Ron Paul

Ron Paul's Last Stand

A post-mortem on Dr. No's final presidential bid

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Ron Paul ran for president and lost.

"We knew going in it was a longshot," says Dimitri Kesari, who coordinated state efforts for the 12-term (over three separate stints) Texas congressman's second and final GOP primary campaign. "If victory was to happen, everything had to line up perfectly."

That had to begin in Iowa, the first stop on the long slog to the Republican nomination. With over $1 million spent on TV, more than 100 candidate appearances, and more than 300 campaign-managed volunteers, Ron Paul's people attacked the Hawkeye State, and the race in general, with a unique strategy. Rather than focus on winning the popular vote—the so-called beauty contest—the campaign took advantage of differing rules in the primaries and caucuses to maximize the number of delegates it could take to August's Republican National Convention (RNC) in Tampa. Iowa, with its arcane, multi-stage caucus process, would be the ideal early laboratory for seeing whether Paulite enthusiasm could overrun GOP machine politics as usual.

And there was a longer-term strategy as well: "We were doing it for a movement," says Kesari, a former organizer from National Right to Work. "Our first goal was building the army, and the second goal is to win."

Paul came tantalizingly close in Iowa, finishing behind the nearly tied Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney by just 3,000 votes, or 2.5 percentage points. The margin was close enough to breed suspicions of vote-counting irregularities among Paul supporters, but large enough in strategic terms to have some staffers declare the race over before it started. "The campaign was lost on January 3," one disappointed mid-level campaign operative told me.

The irony is that, despite the fact that Mitt Romney was declared the victor on voting day and a recount gave the vote to Santorum two weeks later, it turned out Ron Paul actually did win Iowa, at least in the only currency honored at the RNC. Paul's people worked the caucus process so diligently and intelligently that they eventually snapped up 21 of Iowa's 25 delegates.

To win a primary, presidential campaigns need only motivate enough voters to spend 20 minutes or so driving to a polling place and casting a vote. Winning delegates in a caucus requires dedication over the course of months, sitting or standing through a series of often tedious day-long meetings with fellow Republicans. It's a game where the depth of feeling for a candidate counts for more than its breadth. Over the course of the fight, Paul supporters seized many positions of authority within the Iowa Republican Party. The new state chair of the Iowa GOP, A.J. Spiker, started out as a higher-up in Paul's Iowa campaign team, for instance.

Paul came in a strong second in the New Hampshire primary the next week, and many of his lower-ranked foes, such as Herman Cain and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), dropped out. But winter break was over, and the masses of students willing to phone-bank for Paul scattered to campus quads across the nation. The campaign was never again able to repeat its Iowa/New Hampshire–level of call saturation in later states. 

As Dr. No heads into the political wilderness (see "Ron Paul's Farewell Address to Congress," page 24), a close reading of his final campaign may tell us more about where the GOP—and the country—are headed than Mitt Romney's forgettable failure in the general election.

Spring Backward

Paul's caucus-focused delegate strategy, which the campaign had been open about from the beginning, was painted by the media and his competitors as being somehow sneaky or disreputable. As he started converting second-place voting-day totals into first-place delegate-acquisitions in early states such as Maine and Minnesota, some observers began to fret that maybe the whole caucus process needed to be re-thought. A Fox News website headline in May described Paul's delegate strategy as a plan to "hijack" the convention. GOP consultant Bob Haus complained to the Huffington Post that month that Paul's delegate victories in Iowa were "costing the state a lot of credibility."

But from the Paul point of view, the only underhanded behavior was coming from the establishment GOP. In April, the Alaska Republican Party changed its filing deadline for its state convention at the last minute, preventing some Paul delegates from getting their paperwork in on time. In Maine, a Romney operative was distributing fake slates of Paul delegates at its state convention to confuse voters. And at a Missouri caucus in St. Charles in March, police helicopters were called in after a row that ended in the arrests of two Paul supporters. 

By late spring, these procedural squabbles were beginning to resemble holdovers from a war that had already been lost. The Paul project at this point seemed less a political campaign and more a campus speaking tour. He spoke to more than 100,000 college students at more than 30 colleges over the course of his campaign. I saw him at UCLA in April where an overflow audience of 7,000 anticipated his applause lines and networked their own budding plans to further the revolution, whether from within or without the Republican Party apparatus. Paul's biggest draw that spring was at traditionally left-leaning Berkeley, where 8,500 came to hear him criticize the Federal Reserve and never-ending war. 

The septuagenarian obstetrician at this point was battling President Barack Obama to a draw in one-on-one national polls. And by late April, the remaining non-Romney candidates, Santorum and Newt Gingrich, had dropped out. The presidential field was finally where the campaign always hoped it would be: just Romney and Paul, with huge prizes such as California and Paul's native Texas ahead. Romney hadn't yet sewn up the 1,144 delegates needed for the nomination, and the campaign's longstanding goal of a brokered convention remained within the realm of technical possibility.

Then, in mid-May, Ron Paul issued a press release saying he wouldn't be competing actively in California and Texas, using past-tense language such as congratulating his supporters for having "fought hard." The media's understandable conclusion: Paul had dropped out.

Except he hadn't. The next day political director Jesse Benton scrambled to reframe the announcement, explaining that while the campaign was abandoning efforts to rack up primary votes in the big, expensive states, the effort to win delegates at state conventions would continue. Benton stressed the campaign's desire to maintain a good relationship with the GOP, explaining that he wanted "respect and decorum" rather than more convention scrums.

The announcement hit Paul's volunteer army hard. For some, it was evidence that the professional higher-ups surrounding the candidate—especially Benton, the grassroots' bête noire—had lost intentionally. Theories ranged from the mundane (perhaps Paul was angling for a speaking slot at the convention) to the practical (the campaign was smoothing the path for the blander, more mainstream Rand Paul in 2016) to the paranoid (operatives were trying to kneecap the liberty movement entirely). This was a conspiracy theory I heard not only from anonymous firebrands at websites such as Ron Paul Forums, but from Oklahoma alternate delegate Porter Davis at the RNC. "For such a bunch of smart guys, they must have thrown the game to squander so many resources for such a pitiful result," Davis said. 

