Can't Hear the rEVOLution

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Daniel Larison responds to my piece on the end of the Ron Paul presidential campaign, zeroing in on my argument that Paul wasted time going after the anti-immigration vote, which was split between five candidates, instead of the anti-Bush vote, which ended up going, as Matt Welch has shown, to McCain.

In state after state, he routinely fell behind both McCain and Romney among antiwar voters, when both stated clearly their intentions to prolong the war. This means that there was something very strange about Paul's natural constituencies–they may have been against Bush and the war, but they did not place a terribly high priority on opposition to either one.

No, Paul's voters did. They definitely did. I met hundreds of them at rallies and somewhat less than a hundred at their homes, being canvassed or meeting the candidate. You couldn't count the grievances they had (the national security state, dollar strength, the North American Union, to name a few), but at the center of those grievances was an anger at George W. Bush and his brand of politics. At some point in the campaign every candidate, even the pathetic Romney, criticized something about Bush, but only Paul could say "Hey, registered Republican or Republican-leaning independent who feels betrayed by Bush. I feel the same way. You want to register your disgust? Vote for me." Paul's only real competition for this vote was with McCain, who had obviously run against Bush eight years earlier and could make a powerful, subliminal "toldya so" argument. I heard a number of Iraq-disgusted New Hampshire voters going for McCain for that reason, that they voted for him eight years ago and, damn it, they were right then. But Paul should have claimed the rest of these voters.

It also means that a restrictionist electorate that could bring itself to back McCain, Huckabee and Romney in large numbers is either generally poorly informed or fairly irrational in its candidate preferences, and the same could be said for antiwar voters. When restrictionists refuse to vote for one of only two candidates (the other being Hunter) who had any real credibility as a restrictionist by the time of New Hampshire, there is not much that a campaign can do.

Yes, that's why Paul wasted his time going after restrictionist votes. Every candidate was taking a dive on that issue, including Romney and Huckabee, who completely flipped their positions to win these votes. No one else was making the "sick of Bush?" argument.

Unlike the restrictionist voting pool, which could sometimes swell to 50% or more of the primary electorate, anti-Bush and antiwar voters consistently made up roughly a 30% minority of GOP voters, which meant that Paul was always fishing in a relatively small pool.

But it was a pool he should have had all to himself. And 30 percent, after watching Paul score an average 4.5 percent vote in these primaries, sounds awfully huge.

Arguably, restrictionism was one area after Tancredo's withdrawal where Paul could have conceivably gained some purchase, since he had some real credibility in opposing mass immigration in a field crowded with latecomers and opportunists. It was an attempt that did not pay dividends, but it was a reasonably smart move considering that it was the perception of Huckabee and Romney as hard-liners on immigration that continued to keep them viable with conservative voters who should have regarded both with suspicion on this and other issues.

Two things. One, this would have made sense if Paul was working in a vacuum and if every voter was not meeting these candidates for the first time. The Paul campaign seemed to fall under its own spell: its candidate was so obviously honest, and had been talking about this stuff for so long, that surely the voters would realize this and spot him in a sea of phonies. But that isn't how campaigns work.

Two, restrictionist voters and anti-war/Bush voters in the GOP primary expected different results from their votes. Restrictionist voters wanted to elect a president who would close the border. They wouldn't take a dive for another Jorge Bush. Tancredo, remember, quit the race and endorsed Romney because he wanted to beat McCain. Anti-war/Bush voters, though, realized they would not elect an anti-war candidate. Paul didn't even think he'd win. He, and his voters, wanted to make a huge, un-ignorable statement, grab delegates, shift the party their way so that the inevitable terrible nominee was at least looking over his shoulder at them.

I assume Weigel and others have seen the high unfav ratings Rep. Paul had in every early state; these high unfav ratings were the result in large part of Paul's principled and correct foreign policy position, so it seems likely that an even more intensely foreign policy-based campaign would have been the cause of higher unfavs and would have been even less successful electorally.

This is true, but his low favorable rating was about 40 percent: Again, he'd have loved a percentage like that in any state. Paul was not facing a two-way race like John Ashbrook or Pat Buchanan '92 had faced. He was running in a badly divided, weak field, and there were many states were 30-35 percent of the vote would have given him honest-to-God wins.

