Four more years of Obama in the Oval Office would be better, in my view, than four years of Gingrich there: each man is mad for power; each man’s Promethean opinion of himself is quite the opposite of what a realistic self-opinion would be; each man is a font of economic idiocy; and each man’s principles are such that each would – recalling Mencken’s description of FDR – fatten up a crew of missionaries on the White House lawn for slaughter if he thought that endorsing cannibalism would get him more votes. Yet the countless nutty and destructive policies that Pres. Gingrich would likely implement would inevitably be described by our crack mainstream press as “laissez faire” – thus creating more public misunderstanding. (Of course, four more years of Obama in the White House might also be better than four years of Romney there….)
I tend to think that the stereotypical augury about the lesser evil has hardly more substance to it than the fact that it does help to keep the system going. What is left out of the picture is that there is more than one way for politicians to produce intolerable levels of damage. Both Obama and Gingrich are sure to maintain those levels.
Take a rest from the slime and the slimeballs, Rep. and Dem. Enjoy a nice piece of kinetically supported music:
Actually, as a child I did see, smell, and touch this kind of sea foam on our visits to South African sea resorts. It looked just like this:
This is a question a lot of the fans of the Republican Congressman from Texas have been asking themselves for the last few weeks. The overall strategy of the Ron Paul for President campaign has been difficult to discern in many ways.
For instance, why does it seem like Ron Paul is attacking every other candidate in the race from Perry to Gingrich to Santorum to Huntsman but using kid gloves on the strongest candidate - Romney? Why does Paul not seem to be bothered at the prospects of a third place finish in Iowa or a likely second in New Hampshire?
I believe the Ron Paul campaign is moving in much the way that the campaign team originally planned when developing its strategy probably some time in early Spring. To understand the campaign strategy I believe it is important to understand how unconventional Dr. Paul's plan is compared to the traditional Republican presidential campaign. It is also important to recall the nature of the 2008 campaigns for the Democratic and to a lesser extent Republican parties.
Reason to Run for President Ron Paul is not your typical Republican candidate running for president. In fact, I'm not sure any candidate of any prominence recently has run not be president as much as a way to promote a message. Presidential campaigns are a way to bringing new ideas to the party's grassroots. This is probably a clumsy way of accomplishing this goal, but for someone as far out of the mainstream of his party and leadership as Paul is, it is really the only way to express his views on foreign and monetary policies.
This singular motive completely changes your strategy for waging a presidential campaign and, I think, explains the unusual nature of the Paul campaign. It fundamentally alters how you approach debates, advertisements, and campaigning within states. It is also completely different from the traditional Republican campaigns where one looks to score some early decisive wins, show an ability to raise money, and then finish off your rivals on Super Tuesday.
It's about Ideas, not the Office If your goal is to change the way the party and the country look at issues then your focus is on more than the short term goals of a presidential campaign. Clearly, it would be best for your promotion to win the nomination but a realistic view of the electorate - especially the Republican electorate - would show that Paul's ideas are out of the mainstream. They are growing in prominence (just look at his showing at the Iowa Caucuses from 2008 to 2012 with over 100% growth) but they are at most a large minority within the party probably no more than 25%.
Assets in Place Despite what many inside the media perceived, Ron Paul had massive assets coming into the campaign. To outsiders, Paul was seen to have a few rabid fans and a large donor base who were small contributors. What they missed was the Campaign for Liberty.
Launched in 2008, the Campaign for Liberty was a way to keep Ron Paul supporters from 2008 engaged with the Congressman's activities and help promote his views within Congress. This was best exemplified with the push and eventual passage of the Federal Reserve Audit in both the House and Senate. But more importantly, the Campaign for Liberty provided the superstructure for converts to Paul's crusade to network with each other and plan... for 2012.
Although not affiliated with any official Ron Paul campaign, the Campaign for Liberty was the resting home for all of Paul's campaign apparatus which he would need in a 2012 bid for president. Not surprisingly, a strong emphasis was placed on building up the Iowa and New Hampshire Campaign for Liberty teams and successfully getting friendly people put in place within the local and state GOPs. For instance, unofficially, the Paul camp had achieved securing over half of the county GOP chairs or leaders and many on the state's central committee in Iowa.
