Posted by Brad @ 3:17 pm on October 1st 2013

Buy Ron Paul’s 1979 Chevrolet Chevette!

And it’s got a story I had not heard before behind it.

Whatever you think of Ron Paul’s politics, he’s got such an adorable avuncular charm.

Posted by Adam @ 1:10 pm on July 4th 2013

While I’m trawling old posts

I would note that Brad was in on the Ron Paul thing not just early, but also with gusto. It’s easy to look back at successful campaigns which took off from humble beginnings and feel that it was obvious all along, but it’s also pretty easy to back a damp squib (at least I didn’t back Giuliani! My failed candidate had the virtue of not stressing any of us out too much and he can sell you an excellent reverse mortgage, to boot, whereas Giuliani would let you marry your same-sex partner, but only in anti-terrorist permanent detention).

So, in summary, I think we can conclude that Brad is responsible for Ron Paul’s success and the rest of us can bask in his glory.

Posted by Rojas @ 1:28 pm on February 11th 2013

My name is my name!

Ron Paul wants for his own use. The website owners, who have put five years into the site on behalf of his movement, want compensation for it. Dr. Paul disagrees, and has apparently made an attempt to get the UN organization in charge of monitoring domain registrations to turn it over to him for free.

I am not sure how I feel about this–there are interesting arguments, both legal and moral, on both sides. But it is, to say the very least, bad PR for Dr. Paul, who has been piling up a fair amount of such lately

Posted by Brad @ 10:03 pm on August 29th 2012

Ladies and Gentlemen, Ron Paul

This happened. Tonight, at the Republican National Convention.

Posted by Brad @ 11:11 pm on July 5th 2012

The Technology Revolution: A Campaign for Liberty Manifesto

So where might the Revolution go next? According to his campaign team, the next step on the liberty train is to be internet freedom, which is intended to supersede even End the Fed as the next Paul hobbyhorse.

Kentucky senator Rand and his father Ron Paul, who has not yet formally conceded the Republican presidential nomination, will throw their weight behind a new online manifesto set to be released today by the Paul-founded Campaign for Liberty. The new push, Paul aides say, will in some ways displace what has been their movement’s long-running top priority, shutting down the Federal Reserve Bank. The move is an attempt to stake a libertarian claim to a central public issue of the next decade, and to move from the esoteric terrain of high finance to the everyday world of cable modems and Facebook.

This is all great, in a shallow sense. When I get in actual discussions about libertarianism with people, who view it as a kind of utopianism, the internet is usually the example I give of what a nearly pure libertarian “state” would look like (or the Amish; it depends on my mood). It really is one of the cleanest examples around of how that might play out writ large, warts and all.

However, as Brian Doherty reports, in typical Jesse Benton fashion, it’s not really enough to just claim the mantle of internet freedom and find constructive ways to work towards that end. No, one must immediately start such an effort by setting up an “Us vs. Them” mentality, where “Us” is the Paul brand and “Them” is any other pigfucker that dare try to advance roughly the same cause from any other starting point (and, unspoken, anybody else that might compete for donations). So, the manifesto is short on specific discussions of common enemies, and more appears to be geared at trying to pick fights with groups who are advancing internet freedom from a progressive bent.

Some of which I appreciate, to be sure – one can very easily hurt internet freedom by trying to just go after corporations in short sighted and vindictive ways, one can argue that one of the greatest threats to internet freedom is the “commons” argument, which implies the government needs to claim ownership of and then regulate bandwidth as they used to with radio/TV, and under the rubric of internet freedom, some initially progressively-veiled notions like Net Neutrality would be really, really terrible for the cause in practice.

I appreciate all of that.

But at the same time, going out of your way to pick fights with progressives and immediately enter the realm of “internet freedom” by going after the people who have been working their asses off for the cause, even if you disagree with their bent, for years and years while you’ve been sleeping on it, strikes me as narcissistic, petty, cynical, and counter productive. If your actual goal was to advance internet freedom, the FIRST thing you do, I think, is to start going out to the orgs like the Electronic Frontier Foundation or the ACLU or other places who have been doing good work on this for a long time, and plugging yourself in with them. Even if you have disagreements with them, finding the common ground first seems to me to be the only sensible approach.