As frustrating as it is to admit, thoroughgoing non-interventionism or a general "mind our own business" attitude in foreign affairs is not terribly popular among Republicans, and perhaps has not been for at least ten years. Focusing even more intently on this part of the campaign was not going to boost Paul's share of the vote.

It would have done that and it would have made Paul's movement matter this year.

Headline explained here.

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  1. reason sucks

  2. its candidate was so obviously honest, and had been talking about this stuff for so long, that surely the voters would realize this and spot him in a sea of phonies. But that isn’t how campaigns work.

    QFT

  3. Nice analysis, Dave.

    Is RP’s campaign going to have any kind of a legacy? Obviously, the GOP has hardly noticed, and to the extent that they have noticed, they don’t want anything to do with it.

  4. Is Daniel Larison Lonewacko or something?

    The only reason to dispute the self-evident proposition that immigration restriction was a losing issue for Paul is if you are personally invested in the notion that hating Mexicans is always and everywhere a winning issue.

    Of course it was a terrible issue. And of course it failed to differentiate Paul from anyone else.

    And it wasn’t the only non-differentiator Paul ran on. They wasted a lot of time pursuing the pro-life vote too.

    McCain captured the anti-war vote for a couple of reasons:

    1. The antiwar Republican vote is not terribly anti-immigration. Every step forward Paul took on the war issue was matched by a step backward on immigration. The antiwar folks and the anti-immigration folks are two separate groups of people, and when you try to appeal to both you alienate both.

    2. The anti-immigration folks are generally very pro-war on drugs. We’re talking about different sub-sections of the “I am a law and order Republican because I hate minorities” vote. Paul couldn’t capture the anti-immigration voter because those voters were afraid he might let “darkies” out of jail.

    3. The Republican electorate is stupid, so McCain captured the antiwar, antiBush vote because those voters remembered that McCain ran against Bush once before, so they assumed that McCain was against any Bush policy they didn’t like.

  5. Perhaps, just perhaps it wasn’t his message. He was a poor, unconvincing candidate who doesn’t speak well, especially in debates.

    Shoot the messenger, not the message.

  6. highnumber,

    It depends if this year and in 2 years (early registration stopped some possibilities this year) we elect a bunch of Ron Paul Republicans to the House. If so, there is a legacy.

    How many is a bunch? I dont know. Enough that RP isnt a lone voice in the house on a number of issues is enough, I would think.

  7. Go to the AOL site and vote for Ron Paul today, and spread the word: http://news.aol.com/political-machine/straw-poll

  8. In running as a RP delegate, I ran into lots of Republicans whose first choice was RP, but who were going to vote for their second choice (usually mcCain) because “he had a chance.”
    The “wasted vote” syndrome again – since votes are counted, not weighed, those who vote for their second choice never are able to send the message that is intended.

    The RP meetups, if they continue, will have electoral luck like the LP – by running in small, local, obscure races at first. A whole lot more of the electorate has to be educated and convinced before Paulites can win in very many bigger races.

  9. It’s interesting to see Weigel spin to try to fit Reason’s loony ideology to the facts.

    Unfortunately, he’s basing everything on a false assumption: that RP went after the votes of those who support our imm. laws.

    In fact, RP barely discussed the topic. He made one TV ad, he upbraided Ruuuuudy about the topic during a debate (but only dealing with the NationalIDCard side of things), and… well, that’s about it.

    AFAIK, RP never once explained why the issue was important. Nor, aside from the one RG incident above, did he call his opponents on their stances.

    For instance, Huck’s scheme was so full of holes that almost anyone could have completely discredited him by pressing him on those flaws. Yet, RP never did that.

    I mean, come on: when a presidential candidate’s policy document references a federal agency that hasn’t existed for over four years, that’s a huge opening. Yet, RP was completely silent about that and all the other flaws.

  10. I agree with David on this one. 30% would have been great….but votes don’t matter much if certain towns are still just going to pencil in a zero for Ron Paul.

  11. robc,
    It appears that RP had the support of the overpass poster hangers, the blog commenters, and the noisy people at rallies, but not anyone else. (Although those groups apparently give much more money to campaigns than anyone would have guessed.) How can that translate into House seats? When nearly no one voted for the guy in the primaries, I don’t see any kind of movement springing out of this.

