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

“The First Amendment says nothing about your getting paid for saying anything. It just says you can say it. I don't believe that if a corporation pulls all the money out of you or a network pulls their money away or you get fired, you're being censored.”     Penn Jillette

July 31, 2007

Why Ron Paul Cannot Be President

by Doug Mataconis

John Derbyshire who is, admittedly, a conservative, has a mostly positive piece about the Paul phenomenon at National Review Online where he tries to figure out why more conservatives aren’t supporting Ron Paul. In the process, he comes up with the reason that Ron Paul cannot be President:

If Washington, D.C. were the drowsy southern town that Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge rode into, Ron Paul would have a chance. Washington’s not like that nowadays, though. It is a vast megalopolis, every nook and cranny stuffed with lobbyists, lawyers, and a hundred thousand species of tax-eater. The sleepy old boulevards of the 1920s are now shadowed between great glittering ziggurats of glass and marble, where millions of administrative assistants to the Department of Administrative Assistance toil away at sending memos to each other.

Few of these laborers in the vineyards of government do anything useful. (In my experience — I used to have to deal with them — few do anything much at all.) Some of what they do is actually harmful to the nation. On the whole, though, we have settled in with this system. We are used to it. It’s not going away, absent a revolution; and conservatives are — duh! — not, by temperament, revolutionaries.

Imagine, for example, President Ron II trying to push his bill to abolish the IRS through Congress. Congress! — whose members eat, drink, breathe and live for the wrinkles they can add to the tax code on behalf of their favored interest groups! Or imagine him trying to kick the U.N. parasites out of our country. Think of the howls of outrage on behalf of suffering humanity from all the lefty academics, MSM bleeding hearts, love-the-world flower children, Eleanor Roosevelt worshippers, and bureaucratic globalizers!

Ain’t gonna happen. It was, after all, a conservative who said that politics is the art of the possible. Ron Paul is not possible. His candidacy belongs to the realm of dreams, not practical politics. But, oh, what sweet dreams!

Unfortunately, I think that Derbyshire’s analysis of what American politics and government have become is spot on. If Thomas Jefferson were to suddenly appear in the middle of K Street today, does anyone really think that he’d be pleased with how things have turned out, or that he’d be greeted by the political classes once he starts talking about pesky little things like freedom ?

No, I don’t either.

And, that, in the end, is why I don’t think Ron Paul has a chance. It’s not because there’s anything wrong with him. It’s because there is too much wrong with the system.

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61 Comments

  1. oh god, you just cant get off RP’s nuts can you doug? what’s next, “Why I hate Ron Paul and Will Continue Pissing on Him ” ?

    Comment by uiop — July 31, 2007 @ 2:19 pm
  2. Well, for one thing, I am entitled to my opinion aren’t I ?

    And, also, this post isn’t even about Ron Paul, it’s about the fact that the government is so royally screwed up right now that even someone who actually believes what the Constitution says has no realistic chance of being President. And, if he did win, no realistic chance of getting anything done.

    Frankly, it depresses me.

    If you disagree with the substance of the post, then provide an argument against it.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — July 31, 2007 @ 2:21 pm
  3. More the reason to elect him.

    Comment by wofl — July 31, 2007 @ 2:23 pm
  4. The problem is one of perspective. It is impossible for a candidate’s platform to be implemented instantaneously. Ron Paul is no different in this regard than any of the other candidates. He simply will not be able to abolish the IRS and the other un-constitutional within minutes of swearing his oathe into office. This is the way it should be. It will take time to enact these positions. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Similarly, the IRS and other unnecessary branches of government won’t be torn down in a day’s time either.

    Ron Paul’s presidency will be the start of pushing this country back onto the right track. It won’t be easy, it won’t be quick…but it is a change that must occur to remove the bloat and corruption.

    Comment by litcigar — July 31, 2007 @ 2:25 pm
  5. You do realize that a President faced with a Congress that completely disagrees with him can’t really accomplish a whole heck of a lot, don’t you ?

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — July 31, 2007 @ 2:25 pm
  6. Litcigar,

    Practically, it makes more sense to start at the bottom (i.e., Congress and the states) and work your way up, then to start at the top and hope to be able to work your way down.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — July 31, 2007 @ 2:26 pm
  7. Doug, I actually appreciate your commentary on Ron Paul. I respect your “he’s great but he hasn’t a chance” viewpoint, even though I don’t agree.

    But let me ask you the same question I emailed to Derby…

    If our system is so set in its ways, why vote at all? If you insist on voting, but you believe nothing can change anyway, why not vote for someone who at least represents the ideals of limited government that you seem very fond of?

    Lastly, if Ron Paul WERE to squeeze by on the primary and win over the popular vote in the general election, wouldn’t that imply a different political climate and an ideological shift? Therefore, wouldn’t he be trying to push his agenda through on a congress that is fully aware that the popular trend is moving back toward limited government?

