Ron Paul

Ames Notes


I've spent most of the day with Ron Paul supporters at Ames, and there are lots of them—but most of the ones I've talked to are from out of state. Lots of Gophers, lots of Badgers, lots of people who can't cast a straw poll ballot. They make a hell of a contrast with the bright yellow T-shirted lines of Romney voters, all bussed in from corners of the state at the Mittster's expense. The Paul folks are tweaking them like crazy, marching past their Barnum-and-Bailey-sized tent and soundstage chanting, and shouting down the Mitt folks by yelling "We're not paid volunteers!" Romney will have the last laugh: He'll win by a landslide.

Other weirdness:

– Mike Huckabee hired a comedian/impressionist who stood in front of an empty row of chairs making dumb jokes and singing songs in the voice of… George W. Bush. Stuff like an Animals pastiche called "Oh Laura, Please Don't Let Me Be Misunderestimated." A sign of the base's abandonment of Bush or a sign of Huckabee's goofiness?

– Some grist for the goofiness theory: Huckabee's bizzare speech, which Ryan Sager sums up:

The end of Huckabee's speech is really odd. Huckabee talks about bringing his daughter to the Israeli Holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem. In the guestbook, his daughter wrote: "Why didn't somebody do something?" Well, he tells the crowd, "Right here in Ames, Iowa, you're the somebody, you can do something." (So, let me get this straight: Voting for Huckabee = preventing the Holocaust? Somebody explain this to me… seriously.) The evil they would prevent: "[electing] a president based on the raising of money."

—Laura Ingraham could barely speak over the roar of Ron Paul supporters drowning out her introduction. When they filed out after the speech, chanting again, she tried to snark back at them: "There goes the peace train!"

– The (two) Alan Keyes booth(s) are far larger than the ad hoc Fred Thompson booth.

NEXT: Ron Paul's Candidacy: The Stuff, Uh, That Dreams Are Made Of...[*]

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  1. So, if I’m getting this correctly one really does, quite literally BUY the republican nomination?

  2. Wait, isn’t “don’t let me be misunderstood” an Elvis Costello song?

  3. Hey, David Weigel: When you’re done in Ames, drive down on Sunday to visit the John Wayne Birthplace in Winterset, Iowa. It’s great (you also get to see the Madison County covered bridges and imagine you are Clint Eastwood). Or drive over to Boone and ride on the coal-fired old steam train (the last one produced in China — or anywhere in the world).

    Yours for promoting Iowa tourism,
    –Mark Lambert
    Loooooooong time REASON subscriber
    Polk City, Iowa

  4. ktc2, No, it’s not buying the Republican nomination in Iowa, it’s just a straw poll — the actual caucuses are coming up in January. This is just a way for the Repub. Party of Iowa to shake down the presidential candidates for bucks. Buy lots of tickets, give them to your supporters to get them to the straw poll.

  5. I’m actually joining up with Ron Paul meet ups in this area, despite my constant whining about the anarchist.

  6. I don’t know about anybody else on here, but I seriously think Alan Keyes is closeted, big time.

  7. I see the Ron Paul Spin Machine is trying to lower expectations…

  8. Who was Laura Ingraham introducing?

    (She’s not infuriating on the level of Ann Coulter, but god does she suck…)

  9. Laura Ingraham could barely speak over the roar of Ron Paul supporters drowning out her introduction. When they filed out after the speech, chanting again, she tried to snark back at them: “There goes the peace train!”

    I actually watched Ron’s speech (on TV) and I don’t think that’s exactly what happened. It sounded like the mike was cut off (or malfunctioned) for a few seconds before Ingraham could say stuff to calm down the audience. Yes, the Paul supporters were a tad more enthusiastic than the other crowds, but certainly not enough to drown out Ingraham’s introduction.

    I also didn’t hear Ingraham’s snarky comment, but that’s probably because I stopped paying much attention after Paul’s speech was over.

  10. NP,

    A lot of times they adjust the noise levels on broadcasts so it doesn’t get noticeably louder or softer overall. One way to tell when a crowd is louder is by how well you can hear baseline sounds — for instance, the MC’s mike. If the Paul crowd was much louder, the TV would probably have turned down the overall sound to a level consistent with the other crowds. This would make Ms. Ingraham sound softer by comparison.

    I would trust the person that was there. Although that is admittedly borderline since its Weigel.

  11. So what Ron Paul supporters lack in brains they make up for in noise. Doesn’t surprise me.

  12. Bryan,

    You may be right, but I watched the speech on C-SPAN–live. The Paul crowd wasn’t much larger than the other ones I saw, and I couldn’t hear Ingraham only for a few seconds. So, for me to believe your scenario I’d have to be convinced that the Paul crowd so got loud just for a split moment–before Paul even got close to the mike, I should add–that C-SPAN was required to perform the volume control.

    That said, I don’t mean to make this issue bigger than it is. I just wanted to point out that Weigel’s affinity for Ron Paul might have gotten in the way of his reporting.

