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

January 15, 2008

Tuesday Open Thread: Ron Paul, The Internet, And Politics

by Doug Mataconis

Forbes Magazine asks what the apparent failure of Ron Paul’s Presidential campaign means for the Internet’s influence over politics:

On the Web, the Ron Paul Army reigns. With or without their favorite presidential candidate’s consent, they flood Web forums, overwhelm online polls and berate bloggers. They build countless fan pages and dominate user-generated media sites. A few may have even hired Ukrainian spammers to fill millions of in-boxes with Paul-supporting propaganda.

But back in the offline world, Paul’s fanbase seems to vanish. In last week’s Iowa caucus, Paul received 10% of the vote, and in Wednesday’s New Hampshire primary, he earned just 8%–hardly matching the near-90% support in Web polls following Republican presidential debates.

It comes as little surprise that Paul–a libertarian who has vowed to abolish the Internal Revenue Service and reinstitute the gold standard–can’t pull votes from more mainstream conservative candidates. But the disparity between his online support and his performance in primaries raises the question: Is the power of the Internet to influence politics all that it’s cracked up to be?

I’m sure that this is something that people will be talking about for some time to come. After all, there is no denying the extent to which the Internet helped bring together people who supported Ron Paul. What’s most interesting about is that nearly all of the things that people point to when they talk about what the “Paulistians” did — the Meetup groups and the moneybombs being the big ones — were done outside the official campaign.  In fact, I would say that the grassroots did more to get their candidates name out there than the official campaign did, although part of the problem the campaign faced last year was the fact that, to a large degree, they were being defined by their supporters rather than their candidate.

So why hasn’t the Internet phenomenon translated into the real world ?

I think  there are a few reasons.

First, most people still get their news and information from the traditional media. They don’t read blogs, they don’t participate in online forums, and they don’t “Google Ron Paul.” When they make up their minds about a candidate, they do it in much the same way that Americans have been doing it for the past 50 years or so. Consider this:

Web users represent a surprisingly small slice of the American electorate, and politically motivated users are even rarer. A Pew Internet study performed last year shows that just 69% of Americans use the Web on a given day, and the same organization found in August 2006 that only 19% of Americans look for political news or information online.

Second, the Internet fan base does not accurately reflect the makeup of the voting population. There’s been a lot of enthusiasm for the Paul campaign online but that enthusiasm was never the same in the real world.

Third, the sub-set of people who are politically active on line are different from the American public in an important respect. Most Americans are not ideological and not necessarily into political activism on a daily basis. Ron Paul was winning online polls and straw polls because they were committed to their candidate. But they are a small part of the voting population, and not the people that a candidate needs to convince to vote for him or her.

It'[s arguably the case that Ron Paul has done better than he would have otherwise because of the Internet, but the lesson is clear — success on the Internet is not a ticket to the White House.

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  • Dan Alba

    Such screeds from Forbes et al. remind me of one thing: “Dewey Defeats Truman!”

    Don’t forget that Independents and others who are not registered as Republicans can not vote in all the primaries.

    The general election is a different story. If Paul has to run as an Indy, then look forward to the votes doing more justice to the internet numbers.

  • http://dangerouslyidealistic.blogspot.com/ UCrawford

    “success on the Internet is not a ticket to the White House.”

    No, but I’m betting that you’ll see a lot online campaigning in future elections as a result of what Paul has done. And since the Internet is largely libertarian that bodes well for us getting a voice in future elections.

  • doogie

    It’s arguably the case that Ron Paul has done better than he would have otherwise because of the Internet, but the lesson is clear — success on the Internet is not a ticket to the White House.

    Translation: canvas, canvas, and then canvas some more!

    http://voters.ronpaul2008.com/grassroots/

    This game is far from over folks.

    Do you want your country back?

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

    Crawford,

    If professional campaign strategists aren’t studying what was done last year by the Paul-ites, then they’re dumber than I thought.

  • http://dangerouslyidealistic.blogspot.com/ UCrawford

    Doug,

    And actually I care less about how well the campaigns hone their message…I’m happier with the fact that we finally seem be getting heard. That’s not as good as having libertarians in Congress or the White House, but it’s better than the common wisdom before the election that there were only two major viewpoints out there…liberal and conservative. Ron Paul’s pointed out that there’s a market out there for candidates who share common ground with liberals and conservatives, and by demonstrating that I’d argue his campaign has been a lot more successful than any of us would have anticipated a year ago.

  • Kay

    What really bugged me from the start about the Paulites – and made me wonder about the candidate as well – is the fact that so many online polls were seemingly “spammed” by supporters voting numerous times – to the point that it really became a joke. Every time one of the networks had a “call in” poll, those numbers were also skewed beyond belief.

    *Personally* my own convictions would prohibit me from doing that – no matter how strongly I embraced a candidate, so I have a hard time with the idea of just duplicating votes until you get the desired results.

    And, if the nominee for president were to be chosen in that fashion, (oh, wait, the Dems tried that in 2004, didn’t they?) I could not have any confidence in their candidacy.

  • depak

    The only reason Ron Paul did not do well is because he is unknow to the majority of americans.

    Even a famous talkshow host like howard steirn did not hear about Ron Paul until few days ago.

    Can you imagine?

    The media censors him and his message big time !!!!

    Add to that a big chunk of americans vote based on superficial things like looks , fame and name.
    They do not look at records , they do not know the position of each condidate.
    Which is sad since most can read and write.

    Do not forget that obama has the same online support that Ron Paul has yet Obama won Iowa.

    So it is a correlation of things but Internet alone is not enough unless we live in a ideal world where each person looks up the stand of each condidate online.

