A Reluctant Vote For Ron Paul

Mark at Publius Endures voted in the New Jersey Primary today and cast a reluctant vote for Ron Paul:

It’s sad, really, how reluctant my vote had become. Just a few months ago, Paul was one of the only politicians I had ever been excited about. Even after the Thanksgiving Eve Alex Jones interview, despite what my head was saying, my heart was still clearly with Paul. But the newsletter story, and especially the response to it from both the Paul campaign and the Rockwell crowd, killed whatever irrational passion I had remaining for Paul. In the end, my voyage to the polls this morning was utterly joyless, and I felt that my vote had become close to meaningless. Were Fred Thompson still in the race, I think I would have voted for him over Paul.

And it didn’t need to be this way. Even after the newsletter story broke, Paul could have won my heart back or at least made my vote pro-Paul rather than just anti-Bush, Romney, and McCain. All that Paul needed to do was to come clean about the newsletters or put out one honest press release. He could have even done this without throwing his friends under the bus (even though those friends clearly had no problem throwing Paul under the bus).

Mark’s experience mirrors mine to some extent. Though I have been harshly critical of the campaign, and most especially it’s grassroots elements, both here and at The Liberty Papers, I still wanted to see Ron Paul do well and I still intended to cast a vote for him in the Virginia primary on February 12th. I had even drafted a post I intended to publish here before the primary season started endorsing the Congressman formally. But then the nagging doubts started. The links with 9/11 truthers, the Stormfront donation, the nonsense about the North American Union and then, most finally, the newsletters story. And, quite honestly, I’d had enough.

I used to think that this campaign would lead to something positive in the Republican Party, but the movement, such as it is, is such a polyglot collection of quasi-libertarians, conspiracy theorists, and people who talk about how Ron Paul might “punish” the mainstream media once he’s elected President, that I’m not even sure I want them to have an impact on the party.

So what will I do on February 12th ? Well, like Mark, I have the option of voting Ron Paul as a protest vote against the rest of the field. If Fred Thompson’s name hasn’t been removed from the ballot, I might just vote for the one guy who, had he actually run a competent campaign, might have been able to stop John McCain. And then there’s a part of me toying with the idea of crossing the aisle and voting for Barack Obama just to do my own little part to stop the coronation of Madame Hillary.

I haven’t decided yet, so I’m open to suggestions.

  • JC

    How about this? Listen to your inner self (or child); whichever the case may be and then cast your vote. Use your intelligence and search for the true words of all candidates and how they’ve cast their votes in the past on IMPORTANT issues that affect ALL Americans. I find it so difficult to believe that ANY one of us with an ounce of intelligence who has read speeches and has seen how Ron Paul has cast his vote in the past 20 years has any hesitation about supporting him in any election. When you intellectually compare Ron Paul and what he stands for next to any of the other candidates (aka corporate loving scoundrels) there is no other choice. If you find you it’s an effort to vote using your intuition or your intelligence then you may want to resort to voting for the candidate who would not sell out your children, your grandchildren, etc. for the express purpose of making money or for seeking self glory.

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


    I voted for Mitt Romney in Louisiana’s early voting last week (our primary is Saturday) to try and stop the Washington Double Talk Express and force a brokered convention where neither McCain nor Romney would win. Unfortunately, it looks I’m going to fail tonight because of the McCain juggernaut plus the Louisiana GOP establishment is now heavily backing McCain. The only thing that scares more than Hillary with a Democratic Congress is McCain-Huckabee with a Democratic Congress.

    Ron Paul was simply not an option for the simple reason that there is the remote chance he may actually win.

    If I were you, I would cross the isle and vote for Obama. The best thing libertarians can hope for out of 2008 is a President Barack Obama.

  • Max

    Doug your a douche bag, you should just vote for Hillary and if your primary isn’t open and you cant vote for Hillary you should just go vote for McCain or Romney because its pretty much the same thing seeing they won’t stand a chance against billary in the general

  • Max

    “Ron Paul was simply not an option for the simple reason that there is the remote chance he may actually win” God that is the dumbest fucking mentality you can have and yet so many people have it, so sad.

