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

“The free man owns himself. He can damage himself with either eating or drinking; he can ruin himself with gambling. If he does he is certainly a damn fool, and he might possibly be a damned soul; but if he may not, he is not a free man any more than a dog.”     G.K. Chesterton

February 6, 2008

Ron Paul Still Thinks He’s Relevant…..Or Does He ?

by Doug Mataconis

From ABC News’s Byron Wolf:

In most states with primaries where Republican voters voted for their Republican nominee preference, he got no more than 5 or six percent of the vote. He runs a distant fourth in the all-important delegate count.

Paul did better in the Northern Midwest caucus states, placing second in Montana, third in North Dakota and fourth, but with 15 percent of the vote in Minnesota. He also placed third with 17 percent at the Alaska Republican caucus and, despite a fourth place finish in initial voting, got 3 national convention votes in a backroom deal with former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee in West Virginia.

Those finishes, while they won’t secure Paul a huge chunk of votes at the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis this summer, are enough for him to stay in the race, according to his campaign spokesman, Jesse Benton, who yesterday said Paul would reevaluate after Super Tuesday and described Paul’s quest for the White House as “not completely quixotic.”

No, completely pointless would probably be a better description at this point.

But while the campaign says they’re in this to stay, the signs are all there that, whatever it was that Ron Paul intended from this campaign, he’s pretty much done with it:

Paul was the only candidate not to host a party for supporters to rally after the Super Tuesday results. his campaign schedule is light in the near future. On Thursday Paul speaks to the conservative CPAC convention link: http://www.cpac.org/. He will stay in Washington for the rest of the week to vote in the House of Representatives and he has a rally for his Congressional campaign, being run concurrently with his Presidential one, scheduled in his hometown this weekend.

In other words, he’ll be in D.C., which holds a primary on February 12th, across the river from Virginia, also holding a primary on February 12th, and miles from Maryland, yep, you got it, also holding a primary on February 12th, and he’s not going to campaign at all. Instead, he’s going to Texas to attend a rally for his re-election campaign.

If that’s not a sign that they’ve thrown the towel in on this one, I don’t know what is.

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33 Comments

  1. Thanks, I’ve been a daily reader of this blog for quite a while, but I don’t see any point in continuing to do so. Every single post about Ron Paul has been negative, and I can get that kind of “news” anywhere. Goodbye.

    Comment by Jason — February 6, 2008 @ 1:23 pm
  2. I think the reason he’s staying in is he hasn’t spent all of the money…or something like that.

    Comment by Lost_In_Translation — February 6, 2008 @ 1:59 pm
  3. Jason’s comment is spot on in pointing out that this blog has been consistently negative towards Ron Paul.

    Comment by Ron Paul Republican Voter — February 6, 2008 @ 3:58 pm
  4. Doug, would you be so kind and conscientious to tell us where the other candidates will be over the next few weeks.

    Comment by John Newman — February 6, 2008 @ 7:17 pm
  5. True, he needs to stay in until he spend all of the donations sent in by hard working Patriots. One day America will wake up and see that Ron Paul was trying to warn us before going over the fiscal crisis in our future.

    Fielding J. Hurst
    http://brushfires2008.com/2008/02/05/dont-blame-me-i-voted-for-ron-paul-bumper-sticker/

    Comment by Fielding J. Hurst — February 6, 2008 @ 7:29 pm
  6. John,

    Let’s see…..

    Hillary will be in Virginia tomorrow

    Romney is coming to Maryland

    No word yet on Obama, McCain, and Huckabee, but I’m sure they are on the way.

    You see, they are running real campaigns.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — February 7, 2008 @ 3:15 am
  7. If that’s not a sign that they’ve thrown the towel in on this one, I don’t know what is.

    According to his blog, he’s taking a “rest”.

    http://people.ronpaul2008.com/campaign-updates/2008/02/07/there-are-no-slow-days-for-ron-paul/

    Sounds to me like he’s switching gears and focusing solely on an education campaign a la 1988.

    Comment by Jeff Molby — February 7, 2008 @ 7:48 am
  8. At this point, it is impossible, barring some unprecedented change in the U.S. electorate/Republican leadership for Ron Paul to win the presidency.

    Ron Paul always knew his candidacy was a longshot, that it would be more of a educational campaign than one that would land him in the oval office. I remember an artless answer he gave in an interview after he and Giuliani had their famous dust-up. Paul told the interviewer that as Giuliani was ripping into him, and the crowd was cheering Giuliani on, that Paul thought to himself “Well, you knew it was going to end at some time. I guess this is it.”

    Does this mean he should formally drop out? No. So long as he stays in, he gets some media attention.

