Monday, December 17, 2007

Various Thoughts on Ron Paul

I've had two Ron Paul bumper stickers on my car for about three months now. I am supporting him until I can get more excited about someone else. True, that's not a ringing endorsement, but what it comes down to is that I'm not excited about voting Republican.

I am excited about the strides the Paul campaign has made. I've watched his coverage go from hatchet job to serious interview on Bill Maher's HBO show. He's been on Leno, and is going to be on Meet The Press, on December 23rd. The big news is that he raised over $6 million in one day- yesterday.

Even the press on the left is taking notice, and not merely sneering. Mother Jones has an article online today. From The Nation's report:
And Paul is continuing to raise money -- largely small contributions from individuals who in many cases have never before given money to a campaign -- at a remarkable rate.

The congressman's campaign is dramatically exceeding fundraising expectations in the current quarter. The campaign's unreasonable goal of $12 million has been exceeded by more than 50 percent already and there is every reason to believe that Paul will almost certainly finish the quarter with more than $20 million raised.

Paul could well end up raising more than any of the other Republican contenders and providing the only serious competition for Democratic money leaders Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

There is an article in the Washington Post online that doesn't look much like a Ron Paul article in the WP, and notable blogger Andrew Sullivan has endorsed Paul. Of course, with success come hatchet jobs. The most notable is from Daily Kos, calling Paul and his supporters "white supremacists". How's that go? First they ignore you, then they attack you...

So, it's exciting. But I'm torn. I'm a Libertarian Party partisan, but I also support non-LP candidates who will promote liberty. I'm not about to get too hung up on who gets the policies of liberty across, so long as they do.

But fact is, if Paul gets even moderate support from the Republican Party leadership, the Libertarian Party is done. The GOP will be able to say, with a straight face, that their party is the rightful home for supporters of limited government. They can't do it now, although some people refuse to see the GOP for what it is- a big government party that looks like a small government party, only because it has the Democrats to compare to.

With the burst of money and press, Paul is probably going to surge, and that's great! But as more primary election deadlines approach, many Libertarian partisans, many of whom voted for Ron Paul the LP candidate in 1988, will be changing their affiliations from 'L' to 'R'.

According to Paul's website, the following states have the following deadlines to change registrations, so as to be eligible to vote in the Republican primaries:

New Jersey - Today, Dec 17
Nevada - Dec. 19
Hawaii - Dec. 26
Kentucky - Dec. 31
Florida - Dec. 31

As enthusiastic as I am right now for the Paul campaign, I truly believe there is no way he will win the Republican nomination. It's just too much to ask of the GOP core to go from standing with the President on Iraq, and then switching 180 degrees to supporting Dr. Paul. In the meantime, earnest supporters will change their affiliations from 'L' to 'R', thus weakening the standing of the Libertarian Party in those states, and possibly threatening the ballot access for the LP. Indiana is not a registration state, so this won't be a factor here.

The LP has done nothing to make me look past Ron Paul. It's ironic, but the one libertarian candidate in the big dance might be the death of the Libertarian Party.

I'm open to other views on this. What say?


wainstead said...

I think two things really cheese off DailyKos:

1. There are *Democrats* supporting RP. The horror!

2. RP raised enough money to choke a cow... from *regular people*! I mean, who's the party of regular people around here? Not the GOP! Nossir!

Melyssa said...

Why can't Ron Paul simply defect from the Republicans after he wins? It's not like they support him and he owes them anything.

I suggested to Greg Ballard that he do the same thing before the election. I hope Greg does defect from the Republicans. Who could blame him?

I'm wearing a Ron Paul bumper sticker too! I don't care if he's from the Martian party if he will get rid of the IRS!

Scott Tibbs said...

In the unlikely event that Paul wins the GOP nomination, I suspect many of his most enthusiastic supporters (who base their support for RP on his anti-war stance) would run to the Democrats. Many of RP's beliefs are fair;y "radical" conservative: abolish the IRS, withdraw from the UN, slash the federal government to a tiny fraction of what it is today, and so forth. I can's imagine many anti-war liberals would stay with a pro-life libertarian for long.

I suspect support for Paul would be a lot stronger in conservative quarters if he didn't oppose the war in Iraq.

Mike Kole said...

Scott, I agree that RP will have a tough time winning over the GOP base. As I posted, for them to stick with Bush on the war and then spin 180 to Paul is just too much for most to handle. I think, however, if his position was nuanced in some way- I opposed the war, but now believe we need to stay to clean up the mess; or some other of many possible variants- he would probably do better with the base.

I think this is also important to note: The bases of either the Republicans or Democrats is far smaller than that vast number of independent voters who are turned off by the usual R & D positions and politicians. Ron Paul is none of that, which is another reason he is doing so well right now. He's the only guy on the Republican card who is wholly distinct.

As for the anti-war liberals, it depends on their devotion to the issue. He's going to run left of everyone besides Dennis Kucinich on the war (not on defense, mind you). There may well be that number of voters who usually vote Democrat who just won't want to vote Hilary or Obama because of their war voting records, and who might find Paul perhaps not electable enough to vote for, or simply not cast a Presidential vote at all- kind of how Ballard defeated Peterson.

Andrew Kaduk said...

Without opposition to the war, many of Paul's philosophies don't make sense. Being anti-war is the only way his thoughts and beliefs remain consistent.