    And I agree with Colin. RP was amateur hour.

  12. The hundreds of Ron Paul supporters at our county assembly were literally begged by one of McCain’s campaign lackies to support McCain, to “shift that enthusiasm” to their awful candidate. I look forward to watching the party continue to crumble later in the year.

  13. RP was amateur hour.

    Just to counter this, name the last time a House member ran a better campaign for president (either major party). I dont know the answer, but its not anyone recent.

    How can that translate into House seats?

    Because its the house. RP Republicans wont be running primaries against Senators and Governors. They will be running against other inexperienced politicians. How did Paul win a house seat? How did Kucinich? How did Cynthia McKinney?

  14. Paul had a lot of attention in November and December and blew it, because of his obsessive talk about fiscal policy. Why not say “By legalizing marijuana I will save billions in enforcement, get billions in tax dollars and get unjustly imprison people back into the job market (msot of whom are black)”? And “btw, i will get us out of iraq and stop giving other countries money for nothing, saving billions more?”

    Simple, easy to understand, topical, it would have worked. Instead he asks McCain about some shadowy group of people that he could fix with the wave of a presidential pen, if he gets elected.

  15. I see your point. In the right districts, anybody could get elected. Good luck to those folks. I hope they drop the goofy conservative baggage that RP carries and retain the idea that the gov’t should be less intrusive.

  16. It appears that RP had the support of the overpass poster hangers, the blog commenters, and the noisy people at rallies, but not anyone else.

    It appears that way because those are the people that pay close attention. Most people, if they know who Ron Paul is at all, only have a vague notion of what he is all about. And most regular people(read: disinterested in politics) respond favorably to Ron Paul because of his honesty.

    But he really didn’t get much play in the media… and when he did, he was connoted as a longshot w/ no chance every single time.

    You can nitpick about his ability as a politician, but if he weren’t “amateur hour” his impact would have been far less. If he were more of a professional politician w/ a similar message, he would have been harder to distinguish from all of the other pandering douchebags.

    I know that in my case, I had heard of him months before I actually invested any time in hearing him out. And if I even got the sense of disingenuousness, I would have just ignored him like I do to everybody else.

  17. Perhaps someone would like to return to the Huck scheme discussed above.

    1. Did RP ever publicly point out to Huck that the INS – mentioned in Huck’s scheme – hasn’t existed since 2003? (If Huck’s foreign policy scheme had mentioned vastly increasing spending for the “Department of War”, would RP had mentioned that?)

    2. Did RP ever bring up this issue? That’s a huge vulnerability for Huck, and he could be completely discredited on that issue alone. Yet, RP never said a peep about it.

    3. Did RP ever point out how Huck was lying? Does anyone recall RP taking the opportunity to interrupt the debate to discuss how Huck had just lied?

    For those reasons and more, RP wasn’t really going after the votes of those of us who support our imm. laws.

  18. My impression of RP as a campaigner is that he tended to focus on what to most Americans is obscure minutiae, like the gold standard. I give him credit for not talking in sound bites, but unfortunately that’s not the way one gets votes in this day and age.

    I voted for him in the primary, and I’m glad I did, but I do think he was mistaken in his choice of talking points.

  19. I would have done things differently too. But let’s face it… he was put on the defensive almost every time his face was on tv, and I think that he performed pretty well under the circumstances.

    And “goofy conservative baggage”… who doesn’t have baggage? I think that you may have unrealistic expectations about people.

    You’re perfect, I assume.

  20. Paul didn’t run a very good campaign, but he ran an honest one. He talked about what he believed and what he considered important, no matter how it influenced his popularity; I’ll give him that. But had he made a different sort of case for his beliefs with different emphases, I think he could have gotten into the realistic challenger territory.

    For example, on the Iraq War, framing his opposition in such a way as to appeal to a segment of those who favored the war might have helped. I think he could have done better by saying that while he opposed the war, at least no one now doubts America’s willingness to remove hostile enemies from power, and whether you agree with him or not the “bad guys” have really been beat up (the important goal), so let’s quit while we’re ahead. A lot of “rubble don’t make trouble” types would have gone along with that, and so would antiwar voters.