Most important to realize is that the Campaign for Liberty is a truly national organization with its reach in every state. This means that Paul has de facto campaign bases in each and every state making him competitive on a national scale - not just early primary and caucus states.
An Unorthodox Approach Because of his unique assets and his even more unusual goals, Rep. Ron Paul, I believe, is engaged in a very unorthodox presidential campaign. He recognizes that although his message is very popular and growing within a section of the electorate - it is by no means a majority position. His plan then is to wage a long drawn out process that relies more on looking towards delegate acquisition than on outright victory - perhaps even winning a single state.
Clearly, winning all the delegates in a state is a goal and will very likely be accomplished in many of the caucus states where Paul's organization and zealous supporters will have the most impact. Winner-take-all primary states are the least desirable for a campaign like Paul's where they feel their message will be viewed in a hostile manner by a majority of the GOP base who receive much of their information from the establishment and its mouthpieces like Levin, Savage, Hannity, and Limbaugh.
The established portions of the party will resist Paul's forces and will probably succeed in many of the caucus states, especially as it becomes more obvious what Rep. Paul is up to. Overall, the primary focus is gaining delegates to gain prominence going into the convention.
The Not-Romney Candidate What is becoming increasingly clear, is that the Paul campaign is looking to become what has been termed the "Not-Romney" candidate. Tea Partiers, and the Republican base is definitely disappointed with Romney as their nominee. National polls have shown him to struggle breaking above 30%. Romney represents the liberal East Coast establishment candidate similar to John McCain (who although from Arizona was the epitome of a big government squishy Republican).
The Paul campaign recognized early on that the only candidate that would compete long term was Romney. Therefore, they looked to eliminate the 'chaff' in order to become the de facto 'Not-Romney' candidate. The sooner they can take down the other candidates, the better as it allows them to accumulate a larger share of the delegates.
The Other Not-Romney Candidates A quick look at the other candidates trying to make the race a two man race shows how Paul's strategy has been working perfectly. Cain is out. Bachmann is out. Huntsman looks increasingly like a one state wonder who will drop out soon. Perry is limping into NH polling at 1% and around 5% in SC. His future is dim. Gingrich can potentially last a few more weeks but with little funding his earned media will dwindle and he will possibly last a few more states through Florida but he is not on the ballot in his home state and has no funding to compete in a national super Tuesday contest.
That brings us to Santorum who has no funding or organization and will attempt to use his social conservative credentials to sell himself in the South. He will be target number one from the Paul campaign as he is the one who could potentially carve into their delegate count on Super Tuesday if he is still viable - especially if his funding picks up and he is able to run more television spots in Florida and beyond.
I believe the Paul campaign is looking to make the race a two man race as soon as possible. This is probably their schedule:
Since the other candidates by this point will have lost nearly every contest to Romney their funding and ambition will have dried up and they will be unable to push on to Super Tuesday. Only Paul will remain as the alternative. Obviously, they will endorse Romney to get a plum cabinet spot and Paul will be all that's left.
From there, Paul and his forces will be an enormous thorn in the side of Romney unless he cuts Paul a deal. Whether that is a prime speaking spot at the convention, a VP slot for Rand, a cabinet position, or some other combination. Romney is a man who deals and will want to save his resources and shift his campaign's focus against Obama as soon as possible. This strategy, although not a 'winning one' is one that will have a lasting legacy and impact within the Republican party.
Mr. Gingrich has little or no campaign organization in Iowa and most other states. He didn’t file a complete slate of New Hampshire delegates and alternates. He is the only candidate who didn’t qualify for the Missouri primary, and on Wednesday he failed to present enough signatures to get on the ballot in Ohio. Redistricting squabbles may lead the legislature to move the primary to a later date and re-open filing, but it’s still embarrassing to be so poorly organized.
It is embarrassing that Republicans would even give Gingrich a second look just months after his campaign spectacularly collapsed. Not to mention Gingrich’s sordid personal baggage and unethical political career. Does the Republican Party really want Gingrich’s undisciplined brand of chaos and disorganization?
