Libertarian History/Philosophy

Ron Paul's McCain-Like Path to the Nomination

Winning the Republican nomination with non-Republican votes has been done before-as recently as 2008.

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This week, Ron Paul supporters and detractors alike have been gloating over the same basket of statistics showing that Paul's candidacy is predicated on the support of people who self-identify as independents, Democrats, or otherwise non-Republicans. "'Mischief' voters push Paul to front of GOP race," was how the Washington Examiner's Byron York headlined it. At HollywoodRepublican.net,  meanwhile, Tom Donelson hailed the arrival of "Paul's Invisible Army."

CAPTION CONTEST!

Mostly missing from the commentary were two salient points in American politics as we lurch into 2012. First, there is an immediate precedent for winning the GOP nomination by triumphing among non-Republican and anti-war voters in early-state primaries and caucuses: It's exactly what John McCain did in 2008 (yes, even the anti-war part, hard as that is to believe).

McCain didn't win a plurality among self-identified Republicans in any early state last election cycle, but garnered enough independents and Democrats to eke out victories in New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Florida, knocking out most of his competitors and establishing himself as the front-runner going into Super Tuesday. (For more on this unprecedented turn of events, see the afterword in the paperback version of my book McCain: The Myth of a Maverick.) 

The Republican electorate (like U.S. politics in general) has only gotten more fluid and unpredictable since then. Which leads to the second point: As USA Today put it in an article last week, "Voters [are] leaving Republican, Democratic parties in droves." Excerpt:

More than 2.5 million voters have left the Democratic and Republican parties since the 2008 elections, while the number of independent voters continues to grow.

A USA TODAY analysis of state voter registration statistics shows registered Democrats declined in 25 of the 28 states that register voters by party. Republicans dipped in 21 states, while independents increased in 18 states.

The trend is acute in states that are key to next year's presidential race. In the eight swing states that register voters by party, Democrats' registration is down by 800,000 and Republicans' by 350,000. Independents have gained 325,000.

Independents like Ron Paul for the stone-obvious reason that he is significantly different than 99 percent of other politicians, who they've grown to loathe. And, as Nick Gillespie and I point out in our book The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong with America, and in the chapter excerpt/adaptation we ran in Reason, Americans are becoming statistically more libertarian, especially independent voters. Given that Ron Paul has exceeded just about every electoral and political expectation for well over 50 months now, it's reasonable to infer that his attraction among alienated voters is consistently underrated, and potentially quite powerful.

While the McCain/independent route is Paul's roadmap to the Republican nomination, his odds are still long. As New York Times poll-reader Nate Silver has pointed out in a smart couple of posts, independent-bent New Hampshire looks set to deliver Mitt Romney a resounding victory on January 10th. In fact, Romney may ultimately benefit from a strong Paul showing, since the Texas libertarian could help knock out other competitors, while driving Republicans spooked by Paul's foreign policy and perceived crankery into the arms of the slick management consultant running on a platform of comparative electability. (This may help explain why Romney has been considerably gentler on Paul than has Newt Gingrich.)

Though predicting elections is a mug's game, especially these days, my guess is that a Paul nomination would require something like this: Bigger-than-projected victory in Iowa slingshots him into a closer-than-projected 2nd place finish in New Hampshire (or even a win), while the rest of the field clears out into an essentially three-man race, in which the third (say, Newt Gingrich) lands enough blows on Romney to derail the electability argument, setting up a three-way slugfest to the finish. Stranger things have happened, though not many.

But looking at the primary season merely through the lens of winners and losers misses an essential point about Ron Paul, I think. Winning the GOP nomination (and maybe even the presidency!) may be this year's goal, but the ultimate, oft-stated purpose to Paul's 35+ years in public life has been to spread the message of freedom, of constitutionally limited government. Even a losing primary season—say, like Jerry Brown's underdog role against Bill Clinton in 1992—becomes a prime opportunity for salesmanship. Paul, unlike the rest of the non-Romney field, has the money and stamina for such a fight.

Another objective, as Silver points out, is that Paul "could certainly control a substantial enough minority to become a power broker at the Republican National Convention, something that is an explicit goal of his campaign." In my sporadic conversations with Paul insiders, the convention/delegates strategy has come up every time. If they can't prevail in a brokered convention, the Paulities at least hope to get a prime-time speaking slot, a hand in the platform-writing, and more besides. 

A final motivation may be to clear the way for Paul's son Rand to make a run at 2016. It is not hard at all to imagine a scenario in which, after nearly four years of all American politics tilting in the direction against bailout economics and big-government policies, the Republicans manage to nominate a flip-flopping individual-mandate enthusiast with no credible plans to cut federal spending, whereupon he loses to the deservedly unpopular incumbent, and then an infuriated GOP grassroots looks for someone who finally means what he says about limiting government.

So Ron Paul's in it for the long haul. Republicans gearing up for a post-Iowa purge festival should be asking themselves one question: Do they really want to alienate the enthusiastic supporters of the only GOP candidate who either talks convincingly about cutting government or appeals noticeably to the non-Republican swing voters who tip most modern elections? The answer to that question may determine the future of the Republican Party.

Matt Welch is editor in chief of Reason magazine, and co-author (with Nick Gillespie) of The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong with America (PublicAffairs).

NEXT: "So when I got the invitation to go to Dr. Timothy...Leary's Beverly Hills house Saturday to watch him endorse [Ron] Paul for president, I was curious."

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  1. Things happen.

    Like me signing shit I don’t read.

    Every contract is sacred, unless I sign it.

    1. …whatevah!

    2. Shut up maxipad.

    3. Go fuck yourself, asshole.

  2. Ron Paul’s a maverick!

    1. Yeah, that sure helped McCain, didn’t it?

  3. “Let me show you what the gooks did to my Johnson.”