  21. Funny headline considering Ron Paul is a bit hard of hearing…

  22. Ron Paul is so 2007.
    Jeff Flake is the new It Girl.

  23. What Click’n’Learn is mysteriously failing to point out is that Paul could have easily beaten McCain if he had asked his rival a long, inane question, videotaped McCain’s answer, and posted it on YouTube.

  24. penxv,
    Did you see him on Jay Leno the night he was excluded from Fox debate? Leno made a big deal about how it was unfair to exclude him and gave him the chance to talk about whatever he wanted. Given the chance to campaign on the Tonight Show, do you know what Ron Paul chose to talk about in front of a national audience? He talked about monetary policy. Way to get people’s attention. Way to demonstrate that you care about the issues that people are talking about. That’s not campaigning for office. That’s being a marginal nutbag. F*cking amateur hour.

    And I don’t need perfect, but I would prefer a candidate who wouldn’t encourage the states to define marriage, who wouldn’t pander to the LonelyWhackers in our country, a candidate who got off on people having more freedom, rather than a conservative with a hard-on for the Constitution.

  25. F*cking amateur hour.

    I was always amazed and annoyed how Paul ranted about how we couldn’t afford the war in Iraq, and then mentioned the loss of human life now and then as if it was an afterthought. Dumb.

  26. Man there are some f*cking idiots at this site

  27. … and then I read the first few pages of his new book at Amazon.com and he sounds like a fucking genius. If only he could speak as clearly and persuasively as he writes. And why the HELL didn’t this book come out in January instead of May? Unless he planned to run 3rd party (clearly not happening) the timing is absurd.

    grumble grumble…

  28. Monetary policy is the most important thing that he had to talk about. And it is an issue that is not only ignored by the media, but also by the public schools (most private schools too).

    It is also an issue that no other candidate would touch with a 10 ft pole. Certainly not around Ron Paul.

    “Way to demonstrate that you care about the issues that people are talking about.”

    Sadly, most people aren’t very well informed, and what they talk about is of little consequence. The pandering that you suggest would have defeated the purpose of him even running.

    Also, the Constitution is a revered document by the populace that both parties pretend to honor… so that was actually a really good place to start

  29. It’s not pandering to tell people what you actually think about the issues that are important to them. That is campaigning. Do you understand the difference?

  30. Considering the effects of monetary policy (housing bubble and etc), it probably was the most important thing for Paul to talk about on Leno’s show. Just not the most interesting.

    I think we are going to see this posted a lot (on other sites) in the next 4 years.

    Im still trying to figure out how the best House member campaign for President since at least the 19th century (until someone proves me wrong with a counterexample) can be called amateur. The only thing amateur was thinking you can run from president from the House.

  31. Monetary policy is the most important thing that he had to talk about.

    Perhaps so, but only according to metrics of “important” that have little to do with winning a national campaign.

    And it is an issue that is not only ignored by the media, but also by the public schools (most private schools too).

    Monetary policy is a phenomenally complex issue that even well-intentioned libertarian economists disagree strongly on.

    If you are trying to convince people to vote for you, you should start with low hanging fruit — not with something that PhD’s debate. In no way is that compromising your principles: It’s simply using your limited time and resources to discuss the principles that are most interesting to your audience.

  32. Paul’s mistake in going after the anti-immigration vote is that, up until this year, he was not much different than McCain- voting for amnesty, calling for unregulated borders, and being fine with the States providing benefits to illegals.

    ..but does anyone really believe he was runnig to actually win? He has been ego running for years, only this year did he seem to profit well from it- including his new purchase of a $5 Million dollar home in Galveston he is in the process of buying now. Anyone want to know how, all they need to do is look at the 1988 Libertarian Party fundraising embezzlement scandal that Paul was caught up in.

  33. Considering the effects of monetary policy (housing bubble and etc), it probably was the most important thing for Paul to talk about on Leno’s show.

    Read that statement again and think about it. Think about the purpose of a campaign. Think about the difference between what you may feel is the most important issue to do something about and what the purpose of his appearance on Leno was.

    Anyway, from what I hear from an economist friend, RP has a little understanding of economics. You know what I mean? A little understanding.

  34. only this year did he seem to profit well from it

    damn capitalist!

  35. robc,

    I would suggest that Gephardt had considerably more success running as a House member in 1988.