    I can see being skeptical that such an ideological shift is possible at this time, but it seems like a logical fallacy to assume that if Ron Paul could elected, no other liberty devotees could…

    Also, in my opinion, revolutions don’t need to be bloody or violent. They can just be people changing their minds…

    Take it easy Doug. Again, I really actually like your commentary and I’m sorry some other Ron Paul supporters seem pretty offended.

    Cheers!

    -Chad

    Comment by Chad — July 31, 2007 @ 2:30 pm
  8. I contend that your assertion that Congress “completely disagrees” with him is flawed. Even if the Congress as it stands were in such a state now, I believe that this state will necessarily have to be altered should Ron Paul become elected. The representatives in government, while bought by other interests, ultimately are elected by the people. They would fight Ron Paul and his limited government actions at their own peril.

    I also note that, as stated in my previous post, I do not believe that “a whole heck of a lot” will be accomplished at first. It is possible that very little will be accomplished in his first term. However, realize, that this is something. I would much prefer that there is some positive change than have either a lack of improvement or negative change.

    Comment by litcigar — July 31, 2007 @ 2:32 pm
  9. I would imagine that Ron Paul’s ideas, his libertarian values, are getting increased attention. His entire campaign may result not just in change at the top, but also, simultaneous change from the bottom.

    Comment by litcigar — July 31, 2007 @ 2:34 pm
  10. Chad,

    Well, I am glad to see that at least someone understand where I’m coming from here.

    To address a few points:

    If our system is so set in its ways, why vote at all? If you insist on voting, but you believe nothing can change anyway, why not vote for someone who at least represents the ideals of limited government that you seem very fond of?

    This may have been lost in what I’ve been writing lately, so let me repeat it – if Ron Paul is on the ballot when the Virginia Primary rolls around in Feb. 08, I will vote for him and encourage others to do the same. If he’s not on the Primary ballot, I’ll probably decline to choose between RudyMcRomneyson. If, by some miracle, he wins the General Election I will, after taking plenty of potshots from people saying I-told-you-so, absolutely support him.

    I just don’t think he can win.

    I also think the place to start changing things for real isn’t in a Presidential race, but at the Congressional level. We need people in Congress who actually believe in freedom, otherwise a President like Ron Paul wouldn’t be able to accomplish anything significant.

    If Ron Paul WERE to squeeze by on the primary and win over the popular vote in the general election, wouldn’t that imply a different political climate and an ideological shift? Therefore, wouldn’t he be trying to push his agenda through on a congress that is fully aware that the popular trend is moving back toward limited government?

    Perhaps, but that would require a significant change of heart on the part of the political powers that be. Can you really see the Ted Stevens’ of the world admitting the error of their ways ?

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — July 31, 2007 @ 2:35 pm
  11. If it’s really that hopeless, then why bother complaining about the system at all? Why bother doing a blog? Why waste the time if we’re already pre-fated to turn into a socialist nightmare? If people are fated to wind up poor and stupid, then isn’t it all pointless?

    I generally like your columns, Doug, but this fatalistic doomsaying gets no one anywhere. If you think Ron Paul is the best candidate in the race, then plug him as the best candidate in the race and don’t worry about whether or not his candidacy is impossible. That’s for the voters to decide, not the fortunetellers or the pundits. If you think his ideas will work, then plug them and debate their merits instead of worrying what the “establishment” or the “political classes” will do about them.

    Revolutions are started with ideas, often apparently impractical ones. And whether or not Ron Paul’s candidacy is successful, he’s already done a lot to push those ideas into the debate, which is something that’s been lacking from the last few presidential elections. If you really believe that free markets and individualism are the way to go, you should have faith in those arguments to win people over instead of continually undercutting and selling those ideals short with pessimism about whether people will or won’t get the message.

    Comment by UCrawford — July 31, 2007 @ 2:35 pm
  12. Revolutions are started with ideas, often apparently impractical ones. And whether or not Ron Paul’s candidacy is successful, he’s already done a lot to push those ideas into the debate, which is something that’s been lacking from the last few presidential elections. If you really believe that free markets and individualism are the way to go, you should have faith in those arguments to win people over instead of continually undercutting and selling those ideals short with pessimism about whether people will or won’t get the message.

    I agree, but what I am afraid of is that if I am right and Ron Paul doesn’t win, the people who supported him are going to just fade away, taking with them any opportunity for real change.

    My point is this — political change takes time, it’s not going to happen between now and 2008 to the degree needed to make a Ron Paul Presidency a realistic possibility. Efforts should be concentrated elsewhere.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — July 31, 2007 @ 2:37 pm
  13. Instead of looking toward Mordor-on-the-Potomac to restore our liberties, security, and prosperity, Paul, and others like him, should be looking homeward. Forget about following in Lincoln’s, Roosevelt’s, Nixon’s, and Bush’s footsteps—instead, think what can be done if he follows the footsteps of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Jefferson Davis.

