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

January 8, 2008

Ron Paul Falls Flat In The “Live Free Or Die” State

by Doug Mataconis

Notwithstanding my own hopes, it’s fairly clear that Ron Paul finished well behind the most optimistic predictions in the New Hampshire Primary.

To sum it up, he finished in 5th place. Behind Mike Huckabeee and Rudy Giuliani. In a state that was the focus of the Free State Project.

So, what happened ? And is there really any future for this campaign ?

Frankly, I don’t think so.

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  • John V

    I don’t know. I think the TNR hot piece came out too late to have an effect.

    I think the inexperience of the campaign staff is showing. Paul may not be a crank (and I know he isn’t) but he’s not a very astute campaigner nor does his staff seem to know much about where Paul’s appeal comes from.

    IMO, the campaign isn’t doing a very good job of wooing people who are not predisposed to vote for him after 2 seconds of hearing him.

    His rhetoric needs polishing.

  • John

    There’s no silver lining here. All the excuses about polls not picking up his support were debunked.

    I’m no expert, but I’d bet the 1980’s syle radio ads and TV spots were not the best use of all those millions. And I am a huge fan of Ron, but he seemed to get less articulate in each successive debate.

    I am very sad now.

  • http://thelibertypapers.org/2005/11/22/a-bit-about-kevin/ Kevin

    Ron Paul’s done. His campaign will have no affect on the Republican party and if he runs as a 3rd party candidate, it will be a joke, like most 3rd party candidates.

    Now for the rest:

    McCain’s alive, he needs to win either Florida, Michigan, or South Carolina to stay alive.

    Michigan is do or die for Mitt Romney. My bet is on the latter.

    Huckabee must win South Carolina or Florida to stay alive until Super Tuesday.

    South Carolina is do or die for Fred Thompson. It’s too soon to bet.

    Rudy needs the above candidates to continue to split victories and must win Florida.

    For the Democrats

    South Carolina is where the nomination will be settled.

  • DefendTheConstitution

    I agree. Ron Paul has an extremely powerful message. It’s what this nation was founded upon! However, he and his campaign really need to focus that message and play hard ball. No more Mr Nice Guy. Too many times in the debates he has come across as the loser to the average low brow Joe. Even though he wins the debates logically and factually, too often he ends up on the defensive as the five Neocon jackals attack him in unison and laugh as he delivers his statements. He has the ability to demolish their arguments – he’s demolished many Neocons before but seems to become overwhelmed in the debates (I don’t blame him I’d be extremely frustrated too).

    All in all I greatly admire Ron Paul – he has done a phenomenal job against immense odds. At some point we as individuals need to pick up the cause ourselves rather than sit back and criticize Ron Paul’s performance. He’s done a hell of a lot more for freedom in this country than any of us supporters or anybody in this country in recent history IMO.

  • john

    You guys need to watch this video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KrpES1Lk7X4

  • Winston

    False alarm about that hit piece. Check this out:
    http://www.freemarketnews.com/WorldNews.asp?nid=41822

  • Steve G

    It was fixed. How could Hillaryous possibly win in NH? RP couldn’t have won either, but not as low as he finished. This country needs a little revolution to show the Shadowmasters that they should get out of our political lives.

  • JackieLangley

    After seeing what Ron Paul wrote in the 80s and 90s, I am surprised anyone supports this nut outside David Duke’s circle.

  • uhm

    Congrats Kevin ;)

  • Timur

    If he changes his strategy and becomes more aggressive in debates like he was on the Laura Ingraham show where he kicked her ass, he will be more noticed and people will see him as a strong candidate. He is not calling it quits so I think it is premature to knock him out just yet.

  • Timur

    Ron Paul didn’t write the stuff in the 80’s and 90’s. It’s not even his style.

    He may be a nut, but so were Jefferson and Madison. I want to be a nut like them.

  • http://www.orderhotlunch.com Jeff Molby

    I admit, Doug, I’m pretty disappointed about this. I no longer see a growth path.

    Here’s hoping they stumble upon one…

  • Joe Lennar

    RP is toast. I remember being young and a complete dumbass too. Let this be a lesson, kiddies. No one torpedoed RP. He did it on his own. Us oldtimers have been there done that. A small % of what he said was good. The rest was BS.

  • http://www.ronpaul2008.com FUNH

    Or maybe…. the people in charge WANT us to believe that Hillary won and that Ron Paul lost. Who would ever know?