  36. If you are trying to convince people to vote for you, you should start with low hanging fruit — not with something that PhD’s debate.

    That is true, but I really don’t think his intent is to merely get people to vote for him. He is trying to educate people… or at least get them interested in the topics that truly matter.

    He was trying to shape the debate as much as he was trying to win people over. Ultimately, my point is that his battle was uphill… and I think that you’d be hard pressed to find someone that could have done a better job.

  37. bachwards,

    You could be right, I need to get more numbers. He did win 3 states, however, he only had 2 votes at the convention, Paul will do better than that.

    Im trying to figure out how long Gephardt lasted and his total vote percentage.

  38. The number of votes one receives at the convention is a poor metric to measure success, as most candidates will free their delegates to show party unity. Alan Keyes ultimately had more votes at the 2000 convention than John McCain but no one in their right mind would say he ran a more successful campaign.

  39. bachwards,

    Im well aware of that, that was a joke.

    However, Im having trouble finding real numbers. Gephardt got 0% in a lot of states, he didnt last all that long, even with winning 3 states. So, Im thinking that 25% in Minnesota (Paul) is better than 31% in Iowa (Gephardt). I just cant find many numbers (for 1988).

  40. Paul’s low numbers are a result of one major reason.

    He’s an extremist. His foreign and economic policy rhetoric was too simplistic and whether he actually planned on governing that way or not, that was the perception of the general voting population. There is a stark difference between ending the iraq war, pulling troops out of of Germany, cutting spending and taxes and reigning in the FR vs. cease American hegemony immediately, get rid of the FBI and CIA, blow up the IRS and go to the gold standard.

    The first platform is “realistic” and the other one is anarchy. Voters aren’t ready for anarchy. The numbers in his district seem to support this since they like his extreme positions as a voice in congress but reject them as commander in chief.

    If you took Paul’s policy positions, toned them down for mainstream consumption and had the charisma to deliver them effectively you’d have a successful candidate. Maybe Mark Sanford will figure this out in 2012.

  41. 1. Every time Ron Paul mentioned “blowback,” his fans cheered and anyone undecided said “Whut? America is guilty? Hell naw!” thusly hurting him.

    2. His immigration stance was pretty hardline, but (as Lonewacko correctly points out) it wasn’t a cornerstone of his campaign. I think people are making too much out of the immigration media buys he did, they were for very small targeted audiences. He had very little to gain from those voters except possibly some Tancredo stragglers.

    3. If Paul had spoken in emotional terms rather than clinical, financial terms, he would have gained a lot more support. He needed to learn the classic sales feature/benefit model. Get rid of the fed? How will that leave the average voter emotionally satisfied?

  42. Taking back our Freedoms “RALLY”

    Friends: NOW is the time for us to unite and come together, whether our primary cause is peace, labor, truth, human rights, American sovereignty, impeachment, environmental, voting rights, civil liberties, the Constitution or sound fiscal policy….or all of the aforementioned.

    We are manipulated and overpowered only when we allow those in power to segment and divide us. In fact, we have much more in common than we may think. After all, we are concerned citizens and people of principle. Strength comes via numbers and the forging of sound strategic alliances by, and between, activist groups.

    We will be updating you with additional information. And no, we are not just asking you to participate and to help spread the word. We are asking you to consider that WE must unite and WE must demonstrate the power of the people….we need representation and participation from every “cause” and “belief set” in order to send a loud and clear message that WE ARE RECLAIMING OUR POWER as Americans.

    It is time to send a message to those in authority: WE may have different priorities, we may be of every persuasion, but we are all Americans and we are sick and tired of unrepresentative government. We are tired of watching the fundamental promise and potential of American life subverted by profiteers and self-serving interests. And we are sick and tired of the few pretenders, and their supplicants, who posture that their agendas are ours.

    UNITED we will stand…and so will the America we love.

    APRIL 15, 2008 MASS RALLY IN DC

    TO TAKE BACK AMERICA

    Join us in Washington:

    APRIL 15th,2008

    11 AM on the west lawn of the Capitol

    Dave Von Kleist

    of “The Power Hour” Radio show will be our Master of Ceremony and will be performing his music throughout the day.