    1. What do you need that for, Dude?

      1. .. nice marmot

        1. What are you a park ranger now?

  4. 6th?

    I clicked the link about the Hollywood Republican. Interesting read, but really a fluff piece.

  5. 6th?

    I clicked the link about the Hollywood Republican. Interesting read, but really a fluff piece.

  6. “Winning the Republican nomination with non-Republican votes has been done before?as recently as 2008.”
    How’d that work out?
    It won’t happen this time.

    1. In November of 2008 people who were sick of war voted for the candidate they thought would end the Iraq War. They didn’t think that would be the guy humming “Bomb Bomb Bomb, Bomb Bomb Iran”.

      In November of 2012 people who are sick of war will vote for the candidate they think will end the Wars. That won’t be the guy who started yet another war in Libya and replaced troops in Iraq with Mercenaries from the company that used to be called Blackwater.

      1. Don’t forget a possible war with Iran.

        1. Yes, that is a good point. I hope it does not come to that but if Obama believes it will help him politically I think he will try it. If he thinks that, he is wrong. People no longer trust what politicians say about wars – not after Bush 43.

      2. War may be a thorn in the sides of some voters, but the truth is that the economy will decide the election. War has gone from total war every odd decade to expensive distractions.

        1. Why do you think our economy is in the tank? could it be that the huge expenses incurred overseas could have anything to do with our defict being larger than the GDP?

          1. Yup, that’s part of it. But only part of it. The main reason is a real estate bubble.

            1. And Paul predicted that (unlike others in both parties) and thus has the credibility to create an actual solution instead of trying the same thing Obama has tried and failed with for four years.

              1. For sane, well-informed people who don’t have their heads up their heads up their asses, it ought to be a simple choice between Paul and the current a-hole. But people are not always sane and well-informed.

      3. No, in 2008 people who were afraid of losing their houses much less their jobs voted against the incumbent party and the candidate with a reactionary domestic policy.

        1. Sanjuro,

          I don’t remember any incumbent party with a reactionary domestic party from 2008. I remember an incumbent Republican Party that was filled with socialist progressives like George W. Bush and John McCain both of whom supported TARP and other socialist progressive domestic policies. Which party are you referring to?

          1. By “reactionary” I mean the same old centrist (socialist) garbage. So we’re on the same page.

    2. Actually it did work out pretty well, McCain got 37% of latino votes, which would have gone completely to obama. He won ~44 % of independent vote in general election and gave good fight till palin destroyed his campaign. The problem here is that evenif Ron Paul will get more independent votes than mccain, he is still going to loose, because you will see some republicans voting for obama (gingrich already told that he will not vote for paul)

      1. Palin was the only vote getter in his campaign. McCain was the establishment’s favorite wierdo.

      2. Well, Newt’s anti-endorsement is more than I could hope for. In a nutshell Newt’s a fat-assed, adulterous, pseudo-intellectual lobbyist flipflopper that can’t even vote for himself because he’s not on the ballot. We know what that pig in a business suit would vote for- a police state and corporate privelege. Thanks Newt.

      3. The dynamic for 2012 is different because Ron Paul is a very different KIND of Maverick than McCain was. McCain was maverick in the sense that he liked to vote with Democrats and sign onto “bipartisan” legislation as much as possible. Ron Paul is maverick in the sense that if he doesn’t think something is Constitutional he will vote “No” even if he is the only member of congress to do so. He often goes against the majority in BOTH major parties, not just his own party.

        1. It will come down to the blue dickwag Vs. the red dickwad….but make no mistake a dickwad will win!

  7. I know I’m waaaaaay biased toward wanting a Ron Paul White House in 2013 – and I have publicly said “even though I know it can’t happen…” – but I’m really starting to think… it… could… happen…

    The Iowa pre-vote clusterf#*& makes me think that the more-undecideders are Independent, ie: likely to vote RP on 3 Jan. Not sure that prediction is the right word but, I really, really strongly suspect that it’s gonna be a landslide. Like, a RP majority.

    If that does happen then the loose script for victory Matt outlines, with Mittens and Newklear T already looking like they’re just reading the script, seems very plausible.

    it… could… happen…

    1. RP wont be getting 50% in Iowa. But if he gets 30%, that is a huge win.

      Not predicting that, but that would not only be a victory, it would “exceed expectations” which is the bullshit that Iowa is supposedly about.

      1. Headline: “Romney closer to Paul than expected in Iowa, pulling away in NH”

        Paul: 31%
        Romney: 22%

        Bank on it.

        1. Ha, It’ll be either that or
          “Romney finishes strong in Iowa, Santorum exceeds expectations”
          Paul 27%
          Romney 21%
          Santorum 13%

    2. Hope is the first step toward despair. I’ll stick with cynical for now.

  8. So Ron Paul should or should not choose Sarah Palin as his running mate? She was pretty much the only thing McCain had going.

      1. Think before you laugh. I think Palin’s limited but measurable political success came from her persona rather than her grasp of the issues, but when the choice is between dumb and dumber, shifty and dishonest, people go with someone they are more likely to trust and identify with. Palin’s appeal wasn’t manufactured by the soft-lefty press. Anyhow, she came off as being preferable to McCain until the McCain idiots put her to work defending McCain’s lame platform.

        1. You may have stumbled onto something. Palin might just be the only thing that would make Paul palatable to the electorate.

          1. Yeah, if Ron Paul was Sarah Palin, then he would be more palatable to the electorate! Actually, if Ron Paul would talk less trash, he might surprise a few people.