But of course, that’s not how the Paul team, lead by Benton, approach these kinds of things. Instead, they view everything from a competitive advantage standpoint, and to their mind, anybody that does not explicitly sign on to be subsumed to Paul is an enemy, even if working for the same cause. Paul himself is not generally this way (either Paul, actually), but if Benton had his way, you can guarantee that Dennis Kucinich or Jim Jeffords or Barney Frank would never have entered the conversation on issues – instead they would have been crucified for being Trojan Horses whose support for the cause was merely a smokescreen masking their real collectivist agenda etc. etc. etc. Paul seems to intuitively understand both comity and creating working alliances on an issue by issue basis – the team he has more or less given control over managing his “brand” most certainly do not.

So, they take a wonderful cause to champion, and that’s awesome. And their first order of business is to declare essentially everybody who has up until this point working for it to be the REAL enemy. Great.

It’s been a very slow process, but while Ron Paul remains my hero, I’m very intrigued by Rand as a Senator, I think I have to finally declare myself about off the Paul / Campaign for Liberty train. If they spent half as much time actually building coalitions to achieve concrete things as they did trying to sow mistrust and contempt to keep donors loyal, they could really do something.

The irony, I suppose, is that according to Team Paul, liberty can only REALLY be supported by signing on and pledging fealty to their managed and centralized organization. Everybody outside those confines are Enemies of the State.

Posted by Brad @ 12:24 pm on June 18th 2012

Ron Paul Wins Iowa

Nearly six months later, the results from the Iowa caucuses are in and official, and the winner of the state is

Posted by Brad @ 6:12 pm on June 13th 2012

Two Paul Endorsements

The first, Rand Paul endorses Mitt Romney. This gets some obvious blowback in Paulian circles, which he addresses, but I don’t begrudge him it in the least. If one believes a liberty agenda has to be channeled through the two-party system in some way, may as well be the Republican party, and if so, you have to, well, politic. And frankly I think it’s a more natural home – libertarianism (and Ron Paul) has been treated badly in both parties, of course, but its core insights are, I feel, more naturally at home in conservatism than liberalism – and these days, it seems conservatives are more willing to accept diversions from orthodoxy where Paul makes them (non-interventionism, social liberalism), than liberals (all economic thinking, pro-life, etc.). As Brian Doherty says offhand:

As I wrote here at Reason last month, by most rights Paul should be sweeping the MSNBC vote, including Rachel Maddow, if the progressive vision of rights, liberty, respect for civil liberies, not killing people because the president says so or ruining people’s lives because of their personal choices, ending war and government propping up of plutocrats, actually means anything to them.

Mostly, I find, the “make government give people stuff” is the only part they care about, so sorry Ron Paul (and American lives and liberties).

He says that, incidentally, in reference to the second Paul endorsement, that of Ron Paul, from Joe Scarborough, who pens a piece for Politico called simply “Why I voted for Ron Paul”.

Posted by Rojas @ 7:30 pm on February 15th 2012

Ron Paul and the Maine Caucus

Okay…as we’ve noted here during the previous election cycle, there’s a certain class of dingbat who will assert vote fraud whenever he/she doesn’t get the result he/she wants, and there’s a disconcerting clustering of said dingbats among Paulites. This led to some frankly embarrassing claims about electoral shenanigans in 2008, to the point at which we’ve more or less stopped paying attention to them.

There have, however, been some very disconcerting reports surfacing about the behavior of the state Republican party in Maine during their caucuses last weekend…those being the caucuses that prevented Mitt Romney from blowing his fourth state in a row. Note that I am not referring to the “controversy” over the failure to let Washington County vote, but to much broader and more substantive claims. This report by a Cincinnati TV station provides a summary.

Just because kooks make unwarranted claims about voter fraud doesn’t mean that it never happens. At minimum the Maine GOP ought to be embarrassed about the lack of transparency and professionalism in their vote-counting process. It seems unlikely that we will ever have any idea who won there.

Posted by James @ 10:01 pm on January 30th 2012

Meanwhile, which candidate will be wearing Bean Boots through the Florida swamp?

Yeah, him.