    Guest Speakers:

    Ron & Carol Paul

    A artists rendering of Ron and Carol in patriotic dress will be presented to them in honor of their 51st Anniversary.

    ( photo of picture can be seen here)

    Penny Langford Freeman

    Former District Political Director for Ron Paul

    Russell Means ( Lakotah Elder )

    James H. Fetzer

    John Paul Mitchell, Author “No More Taxes”

    Jack Mclamb, Police Officer (retired), Constitutional Patriot

    Bill Stegmeier

    Murray Sabrin, NJ — David Robert Grate, NY — John Wallace, NY — Greg Lewis, Fla — Dean Santoro, Fla —

    Ted Terbolizard, CA — B J Lawson, NC

    Performing Artists:

    International # 1 Hit Artist “Will To Power”

    WNC’s own “Empty Slate”

    POKERFACE

    ( no introduction is necessary for these guys)

    Wanda Case,

    Soprano Vocalist performing “heart/soul rendering” presentations of Our “National Anthem” and “God “Save” America”

    Everything is all set: We have the sound systems, staging, porta potties and the permit has been redone so we can start setting up the stages at 7 AM to be prepared for a 11 AM start off.

    See you all there on the 15th with your signs and energy lets get this

    REVOLUTION IN HIGH GEAR !

    We have the permits in hand,

    This is our chance to show Congress and the Senate there are eyes on them and they can be voted out if they do not start doing their jobs.

    The participants can carry hand signs, dress in costumes and in general have a peaceful demonstration. No dangerous objects will be allowed ( Homeland security rules) as sticks with pointed ends, metal poles for signs etc. Bull horns are permitted from the steps for amplification for speakers.

    THANK YOU ALL FOR THE TRUST AND SUPPORT YOU HAVE GIVEN THE GRANNYS THIS PAST YEAR. YOU HAVE ALL BEEN SO GENEROUS AND SUPPORTIVE WHICH HAS ALLOWED US TO HAVE ACCOMPLISHED THE TASKS WE HAVE TAKEN ON.

    AGAIN THANK YOU AND GOD BLESS US ALL

    Other Links:

    http://www.hauling.ronpaulroadshow.org

    http://www.taxday08.com

    warriorgrannys@aol.com

    ( home ) 828-683-2009 ( cell ) 409-673-4891

    27 Beaton Path, Leicester, NC, 28748

    Return to main site:

    SUPPORT RADIO ADS FOR FREEDOM

  43. The main problem is that the anti-immigrant demographic group also tends to be pro-war.

    Ironically, while they strongly object to “invaders” coming across our border, they don’t mind at all if the U.S. military invades other countries.

    This group often doesn’t like “The Other” whether they come into this country, or are in their own country.

    You’ll note that this same group often refers to Venezuela’s president Hugo Chavez as a “dictator” and tends to be in favor of “taking him out.”

  44. Elvis, bullshit. “This group”. Try to make a more baseless generalization.

  45. I disagree with Elvis.

    I can not generalize a population in a defined group.. Individuals are different in ideas and beliefs and knowledge or understanding of issues.
    Individualism.. accountable for what one might feel or do.
    Several people may group together for different reasons, same outcome, likely one person would not have any knowledge to base their objections to, simply hate, greed, fear etc. A different person who is “in the know”. may a solution to a problem, but the “in the know’s” know that there is a chain problems beneth the simple issue .. but both persons want the same outcome.
    Grouping people is not fair.

  46. I agree with David’s general premise, that Ron Paul would have done better by focusing on the anti-Bush/anti-war Republicans more so than the immigration restrictionist Republicans, but I doubt it would have mattered much.

    Restrictionist voters mostly didn’t vote for Ron Paul for the same reason they didn’t vote for Duncan Hunter, or Tom Tancredo — they thought all three were non-viable contenders, and wanted their votes to “matter” in determining the winner.

    This is the same reason why anti-Bush/anti-war voters didn’t vote for Ron Paul — they thought he had no chance to win, thanks to the media telling them that repeatedly, or not mentioning Ron Paul at all.

    In actuality, Ron Paul was quite viable, if only enough people believed that. As David points out, if all 30% of the anti-Bush/anti-war Republicans had supported Ron Paul, he would have won some states and been seen as a major contender.