Activists noted that the announcement came directly after a weekend of particularly chaotic GOP state conventions. Paul fans had clashed with Romney folk in Arizona, and in Oklahoma, the Paulites split to run their own rump convention.

In an October 2012 interview, Paul explained to me that while he knew it would discourage many of his grassroots fans, he just felt obliged to be honest with supporters about his chances. "It was my preference to do it…because I felt like if I didn't do it, it was more deception. You have your very hard workers who are realistic and know what to expect," he said. "And others have the expectation that tomorrow everyone in the world will know I'm going to be president of the United States. I thought it was time to be more honest and upfront rather than leading people astray."

Trouble in Tampa

The decision to de-emphasize campaigning without suspending the campaign would shape the conflict between higher-ups and the volunteers through the national convention in Tampa. Paul and his professionals understood by mid-May that he could not win, but a large percentage of Paul delegates believed up until the convention was in full swing that they could somehow get the assembly en masse to defect from Romney to Paul, and at any rate should be as big a nuisance as possible to a rotten GOP establishment. The political professionals wanted to normalize, build donor lists, infiltrate the Republican Party rather than fight it, even if that required compromise and backroom deals. They were looking to formally train activists and cultivate other, less purely libertarian political candidates. The Paul campaign may have been the most energized in the Republican field by far, but by its endgame, those running it opted to rein in that energy. 

Grassroots activists (and some slightly disgruntled official campaign workers) brought a series of complaints about how the campaign was run. The ground operations relied too much on calls, not enough on door-to-door or advertising. The campaign rewarded coziness with superiors more than results. Some high-level operatives were not fully dedicated to Paul's libertarian message. The campaign downplayed Paul's foreign policy rather than trying hard to sell it to a doubtful GOP base. They didn't fight hard enough in certain supposedly winnable states, such as Virginia, where Paul and Romney were the only ones on the ballot, or Texas, his home state. For his part, campaign manager John Tate notes that if he'd had endless millions, then he could have tried every strategy that the Monday morning quarterbacks are sure would have worked. As it is, Tate says, he's proud of the movement-building the campaign produced.

Paul headed into the RNC with many more delegates than the media guessed, because his caucus strategy indeed helped him perform well above what the beauty contest votes would have predicted. The New York Times website was still claiming Paul had only one delegate from Iowa even after the whole state convention process was over. Romney partisans, meanwhile, were determined to trim Paul's national numbers down to a headline-avoiding level, and to keep the number of state delegations he controlled below the five that would allow him to be officially nominated from the floor, thereby earning speaking time. The chaos and disruption at various state GOP conventions in the months before led to a series of credential challenges over which delegates would be officially recognized at the RNC.

The Paul campaign got involved in four of the delegation challenges, going after what they considered illegitimate strikings of duly elected delegates or alternates in Massachusetts, Oregon, and Louisiana, and defending the Paul-controlled Maine delegation from an establishment challenge. Dave Warrington, the campaign's legal point man on the challenges, told an audience at a Campaign for Liberty–sponsored Liberty Political Action Conference in September that the GOP's disregard for its own rules was so extreme that "I had members of the RNC who were by no means Paul supporters come up to me and say 'this stinks, it turns my stomach, I can't be involved in this.'?"

The Paul people, who had spent so much time and energy mastering arcane parliamentary rules, were consistently stymied by the establishment that wrote them. The Oregon challenge lost entirely; in both Louisiana and Massachusetts the campaign made deals that got some but not all of its delegates reinstated. Bay State delegates had been ordered to sign loyalty oaths swearing they'd vote for Romney. Some refused, and even some who reluctantly signed were still bounced on suspicion of loyalty to Paul.

Still other Paulite challenges went rogue, without backing from the campaign. In Oklahoma, Paul state campaign director Al Gerhart was driven out of the state by a concerted grassroots revolt. As a result, Paul activists were on their own trying to get the results of their rump convention recognized by the RNC, and they failed. In California, a Paul-supporting lawyer named Richard Gilbert filed a confusing federal lawsuit in June accusing the GOP of a series of shenanigans and fraud aimed at Paul delegates. The suit also tried to establish that it was illegal for the RNC to "bind" any delegate to any candidate, which if true would theoretically create the possibility for a brokered convention in which Paul could win; the suit got tossed out in August by a U.S. District Court in California.

Maine became the final battleground, and the Paul forces' most dramatic loss. Ultimately the RNC Committee on Contests divided the delegation in half days before the convention began: 10 for Paul and 10 for Romney. Maine Gov. Paul LePage was so angered by the violation of state process that he skipped the convention, even though he was not a Paul man himself. Paul's Maine delegates walked off the floor dramatically when an attempt to get the body of the convention to vote on their reinstatement was ignored by the chair.

The Republican leadership further infuriated Paulites, Tea Party activists, and other grassroots organizers with a series of last-minute rules changes that will give future candidates the power to boot delegates they don't like if they won the state, and will give the RNC board the power to unilaterally change rules between conventions.

Chris Stearns worked for the Paul campaign in Virginia and was a delegate from that state, where Paulites have not quite taken over but have formed an influential coalition with activists of a roughly Tea Party ilk and taken dozens of positions on the state GOP's Central Committee. Stearns was on the platform committee, where Paul people did see some victories, most notably a call for a Federal Reserve audit, a gold commission, a ban on domestic drones in law enforcement, and more Internet freedom. (The committee failed, he grouses, to include an attack on the National Defense Authorization Act or a defense of raw milk.)

Despite the small platform successes, the rules changes and rough handling by establishmentarians (including delegates being threatened with ejection for waving Paul signs on the floor) left many of the 185 Paul delegates at the RNC alienated and disheartened. Some decided then and there to leave the GOP—Virginia delegate Stearns recalls that some fellow delegates said "screw it, [the GOP] is a corrupt organization and there's nothing we can do about it." But most, says campaign manager John Tate, "came out more committed than ever to going back and throwing the bums out." As Stearns says, "If we leave 'cause they want us to leave, we are falling into their trap. Most of us decided, let's just continue to do what we've been doing. I think in the long term, [the party establishment] is going to feel a dose of blowback."