    Comment by Mike — July 31, 2007 @ 2:41 pm
  14. Judging from the response you get every time you mention Ron Paul’s name, I don’t think that’s going to happen. And until either the Dems or the GOP start moving away from their statist platform, I think a viable market for Paul’s ideals will remain in the electorate, no matter who wins the White House. In any case, running down his chances doesn’t really help…it just undercuts your positions on issues of freedom by giving the impression of a lack of faith. That’s not meant to be an insult, by the way, just an observation. One of the cardinal rules of sale is never to bad-mouth your own product, after all :)

    Comment by UCrawford — July 31, 2007 @ 2:44 pm
  15. UCrawford,

    My faith in freedom is not tied to the political fortunes of one man. And I’m not going to hold back my opinions just because I generally like Ron Paul and what he says (though I think he’s got serious problems when it comes to foreign policy).

    And I’m not so sure you’re right about the permanancy of this thing. Look what happened to the Perot people after he lost interest in playing Presidential candidate.

    I’m not comparing Paul to Perot, I’m just saying that political movements that are so closely identified with one person haven’t been very successful.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — July 31, 2007 @ 2:47 pm
  16. And if Paul does get elected, I agree with you that it’s unlikely he’d get many of his goals accomplished. The status quo doesn’t change overnight. What I’m sure would happen, however, is that you see him veto damn near every bill that comes across his desk which would at least slow the growth of government, and you’d see fewer abuses of executive power. And that’s a decent starting point.

    Comment by UCrawford — July 31, 2007 @ 2:48 pm
  17. Doug,

    I don’t think the freedom movement’s as closely tied to Ron Paul as you think. I just think he’s become the focal point because he’s the only candidate out there seriously pushing any kind of libertarian platform (and who we can be assured will try to stick to it if he wins). The libertarian belief system will remain even after Ron Paul’s long-gone, same as small-government conservatism didn’t disappear just because Barry Goldwater lost to LBJ.

    As for Perot, I never really bought the idea that he wanted to become president…the guy was too much of an insider to be that naive about the chances of a third party. I think he was more interested in playing the spoiler than anything else.

    Comment by UCrawford — July 31, 2007 @ 2:53 pm
  18. Doug,

    In response to your response to my response…

    I see your point, and I respect your feeling of skepticism. I also agree that JUST getting Ron Paul into the White House is not the answer to our ills.

    I am also sorry for implying that you were not supportive of Paul. I see that you are plenty supportive but just negative about his chances, and perhaps a bit resentful of the distraction that this poses to what you consider more important, which is electing liberty-loving congressmen.

    Fair enough! I personally think the stage that a presidential hopeful gets is absolutely uncomparable to anything a member of congress can get, and I also note that until we have a president vetoing unconstitutional spending bills, it is too difficult for a liberty-loving person to be a congressman (hence Ron is an exception here) because the current system of plunder makes everyone demand more and more from the federal monster.

    In closing, I really do understand your lack of hope, but I just really feel lots of hope that what Ron Paul is doing (and more importantly what everyone backing him is doing) is going to be the beginning of a major ideological shift. I personally don’t see him winning the presidential election as that unlikely if I’m right about this shift.

    -Chad

    -Chad

    Comment by Chad — July 31, 2007 @ 3:00 pm
  19. Mostly echoing others…

    - Don’t confuse “can’t implement his policy” with “can’t get elected.” Even if the former is true (and it’s only partially true), it does not necessarily imply the latter.

    - The “spoiler effect” is a non-issue since he’s within the party. Actually, the spoiler effect is in Paul’s favor for the primary. The statists will split their votes between the “frontrunners” and the libertarians will consolidate behind Paul. If he does manage to get the nomination, he’ll sweep up all the swing votes and win the general election in a landslide.

    - If the libertarian movement backslides after the likely Paul defeat, we get what we deserve. More likely, I think his candidacy will, at the bare minimum, serve to educate the populace at least a little bit.

    Comment by Jeff Molby — July 31, 2007 @ 3:09 pm
  20. I definitely echo Chad’s closing.

    There are two possibilities that I see:
    a) America would like change but hasn’t realized how to do it.
    b) America likes the status quo, despite its constant griping.

    If “a” is true, you’ll see Paul’s support grow geometrically as he blows past everyone. If “b” is true, he’ll stay at in the single digits and disappear quietly into the history books.

    We’ll know which is true in January. If he makes a strong showing in Iowa, he’ll probably win NH and run the table.

    Or, he’ll disappear quietly. I’m a realist, so I understand the positive outcome is unlikely, but it is completely false to write him off, because his position is so different from his competitors that his message is inherently viral.

    Comment by Jeff Molby — July 31, 2007 @ 3:19 pm
  21. Don’t be fooled by Mataconis, he’s used every chance he’s had to take steam away from the Ron Paul campaign. It’s not that he doesn’t think RP can win, he doesn’t want RP to win. Still a hit piece, but not as obvious as his other posts.

    Comment by brody — July 31, 2007 @ 3:23 pm
  22. I agree with Jeff and Chad…they said what I was trying to say, but I think they put it better.