            1. Its not talking trash when he is simply calling the other candidates out for their bullshit.

              1. No, he isn’t when he is simply doing as you say and no more.

    1. Well, sans Sarah Rice Puddin’, yeah.

      I mean more in the spirit of the script. Which states matter (which dictates who to “get” there), who might fall out when, that stuff.

      Even if he doesn’t win, libertarians win. I think [inadvertent hivemind comment]we[/inadvertent hivemind comment] have almost done won it. Gary Johnson’s gonna show up on ballots and Rand’s already not just the new kid in DC.

      Yay Us!

    2. The serious answer is that he doesn’t have that option (or temperament). The base distrusted McCain, so she was able to rally some of them back out. Could Paul conceivably nominate *anyone* who could overcome the foreign-policy misgivings by the people who have them? And even if he could, would he? Whole lotta “no” there, I think.

      1. *buzzkill* Thx, Matt. *sigh*

        But GJ? Rand Paul? A guy can still hallucinate – can’t he?

      2. Colin Powell? Condoleeza Rice? I’m not talking about palatable to people on this site, but either of those would pretty much shore up the two major complaints.

        1. Not you, too! Jesus, where’s Mavis Beacon when I need her?

          1. I wonder if the kids get that reference?

            1. 25, i got it

              what’s the lower age limit of reason readers, i wonder?

      3. I don’t know Matt. What about Colin Powell? It could happen. Bringing a respected general on board would really calm fears from hawks that, if push came to shove, the USA wouldn’t run from a fight (while at the same time not running TO the fight for once).

        1. Yes, what about Colin Powell?

          I really need to learn to type faster.

          1. Did all three of you spontaneously come up with this idea, or has it been floating around? I agree that it would be an intriguing play on the foreign-policy stuff, but I have no idea what kind of relationship/opinion the two have of each other.

            And remember, neo-conservatives don’t tend to have a high opinion of Colin Powell.

            1. I haven’t read anything about it. I was just trying to think about who from the Bush administration Paul could bring in to buy credibility with the establishment. Much like Bush brought in Cheney to bring the non-compassionate conservatives to the polls.

              Personally, I think Condi would be the better pick of the two I suggested. Colin Powell is definitely too squishy for a lot of the non-Paul Republican base. John Bolton is too neocon, no one else has the foreign policy chops that I can think of.

              1. I agree completely. Powell would be a marginal lift, at best, as he’s not loved by the base.

                Rice, on the other hand, would be a coup. And if Paul is the actual nominee, I don’t think it’s beyond the realm of possibility. If for no other reason, she might accept in the assumption that she could moderate his viewpoints.

                1. Powell does help neutralize the newsletter issues come a general if it gets there…

                2. I could be wrong, but I think I remember Powell going off on Paul’s foreign policy on one of the Sunday shows. Anyway, no way Powell joins a ticket that promises to cut the military budget.

            2. Spontaneous idea. Time stamps are all close, and I for one pulled it out of my ass. I have no idea about how they would get along, but I just plain like Colin Powell even though I don’t care for what went on in the Bush years. I just get the impression that he is a good guy. Same thing goes for Rice.

            3. Any chance you reason guys can talk to some Republicans on the ground in primary states and see how they feel about these sorts of matchups? I mean, I know I didn’t donate enough to buy a whole feature story this year, but…

              1. I vote Huntsman. I’d like to see a Paul/Huntsman ticket. Even if he’s disagreed with him publicly now, the man is an actual diplomat. He could make it work.

            4. Neocons? If the “neo-cons” in the Obama administration don’t seem to care about Colin Powell, who does?

            5. Not Powell but Petraeus. Powell is too squishy to satisfy the hawkish wing, but Petraeus just might swing enough weight, and have the ambition, to fill such a role.

        2. And I’d wager that CP’s got an axe to grind for the Repubs.

          1. Communist Party or Child Porn?

            1. Don’t sully child porn by comparing it to the commie party.

        3. Petraeus? Powell is a bit too close to the establishment for my tastes. As they said about Palin, you’re putting him a heartbeart away from the presidency.

          1. With Ron Paul at the head of the ticket, do you think it’s rational to worry about how establishment the VP is? Also, please no references to the possibility of RP being assassinated or dying like they did with McCain. It’s distasteful, and Paul is in much better health anyway.

            1. It’s distasteful, and Paul is in much better health anyway.

              Paul is 76. I don’t care how distasteful the subject is; Paul could be the fucking reincarnation of Jack LaLanne and the topic of his continued health would be extremely relevant. Particularly in a job that ages you at the rate of 5 years for every 1. (Go look at how fast W aged, or Clinton.)

              I like the Powell idea. Not sure if he’d be on board though. Didn’t he make a big deal about his family not wanting him to go for the GOP nom in 2000?

            2. I think you’re on to something. As for the health non-issue, people can make face-value judgements whether you like it or not, can’t be helped.

        4. Whatever happened to Schwarzkopf? As a member of the military, odds are he might have donated to Paul at one time or another.

          1. I guess Schwarzkopf has given up on writing memoirs and is currently busy with X-box, online stock trading, or golf.

        5. Would any career soldier stand to be in the same room with Ron Paul? If no, then you seem kinda foolish speculating about it.

          1. Given Schwarzkopf’s authoritarianism and his father’s involvement in the 1953 Iranian coup, which I’m sure he’d defend to his last breath, I very much doubt that he and Ron Paul have an awful lot in common.

            The guy made military intervention his life’s work, after all.

            Also, my very limited sample size of ex-military friends suggests to me that the rank and file (where most of Paul’s support in the sevices comes from) think Stormin’ Norman is a big fat blowhard. Could be wrong on that. Maybe that’s just my opinion.

            1. I’m sure he’s a capable man and at the very least the life of any party.

            2. “My country, right or wrong” often trumps “nuance” in many circles. Ever wonder why?