    Ron Paul is probably setting the stage for his son Rand Paul who will certainly have a great name recognition in the futur if he gets into politics.

    Cheers

  • http://dangerouslyidealistic.blogspot.com/ UCrawford

    Kay,

    “*Personally* my own convictions would prohibit me from doing that ”

    So would the convictions of anyone who’s not a liar, an idiot or utterly insane. Unfortunately those are all qualities the Paulestinians possess in spades.

  • Kay

    UC, That’s what frightened me away – I mean, that is just simply NOT rational thinking – and to me, Libertarianism should be rational at least – well thought out, logical. To start with a false premise (i.e. that if we want it badly enough and make up votes long enough it will happen) is the hallmark of insanity.

  • areply

    He has been censored, by fair and balanced stories about him. But I would have to admit there is plenty of junk floating around, which is unfortunate.

    Go Ron Paul!

  • http://dangerouslyidealistic.blogspot.com/ UCrawford

    Depak,

    “The media censors him and his message big time !!!!”

    Of course according to Ron Paul’s platform they have every right to do so…so what are you bitching about?

    Oh, that’s right…everything’s a giant conspiracy against Ron Paul because the world obviously revolves around him.

    “Do not forget that obama has the same online support that Ron Paul has yet Obama won Iowa.”

    Except that Obama also has a large following outside the Internet where 90% of the world operates. That’s why he’s second in his primary while Ron Paul is an afterthought in the GOP. Looking back, do you think perhaps Ron Paul was foolish to ignore 90% of the voters because it was cheaper to delegate it to a bunch of bloggers of questionable credibility who are only interested in preaching to the choir? You think? Perhaps if he’d been a little more savvy he also wouldn’t have tried to appeal to the mainstream with such shitty TV ads too. I wonder if he went the lowest-bidder route with selecting his ad agencies?

  • http://libertyman.wordpress.com libertyman

    This is the opening round of a revolution in this country not the end of anything. The statist have felt us and will continue to feel us in the future. We have just found our voice and our momentum and are going to continue to make an impact. This is so far from over it makes me think you are hiding under a rock if you think that throwing some mud on Ron Paul has caused his supporters to turn away in any real numbers. That is not happening and likely will not. The anti-Paul forces took their well timed well aimed shot at the Ron Paul R3volution and we took a hit but we are still standing and are well enough to carry the fight forward. Live free or Die. It is more than just a screed it is a commitment.

  • Craig

    Kay and UCrawford —

    The call in polls after the Fox News debates were spam-proof. You could only vote once per phone number. Ron Paul won them going away. I support Ron Paul, and I couldn’t even call in, because I didn’t sign up for the text message feature on my cell phone service.

    As for the online polls, it’s not like anyone needed to spam them for Ron Paul to win handily. Most of the online polls had fewer than 30,000 votes, and there are over 80,000 organized Ron Paul supporters on Meetup.

    Quit calling honest people liars.

  • http://dangerouslyidealistic.blogspot.com/ UCrawford

    Kay,

    “and to me, Libertarianism should be rational at least”

    Most of the Paulestinians I’ve encountered aren’t libertarians. They advocate forcing the media to cover their candidate, they rarely have any idea of what his campaign platform is and even if they do few of them are capable of discussing it or arguing for it (largely because they appear incapable of listening to other arguments or reading for comprehension). A large number of them are racists and conspiracy theorists who are attracted to Paul only because he doesn’t condemn them. It’s fine by me that the candidate doesn’t demonize them because I think it’s inappropriate for a politician to go out of his way to slam others for holding different beliefs as long as they aren’t forcing those beliefs on others, but Ron Paul also lets these dipshits hijack his platform for their own agendas so I don’t have much if any respect for their views (or them personally, frankly).

    And after the newsletter story got delved into I lost a lot of respect for Ron Paul because he’s apparently not capable of realizing this. I consider him a very bright person with some very good ideas, but I also think he’s an extremely poor judge of character who doesn’t learn from his mistakes and after much reflection I no longer consider him to be an acceptable candidate for President, which is why I’m withdrawing my support for him. I no longer care if he’s the least-worst candidate, I believe he would be a complete disaster in the White House because of his managerial incompetence and I will not add to the chances (however unlikely) that he might win.

  • http://dangerouslyidealistic.blogspot.com/ UCrawford

    Craig,

    “The call in polls after the Fox News debates were spam-proof. You could only vote once per phone number.”

    New Hampshire and Iowa have proved the irrelevance of those polls that show him as a viable candidate. He’s simply not pulling the votes, nor is he looking likely to do so in the future because of the incompetence of his “professional” campaign staff.

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

    Crawford,

    Re: the Paul supporters not being libertarians.

    I’ve noticed that there seem to be a lot of them who were Buchanan or Perot people back in 1992 and 96 — and neither one of those guys can be considered libertarian.

  • http://publiusendures.blogspot.com Mark

    UCrawford wrote:
    “… I’m betting that you’ll see a lot online campaigning in future elections as a result of what Paul has done. And since the Internet is largely libertarian that bodes well for us getting a voice in future elections.”

    I couldn’t agree more with that statement. I don’t think there’s any question that the “spontaneous order” that the internet allows led to Paul’s fundraising successes and, also, to his moving up in the polls from less than 1% to 3 or 4% nationally- not a huge amount, but still a noticeable increase in support. The fundraising also allowed him to campaign heavily in NH and IA, leading to him getting 9 to 10% of the vote there- pretty good for a small-niche candidate. I suspect that his meetup groups would have been more effective had they not attracted so many crazies; as it turned out, the meetups were still able to provide some meaningful assistance to the campaign.