Linda Bean, an heiress to famed Maine outfitter L.L. Bean, came out in support of Ron Paul on Saturday as the candidate made a campaign swing through the state.

Bean, who is a part owner of her family’s company and sits on its board, said she is a longtime supporter of the Texas congressman. She backed his 2008 presidential bid, but hasn’t made a public endorsement in the current race until now.

“I’ve been for Ron Paul for years,” Bean said. “I watched his House races in Texas, and he’s just true blue. He doesn’t waver from the Constitution and I like that very much.”

Bean made her endorsement at the lobster restaurant she owns in Freeport, situated across the road from L.L. Bean’s large flagship store. She singled out Paul’s appeal across the political spectrum as a reason for her support.

“He’s very electable, he crosses all ideological lines because of his strong message,” Bean said. “He’s for the gold standard. I think people want stability in this country. He’s for helping America domestically, and staying out of aggressive wars. We’re just spending ourselves down the drain in these countries year after year with occupation.”

When asked why she wasn’t supporting fellow New Englander Mitt Romney, Bean said, “I’ve always been for Ron Paul.”

H/T Jack Hunter

Posted by Rojas @ 12:05 pm on January 23rd 2012

Senator Rand Paul detained by TSA

…at the Nashville airport. So reports his father Ron Paul via social media. Further bulletins as events warrant. This should be good…

EDIT: Full-body scanner detected an anomoly; he was denied permission to walk through the scanner again, and refused a subsequent full-body pat-down.

This is probably going to be a major problem, because the actions of TSA in this case are in open, brazen defiance of Article I, Section 6 of the Constitution: “They (Congresspersons) shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.” As Senator Paul was attempting to board a flight to DC for this afternoon’s Senate session, this would not appear to be in any way an ambiguous matter legally.

Posted by Brad @ 10:30 am on January 10th 2012

The Libertarian Kennedys

I will point out that I’ve been saying this for a year. Salon runs an article called “Ron Paul’s Long Game“, which lays out a premise identical to mine in the post “Why Ron’s Running” Essentially, that the number one animating principal, at least to start, as to why Ron Paul is in this race is to keep the torch burning long enough to hand it off to his son in 2016 and 2020. I think that’s been fairly obvious to people closely watching his campaign and the people around it for some time now.

I guess I never gave my own qualitative judgement of that. The short version is, I foresee problems with Rand (in a weird way, he doesn’t have the guile-less form of guile that in some manner shields his father, and he has a tendency to try to be over-philosophical and runs into the problem of thinking himself smarter than he sometimes is, whereas is father usually starts from a place of aw-shucks humility which suits the message much better), I see problems with the Paul inner circle (more than half of whom hold positions in both Rand and Ron’s offices, btw, and who can be vindictive, short-sighted sonsofbitches when they feel cornered, which is often), and I wish that more effort would be made to turn this from a nepotistic dynasty to an ideological one (at some points, the endorsement/CFL game looks dangerously close to cult-building). But, I’d be lying if I said I’m not jazzed by the prospect of a true libertarian wing of the party not only emerging (I think it has emerged, see: Pauls, Tea Party), but really establishing itself as a long term presence. And I’m not sure that anything LESS than the kind of play the Pauls are running (injecting water into the cracks of the party machine concrete; freezing it and letting it open up space) works. Perfect really has been the enemy of the good for libertarianism in this country. The Pauls sure ain’t perfect. But they’re damn good.

Posted by Rojas @ 4:53 pm on January 3rd 2012

Not technically a music video of the Ron Paul Iowa campaign volunteers

Man Up — Josh Gad, from “The Book of Mormon”

Posted by Brad @ 1:59 am on January 3rd 2012

Ron Paul for the Republican Nomination

I was going to write up a long post, as usual, making an endorsement, but at this point I feel like I’d be flogging a dead horse.

Mostly, what I want to say is entirely contained in this post by Glenn Greenwald (which is not an endorsement), and which should be read by any progressive, left-leaning libertarian, or civil libertarian who can’t find it in themselves to pull the lever for Ron Paul.

