The Return of the Curse of Ron Paul's Ghost

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One month ago I covered the campaign to put Ron Paul on the Montana ballot and learned that it might boost Barack Obama's chances in the state.

"It makes McCain's job here a hell of a lot harder," says James Lopach, the head of the University of Montana's political science department. "There is inviting soil for both Paul and Bob here. Some of those disgruntled conservative voters will be overjoyed to see them on the ballot."

Today comes this poll from Montana State University-Billings:

If this year's presidential election were being held today, for whom do you think you would vote?

Barack Obama  44.4%

John McCain  40.2%

Ron Paul  4.2%

Ralph Nader  .7%

Bob Barr  1%

Undecided  9.5%

The gap between Obama and McCain is exactly the same as Paul's support in the state. In the interals, Paul is drawing independents, "other parties," and Republicans, but no Democrats whatsoever.

This shouldn't surprise anyone. McCain only carried eight counties in the Montana caucuses, coming in third in the popular vote, behind… Ron Paul. Paul won 20,606 votes in the nonbinding June primary, and this is a state where only 450,000 ballots were cast in the Bush-Kerry race. (The all-time record for a Libertarian candidate was the 9,825 votes Ed Clark collected in 1980.) If around 25,000 people vote for Paul, Nader, and Barr, then the winner in Montana only needs to hit 48 percent. Obama's closer to that than McCain.

Headline explanation:

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  1. I’m ready for my close-up, David.

  2. I don’t see it hapenning. There is a Bradley effect of sorts with “third-party” candidates. People go into the polling booth, and panic: “What if {McCain,Obama} wins because I held my nose and refused to vote for {Obama,McCain}?”

    They pull the lever that they thing will keep the greater evil (the Greatest evil, Chtulhu, of course, cares nothing for earthly ballots – he will seize power whenever he wishes).

    This panic is not there during polling.

  3. Thanks Paul for helping Muslim Barack Hussein Obama get into office to let more Islamic terrorists attack us while Obambi cuts-and-runs and takes our troops off offense.

  4. Neo, You forget Socialist.

  5. Nothing you can do
    Now pink has turned to blue.

  6. Paul is also on the ballot in Louisiana, and today it was announced that he will be a recognized write-in candidate in California.

  7. That’s it joe. I’m never talking to you again.

  8. Who cares, anyone who actually believes there is any real difference between McCain or Obama simply watches too much TV. Both wanted the bailout, both are interventionist, both are socialists (only McCain lies about being one), neither will obey the Constitution, both love the FED, both bow down before the CFR……. If the republicans behaved like conservatives the country wouldn’t be in the mess it is. As long as people continue to vote against candidates they don’t like instead of for ones they do, they will always end up pissed with the government. The lesser of two evils is still evil, if there is always an evil pres, the country has no hope.

    PS. Obama is not a Muslim, and just because someone is named Hussein does not make him a terrorist or bad person. There is a lot not to like about the guy, why not argue on merit instead of name calling.

  9. Paul is also on the ballot in Louisiana, and today it was announced that he will be a recognized write-in candidate in California.

    Ok, history buffs — has there ever been a candidate on the ballot in two states who wasn’t even seeking the office and did not even seek or endorse his own ballot access…?

    Stranger than fiction this Ron Paul Nation stuff…

  10. The lesser of two evils is still evil, if there is always an evil pres, the country has no hope.

    Without a good president, there is NO HOPE for us?

    Whoa.

  11. In the interals, Paul is drawing independents, “other parties,” and Republicans, but no Democrats whatsoever.

    Good to see that the Democratic Party is such fertile soil for libertarians.

  12. Now pink has turned to blue.

    So pussy registered democrat?

  13. That’s too bad, BakedPenguin.

    I will never forget you.

  14. So pussy registered democrat?

    Spike that hair and listen to some REAL music, moonstomp!

  15. Good to see that the Democratic Party is such fertile soil for libertarians.

    Or it could be that Dems are actually pretty pleased with their candidate. The same cannot be said for GOPers.

    We can play the “I know what THIS statistic means” all day.

  16. Splitting the libertarian vote. I know I shouldn’t be surprised, but this is still embarrassing.

  17. John Ennis in drag = comedy gold.

  18. In the interals, Paul is drawing independents, “other parties,” and Republicans, but no Democrats whatsoever.

    Thus demonstrating for the millionth time that libertarianism and socialism are mutually exclusive.

    I guess this means libertarians either don’t believe we’ll make any progress on drug laws, or are more worried about losing their guns and money.

    On the plus side, Jack “cold blooded killers” Murtha is down 13, so the anti-idiotarian movement appears to have some new life.

  19. Here are some questions for Bob Barr:

    Why are you hiding your running mate. Was Root fully vetted? He hasn’t held a single press conference.

    Who bought Root’s wardrobe?