    In any event, it’s worth pointing out that Obama’s national success is in part a result of his internet presence, which has been a big boost to his fundraising.

  • http://dangerouslyidealistic.blogspot.com/ UCrawford

    Libertyman,

    “The anti-Paul forces took their well timed well aimed shot at the Ron Paul R3volution and we took a hit but we are still standing and are well enough to carry the fight forward.”

    You see, it’s when you start thinking that pro-freedom must automatically equate to pro-Ron Paul that you start going off the rails. Being pro-freedom does not meaning placing your allegiance in one man…especially one who falls short of his stated ideals because of personal failings (in Paul’s case, his poor judgment of character). If you were any kind of libertarian you’d realize that. But Paulestinians idolize the man, not the message, and that pretty much discredits them with anyone who really cares about freedom.

  • Craig

    Why does Ron Paul own the Internet, but barely beat Republican also-rans like Giuliani and Thompson in real life elections?

    I think the main reason for the disparity is that most voters do barely any research into the candidates. As New Hampshire showed, they make up their minds in the last week or two (or even, incredibly, on voting day), based on which candidate they “like” better of those the media tells them have “a chance to win” in their state.

    Even as Ron Paul raised more money in the final three months of 2007, put more volunteers on the ground in Iowa and New Hampshire, flooded New Hampshire with so many signs that even CNN couldn’t hide them, most voters still believed the TV networks that said he didn’t have a chance to win, and ignored him.

    John McCain won the anti-war Republican vote over Ron Paul. That tells you something about the average voter’s depth of research into the issues. John McCain and Mitt Romney won more independent votes than Ron Paul did, primarily because the media made it into a McCain-Romney race.

    The ONLY metric where Ron Paul has trailed the other top tier candidates is in random telephone polling, the single criterion the media appears to use for determining viability and doling out debate time and air time. Yet the polls were obviously entirely pointless until at least mid-December, since over two thirds of voters hadn’t really made up their minds yet.

  • Craig

    UC —

    I’ve never said that call-in polls or Internet polls are either scientific or predictive. I’ve only said that you don’t have to accuse people of spamming (which is impossible in some of them) to explain Ron Paul’s victories in those polls. He has a large and well organized base of support, and the media bias against him motivates people to show their support in other ways. The more numerous supporters of other candidates don’t feel the need to promote their candidates online, because the media does the promoting for them.

  • Gabe Harris

    this website has lots of anit-libertarian venom in it…I really turned against this website when they made stuff up about ron paul supporters “spamming” spam proof polls. I have no problem with the fact that a online or text message poll is skewed towards younger, tech savvy, economically literate, educated voters…and the actually voting is skewed towards borderline retarded government bueracrats and recipients of welfare/wrfare state benefits. This is all true and expalins why ROn Paul has only gotten 9% of the republcian vote thus far.

    9% is pretty good relative to Harry Brownes numbers so I am still relatively pleased, especially when I look towards teh future and see ROn Paul’s number amongst thought leaders and the 18-30 crowd.

  • http://publiusendures.blogspot.com Mark

    Depak:
    While Paul still has relatively low name recognition nationwide, the same cannot be said about Iowa and New Hampshire, where his name recognition was 95% and 99%, respectively. Paul’s problem in those states was that his campaign (and, I suspect, the overzealousness of some supporters) turned off far more voters than it turned on. Look at Paul’s negative rating in both states. Even in New Hampshire, his unfavorable rating was nearly double his favorable rating, which was even less than his neutral rating. In Iowa, it was even worse.

    Those unfavorables are all voters who knew who Ron Paul was but were so turned off by his campaign that they wouldn’t even consider him as an option. It’s tough to do well in a campaign when you’ve reduced the size of the voter pie by almost 50%.

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

    Gabe,

    You are making the same mistake that other Paul supporters do.

    The fact that someone doesn’t vote for your candidate doesn’t mean they are evil or stupid, they just happen to disagree with you. The way to win elections is to try to change their minds, not to insult them.

  • Craig

    Anyone who really cares about freedom should be voting for Ron Paul, even if they don’t agree with him 100% or idolize him. Every vote for Ron Paul is a show of support for the broader freedom movement, a sign to the establishment that we are much more numerous and much more powerful politically than they ever dreamed.

    If you’re convinced that Ron Paul can’t win, you have all the more reason to vote for him, because there’s no downside to your vote, even if you think he wouldn’t make that great of an actual president.

    A vote for anyone else is a vote for the status quo, and no kind of signal at all. If you want to stop Hillary, vote for McCain or Romney in the general election. It’s not as if the infinitesimal differences between McCain, Romney, Huckabee, and Giuliani will ever matter much in the grand scheme of things.

  • http://dangerouslyidealistic.blogspot.com/ UCrawford

    Craig,

    “I’ve never said that call-in polls or Internet polls are either scientific or predictive.”

    Fair enough and I apologize if I misinterpreted your argument. For my part, I wasn’t arguing that the polls were all spammed, only that they were irrelevant at this point because they obviously haven’t translated to votes (which is really all that matters)

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

    Craig,

    Anyone who really cares about freedom should be voting for Ron Paul, even if they don’t agree with him 100% or idolize him. Every vote for Ron Paul is a show of support for the broader freedom movement, a sign to the establishment that we are much more numerous and much more powerful politically than they ever dreamed.

    What freedom movement? The movement that freedom should be “free to oppress” like what Ron Paul is proposing. The freedom movement that calls blacks animals. The freedom movement that threatens violence against anyone who disagrees. Yeah, some freedom movement….

  • http://dangerouslyidealistic.blogspot.com/ UCrawford

    Craig,

    “Anyone who really cares about freedom should be voting for Ron Paul, even if they don’t agree with him 100% or idolize him.”