Even non-Paulites such as former Republican National Committee head Michael Steele criticized the Romney leadership for being too heavy-handed. Steele told The Daily Show in August that "what the Republican National Committee did to Ron Paul was the height of rudeness and stupidity for this reason: Why would you alienate an individual who has the ability to attract a new generation of voters who are already skeptical of your institution but are willing to at least listen through the vehicle of this individual?" he asked. "Why would you alienate them, get on the floor and not let them speak?" 

"They could have had fair up and down votes" on the rules and credentials issues, Tate points out. "And we would have lost those votes." Doug Wead, a Paul adviser and longtime Republican operative who worked with Ronald Reagan and both Bushes, said he hadn't seen such shoddy treatment of a party faction "since '88, when the evangelical Christians started to take over the party. It's ironic because the people making claims about how dangerous the Paul people are for the party are often the same evangelical Christians." 

In the absence of a Paul endorsement, the Romney campaign didn't want Paul to speak, which meant they didn't want him officially placed in nomination for the presidency. When six delegations submitted petitions to nominate Paul for president—the existing rule said he needed only five—the RNC secretary Kim Reynolds just did nothing with them, says Wayne Terhune, chair of the Nevada delegation, who handed them to her. Then the rule was changed: Henceforth renegade candidates will need eight states before a nomination request is considered. The official Paul campaign saw the nomination fight as one last gasp of its grassroots acting out, and offered no formal support.

Terhune was censured by his state party for announcing, during the roll call, 17 votes for Paul out of the state's 27, although more than that number were supposed to be bound to Romney. Terhune says he "canvassed his people and reported the votes they told me accurately." No matter how many votes for Paul that state delegation leaders announced from the floor, the RNC secretary never recognized them and the numbers she would shout back for the TV cameras never included Paul's votes.

Paul himself left Tampa before the convention was even over. "I never liked conventions. I was only there to be supportive of the people willing to do it," he says. "People said I stormed out, left town—that was not true. I was trying to get out of town quietly." 

Paul eventually came in a distant but not disgraceful second place at the RNC, with 185 delegate votes from the floor. That's nearly 17 percent of what it would have taken to win. Paul was fourth in the primary/caucus-season popular vote, behind Santorum and Gingrich. Yet he bested them, as he said he would, by racking up delegates.

The Future of Ron Paul

In August, Ron Paul told Bloomberg News that the GOP is "not my party" since it doesn't embrace liberty and peace. He endorsed no one for president, although he told a Fox News reporter that he thought Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson was "wonderful." In October, Paul told me he was leaning toward the "none of the above" option.

A few weeks after Tampa, the Campaign for Liberty held a three-day Liberty Political Action Conference full of hundreds of academics and politicos, activist trainers and radio hosts, to demonstrate that the movement was still thriving regardless of Ron Paul's imminent retirement from politics. Paul himself appeared, no different in style, substance, or energy than when he was running for office. He just didn't have to end his talks by asking anyone to vote for him.

An unscientific poll at that September gathering suggested that Paul voters would be split in thirds between Romney, Gary Johnson, and a return to the nonvoting status from which so many Paul fans emerged. The political pros among them were more likely to back Romney, though almost never enthusiastically, and to predict that other Paul fans would do likewise. 

No pollsters rigorously investigated where the 2.1 million Ron Paul primary votes went in November. Some Paul fans tried to torture the numbers to prove that alienating the rEVOLution cost Romney the election, using wildly varying and unlikely assumptions of voter behavior. But those 2.1 million (let alone Gary Johnson's 1.2 million) fall short of the 4 million gap between Obama and Romney. The professionals in the Paul political machine seem reluctant even to suggest they had an influence on Romney's defeat. Paul himself knows there is no way of knowing; even before the election he said that no matter what happened, "the status quo would win."

Still, the 2012 election had some upsides for the liberty movement. Three Paul-endorsed freshmen will be entering the House of Representatives this year—Kentucky's Thomas Massie, Florida's Ted Yoho, and Michigan's Kerry Bentivolio—along with one sort-of freshman who held a seat for a term in the mid-'90s, Texas's Steve Stockman. One of Paul's six Senate endorsements, Texan Ted Cruz, also won. And Justin Amash, most Paul fans' favorite politician not named Paul, won re-election to his Michigan House seat after redistricting. Gary Johnson became the first LP presidential candidate to finish in third place since a guy named Ron Paul did so, 24 years earlier. 

Ron's son Rand, the first-term senator from Kentucky, is clearly angling to follow in his father's footsteps, and he is widely expected to run for president in 2016. But on some substance and most style he's going about it in an altogether different manner.

Rand, who was given a prime speaking slot at the Republican National Convention, does not go out of his way to offend the sensibilities of a modal GOP voter. He
can sound jingoistic about his reasons for opposing foreign aid in one breath, then acknowledge the reality of foreign policy blowback in the next. He adds to an Iran sanctions bill a measure stating that it does not grant explicit war powers, then votes for the sanctions. He endorsed Romney in June (drawing widespread criticism from fans of his father), then slammed the GOP frontrunner for believing that the president can unilaterally declare war. He makes his opposition to abortion as loud and prominent as his opposition to deficit spending. "Rand needs to be able to bring about what [Michele] Bachmann tried to do," says Wead. "Unite the evangelical and libertarian wings of the party." 

In the absence of any politician on the scene as uncompromising as Ron Paul, some of his fans think it's time to give up on electoral politics for now. "No more Ted Cruzes, Jim DeMints, or Mike Lees," says Austrian economics popularizer Tom Woods, dismissing the fiscally conservative senators from Texas, South Carolina, and Utah. "There's a wing of the movement badgering us into thinking that's the best we can get and we should be darn happy, but I'm not happy because war is the most important issue and those people are all terrible on that. I don't want to wade into national politics with a milquetoast substitute for Ron. If we don't have a really good guy, sit it out." 

But other Paulites sound like they are in electoral politics for the long game. Marianne Stebbins ran the very successful Minnesota operation for Paul, which nabbed 80 percent of the state delegation. She told a crowd of nearly 10,000 at a Paul rally held in Tampa the day before the RNC that "we were successful because we came together five years ago, networked, organized, began sharing the message of liberty with neighbors and co-workers.…We were setting up ham radio clubs. We were buying and splitting sides of steer and bison. Drinking raw milk off our friends' farms. We were helping each other with our businesses.…We trade with each other. We work to be physically and mentally fit so that we are self-sufficient. We self-employ. Maybe we homeschool, but we teach our children to be self-sufficient and to live free."