  • Brian R

    I have to agree with Max here. Why should you cast a “protest vote”, why are you concerned with picking the winner? Vote for who you agree with, whether or not it’s Ron Paul, or anyone else. Its your vote. Democracy works best when everyone votes for whom they believe in, no matter if that candidate wins or loses. When people fail to do this then we can never know what society as a whole actually wants. That’s the point of a representative democracy. Our elected officials should represent us.


    The funny thing is if every person who said I won’t vote for him he will not win… then he would win..

    seriously, I think the U.S deserves McInsane and Hillarious..

    I had a little hope people would use the brain God gave them… and not allow the media to select the person who they think should win.

  • http://www.garyksmithlaw.com C. Wesley Fowler

    I have to agree with Max here.


    I am sick of this party line win at any cost and select someone because they are the most tepid choice that will not upset the apple cart. frankly, it smells funny. It smells like this is what the establishment wants. Why? because why would you want to end the status quo… lots of people are making money off of it.

  • George


    Do you believe that everyone should be free and allowed to believe what they want? Do you truly, in the depths of your heart, actually believe that? If you do, then you must fight for their right to say what they want as much as you would fight for your own. If freedom is not the overriding principle of your every word or action, then you might as well lay down your arms and your pen and step off your soap box now and walk away, for you have already lost the fight.

    You feel let down by Ron Paul because he has talked to some people whom you don’t agree with, because he thinks he sees something in the shadows that you refuse to believe or see, and because he didn’t adequately explain away, to your standards, something that he has taken responsibility for, but how have any of the other candidates built you up? Have they voted consistently to reduce the size of the government? Have they promised to get the government off your back and out of your pocket? Do they believe that you should be allowed to direct and live your life the way that you want? Do they respect you as an individual, as a human, and as a Sovereign Person? Are you willing to continue to allow our freedoms to be eroded because you disagree with how Dr. Paul has handled some of the mud slung his way? Are you willing to lay down for the other candidates your fortune and your honor when they will do nothing to protect yours?

  • http://pith-n-vinegar.blogspot.com Quincy


    Were I in your shoes, I would cross the line and vote for Obama. Of all the candidates in this one, Hillary is the one that’s truly scary.


    Thanks for your eloquence. If you’re a Paul supporter, please do your candidate a favor and keep your hands off the keyboard. It doesn’t help any candidate to have venomous supports railing on anyone who disagrees with them.

  • MME

    “When a citizen gives his suffrage to a man of known immorality he abuses his trust; he sacrifices not only his own interest, but that of his neighbor, he betrays the interest of his country. ”
    Samuel Adams

    I agree with Samuel Adams, when you knowingly vote for the “lesser of two evils”, or for someone because they can “win”. You betray yourself, me, and our country.

  • http://www.enemies.com Rev Max

    movement, such as it is, is such a polyglot collection of quasi-libertarians, conspiracy theorists, and people who talk about how Ron Paul might “punish” the mainstream media once he’s elected President


    Don’t forget constitutional kooks, limited government lunatics, balanced budget boogeymen, anti-inflation idiots, etc.

  • http://www.myspace.com/shohadaku kevin

    Enough with the racist lie of a smear piece. The President of NAACP who knows Ron Paul for more then 20 years came out backing the fact Ron is NOT racist in any way.
    The other candidates are clear racists but no one mentions that. How about McCain singing “Bomb Iran” to a beach boys song, or the Burka comment. Or Thompsons Virgin comment. Wrong race? Hypocritical.
    Ron Paul is being smeared because the corrupt slimeballs in control will be in trouble once Ron takes office.
    Ron is the only one talking about the corrupt funding of Saudi oil companies, or the Fed bank ruining our currancy.
    Ron wants to stop the racist war on drugs that targets blacks. No one talks about that. Ron is the only hope for all Americans freedom, and to return to our Constitution.
    Pull the wool out of your eyes America.

