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.