For people like Stebbins, though still into electoral politics, the politics part seems almost an afterthought. It is this strand of the rEVOLution's DNA that promises to impact American culture and lives above and beyond any single campaign for office.

Paul himself is cagey about his specific activities in 2013 and beyond. He reclaimed his title as honorary chairman of the Campaign for Liberty, and activists from Young Americans for Liberty are confident he'll hit the campus speaking trail again. "The movement for liberty would be a failure if it was linked to one party," Paul says. "A true revolution has to be pervasive and infiltrate everyone."

So Ron Paul ran for president and won. Not the presidency, but over two million highly energetic people who—when given the chance—voted for peace, freedom, and sound money. The results of the general election seemed to indicate that a GOP without its Paul faction is at best a losing party. His faction is not going away, and with Romney's drubbing and a country that doesn't seem as if it is going to escape its fiscal tailspin any time soon, they bid fair to be even more influential in 2016. That isn't the same as leading the free world, but it's more than Paul bargained for when he first entered into politics.  

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139 responses to “Ron Paul's Last Stand

  1. If Romney was about to be inaugurated, nothing would be different. Every cycle the GOP hammers libertarians and conservatives to shut up and get behind the country clubber du jour. Meh Romney, Old maniac McCain, idiot George W,…

    2016 will see another GOP old money douchebag emerge and once again he’ll be sold as our only chance to save the country.

    1. How dare you notice a pattern. How dare you.

    2. I googled “libertarian candidate wins election” and guess how many hits came up? ZERO. Losers are as losers do.

      1. D-

        Way too obvious. No serious thought put into post. Hardly anything to respond to. Too bland to be worth of ire.

        Try harder next time. I recommend working in something about spoiling elections for your preferred TEAM.

        1. You’re too generous. I’d give it an… what’s below an F?

          1. My dad tell a story about how he received a “K” on an exam once, with a note “Is English spoken in your home?”

            1. Now that’s some funny shit.

      2. Try googling “suppression of third parties”, skeezix.

      3. I loathe to reply to the troll, but for the record, New Hampshire has had some success with local candidates (free staters)

  2. 2016 will see another GOP old money douchebag emerge and once again he’ll be sold as our only chance to save the country.

    ….and lose spectacularly again! Time for the GOP to GOAway.

    1. You should vote on that. Oh you did and lost. Libertarians are such ignorant losers they don’t know they lost.

      1. Hi Mary! How are the cheekbones?

      2. D-

        See comment at 12:40 above…

      3. Republocrats are such ignorant winners they don’t know they lost. Oppression at the whims of the majority = wealth destruction, a loss for everybody.

  3. But those 2.1 million (let alone Gary Johnson’s 1.2 million) fall short of the 4 million gap between Obama and Romney.

    Ron Paul didn’t need to close that 4 million gap. He just needed 500,000 to 1 million votes in the swing states.

  4. The GOP leadership is absolutely tone deaf to the “libertarian”/Paulite faction and will fight tooth-and-nail to keep those elements out of the power structure. See: Amash, Justin.

    1. What’s really hilarious is that the GOP leadership looks at us with suspicion, but if you ever ask a progressive what a libertarian is they’ll give you some bizarre spiel about how ‘Libertarians are just like those GODDAMN NEOCONS!’

      I honestly think progs operate on some sort of one drop rule, where if you agree with Republicans on anything you are not to be trusted.

    2. That is because they took a vote and you lost. Only libertarians are stupid enough to think voting is tyranny. Yeah, if you are a loser libertarian.

      1. I happen to be a winner libertarian, fuckface.

      2. Mary, Mary quite contrary.
        How does your medicine cabinet grow?

        1. They play that in the Teletubbies intro!

      3. Each of your personalities is less interesting than the last, Mary.

      4. That is because they took a vote and you lost. Only libertarians are stupid enough to think voting is tyranny. Yeah, if you are a loser libertarian.

        Really boooring.

  5. The GOP will loose, and will continue to loose, until it realizes that it is the party of white Americans. It is the party of the historical American nation. But it doesn’t represent white Americans. White Americans have been clear about what they want. They oppose immigration and they oppose war. They don’t want to send their sons to die for Israel or Saudi Arabia, or for “democracy” for Arabs. But the Neo-Cons who run the GOP represent the forces of war, cheap labor, and “diversity.” They would rather die than admit that they are the party of white Americans, and so they will die. The greatest swing vote is not Hispanics, it’s not Cubans or Asians or Jews. It’s white Americans. What do you think would be easier for the GOP, improving their Hispanic share from 27% to 57% or improving their white share from 59% to 63%?

    1. and the Dem Party represents whom, statist Americans of all colors? Just stop and begin by stopping to divide Americans into neat little bundles by skin color, gender, ethnicity, and all those other markers that are part and parcel of Dem politics.

      The Repubs lost credibility by talking about small govt, then doing their level best to avoid putting that principle into practice. Dems are at least honest about their desire to tax and regulate everything and everyone. And given that Obama has either kept or expanded every Bush-era terror program, perhaps those whites ought to reconsider their actions.

      1. It’s Mary, dude.

      2. “neat little bundles by skin color, gender, ethnicity, and all those other markers that are part and parcel of Dem politics.”
        It seems to work out well for the Dems. Race and “ethnicity” are very important. RINOs and Cosmotarians keep telling us we need to “appeal to Hispanics.” But how can we. They support socialism just as much as they support open borders. Don’t even get me started on
        African Americans. Jews and Asians are only marginally more likely to support libertarianism. Our politics are not about the issues, they are about what America you represent. The Dems do well among these groups, as well as among Yankee north easterners, by appealing to their natural revulsion toward historical America. If the Republican party wants to win, they have to act more like the Democrats. They have to mobilize white Americans, they need to oppose immigration and war. My message is that the GOP should appeal to white Americans, not that white Americans should vote for the GOP. If they choose too, they should do so on their own terms, like the Ron Paul delegates.

    2. *barf*

      1. Typicall.

  6. loose

    Ban yourself from the internet for at least 30 days for that.

    1. You get a 10 minute ban for mis-threading!

      1. 10-minute misconduct. hockey is back.