If this keeps up, the Republican Party might soon have to switch their party symbol from an elephant to a goldfish: to represent the mass amnesia and unforgivable memory loss that has afflicted its membership.
The only clear development of the GOP presidential nominating process is that there have been no clear developments. Much like the weather in the Midwest (if you don't like the weather wait 15 minutes and it will change) the leader board in the GOP race for the nomination fluctuates monthly.
I tend to agree with the analysis of Erick Erickson of Redstate that there is Mitt and non-Mitt. Mitt's ceiling lies somewhere in the 25% range. Where you believe the 75% non-Mitt voters will go is impossible to prove. However, Ron Paul's slow and steady burn towards first place and the wild swings in the 'flavor of the month' non-Mitt candidate in Iowa suggests that the 75% is largely in play.
What is becoming a distinct possibility in the process is that well-funded candidates like Paul and Romney and less organized candidates like Perry or Gingrich could carry the nomination through the usual states and Super Tuesday with no one holding a majority of delegates. This would leave candidates to view the nomination process as one of unique process of capturing delegates within different state processes. Politico's story on Ron Paul suggests that his campaign team is already taking this approach.
New rules on delegate assignments with primaries and caucuses also virtually eliminates the possibility of someone wrapping up the nomination early. In order to crack down on the ever-earlier primary and caucuses of states, the national GOP imposed stiff penalties and rules on states that choose to hold their elections before Super Tuesday in March. This means all those states get half of their delegates and that the delegates have to be assigned proportionally - not in a winner take all manner.
If no one has 50%+1 of the delegates going into the convention, then the horse trading will begin. Candidates will offer their delegates in exchange for something (cabinet appointments, vice-presidency, etc.). How such a convention would turn out is anyone's guess. Of course, it is entirely possible that a person would emerge who wasn't even running. (I admit to not being familiar with how the GOP has set up their voting rules except to say that others more in the know see this as a way of having Gov. Christie or Daniels still capturing the nomination).
I believe Ron Paul is the lynchpin in forcing a brokered convention. Clearly, just as in 2008, he will run in each and every state and territory. From Maine to Guam and Alaska to the Virgin Islands. He has an almost unlimited funding apparatus and supporter intensity to challenge anyone all the way to the end even after he has missed any chance of winning. If he acquires a large portion of delegates, let's say 25%, Mitt Romney gets 40%, and Gingrich et al get 35% early on then candidates will be encouraged to linger in the race for as long as they can in order to have a bigger voice at the convention.
Dropping out and endorsing a Romney or Gingrich without being sure which one will capture the nomination might be risky. At a minimum, I think you'll see candidates hang around at least through Super Tuesday since even poor showings would give them something to bargain with. Even 15 delegates might be the difference in putting someone safely over the top heading into the convention and avoid a raucous floor fight.
Imagine the following scenario with completely made up numbers that don't reflect true delegate counts, simply the math of a convention:
In this scenario, even if Romney gets the support of every remaining candidate outside of Gingrich (who would have the least reason to deal) he falls short. Even if you fip positions for Romney and Gingrich you get the same result. If we change the delegates to 485 for Romney and 200 for Gingrich you can see how Bachman and Santorum or Huntsman and Roemer could push Romney over the top.
There are obviously hundreds of moving parts and opportunities for people to capitulate and hand over their support and maybe go for that plum ambassadorship to Australia or France. However, it is still a small possibility that the convention could be meaningful for the first time in decades. I tend to think it won't happen because it requires 3 fairly solid candidates (even if maybe the third is a collection of the rest capturing enough delegates to easily prevent a majority). After Michigan's primary in February I think the picture will be much clearer.
I love this ad by Ron Paul although it would be better if it had Dennis Leary doing the voice over just like the Ford commercials it is fashioned after. I assume this isn't the commercial they're showing on TV during Sixty Minutes.
The only thing better that this ad is the spoof on the Conan O'Brien show. You know you've got a good ad when you're going viral. Clearly, this ad along with the Newt Gingrich attack ad (which also went viral) show that there is some very serious talent in the campaign crew for Paul.
