Untold Stories of Florida


Three things no one's discussed just yet…

Paul's Votes. There weren't many of them. This was never going to be one of Paul's best states, but he polled as high as 7 percent over the last month and wound up with only 3 percent of the vote. That made for his first dead-last showing, and now that Giuliani and Fred are both out, he's polling last in most of the big Super Tuesday states.

Still, the campaign is grinning about Rudy's exit. "It's gratifying to beat Giuliani," said Paul spokesman Jesse Benton. In Florida, he said, "we spread our message and let the other guys beat each other up."

Paul has the money to stay around: His campaign has bought ads in Arkansas and Tennessee, there are campaign appearances scheduled in Georgia, there are organizers working in Minnesota and and rules that help him in Alaska and Montana. The campaign also feels good about North Dakota and Colorado. But the tightening of the Romney-McCain race isn't good for him, nor are closed primaries. He's going to max out his vote in contests where independents can cast ballots and in states where the perception is that one candidate is already far enough ahead to cast a protest vote.

Clinton's Calvinball. It didn't work. Here's the short version of the Democrats' controversy:

The state governments of Michigan and Florida moved their primaries into January, defying a Democratic rule that allowed only New Hampshire, Iowa, Nevada and South Carolina to have January primaries. The truant states were punished by being stripped of their delegates. Edwards and Obama pulled their names from Michigan's ballot; Hillary didn't. Edwards, Obama and Hillary signed a pledge not to campaign in Florida.

In the buildup to South Carolina—which looked like a sure loss—the Clinton campaign started bragging about a coming win in Florida. They complained that an Obama ad, which was running on national cable channels, was already airing in the state, and that this meant Obama was flouting the rules. They announced that Hillary would fundraise in the state before January 29 (the pledge allowed this) and that she'd be there on primary night to accept her victory. And they released this statement from Hillary herself:

I believe our nominee will need the enthusiastic support of Democrats in these states to win the general election, and so I will ask my Democratic convention delegates to support seating the delegations from Florida and Michigan.

So, basically, she welshed. Florida voters who were paying attention to the Democratic race—about 1.5 million of them, as it turned out—heard her promise to count their votes. Clinton planned a victory rally in the state to capitalize on the last sure thing before Super Tuesday. Polls showed her up by 20 and… she won by 17, with almost exactly 50 percent of the vote. She won 46 of 67 counties, which sounds impressive until you realize that Obama won all but two counties in hard-fought South Carolina. And the exit polls give a hint of what would have happened if they'd actually had to campaign: Obama won among voters who decided over the last week, 37 to 34.

Clinton still won, and Obama had to cede two states where black voters made up about 20 percent of the electorate. But between the anger she stoked in the pundit class (the liberal blogs are practically boiling over about this) and the slippage revealed by the exit polls, this looks like a bad move by Clinton.

Huckabee's Evangelicals. He only won 29 percent of them, tied with Romney and a point behind McCain.

NEXT: It's an American Dream, Includes Gun Owners Too

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. In addition to closed-primary states, I think the problem for the RP campaign with electoral success is that most of the voters (in some places over 50%) are over 60. These people get their information from the local and nightly news, not the Intranets.

    On the other hand, Ron does very well with 18-39 year old, independent, non-churchgoing voters – fertile ground for planting libertarian ideas. I think reaching these people to create a movement is and should be the purpose of the campaign.

  2. If Reason really wants RP to do good (obviously a very open question), I’ve already presented here two very good ways to do it. Yet, oddly enough, no one seems to have picked up on it.

    1. Spend maybe 10k conducting real debates. If the candidates won’t show up, use proxies.

    2. Reduce the popularity of RP’s opponents by asking real questions, the kind that the MSM (and Reason) are afraid to ask. (Note: that question could have been a lot better, for instance pointing out which government McCain’s staff member used to work for.)

  3. That is the first use of ‘Calvinball’ I’ve ever seen outside the comic. Has it been used elsewhere in a similar context or did you just think of it now? If it’s the later, I say: Genius, Weigel, genius. I hope such usage catches fire. I can’t think of anything that quite captures the absurdity of so much of politics better than Calvinball.