  • Travis

    I am all those horrible things that Rev Max mentioned

  • Scott

    If you’re so up in the air, and you think your one little vote in any direction means all that much in determining who wins or who loses, then play the political voting game where you pay more attention to the polls than the issues. If on the other hand you are so up in the air, but you do have a conscience and you had the intelligence at one time to see how different Ron Paul’s campaign and his stance on the issues put him in a league of his own, then you can’t do anything but vote your conscience. So you too can say, win or lose…
    “Let it not be said that no one cared,
    that no one objected once it’s realized that
    our liberties and wealth are in jeopardy.”

    -Congressman Ron Paul
    July 10th, 2003

  • Max

    Sorry quincy I give doug shit because he’s an enforcer of the status quo, business as usual bullshitter,he’s no different than the MSM and im gonna give him hell for it

  • Max

    “constitutional kooks” I know since the constitution is such a bad thing huh.

  • Chris Kachouroff


    Here’s a suggestion. When you wish to critique the grassroots, answer whether you have volunteered time here in Virginia on behalf of Ron Paul. You’ve never told me of your concerns with our movement, one I have ACTIVELY participated in. Did you view my video from the Virginia Straw Poll? It’s on youtube.

    For those of you who actually wish to review the newsletter material, look here: http://www.tnr.com/politics/story.html?id=74978161-f730-43a2-91c3-de262573a129

    For those of you who wish to review the pre planning stages of the North American Union, go here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independent_Task_Force_on_North_America

    (I have an LL.M in International Law from Georgetown University. The Marxist professors taught me well. The North American Union is starting and it starts with the elites at places like Georgetown and the CFR.)

    For those of you who think 9/11 truthers, stormfront, or any other wackos form any signficant part of the Pauliticians, then you deserve to lose your freedoms for you are the biggest conspiratorial people of all. Yes there are such whackos but there are for every candidate. I agree with what John Derbyshire of National Review had to say. Here it is in its entirity:

    On To The McCain-Kennedy Ticket [John Derbyshire]

    Oh, stop whining. So what if the likely GOP nominee believes in restraints on free speech, higher taxation, bigger government, open borders, and 100-year U.S. armies of occupation everywhere from Albania to Zimbabwe? Romney believes in those things too — at least, he does when he’s in a room full of people that want him to.

    You already have a genuinely conservative candidate on offer. He’s just not slick enough for you. What, he has positions you don’t agree with? More than the other guys? Actually, I have heard very little complaining about Paul’s positions. What I have mostly heard is (a) He’s funny looking, (b) He can’t win, and (c) He has a lot of icky supporters.

    The answer to (a) is to put aside the New York Times “Style” section for five minutes and think. The answer to (b) is, that if conservatism is going to lose big in 2008 anyway (newsflash: it is), it should at least make a stand, to inspire future generations. The answer to (c) is, get in there and swell the ranks of non-icky Paul supporters — there are plenty of us — to drown out the nutsos.

    While you guys are crying into your light-blended crème frappuccinos, I’ll be making a campaign donation to help Ron & Carol celebrate their 51st wedding anniversary Friday.

    Romneybot lost a big one? In the immortal words of Little Richard: Boo [shriek!] hoo [shriek!] hoo [shriek!] hoo.

    And if any of you other folks don’t vote for Ron Paul, you have no claim to the name Liberty Papers. For the love of Liberty, get some facts and perspective.

    For Liberty,

    Chris Kachouroff

  • partick2

    All the ‘scandals’ mentioned above are pretty tame compared to the shady deals most politicians appear to be involved in.

    Once again, the libertarian must come off as near-perfect to have any credibility, while media-buffed and well-moneyed candidates get a free pass, free press, and little scrutiny over their completely irresponsible promises.

    Ron Paul is the ONLY candidate who dares talk about reducing spending in a meaningful way. And if we do not reduce spending NOW, than we have conceded that our children are going to pay for everything, and get nothing in return.

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


    Ron Paul lost me long about late December or January, and the newsletter story was really only the straw that broke the camel’s back. And, for me at least, it wasn’t the newsletters themselves that bothered me (although they are reprehensible) but the way that Paul responded to it. He was obviously protecting Lew Rockwell for some god-forsaken reason and the inability to call one of your own advisers to task when they’ve done something wrong isn’t exactly Presidential.

    After that, I was gone as far as the campaign was concerned, mentally and physically.