      4. Colin Powell? He lost some credibility with the conservatives some time ago, but he was a general and, for newsletter purposes, he is black. Rice is an option for the same reasons. If he could get either one of those, he might get a little lift with the tough guy segment of the GOP.

        1. Powell lost ALL his conservative cred when he kissed Obama’s ring.

          Allen West or Bobby Jindal would help beat the racism rap and bring in conservative credibility.

          1. Paul has PLENTY of conservative credibility on most issues. The Neocons/establishment are only worried about his Dovish tendencies. A General or Iron-balled foreign policy heavyweight like Powell or Rice would assuage that.

            I don’t make much of the racism crap. I don’t think many people give two shits about it outside of the libertarian circlejerk and media looking to throw turds.

            1. I think it’s mostly bullshit, too, but it’s one way of taking it out completely. No way, no how is a racist going to select a black as VP, nor is a black going to accept the gig from a racist.

              1. Oh ProLib, you must actively avoid the feces that comes out of Rachel Maddow. ‘They’ would just imply that Powell was an Uncle Tom, and that he was OBVIOUSLY picked to paper over his OBVIOUS racism. I think ignoring it really is a better idea. It’s been 20 years and he has a long documented history of his character and beliefs that show it’s not in his character.

          2. West is a good choice, too. He’s not afraid to mix it up, which is a good thing for the VP to bring to the race.

          3. I don’t think putting a black vp will defeat the newsletter thing. It would look too blatant.

            1. It’s so blatant that no racist could do it. Nor would any leading black.

              On the other hand, I personally don’t think the racist claims have legs, not with people who won’t automatically vote Democrat anyway.

              1. Democrats would just declare the black vp to be an uncle Tom anyway. It’s so predictable.

                Cain for the lead could have pulled in some but a black vp doesn’t mean much to the community.

                1. How cool would Walt E. Williams be though.

                  1. A Williams vice-presidency would ensure that no one ever considers assasinating President Paul

            2. Its about giving non-black conservatives and independents a way to find a reason to be okay with voting for him, and a reason for black dems to stay home. Give people a chance to rationalize a change in their position between the primaries and the general election.

              1. I’ll buy this. I don’t think it should be in his top few criteria for selecting a VP, but it’s not a bad idea.

                1. Agreed. But if West or Rice or Powell could be brought in, kill two birds with one stone.

                  Personally, I think Rice would be an asset to any administration. She’s smart and doesn’t run to the spotlight. Might be able to do things besides state funerals and missions to Outer Mongolia.

            3. Why not?
              Putting a generic white male vp on the ticket worked for Obama’s racism crap.

              1. What about Bachman, she’s got iron ovaries and wins by making the man look more human. Two old white guys is just plane boring. She’s got conservative street cred by being openly bigoted in the politically popular direction, young enough and experienced enough all at once. It could happen.

                1. I think Paul has hulled that ship with his Leno (Letterman?) appearance.

            4. What would be really cool, a mindfuck and yet an unbeatable political combination, would be to have Paul and Obama be running mates. Who would ever see that coming, and who could possibly defeat it?

      5. Dick Cheney.
        He’s rested and tanned and has additional cyborg parts installed.

        1. I like the all first name ticket: Ron Paul/Paul Ryan.

          1. But then it’s just “Paul/Ryan 2012.”

      6. THAT’S IT!!!!! Petraeus. David. Petraeus. America’s most respected (living) general. Bam!

      7. VP candidates might deliver a few more electoral votes (if that), but everyone knows that they are otherwise irrelevant at best. Paul might have a chance at getting elected if he didn’t have a foreign policy, period.

      8. Stop pretending that neo-cons are trying to control the world. They may be influential, but this country does what politicians do in the absence of some great struggle, and that is react to events.

        1. In that vein, what would Ron Paul do in a Katrina-style disaster, oil spill, earth quake, or a 9/11? It isn’t entirely a fair question …because hopefully Paul has 20/20 or beter hindsight on those situations. The question though is whether he is willing to take action instead of using the presidency just as a bully pulpit, a think tank, or HQ for his master plan for fixing everything. It doesn’t matter so much what the pundits think as the voters think on that point.

      9. What about Robert Gates?

      10. Paul should pick someone like Jesse Ventura, someone who will REALLY terrify the establishment. Paul’s life will be in danger before this is all over, and he needs someone with him who the establishment hates even more so he won’t get assassinated.

      11. Marco Rubio would be a great
        Pick. He’s thoughtful, sharp, young and would deliver all the Latinos on a silver platter. Paul/Rubio 2012

        1. No constituency should be deliverable on any kind of platter. People should think for themselves.

    3. Kelly Clarkson for VP.

      1. A proven winner. Now you’re thinking.

      2. Doesn’t the VP have to meet the same Constitutional qualifications as the President. Is she 35?

        1. But its established precedent that you don’t have to show your birth certificate so how will anyone prove she is not qualified?

      3. Kelly should learn from Sarah and do her news interviews completly nude.

        1. Miss Clarkson, are you denying Global Warming with your nipples?

    4. I say Palin for Paul’s VP. This would seal the evangelical vote.

      1. And lose all the independents.

    5. No, Judge Andrew P. Napolitano would be the best VP.

      1. Attorney General.

    6. Jeff Flake or Jim demint

      Flake has a strong cred among strong America republicans yet alot of libertarian cred. Demint is a small government guy from the south.

      1. DeMint started the recession.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HER2pGdAak

      2. Demint would be very effective in silencing critcisms from the dumbass fist dragging theocons. Problem is, would he agree? He is their leader, warmongering against muslims. And a strong anti-Mexican and anti-drug and anti-gay culture warrior.

