freedom and personal responsibility that get too easily tossed aside. I'm digging this.

  • Sevo||

    "Ron Paul has nothing to lose and everything to gain in this."

    Neither do we. If he doesn't make it, we're no worse off than we are.
    If he *does*, well....

  • ||

    But more importantly it brings substantive attention to the ideas of freedom and personal responsibility that get too easily tossed aside. I'm digging this.

    Agreed. At the very least, it's bring his ideas to the forefront.

  • ||

    Ron Paul is probably the only non-corrupted politician in Washington and if he fails this time I fear there will be no chance to save America from the impending wars, economic destruction and social chaos on the horizon; good luck policing the world and defending America when that happens!

    If we continue to borrow and print money it is absolutely INEVITABLE that it will result in hyperinflation and social upheaval sooner or later; THINK about the suffering that will occur then! What do you think our foreign policy is going to look like at that point?! Wouldn't it be better to balance the budget, eliminate the FED, adopt a new currency backed by something TANGIBLE, devalue the dollar into oblivion, pay off our debts (owed in worthless dollars), maintain a defense that nobody can overcome, mind our own business, and avoid all of the suffering??? Many of us have families to support and protect!

    Embrace reason and do not be manipulated by the propaganda that Iran is going to nuke Israel; they value that land and are concerned about self-preservation too. Iran knows that if they tried to nuke anyone, it would likely be intercepted and Iran would definitely be turned into a sheet of glass instantly! RON PAUL is the ONLY acceptable choice! The pro-fiscal responsibility, anti-corruption, anti-warmongering movement is picking up steam and CANNOT be stopped!

    Additionally, fixing our monetary system will help the poor and middle class FAR more than any tax cuts or handouts will!

  • Lenin||

    We Soviets had our useful idiots. Israel has hers. It's called all of you. Keep basing your foreign policy one the Left Behind series, idiots.


    My question is, what do GOP primary voters in Iowa know that the rest of the Republican mainstream establishment (who call Paul 'crazy/unelectable/a truther/pussy who wont bomb iran') don't?

    Are they all racist too?

  • ?||

    Ethanol is fool's gold, and fool's gold is the road to crony capitalist ruin?

  • Fluffy||

    The real problem with Goldberg's argument is this:

    The Senate can't pass a budget with Mr. "Just send me the bill I'll sign it" in office.

    They can't put together 51 votes for a budget.

    How the frickin' frick are they going to come up with 66 votes to override a Paul budget veto?

    All of a sudden the GOP and the Democrats will bury the hatchet and act in lockstep to pass a budget?

    And what kind of budget could get 66 votes? Would it be better, or worse, than the non-budget eternal temporary spending bills we've got now?

  • Paul||

    All of a sudden the GOP and the Democrats will bury the hatchet and act in lockstep to pass a budget?

    My cynical side says, yeah, maybe.

    If a Paul presidency acts like a Paul candidacy, then we're going to see a massive reduction in crony capitalism, which will scare the pants off both Repubs and dems. If that's not an issue that unites them, there isn't one.

  • ||

    Paul impeached on day one. The details of the impeachment will be sealed for decades. When opened, they will contain one line from "Blazing Saddles"

    "Gentlemen, we need to protect our phoney baloney jobs"

  • ||

    Paul needs to stop dodging and give the list of 6-8 people who wrote the newsletters in his name. Sure, it will be uncomfortable for Lew Rockwell and his acolytes, but the alternative is Ron Paul taking the fall and progress towards liberty being damaged. In fact, Lew Rockwell himself should step forward and own up to it if he's responsible. Say "in retrospect, it was a completely misguided political maneuver to cater to prejudices and resentment for short-term political advancement. I was trying to capture the widespread anxiety towards the AIDS epidemic and the racial riots in LA at the time to expand Paul's message, but lost the core premise of his philosophy, and apologize to Dr. Paul for misrepresenting his message of liberty and equality for all under the eyes of the law."

  • Spoonman.||

    I've always hoped it was Eric Dondero.

  • ||

    I'd name him out of spite.

  • Maxxx||

    Rockwell's way too big of a douchebag to do that.

  • Christina||

    *Iowa Christian right radio man Steve Deace slams Paul for not signing a "Personhood USA" pledge defining life as beginning at conception, and for having supporters who run abortion clinics.

    I used to be sympathetic to pro-lifers, but then they went after my IUD. This Personhood movement needs to be aborted.

  • ||

    This is all a conspiracy by the right wing Establishment to make independents and left wingers like Ron Paul so when Paul wins the nomination they will all vote for him in November.

  • ||

    I hate to say it but of all the non-Paul, warmongering statist repubs, Bachman is actually the best. She's a little jesus-y but she has been very consistent and very extreme when talking about reducing government, far more than the others.

    of course, Paul is the only decent candidate.

  • ||

    Bachmann? *Shudder*

    She's angling for Iran war, day one. Atleast Romney is circumspect on his announcement of military action in Iran.

  • ||

    I know. But in reality, all the non-Paul candidates are for war on the middle east anyway. At least Bachman is the most believable when it comes to reducing the rest of govt.

    don't get me wrong, she is awful but if I could appoint the president from all current candidates minus Paul, I'd choose Bachman. yes, this is how bad things are right now

  • ||

    this article is a joke..... forget about Ron Paul??? if he wins it discredits the Iowa straw pole???? Thats like saying that a football team that wins the Superbowl discredits the NFL.... your article sucks .... RON PAUL 2012 !!!!

  • Watoosh||

    Look, how about you focus on reading comprehension and learn to recognize sarcasm before you make a clown of yourself, alright? Besides, you're not even old enough to vote so just chill. Finish HS and come back when you're a little older and more mature.

  • Joe M||

    Look, I know you just read the headline and thought this was an attack piece, but try to read the whole thing before spouting off. You're an embarrassment to other Ron Paul supporters.

  • newt romney||

    Ron is pro Israel I hate the confusion... He wouldn't stop them from knocking Iran out... They'll be just fine... So everything is fine. America needs Ron Paul to get over the 2000 election and obamanation of more bush fiscal socialosm

  • Realist||

    Ron Paul will never get the Republican nomination. If he does not run on a third party, I will write him in.

  • ||

    As will I.

  • ||

    "Forget About It?"

    Are you being paid by all the other nominees to spew this rhetoric, dude?


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