Frankly, I'm a little shocked at its existence. It chips away at FDR's sainthood, which is a no-no, what with everybody from Obama to Gingrich listing him as some kind of superhero. Which he wasn't. When the Obamatons say Obama is another FDR, they're sort of right. Both are opportunistic amoral narcissists, perfectly willing to get US troops killed to get the poll numbers up. Am I being too cynical?
In his review of the book, Pat Buchanan observes:
Edited by historian George Nash, Freedom Betrayed: Herbert Hoover’s History of the Second World War and Its Aftermath is a searing indictment of FDR and the men around him as politicians who lied prodigiously about their desire to keep America out of war, even as they took one deliberate step after another to take us into war.
The website “Polls and Votes” has an interesting (and somewhat discouraging) analysis of Gallup polling data.
You should be able to click on the photo to enlarge, but here’s an overview: gray lines represent name recognition amongst voters, over time; red lines represent favorability of the candidate over time. Note that neither Gary Johnson nor Buddy Roemer are included. The vertical axis represents height (as a percentage) of name recognition; the horizontal axis represents time (beginning in January of this year). One would expect minor variations in name recognition just as a function of different polling samples.
So, what do we see?
Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, when polled at the beginning of the year, had a high degree of name recognition. Amongst this year’s candidates, Ron Paul has consistently been just barely behind them in terms of recognition. That’s the good news—Ron Paul no longer elicits “Who’s Ron Paul?” reactions. Around 90 percent of those polled know who he is—within a couple of points of the former Speaker of the House and former Governor of Massachusetts.
That suggests that favorability has little to do (for those candidates) with increased visibility/recognition (like, for instance, Cain and Bachmann’s numbers, which—at least for a time—paralleled each other, with favorability growing as recognition grew).
The goal, then, for highly recognized politicians, would be to have a growing level of favorability (or in the case of already highly favorable views, a maintenance).
Now, with the caveat that these numbers are still likely to be pretty volatile for a month or two—at least until the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary are out of the way—the trend at the moment doesn’t look good for either Paul or Romney (although Paul has a higher gap to bridge between recognition and favorability than does Romney), and is (right now) looking pretty good for Gingrich. Of course we all know that Gingrich has plenty of baggage—and a mouth—which could backfire on him.
Gingrich and Romney have to be careful with each other, I think—both have high recognition, and both of their favorability numbers are probably somewhat brittle at this point—Gingrich going negative on Romney, and Romney retaliating, could end up in the favorables for both of them plummeting (although my personal opinion is that Gingrich is even more likely to harm himself with an exchange that is perceived as negative). But what about Ron Paul?
Paul’s favorability numbers have trended downward since his announcement in March. They’re currently at about 20%—very close to Rick Santorum and Michele Bachmann numbers, and still below (by about 10 points) Herman Cain’s numbers, even post-sexual harassment accusations. Dr. Paul’s supporters are probably the most enthusiastic and confirmed in the whole field—but it appears that they are still relatively small in number.
Ron Paul’s highest favorability numbers came in the first month or so of his candidacy this year (as did Mitt Romney’s). But the danger to both of them at this point (as opposed to Gingrich), is that the trend is down instead of up. Gingrich dropped through the summer, but has since been trending upward (although Romney’s favorables have been more steady, and his low point is still higher than Ron Paul’s high point was).
With only a little over 5 weeks until we get into the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire straw poll, these favorable numbers are critical to these three candidates (and to an extent, the other highly recognized candidates: Bachmann, Cain, and Perry).
Every campaign has these two elements: name recognition, and buying what the candidate is selling. Five months ago, almost everyone knew who Newt Gingrich was, but very were buying. That seems to be changing. Ron Paul started out with high recognition numbers, which have continued to trend upward—his problem is that the favorability for him hasn’t increased. How he changes that in the next two months, I don’t know. I’m pretty sure that sign-waving and brow-beating by his supporters aren’t going to do the trick…
Imagine you live in a small town in Iowa (let’s say Clear Lake), and it’s the 4th of July. You’re having your traditional family/neighborhood get-together, and look who stops by. He was in town to march in their 4th of July parade…