    Doug, I wasn’t trying to say that you should keep your opinion to yourself, I was just noting that when you state that you support a candidate but then go on to say that your candidate has little or no chance of winning it tends to make a poor sales pitch to convince someone else to vote for him. That’s all.

    Comment by UCrawford — July 31, 2007 @ 3:24 pm
  23. this is like watching a man (who represents you guys) holding a shining, holy-excaliber-like sword(Ron Paul). And the man is looking at the sword in his hand and is saying “this sword is shit. i should throw it away and fight the dragon(military-industrial complex) with my hands.”

    do ya get me?

    Comment by ETO — July 31, 2007 @ 3:26 pm
  24. And Brody, if there were anything that would make me consider not voting for Ron Paul, it’s his appeal to people who like to label all of Paul’s critics as liars and cite hidden conspiracies as the only reason for Paul’s poor showing in the polls.

    Conspiracy theories and victim mentalities are very poor tools to convince someone to support your candidate, and although I don’t always agree with Doug’s positions he’s never given any reason to believe he’s been less than completely truthful with his arguments.

    Comment by UCrawford — July 31, 2007 @ 3:34 pm
  25. One way every president (whether he has support in Congress or not) can make a very big difference is with the judiciary. Hundreds of judges are appointed each presidential term and it is very likely that in President Paul’s EIGHT year term that at least one, if not two or three SUPREME court justices will be replaced due to resignations or (unfortunately) deaths. This, by itself, would have an enormous affect on this country if the judges he nominates have a limited government viewpoint.

    Comment by MDKidd — July 31, 2007 @ 3:47 pm
  26. Despite whatever positive outlook people might have we do have to realize that the probability of electing Dr. Paul is low. In many ways, the ideas of Dr. Paul are revolutionary. It runs counter to over a hundred years of politics in Washington DC. To expect a revolution to have instant success is unrealistic. And even if Dr. Paul is elected to the Presidency he would have hundreds of entrenched enemies fighting every part of his plans.

    The fact is many this is going to be a long grueling war of ideas. After this fight, there are going to be more, perhaps endless. Anyone not prepared for a long struggle should recognize this fact and those who are prepare should pace themselves as to not burn out.

    Doug (and perhaps Derbyshire) do possess some amount of wisdom. But Doug, you should be excited! Libertarian ideas are gaining traction. No matter what the outcome is in the election, I am happy for the momentum that is being built for future elections.

    Cautious optimism is key. Cautious optimism.

    Comment by TanGeng — July 31, 2007 @ 3:51 pm
  27. Yup…appointing judges that uphold the Constitution and individual freedom would go a long way towards fixing what’s wrong with our government. I can’t see Ron Paul appointing a Supreme Court justice who’d affirm the Kelo decision, or uphold the Patriot Act, or support McCain-Feingold. Overhauling the judiciary is reason enough to want a libertarian in the White House.

    Comment by UCrawford — July 31, 2007 @ 3:54 pm
  28. It’ll be a long haul to move back towards small government, whether Ron Paul wins or not, but I think the long-term future is looking bright for libertarians. There’s a market out there for these ideas as long as we don’t get too wrapped up in the outcome of one presidential election.

    Comment by UCrawford — July 31, 2007 @ 3:56 pm
  29. TanGeng,

    I am excited at the prospect of people actually talking about liberty.

    I will, admit, though, to not being entirely comfortable with some of the people who have hitched their star to the Ron Paul wagon. Just as William F. Buckley kicked the John Birch Society out of mainstream conservatism in the 1950s, the same thing should be done with the 9/11 truthers and conspiracy theorists (and apparently Birchers) who are showing up at Ron Paul meetups.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — July 31, 2007 @ 3:58 pm
  30. UCrawford,

    I hope you’re right, because I’m going to need something to keep me optimistic during the long, dark eight years of Clinton II

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — July 31, 2007 @ 4:01 pm
  31. Actually, Hillary the Horrible in the White House wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing, only because I think she’d be such a complete disaster. She was given a lot of influence in the first two years of Bill Clinton’s presidency and her inability to work with others (exemplified by her work on health care), her poor policy decisions, combined with a complete lack of diplomacy helped make the Republican takeover of Congress possible in 1994. The only reason Bill Clinton was able to salvage public opinion was mainly because he didn’t trust her with anything big after that.

    If Hillary wins in 2008, I think it’ll be absolutely disastrous for the Democrats in 2010…partly because I think she’s utterly incompetent as a leader, and partly because so many people now have forgotten what a miserable, unlikeable bitch she is (I know that’s a fairly sexist position, but I believe it to be true). She’s got most of Bill’s baggage and none of his personality and her deficiencies will help illustrate (by failing to hide) a lot of problems with the Democratic platform. I’d see a Hillary victory as a small step back (electing an incompetent statist) to take a large step forward (discrediting the entire statist platform).