    I care about freedom but I also care about him appointing a competent Secretary of Defense who can work with the military to produce an orderly withdrawal from Iraq that won’t turn into a bloodbath for our troops (if the Iraqis decide to start killing each other, that’s on them). Based on his shaky record of hires, I don’t trust him to do that.

  • http://www.finalembrace.com Timothy Totten

    I’m always fascinated to read the descriptions of Ron Paul supporters as “crazed wackos” or “conspiracy nuts” or other derogatory words.

    Why? Because I happen to be a Ron Paul supporter who considers himself a well-adjusted member of society who just happens to have been a life-long Republican.

    My first vote was cast for Bob Dole, even though we all knew there was no way he’d win.
    I voted for W twice. The first time because he sounded like a true conservative. The second time because anything was better than Kerry.

    So it pains me to see that the man whose ideas I strongly support gets stuck with labels designed to marginalize him.

    It’s amazing that when I discuss issues with my friends, they often side with me (and Dr. Paul) before I reveal who I’m voting for. But the mention of his name has them saying “you mean that crazy guy?” Where do you think they get the idea that Congressman Paul is crazy? Yes, the news media has played into that perception, and yes, it doesn’t help matters that his high-pitched voice, ill-fitting suits and no-nonsense debate style make him look a bit like Barney Fife on his third Starbucks. But when did we decide that we’d rather drive this country off a cliff with a “sane-looking” pretty person at the wheel?

    Sadly, it’s not just Dr. Paul that doesn’t fit the mold. His supporters, who get called “rabid” while Obama supporters or McCain supporters are called “loyal”, are treated with disrespect in online forums, mostly because they write passionately about a politician that finally speaks to their views.
    Of course, it’s also quite pathetic that, as Americans, we are so poorly-equipped to have rational discussions with each other without resorting to name-calling. And I’m talking about everyone, not just worked-up RP fans.

    So maybe we can figure out how to be nicer to each other. And I’ll continue to contribute to Dr. Paul, regardless of how little play he gets in the media.
    P.S. – I voted in the SC Fox text message poll, the USA Today poll and the AOL Poll. And I resent the implications that I might have tried to vote twice in any of them. I’m not a cheater and I don’t believe most of the other RP supporters are.

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

    Look,

    The only chance Ron Paul has this point is to pour all $20 million into TV ads for Feb 5th primary states. I doubt that will work, but it’s the only possible way.

    Assuming Ron Paul keeps his word, and doesn’t run independent or 3rd party, then that leaves a huge opening for LP candidates to exploit.

    consider:

    Dear Ron Paul supporters,

    We know you are upset that Ron Paul isn’t in the race anymore, to tell you the truth, we are too. But we thought you would like to know that there is still a candidate that wants to bring the troops home, abolish the IRS, eliminate the Federal Reserve, end the war on drugs, and follow the Constitution 100%, all the time, no exceptions, no excuses.

    Vote [fill in LP nominee name here] for President 2008!

    Later.

  • Kay

    *I* was the one who has argued that polls were spammed by Ron Paul supporters – based on articles that I’ve read in a number of sources:

    http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=27632_How_To_Stack_a_Silly_Internet_Poll&only
    http://tailrank.com/1938206/Ron-Paul-Supporters-Spamming-Our-Poll-Again
    http://www.totheright.org/?p=456
    http://digg.com/2008_us_elections/Ron_Paul_Supporters_Spamming_Polls_All_Over_the_Web
    http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20071031-ron-paul-camp-gets-over-enthusiastic-with-spam.html

    Those are just a few of the places I’ve found – but I read many more such articles in past – Little Green Footballs even banned his name from their polls at one point due to “stacking”.

    http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=27436_LGF_Poll-_Who_Won_the_GOP_Debate&only

    So, if ya wanna call anybody on it, lay it on my shoulders – they’re broad enough (no pun intended) to handle it!

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

    Kevin,

    The LP’s Presidential field is so weak this year, they pretty much asked Ron Paul to accept their nomination.

    He declined.

  • David

    The missing issue is that other campaigns do not have as much of an online presence, and are not responding to the polls in high numbers. One of the main problems that Ron Paul supporters have to fight is apathy and laziness of would-be voters.(People who think their votes won’t count, or that will let other people decide for them so they can go watch TV or relax)

    There are people on RonPaulRadio chat rooms (as well as dailypaul) who watch every news bit like a hawk, and motivate hundreds of people at a time — who in turn call their friends, family and other Ron Paul supporters to chime in. The level of activism by Ron Paul supporters online is unprecedented.

    This is the explanation for ‘flash mob’ style responses to the polling.

  • David

    Kevin,

    It’s not ‘all or nothing’ for Ron Paul. Of all the candidates he appears to be fiscally responsible with the money that has been donated to him. That will show as a testament to his cause when his closest opponents drop out because they’re broke!

    This is a battle of monetary attrition. Ron Paul *can* win.

  • http://www.thelibertypapers.org/2006/11/22/comrades-i-hereby-declare-the-revolution/ Adam Selene

    Timothy Totten:

    mostly because they write passionately about a politician that finally speaks to their views.

    I’ve talked to RP supporters online and in person. The ones I continuously run into are paranoid, conspiracy theorists. A few, a very few, speak rationally and clearly. You’re one of them. I respect your position, although I disagree with it. But, go read the thousands of comments we have received from Truthers, One Worlders, etc. supporting RP and, essentially, claiming he is the messiah of all that is good and true in the world.

  • April

    There are planks in the libertarian party platform that I disagree with.

    I have been voting libertarian for 7 years.

