Ron Paul, in the Aftermath of South Carolina: Still Ready to Fight til the End (But Not in Florida); Hated By Tea Party, Loved by Oliver Stone

Ron Paul coming in fourth in South Carolina with 13 percent was, well, not good for the narrative (which I believed a week ago pretty strongly, and still think is possible) that the GOP presidential campaign was really already down to Romney and Paul. Gingrich's rise in South Carolina was precipitous, unexpected, and as near as I can see somewhat inexplicable.

The most coherent such explanation I've seen so far is delivered pretty well here by Bill Schneider in the Huffington Post: that Gingrich (a Rockefeller man, not a Goldwater man) is starting to strike the GOP base as both pleasingly anti-establishment compared to Romney and a better partisan gut-fighter against Obama. (Though I wish it were more widely noted that Paul still beats Gingrich against Obama in one-on-one matchups.) Tim Stanley in the UK Telegraph sees the classic Tea Party demographic seeming to line up behind Gingrich, which may be correct. I still think Ron Paul has a fairer-than-Gingrich claim to that group in ideological logic, but that might not become clear to them until Gingrich (and Santorum) are no longer contenders.

One nice sign for Paul hopefuls is that South Carolina proves the race is still unpredictable and reminds us that the electorate's whims are, well, whimsical. But it's far easier to believe a GOP electorate will shift suddenly and inexplicably toward such allegedly vetted and mainstream choices as the former Speaker of the House who can convincingly upbraid the evil mainstream media than a Ron Paul who most media sources are always trying to tell voters is too radical or doesn't even exist.

Gingrich's SuperPAC still seems willing to fund him to the hilt; whether he has enough money to pull off the other elements of campaigning remains to be seen, or whether he has the organization to actually pull enough delegates regardless. I eagerly await the release of the 2011 Q4 financials for all the campaigns.

South Carolina gives some credence to the idea that Paul will only do really well when his mighty ground game machine is in full swing: all the months of candidate appearances, volunteer hours, and phone operations that made Iowa and New Hampshire work out so well for him were not in effect in South Carolina, and he lost even to Santorum. Paul did, as usual, win the 18-29 vote in South Carolina; his ideas are the future of the Republican Party if it is to have one.

Other interesting bits from South Carolina exit polls: Against all actual political and ideological logic, Paul doing worst among Tea Pary supporters; doing worst among the older-than-65 crowd; Paul voters were least likely to have had someone in household laid off in past three years; and he was second choice of those to whom "strong moral character" was a dominant consideration.

I still believe in the analysis that a Paul with Gingrich and Santorum out of the way will be a mighty Paul; I'm less sure that it's going to get to that point quickly. Some Paul fans are spinning it as great for Paul that the race still seems up in the air; I'm having a hard time seeing it. But, as Paul says, it's grossly premature to declare anyone a winner or a loser yet; the slow slog of accumulating delegates is still ahead and ultimately whoever has more than 1140 will be the winner.

Some other Paul bits:

*Oliver Stone on Ron Paul: "I think in many ways the most interesting candidate – I’d even vote for him if he was running against Obama – is Ron Paul.  Because he’s the only one of anybody who’s saying anything intelligent about the future of the world."

*Ron Paul came in second in New Hampshire twice--not just with the Republican Party, but with the Democratic Party as well.

*The Christian Science Monitor explains why Paul isn't spending much money and time on Florida--it's winner takes all, closed to all but registered Republicans, and with the punishment laid on them for holding their vote so early, has only 50 delegates to win.

*New poll from InsiderAdvantage/Majority Opinion Research has Paul dominating Hispanic Republicans in Florida, with 41 percent.

*The tarot cards say: Ron Paul still a threat to GOP establishment.

*Kevin Kervick in the Examiner about how Paul must, and can, start appealing more to older voters.

*Paul talks to his 2008 rival Mike Huckabee about how and why he more than tripled his South Carolina vote percentage from 2008:

My forthcoming book, Ron Paul's Revolution.