    Given that he had more actual, active supporters and donors than the other Republicans, he should have been treated this way from the beginning, but he was not, thanks to poll numbers from a population of largely uninformed and undecided likely voters.

    Add up the numbers, though:

    Only 50% of eligible Americans are registered to vote.
    Only 30% are registered Republican.
    Only 20% turn out for the primaries.

    In other words, it takes only 3% of the population to win the Republican nomination. (About 6 million votes, about what McCain will end up with.)

  47. I don’t know how big of a group it is, but there are anti-war Republicans who are also immigration restrictionist. Ever hear of the paleocons?

  48. Let’s see, Ron Paul:

    1. Didn’t just call for pulling out of Iraq, he called for stepping down from being a superpower.

    2. He claimed we could eliminated the income tax, make Social Security voluntary, balance the budget, pay for healthcare for the poor, take care of our seniors — all by cutting military spending. (Numbers do not add up!)

    3. He called for a strong dollar at a time when blue collar workers are losing their jobs to cheap foreign labor.

    4. He called for ending inflation at a time when Americans are mortgaged to the hilt — essentially calling for a super-duper great depression.

    5. He shared mailing lists with racist groups.

    6. He had published racist and paranoid “news” letters under his name.

    7. He called for elimination of the EPA — way to get the youth vote.

    8. His rhetoric had a blame America first tone — not good at Republican events.

    9. And his executive experience is very weak — being a doctor and (mis)managing a newsletter. Not exactly a glowing resume for Chief Executive.

    10. His principled no-deal-making-except-for-earmarks voting record meant he had little to no backing from his fellow House members.

    ——

    So, it is not surprising he lost. It was fun while it lasted. He was more worthy of support than most/all of the LP’s presidential candidates, but still not quite presidential.

  49. To NeonCat- That was the whole point. Alot of his campiagn was about educating people about issues they didn’t understand, and how those tied into the issues they did care about. I have learned alot of history and fiscal policy
    since my exposure to Ron Paul, and in the future, will not vote for a candidate that does not understand the significance of monetary policy.
    NeonCat wrote:
    My impression of RP as a campaigner is that he tended to focus on what to most Americans is obscure minutiae, like the gold standard. I give him credit for not talking in sound bites, but unfortunately that’s not the way one gets votes in this day and age.

    I voted for him in the primary, and I’m glad I did, but I do think he was mistaken in his choice of talking points.

  50. Call it baseless B.S. all you want. Or pretend that everyone thinks differently about every issue.

    But if you tried examined the polling data, you’d draw a different conclusion.

    All those who think a demographic group can’t be quantified, take a survey of those who support the Iraq war and find out how many are also strongly against illegal immigration. You’ll find that it’s well over 90%

    That said, I did err before when I implied that the two groups almost coincide. In fact, the pro Iraq war group is a subset of the strongly anti-illegal immigration group. There’s a fairly significant bunch of the anti-immigration crowd that does not (now) think the Iraq war was a good idea.

  51. re: “2. He claimed we could eliminated the income tax, make Social Security voluntary, balance the budget, pay for healthcare for the poor, take care of our seniors — all by cutting military spending. (Numbers do not add up!)”

    Correct.

    One of the bigger disappointments was that when challenged about his proposal to eliminate the income tax and the IRS, Ron Paul didn’t seem to have done a thorough analysis of the budget numbers. The first few times he brought this up, he said it would require cutting spending to where it was five years earlier. Most of his subsequent comments referred to cutting federal spending back to where it was in 2000. Later that changed to 1997. In major interviews, I never saw him cite specific dollar amounts.

    If you’re running for president and making a claim like that, you sure need to be able to back it up with specifics.

    In fact, here are the specifics for FY2007:

    $869.6 billion – Social Security and other payroll taxes

    The current account surplus for Social Security is now somewhere around $85 billion (down from about $175 billion when Bush took office). Medicare is in worse shape, and may even have a zero current account surplus in FY2008. In any case, assuming that retirees will in the near future continue to receive their currently-promised Social Security and Medicare benefits, that means that in practical terms, there is not much surplus left over from the payroll taxes after current benefits are paid. So we will put those taxes and the benefits in that mythical “lockbox” (which, if it had existed since the mid 1980s, would have somewhere around $3 trillion in it, instead of non-marketable IOUs that can by law only be paid back by the same group that paid in that surplus – the US taxpayers).