    I disagree with Ron Paul on several issues.

    I plan on voting for him in my state primary, and hope I have the chance to in the Nov. elections.

    I disagree with the some of the tactics and the cult of personality that have appeared during Ron Paul’s second attempt at the Presidency. As someone who identifies themselves as libertarian, I ruefully assert an individual’s right to make my candidate look like a nut because of his principled stand of refusing to disavow his more ardent/fringe supporters.

    I also support the free will of any libertarian who choses to support another candidate for President.

    I humbly posit what others here have. A vote for Ron Paul is a vote toward a more libertarian America.

    UCrawford; I share your concerns regarding the team Ron Paul would assemble. Here is the only time I have found where someone took him seriously to ask that question, (and his response of course).
    http://politicalchowder.com/eps/ep062407.htm

  • uhm

    I have questions for Paulestinians.

    What would you do about the root of all evil. Government and Big Business. What is wrong and how would you fix it? Especially in relation to the follow questions:

    What do you advocate in place of free trade agreements that are in place? Obviously you hate the top down structure.

    Then there is migration of people. Freedom of movement. Bilateral immigration agreements? It also means freedom not to live in Bush’s America. People I’ve talked to have said the women south of the border are waaaaaaaaaay better than American women. One of them married someone from South America. She was only 18-19 too and he’s in his 30’s-40’s. I believe freedom lovers can find more meaningful and happy lives elsewhere.

  • http://ronpaul2008.com Tess

    Please know this, We the Ron Paul Supporters will not give up our Liberty and Freedom in exchange for Security. We would be better off having the $13,000.00 a year that each taxpaying citizen is having to pay to fund this unconstitutional war. We would be better off defending ourselves and our families with that money to buy our own security, and we would also feel much better having our troops home from foreign countries, instead of having them die overseas.

    We will not buy into the scare tactics that the present Administration, and the media is feeding the American public with terrorist propaganda. The time has come for people to think, and those that do, will know the truth. I love my Country, and I will not stand by and let our corrupt government, big corporations or the media tear it completely down. We need to start somewhere, and it will be by informing our citizens of the truth, and the crisis our nation faces. Ron Paul has my support and vote. As George Bush stated in May 2003, “Mission Accomplished”, or was that another lie?

  • Tannim

    Relying on LGF for anything is just bad as they have little credibility sicne they muckrack as bad as TNR, redstate, dailyKos, Wonkette, LST, and the Western Standard.

    Dissing Dr. Paul over the newsletter smear is just as bad as it shows fickleness in picking a candidate.

    No candidate is 100% perfect, so why should we act as if they must be for us to support him? This is especially true with libertarians, so take the hint, and lighten up some.

    As to why he didn’t do so well in Iowa: remember that this was a pro-war hyper-religious state, custom-made for Huckabee. Dr. Paul doesn’t wear his religion on his sleeve and is anti-war. Do the math.

    As to why he didn’t do so well in New Hampshire: Too many independents jumped over to Obama when it became apparetn that a Hillary fix was in. Unfortunate, but true. It seems that a lot of the independent suppor up there was mroe of an anti-Hillary sentiment than a pro-Paul one.

    As for the campaign, the lack of openness by the NHQ is disturbing. The TV and radio ads need help, and the paid print media advertising is non-existent. Dr. Paul needs a speech coach to simply improve his vocal tone and presentation skills–he needs to smile more and not be so serious all the time. He also needs to take his opponents directly to the woodshed, do not pass Go, do not collect $200. He needs to make them look stupid and call them out as stupid.

    That being said, the strategy has been simple: use the run-up to the primaries to build the resources and marshal the forces. That’s been done. Then use the first few primaries to gauge what’s on voters’ minds compared to the campaign platform. That’s a work in progress and will continue with MI, NV, SC, and FL. The next step then is to tailor the message and then UNLOAD for Super Tuesday. That’s coming. Meanwhile the other guys have been focusing on either a win-it-all-by-momentum-now focus (Romney, McCain, Hucakbee) or a use-one-big-state-for-momentum focus (Giuliani) or have no focus at all (Thompson, Hunter). IOW, build up, fine-tune, then attack. We saw the first signs of that with the more assertive Dr. Paul at the last debate, and it was good to see.

    All I can say is be patient. Expect another 8% in Michigan today, whether that’s actual votes or votes alloted to him by fraud and Sal Anuzi.

    BTW, In Dr. Paul’s congressional district race there is no D, no L, and the only comeptition is a vastly underfunded R for the primary. So even if Dr. Paul does not get the nomination he’ll most likely still be around in Congress as a senior member in the House after the skunking to come.

  • TerryP

    To me is doesn’t make a lot of sense for people to say that they are not voting for Dr. Paul now because of the newsletters or by who he would appoint to the cabinet once he became President. He has virtually no chance of winning so who he would appoint to a cabinet post is meaningless. This is more about building momemtum for a freedom movement that will elect people in the future. Without a credible showing now our future chances are further dimmed. By voting for Paul you are not really voting for the man but voting for his message of freedom and if enough people vote now to help jumpstart this movement then in a few years we may actually be talking about someone who has a chance to win and will help push us back to what the founders believed in.

    The people that are jumping off the bandwagon and are plain attacking him are doing more to hurt the movement of freedom than they realize. Dr. Paul is certainly not the perfect candidate, but if we have not laid the groundwork through Paul’s candidacy and votes, when the more electable closer to perfect candidate comes along this candidate would likely not have a chance to win either. With this groundwork laid he may actually have a chance. To some degree it may be similar to the groundwork that Goldwater laid that got Reagan elected a few years later. Goldwater wasn’t the perfect candidate from a libertarians perpective but he was the closest we had up until Ron Paul. What he did along with what LBJ did made the electorate ready for Reagan. Paul may be laying the groundwork along with a likely terrible next Presidnet in regards to freedom and we may have a situation where the electorate will be ready for a libertarian type candidate in the not so distant future.

