Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

January 14, 2007

A Moment Of Hubris On The Ron Paul For President Campaign

by Doug Mataconis

Much has been written in the libertarian blogosphere, both here and elsewhere since news broke last week that Texas Congressman, and one-time Libertarian Party candidate for President, Ron Paul had taken the first steps on the road toward running for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2008. None, however, were quite as gung-ho as this post from James Ostrowski at Lew Rockwell.com:

Ron Paul is Hillary Clinton’s worst nightmare. Forget about the establishment describing his campaign as “quixotic,” Ten or twenty years ago, maybe so. Not now.

Hillary will be the Democratic nominee once the Obama fantasy subsides. Bet the ranch on that one.

Hillary wants to run against the old neocon warhorse, John McCain. As I said in September, she wins that one 52-48. She wants to run against someone whose moral culpability for the war is greater than her own. She outflanks McCain on the war.

Ron Paul outflanks Hillary on the central issue of the campaign, the war. He was one of the few Republican congressmen to oppose it.

He also outflanks Hillary from “the left” on the drug war and civil liberties.

In Ron Paul, Hillary faces a candidate who can outflank her on the left and right all at the same time. Will the center hold?

Well, before Congressman Paul can take the podium with Hillary Clinton in a real Presidential debate, he’s got to win the Republican nomination and, for the following reasons, I don’t think he can do it. Instead, if you do support the Paul for President campaign, you should be focusing on different goals.

1. Money:

It’s the mother’s milk of politics, and if you don’t have it, you aren’t going to win. Modern Presidential campaigns cannot be run on a shoestring and expect to be successful. You can expect McCain, Rudy, and probably Romney, to raise tens (if not hundreds) of millions of dollars and qualify for FEC matching funds. Even if he models his campaign after Howard Dean’s 2004 strategy, Ron Paul will not raise nearly that much and I would be incredibly surprised, and dismayed, if he did accept FEC matching funds.

2. Message

Let’s face it, you, I, and most of the people who will read this will be very receptive to Ron Paul’s ideas. Most Republican primary voters, however, will not. One mention of drug legalization will through voters in places like South Carolina completely off.

3. Name Recognition

This really goes back to the money issue noted above. When most people don’t know who you are or what you believe, you need to spend a lot of money teaching them about those things. Without the money to do so, you have to rely on free media coverage to do it. When I read mainstream press articles about Paul that describe his campaign as “quixotic” and describe him as “iconoclastic” I don’t take that as a good sign. To me, it’s a warning that they may treat him more as the Dennis Kucinich of the GOP than as a serious candidate.

Even if that doesn’t happen, though, there is a danger when you rely on free media to define your campaign. Just ask Howard “The Scream” Dean.

Given these three factors, and others, I don’t think that any suggestion that Ron Paul has a chance of winning the GOP nomination is realistic.

I hope I’m wrong. I hope he comes strong out of the gate and that, when the Virginia primary comes in early June mid February 2008, he’s on the ballot so I can vote for him like I did in 1988. But I don’t think that will happen. In fact, we need to keep in mind that, so far, Ron Paul has not officially declared he’s running for President, he’s only formed an exploratory committee. It’s been quite common in American politics for someone to form such a committee and then decide not to run — it’s already happened once in the 2008 campaign when Indiana Senator Evan Bayh formed a committee then announced he would not be running. It could happen again.

I welcome Ron Paul’s entry into the race, and I think he can have an impact on the policy debates currently taking place in the GOP, but I’m not going to pretend that the campaign can go any further than that.

Update: Via Rhymes With Right, comes this from someone who has been close to past Ron Paul campaigns:

Well, I’m sure many of you have heard about it by now. Pop and I have known for a while, and if Ron decides to make a big push for the Presidency – we’re behind him 100%. Goodness knows that the current crop of candidates are extremely disheartening when it comes to the topic of conservative government.

Let me address one thing. The internet is abuzz with rumors on who will replace Ron in his Congressional seat. Off the top of my head, I can name at least 8 people who would put their names into the ring for a primary battle.