  13. You know out of all the candidates the one that impressed me was Mike Huckabee. Every single supporter that showed up for him was real. Not bought & paid for like the other rich supporters. Huckabee’s message is simple, lets concentrate on the folks who are on main street, not wallstreet. I was really impressed with Huckabee, he got my vote!

  14. The Ron Paul supporters were very aggressive and rude, I was turned off by them. I felt like I was back in the 60’s at an anti-war protest. Bunch of college kids and has been hippies, that who Ron Paul has supporting him. Seriously you have to be on drugs, the guy has ZERO executive experience and minus zero personality. Paul anti-war mantra wont take him far….

  15. We agree that Weigel is an incredibly bias reporter. No doubt. From a technical standpoint though, even things that are “live” are often delayed at least a few seconds. As the producer (or one of his assistants) watches the noise levels come in, they adjust the sound levels to accommodate. Its pretty easy for me to imagine that the control room saw the noise level spike and adjusted the volume accordingly so it seemed instantaneous to the viewer at home.

  16. The problem with Huckabee is that anyone who is disconnected from reality to a degree sufficient to believe that the Earth is 6000 years old might get into office and decide to trade Alaska for some magic beans.

  17. Beverly,

    that’s called passion, and Dr. Paul is the only candidate who can garner that kind of support. I also happen to think that he has a wonderful personality. And his anti-war mantra might not take him far among the republicans in denial, but it is mainly his accurate assessment of foreign policy that makes him the only republican candidate that stands a chance against the democrats in the general election.

  18. jl

    You think Ron Paul has a wonderful personality? I’ll bet you’re an avid vegetarian.

  19. Bryan,

    Man, I didn’t know this thing was gonna ruin my Saturday! (Kidding.) I know that live events are usually delayed a few seconds by network television, but I doubt C-SPAN engages in the same prestidigitation. In fact, during the follow-up call-in session after the event a caller said the word “shit” but C-SPAN didn’t bleep it out (though it did, of course, cut off the call right away). I doubt that would’ve happened if C-SPAN did delay live events.

    As for your comment on Weigel, one may be biased in his beliefs and opinions, but being biased in reporting is a more serious matter. (Actually can it still be called reporting if it’s not reliably accurate?) Which is why I brought up this small point.

  20. Fluffy,

    How old does Ron Paul think the earth is? I know he’s a Christian and thinks America should be, too.

  21. I really don’t think Dr. Paul’s campaign has a chance at winning but I don’t think that is the point. I think it is important to raise some issues likethe dangers of militarism and the fed receiving interest on money it creates. I personally don’t think he’ll ever win but I hope his support represents a big enough block of voters so other candidates will take notice. If he can get 10% of the primary vote, that might cause a shift on some issues in the republican party.

  22. edward,

    I really don’t think he is one of those evangelicals and from his rhetoric he has no interest in forcing morality on others

  23. Javier,

    If you’re going to back a candidate like Ron Paul, it’s very important that you not consider winning the point. Having his supporters be noticed by the other candidates is a very nice point because you’re one of his supporters, and that means you’re getting noticed. You could also wear your underwear on your head. Do whatever seems to work best.

  24. If he can get 10% of the primary vote, that might cause a shift on some issues in the republican party.

    He can’t.

  25. No arguments? Okay, Ron Paul will be lucky to get 1% of the primary vote.

  26. javier,

    it’s probably best not to acknowledge Edward’s existence at all. As you may notice if you peruse some of the older threads, he just churns out vacuous posts intended to be insulting to Ron Paul and his supporters, and you may as well argue with a rock about why it’s hard as argue with him.

  27. it’s like Edward the Ron Paul hatah is trawling for attention of somethin’

    and on a Saturday afternoon at that

    kinda sad

  28. Javier,

    I think you should take Crimethink’s advice and ignore me. You stick to your guns and support Ron Paul even if–or maybe escpecially because–he’s a turnip. It’s not about winning, after all. What’s it about again?

  29. edward,

    1. I never said I backed him.

    2. I think it would be nice if other topics got into the mainstream besides the usual nonsense that politicians talk about although I don’t think Ron Paul is the right guy to do it. He has, like you said, a terrible personality and probably the worst orator ever.

    3. i only wear my underwear on my head when I am extremely drunk.

  30. vegetarian? I don’t understand that comment, but I enjoy meat quite a bit.

    I guess I just like honesty and integrity, and see those attributes as being a big part of what i consider to be a good personalty. when compared to the phony garbage spouted by the other candidates, he easily comes out on top. if you are moved by the other candidates, you are being fooled.

  31. The $50 is the new $20

    Now you’ve hurt my feelings.

  32. Sorry, JL. I thought to myself if Ron Paul were a vegetable, what vegetable would he be? A raw turnip or celery for sure. You like his perosnality, so I assumed you love raw turnips and celery.

  33. I never said I didn’t love raw turnips and celery. I just said I like meat. i’m omnivorous.

  34. Maybe you think he’s a turnip because of the truck you just fell off.

  35. Edward–

    Do some balloon animals next.