    How much did Root’s buffon haircut cost? Who paid for it?

    Are you comfortable with Root being even several million hearbeats away from the presidency?

    When you’re running 4.2% in Monatana, these are questions you need to answer. Voters demand it. Unleash What’shisname Root!

  20. Bob Barr isn’t running 4.2% in Montana, Lefiti. Ron Paul is.

  21. “There is a Bradley effect of sorts with “third-party” candidates. People go into the polling booth, and panic: ‘What if {McCain,Obama} wins because I held my nose and refused to vote for {Obama,McCain}?'”

    That’s not the Bradley effect. That’s the Alfred E. Newman effect (otherwise known as the Moron effect). It’s very powerful.

  22. Thus demonstrating for the millionth time that libertarianism and socialism are mutually exclusive.

    I’ll grant you that Libertarianism and Socialism are largely incompatible in most of their various forms.

    However, Paul is not a Libertarian (look at his immigration policies) and Democrats aren’t, by-and-large, Socialists, so this little poll demonstrates exactly nothing about the proposition you believe it confirms.

  23. “Bob Barr isn’t running 4.2% in Montana, Lefiti. Ron Paul is”.

    Well, the questions still hold. Ron Paul’s dead, isn’t he? Metaphorically, I mean.

  24. However, Paul is not a Libertarian (look at his immigration policies) and Democrats aren’t, by-and-large, Socialists…

    Jesus Christ! A sensible observation from a Hit and Run regular! Let me get my calendar.

  25. Jesus Christ! A sensible observation from a Hit and Run regular! Let me get my calendar.

    Oh, stuff it, Lefiti. A compliment from you is like an endorsement from al-fucking-Qaeda.

  26. Bob Barr–1% and climbing!

  27. I didn’t mean it as a compliment, asshole. You probably don’t understand the implications of what you say.

  28. Lefiti/Edward/CO is so cute when he/she/shim thinks its relevant.

  29. Oh, stuff it, Lefiti. A compliment from you is like an endorsement from al-fucking-Qaeda.

    So, he really wanted us to agree with TallDave?

    “Lefiti” is Muslim for “crafty.”

  30. “However, Paul is not a Libertarian (look at his immigration policies) and Democrats aren’t, by-and-large, Socialists, so this little poll demonstrates exactly nothing about the proposition you believe it confirms.”

    Paul is mostly libertarian. Agreed, he doesn’t hold all the libertarian views, but he certainly falls within the “big tent” of libertarianism, despite his ass-backwards views on immigration and abortion.

  31. Iraq was a strategic MASTERSTROKE!

  32. Libertarianism has a big tent? Not very crowded, I’ll bet.

  33. “Libertarianism has a big tent? Not very crowded, I’ll bet.”

    Cute. You done yet?

  34. Mike, I would quibble. Not allowing the easy migration of labor kind of knocks askew a big pillar of libertarian economic thinking. If other forms of capital flow, but labor does not, all sorts of shitty distortions crop up in wages and prices.

    Abortion is an issue that libertarian thought is of no help in resolving (because you still get stuck at the whole “is it or is it not a human?” question), so I’ll give you that.

  35. “Mike, I would quibble. Not allowing the easy migration of labor kind of knocks askew a big pillar of libertarian economic thinking. If other forms of capital flow, but labor does not, all sorts of shitty distortions crop up in wages and prices.”

    I agree. I still wouldn’t say it’s enough to disqualify Paul as a libertarian, though I guess the disagreement at this point is mostly semantic.

  36. Big tent libertarianism–free-market funadmentalist fanatics, gun nuts, adolescent druggies, garden-variety morons, would-be journalists–DONATE NOW!

  37. Really, Lefiti, that’s quite enough.

  38. Mike —

    He is one of the incorrigibles.

    Lefiti knows only loss, and the hollowness inside.

    But seriously, he’s a troll. I never say that lightly. Feed him at your own peril. (I do for the occasional practice.)

  39. I agree. I still wouldn’t say it’s enough to disqualify Paul as a libertarian, though I guess the disagreement at this point is mostly semantic.

    Well, there is an element of the Sorites Paradox in trying to affix political labels of any sort. I usually just take people at their word…and Paul I think has never explicitly owned the label “Libertarian” for himself (though notably he does not complain when others call him one).

  40. j??,

    R??s?n n??ds m?r? ?ml??ts!

  41. As Im posting on a machine that doesnt have my filters installed, I have to say “You all put up with this crap, just filter Lefiti already”.

    Geez.

    lmnop,

    Paul is most definately a libertarian, in the same way I applied it to many of the FFs earlier today. Plus, he is a Libertarian, in that he is a lifetime member of the party.

  42. Plus, he is a Libertarian, in that he is a lifetime member of the party.

    I forgot about this point. So I’d have to engage in a No True Scotsman to continue…:) I still think it’s a little cockeyed for a self-professed lib to hold a position on immigration that he professes.