However, I also have no indication on whether or not Dr. Paul intends to retire from Congress in 2008. At this moment, he is exploring the Presidential bid. He has not announced his impending retirement, and I would not be surprised in the least if we see Dr. Paul on the ballot for CD 14 in 2008.

From this, I read two things. First, Ron Paul is thinking of retiring from Congress. If he does, he might run for the GOP nomination. Second, if he decides to stay in Congress, then the Presidential campaign is dead as a door nail.

Update # 2: Further thoughts, and a response to Ostrowski’s second piece on the Paul campaign’s chances, can be found here.

Related Posts:

Ron Paul For President !
Ron Paul’s Presidential Chances
Ron Paul Votes For Price Fixing Prescription Drugs

Freedom is sexy, so share!Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Google+0Share on Reddit0Digg thisShare on StumbleUpon0Share on LinkedIn0Pin on Pinterest0Email this to someone

Permalink || Comments (9) || Categories: Politics
TrackBack URI: http://www.thelibertypapers.org/2007/01/14/a-moment-of-hubris-on-the-ron-paul-for-president-campaign/trackback/
Read more posts from
• • •
  • http://www.sundwall4congress.org Eric Sundwall

    There’s a difference between ‘overweening confidence’ that defines hubris, and a little hype which even the best of might try given the positive circumstances of the Paul news.

    Yes. Money is the key. There already is a queue of folks peeing their pants to donate. Whether or not it amounts to anything significant, time will tell. Dean also had Joe Trippi. Start a PAC not a blog is this observer’s advice.

  • http://www.belowthebeltway.com Doug Mataconis

    Eric,

    When I see someone saying that Ron Paul is Hillary’s worst nightmare, and contending that he has a serious chance of both getting the nomination and beating her —- I call that hubris.

  • http://www.ericsundwall.com Eric Sundwall

    Wasn’t he just speculating on the prospect of Paul v. Hillary in terms of defining positions. I think Ostrowski is rational enough to recognize the reality. He’s from Buffalo after all . . .

  • Matt C.

    It’s disappointing that supposed Ron Paul supporters are being so pessimistic about his prospects of running for president. I’m not saying to ignore reality, rather we need to accept the reality of the situation. Let’s face it, he has enough pessimists against him: democrats, neo-conservatives, and the mainstream media. The election is a long way off, let’s remain positive. He needs all the help he can get.

  • http://www.mainstreamlibertarian.com Eric Dondero

    One guy has already announced for Ron’s seat. He’s Mark Henry a pilot from Galveston. He ran for Congress before. Don’t know anything about him. But we must find a libertarian Republican to replace Ron Paul. There’s a Houston-area Young Republican, well-known, who could fit the bill. He’s a libertarian conservative. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that he’ll run.

    It’s funny. I actually think the most important thing to come out of us this whole “Ron Paul for President” deal is the fact that it’s a clear sign that he’s finally retiring from his seat, and that there’s a possibility to get a new, younger, much more energetic libertarian Republican in Congress.

    Eric Dondero, CEO
    MainstreamLibertarian.com
    Former Senior Aide,
    US Congressman Ron Paul

  • http://www.restoogle.com/libertopia R.David

    Well a recent survey showed that over 60% of Americans consider themselves “socially liberal and fiscally conservative”.

    Ron Paul needs grassroots support, and he must have the whole libertarian blogosophere behind him. This can stir shit up like nothing else.

    Ron Paul is bad news for all sheepish politicians.

  • Pingback: Ron Paul vs. Hillary Clinton? : The New Liberty

  • Willy

    R. David, 60% socially liberal/fiscally conservative…

    Paul will need to push that into the face of every voter, every day if he expects to get recognition. Most voters don’t know they have an option, they think they’re either liberal or conservative, us against them, which by the way, is the current Dem campaign tactic. They’re going to so overwhelm the MSM with chosing an MVP the ’08 election is going to make the Superbowl look like tea with the queen, in a doll house in grandma’s backyard. Prince, indeed.

    It’s going to take an outsider to wake up the voters. Someone is going to have to drive Paul through it.

  • Edward

    Willy, what do you mean by MSM?

Powered by: WordPress • Template by: Eric • Banner #1, #3, #4 by Stephen Macklin • Banner #2 by Mark RaynerXML