  • gwelymernans

    given that those quotes would be out of character w/ his libertarian stances which have been displayed consistently over the years, i find his explanation to suffice. this isn’t the first time anyone has brought these same statements up over the past ten or fifteen yrs and he has answered consistently over the yrs when it has been brought up. plus, the TNR article came out too late to greatly affect the primary. so i would have disagree w/ you greatly jackie. i think if you had a knowledge of his political history and actually took the time to read his response to these charges of racist comments, you would have to greatly doubt that he himself penned them.

    but as for dr paul’s chances… there’s only one possible chance i see for him to win the presidency and that requires a hillary vs huckabee vs bloomberg situation. even that would be a crap shoot.

  • Andrew

    I agree,

    Ron Paul has done a hell of a great job, especially when you consider the rediculously uphill battle that he is fighting. Who do we have against us? Everyone, including the republican party for the most part.

    Working and donating for Ron Paul has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. We may not win the Republican nomination or even the general election, but everyday new people hear Pauls message. Most of these people are not in a place in their lives where they can grasp it, given where the mainstream is at.

    I first heard Dr Pauls message back in august. I admit I thought he was crazy. I am in the finance sector and I just happened to be in a place in my life, where I realized the mainstream media, were not presenting the facts. I was at the right point in my life so I connected with the message.

    As our economy continues to swoon more people will come to the same point where they are open to Dr. Pauls message. It will be difficult and heartbreaking at times. It is up to us to make sure the message stays out there, so that it grab people when they are ready for it.

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

    FUNH,

    Yea, fall back on the conspiracy theory.

    Cause, you know, that always works.

    Geez, why did I know this would happen ?

  • Dr. Steven F. LeBoeuf

    Lighten up folks! Paul’s doin’ just spiffy. Despite the fact that he’s fringey, quirky, and despised by establishment, his performance is surprisingly strong. [He was polling 2%-4% in the Fall.]

    Recent blogs hyping Paul’s “suprise showing” in these early primaries have hurt his campaign. The disproportionately high energy of his supporters made his following seem larger than it truly is. But his campaign is learning, and a good dose of realism will be good for the Paulite mission.

    As long as Ron can keep raisin’ the money, he’ll be a factor in this campaign. Even if he truly has “no chance of winning,” to which I disagree (after all, stranger things have happened), Ron Paul’s message will make a difference. Hell, it already has!

    Dr. Steven F. LeBoeuf

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

    Dr. LeBouef,

    Name the last Presidential candidate who came in 4th in Iowa and 5th in New Hampshire who had any appreciable impact on the election.

    Yea, I can’t either.

    I am disappointed, but not surprised.

  • http://www.ronpaulforums.com Kevin Houston

    I’d hardly call lagging 1 point behind Giuliani, and 4 points behind Huckabee “falling flat”.

    That descriptor belongs solely to Fred “1%” Thompson.

    Same wih IA, Ron Paul lagged only 3 points behind Thompson and McCain there. And Ron actually won a county (and came in 2nd in several others)

    Ron Paul could end up as kingmaker but as things stand now, he isn’t going to be king.

    But then again, look at the straw polls overall, compared to the first couple.

    Iowa 8/11/2007 5th 9.1%
    Illinois 8/17/2007 3rd 18.9%
    Indiana 8/18/2007 4th 11.7%

    But now, Ron Paul has a very enviable Win-lose-tie ratio with every other candidate.

    This isn’t the beginning of the end, it’s not even the end of the beginning.

    This race truly belongs to the longest runner, not the fastest.

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

    Kevin,

    This isn’t the beginning of the end, it’s not even the end of the beginning.

    You are correct, it’s the end of the end.

  • Timur

    Name the last time we had a Woman and an African American running for president?

    Real change is possible, even if it may not be immediately felt.

  • Abe

    RP has the money, the people and a decent start in the primary states even though much lower than any of us wanted. I wanted him to win 2nd or 3rd in the Live Free or Die State. I don’t think RP is finished, by a long shot. I think the Free State Project is toast though. So much for the freest state in the Union. The voters chose 100 years of war McCain. How pathetic. RP needs to come out even stronger on the racism smear. As a Hispanic, I’m even more committed to RP’s vision of freedom and equality. I agree with other posters that he needs to stop playing the nice guy. RP’s greatest strength in this fight is the war issue, followed by the economy. Now that Giuliani is polling fourth in Florida, it’s time for the RP to swiftly kick the cash-strapped neo-fascist out of the race. Oh and by the way, the New Republic back in 1927 supported Fascism in Italy. Talk about hypocrisy.

  • http://www.justinbuist.org/blog/ Justin Buist

    Or maybe…. the people in charge WANT us to believe that Hillary won and that Ron Paul lost. Who would ever know?