    And then of course there is the other half of the point…namely that Democrats by-and-large aren’t Socialists. But seeing as how that argument has consumed more than its share of threads today…

  43. lmnop,

    But seeing as how that argument has consumed more than its share of threads today…

    I might say “they favor socializing certain things” rather than calling them socialists, but that is splitting a very fine hair.

  44. “I forgot about this point. So I’d have to engage in a No True Scotsman to continue…:) I still think it’s a little cockeyed for a self-professed lib to hold a position on immigration that he professes.”

    It is, but it surprisingly not as uncommon as you would think. I think it mostly stems from the completely unsubstantiated fear that immigrants are rushing the border to mooch off welfare. It’s a bizarre form of utilitarian libertarianism with disturbing implications (“You know who uses welfare a lot? Poor people. If we sterilize or deport the poor, we won’t have to pay welfare any more! Sterilize the poor for liberty!”).

  45. I might say “they favor socializing certain things” rather than calling them socialists, but that is splitting a very fine hair.

    Not a fine hair at all.

    I like chocolate on ice cream, and I like chocolate on cake. I like the occasional hot cocoa.

    There is a person I know who eats chocolate *with every meal*.

    Are you trying to tell me that the distinction between us is hair-splittingly fine?

  46. I might say “they favor socializing certain things” rather than calling them socialists

    You could say the same thing about the vast majority of the electorate, unfortunately…

  47. I think most libertarians support some level of socialism (e.g. FDIC insurance).

    It’s probably most accurate to say libertarians favor maximizing freedom of action, while socialists favor equalizing distribution of wealth. There are a few areas of overlap there, though I think most libertarians believe our present level of socialism is more than sufficient.

  48. Mmmm. Chocolate with EVERY meal…

  49. I dont favor FDIC. Banks should be privately insured.

  50. For the record, I’m going to vote for the Constitution Party guy, Baldwin…who was actually endorsed by Ron Paul. I get to vote this weekend where I live.

    Nearly all the third parties oppose the bailout, while the two major-party candidates support it. I believe the combined third party vote will be seen as a bailout protest – if there is a noticible uptick – so I’m encouraging everyone I talk to to vote the third party of their choice.

  51. lmnop,

    socialism is a continuum. A socialist wants to be X or greater down than continuum. I think we are already way too far down it but not to X yet. In my mind, someone who wants to socialize health care (more than it already is) is pushing us damn close to X if not over it. So, if you favor any more socialism than that, and most dems do, then, yes, they are socialists.

    Are they communists? No (except for a few). That takes point Y which is way past X.

  52. any self respecting libertarian is going to vote for Bob Barr or if they live in Louisiana or Montana Ron Paul, but how could you actually vote for that theocratic nut Baldwin? Just because Ron Paul said so doesn’t cut it.

  53. “any self respecting libertarian is going to vote for Bob Barr or if they live in Louisiana or Montana Ron Paul, but how could you actually vote for that theocratic nut Baldwin? Just because Ron Paul said so doesn’t cut it.”

    Doesn’t Baldwin favor protective tariffs? I mean, in addition to the nutso-religious shit, I can’t even see how a fiscal libertarian could support Baldwin.

    As someone who supposedly understands Austrian economics, Paul doesn’t really seem to be going with his principles here.

  54. Saying Ron Paul’s immigration policy is ’rounding em up and shipping em back’ full stop is beyond simplistic. And yes tariffs, hardly libertarian. In an odd way Paul’s endorsement of Baldwin is at odds with his record, voted and advocated positions.
    Constitution on drug war, civil union recognition, etc, etc….
    Before being pushed by Barr he was advocating ANY 3rd party vote and EXCUSING himself altogether. Now he says ‘Baldwin’
    Not all his supporters will heed the 2nd.
    Most will the 1st.

  55. McCain’s going to Pennsylvania’s looking like a masterstroke. He’s keeping Obama’s margin there down to 10-12% and is starting to fall behind in Montana, North Dakota and Indiana. He was spending today in Florida talking about Joe the Plumber while some McCain supporter was on MSNBC complaining about Obama flying to see his grandmother.

  56. From what I’ve seen from Reason commenters, there seems to quite a bit of overlap between Obama and Paul supporters. So a big vote for Paul could end up taking more votes away from the Messiah than from the old white dude.

  57. The folks commenting on Reason aren’t generally representative of the Ron Paul die-hards living in Montana. Much less colloidal silver.

  58. I forgot about this point. So I’d have to engage in a No True Scotsman to continue…:) I still think it’s a little cockeyed for a self-professed lib to hold a position on immigration that he professes.

    You mean the same position held by Murray Rothbard, Milton Friedman, John Hospers and Vin Suprynowicz?