        1. Theocons don’t drag their fists, that would ruin their manicures. They suspend their hands above the ground by putting both thumbs up their asses.

    7. Paul/Romney. Just to get the 30% who like Romney and the East coasters to vote for Paul.

      1. If Romney would accept it I actually do think it would be a good idea.

        1. +1, I agree.

        2. I think he was BORN to be Vice President.

        3. If Ron Paul did that and then became president I have a strong suspicion that Ron Paul would not live long into his term.

          1. What if it’s Romney-Paul instead of Paul-Romney?

            The convention could be so fragmented in terms of candidate support that they may have to put together a ticket like that (i.e. 2 of the leading candidates) just to get out of there in time to campaign.

  9. B-b-but… IRAN! BOOGITY BOOGITY!

    1. 2000: BIN LADEN! BOOGITY BOOGITY!

  10. “If you were a woman standing where you are, I would be able to say: ‘HONK! HONK!'”

  11. The warmonger/fundies will shit on and fuck over Ron ’till he dies!

  12. STEVE SMITH attends North Korean Funeral

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…..75175.html

  13. Loved your fair article, Thank you

  14. The link to the Politico piece does not demonstrate the author’s claim that Ron Paul is attempting to become a power broker at the convention. Rather, that piece states that Paul is attempting to position himself to win a brokered convention. There’s a big difference between trying to BE a power broker and trying to WIN a brokered convention.

  15. Paul had better watch out: Santorum surges from behind

    If he steps in the wrong place, he might get hepatitis.

    1. And that headline of the day was taken from Balko’s blog, by the by.

      1. Oh, the irony of reading that on the internet.

  16. Did Ron Paul play Grandpa in “Texas Chainsaw Massacre”?

    1. When all you have are physical characteristics to insult you know you are in deep trouble.

      1. Don’t be so demanding, PIRS. Being a homo habilis with a single-digit IQ is obviously impeding his ability to meet your very demanding demands to be reasonable!

        1. You are right, I should have more understanding for those less fortunate species.

          There there Max. Its OK, would Max like a treat? Would he? Good boy!

        2. Don’t use him a editorial wingman
          -RPA totally lost the point

        3. Arguably if he really is a homo habilis and he can use a computer and write in English his IQ is probably four digits since it would have to be measured relative to his peers (ie, other members of his species).

        4. STEVE HIRE MANY HOMO HABILIS…DO GOOD WORK ON CAVE. ALSO DELICIOUS.

    2. you don’t happen to work in one of those agencies whose livelihood depends on the parasitic tie that paul intends to cut?

  17. Americans are becoming statistically more libertarian, especially independent voters.

    And nothing else happened.

    OK, one thing happened. One borderline libertarian, Rand Paul, won an election where Kentucky Republican voters’ sorta-libertarian will was stronger than the Republican Party’s will to suck.

    The Paul senior surge is the most unlibertarian shit ever. His newfound support isn’t a phenomenon among libertarian “independents” (who remain purely statistical, their preference utterly unrevealed). His 2012 fanbase is a coalition of JOO-hating convenience among non-Republican white-power and White-power assholes.

    Wait a minute. Am I contributing to their newsletter right now?

    o fk

    1. Concern troll seems concerned

      1. This character is almost certainly Alexander Gofen, a poster at FrontPageMag.com, where hatred of all MOOSLIMS is joined by articles that tell us now that IRAN was involved in 9/11.

        1. Well then we better attack that country right away, as well as others.

          1. We don’t want anybody to feel left out.

    2. Thanks to people like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton et all who cried wolf for decades people most people will shrug when charges of bigotry are leveled in a political context.

      The political left made its own bed, now it must sleep in it. Good luck making such charges stick against a truly honorable man without a bigotted bone in his body. Especially against a man who has repeatedly warned about the dangers of profiling and pointed out how the War on Drugs has a disproportionately negative impact on African American males.

      Good luck with that.

      1. Actually I think the MSM can manage it. You’ve got Fox and MSNBC and CNN all in agreement he should not even be in the race at all.

        They will probably ignore anything good he ever said and concentrate on the newsletters once they think he really has a chance.

    3. a coalition of JOO-hating convenience among non-Republican white-power and White-power assholes.

      “We’re not a bug; we’re a feature.”

    4. why don’t libertarian partisan hacks like you start your own group? you know this will be no place for emotional psychopaths as the base grows. with the division of labor it guarantees people’s ideas influenced by their upbringing must differ to the left or right, one way or the other. to grow means to tolerate some degree of differences while holding your own principles. seems the only option for you is to get kicked out whenever something grows, into some place obscure yet again.

  18. I wonder if Gingrich or Romney would support Paul if he got the nonimation, and I’m inclined to think they wouldn’t.

    1. No, they wouldn’t and Ron Paul supports will write him in before they support anyone else. That’s why Obama will get 4 more years.

      1. If Paul wins the nomination, he won’t need the GOP base. He’ll draw heavily from independents and dissatisfied Democrats. Paul over Obama is a lock.

        1. Bingo. Everyone Obama got to get off their butts and vote are disgusted with the way things turned out. Paul would beat Obama with the same swing vote.

        2. “If Paul wins the nomination, he won’t need the GOP base.”

          Which is one reason the GOP Establishment insiders are scared to death of him.

      2. Would 4 more years of Obama really be that different from 4 years of Romney? If you would be willing to vote for Romney why would you be concerned about Obama getting reelected?

    2. Gingrich has already said he wouldn’t.

      1. Gingrich is also only loyal to Gingrich, so if he sees an angle in supporting RP, he’ll reverse himself.

    3. Romney stated that he would: http://news.yahoo.com/romney-v…..08199.html

      Gingrich not so much: http://politicalticker.blogs.c…..-ron-paul/

      1. All 14 people who would listen to Gingrich won’t vote for Paul anyway. Not big-government enough.

    4. I’d bet that one of them would run as an independent to take away votes fro Paul and throw the election to Obama.

      Better the statist from the other team than a guy who wants to blow the establishment up.