    I don’t agree with your assertion, which others have made, that one must support Ron Paul if one is to be a libertarian. After all, aren’t we supposed to be individualists here ?

    How I vote on February 12th, or in November, isn’t going to change anything but, if I do vote, I don’t want it to be for something that is far different from what I thought it was going to be.

  • Amyz

    With good conscience, I cannot vote for more of the same or for one of the lesser evils. Voting with intellectual honesty, in my opinion, is not throwing away a vote.

  • Chris Kachouroff

    Doug, you said, “He was obviously protecting Lew Rockwell for some god-forsaken reason and the inability to call one of your own advisers to task when they’ve done something wrong isn’t exactly Presidential.”

    Have you read the newsletters? They are rather tame my friend.

  • Chris Kachouroff

    Don’t let the only candidate with a virtually spotless record kill your hope. Ron Paul’s votes will finally be tallied in the next 8 years–NOT this November.

    By the way, if you live in Virginia and want to be a delegate at a local convention, email me at ronpaulva@gmail.com.

  • http://publiusendures.blogspot.com Mark

    Somewhat O/T, but it looks like Ron Paul’s supporters in WV scored him a deal worth 3 delegates out of the 18 awarded by backing Huckabee at the state convention.

    FWIW- I agree with Weigel that these second-choice ballot events are inherently more fair than the first-choice only standard issue primaries. If it were up to me, we’d adopt a “Yes, No, Maybe So” type of voting system where you essentially get three choices for every candidate on the ballot and just check off any candidates that you really like or really hate.

    As always, thanks for the linkage, Doug!

  • Chris Kachouroff

    Brokered convention…it’s still possible.

  • GeneG

    Who cares, Doug? Don’t vote for him. Your readers never trusted you anyways.

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


    The only problem is that can you really say that a few thousand people at the W.V. GOP convention represent the will of the members of the party ?

    I keep going back and forth on this issue, but I think primaries are the way to go.

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


    I have read the offending passages of the newsletters. Honestly, I don’t consider blatant homophobia and calling Martin Luther King a pedophile to be tame.

    Brokered convention ?

    Yea, it’s still possible but incredibly unlikely. This is a two-man race now, which means that eventually one of these guys — McCain or Romney — is going to get the 1100 or so delegates they need for a majority. If Giuliani or Thompson were still in the race and winning delegates, then it would be much more likely that nobody would get the magic number.

  • http://publiusendures.blogspot.com Mark

    No, not at all. My point is more that conceptually, I vastly prefer a system that has second-choice balloting to a system with first-choice balloting only.

    Obviously, the attendees at the WV convention are not representative of the state’s party as a whole. Then again, my guess would be that they would be more your party-leader, movement conservative types who would be ordinarily more inclined to support Romney than anyone else. It also hinges on how delegates to the WV state convention were selected, a topic about which I know nothing.

  • http://www.thelibertypapers.org/author/stephen/ Stephen Littau

    My primary is today but I am not voting. None of them have earned my vote. I gave some serious consideration to supporting Ron Paul but decided he is not worth voting for for 3 reasons:

    -The newsletter story, stormfront, alex jones

    -He doesn’t have a snowball’s chance of winning the nomination

    -I have more important things to do today

    If Colorado had an open primary, I would vote for Obama “to stop the coronation of Madame Hillary” as you put it.

    I don’t know what I’m going to do in November though.

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


    My point is more that conceptually, I vastly prefer a system that has second-choice balloting to a system with first-choice balloting only.

    You mean like Instant Runoff voting.

  • http://thelibertypapers.org/ Brad Warbiany


    I recommend you go hit the polls. Not necessarily to vote in the presidential primary, but I’m sure there’s something else on the ballot for which you can make a choice and vote.

    I am not voting today, and I regret it. I did not update my voter registration in time here in CA to be able to vote. I probably would have cast a non-vote on the presidential ballot, or voted for Ron Paul just because he’s good enough to not be the lesser of evils. But I’m regretful that I cannot cast a vote against CA Proposition 93, which I discussed here. It’s a disgraceful piece of legislation supported by power-hungry political whores, and I should have taken care of my business well enough to fight it.