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  • yonemoto||

    it's better for the campaign if romney seems like he's taking a sweep and starts to ignore paul. a lot of *extremely* strong ron paul states (SD, ID) are later on, and it would have been eminently interesting to see Romney have to claw back from all but declaring victory and giving up on the campaign machine.

  • Apatheist||

    I think RP's best chance (still a small one) was a one on one with Romney. There's no way that in a brokered convention RP comes out on top. Could lead to Romney offering the VP (small chance but better than the other two) in order to push him over the top. Many will disagree but I don't think it is an offer he should turn down.

  • Jerry||

    Wouldn't Romney just refuse to debate Paul if they went head-to-head?

  • Robert||

    That's what I think, or that nobody will pay att'n to them.

    His best chance is a smoke filled room. He's got the people who would do best in such an environment.

  • Robert||

    At this rate, by the time of the convention there'll be so much bad blood between Gingrich & Romney delegates that neither will allow the other to have the nomination. That was seen at the 2004 Libertarian Party convention, where the 2 front runners knocked each other off and a kook was nominated instead. So Ron Paul, Santorum, or someone else may be their compromise candidate.

  • Gojira||

    I find it fascinating that so many so-called small governemnt conservatives showed their true colors in SC.

  • ||

    You do? This was entirely predictable and inevitable. "Small government" my ass.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Yeah, it's becoming less clear every day that the Tea Party was about limited government.

  • jacob||

    They never had me convinced for a second. I can remember a heated debate I had with John about this same topic.

  • rho||

    A+++, will read again.

  • Gojira||

    Hope springs eternal, Epi. Afterall, this is the best of all possible worlds.

  • Brian E||

    "Small government" my ass.

    Don't give them ideas.

  • ||

    What's a "small government conservative?"

  • ||

    Like a unicorn, one has never been sighted.

  • cynical||

    They want to shrink government down small enough that it can be drowned in a uterus.

  • Muntz||

    Paul did, as usual, win the 18-29 vote in South Carolina; his ideas are the future of the Republican Party if it is to have one.

    Psst ... libertarians ... eventually 18-29 year olds grow up and become >30 year olds, at which point smoking dope and sleeping around become much less important. Paul isn't the future. He is a marker for arrested adolescence on its way to full adulthood.

  • Apatheist||

    Funny then that he does well in the 30-40 bracket as well. Not everybody grows up to be a hypocrite like you.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Thank Galt we have grownups like you to throw kids in jail for doing what you did when you were their age.

  • ||

    It's the adult position, Hugh. You know, hypocrisy.

  • ||

    The current wisdom is that unless you take zero responsibility for your life and cede all decision making to the government you're a freakish man-child.

    Adults: Suckling at the deformed teet of Uncle Sugar since 1776!

  • ||

    And we were such a strong people, once.

  • ||

    Could be, but I think that most people under the age of 30 have never really believed that SocSec and the rest of the entitlement state will be there for them.

    That predisposes them against the mainstream welfare state. And, as we are seeing, keeping the welfare state going is the main selling point for the establishment candidates.

    The welfare state isn't going to become more attractive to this demographic as they get older. I think their hostility to it is going to increase, in fact, as its demands on their substance get bigger without any prospect of long-term viability.

  • Gojira||

    My wife is currently reading a novel about that exact scenerio.

  • ||

    I read "Little Green Men" by Christopher Buckley. I picked it up for 25 cents in a garage sale. It was pretty funny. I have heard good things about "Boomsday" too.

  • ||

    ""but I think that most people under the age of 30 have never really believed that SocSec and the rest of the entitlement state will be there for them.""

    It's easy to be against something you don't use, yet turn 180 degrees when you do need it.

    I know a couple of people that are Fox News republicans that got ill. They were all about no Medicaid/Medicare until they got sick. Now they are complaining about how the government doesn't do enough.

  • ||

    The Tea Party is not anti-government. It is pro-SS/Medicare - as has been shown time and time again.