  • UCrawford

    TerryP,

    To me is doesn’t make a lot of sense for people to say that they are not voting for Dr. Paul now because of the newsletters or by who he would appoint to the cabinet once he became President.

    It does make sense, we’re walking away from offering the candidate support not because he can’t win but because we consider him unqualified for the office of President because of his questionable judgment on personnel.

    He has virtually no chance of winning so who he would appoint to a cabinet post is meaningless. This is more about building momemtum for a freedom movement that will elect people in the future.

    When your poster children for your movement are people who wouldn’t make good officials for the offices they’re running for you’re not helping the movement, you’re hurting it by making your movement look incompetent.

    By voting for Paul you are not really voting for the man but voting for his message of freedom and if enough people vote now to help jumpstart this movement then in a few years we may actually be talking about someone who has a chance to win and will help push us back to what the founders believed in.

    By voting for Paul, you’re voting for the man and the public’s perception of your movement will be tied to their perception of who your movement votes for…that’s how elections work. As for his message of freedom it was discredited by the newsletter scandal (a controversy that would and should be a deathblow for any candidate) and his poor handling of the aftermath. As for how libertarian he is he took great pains to distance himself from libertarianism to sell himself as “Republican” during the election and only started selling the libertarian angle once he started getting tarred as a racist. His immigration policy is wholly incompatible with libertarianism, he’s offered no specifics on how he intends to get any of this stuff passed if he were to win, and by supporting him it makes us look like fools for supporting a guy who doesn’t strongly support our ideals or have any clue of how to implement it. As someone else here pointed out, now that he’s effectively eliminated if he wants the protest vote he needs to clean up the ideological weak spots on his platform and show us something worth voting for if he wants libertarian support…and that means ditching his anti-immigration platform (which is at best protectionist and at worst outright racist) and openly disassociating himself from the more extreme elements of his following.

    The people that are jumping off the bandwagon and are plain attacking him are doing more to hurt the movement of freedom than they realize.

    I consider his immigration platform to be statutory racial discrimination rationalized by a claim we need to preserve the welfare state. Paul has used one anti-freedom policy to justify another so I don’t consider his platform nearly pro-freedom enough for a protest vote. He doesn’t have to drum the racists out of his group or demonize them (which is another form of discrimination) but I’m damn sure not voting for him as long as he supports laws that treat foreigners as less than equally deserving of the same rights as Americans in order to preserve a welfare state he should be vehemently trying to abolish.

    Dr. Paul is certainly not the perfect candidate, but if we have not laid the groundwork through Paul’s candidacy and votes, when the more electable closer to perfect candidate comes along this candidate would likely not have a chance to win either.

    Considering that most of Paul’s success has been grassroots efforts that occured in spite of Paul’s staff rather than because of it I’d argue he hasn’t actually built much of anything for anyone else to use. He’s produced very little for the assets he’s been given and a lot of what he did produce was amateurish and counterproductive and it didn’t translate into votes. No libertarian candidate is going to particularly want to trumpet the Paulestinian fan base as a core constituency either, because those guys did as much as anyone to sink Paul’s candidacy. Frankly, a libertarian candidate can do a better job of pushing a more consistently pro-freedom message attractive to moderate voters than Ron Paul has given and the “truthers” and the racists will still vote for him even if the candidate doesn’t pander to them or seek their council…because frankly the libertarians are pretty much the only group with mainstream acceptance that don’t want the racists and the “truthers” hunted down and strung up from trees because we think they have a right to believe what they want as long as they don’t try to force it on others.

    To some degree it may be similar to the groundwork that Goldwater laid that got Reagan elected a few years later.

    Reagan got elected 16 years after Goldwater ran (4 presidential elections later). Jimmy Carter had more to do with Reagan’s election than anything. The reaction to Goldwater from the Republicans was Dick Nixon.

    What he did along with what LBJ did made the electorate ready for Reagan.

    After Nixon, Ford and Carter all got their shots. But mainly because of Carter’s incompetence and the recession that came at the end of his term.

    Paul may be laying the groundwork along with a likely terrible next Presidnet in regards to freedom and we may have a situation where the electorate will be ready for a libertarian type candidate in the not so distant future.

    If anyone else tries to win a presidential election Ron Paul-style by cobbling together a coalition with racists and conspiracy theorists playing visible roles it’s going to be a hell of a lot longer than 16 years before the next liberty-friendly candidate sits in the White House. That will pretty much discredit the movement for our lifetimes.

  • TerryP

    UC

    Ron is not running for the Libertarian nomination. He is running for the Republican nomination for President. Don’t try and say he has to be 100% libertarian even though he is not running for that parties nomination.

    Heck it may take 16 years or even longer for the freedom movement to really have a say in the political spectrum. But you are telling me that Goldwater did not have anything to do with Reagan getting elected. Without Goldwater, Reagan never would have had a chance to move up the ranks in the party to ever have a chance to be elected.

    Heck the LP party and other anarchists have been pushing their Libertopia for over forty years and they have gotten absolutely no where. In fact they may have pushed the freedom movement back by many years since most Americans consider them Kooks.