    That leaves the following revenues, which total just under $1.7 trillion:

    $1,163 billion – Individual income tax
    $370.2 billion – Corporate income tax

    $1,533.2 billion – Total income tax revenues (90.3%)

    $65.1 billion – Excise taxes
    $26.0 billion – Customs duties
    $26.0 billion – Estate and gift taxes
    $47.2 billion – Other

    $164.3 billion – Total non-income tax revenues (9.7%)

    So, except for the relatively small and dwindling Social Security current account surplus, personal and corporate income taxes together amount to over 90% of the federal government revenues not allocated to paying current Social Security benefits.

    Now, some may argue that Ron only intended to move toward eliminating personal income taxes, but if corporate income taxes remain, so too would the IRS.

    In any case, the other sources of revenue (tariffs, etc.) amount to about 1/9 the income tax revenues. To say the least, that’s quite a gap to close from only those other revenue sources.

    Oh, and never mind that even with over $1.5 trillion in income tax revenues, FY2007 total spending (including all those off-budget supplemental appropriations that rarely get mentioned as such) was so much more that the federal debt increased by just over $500 Billion in FY2007. Unlike the phony “budget deficit” this figure DOES reflect the payroll tax surplus (along with income tax over-withholding, and a few other things). Even if they continued to spend the entire payroll tax surplus as part of the general budget, they still needed to take in nearly $400 Billion MORE just to balance the budget.

    Let’s see, they took in $1.533 Trillion, but actually needed nearly $2 Trillion to balance the budget… so that means an across-the board income increase of about 30% was actually needed just to balance the budget (if counting all “off-budget” supplementals as real expenses.)

    And Ron also advocated giving younger people a way out of the current Social Security system, allowing them to shift into a private plan. What do you suppose that would do to the current revenues needed to pay current benefits? The fact is that since the roughly $3 trillion SS “trust fund surplus” has been squandered as part of the general budget since the mid-80s, taxes are going to have to go UP to pay the currently promised benefits (or benefits cut, or both) by the middle of the next decade, which is when they would have started tapping into the SS “trust fund” (if they hadn’t already spent it).

    But, even without Ron Paul in the white house, younger wage earners probably will get to “opt out” of social security though – but not all of it. Though still having to participate in the payroll tax contribution part, they will probably WILL get to “opt out” of the receiving full retirement benefit part.

  52. correction (word “tax” is missing in above paragraph):

    Let’s see, they took in $1.533 Trillion, but actually needed nearly $2 Trillion to balance the budget… so that means an across-the board income increase TAX of about 30% was actually needed just to balance the budget (if counting all “off-budget” supplementals as real expenses.)

    AND: the additional $400 Billion in taxes needed to balance the budget was actually closer to a 26% across-the board income tax increase.

  53. Given Ron Paul’s longstanding pandering (whether cynical or sincere) to the racist and xenophobic elements of the right, I am surprised that he is still considered a libertarian.

  54. As a Libertarian you get to dislike Blacks, Whites, Jews, Irish, Hispanics, Muslims or anyone else you choose to not like. You don’t get to violate their rights as human beings.

    Abraham Lincoln went to the convention with zero delegates. Humphrey didn’t even run in the primaries. What you have, so far, are candidates selected by the MSM special interest groups. You don’t have anyone selected by the people yet.

  55. Abraham Lincoln went to the convention with zero delegates. Humphrey didn’t even run in the primaries. What you have, so far, are candidates selected by the MSM special interest groups. You don’t have anyone selected by the people yet.

    I get so sick and tired of Ron Paul supporters peddling this bullshit. The primaries consisted of people voting for or against Paul. The people decided against his pathetic bigoted ass. Quit trying to blame his loss on the media. He was roundly rejected, period.

  56. The people decided against his pathetic bigoted ass. Quit trying to blame his loss on the media. He was roundly rejected, period.

    Again, most people do not follow politics very closely and only see the candidates through the window that the media provides… and by any objective measure, Ron Paul was was not given a fair shake.

    And to compare him to other politicians and come to the conclusion that he is the one that is pathetic… that really does call your judgment into question.

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