    Little wonder they support Newt who is against "right wing social engineering" a la Paul Ryan.

  • rho||

    shrike's not wrong. A lot of tea-partiers are anti-government, so long as that government is pro-war, pro-anti-everything I'm against.

    A sentient mollusk can win the GOP primary right now, if it can muster enough talking points.

  • ||

    What about a sentient old beach walrus on his last Callista?

    I want the GOP to cancel SS/Medicare - or anyone!

    Some "leftist" I am.

  • JB||

    Less pro-SS/Medicare than 95% of Democrats and other Obamabots.

    You and your ilk love government all the time in every orifice. The TEA party folks do look good in comparison to you cunts.

  • ||

    Here's the roadmap for Paul to do as well as he can:

    (1) Gingrich buries Santorum (how much game does Santorum have left in terms of money and organization)? Santorum has to bow out.

    (2) Gingrich blows up, says some incredibly stupid shit, or the somnolent Romney campaign finally piledrives him into the ground under a mountain of negative yet truthy ads.

    Both of these need to happen soon, but they are far from implausible.

    (3) ROMNIAC wakes up to find he has little dry powder left to take on the the entrenched Paulbots in the caucus and Western states. Paul actually wins some caucus states, has a credible number of delegates, and just can't be ignored because you can't have a horse race without two horses, and he's the only other horse.

  • Mainstream Media||

    "Romney wins nomination after Gingrich drops out"

  • South Dakota, Idaho||

    we don't fucking care

  • Hugh Akston||

    *Kevin Kervick in the Examiner about how Paul must, and can, start appealing more to older voters.

    I'm guessing a decibel limit on the noise kids call music these days, and enforcing the border on all lawns?

  • ||

    Ron Paul is one of those kids compared to the average GOP voter.

  • *||

    Even though the Tea Party may be veering into full retard, the Gingrich thing is so wild it's unpossible to know if its good or bad... I mean, he's already kicked Romney hard in the nuts, and stealing all his oxygen, but at any moment, the Gingrich campaign could fully implode over any one of a hundred issues, or potential gaffes. Then what? Who picks up "his" votes? Who benefits from low morale in the Romney/Gingrich camps?

  • ||

    Nobody expected him to do better than third in SC. This is no surprise.

    I do think him wimping out on Florida is a mistake, as he has some real support here. He faces the possibility of disappearing if he doesn't stay near the top the next few states.

  • ||

    How could Ron Paul do well in Florida?

    The ratio of college students is low while the Cuban/Jew/Black/Fundie population is high.

  • DK||

    According to that Insider Advantage poll that Doherty linked (with a protected link), Paul does surprisingly well with Hispanics. Of course, those are registered Republicans and the polling size is so low (89 of the 557 polled) that it would suggest high uncertainty. He got 0% of the Black vote (polling size: 28 of 557 polled).

    Here is a link to the pdf:

    http://www.realclearpolitics.c.....L_0122.pdf

  • CE||

    Florida has too many old people for Ron Paul to win, it's winner take all, and advertising there would be costly.

    The states after Florida are Nevada, Colorado, Minnesota, Missouri, Maine, Arizona and Michigan, all of which will be much better for Ron Paul (based on 2008 results, state culture, and having caucuses in several of them rather than primaries.)

  • Tom||

    Ok Paul people, this is what you're up against.

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/151.....table.aspx

    Don't be fooled into thinking a Gingrich blowout would give Ron Paul any more support than he has now.

    Paul only has 25-35% acceptability rating of the GOP; meaning he not only isn't he the vast majority of Republicans choice, he's not even their 2nd or 3rd choice...

  • Bee Tagger||

    Everyone seems to forget that a Gingrich who thinks people like him is the most distasteful Gingrich imaginable. He'll come crashing down to earth soon enough. The only question at that point will be whether he can scrape together enough money to stay in the race so that he can be in another debate and be the rabble-rousing underdog lashing out at the media. This has all happened before.