    Paul’s campaign is, to use a naval simile, like having a “fleet in being”. Just as the German fleet in World War I rarely sallied forth yet pinned a large part of the British Navy to the Northwestern coast of England for the duration of the war by its mere existence, Ron Paul forces the other candidates to not stray too far away from the libertarian pole of politics. One instance of this effect was that early debate where the other Republicans dropped their loud support for RealID after he stood on the stage and ripped into them on national TV.

    And I think that is a good thing.

    Comment by tarran — February 7, 2008 @ 8:33 am
  9. Doug, are you implying that the 7 Republican candidates that dropped out ran good campaigns, but the guy still in the race in fourth place is not. Does that sound as stupid to you as it does to me?

    Comment by John Newman — February 7, 2008 @ 8:52 am
  10. John,

    Giuliani, Thompson, Tancredo, Hunter, Brownback ?

    Yea, they all ran crappy campaigns.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — February 7, 2008 @ 9:00 am
  11. John,
    Giuliani, Thompson, Tancredo, Hunter, Brownback ?
    Yea, they all ran crappy campaigns.

    I think it is quite a monumental success to be in fourth place out of 11 candidates at this point in the game.

    btw, where did you say Romney and his ‘real’ campaign was going to be?
    http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/02/07/romney.campaign/index.html

    Comment by John Newman — February 7, 2008 @ 9:37 am
  12. John,

    I think it is quite a monumental success to be in fourth place out of 11 candidates at this point in the game.

    Q: What do you win for placing fourth in a presidential primary?

    A: The same thing you win for placing last.

    Comment by UCrawford — February 7, 2008 @ 10:29 am
  13. Ucrawford, Paul is now in 3rd place which, even though it is by default, is still impressive for a candidate that has been smeared, ignored, laughed at, and blackballed by both the MSM and his own party.
    Btw, I would call your Q&A stupid, but that would be a flattery.

    Comment by John Newman — February 7, 2008 @ 10:53 am
  14. John.

    Third place in a race that’s over without enough support to even get a speaking spot at the National Convention is meaningless

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — February 7, 2008 @ 10:54 am
  15. John,

    Paul is now in 3rd place which, even though it is by default, is still impressive for a candidate that has been smeared, ignored, laughed at, and blackballed by both the MSM and his own party.

    Q: What do you win for placing third in a presidential primary?

    A: The same thing you do for placing fourth. :)

    And if you think that Ron Paul’s problems were caused by the press not giving him the “proper” amount of coverage, I’m not all that worried about what you consider “stupid” commentary. :)

    Comment by UCrawford — February 7, 2008 @ 11:39 am
  16. Doug, things happen. Didn’t you just say a few hours ago that Mitt’s ‘real’ campaign was going to be in Maryland? I think we can safely say you were wrong.
    Why in the hell would I believe your prediction in Feb. about what is going to happen months from now? How many times have you said it’s over for Paul? Excuse me, but your predictions suck.

    Comment by John Newman — February 7, 2008 @ 11:42 am
  17. John,

    Nobody thought Romney would drop out at CPAC, but he did. He also was supposed to speak at a Reagan-Lincoln Dinner in Baltimore tonight but it was just announced that McCain will be appearing in his place.

    You’re right, things happen. In Romney’s case, the writing was on the wall on Tuesday night and he did the politically smart thing by dropping out now.

    The fact that Ron Paul is still in the race doesn’t mean his campaign is smarter than Romney’s, at this point it means they’re dumber.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — February 7, 2008 @ 11:44 am
  18. Why in the hell would I believe your prediction in Feb. about what is going to happen months from now? How many times have you said it’s over for Paul? Excuse me, but your predictions suck.

    I said in January 2007 that Ron Paul had no real chance to win the nomination. It would appear I was right.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — February 7, 2008 @ 11:45 am
  19. I said in January 2007 that Ron Paul had no real chance to win the nomination. It would appear I was right.

    And in Feb. 2007 you posted a thread called “Why John McCain Will Lose.” Doug, I really think you would make one helluva local weatherman with your forecasting ability.

    Comment by John Newman — February 7, 2008 @ 3:41 pm
  20. Doug,

    So let me see if I have this right…

    Ron Paul is throwing in the towel because he is staying in the DC / VA / MD area, but Clinton, Obama, McCain (all of whom have votes to show up for) and Huckabee (sometimes it’s nice to be retired) are running real campaigns for doing the exact same thing???

    Is that really your position?

    C’mon! you are so transparent it isn’t even funny. Ron Paul isn’t going away. We (his supporters) aren’t going to stop. We aren’t going to give up. We aren’t going to be bullied, insulted, or scared into silence.