    Comment by UCrawford — July 31, 2007 @ 4:15 pm
  32. After all, it took four years of Jimmy Carter to make eight years of Ronald Reagan possible :)

    Comment by UCrawford — July 31, 2007 @ 4:16 pm
  33. [...] Mataconis on why Ron Paul cannot be President: It’s not because there’s anything wrong with him. It’s because there is too much wrong with [...]

    Pingback by What is the Logical Conclusion? : Hear ItFrom.Us — July 31, 2007 @ 4:18 pm
  34. As for Paul’s unlikelyhood of winning the election due to his low poll ratings, consider the following points (taken from a post by Jennifer Haman on Lewrockwell.com):

    1.Some have suggested that Ron Paul has a lot of young supporters who do not own landlines and thus are not being polled.

    2. Typical polls will only call a certain type of voter e.g. people who voted Republican in the last election and this will leave out a lot of Ron Paul supporters. Ron Paul’s message of liberty and freedom reaches across the aisle and a lot of previously registered Democrats are switching parties to vote for him in this election. For the same reason, many Libertarians and Independents are also going to be voting as Republicans this election. Much of his support also comes from young people who are voting in their first Presidential election and thus would have no previous voting record.

    3. Ron Paul’s message of freedom and liberty is so exciting that people who have decided not to vote in past elections have decided that finally they have someone for whom to vote.

    4. Some polls are so biased they do not even list Ron Paul as a choice (coincidentally, in a few of those “other” is leading the pack): Hard to win a poll when your name is not on the list.

    5. Ron Paul fights for the individual, not the government, and his message appeals to those who like to be left alone. During this election many individuals have caller ID and often choose to avoid telemarketers and callers they do not know.

    6. Some of these polls begin with intrusive questions about a person’s gender, religious affiliation, annual income, and other information some see as none of anyone’s business. If you refuse to answer the initial questions they will not continue with the questions. The type of person that likes Ron Paul, also tends to like privacy.

    7. Sadly, not enough people are getting to hear about his policies. Once they hear him, Ron Paul’s supporters are very passionate about his message.

    Because of these problems with the polls used today, some observers suspect Paul’s true poll numbers are up around 10% or even in the low teens. And this is with very little name recognition as of yet (at least among the huddled masses).

    In addition, because of the passionate nature of Paul’s supporters, his “real” poll numbers will only keep rising, as opposed to Rudy McRomney’s supporters, many of whom are just supporting the lesser of the evils and are just as likely to switch allegiences the next day.

    Lastly, note that most revolutions occur with what is percieved as very little popular support. Your typical revolution will simmer with around 1 or 2% support, inch up to 3 or 4%, then suddenly and seemingly without warning, explode into the mainstream. This is due to the herd instinct of so many people. How many times have you heard someone say “So and So has great ideas, but I can’t vote for him because he has no chance.” The tipping point comes when the vast majority of people begin to realize that there is a realistic chance.

    The truth is Ron Paul is already beyond the tipping point. The misleading polls just don’t show it yet. As soon as he wins (or even places a strong 2nd) in an important straw poll such as Iowa’s next week, this could demonstrate to all that he has reached this all important tipping point, then all bets are off.

    Comment by MDKidd — July 31, 2007 @ 4:20 pm
  35. Then we’ll need a revolution

    Comment by mike — July 31, 2007 @ 4:21 pm
  36. It is so easy to be a naysayer. Maybe Ron Paul’s presidency will be a start of returning our country towards the constitution and liberty. Maybe 20 years from now we will look back and see this as the first step. A president with his kind of rhetoric could accomplish much in the battle of ideas.
    Believe in the impossible!

    Comment by Jeff — July 31, 2007 @ 4:25 pm
  37. Actually, I’ll retract the “bitch” portion of my comment on Hillary. I think her deficiencies have less to do with her gender (although it does factor in with some) than with fact that she seems to be a horrible and unlikeable human being who has an innate ability to turn almost anyone against her. Perhaps that impression is wrong, but I can’t think of any instance where she’s demonstrated otherwise.

    If Ron Paul does win the nomination, by the way, I believe he’d fare better against Hillary than you might think. If she gets her party’s nomination, she’s not going to be able to duck the cameras and stay out of the limelight as easily as she can in the Senate. And I don’t think she’ll be able to keep it together once the race starts getting really nasty…she seems to have an almost pathological need to lash out when she feels threatened or insulted. That’ll kill her in the debates and in the press.

    Comment by UCrawford — July 31, 2007 @ 4:27 pm
  38. Unfortunately for all the lobbyists, pundits, and power brokers, the system has one gigantic loophole from their perspective — the people still get to pick the candidates, and might decide to think for themselves for once, rather than believing everything CBS, ABC, NBC, and Fox tell them.

    Fortunately for Ron Paul’s supporters, the percentage of people who vote in the primaries is quite low, meaning a dedicated minority can get their candidate nominated, after which the media could no longer hide him from the American people.

    Comment by Doug — July 31, 2007 @ 4:38 pm
  39. In my opinion, Ron Paul’s biggest hurdle is winning the GOP nomination. He would have an enormous advantage in the general election against any democrat because he draws so much of his support from the left. Very few Republicans, on the other hand in my opinion, would vote for Hillary over Ron Paul no matter how much they dislike him.