  • np||

    I've been following the Tea Party since its beginning and while I was initially excited with the first pseudo-reenactment and rally, the Tea Party of today has long since been co-opted by the GOP. It's become the low-taxes-socon-right-wing faction of the party and much less so about size of and intrusion of government objectively speaking.

    Here's typical "tea party" sentiment nowadays from
    http://dailycaller.com/2012/01.....qus_thread
    from "TeaPartyPatriot4ever"


    Now, Domestically, libertarians are extremely US Contitutionally minded, except for one flaw.. they cannot see the logic, common sense, and sane reality, of their position and views on liberal social issues, like unlimited and unrestricted use and abuse of illegal illicit harmfully dangerous hallucinogenic drug use to be open and legal, among other domestic social issues.. I guess they want America to be like Amsterdam, except of course, America is not Amsterdam.. And of course, they are insane and asisinley stupid and naive, when comes to international affairs issues. But try telling them the truth..

    [...]

    Also, I respect Ron Paul's Domestic policies, for the most part, but I'm sorry, I cannot, and will never, accept his lunatic naive and dangerous international foriegn affairs policies of appeasment and demilitarism, especially towards Iran, and his anti-semtitic positions and statements towards Israel, of the past, as well as the present.
  • Gojira||

    Yep, that's the modern TP in a nutshell. TEAM RED...but HARDER.

  • hazeeran||

    I can't say I've ever met an "anti-semtite."

  • hazeeran||

    "unlimited and unrestricted use and abuse of illegal illicit harmfully dangerous hallucinogenic drug"

    Now THOSE are some colors.

  • jacob||

    Why do you say nowadays? My view of the Tea Party is that they were this way all along. I'm glad the lightbulb is finally coming on around here.

  • ||

    I wonder how many people did it because of Palin?

  • Joe M||

    I swear, even Brian Doherty post about Ron Paul should be titled: "Here's a list of articles you already read today." Guess it's my own dang fault.

  • Joe M||

    even every

  • *||

    Prediction: at some point in the next month or so, Gingrich will say or do something unusually extra stupid, or he'll be credibly accused of boning another future wife or something, and when his supporters attempt to rescue his campaign, and the entire Team Red socialcon wing, this will happen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JjIXwkX1e48

  • Max||

    Gay Nazis think highly of Ron Paul. Apparently fake eyebrows and oversized suits are a gay Nazi thing.

  • CE||

    Pay attention next time. Ron Paul is the anti-Nazi candidate, the only one who would reduce the power of the Fuehrer.

  • South Carolina voter||

    That's because of all his fag talk about "it's wrong to assassinate people without a trial, bew hoo" and "golly sir, maybe we should treat foreigners like we'd want them to treat us, waa waa, I'm a little pussy", like they're people or something. Then he goes and starts talking about Fiats and cycles and malo... mali... melon vestments and I'm all like "this guy is such a fag. Fags can't be President, that's in the Constitution, because it's against the Bible and it's one nation under God."

    Newt's no pussy little Gandalf-looking faggot. When reporters are all like "Why'd you cheat on your wife that you cheated on your cancer-stricken first wife with", he's all like "Shut the fuck up, you atheist faggot asshole. I'm a Christian, I'm the Tea Party, and I love America and kicking ass, so shove that shit up your ass and smoke it." Then he punches John King in the taint. Fucking badass.

  • ||

    I fucking*love*that southpark episode!

  • ||

    +10

  • killazontherun||

  • Sanjuro Tsubaki||

    Title says it all.

  • CE||

    The real takeaway, as usual, is that voters are morons. In the South Carolina exit polls, Gingrich was the first choice among voters who said the budget deficit is the biggest issue. In New Hampshire, Romney was the first choice among voters who said the budget deficit is the biggest issue. Ron Paul is the only candidate who is actually planning to propose spending CUTS if he is elected (vs. reductions in Obama's baseline spending increases.)

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