        1. The abomination that Gary Bettman turned the NHL into is back, but real hockey never went away.

    2. I would like to learn more about this trend of Republicans getting loose. Could you talk about this please?

  7. The GOP will never win until they offer more free shit to the public. And learn to manage their image better.

    Touting cuts and responsibility is just dumb – doubly so if you never actually intended to do it in the first place. By 2016 they’ll control neither the White house nor either of the houses of congress. Luckily, no ‘third’ party will rise, so they’ll be propped up by savvy Democrats who know that they need someone to demonize.

    1. yup, seems the real lesson of the ’12 vote is that the tipping point has been reached. Things like limited govt, individual liberty, and lower taxes are relics of a bygone era. The old JFK pronouncement of “ask not…” has been turned on its ass; today, it’s all about demanding, not even asking, that your country do for you.

      1. Well they’re freaking ‘entitled’ to it, it makes sense to demand it.

        1. Yeah, but when the doors blow off and there’s no more money for free shit we’ll have to swing back to the right, at least a little bit.

          It won’t be by choice, but this is so unsustainable that cuts will be forced on us eventually.

          1. Apparently, you are unaware that we have a $15,000,000,000,000 economy that is three times larger than China’s. As a conservative, I find this level of ignorance a sad statement about conservatives. Conservative is not latin for stupid bigot.

            1. I betcha you’re three times as large as a Chinaman.

              What – is the Weekly Standard site down or somethin’?…

      2. Kennedy was a fascist, and his quote is hideous.

        President Libertarius said: “Ask not what your country can do for you, nor what you can do for your country; ask what you can do for yourself, because no one else can live your life for you, so stop being a collectivist pussy.”

        1. Another libertarian dickhead, imagine that. Lost any elections lately? ALL OF THEM. Losers are as losers do.

          1. Off your meds again Mary? In a pinch…try vodka.

            1. In a pinch…try vodka cyanide.

              FIFY

      3. I can’t agree fully with the above 2 comments. If they were right the 2010 GOP wave should not have happened. And we should not have a clutch of serious reform-minded GOP governors with legislative control in charge of states like WI. We should not have RTW in Michigan. Free shit wouldn’t work for the GOP because the Dems own that angle with sincerity.

        1. Small pockets of variance will still ultimately trend to the norm. Especially when the propagators of the variance in those areas have national aspirations, which they always will.

          The 2010 ‘wave’ was still a ‘wave’ towards MORE unsupportable statism. It’s over.

        2. If they were right the 2010 GOP wave should not have happened.

          Let’s be completely honest: a huge percentage of the morons who make up Obama’s cult following voting base are too lazy to ever turn out for midterm elections, and midterm elections are almost always a reaction against the sitting president. They aren’t nearly as representative of the sheeple as the major elections.

          1. Dittoheads have little credibility when it comes to accusing others of not thinking for themselves. It is right in the name — dittohead. You do understand what ditto means?

            Let’s be honest? There is nothing honest about libertarians. There isn’t any such thing as a free market because they require honesty and transparency to work and neither exist or have ever existed. Republicans win some elections one time and everyone else is in a cult. Repeating the delusion doesn’t change it.

            1. “Dittos” became a R. Limbaugh show catchphrase early in his radio show’s history as a way to cut down on time spent praising Rush. As in: “Ditto what that previous caller just said, now to get to my question…” as opposed to every call beginning with: “Wow, I’ve been waiting for a show like this my whole life–finally there’s a radio show host who talks sense–you are saying the things I wish I could–etc.”

              1. Yes, exactly. They all think the same thing. Usually based on ignorance and a lack of facts.

            2. *There isn’t any such thing as a free market because they require honesty and transparency to work and neither exist or have ever existed.*

              Does democracy require no honesty or transparency to work, then? What about socialism, or any sort of centrally-planned economy? They work perfectly well in an atmosphere of deceit and obfuscation, right?

              1. Anything that requires voting requires honesty and transparency. Political markets are markets too? You are aware of this? Do I think our government should be more transparent and honest? Yes, of course. Do I think that citizens should be held to a similar standard? Yes, of course. But when a New York newspaper legally published the names of gun owners, transparency and honesty were suddenly bad?

                1. Anything that requires voting requires honesty and transparency.

                  Third-world nations would be shocked to hear this.

                2. Anything that requires voting requires honesty and transparency.

                  Is that you, Hugo Chavez?

                  Do I think that citizens should be held to a similar standard? Yes, of course.

                  citizens should be forced to be transparent and honest? I guess 50 years of “what happens in my bedroom is not your business” is out the door.

                  But when a New York newspaper legally published the names of gun owners, transparency and honesty were suddenly bad?

                  yes, because government transparency is the same as violating the privacy of citizens.

      4. Just fucking stop. Romney didn’t lose because he wasn’t democrat-lite enough, he lost because HE COULDN’T DIFFERENTIATE HIMSELF FROM THE FAILURE-IN-CHIEF.

    2. Like roads to nowhere? Like endless wars you didn’t pay for? Like tax cuts you didn’t pay for? Like Dick Cheney’s, “Deficits don’t matter.” As a conservative, I have come to realize that you don’t ever get the Republican dumbass you want, you always get the stupid bigot you have.

    3. Like roads to nowhere? Like endless wars you didn’t pay for? Like tax cuts you didn’t pay for? Like Dick Cheney’s, “Deficits don’t matter.” As a conservative, I have come to realize that you don’t ever get the Republican dumbass you want, you always get the stupid bigot you have.

    4. You do realize that Mission Accomplished kumbya Republicans have little credibility when they were doling out free shit to Iraq. Bush lost a $13 million dollar pallet of cash. Maybe you morons are easy to vilify because you are villains. You idiots think Robin Hoods is the bad guy. Talk about deluded.

      1. Who are you arguing against here? Republicans? Libertarians? All of the above?

        1. Who am I arguing against?

          1. Are you that schozphrenic you don’t even know?

      2. You idiots think Robin Hoods is the bad guy.

        Nonsense. Robin Hood was redistributing the taxes that the government was enforcing and giving it back to the people in a manner outside of the government’s control. He also maintained his own private property in Sherwood Forest without the government taking anything from him in recompense. Robin Hood was English folklore’s greatest libertarian.