    McCain may win the VA election, but what will it matter if the delegates that are selected are actually Ron Paul supporters? What are the penalties for being a faithless delegate? Jail time? Fines? – Not usually. Usually just a stern lecture, and you can’t ever be an elector ever again…. awwwww.

    Not one single primary vote counts for a hill of beans!

    The only vote that counts is the one in St. Paul (not Minneapolis) in early September. All sorts of dynamics can play out (Delegates might be pledged to vote for McCain, but not have any intention of nominating, nor duty to nominate, him.

    We’ve been accused of spamming internet polls, and slamming straw polls. What makes you think we’re above packing a convention?

    Later.

    Comment by Kevin Houston — February 7, 2008 @ 8:27 pm
  21. Kevin,

    Delegates might be pledged to vote for McCain, but not have any intention of nominating, nor duty to nominate, him.

    That is the cry of the truly desperate. Sorry, but no…the candidates pledged to McCain are simply not going to defect.

    We’ve been accused of spamming internet polls, and slamming straw polls. What makes you think we’re above packing a convention?

    What? You think a bunch of guys who alienated the swing voters in pretty much every single primary are suddenly going to convince a bunch of delegates to defect on their vote? What world do you live in? People see Ron Paul as a fringe candidate because his most visible supporters are a bunch of unlikeable loons. He’s generally been either hated or ignored and, unlike Goldwater, Ron Paul doesn’t have the charisma or speaking ability to be able to persuade the crowd otherwise. If you pull the same kind of crap at the convention that you did in the primaries all that’s going to happen is security is going to bounce every last “truther”, racist and whackjob out of there while the rest of the GOP cheers. And if you’re very lucky the bouncers won’t use your heads to open the doors when they’re chucking you.

    Comment by UCrawford — February 7, 2008 @ 8:44 pm
  22. We (his supporters) aren’t going to stop. We aren’t going to give up. We aren’t going to be bullied, insulted, or scared into silence.

    Nobody’s going to have to bully you…after this election nobody’s going to give a damn what the Paulestinians have to say because nobody pays attention to bitter-enders who back losing candidates. They’ll just ignore you.

    Comment by UCrawford — February 7, 2008 @ 8:49 pm
  23. doug,

    What? You think a bunch of guys who alienated the swing voters in pretty much every single primary are suddenly going to convince a bunch of delegates to defect on their vote?

    I appologize for being such a poor communicator myself. I did not mean to imply that the people filling McCain’s delegate slots were true-blue McCainiacs who could somehow be convinced to give their precious votes to Ron Paul.

    I meant to imply that the people filling McCain’s delegate slots were true-blue Paulunteers who simply *said* they would be happy to support McCain (or Thompson, or Romney, or whoever) Especially in LA, where McCain had trouble filling delegate slots at the end.

    Kind of like what happened in WV, where even though Huckabee ostensibly won all 18 delegates, 3 of those Huckabee delegates will actually be voting Ron Paul at national convention.

    I promise you it will happen in my state too. The primary vote doesn’t mean crap. Only 3 delegates are awarded by the primary vote. The other 24 are elected at county conventions. Some of these counties (like mine) don’t have *any* functional GOP organization. It is wide open to the first yahoo that says he wants to do the work (like me.)

    It doesn’t matter if Ron Paul comes in 2nd, or 3rd, or even gains enough of a % to be entitled to a single delegate. My state will have at least one vote for Ron Paul (legally if it looks like he can hang on through the first ballot)

    A whole bunch of us yahoos will be at state convention (from various counties) and voting for the same slate of delegates.

    And I still say that of all the candidates in the race, McCain has the most potential to have his temper show up at an inopportune moment.

    We’ll see who’s right.

    Later.

    Comment by Kevin Houston — February 7, 2008 @ 9:54 pm
  24. “Nobody thought Romney would drop out at CPAC, but he did.”

    WE did.

    You’re obviously just an idiot.

    And Huckabee is next. Feb. 13th.

    Retard.

    Comment by James A. — February 8, 2008 @ 5:09 am
  25. “People see Ron Paul as a fringe candidate because his most visible supporters are a bunch of unlikeable loons.”

    It’s ironic that one of Paul’s biggest handicaps is some of his own supporters. I mean, every candidate has their lunatic fringe of backers, but Paul seems to have almost cornered the market this time.

    Case in point – in asking an honest question about why Paul should be considered a viable candidate when after the first several races he was pulling single and low-double digit finishes, I was told by one Paulestinian that I would be tried for treason when the revolution comes. Ohhhh-kayyyy…..thanks for playing.

    And on the Paul website when the newsletter story hit the papers, some honestly concerned and confused Paul supporters were, for lack of a better description, flogged to within a digital inch of their lives by the fanatics. Third case in point – some of them seem to think that the best way to make converts is to refer to anyone that disagrees (or even questions) anything to do with Paul as “sheeple”, “morons”, etc. Oddly enough, this just seems to anger people rather than convert them.