There are very few political priorities, if there are any, more imperative than having an actual debate on issues of America’s imperialism; the suffocating secrecy of its government; the destruction of civil liberties which uniquely targets Muslims, including American Muslims; the corrupt role of the Fed; corporate control of government institutions by the nation’s oligarchs; its destructive blind support for Israel, and its failed and sadistic Drug War. More than anything, it’s crucial that choice be given to the electorate by subverting the two parties’ full-scale embrace of these hideous programs.[…]

Paul — alone among the national figures in both parties — is able and willing to advocate views that Americans urgently need to hear.

I am trying to find a single compelling counter-argument to that, and cannot. I am also trying to find any more imperative, vital issues on the docket, and similarly failing.

This year, I’d have been happy to vote for either Gary Johnson or Jon Huntsman. But the former is out (and still my golden parachute for the general!), and the latter might not even be in the race come Pennsylvania (although in the extremely unlikely event of a late Huntsman surge, I reserve the right to change my mind). But if anything, I’ve been more inclined to move towards Paul over the last few weeks since the newsletters stories came up – for the third time, with no new information. Because it struck me that the motives of those pushing the story or using it as an “out” were operating on a completely different political calculus they would never employ in the case of, say, a mainstream Democrat vs. Republican contest, or even a relatively centrist intraparty one. And for all the reasons (and more) that Greenwald mentions in that article, I start getting angry, because for all the howling we do about how Bush Jr. and Bush Jr. Jr. are uniquely rewriting the entire American experiment in a way more fundamental than I believe we’ve seen in 75 years, it really is more about us than the politicians we hire to do these things to us / for us.

And even if you think that Ron Paul is a secret racist or horribly inept or whatever it is you think about the newsletters, the fact is you have to compare that to what you know about the other candidates – that they will all, to a man, further enshrine in our national charter all the worst excesses and offenses of the Bush administration and beyond, without argument or even spirited debate, fundamentally ending, for all intents and purposes, of the original American experiment.

I know that Ron Paul is the only candidate left who is bringing those issues to the table. I think he’s the only one with a chance of jolting us out of our complacency on them. I think the next two presidential elections are the last chances we have before Dick Cheney’s understanding of America becomes fully enshrined as America’s view of America. But I don’t know that we’re not there already.

And I know I don’t care about anything else.

Posted by Brad @ 12:19 am on December 30th 2011

Why Ron’s Running Ctd

As I’ve said, the Ron Paul 2012 campaign is about the Rand Paul in 2016/2020 campaign.

Posted by Brad @ 12:30 am on December 29th 2011

Bachman Campaign Iowa Co-Chair Bolts for Ron Paul

On the grounds of electability.

Posted by Brad @ 1:49 pm on December 21st 2011

I Don’t Care About…Ron Paul’s Racist Newsletters

We’ve been here before. Every time Ron Paul threatens to break into some kind of national relevance, the subject of his early-90s newsletters pops back up. It’s one of those things, too, for which the significance is just kind of assumed. But for me, the significance is far from self-evident, and as much as I’m biased towards Ron Paul, I legitimately try to put myself in the shoes of the critics on this one, and as much as I try, I can never quite articulate why, exactly, the issue matters that much or why, exactly, it’s relevant either from a 1. policy, 2. politics, or 3. personal perspective. Meaning, why I might feel that the fact of these undeniably racist newsletters being put out in the early 90s under his name signals 1. the possibility of Ron Paul creating racist policies or his candidacy having success resulting in moving American policy towards a more expressly racist direction, 2. the idea that a Paul presidency or a successful Paul candidacy will lead to less stigmatization for racism, or that his relative success will have any but the most marginal impact on the relative racism of American politics or politicians, or 3. that Ron Paul himself is racist, cow-tows to racists (and will thus lead to them having more relative power), or is indicative of a general intolerance that will express itself in some impactful way down the line.