    I also could see him (although he denies it now) running as an independent or Libertarian or Constitutionalist if he fails to win the GOP nomination. This would pit the two establishment candidates, who would presumably split the establishment vote, against Paul who would take all those votes from those that are sick of politics as usual. I think there a few of those types around, to say the least.

    Comment by MDKidd — July 31, 2007 @ 4:41 pm
  40. “You do realize that a President faced with a Congress that completely disagrees with him can’t really accomplish a whole heck of a lot, don’t you ?”
    ———————
    I think it’s more the other way around, as the Democrats are discovering. Without the President’s signature, they need 2/3 of Congress to agree on something to get it done, and that’s not easy.

    All Ron Paul needs to do to make things a lot better is to veto every bill that hits his desk.

    He may not be able to abolish the IRS and the Fed on his own, but he can change foreign policy single handedly, he can stop the federal abuse of civil liberties single-handedly, and he can start pushing Congress in the right direction on spending, by getting a great big “VETO” stamp made and putting it to use.

    Comment by Doug D — July 31, 2007 @ 4:44 pm
  41. Even the most dedicated of the Ron Paul spammers, which I’m part of, know the odds are difficult, but that’s even more of a reason to aggressively spread his campaign to the corners of the earth.

    The only reasons Ron Paul can’t win are because the establishment tells the public he can’t win, ignores him, or attacks him and enough people buy into it. Stephanopoulos doesn’t have as much power as he thinks he does, so when he tells us that we don’t have a chance it’s only to make us feel as if we actually don’t have a chance. He isn’t a prophet, he’s relying on you and me to fulfill his prophecy.

    You seem to think it a bad thing that Ron Paul would have trouble selling his programs to Congress. People often forget that Gridlock is a good thing in a constitutional republic and they confuse Gridlock with inefficiency. Of course Ron Paul wouldn’t be able to get all of his programs through Congress, no President ever has had a 100% success rate. I don’t want an authoritative Paul snapping his fingers and writing 100′s of Executive Orders radically changing the government overnight. Ron Paul has stated time and again that he wants transitional programs for the poor and the elderly to wean them off Welfare and Social Security. Changes in government should be slow and deliberate.

    But getting Ron Paul the GOP nomination cannot wait. It must happen NOW, because there’s no guarantee that this democracy thing and freedom of the internet is going to last into ’12.

    Comment by get2it — July 31, 2007 @ 4:46 pm
  42. I don’t think the media are trying to hide him from the general population, at least not intentionally. I think since he isn’t really buying a lot of advertising, or courting the MSM for interviews, and comes from a relatively small media market, and since he’s got a drastically different policy platform than the rest of the GOP he’s seen as fringe so the press just haven’t taken him that seriously yet. He probably comes off to them kind of like Lyndon LaRouche or Dick Gregory (although Paul’s not a nut like those guys). But I think that’ll change the longer he sticks around, especially once he starts buying advertising time and makes a push to take his campaign beyond grassroots level.

    So far he seems to be doing well. He’s got a decent amount of cash on hand, he’s got an apparently growing constituency without having spent much (unlike McCain), and he’s not making a push for the front too soon. If he times the TV ads right, maybe a month or two before the primaries, he’ll be well positioned to take a huge leap in momentum right as the voters are making their decision. And I think it helps that he had his dust-up with Guiliani over foreign policy so early. The earlier he gets the less-mainstream ideas out there, and the more time the voting public has to digest what he’s saying, the less likely they are to dismiss him as a kook. Frankly, I think Paul’s running a hell of a campaign.

    Comment by UCrawford — July 31, 2007 @ 4:50 pm
  43. Instead of “intentionally” in the first paragraph, should have said “maliciously”. I don’t think the MSM are trying to exclude him maliciously, I think they’re just trying to focus on the candidates who are most likely to be there at the end so they don’t the viewers to end up getting distracted by wannabes who are just a lot of noice (Tancredo, Huckabee, Dodd, Biden, etc.). And I think it’s causing them to underrate Paul’s campaign…but I also think that’s starting to change.

    Comment by UCrawford — July 31, 2007 @ 4:54 pm
  44. “The tipping point comes when the vast majority of people begin to realize that there is a realistic chance.”
    —————
    For those old enough to remember Ross Perot’s first presidential bid, the tipping point came when he hit about 8% in the polls. He was seen as a kook up until then, but suddenly he was seen as a viable candidate, and his support shot up to the 30% range almost overnight.

    (When he dropped out of the race, talking about “Republican dirty tricks” in the works, people started thinking he was kooky again. Ironically, fear of “Republican dirty tricks” in elections is now widespread, and not so unbelievable.)

    Part of the reason for Perot’s appeal was that he was seen as outside the political system, a decent person with unquestioned integrity and patriotism. Ron Paul will have that same advantage, if enough people get to know about him.