  • KeepUpTheGreatWork

    Doug, you never stop whining about these newsletters do you? I have still not seen any hint of racism in Ron Paul after reading his books, hearing countless speeches and interviews and understanding his policies.

    Meanwhile, these other candidates all represent raining death on brown skinned folk in the Middle East all in the name of the endless pre-emptive war on terror. Is that not the most overtly racist action possible?

    Gain some perspective buddy – you sound like a total douchebag.

  • http://ilovetheconstitution.blogspot.com badmedia

    If you aren’t voting for Ron Paul, then you are part of the problem. I don’t care what your excuse is, it’s just that – an excuse.

    I don’t believe for a minute that if you supported and believed in what Ron Paul talks about, AKA actual conservatism if you are going to let smear pieces like that newsletter and stormfront decide your vote. If you fall for that kind of stuff, then I’ll repeat it again, you are part of the problem.

    You aren’t fooling anyone here. If it was a matter of there actually being a better candidate, then you might get me. But there plain and simple isn’t a better candidate than Ron Paul, and the others don’t even come close.

    So if you hold those things, which have proven to be all smears, while the other candidates avoid questions and blow smoke up your ass, then you are part of the problem. Which is honestly, just sad.

  • George


    Being a WV resident I have to tell you, it’s a long process for picking the delegates here, but probably not representative of the “party as a whole” because it’s a bottom up process. Anyone registered as a Republican (by a certain date) can sign up to try and be a delegate. You do not have to commit to a certain candidate, but you can. Then you vote on the county level to choose the delegates from the county to the state convention. (Which happened back in January) Then the county reps vote at the state convention to choose the 18 delegates to the national convention. (Which happened today) Then there is a primary in April and I believe, based off of this popularity primary, the remaining 12 delegates are chosen by the party for the national convention.

  • http://publiusendures.blogspot.com Mark

    George – thanks for the info. That is pretty freaking convoluted.

    Kevin- I would definitely favor Instant Runoff voting over our current system. I used to think it was a dumb idea, but now I think I could write a book about all the ways I think it’s superior. Not least of which is the impact it would have on reducing the strength of political parties.

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

    I don’t believe for a minute that if you supported and believed in what Ron Paul talks about, AKA actual conservatism

    But, you see, I am not a conservative.

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

    But, you see, I am not a conservative.

    Then ‘splain this:

    If Fred Thompson’s name hasn’t been removed from the ballot, I might just vote for the one guy who, had he actually run a competent campaign, might have been able to stop John McCain.

  • George


    I am just curious, your by line says that this blog is written by the heirs of Patrick Henry. Do you you still hold for liberty or death as did he?

  • Jason

    The newsletters were apparently written by Lew Rockwell. Dr Paul didn’t name him because he has integrity. Rockwell is a friend of his for years, and ratting out a friend is never respected. It woud have turned out worse had he named him as he’d just look like he was trying to blame someone else. He did the right thing personally as others should and would be rallying to help regain his tarnished image.

    If we chose to push racist faux pas’ of other candidates, it would be simple with McCain’s ‘gook’ statement, Romney’s ‘Who let the dogs out’ statement that was so embarassingly out of touch with the black community that it was actually hard to watch.

    Don’t forget the Democrats. Hillary (suspected female), Obama (possibly less black than Bill Clinton?). Watching anything between these two is a joke. Both rely on names of celebs for endorsements rather than talking about relevent issues. Anyone not voting Ron Paul is really just endorsing the status quo system of changing absolutely nothing.

  • http://www.keltonbaker.com Kelton Baker

    People who should be Ron Paul’s friends are getting too freaked-out about these political smears against him.

    First of all, much of the accusations against Ron Paul and are blatant lies issued by the American National Socialist Workers Party. The New York Times issued a back-page retraction of their hit piece: http://themedium.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/12/26/editors-note-the-ron-paul-vid-lash/

    Either get used to the fact that the political figures of the status quo are slimeballs, dirtbags, looters and whores or stay out of politics. Personally, I’m getting tired of all my Libertarian friends who train their votes on only pure fantasy candidates with 1 chance in 100 million rather than a less-than-perfect, but amazingly good freedom-fighter like Ron Paul who’s got a chance more like 1 in 40.