  4. I think Yglesias used “Calvinball” first in this context, mtc.

  5. On Huck’s 29% (vs 42% in SC for the same cat – protestant w/ weekly attendance)

    Another interesting stat is that this group made up 43% of SC voters but only 20% of Florida’s; so motivation to turn out may have been a factor.

    And as another proxy for intensity of evangelical passion:
    On the abortion should be legal exit poll question, FL was 52-43 illegal to legal, but a whopping 70-28 illegal to legal in SC.

  6. only 3 percent of the vote.

    a little disheartening but, still better than the average run-of-the-mill LP candidate will do in any given race.

  7. It could had been 3.0000000000001%, but I forgot to vote. Sorry.

  8. “It’s gratifying to beat Giuliani,”

    Yes, I’ll bet that it is; I wonder if ol’ Nine-Eleven is laughing now?

  9. On net balance RP is better than anybody else in the running, and I will vote for him so long as he’s in the race. But now that the flames of death are dancing around his campaign, I’ll add my bah-humbug criticism.

    Was it really necessary to get up on the national stage and demand a return to the gold standard? A simpler pitch for financial accountability in government, and denying politicians the keys to the printing presses, would have made the point — in a perhaps more politically astute manner.

    Whatever the pro’s and con’s of a gold standard, you know that idea is going to sound kooky to the mainstream. So why put it in just those terms?

    And then we’re going to just abolish the IRS. And then….??????

    Cutting the size of government is one proposition. Defunding it is another entirely, and you can bet your life it isn’t going to fly on the national stage. How about if we pitched for scaling government back some? You know, a step or two at a time here?

    And then the real kicker. RP at least implied — maybe even said explicitly — that 9/11 was our own fault for messing in the ME.

    He said that while running on the Republican ticket while Bush was still in office.

    Not only is this theory simply untrue (nobody held a gun to the heads of the suicide bombers and made them kill thousands of innocent civilians), you also know this line is sure to be political suicide.

    Libertarians are not politicians, which is why they simply aren’t going to get elected. No matter how righteous their indignant rage may be….some of which I now expect to catch.

    Libertarains seem to labor under at least a couple of delusions:

    1) People may now agree that we never should have gone into Iraq, but that doesn’t mean they’re in favor of 100% pull out asap. Iraq may have made Bush unpopular, but that isn’t what sank him within the Republican ranks. His overall spending habits and general expansion of government, just perhaps, were slightly bigger concern.

    2) The majority of Americans are not in favor of just opening the Mexican border to the whole horde, no matter how many articles Reason publishes.

    Mexican migration is just not the same thing as past waves of immigrants. Past immigrants left their home countries behind, and could not return without great effort and expense. They either assimilated or isolated, and then their children assimilated.

    Not so with Mexicans. Coming and going are about the same, and Mexicans don’t have to assimilate. Nor do their children. And in the southwest, they often don’t assimilate.

    Not that walling off the border makes sense either, it would harm overall US-Mexican trade, and Mexico is one of our biggest trading partners.

    But the fact is, while the American mainstream is not necessarily in favor of walling off the border, they also aren’t on the “Welcome Mexican Migrant! Happy Train” that Reason is.

    But whatever anyone cares to believe, fact is that we won’t do anything serious about the situation unless the drug violence really moves north of the border. This has been the historical norm. If the violence does come north much more — and it’s starting to — then expect to see some kind of US reprisal.

    And give it up — we aren’t dumping the welfare state, and we aren’t doing the one thing that would permanently stem the violence — legalize drugs.

    Anyway, these are genuine issues that matter (sorry, gay rights is also not at the top of the list for most Americans). The deal about RP having “race baiting” stuff ghost written for him is, in the big scheme, a flea bite on an elephant. Other front runners have done worse — so deal with the fact that this is how politics works.

    So that’s what I’ve concluded from this election: libertarians just aren’t politicians, and that’s why they’re never getting near the White House. I also conclude that if we ever got a principled libertarian candidate in the running who was also a politician, then the libertarian rank and file would probably find a reason to burn him/her at the stake anyway.