        1. Unfortunately the Disneyfied version isn’t about sticking it to the taxman but “robbing the rich to give to the poor”. And that right there is your basic problem with society.

          1. The Robin Hood story I got growing up in England was that Robin Hood robbed the rich to give to the poor.

            And robbery is about as far opposite to libertarianism as you can get…

  8. It is ironic that the person who claims to love markets then ignores them when they clearly state their disapproval of deluded policies not grounded in facts or evidence.

    1. *barf*

      1. Spoken like a truely dimwitted and lazy libertarian.

          1. And now we know why libertarians don’t win elections – ever. Losers are as losers do.

            1. This is fascinating. Did you vote for Obama, Mary? Do you feel like *you* won something because of that? Do you realize that not a single person voted for you, and not one of the people you voted for gives half a shit about you? Are you just a winner because of some idiotic identity politics? Or are you still just completely alone and delusional?

              1. Mary is the type of person who takes personal credit and personal pride when athletes wearing a uniform with colors she likes defeat their competitors in a sporting match. “Hurr durr! “We” won! Suck it losers!”

    2. So you are going long on the rationality of the unwashed welfare masses who voted for obozo? Don’t lecture us about “facts or evidence”, bub; your lamestream media talking points don’t fly here.

      Here’s the real facts and evidence for the adults in the room: the dollar is going down and it’s going to take the fed gov with it. Ron Paul was right.

      1. Wow, you sound like all the other deluded idiots on this site.

        The dollar is going down? Really, then why aren’t interest rates going up? Yeah, try sticking to reality. And even if it did, oh like it did in the 1980s which boosted manufacturing because it makes exports cheaper? Like what China does to its currency? Wow, you aren’t just dumb, you are dumber than dumb.

        1. Uh…when did manufacturing rebound in the 1980s? I knew that was a lie the instant I heard it, so I quickly checked and found several academic papers which say that that’s a lie.

          http://www.bls.gov/mlr/1990/09/art1exc.htm

          Excerpt: “Many manufacturing and mining industries never recovered from the two recessions” and manufacturing “remained at about 23 percent of GNP over the decade while FACTORY JOBS DROPPED FROM 23 PERCENT to 18 PERCENT OF EMPLOYMENT.”

          Emphasis mine. So manufacturing as a percentage of GNP was unchanged and the percentage of people working in manufacturing dropped substantially. Boy, that sure is a boost to manufacturing! And we’re the liars?

          1. Sorry, but I didn’t say “rebound” so maybe your are a liar, maybe just incompetent. It is hard to tell the two apart. You can’t even quote someone properly? I said boosted and didn’t use any statistics because people didn’t vote for Reagan based on facts and evidence, thank you for providing the evidence for that. I guess we now know why libertarians don’t win elections. So, Mercedez, BMW, Toyota and Honda didn’t build plants in the US in the 80s? Google news says otherwise.

            1. Sorry, but I didn’t say “rebound” so maybe your are a liar

              And even if it did, oh like it did in the 1980s which boosted manufacturing because it makes exports cheaper?

        2. Re: Mary Mary Quite Contrary,

          The dollar is going down? Really, then why aren’t interest rates going up?

          Your lack of familiarity with economics is astounding. The reason interest rates are not going up is because the Federal Reserve keeps printing money (and yes, it is a metaphor for what the Fed does) in order to maintain the supply above demand. This IS inflation, and the Fed will not be able to do it forever, so interest rates WILL go up.

          And the dollar IS going down. So are other currencies that are being inflated in kind, but that does NOT mean the supply of dollars is shrinking or constant.

          And even if it did, oh like it did in the 1980s which boosted manufacturing because it makes exports cheaper?

          Again, your lack of familiarity with basic economis is appalling (albeit not surprising): Whereas debasing the currency does indeed make goods for export cheaper, it also makes other very necessary goods more expensive – like capital goods and other imports. So whatever “benefit” you may get from currency devaluation, it is more than offset by increasingly higher prices for local producers and consumers.

          For the US, the 80s did not see the high levels of inflation we’re seeing today and, instead, saw an increase in IMPORTS from Japan and Hong Kong. Your contention that there was a cheaper money policy during the 80’s does not jive with reality.

    3. Pretty average troll. I give it a six.

      1. Mary again….looks like she’s off her meds.

        1. Is this what constitutes intellectual discourse amongst libertarians? No wonder you people loser EVERY SINGLE ELECTION. Hilarious. Markets work? You losers still keep thinking you are winners, so markets clearly don’t work.

        2. Is Mary the same creature as rather? Or am I confusing her with another troll?

          1. Yeah. That’s the general belief.

          2. You’re confusing her with most of the other trolls. She seems to have a lot of time on her hands.

        3. She must have gotten bored at Zerohedge quicker than I expected.

    4. What does half the people who don’t pay any taxes voting to force the half that does to buy them stuff have to do with markets?

      1. They do pay taxes. Everyone pays sales and property taxes. In my state of Wisconsin, 66% of corporations pay no taxes. Maybe you should try some reality for a change.

        1. Of course you’re from Wisconsin. I was there when the real deluded fools were congregating around the state capital.

          Tell me, do the progressive drones that make up the city of Madison still smell as bad as they did when I was there?

          1. Yes, you are another idiot. Here is how Walker is hurting Wisconsin. Walker cut wages to public employees who spend their money in Wisconsin at local businesses, but not capital expenditures, most of which leaves the state. Schools buy computers – money leaves the state. Schools buy software – money leaves the state. Schools hire online tutors – money leaves the state. Republicans aren’t just dumb, they are dumber than dumb.

            1. Oh Mary, you’re from Wisconsin just as much as Chony is from Oklahoma.

            2. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Money leaves the state? Do you have any idea how markets work? You spend money out of state so that you get a product you want. The reason you spend it out of state is so that you get the product more cheaply than your state could produce it. Both people win! Or would you rather we return to 1730’s mercantilism? Because that sounds like your preferred economic system.

              Also, when Walker took over the unemployment rate was 8.3 percent. It is now 6.7 percent. Compare that to the left wing promised land of California, a state where they’re crowing that their unemployment fell below 10 percent for the first time in 5 years. And that’s mostly because people left the labor force.

              TROLL HARDER!