    I will grant that Paul is not perfect, but if he has to be for you to vote for him your will be down to a party of one. That is one thing that Reps and Dems do far better than the rest of us. They look at where they agree with the candidate. We seem to look only at what we disagree with. It doesn’t matter if we agree on 95% of what the candidate says, it is the 5% that matters to us, and by god if the candidate doesn’t change his stance on that 5% we will not vote for him. Heck Dems and REps will vote for a candidate if they just agree with him on 5% of the issues. This is a big reason why we are diminished to obscurity when it comes to politcal campaigns. But maybe that is exactly what many of the activists in the LP movement want. They like being able to rant about everything without actually anything happening. That certainly seems the case here.

  • http://dangerouslyidealistic.blogspot.com/ UCrawford

    TerryP,

    Ron is not running for the Libertarian nomination. He is running for the Republican nomination for President. Don’t try and say he has to be 100% libertarian even though he is not running for that parties nomination.

    He has to be libertarian enough for me to vote for him, and he’s not. He might have been when he had a chance to win because I’m in agreement with him on many issues, but now that he’s essentially a protest vote I have zero interest in voting for a candidate who wants to restrict immigration and who apparently surrounds himself with advisors who are either a) incompetent or b) possibly racist or crazy.

    But you are telling me that Goldwater did not have anything to do with Reagan getting elected. Without Goldwater, Reagan never would have had a chance to move up the ranks in the party to ever have a chance to be elected.

    I’m telling you that the Republican reaction to Goldwater’s loss was to elect a statist politician, Richard Nixon…twice. Then they backed Ford (who was a decent president, but also wasn’t a Goldwater-ite). Then they lost to Carter. Only after Carter completely screwed the pooch was Reagan electable (and after he toned down his rhetoric). As for the Goldwater-Paul comparison, Ron Paul is no Barry Goldwater. Goldwater won his party’s nomination, Paul was never in serious contention because he did a horrible job of running a national campaign, so while you claim that Ron Paul’s candidacy has set the table for a resurgence in pro-freedom agendas I’d posit that he hasn’t done much of anything except demonstrate effective ways to raise campaign funds. He hasn’t built support networks THAT TRANSLATE INTO VOTES, he hasn’t demonstrated effective campaigning techniques for future libertarian candidates, and his personal baggage turned off mainstream voters and associated us with the lunatic fringe.

    Heck the LP party and other anarchists have been pushing their Libertopia for over forty years and they have gotten absolutely no where. In fact they may have pushed the freedom movement back by many years since most Americans consider them Kooks.

    None of the LP members I’ve met have been anarchists. Most of them were just very nice people who liked discussing issues but had no clue of how to accomplish anything outside of their heads. Kind of like Ron Paul. As for portraying libertarians as kooks, I’d say the Paulestinians have done an excellent job of that without much help from the libertarians (since most of the Paulestinians aren’t libertarians, they’re populists, racists, or crazy people). Of course it helped having a candidate who can’t manage an effective staff that could highlight the rational people who vote for him.

    I will grant that Paul is not perfect, but if he has to be for you to vote for him your will be down to a party of one. That is one thing that Reps and Dems do far better than the rest of us. They look at where they agree with the candidate. We seem to look only at what we disagree with. It doesn’t matter if we agree on 95% of what the candidate says, it is the 5% that matters to us, and by god if the candidate doesn’t change his stance on that 5% we will not vote for him.

    Actually, they often vote on what they think the candidate can get accomplished. Those who vote for their preferred candidate on 5% of the issues believe he’ll probably be able to get that 5% passed through. I agree with Ron Paul on about 80-90% of his issues. I believe he’ll be able to accomplish 0% of it, outside of merely signing vetos…and even then I don’t trust him to not fill his staff with idiots, racists, and loons because he can’t read people or judge character very well (and they can do a lot of damage on their own if they don’t share his libertarian agenda…because he’s already indicated he’s a hands-off manager). So you tell me what’s worse, a candidate who I agree with 5% of the time who can accomplish 5% of the goals I want or a politician I agree with 90% of the time who can’t accomplish any of them and who seems likely to appoint a Cabinet that may work against those goals.

    This is a big reason why we are diminished to obscurity when it comes to politcal campaigns.

    We are diminished to obscurity because we support candidates who think that repeated appearances on Alex Jones’ radio show aren’t going to hurt his political campaign with mainstream voters and who don’t seem to have a clue about hiring competent staff. If you find a likeable candidate who looks like he has an ability to get at least some of his platform passed and who doesn’t openly truck with crazy people then our beliefs have a lot of appeal to mainstream voters.

  • TerryP

    UC

    Every single one of the candidates has, I am sure, shady people that they are associated with. Some are probably racist and some are flat out crooks. I am sure that some people that each President puts into a cabinet position will not always be of the utmost character. You can look at every past President and find some pretty sleazy people and/or people that do not deserve to be in their cabinets or associated with the Presidency. So your choice really boils down to who you would rather have making those choices. Your choices are only basically the rep. and dem. candidates for President. All other third party candidates are to obscure to even consider as 99% of the population do not even know who they are. Voting for them doesn’t even register as a protest vote. Maybe it is McCain who will put in war-mongering, racist at least against Muslim people in the cabinet. Maybe it is Hillary who if the cabinet members are like her are people that will do anything to get what they want and I mean anything. Maybe it would be Huckabee who may put pastors into each cabinet position. Or maybe it would be Ron Paul, who just like the other candidates may not have been the best judge of character, but would likely put people in cabinet positions that are much more friendly to liberty than any of the other candidates though they likely wouldn’t be perfect. My choice would be Ron Paul.

    I will have to disagee with you about a Persident Paul getting zero percent accomplished. Actually I think his veto pen could accomplish a lot. If nothing else it would spur education to the elctorate about why he is vetoing these things. That would be good for liberty. Next as President he has a lot of power when it comes to foreign policy. There could be huge gains made here. Next while Bush has pushed on us many bad laws that will allow the President to track and control US citizens it is likely that Paul would not use the laws while he is in office as he believes most are unconstituitional. That would be good for liberty. He would also be able to have a huge pulpit to educate the electorate about our Constitution and about limited gov’t.