    Burned, for the crime of standing entirely too far from The Tree of Truth and Purity.

    Now, if someone would please begin ranting about Ayn Rand…..

  10. Victory will soon be ours:

    McCain was civil to all his opponents tonight except one: Ron Paul. That was the tip-off that this is now a two-man race…

    In spite of taking a beating in the early primaries, the General ordered his troops to hold their fire and wait for the right time to strike back.

    The time is now! The time is now to drive the beltway elite all the way back to their homeland in Washington DC.

  11. Isn’t it “welched” not “welshed” (which I believe would involve sheep)?

  12. Jesse Benton says it was “gratifying to beat Giuliani.” How’s that?

    Giuliani got 15% of the vote last night finishing 3rd.

    Ron Paul got 3% finishing 5th, fully 10 points behind 4th place finisher Mike Huckabee.

    How is that “beating Rudy Giuliani”?

  13. I gotta admit, as a Giuliani/Romney supporter it was quite gratifying for my guys to beat Ron Paul last night in Florida – 5 to 1 and 11 to 1.

    Paul ends this race having got creamed in the Sunshine State, much like he got smacked in Nevada, Louisiana and Wyoming.

  14. Ahh yes, remember the days when a Ron Paul post at H&R would garner over 500 comments in the comment section within minutes.

    Now overnight, barely 13 comments here.

    The Ron Paul people must be hiding their heads in shame, having been hammered last night by Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney.

    Hey Ron Paul people, cat got your tongue? Why the silence??

  15. Dondero,
    How many times did Rudy finish ahead of Paul? 2. How many times did Paul finish ahead of Rudy? 5. 5 > 2, therefore Paul is winning. Paul has 6 delegates, Rudy has 2. Rudy beat Paul in one race, the race where Rudy pinned all his hopes. Big whoop.

  16. Giuliani’s was a poorly managed front running campaign with a horrible candidate.

    Paul’s was a so-so managed shoe string campaign of a virtual unknown candidate that a significant vocal minority supported.

    No, Paul never connected with mainstream America, but that just proves you can’t stray too far from general conventional wisdom and political gaming before people get confused and scared.

    Dondero may like to stick his tongue out at us that the conventional candidates scored better in most states, but he hardly took a brave position, supporting Giuliani at his height and jumping ship to the SS Romney when it took over. In the end though, we supported the only candidate with basic libertarian values whereas he fawned over the neocons and religious right.

    I’m glad Ron Paul was in this race to give me a choice. I just hope that the loose coalition he formed can remain together in the future.

  17. Dondero,

    You hate McCain too right?

    How could the libertarian flagship that is Rudy possibly be okey with endorsing McCain?

    I mean how could the main gun controlling libertarian possibly justify supporting McCain.

    Shouldn’t the Totalitarian Fiscal Conservative Libertarian Republican be supporting Romney?

    I mean all the other “If We Are Not Bombing them Then We are One of Them” libertarians support Romney don’t they?

  18. In my last post there should probably be some apostrophes somewhere and more capital letters sprinkled about.

  19. Mohammed Sayeed,
    That seems to be wishful thinking. It seems to be a really a race between McCain and Romney, maybe with Paul as the spoiler.

    A sad event. It looks like McCain will win even though no real republicans like the guy.

  20. RE: welsh vs. welch

    OED says welch is a variant for welsh. However, on either case it is a perjorative slur against the Welsh:


  21. NPR this AM had Ron Paul coming in 4th in Fla. before correcting it half an hour later in their usual seamless, pretend-it-never-happened way.

  22. Eric, by beating Giuliani, Ron Paul means because the authoritarian scumbag quit and he’s still alive. That is what is gratifying. Dumbass.

  23. Dondero,
    Smacked in Nevada? Paul came in second, which is better than Rudy or Fred Thompson ever did.

    Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf is the old Iraqi Information Minister that was saying that the Iraqi army was beating the Americans as we rolled through Baghdad. It’s a comment on Rockwell’s delusions.

  24. Classy, Hillary. Let me count the ways.



    Party Hack.

    Say/do anything to win.