    Comment by Doug D — July 31, 2007 @ 4:56 pm
  45. Mataconis does not disappoint!

    Doug, maybe if you click your heels and keep saying “Ron Paul Will Never Be President” it might not happen.

    But people said the same thing about Reagan in 1980 and he won 49 states.

    That’s what Ron Paul’s gonna do.

    Comment by Buckwheat — July 31, 2007 @ 5:24 pm
  46. Doug,

    Thanks. This is actually a bit more candid than your previous posts.

    Here’s my thoughts on this, however. Even if Ron Paul couldn’t get a congress to cooperate, I believe it would really open up peoples eyes. We have even more effect on the elections of Congressmen and Senators. If Ron Paul is trying to do great things for the people and our representatives obstruct him, they will be removed.

    The point, Ron Paul will move our political thinking in the right direction.

    We are not just worshipping at the alter that is Ron Paul. We will continue this fight long after he is elected. Our State and U.S. Reps (who are up for re-election every 2 years) will be the next targets.

    We are going to show the government that they work for us. Ron Paul simply got the momentum going. I am pretty sure it is going to next to impossible to stop this revolution until our we have our country back.

    This is why it is so very important to elect him over just ‘the lesser of two evils.’

    Comment by Scott McDonnell — July 31, 2007 @ 5:30 pm
  47. Good God man. Every time I search for articles on Ron Paul, and surf in to this site, it’s another semi-hit piece by Doug Mataconis. Can’t you do something more original? It’s like Groundhog Day.

    Getting Ron Paul in office would be a start. Having an energized people pressuring congress would help matters along more than you may thing. People voting in congressmen who are like minded to Ron Paul would also happen. (I for one believe that Libertarian candidates in the future, running for offices at all levels will get much greater consideration)

    Sure more NeoCons and NeoDems might get more done faster, but is that what you want? Them to do more of what’s been going on? I think it’s worth pulling out all the stops for Ron Paul. I mean for Christ’s sake, now they’re talking about attacking Turkey! With the third carrier group being sent to the mid east, these crazy Cons may be planning to bomb Iran, Turkey, and Syria all at the same time and seal the PNAC deal. Is this what you want Doug? More of this? Why not write everything positive you can think of? I expect the BS from the MSM, but you little guys hopping on the negative/smear train is just sad.

    Doug I was hoping to grow old with my wife in our nice home, or an old-folks home at worst, but you seemed determined to make sure that I and many others will grow old in one of the 600 secret FEMA prison camps that were built by KBR.

    Help us out here Doug.

    Comment by Paul — July 31, 2007 @ 8:07 pm
  48. I was struck by Derbyshire’s piece, specifically by his marginalization of the Iraq War in the minds of those who consider themselves conservatives. He says it really isn’t that big of an impediment to them supporting Paul, but I completely disagree.

    If you have been to townhall.com or listen to right-wing talk at all, you will quickly find that support for the Iraq War is really a litmus test of a higher order even than being pro-life is (witness Benito’s Guiliani’s rise). There is a stubborn 33% (which is about 70% of active Republican’s) who still believe the Iraq War is just and righteous and necessary. :^(

    It is maddening trying to reason with them on the blogs or on radio on this topic, but try we must. That I believe is the biggest thing holding them back from supporting Paul (other than, of course, ‘he can’t win’ or ‘who is he?’).

    Peace be with you.

    Comment by cfountain72 — July 31, 2007 @ 10:09 pm
  49. Speak of the devil…here’s one more: http://www.theconservativevoice.com/forum/read.html?id=10576#comments

    Have fun, but be polite. Forgive, him for he knows not what he is saying.

    Comment by cfountain72 — July 31, 2007 @ 10:12 pm
  50. You do realize that a President faced with a Congress that completely disagrees with him can’t really accomplish a whole heck of a lot, don’t you ?

    Isn’t that why the house has elections every two years?

    Comment by js290 — August 1, 2007 @ 2:03 am
  51. cfountain72,

    There is a world of difference between ‘talk-radio’ republicans and the real, blue-collar republicans. The talk radio republicans are the liberals that jumped on board the GOP train on 9/11/01.

    I can almost guarantee that not a single one of them actually belongs to their party or attends any meetings or events. They do not have a single clue what is actually going on in County GOP headquarters all around America.

    Seriously, their reality is so far removed from what you will find on the streets it will start to make you laugh rather than get angry.

    Perhaps, your perception means you need to actually ‘get out more’ and talk about Ron Paul. The internet is only good organizing. You need to get out there and talk to people on the streets. Attend your county GOP meetings. THEY are the ones you need to impress to get Ron Paul nominated.

    The longer Ron Paul’s supporters hold on to this fantasy that the ‘real’ GOP hates him, the less likely he will be to get nominated.

    Go to your next county GOP meeting and tell them that you are a new Republican voter and want to volunteer. If Ron Paul is what the GOP is all about, then your behind that party 100%.