Usually where I end up is the old fall-back of “it reflects poor judgement, in terms of the people he surrounds himself with”. Which, I think, is true…it does. I think that’s a fair knock on Ron Paul, both then, certainly, and now as well. Part of that is just his general indiscrimination (he does not seem to be of the mind, as we sometimes demand of politicians, of denouncing people who hold objectionable views in other contexts, for instance), although I generally find those sorts of critiques of candidates to be really weak relative to everything else that’s wrong with politicians. I wrote an “I don’t care about…Jeremiah Wright” post in the 2008 campaign, could have easily written an “I don’t care about…Jane Fonda” post in 2004, and wrote posts in 2007 about how it didn’t particularly concern me that Paul would appear on Alex Jones’ radio program or that, in combing through a list of all donors to the Paul campaign, some enterprising journalist had discovered a white supremacist, and the Paul campaign didn’t particularly care and couldn’t be goaded into returning the contribution. I am interested primarily in what views, ideologies, and policies a candidate himself is advocating, or whether those things get materially advanced in supporting a candidate, and I was no more worried that Ron Paul’s election would lead to an explosion of 911 Trutherism (whatever that means) or white supremacy than I was that Barack Obama’s election would lead to a resurgance of militant black nationalism or black “separation theology” (spoiler alert: it didn’t).

But part of it too is just that he does, and has, I think, surrounded himself with people whose judgement I don’t trust or respect. Even today, he has a few campaign advisers who I think move him in a direction I don’t like (such as banging on about illegal immigration), and certainly, almost by definition, the rag tag bunch of people who have been in the Paul foxhole for the long haul are not nearly as ironed out as they would have been had they attached themselves to, say, John McCain. Living in the political wilderness does tend to both attract, and turn people into, relative political ferals.

But, in any event, I don’t begrudge people who knock Paul on those grounds. I think it’s a legit critique. I just then weigh that against the people that the other candidates surround themselves with (that Peter Schiff or Dennis Kucinich or Jesse Ventura might be more objectionable than a Kristoff or Poderherst amazes me), and mostly weight that against the policies and philosophies. And, when I do that, the “he has shown flashes of poor judgement in the people he lets into his inner circle” minus, put up against, say, the “he won’t start a war” plus…well, let’s just say it’s not a comparison that I find terribly compelling.


Posted by Brad @ 10:59 pm on December 20th 2011

Quote of the Day

I will have an “I Don’t Care About…Racist Newsletters” post up at some point, but in the meantime, Reason gives, I think, the fairest roundup on the matter imaginable. And when I say fair, I don’t mean sympathetic. They also give a nice garden variety roundup, in which Doherty, responding to a blog conversation with Jonah Goldberg in which Goldberg makes a series of assumptions about why Ron Paul is useless in America as he understands it, says simply:

an America in which Ron Paul can be, even for a while, the GOP frontrunner in even one state is a very different America than Goldberg, Congress, or I thought we were living in, and the Republican Party at least will have to change in reaction to it–if not in 2012 then down the line.

Posted by Brad @ 1:40 pm on December 6th 2011

Political Ad Watch

This is the greatest thing in the history of ever. Get your devil horns out and rock to this, bitches!

Nick Gillespie:

Gaze upon this 30 seconds of high-volume, high-motion libertarianism and ponder the fact that the hippest guy running for president (and I’m including Barack “Mom Jeans” Obama in this) is a 76-year-old ob-gyn from Texas who served in the military and is anti-war, who increasingly looks like Timothy Leary (who once sponsored a fundraiser for Paul’s 1988 Libertarian Party run at the White House), and who wants to end the Fed and packs college campuses with kids calling for drug legalization.

America ain’t done yet.

Posted by Brad @ 8:30 am on October 28th 2011

Ron Paul: Coherence on Gay Rights?

In a comment to a previous thread, Rojas made the following point which I think is dead-on:

His stances on gay rights issues are, frankly, incoherent. I don’t think even he knows where he stands on these matters on a day-to-day basis; he seems to be one of those people who’s been personally uncomfortable with homosexuality his whole life and who is only now coming to terms with it as a societal reality and squaring it with the rest of his ideology.

I think this reading, while perhaps not satisfying to those that want to paint Paul as either a conscious social conservative bigot actively trying to retard gay rights, or as a libertarian personal savior who really doesn’t mean whatever he might say that doesn’t fit into that paradigm, nevertheless has the benefit of probably being true. To it I would only add that occasionally Paul seems guilty to me of substituting a philosophical abstraction for a pragmatic solution to an immediate problem (as they did with Rand in his Civil Rights Act discursion). Which is fair enough, although A. that shouldn’t be confused with outright hostility or some kind of conscious-dodge-masking-a-real-agenda, and B. what do you want, it’s Ron Paul?