    Second, regarding the newsletter statements on Martin Luther King, please remember that these were given in context of the debate over whether to give a national holiday to the man himself instead of just a Human Rights day that would inevitably honor him. The fact is, MLK’s personal life is far less than honorable, even though many of his accomplishments are worthy of the praise of a hero. It is not racist to point-out that even heroes have foibles. Is it unpatriotic to admit that Thomas Jefferson owned slaves? No, all the more patriotic to admit the truth.
    Enemies of Ron Paul would have me labeled a racist for merely pointing-out that MLK might have been an imperfect human, just as they have for Ron Paul allowing contributors to do the same. Interstingly, most of the comments on Ron Paul’s old newsletters are truthful, even if miserably out-of-touch with the political correctness of 2008.

  • TerryP

    Ron Paul didn’t handle the newsletter thing very well, but by not throwing a friend under the bus shows a lot of character. Quite frankly I wonder about someones character if it is so easy for them to throw someone else under the bus just to save their skin (this includes the people who actually wrote the newsletters).

    All the other candidates I am sure would have blamed someone else immediately and took none of the blame. Paul has admitted blame, that even though he did not write most of what is considered a problem, because it was written under his name he is still to blame for what was written. That does not mean that he is a racist. Far from it. As others have said he is easily the least racist of the bunch running.

    If you want to vote for someone with the highest amount of character then you need to vote for Ron Paul. If you want to vote for the person that has the best history towards liberty than you should vote for Ron Paul. If you want to continue our path towards socialism and a police state any of the other candidates would suffice. There really isn’t much difference between them.

    While not voting is an option, a non-vote is as good as a vote for the winner as that is what they will see it as. They will see it as you not having any problems with them or their opinions on the issues.

  • http://www.no-treason.com Joshua Holmes

    That’s a lot of agony over a statistically meaningless act.

    Full disclosure: I voted for Paul today just so I could make jokes about being a registered Republican.

  • http://www.nolanchart.com/author70.html Grizzle Griz

    You did the right thing, man. Think of all the troops who voted with you today, dude. Some of them may live thanks to you.

  • amy

    Even if Ron Paul does not win the nomination he has opened the eyes of MILLIONS! And our eyes will stay open. We will retake the GOP and make it a respectable party with integrity and statesmen candidates instead pandering politicians. The fact that Ron Paul is still in the game should tell you a lot. We are not satisfied with free-spending, warmongering jackals that try to pass themselves off as ‘conservatives’. The only conservative is RON PAUL and soon the majority of the sheeple will awaken to this fact. The Ron Paul revolution is not over..in fact we are just getting started. The Media can continue to push McWar and Romdroid and censor Ron Paul but for those of us who have opened our eyes there is no turning back. We love liberty and support the CONSTITUTION.

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


    Ron Paul has opened my eyes to the fact that there are insane people voting who cancel my well informed vote.

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


    Well duh, the Onion could have told you that :)


  • Abe


    Vote for peace, freedom and prosperity. Vote Ron Paul in the GOP primary. The newsletter controversy was a tempest in a teapot. The articles were all taken out of context. Read antiwar.com columnist Justin Raimondo’s excellent expose of the fascist columnist at TNR.

    Vote and support Ron Paul.

  • Dana Ketola

    boy did you get a response or what… as far as them trying to make as much hay as they can about nothing, who cares, thats what they do.

    i’m voting for ron paul because i’m a true patriot of the country, not the government.. i’ll vote with principle for every man woman child and soldier in this country. a true patriot votes based on constitutional values.. end of story.. this is the united states of america and the law of the land is the constitution.. i believe with all my heart in this country and this country IS the constitution. without it we could be any other country.. vote for freedom.. vote for ron paul

  • Misti

    I was so disappointed when I began speaking with friends, family and co-workers about if they would consider voting for Ron Paul and the majority said “No, he’s not going to win”.. As if voting for him would be a waste of a vote even if they like and agree with what he stands for. This type of reasoning blows my mind.. God help us…