    5. For all their bluster they would. People thought Hillary would have never have supported Obama, but politicians are politicians first and principled second. If Ron Paul gets the nomination, they’ll hum and dance to Ron Paul’s tune in the hopes that it will garner them votes in future elections or the chance of a political appointment that would help their political prospects in the future.

  19. Social Conservatives are just lapping up every bit of Santorum that they can get.

    1. Santorum has a ceiling of about 15%.

      What, can’t I say that about the other batshit insane candidates?

      1. I’d love to see Santorum and Bachmann campaign in Dearborn, Michigan

        1. Better yet, Royal Oak

    2. And I definately think it’s a great sign that the socon candidates are doing so poorly. Progress.

    3. Phrasing appreciated.

  20. The Republican Party needs to be very careful with Ron Paul. The current attacks coming from the establishment could alienate the fiscal conservatives and right leaning independents for good… leaving a smaller voter base. My advice would be to purge the neo-conservatives and retake the center.

    1. No, it won’t because they have nowhere else to go. The neo-cons own the party and they won’t give ground.

      A new libertarian base to the GOP will is only possible via domination of the social cons at the ballot box.

    2. No, Paul is alienating fiscal conservatives and right-leaning independents. You’ve got it bass-ackwards.

      1. As a fiscal conservative and a right-leaning independent, I disagree.

        1. Betcha there are quite a few who agree to disagree with you.

  21. The GOP establishment are in for a big disappointment again just like 2008 if they do not nominate Ron Paul.

    They keep doing the same ting over and over expecting different results.

    Will they ever learn? NO! And it will be to their own detriment as it will be the end of the GOP.

    1. The only imaginary hope for the Paul name on a Presidential ticket is as Veep. And the chances for that are slim and zerod.

  22. Interesting analysis. I’m a vet and I support Paul entirely. Letters of Marque and Reprisal, ending the Fed, decriminalizing commodity currencies, a gold-backed national currency, bringing the troops home (ALL of them), ending the nanny state, enforcing contracts, no longer punishing charity, ending the foolishness of Zionism as a national cause, de-incentivising illegal immigration, strict Constitutionalism, and on and on. I support it all.

    But, this article seems to forget that the Republican primaries have completely redesigned their nominating process, and Florida is one of the ONLY winner-take-all states this cycle. Last cycle McCain eked out some small wins that turned into massive delegate numbers. This cycle, small wins will result in a brokered convention, making it possible (and likely) for the establishment to gang up on Paul and ensure that anyone else (Romney) gets the nomination.

    It’s sad to say, but its the reality. Unfortunately, a site like Reason could do a lot more to endorse Dr. Paul in its articles, but it doesn’t and is frequently part of the propaganda that detracts from him. So, we probably won’t see a Paul win, and those of us who understand the way the world works will continue to become more and more powerful, while the rest of you buffoons who vote fools into office will reap what you sow.

    1. None of the MSM should be in the business of endorsements. Reason is the only place that takes that “somewhat” to heart.

      It’s a fucking shame but Paul groupies need to remember that. As long as reason keeps playing honestly I see no problem. They are not supposed to be part of the Paul cheerleading team. That bullshit is why people distrust and are disgusted by the msm, which long ago abandoned what principles it had.

      1. Reason doesn’t “endorse” anyone because the Reason Foundation is organized as a 501(c)(3) and they are forbidden by law from doing so.

        Even so, if they were to endorse Paul, I’m not sure I’d notice the difference.

        1. Warren, they could still be unequivocally favorable about him, but you know what i mean. This whole endorsement game is tired and stupid.

      2. Paul groupie? No, I simply see things for what they are. Paul will probably lose. You see, for me, its a win-win. He wins, things improve in the macro sense. He loses, my understanding of the world and its problems remain intact, and I retain the ability to leverage that over those around me. As a result, I still win, but in a less idealistic fashion. My vote for Paul is more a nod to my neighboring poor, who lack the resources to understand why they are in the plight they find themselves. It’s a table scrap compared to what they actually need, but I toss it out of a sense of personal honor.

        Of course, the problem with your second paragraph is the phrase “keeps playing honestly,” which never has and never will happen. Looking for others to do your thinking for you will only result in your being mislead. But, if an analyst is going to think in a certain direction, it would be better for everyone he influences if he were honest about his motives.

  23. Given possible attemots on his life and his old age it is much more important that Ron Paul’s VP be able to carry on his torch than to be used to garner votes.

    I say Judge Andrew Napolitano

  24. Caption:

    McCain: This is my hand.

    Paul: Cool story…

  25. Caption: “Sarah gave me her number, and wrote it on my hand with smileys in the zeroes.”

    1. “Is this Santorum on my hand?

      1. OMFG. Food on the keyboard with that one.

  26. There are Plouffe/Axelrod/OFA/SEIU/Acorn fingerprints all over the people and money behind Ron Paul.

    WHAT WOULD ALINSKY DO?

    1. Write a stupid book that the political fringe will love to read.

  27. So Ron Paul’s in it for the long haul. Republicans gearing up for a post-Iowa purge festival should be asking themselves one question: Do they really want to alienate the enthusiastic supporters of the only GOP candidate who either talks convincingly about cutting government or appeals noticeably to the non-Republican swing voters who tip most modern elections? The answer to that question may determine the future of the Republican Party.

    The answer is: Fuck yes and as soon as possible.
    It doesn’t matter how much money or support Paul has behind him. His policies are poison to the establishment and under no circumstances will he be allowed to so much as speak at the Convention.