              1. Why are you talking to it?

              2. The money that is leaving the state are tax dollars, not Walker’s money. So, you mindless drivel makes little sense. You clearly don’t know anything about alternatives. Most of what is bought is a service which could easily be purchased in state. For example, the local college spends $100,000 a year on Blackboard that leaves the state when they could use Moodle and hire two administrators who are Wisconsin citizens and live in state.

                Who says the unemployment rate is 6.7%? Walker? You do realize that he has his own numbers based on double-counting. He said that thousands of jobs were created before the recall and then afterwards they were all lost in one fell swoop.

            3. Re: Mary Mary Quite Contrary,

              Walker cut wages to public employees who spend their money in Wisconsin at local businesses, but not capital expenditures, most of which leaves the state.

              The above doubletalk is the direct result of the Amerikan Pulbic Skool Educashion Dat Teeches Kidz 2 Red an Writ.

              First of all, this “buy local” is an obvious economic canard from an economics ignorant nitwit. Second, a Capital expenditure may mean you send money that may go out of the state, but also means GAINING a capital good which will produce other goods. That’s the idea of spending on Capital – to produce more valuable things.

              Schools buy computers – money leaves the state. Schools buy software – money leaves the state.

              State GAINS computers, State GAINS software.

              This is just imbecilic. Your knowledge of economics does not even reach the level of bare familiarity, much less enough to even opine on the subject.

              1. Dude, this dumb bitch doesn’t even understand how those public employees are paid in the first place. My god but she is an annoying cunt.

              2. No, the state wastes my taxes on software it could have gotten for free and computers that would have had a multiplier effect in the state creating more jobs and more revenue in the end. Sorry, but it isn’t your money loser, you will have to earn it like the rest of us.

                So, now you are socializing your stupidity on the government again? Will the freeloading socialism never end. Its not your parents fault you are dumb, it is the governments. It isn’t a pizza restaurants fault it went out of business, it is the FDA’s for wanting it to be honest. THE HORROR OF HONESTY. Liberty doesn’t include the right to be a backstabbing liar. Go fuck yourself.

                1. Software produced in Wisconsin is free, you see.

                  Jesus. You were a way better troll when you were gamboling across field and plain. Maybe you should try that again.

        2. So in Wisconsin you pay Federal sales and property taxes on top of local and state sales and property taxes? No wonder you’re so up tight…

          1. Yes, but we aren’t Florida or Arizona. I don’t have any problems paying more if it gets rid of libertarians. Small price to pay and all.

            1. Btu if WE leave, we take our MONEY with us.

              1. You mean your gold. Sorry, but I don’t know any rich libertarians. And since that is gubernment money, why do you have any at all. You hate the government that backs the money you love to hate? Say whaaaaa.

                1. Must be why your state’s budget is so flush. Wisconsin don’t need none of them thar Peter Thiel types fucking up their quality of life. Hurrrrrrr durrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

                  By the way, ossifer, am I free to gambol across state lines?

    5. Re: Mary Mary Quite Contrary,

      It is ironic that the person who claims to love markets then ignores them when they clearly state their disapproval[…]

      Elections are not markets, Mary.

      […] of[sic] deluded policies not grounded in facts or evidence

      To what policies are you alluding?

      So far the current policy of spending your way to prosperity has only brought more debt and less production, so I don’t understand your contention.

      1. Elections aren’t markets? Yes they are loser. Apparently someone should tell John Stuart Mill. Then why is free speech so important Losers? Wow, you aren’t just dumb, you are dumber than dumb. You can call me all the names you want, you will still be dumber than a rock. No offense to rocks for at least know to not say anything.

        1. Re: Mary Mary Quite Contrary,

          Elections aren’t markets? Yes they are loser.

          No, they are not, blockhead.

          Markets are build entirely on exchange between individuals. Elections are not, there’s no exchange; they’re not better than opinion polls.

          Apparently someone should tell John Stuart Mill.

          Somebody should tell you that John Stuart Mill did not suggest that elections are markets.

          Then why is free speech so important Losers?

          What does this have to do with the above? You’re flying off a tangent here.

          You can call me all the names you want, you will still be dumber than a rock.

          This is rich coming from a person that confuses markets with elections.

          1. Wow you are that dumb. You are confusing “markets” with economic markets. It is often a mistake of the ignorant to confuse them. Elections are competitive and have winners and losers just like markets but instead of using money you use votes. Really, you are ignorant. No kidding. Let me guess, you barely have a high school education. If Reason is where you go to get information you should know that deductive reasoning only gets you a communal delusion.

            1. Uhhhh, competition != market. Also, markets have no inherent losers since they are based on voluntary exchange. No exchange would take place unless both parties were satisfied that they had gained something they valued more highly than what they gave up. You should have tried gamboling into your local community college – even the washout professors there could have at least defined a market for you.

    6. About 40% of eligible voters chose not to vote for President. If we carry your “elections are like markets” premise forward we see that a plurality of the market did not like any of the “products” available. What does that say about the two main “products” available?

      *Note I’m not agreeing with your premise that elections are like markets. It’s easy to show that they are not. I’m just pointing out that your premise, if accepted, indicts everyone in the political system.

      1. Yes, I would agree that they are less than perfect but better than everything else. If you bring in third parties, you often end up with a candidate like Jesse Ventura who really isn’t in power by consent of the majority. So, his authority is immensely diminished. If you want to bring in more candidates you would have to move to a ranking system for voting where you would put a one next to your first choice, then a two next to your second choice and so on.

        1. I assume the lack if replies is because this makes so little sense it can’t even be refuted?

  9. Pauls’ (and our) problems lie not just with the GOP establishment, but with the establishment in general. Particularly when it comes to Foreign Policy. The Social Issues are more just noise and pandering particularly in a Presidential race. The Miliarty Industrial Complex is fully supported by the GOP and DNC as well as the media. In addition, the multi-national corps including those that own the media want to expand markets (both retail stores and manufacturing bases) across the globe and they want to use the US Military to make those places safe to do business and to provide continuing security. Paul’s criticism of our foreign policy was what caused the greatest backlash and not just against the other smug ahole gop candidates.

    1. And of course there is also the Federal Reserve which the Banking industry will not allow to go away.

      1. You are apparently unaware that before the fed there was the Bank of the US that was on again off again depending on the recession. It is pretty sad that a magazine called Reason, which was founded by lawyers, has to rely on so much ignorance for its success.