  36. I’ve got to stop wasting time this way.

  37. Delayed results?

    It must take longer to reprogram Diebold machines than I thought!

    Actually, I’m going to get ahead of the curve here and say,

    “Wow, Paul only got X votes? I thought he would do better. That’s a real disappointment. Well, there’s some time before the caucuses yet.”

    This way Edward can’t say I’m not acknowledging the poor results. Assuming they’re poor.

  38. I have to laugh, I mean this is hysterical, somebody actually posted in a comment, Paul’s anti-war position won’t take him far.

    Huh? What country are YOU in pal? Because the one I’m in is going to put a democrat in the white house on … THAT … VERY … POSITION … (speaking slowly for the obviously challenged).

  39. (you also get to see the Madison County covered bridges and imagine you are Clint Eastwood)

    I could really get into that. Not so much the imagining I’m Clint Eastwood part as the I get to sleep with Meryl Streep part.

  40. beverly janes

    Ron Paul…has ZERO executive experience…

    Oh, so running a medical practice for years is not “executive experience”, but getting a baseball franchise handed to you by your daddy’s crony’s is?

  41. Edward

    How old does Ron Paul think the earth is?

    Ummm, Edward, Ron Paul was not one of the candidates who put up his hand when the question about not believing in evolution was posed in a previous debate.

    Honestly, Edward, are you really afraid of Ron Paul? Why does it bother you so much that you have to troll a comment thread where people are discussing RP.

    What the fuck, do you work for the UN or the IRS or something? Are you really scared that Ron Paul might get elected and that you would be out on the streets and worried about starving to death before you found a real job?

  42. I’ve got to stop wasting time this way.

    I never thought I’d be saying this, but I agree with you, Edward.

  43. From NYT online’s Caucus blog:


    AMES, Iowa – The results of the Iowa Republican Straw poll have been delayed for more than an hour tonight as officials recount about 1,500 ballots from one voting machine.

    Mary Tiffany, a spokeswoman for the Republican Party of Iowa, said officials were forced to count ballots by hand after one of the voting machines malfunctioned while tabulating. Optical scan ballots – not punch cards – are being used in this non-binding straw poll.

    Even though this is a Republican Party event – sponsored by Republicans for Republicans – watch for some of the candidates to raise questions about election machinery.

    The results are forthcoming, Ms. Tiffany said.”
    (posted 9:13PM today)

    Weren’t the Iowan Paulites shrieking this week about Ron’s inevitable defeat being attributed to sabotage of the machines? I imply nothing, of course, but if he finishes even worse than expected we’ll never hear the end of it.

  44. I should probably add some snark here about Republicans being so corrupt that they’ll try and steal an election in which they’re the only ones running.

  45. MSNBC has “Breaking News: Mitt Romney wins Straw Poll” on top of their website. No other info though.

  46. And here it is…

    1. Mitt Romney -32 %
    2. Mike Huckabee – 18 %
    3. Sam Brownback – 15 %
    4. Tom Tancredo – 14 %
    5. Ron Paul – 9 %
    6. Tommy Thompson – 7 %
    7. Fred Thompson – 1 percent
    8. Rudolph W. Giuliani – 1 %
    9. Duncan Hunter – 1 %
    10. John McCain (less than 1)
    11. John Cox (less than 1)

    The vote totals for the top three: Mr. Romney – 4,516 votes; Mr. Huckabee – 2,587; Mr. Brownback – 2,192.

  47. Fox News says he had 4,516 votes…

    That doesn’t sound like much, unless turnout was low…

  48. Phew! That’s better than I’d expected actually…Ron Paul must have gotten about 1300 votes, 500 more than the campaign bought. Does anyone know how many tickets Romney bought?

  49. Turnout was a little more than 14,000, though I couldn’t say whether that was lower than expected or not.

  50. I suppose ( I hope) this also means the end of the Tommy Thompson campaign.

    I also recall some encouraging news mentioned earlier on H&R about how Fred Thompson’s reluctance to enter the race is beginning to damage his poll numbers. He’s been testing the water for some time now. The man had, in his Senate days, a reputation for laziness. One wonders whether that water is the big campaign ocean or the warm bath waters of a walk-in tub with handrails.

  51. Apparently Romney bought 10,000 tickets and got less than half that many votes.

    The bizarre thing is that there were supposedly 30 to 40 thousand people there, but only 14,000 votes cast. Were there THAT many people from out of state?

  52. Could people actually believe any other candidate suddenly taking up Ron Paul’s position on issues? Seriously?

    If the other candidates start talking like Ron Paul, they are only doing it to steal your vote.

    Those of us in reality actually use their history to determine who to vote for.

    So, you want Romney, but you want him to start ‘talking’ like Ron Paul? Man, I hope you stay home on election day.

  53. Don’t be hating on the Fred Thompson supporters 😉 They drove all the way from Dallas and ponied up a $1000 to put up that “ad hoc booth”. If you go to you can read about their journey.

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