    Any concessions Paul gets he will have to pry from the clutching hands of the establishment. And to do that he first has to win the nomination. Nothing short of that will yield the slightest in the way of actual fiscal discipline, non-interventionism, personal freedom, etc.

    Paul 2012 as a foundation for a 2016 run by a libertarian candidate has more promise. However, Rand Paul would be substantially less satisfying than the father. He’s much closer to an establishment conservative than a true reformer. Gary Johnson would be a much better choice. However, thus far he lacks everything in the way of campaign infrastructure and war chest to mount a serious challenge.

    1. Dude, rand worked hard to stop the worst egregiousness of the patriot act. I’d hardly call him establishment.

    2. There will be no libertarian revolution from the ballot box or in either party, just an evolution. Look at real reform of ballot access laws and campaign finance laws.

  28. Wow…a reason to read reason…who wudda thunk?

    1. Don’t havd me rulebook handy but I’m pretty sure that’s a drink.

      1. It’s rule #1: The use of wordplay with the word “reason” isn’t witty or funny and hence the use of such will result in the author drinking.

        1. Shit, maybe rule #1 is referencing Somalia, I forget.

        2. The author drinking? No, I am sorry but the rules clearly state that EVERYONE drinks!

          1. Yeah, otherwise what’s the point of having the game. I just stocked up for the weekend so I’m ready to roll. Start breaking the rules people.

  29. When Matt Welch isn’t shitting on Ron Paul, he’s talking to campaign insiders…

  30. If by some weird occurance, Ron Paul was nominated, it would cause the Republican Party to crash and the dems would have a huge victory from the court house to the White House.

    1. Would you like some cheese with that whine?

      1. Facts are facts.

      2. The way the Rockerfeller wing treated Goldwater in ’64 is ample precedent for Mr Bergsma’s prediction.

    2. You’re right, but only because the establishment would rather die than commit to supporting Paul.

    3. It might cause the neocons to take there marbles and go back home to the left which would be the best possible thing to happen to the GOP since Carter.

  31. Matt, have you lost your mind? McCain was the inevitable nominee for 2008. Romney is getting the same treatment now. The rules are manipulated to create that result. It’s doubly insulting to say that Paul has a chance when he spends so much of his time sucking up to the paranoid fringe and the left. Primary voters generally think that people like Paul who automatically say whatever pops into their head are spectacular failures at best, no matter how right Paul is half of the time. If Paul is ReasonMag’s great white hope, make sure you have enough life boats.

  32. New favorite game:
    go to Gambol Troll’s watchlist
    Request citations.
    ????
    PROFIT!

    1. Don’t fuck with Clusty.

    1. Liberals believe in their own cleverness beyond anything else. Their ideology is much more flexible.

  33. Rand’s more radical than Johnson.

  34. “no credible plans to cut federal spending”

    Romney is a crawler and a rotten choice, but I’d like to see any Republican nominee that can deliver on any campaign promise regarding spending cuts. Cuts won’t happen until congress is planning some and we have a president with a spine but without any particular legislative agenda aside from growth.

    1. Veto budgets

      1. …until an acceptable budget is passed, but that probably means a lot of vetos, yes.

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    1. OK, Fuckit. I *am* intrigued by your ideas and will indeed check out your porn site.

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  36. Caption contest:

    Warning: shilling for shitty books lies ahead

  37. The only chance this loon has is maybe in IA. After that he is toast as the country doesn’t like the idea of bending over and letting Iran give it to us in the rear like he apparently does.

    1. I will not succumb to your fear tactics. Fuck yourself please.

      1. Speaking of “fear tactics,” did you ever hear the one about me…?

  38. More than six million conservatives/Republicans sat out the last election because the RNC didn’t have a candidate who was conservative enough.

    If Ron Paul – somehow – wins the primaries? Expect millions of conservatives to stay home…giving the election to Obama…again.

    1. If the other choice is Romney, who gives a fuck?

      1. Bitchez be askin for it. Straight up.

    2. Substitute Mitt Romney for Ron Paul, Warren, and I think it works the same.

  39. Ron Paul’s candidacy and their ousting of Gary Johnson has proven once and for all that the Republican Party is not the party of small government.

  40. Romney, or “Mr. 30%” as I call him, might win the Republican nomination, but can’t win the general election. He’s been running for president for 5 years, he’s a known quantity in the Republican party. He’s had unlimited money from day 1, and unbelievably positive press the entire time as well. Yet, he still can’t get much above 30% in the primaries. He might win, but only if 40% of Republicans stay home. At this point, however, he still seems like the most likely winner.

    If Ron Paul does well in the early primaries, I believe Romney might consider asking Paul to run as his VP. (I think Romney will say/do anything that will give him an advantage in the polls, and he’s said he would love to have the kind of enthusiastic support Paul has.) A Romney/Paul coalition could be quite strong, and could bring out a support base. It would also stunt a 3rd party run by Paul and avoid a potentially devastating rift in the party. I’d love to see what a Romney/Paul ticket would do to the Republican party. I also wonder how many of his supporters Paul could bring to that ticket.

    1. I’d sure as hell vote for them

    2. Wow…I didn’t think it was possible but you just found an instance in which I would vote against Ron Paul.

    3. It would do nothing… The VP by and large is a superfluous position. The only reason many politicians accept it is a) they know they will never be president
      b) it acts as a springboard to becoming a future presidency.

      For just the last century just ask
      Teddy Roosevelt, Taft, Truman, Nixon, LBJ, and the last Bush.