Anyway, this interview with the Iowa State Daily News caught my eye. Ron Paul on gay rights, in Iowa, circa this week:

Since Iowa State has a thriving homosexual community, I asked how gays fit into Paul’s philosophy of freedom. The congressman cringed at the question and shook his head in frustration.

“You know I just, I don’t think of people in little groups like that. I don’t think of people as ‘gay’ here and ‘black people’ there, or ‘women’ over here…Everybody is an individual person and everybody has the same rights as anyone else. The government has no business in your private life, you know, so if one person is allowed to do something so should everyone else. The whole gay marriage issue is a private affair and the federal government has no say.”

With the recent death of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” I suggested to Congressman Paul that the issue isn’t likely to go away any time soon, and asked how he would address gays in the military as president.

“Well, like I said, everybody has the same rights as everybody else, so homosexuals in the military isn’t a problem. It’s only if they’re doing things they shouldn’t be, if they’re disruptive. But there’s … men and women getting into trouble with each other too. And there’s a lot more heterosexuals in the military, so logically they’re causing more trouble than gays. So yes, you just have the same rules for everybody and treat them all the same.” Paul voted for the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

This is, of a kind, the same answer he’s always given on (the whole “I don’t want to get into the subject of civil rights for Group X specifically because I view the whole segmentation premise itself as invalid and in my ideal society it doesn’t matter”). But he does seem to be doing what Rojas noticed: coming to terms and squaring. At the very least, I find it very, very hard to read Ron Paul on gay rights and come away with a sense that, on a policy level, he would be specifically hostile to them. Not particularly risen to be proactive, sure, but the line that Paul is a social conservative (in a policy sense) in libertarian clothing, a bigot, and would be actively engaged in trying to suppress gay rights, to be…hysteric.

As Reason notes, taken together his stance on gay marriage and DADT puts him to the left of Barack Obama on the subject – and certainly to the left of ever other Republican polling over 1%.

Posted by Rojas @ 6:17 pm on October 8th 2011

Ron Paul wins the…wait, wins the WHAT?

Don’t ask me, man. I don’t understand it either. It’s not as if the man lacks values, and it’s not as if libertarianism is incompatible with them…it’s just that this seems like the LAST constituency which would buy into either idea.

Posted by Brad @ 3:05 pm on September 23rd 2011

Great Moments in Headline Writing

Poll: Romney leads New Hampshire, Huntsman in third, Perry in fourth

Posted by Brad @ 11:58 am on August 23rd 2011

Ron Paul – What’s the Worst that Could Happen?

We have variants of this discussion a lot in 2008, about what people were afraid of it Ron Paul were somehow miraculously elected. For some reason I always felt that Paul was held to a different standard than anyone else – it was just generally assumed that Ron Paul, being elected President, would suddenly fiat into existence a libertarian utopia/distopia. Even with Paul himself assuring voters he would work towards ends, but incrementally – no first executive order being the abolishment of all government agencies – that was generally the standard to which he was held. That’s both fair and unfair depending on how you look at it.

Anyway, Conor Friedersdorf, a Paul-sympathetic, begins honestly reflecting on the question, and inviting readers to do the same. His setup:

So I got to thinking. What’s the worst thing that could plausibly happen if Ron Paul wins? And by that metric, how does he measure up to the folks he’s running against? Don’t ask why I chose him. It’s obvious. The idea of him in the White House makes a lot of the people reading this post uneasy. Despite my libertarian sympathies, there is even a part of me that has always felt, without ever having thought it through, that putting Paul in the White House would be the biggest gamble of all the possible candidates running in the GOP primary. His tenure might have tremendous upsides: zero imprudently launched wars, a resurgence of civil liberties, more transparency. But he’s also a radical who wants to see more fundamental change than any other candidate, he is least beholden to the political establishment, which constrains the behavior of conventional pols, and we’ve never seen him operate as an executive. […]

Even so, I am beginning to wonder whether my intuition that he represents the biggest gamble has led me astray: as I ponder the worst case scenarios that Paul might bring about, they don’t seem scarier than the alternatives.