    You really are a fuckwit, aren’t you? I’d ask where you learned about libertarianism – but I think I can guess.

  59. | wrote:
    I’d ask where you learned about libertarianism -but I think I can guess.

    I’d tell you to take a midol(tm) and read section 3.4 of the LP platform. But that’d be … uh, rude.

  60. People like you guys are why I lost in the primaries.

  61. NeoCon USA:

    ???

    If the Third Party vote is sufficient to send Obama to the White House, I think that the logical course of action would be for YOU to vote Third Party as well. You should probably be out convincing all your friends and family to do so as well.

    If Ron Paul’s or Bob Barr’s presence in the race looks like it may bring about the Apocalypse, the conservative talk shows should all have gotten on board and supported THEM. After all, they can’t think of anything worse than an Obama Presidency, right…?

  62. Given that Weigel has all but endorsed Obama, could we change “Free Markets, Free Minds” to “Free Healthcare, Free Lunch”?

  63. Perhaps then if McCain loses Montana he’ll say “Ya know, I should have treated Ron better. I should not have had my flunkies follow them around the St. Paul convention. I should not have threatened to have their delegates thrown out if they mentioned the name Ron Paul. Maybe I should have taken his ideas serious instead of ridicule them.”

    And then maybe he’ll learn something. But make no mistake if Paul costs McCain Montana he’ll deserve after what happened in St. Paul.

  64. What a disgrace Bob Barr’s run has been. I have heard nothing, nada, zero, zippo about it. Heck even Badnarik made some appearences in my local media. Harry Browne and down ballot libertarians made some ripples in my state. Bob Barr who is by far has the most name recogniton than any LP candidate so far has compeltely failed to do anything to advance the LP. It is too bad taht Ron Paul did not go on from the primaries into an official candicay with the LP. I think a lot of momentum wasted. I will be writing in Ron Paul

  65. Bob Barr made himself irrelevant the moment that he decided to buck Ron Paul’s press conference. Putting aside Ron Paul’s political baggage, he did build a platform for Barr to run with in November. Rather than embrace that platform and use it, Barr shooed it away. Meanwhile, the press still goes to Ron Paul for interviews and quotes from a libertarian perspective, not Barr.

  66. Just goes to show that we need score voting.

    http://scorevoting.net/

  67. It’s not just the GOP that lost my vote forever. It’s the whole damn system. Paul was the last chance we will ever have of getting a libertarian-leaning candidate with a win. hope of winning. Now we are fighting over a 35% tax vs. a 30.5% tax. Socialist warmonger A and socialist warmonger B. It’s like choosing between a noose and a firing squad.

  68. gack. 39.5% tax under BHO. serves me right for drunk posting.

  69. Please everyone for Ron Paul spread the word to everyone you know to google or youtube his name before election day and get the truth on who the best president would be, we can not afford another 4 years of some dumbell running the US.
    Please just get the word out in your towns and to your distant relatives and friends to get a chance to hear this great man speak.Ron Paul wwwRonPaul2008.com .
    The goverment run media wants all americans to think we can only pick between 2 people Obamma who wont tell the truth and Mcain ??::$$5%,,It makes no sense to me other than the goverment does not want someone this good in the white house afraid of change?The media coverage he has gotten was terrible and they should be ashamed of them selves for the kind of bulling they have done to RON PAUL.I am so sick of watching Obamma and Mcain fight and argue and make a bunch of empty promises and quik unsensilbe fixes . We do not have time for all that. Write in Ron Paul.7 easy letters to remember .
    He is our only hope and if we stand up against the norm and vote for who we really want it could happen. pLease lets all not let the goverment blind side all of us and brain wash us into thinking we have to for for the best one of the 2 that are getting all the publicity.
    Please get the word out asap.
    http://www.google.com or http://www.YouTube.com or http://www.RonPaul2008.com
    Thank You for your time
    Sincerely, Cindy

  70. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXTN3h-b9nU

    Seriously

    this guy would be like

    FUCK YOU MILTON FRIEDMAN YOU LISTEN TO THE BRITISH I HATE YOU NO I AM NOT GOING TO STOP POLLUTING EVEN IF IT IS A NEGATIVE EXTERNALITY CUZ WE GOT THE BOMB WE GOT THE BOMB WHY DONT YOU MOVE TO FRANCE MILTON AND KEYNES AND EVERYONE WHO IS NOT ME!!!!!!!!!!!!

    that’s basically the American Right. I rant to people about how Milton Friedman = Obama

    Everything he proposes is a Friedmanite idea, and they call it welfare because he is black.

    If Al GOre had the Obama plan in 2000, people would love it because he’s white.

  71. NonPaulogis – It’s 39.6%, not 39.5%…and you forgot another biggie…the Social Security tax that Obama wants to eliminate the cap…the wealthy will be paying over 50%

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