      Not to mention that both Gore and Mondale ran for the presidency

      1. Why would Ron Paul accept that position if it would

        a) would hurt his message by acquiescing and supporting a person who he has said has proposed policies against liberty

        b) know that he wouldn’t live for a short to run at the presidency again?

  41. “Put your hand in your jacket like this; you’ll look just like Napoleon.”

  42. Did Ron Paul actually win primaries at any time when he was running for president? I’ve seen the “Ron Paul is SOOOOO on the rise” sentiment as recently as 2008.

    He has to win something. The excitement and intrigue over his candidacy has to bear some sort of fruit. As president he can’t be that single “no” vote in government as he was so often in the past. What’s his plan to build a coalition to pass his reforms? He ticks off enough people on both sides as it is.

    Independents are kinda like the mythical Latino vote. On paper they’re crucial voting base for both parties, but in reality, they’re not as big as you think. In deep blue or red states they probably can’t do a thing. Again, unless independents actually inflict a huge blow to the establishment (instead of serving as swing votes to either party) their “rise” will be more bark than bite.

    1. He would have veto power. Either they seriously consider his proposals and put forth viable compromises or the budget gets balanced year one and they all lose their gravy trains entirely. Personally I hope that the latter happens so that the country can see that there is no difference between the parties except who their corporate sponsors are(that may even be up for debate).

    2. One candidate wants to restore a limited, constitutional government devoted to the protection of individual rights which rewards individual achievement and competence. he wants cut one trillion dollars in debt in the first year. lower the corporate tax to 15 percent , roll back spending to 2006 , balance the budget in three years, Audit and reign in the Fed , end the income tax , cut 5 agencies , eliminate the EPA and get us out of the U.N.
      Or
      You have the Patriot act , TSA , Homeland security and NDAA not to mention you will have a chicken hawk war monger whose top donor is Goldman Sachs for 354 k…You will also get more wars and printing of fiat currency from thin air we get to borrow money from China to build a new Base in Australia to defend us from China..and we will have to raise the debt to pay for the new wars…

      the choice is clear…i want the guy the media calls extreme …

      1. He doesn’t want the government out of a woman’s uterus, and he doesn’t want the government to allow gays to marry.

        Small government indeed

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  44. Here’s a letter I’m sending out to Republican party leaders whose email addresses I have: feel free to make it your own.

    Dear X,

    One candidate – Ron Paul – has brought our Republican party a new, energized, and youthful base. These young folks who were perhaps initially attracted to Paul because of one issue ? Iraq ? are now fully embracing conservative principles. They even hate Obamacare. Yes, Dr. Paul has convinced many who would otherwise be in favor of “free health care” that it is a bad idea. This is our guy!

    Only Dr. Paul has the credibility and organization to lead us in an ideological stand against the Democrats and expensive, big government. Newt Gingrich can’t even pull off a bus tour in the one state where it really matters. Again, Ron Paul is successfully winning over young voters with conservative principles. We need to keep those people here, with us. We’ll need their votes many more years into the future.

    Because Ron Paul is a physician, he has the most credibility to debate Obama on Obamacare. Are voters really going to understand the distinction between Romneycare and Obamacare? No! And is there really much of a difference, anyway?

    Popular opinion describes Paul as “incorruptible” – popular opinion calls Mitt and Newt “flip-floppers.” I recall George HW Bush telling Clinton that the Democrats would “…turn the White House into the Waffle House” in the 1992 debates. I recall John Kerry flip-flops being handed out in 2004. Flip-flopping is not something we’ve ever embraced.

    Dr. Paul is pro-life AND has served our country admirably in the Air Force as a Flight Surgeon. The military boots on the ground prefer him by a factor of five. As far as I can tell, Newt was too busy smoking pot in graduate school to go to Vietnam. I’m not sure what Mitt was doing. I am a conservative and I want to vote for a conservative candidate, not a Manchurian candidate.

    It’s obvious that simple incompetence will be the end of the Gingrich campaign, and it really seems that putting up Massachusetts’ Romney leaves the Republican party with little ideological credibility and risks a drubbing in 2012. “European Republicans” like Romney and Gingrich are no better than Hillary Clinton. And, for the record, I don’t want to see them (e.g. Romney and Clinton) working together to spend even more of my money. I want a president who will veto unconstitutional spending. Period.

    Some people seem to think that supporting Romney or Gingrich is “playing it safe” for the election ? I strongly believe that this is an unprincipled and losing strategy. Neither Romney nor Gingrich are an alternative to Obama.

    We’re in a time now where we should not be defending the TSA and other, failed (and still failing!) government agencies which are an expensive embarrassment and a liability to the Americans who work, build, invest, and pay taxes.

    Ron Paul could be the next Ron Reagan!

    Please let me vote for Ron Paul on the Republican ticket! One trillion dollars cannot be wrong.

    Thanks very much for your time.

    Warmest regards,
    Ken

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  46. You know what is crazy? The actual mischief lies within our federal government, the corporatocracy and our biased media. Here is evidence:http://dotsub.com/view/f2bf6f2e-5d87-42c4-ae96-a568e7ef46d2. The DEA in July spat in the face of medical science and those of us living in reality when it re-affirmed that marijuana is schedule I. This is even more evidence. When our ATF was recently caught running guns to mexico and laundering money there is more evidence. The fact that our government prints money to fund its unconstitutional wars is more evidence. In the debates Ron Paul cites our CIA, Russian diplomats, news agencies, government organizations and legal institutions to support his position. The other guys spit opinions all of the time. Have you noticed? Is it my imagination? Or is our entire system truly criminally corrupt and no-one seems to notice or even care? It is time for revolution folks….

  47. It is time for a revolution folks…

    Unplug your televisions please.

    1. Libertarians need more tv time. Having pitched battles in the street with police is for communists and fascists whenever votes still count for something.

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