It’s an interesting question, and go read the comment section, wherein the readers try to reasonably grapple with it too.

Posted by Brad @ 10:48 am on August 23rd 2011

Let the Iowa Poll-Watching Begin!

Now that the GOP field is more or less set, and most of the candidates have at least some state presences in the states where they’re likely to compete, polling is actually going to be sort-of worth watching – still so provisional as to not be predicative, but now not so provisional as to be completely useless. Plus, the pollsters have been polling generally the same slate of candidates for the last few rounds, meaning we can now start getting a sense of momentum.

To wit, Weigel flags the newest PPP poll (PDF). Here is their read of Iowa (without Sarah Palin):

Rick Perry – 22% (+22)
Mitt Romney – 19% (-2)
Michelle Bachmann – 18% (+7)
Ron Paul – 16% (+8)
Herman Cain – 7% (-8)
New Gingrich – 5% (-7)
Rick Santorum – 5% (+5)
Jon Hunstman – 3% (+3)

And here it is if Sarah Palin were to run:

Rick Perry – 21% (+21)
Mitt Romney – 18% (-3)
Michele Bachmann – 15% (+4)
Ron Paul – 12% (+4)
Sarah Palin – 10% (-5)
Newt Gingrich – 7% (-5)
Herman Cain – 6% (-9)
Rick Santorum – 5% (+5)
John Huntsman – 3% (+3)

Please note: Ron Paul is polling ahead of Sarah Palin in Iowa. I’m guessing you won’t hear that data point much.

In any case, don’t put too much stock in Perry’s numbers – although it’s clear he’ll be competitive, I wouldn’t hand him frontrunner status just yes. The Perry boomlet will maybe bring him back into the teens somewhere – although maybe not.

The Big Mo’, however, clearly belongs to Michelle Bachmann and Ron Paul. The media didn’t take much notice of Paul at the Straw Poll, but Iowans clearly did. If one were an alien astronomer – well, pundit, I guess – examining these numbers, one would say that there was very clearly four members of the first tier all battling it out, and a huge dropoff after that. Being a human pundit, I think it would still be fair to say that the frontrunners are Perry/Romney/Bachmann, but at this point Paul is very clearly the only second tier candidate of note, and even if nobody wants to put him in the conversation as a possible winner, at the very least it has to be noted that, in a close race between three about equal candidates, the fact that Paul is sitting on a fifth of Iowa voters makes him matter. A lot.

And hell, it has to be noted especially if you’re one of those three frontrunners. If you’re looking to try to peel off softly aligned voters – which you are, because very like this race is going to come down to 2, 3% separating the first three finishers – are you going to make an appeal to, say, Rick Santorum’s 5%? Or the 16% currently represented by Ron Paul? In a rational world, it’s not even close. Be interesting to see if Bachmann/Romney/Perry’s advisers choose to play to rationality, or choose to play to conventional wisdom and pretend that those 16% don’t exist and that it would be lunacy to lean Paulward.

Posted by Rojas @ 8:21 pm on August 13th 2011

I couldn’t help myself

(AP) WASHINGTON, NOVEMBER 9- In what many political insiders are seeing as a blow to his long-term election prospects, President Obama finished second in yesterday’s Presidential election.

The referendum, which measures support among likely voters via a balloting process, was conducted in all fifty states. With 100% of the vote counted, Obama stood at 47% and was deemed likely to earn 177 electoral votes. While Obama campaign spokesman sought to convey a sense of strength, terming the result “a strong second” and discussing “a performance well in excess of expectations, especially given the state of the economy,” others questioned whether the results of the poll would pose serious problems for the President going forward.

“While one must always be skeptical of limited samples and questionable voter models such as this one”, said Dr. Forrest Stevens of the University of Iowa, “this result raises serious questions about the President’s electability. With more than half the country unwilling to back the President, one has to wonder which Republicans might be best poised to move into the vacuum–either one of the announced contenders or a wild-card such as Sarah Palin, Chris Christie, or Jeb Bush.”

“Particularly at this late stage,” said Stevens, “results like these demonstrate that it’s still anybody’s ballgame.”