    While I agree that this whole newsletter thing is certainly not a positive thing for the freedom movement. We will just have to agree to disagree on how that should affect each of our votes for President. At this point I am still voting for Ron Paul. I hope you can find someone else this cycle that can make as big of an impact as Paul has to our freedom movement. If you do I would like to hear about this person as it needs to be soon since are choices for President will likely be narrowed down to two people within a month. The more votes he gets now IMO wil help our freedom movement in the future. If the votes start drying up I believe it could have lasting consequences to the freedom movement.

    “(since most of the Paulestinians aren’t libertarians, they’re populists, racists, or crazy people)”

    By this definition alone you have probably knocked out about 95% of the electorate. Maybe this is why Libertarianism remains so obscure. I consider myself a Libertarian, but it seems you consider me crazy since I will likely continue to vote for Ron Paul and I don’t think I am populist or racist. If that is the case by your definition I can’t be a Libertarian. To have any effect on how this country is run we need at least 20-25% of the electorate and by trying to run off all but 5% or less since they aren’t perfect enough we will remain on the outside looking in and our country will continue down the wrong path.

    “I’d posit that he hasn’t done much of anything except demonstrate effective ways to raise campaign funds. He hasn’t built support networks THAT TRANSLATE INTO VOTES, he hasn’t demonstrated effective campaigning techniques for future libertarian candidates, and his personal baggage turned off mainstream voters and associated us with the lunatic fringe.”

    Well at least he has demonstrated how to raise funds and he has demonstrated how to get ten times as many votes as any prior LP candidate. Every other prior candiate that has run hasn’t done that. They haven’t demonstrated effective campaigning techniques that turned into votes, they haven’t built a support network, and they also have plenty of baggage that has turned them off to the mainstream voter and associated us with the lunatic fringe.

    Your exactly right that it took a while for the electorate to learn that electing LBJ and Nixon where the wrong direction. They finally after seeing some of the problems associated with LBJ’s great society and Nixon’s statism that they should instead elect someone more in Goldwater’s image as he had been right about most things, so they chose Ronald Reagan. Possibly we will find out in the future (maybe it will take ten to twenty years) that Ron Paul was right about most things and that we should elect someone that closer resembles him (less the racist associations). Without Ron Paul I don’t know if the electorate would know what to look for.

  • http://dangerouslyidealistic.blogspot.com/ UCrawford

    TerryP,

    Every single one of the candidates has, I am sure, shady people that they are associated with.

    Probably, but Paul courts it. And as the newsletters clearly indicate he’s not always aware of it when they hijack his name to push their own agendas. So I’m not voting for him unless he makes substantial changes…starting with his position on immigration.

  • http://dangerouslyidealistic.blogspot.com/ UCrawford

    By this definition alone you have probably knocked out about 95% of the electorate. Maybe this is why Libertarianism remains so obscure.

    Nope, I know a lot of moderate voters, very few of whom advocate discriminatory policies. I’ve known quite a few libertarians (myself included) who won’t be voting for Ron Paul. My problem is with the candidate and the people he has allowed to hijack his message. Not libertarianism in general (or even Ron Paul personally) because I actually believe in individual freedom and I like a lot of Paul’s idea…I just believe he’s the wrong person to implement them.

    but it seems you consider me crazy since I will likely continue to vote for Ron Paul and I don’t think I am populist or racist.

    We have our disagreements but you seem fairly rational so I’m willing to give your sanity the benefit of the doubt. If I thought you were a loon believe me the mockery wouldn’t be subtle. :) But you express your positions coherently and argue for your positions as rationally as most, even if I don’t agree with them all or your candidate, so you’re okay by me.

  • http://dangerouslyidealistic.blogspot.com/ UCrawford

    And just to be clear, “Paulestinian” only refers to a subset of Paul supporters, not all. There are rational, intelligent people who support him too. They’re not the ones who attribute magical powers to him, though, or believe that he’s the Messiah, or believe he’s the only person capable of saving the country, or believe that he should be elected because the government brought down the Twin Towers.

  • http://dangerouslyidealistic.blogspot.com/ UCrawford

    Without Ron Paul I don’t know if the electorate would know what to look for.

    They’ll eventually figure it out. Their problems with Ron Paul appear to mainly stem from the people he chooses to publicly affiliate with or allow to headline his campaign. There’s a market for the ideas so the right candidate will eventually come along. And hopefully he’ll have fewer weaknesses as a campaigner.

  • http://www.thelibertypapers.com E

    Two Words:

    Mike Huckabee!

  • http://www.thelibertypapers.com JohnCC

    I can’t believe that John Edwards is not fairing better in the Democratic polls.

    What are people seeing in Obama and Hillary?

    Edwards is clearly the best candidate!!!

  • http://www.thelibertypapers.com Suzybird

    I hate to say it, but Ron Paul and Fred Thompson do not have a chance. I think they should both announce their support of Mike Huckabee since he is speaking from much of the same platform as the both of them. They could also work to run as Huckabee’s Vice Presidential candidate. I think Huckabee and Thompson would be the best ticket.

    SB

  • http://www.thelibertypapers.org/2006/11/22/comrades-i-hereby-declare-the-revolution/ Adam Selene

    Shaking my head, muttering to myself, in absolute disbelief. Suzy, you definitely confirmed my points on other threads that lack of touch with reality is not limited to the Ron Paul supporters.

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