    Chances are, they have never even heard of him and will be very enthusiastic once they do. I know that’s how it is working right here in my very large county. They just haven’t heard his message, like 70% of the country right now for all the same reasons.

    So, again, get off the damn computer and get Ron Paul out there in the real world. Going on a campaign to sway townhall and hotair bloggers in to supporting Ron Paul is waste of your time. I can almost promise you most of these punks don’t even actually vote.

    We need to get Ron Paul nominated, that’s all. The rest will mostly take care of itself. Do your part. Join your local meetup group. They have a very specific plan. If they are all about rallying for Ron Paul, smack them upside the head. That is stuff we should be doing NEXT summer. We need to get him Nominated and that means working with the local GOP and targetting likely primary voters. Anything else at this point is just wasting time.

    Comment by Scott McDonnell — August 1, 2007 @ 5:20 am
  52. I should have said, I can bet you none of those punks even vote in the primaries in their state (the average is about 12% of registered state voters.)

    But, I’ll stand by the statement that a very large number of them don’t vote at all. They are not representative of the conservative base in America. They are, “Hot Air.”

    Comment by Scott McDonnell — August 1, 2007 @ 5:30 am
  53. Doug,
    What is your solution to the problems you see in our system? For the last 20 years conservatives have been holding their noses and voting for the anti-democrat candidates and hoping “well, we’ll slowly turn things more conservative. You’ll see. Can you imagine if the Dem’s win?”. And look what we get! An entitlement state that has grown more in the last 2 (republican!)administrations than in the history of our country. You are right. It is time for a Revolution. Stick your neck out and do something productive. Support Ron Paul.

    Comment by Tim — August 1, 2007 @ 5:57 am
  54. What I don’t appreciate is this fucking asshole nursing his lame need for the spotlight on googlesearch by writing a RP hit piece every goddamned chance he gets. This guy wants to be a political consultant they trundle out on Fox and CNN, so he’s starting out by projecting his blanket of failure on everyone.

    Comment by ETO — August 1, 2007 @ 7:50 am
  55. Doug is making a valid point in that, IF positive thinking was popular, Ron Paul would be headline news, but positive thinking is not popular and that’s why the only winners here are Doug and his negative thinking. Notice how Doug relishes his negativity because it brings him tons of negativity. Nothing wrong with negativity, IF that’s the world you want to create, as Doug, or live in, as Doug. Doug has learned to cope by expressing, creating and enjoying what’s negative, so let’s all wish Doug the ultimate in negativity, and that in the end, he’s flat out wrong (a negative) and all his negative dreams come home to haunt him, which would mean RON PAUL would be the next president.

    Comment by Jeanette Doney — August 1, 2007 @ 9:28 am
  56. guys do you know what doug reminds me of? remember “a few good men,” the movie? remember when tom cruise was deciding whether to be courageous and go to court over the murder, or just take a plea bargain like all the other sheister lawyers? and that one scene where tom is sitting at a bar, and a sheister lawyer was talking about how he just struck a plea bargain deal to stave off courtroom? that’s doug.

    Comment by uiop — August 1, 2007 @ 9:33 am
  57. About things that aren’t going to happen….

    Remember the Berlin Wall?

    What did the all powerful commissars in the Soviet Union have to say about their total control before communism fell?

    The Federal-Reserve-IMF-World-Bank fiat monetary “system” is Humpty Dumpty sitting on the wall. As we head into the perfect economic storm Humpty will have a great fall, and all of King George’s horses and all of Queen Hillary’s men won’t be able to put the fiat money system back together again.

    Instead of ranting about what’s not going to happen, how about recognizing what is going to happen?

    Humpty’s going to have a great fall. Humpty’s going to need a doctor. Is there a doctor in the house?

    Comment by Henry — August 1, 2007 @ 9:36 am
  58. Think of all the attempted fascism that he could VETO. Oh, what a wonderful never ending set of vetos it could be.

    Vote Dr. No!

    Comment by Alys — August 2, 2007 @ 12:49 am
  59. Doug

    You do realize that a President faced with a Congress that completely disagrees with him can’t really accomplish a whole heck of a lot, don’t you ?

    I have to disagree with you there. While a President Paul would have very little success passing legislation with a hostile Congress, there are certain plenary powers granted to the POTUS in the Constitution. A President Paul could grant pardons to whomever he pleased, reassign troops from everywhere on the planet to US soil, and fill Cabinet department offices just as soon as the Congress goes out of session. By vigorous exercize of these plenary powers, not to mention the vetoes he can exercize, a President Paul could have enormous influence without the US Congress being able to do a damn thing about it.

    Comment by Edward Keithly — August 2, 2007 @ 11:52 am
  60. http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/Decision2008/popup?id=3436820

    Comment by Jennifer — August 5, 2007 @ 9:58 pm
  61. Those who know better, should do better.
    An ignorant lemming is not at fault…a lemming who perpetuates ignorance because they have no hope, well, I feel very sorry for that one.

    Comment by Jack Corso — August 17, 2007 @ 1:16 pm

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