The first-place finisher in the voting, Texas Congressman Ron Paul, pulled in an estimated 53% of the vote and 358 votes in the electoral college. Paul’s strong showing was reflective of his enthusiastic libertarian support, which regularly enables him to overperform in straw polls and online surveys. Stevens noted that Paul’s showing “further illustrates his credibility among Tea Party voters, where he can claim a following that, on occasion, rivals that of Sarah Palin or Michelle Bachmann.”

Posted by Rojas @ 11:09 am on August 12th 2011

“We have always been at war with Oceania, and we have always loved Ron Paul.”

Fox News:

Showing the wide diversity of opinion, Paul gave a staunchly libertarian answer to nearly every question from the economy to foreign affairs…

Yes, Fox News is now highlighting the diversity of opinion within the Republican Party as a highlight. Not quite the same meme they had going four years ago, is it? Meanwhile, their online commentator assigns Paul the second-highest bond rating available on the evening, and ratifies the obvious:

A note to the Republican establishment: Ron Paul isn’t going away anytime soon.

Fox News: ever the champion of the underdog, delivering hard truths to the Republican establishment.

The bottom line is this: the Republican party’s media organ has gone from treating Ron Paul as an embarrassing nuisance to treating him and his supporters as a sign of party health and as a constituency to be appeased.

The man moved the needle. That’s incredibly hard to do in American politics.

Posted by Rojas @ 5:31 pm on August 8th 2011

Remember when Ron Paul was stuck at 1%?

Every time there’s been an incremental boost to Ron Paul’s electoral fortunes, we’ve been told to dismiss it as background noise.

There’s been a hell of a lot of background noise over the last five years and particularly over the last couple of weeks. The latest Gallup primary poll has him at 14%, beating Bachman, quadrupling Pawlenty, and sitting SECOND among all declared candidates.

My feeling about Paul has always been that he had a ceiling in the 8% range, and that the dropping of other candidates wouldn’t change that. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to make that case.

And I’m STILL voting for Gary Johnson.

Posted by Brad @ 12:27 pm on July 12th 2011

Ron Paul to Not Seek Reelection to Congress

His current term will be his last in the legislature, Lew Rockwell and Ron’s hometown paper report. He will instead focus on what has become the Cottage Industry of Ron Paul, his presidential run (or his son’s), his Campaign for Liberty, his educational efforts, his brand, etc.

I can’t say I blame him – he is getting up there in years too, and I’m sure he’s trying to keep all the balls in the air takes a tremendous amount of time and energy. Still a shame – after being elected to Congress as a non-incumbent three times, and spending decades as a dismissed back-bencher in, essentially, a caucus of one, Paul’s finally gotten a measure of respect and institutional power. His perennial bills like abolishing the TSA, auditing the fed, and ending the drug wars, are ones he introduces every year, but have only recently been successful in actually starting debates versus being dismissed and ignored out of hand. Colleagues are more likely than at any point in his career to either work with him or get out of his way. And after finally getting a committee posting, he’s able to run hearings on his pet issues of the gold standard and federal reserve, commanding attention. After half a lifetime fighting to even be heard, it’s really only been in the last two years when everything has finally come to fruition in his congressional career. Dr. No had finally come into his own.

So, the end of an era to be sure. America has been the better for him, and for those of us who have tilted at the same windmills, he was a bastion of hope-against-hope, a beacon of sanity-in-an-insane-system. Congress has never seen one like him, and likely never will. He will be missed, and the vacuum that will be created for his absence will be hard, if not impossible, to ever fill again – to the detriment of all of us who love the ideals the country was founded upon.

Posted by Rojas @ 3:18 pm on June 20th 2011

Romney and Cain > Ron Paul

On a controversial anti-abortion pledge that would, among other things, deny all forms of federal funding to medical facilities at which abortion is practiced.

Posted by Brad @ 8:14 am on May 13th 2011

Ron Paul’s In

So Gary Johnson gets the Bob Barr treatment.

For why I think Ron’s really running, see here.

Posted by Cameron @ 12:31 am on May 6th 2011

By the way…

Ron Paul’s debate moneybomb just crossed the million dollar mark.

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