    I’m pretty sure I could drop 4 hits of LSD and that comment would STILL look insane.

    He lost. Again. We’re 0/3 on this one when it comes to Ron Paul having any chance in this election. Maybe if he got 3rd in Iowa, maybe if he got 2nd in New Hampshire would he have a shot, but he didn’t, and he doesn’t. At this point he doesn’t really have a chance at winning any state. Wyoming is chock-full of anti-federal government types. New Hampshire was rife with Ron Paul supporters. He didn’t place in the top 3 in either of them.

    I’ll still vote for him when the primary comes in Michigan, but I’ve given up all hope at this point.

  • Symgharyl

    what I surmise is this:
    Ron Paul has a great following of internet users which is where most of his money comes from. At least I believe this is a safe assumption.
    I would also assume that many of those donations are not from registered Republicans. Therefore, the monetary totals he has received cannot equate to the party contributions that others in the Resnublican party have been given.
    I know I am not a registered R’can and I have a difficult time convincing myself to join their party just to get Mr. Paul the bid for his party. I will pencil him in instead of Mr Potatohead this year though.

    Michigan on the 15th. Convince me to join the R’cans and I’ll be there to vote for him. In my neck of the woods(Belding, MI) I don’t see any signs for any of the other republicans. I see banners and signs for Ron Paul. I get a warm feeling every time I see them.

  • Bob

    10% & 5th in Iowa, 8% and 5th in NH. The Paul campaign will find out that as the loses pile up the media attention and the money dry up. His campaign is now an educational campaign any faint hope of being competitive is gone.
    NH should have killed the myth that straw polls have any meaning. But I’m sure somewhere Buckwheat and Darrell are planning investigations to prove that RP was robbed.

    Kevin,
    Well Done!

  • http://www.otagonorml.com Jon

    Everyone you shouldn’t be so quick to give up. You thought this was easy?

    Watch this and get ready to fight for your rights.
    http://nz.youtube.com/watch?v=MBfmksI_wYY

    http://www.dailypaul.com/node/23203
    http://www.dailypaul.com/node/23223

    RON PAUL REVOLUTION

  • Amy

    If this is a doom and gloom for Ron Paul, one then can expect Fred to pack it in. Guilliani came ahead of Paul marginally and lost to him in Iowa… did anyone ask Rudy to pack it? 8% in a primary for 3rd party thinking is a huge win. The message must continue. This is not so much about Paul winning as it is about U.S. having our mandate heard. 7 even 3yrs ago these numbers were very different.

    People continue to vote for your policy– it’s your duty. This is not the Super Bowl.

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

    Fred said on MSNBC last night that So. Carolina is do-or-die for him. I expect him to drop out soon after that primary.

  • http://www.freestateproject.org FreeStateLives

    @Abe:

    I think the Free State Project is toast though

    Really? The FSP had a huge event, the Liberty Forum with over 500 people attending.
    Over 100 people who were part of Operation Live Free or Die are probably going to move to NH within the year, despite the results.

    We still have no income tax, We still have no sales tax. We are moving to NH to fight for freedom not because NH is already Free. Plus with only 260ish movers so far you think that we could have done it all? We are just getting started.

  • Timur

    He has brought libertarian ideas to the attention of millions and moved the libertarian movement further than it has moved in 20 years.

  • Amealoa

    We shall fight on at the shopping malls, and in the neighborhoods, on the street corners, in the parking lots, at the churches, and homes, and colleges. And we shall not surrender until the day that Leviathan is slain, and freedom so sweet you can taste it on your tongue is realized.
    For what is the alternative?
    More War, More Taxes, More Corruption, More Poverty, More Enslavement! The five horsemen of the apocalypse. Knock the Rider from his Horse, swallow hard and kill it. It must be done, it shall be done, we have to do it.
    Is life so good that we have not our honor, our intellect, our spirit?

  • Butler T. Reynolds

    What happened?

    We are part of a long tail in politics. As will all libertarian ventures, we get caught up in our tunnel vision. We attend meetup groups, troll libertarian web sites, and commune with others like ourselves.

    The reality is that there are pant load of people out there who probably cannot even spell libertarianism.

    BTR

  • Timur

    Also keep in mind that a year ago, the word libertarian was hardly ever used and 99% of the people didn’t even know what it was so there is great progress being made. We just need to be patient.

  • Symgharyl

    By the way, I learned that in MICHIGAN, anyone is allowed(by law) to vote in the Republican Primaries. Independent or otherwise. Pass the word.

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