    Great visuals. They were openly mocking her during her “victory” speech on MSNBC.

  25. Great visuals. They were openly mocking her during her “victory” speech on MSNBC.

    Part of me wants Hildog to be president, so that people will continue to lose respect for the office. If the Presidency becomes contemptible enough, maybe it will lose power? I can dream.

  26. Atrios used to use the term Calvinball to describe how the Republicans ran Congress – constantly making up new rules when it was convenient.

    For example, the party that controlled Congress during the 1990s insists that every judicial nominee be given a floor vote, doncha know.

  27. How is that “beating Rudy Giuliani”?

    It’s like boxing. You can lose the round on points and win with a knockout.

  28. joe,

    Couldn’t agree more. She’s done everything she can to bring her credibility into question. A wonderful idea for someone already dealing with a tainted past. Besides, even if she were Hillary Smith, openly underhanded actions don’t go over well with the public. I think her behavior here and in Michigan will ultimately hand Obama the nomination. He was likely to win it, anyway, but now it looks much more assured.

    Calvinball references abound. I don’t think Dave was claiming to have been the first since Watterson, however.

    Paul did worse than I expected in Florida, but by any measure known to man, he did better than Giuliani in the race. He’s ahead in states, in delegates, and in the very key fact that he’s still running. Giuliani is, simply speaking, a terrible campaigner.

  29. So, basically, she welshed

    Where are all of our racism detector posts today? This is certainly at least as insulting as slant slit.

  30. In my last post there should probably be some apostrophes somewhere and more capital letters sprinkled about.

    thanks for the laugh, kwais.

  31. Where are all of our racism detector posts today? This is certainly at least as insulting as slant slit.

    Uh, no it isn’t. How many times, and from what height, did your Mother drop you on your head?

    Just curious.

  32. Where are all of our racism detector posts today? This is certainly at least as insulting as slant slit.

    Wow. Uh, yeah, “at least as insulting,” oh, certainly. I like the way the phrase even leaves open the possibility that “welshed” could be MORE insluting than referring to Asian women as “slant slit.”

    I don’t know how people manage to be so incredibly clueless about this stuff. I once a room-mate who swore up and down that there was no racist connotation to using the phrase “nnigger-lipped” to refer to leaving saliva on the rim of a soda bottle. Honet to God, he mean it, he was genuinely shocked that anyone could be offended.

    Where do these people come from, that they are so clueless about this stuff?

  33. joe,

    From the tone of your post it sounds like you think “welshed” isn’t offensive. Could you clue a clueless person in on why “welshed” isn’t offensive but something like “jewed him down” is?

  34. Nope, read gooder.

  35. “Great visuals. They were openly mocking her during her “victory” speech on MSNBC.”

    I didn’t see the speech, joe. Who was mocking, the audience or the commentators on MSNBC and what were they saying?

  36. Nope, read gooder.

    “Write better” not an option for you, eh?

  37. My writing is fine. For you to draw any conclusion about what I think of the term “welshed” from that statement above means you have to read gooder.

  38. Then just settle it once and for all: do you think “Welshed” is offensive?

  39. I understand it can offensive to some people.

    I do not agree with you that it is “at least as offensive” as referring to Asian women as “slanted slit.”

    That was a really mind-bogging claim to make.

  40. OK, perhaps bringing relativism into it was unfair. There seemed to be an implied relativism in the fact that you were quick to admonish Episarch for being offensive yet you did not admonish Mr. Weigel.

  41. CELTIC C_NT?



  42. …using the phrase “nnigger-lipped” to refer to leaving saliva on the rim of a soda bottle.

    I’ve never heard it used to refer to anything other than leaving saliva on the end of a non-filter-tipped cigarette – though these days most people shorten it to “lipped.” I’ve even heard African-Americans use it that way toward whites (usually with a grin) – though that was quite some time ago.

  43. So… it’s kind of like political gun control. Everyone agrees to disarm and then slowly, one by one…

  44. I understand it can offensive to some people.

    Wow, that’s kind of wishy-washy. I like how you leave open the possibility that it isn’t offensive.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.