        1. Drink!

        2. There were two Banks of the United States, with 20 year charters. The second Bank of the United States’ charter ended in 1837. That’s pretty well known among Paulites and the people on this board.

          Also, fuck off.

          1. Thank you for proving AlmightyJB wrong. Dumbass.

            1. The Fed was created in 1913. 1837 to 1913 is a pretty large gap. Dumbass.

  10. How many deluded libertarians does it take to lose an election? All of them. Losers are as losers do.

  11. It would be great if Reason published a test on The Wealth of Nations, so we can see Ron Paul and the rest of the libertarians fail like they do at everything else.

    1. Re: Mary Mary Quite Contrary,

      It would be great if Reason published a test on The Wealth of Nations, so we can see Ron Paul and the rest of the libertarians fail like they do at everything else.

      Why don’t you post one and see how it goes?

      Put your money where your mouth is.

      1. Losers R as losers do, Ol’ Mex.

  12. Maybe you missed the last few elections. Let me recap for you:

    GOP Power Broker Selected Presidential Candidates:
    Bob Dole, loser
    G.H.W. Bush, loser
    John McCain, loser
    Romney, loser

    Reluctantly Accepted by the Power Brokers running against … Al Gore and John Kerry (the Democrat equivalents of John McCain)
    G.W Bush, winner by a hair

    See how it works? I spell loser… GOP.

    Do the GOP and Donkey party honchos cook the rules to keep power? YEP!
    Can the GOP win without the Libertarian wing? NOPE!

    So if you like the result you got, keep on doing what you have been doing.

    1. Keep telling yourself that and keep losing.

    2. But G.H.W. Bush won one, too. And I wouldn’t characterize McCain as the choice of power brokers! I might, however, consider him among the Reluctantly Accepted.

  13. Political markets are markets too?

    No. Your political “market” is anything but a free market.

    Franz Oppenheimer gave us the maxim that all action can be categorized as either a political means or an economic means.

    In a free market, I can choose what I want and I am not forced to abide by someone else’s terms if I don’t like those terms AND I still retain control over my person and property. In a free market, other participants can’t vote me into jail or vote to take my property.

  14. Re: Mary Mary Quite Contrary,

    Walker cut wages to public employees who spend their money in Wisconsin at local businesses, but not capital expenditures, most of which leaves the state.

    The above doubletalk is the direct result of the Amerikan Pulbic Skool Educashion Dat Teeches Kidz 2 Red an Writ.

    First of all, this “buy local” is an obvious economic canard from an economics ignorant nitwit. Second, a Capital expenditure may mean you send money that may go out of the state, but also means GAINING a capital good which will produce other goods. That’s the idea of spending on Capital – to produce more valuable things.

    Schools buy computers – money leaves the state. Schools buy software – money leaves the state.

    State GAINS computers, State GAINS software.

    This is just imbecilic. Your knowledge of economics does not even reach the level of bare familiarity, much less enough to even opine on the subject.

  15. Re: Mary Mary Quite Contrary,

    The dollar is going down? Really, then why aren’t interest rates going up?

    Your lack of familiarity with economics is astounding. The reason interest rates are not going up is because the Federal Reserve keeps printing money (and yes, it is a metaphor for what the Fed does) in order to maintain the supply above demand. This IS inflation, and the Fed will not be able to do it forever, so interest rates WILL go up.

    And the dollar IS going down. So are other currencies that are being inflated in kind, but that does NOT mean the supply of dollars is shrinking or constant.

    And even if it did, oh like it did in the 1980s which boosted manufacturing because it makes exports cheaper?

    Again, your lack of familiarity with basic economis is appalling (albeit not surprising): Whereas debasing the currency does indeed make goods for export cheaper, it also makes other very necessary goods more expensive – like capital goods and other imports. So whatever “benefit” you may get from currency devaluation, it is more than offset by increasingly higher prices for local producers and consumers.

    For the US, the 80s did not see the high levels of inflation we’re seeing today and, instead, saw an increase in IMPORTS from Japan and Hong Kong. Your contention that there was a cheaper money policy during the 80’s does not jive with reality.

    1. So, NO INTEREST RATES HAVE NOT GONE UP. Yeah dumbass which means the dollar hasn’t lost value. Metaphors don’t prove anything. You didn’t provide a single fact to support your delusion, instead you agreed with me that interest rates have not gone up. ha ha loser.

      No, there was cheaper oil in the 80s which made everything else cheaper. The Iran / Iraq War? Pay attention.

      1. Lol, wut?

        1. Government borrowing costs = value of the dollar! HURRRRRRRRRRRR DURRRRRRRRRRRRRR

  16. we need a troll cleanup on aisle 3.

  17. I’m going to guess that majority of Romney supporters in the primary actually agreed with Paul’s fiscal position, and wouldn’t have minded if the wars came to an end and everyone went home. But they didn’t vote RP.

    Many conservative leaning sites and talk radio did not support Romney early on. Romneycare was definitely an issue. So how was he able to put away his GOP competition in such convincing fashion?

    Face it, the GOP’s base is center right “moderates” who’ll eventually throw their support to the winner. The evangelicals, tea partiers and Paulites are a noisy minority or pluraity, their candidates just won’t win.

    Paulites have the exact same problem as the GOP. If your group mainly consist of mostly white midwesternish people / college kids, you’re not going anywhere. I could be minding my own business online and get hit by random Obama ads.

  18. The teaser referred to “Romney’s drubbing”, only that didn’t happen. The Republican Party is still highly competitive nationwide, and dominant in some areas. Must Reason too exaggerate the outcome of particular elections?

    Influential observers tend to over-interpret events. A special election of a US senator in Penna. was taken as a mandate for socialized medicine, but a few years later the abandonment of Hillarycare (which was undertaken in response to this apparent mandate) was taken as a rejection of the Democrats and of socialized medicine. But then a few years on we got Medicare D and then Obamacare. Stopped clock, you know. Inflation’s coming eventually too, but when?

  19. My only regret from supporting Ron Paul is that some douchebag in his campaign (probably Benton) stole his mailing list. I got a hell of a lot of junk mail from assholes like Boehner and Romney asking me for money.

    -jcr

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