    Not enough is heard from the rational wing of Paul supporters – all the general public sees are the fanatics and it turns them off.

    Comment by SC — February 8, 2008 @ 8:09 am
  26. [...] if McCain’s delegates don’t vote for McCain at the Convention? What if, as commenter Kevin Houston points out, they’re really Ron Paul supporters who infiltrated the delegate pool in order to vote for [...]

    Pingback by The Liberty Papers »Blog Archive » What Happens If Ron Paul Supporters Infiltrated Other Campaigns’ Delegates? — February 8, 2008 @ 9:16 am
  27. Every candidate has his/her fringe type of supporters, in the case of Ron Paul some are vocal, but they are in a ver small minority. Most Paul supporters are intelligent, thinking people, people that could see through the lies of politicians for whom they have not voted, or voted for and regretted it, or voted for lesser of two evils. In Paul they have found the ideal candidate: honest, smart, intelligent, humble, thoughtful, kind,caring and stimulating.

    Paul will campaign in washington etc., He did campaign in the state already. He is campaigning to WIN, and has no day off as the link referred to. And who told you, Doug, that there are no other people campaigning for him (newsflash: there are! at least two who endorsed him, one a household name as Barry Goldwater jr. – (who did not give his endorsement to Bush in 2000 BTW).
    In NH and elsewhere many of the anti-war camp int he GOP voted for McCain, as they thought he was a maverick that disagreed with Bush. Wait till they are at the conference and find out who the real war-monger is and who is the prince of peace and voice of reason. Get the idea? :-)

    Comment by Stefan — February 8, 2008 @ 10:48 am
  28. SC,

    Perhaps it is because you are a jerk? Do you really think you deserve respect when you don’t give respect? I can tell by your tone here that you were most likely VERY condescending and cocky when you “asked a simple question.”

    Maybe, just maybe if you didn’t refer to Ron Paul supporters as kooks and nutjobs, they would respond respectfully.

    Why were you hanging around the Ron Paul forums if you aren’t a supporter? To agitate and pick fights. And you got one.

    And you’re surprised?

    Idiot. Go fuck yourself. Go play with your Hillary doll.

    That’s the only level of respect that you deserve.

    Comment by James A. — February 8, 2008 @ 1:46 pm
  29. SC,

    “Perhaps it is because you are a jerk?”

    Or not. The question asked, although I don’t recall my exact wording, was along the lines of “Why do you feel that Ron Paul is still a viable candidate when he has been polling in the single digit percentages” and cited what the polling numbers had been up to that point. The response to that fairly straightforward and honest question was a rant that ended with a comment that when the revolution comes I would be tried for treason.

    “Do you really think you deserve respect when you don’t give respect? I can tell by your tone here that you were most likely VERY condescending and cocky when you “asked a simple question.””

    No, I’ve simply become very condescending and cocky due to my treatment by so-called “Patriots” that will gladly stick a shiv into someone for having genuine questions that deserve answers, whether asked by a Paul supporter or by ANYONE.

    “Maybe, just maybe if you didn’t refer to Ron Paul supporters as kooks and nutjobs, they would respond respectfully.”

    Maybe if you read my posts you’d have a clue. You might note my use of the word “some”, which, to an intelligent reader, indicates exactly what it means – SOME. Not all. There are intelligent, reasonable Paul supporters out there and I’ve had some reasonable intelligent exchanges with them. The sad fact is that for every such exchange I’ve had I’ve had half a dozen smackdowns with the lunatic fringe of Truthers, Xenophobes, Racists, and outright Loons that seem to have flocked to the Paul banner. These are the ones that threaten that anyone asking a question instead of thumping their chest digitally and swearing undying allegiance to the one-and-only Ron Paul with all-caps with Treason trials, imprisonment, violence (I don’t care how much you might disagree with me, making personal threats against ANYONE is just plain uncalled for). Now, if you go in for that crap, then yes, you are a nutjob, plain and simple.

    “Why were you hanging around the Ron Paul forums if you aren’t a supporter? To agitate and pick fights. And you got one.”

    See? This is why Paul pulls such low numbers in the primaries. The truth is, James, that I was on such forums in an attempt to LEARN. Isn’t that what Ron Paul supporters are constantly bemoaning – the fact that if only people KNEW about Ron Paul, they’d vote for him? I was there to ask and honest question about why a person should support Paul, who was pulling very low numbers, rather than throw their vote to another candidate that may have a better chance at the nomination. But apparently according to you and others of your ilk, asking questions about the Good Doctor is capital heresy. And frankly, while Paul might himself be a good man, and while he may have some interesting ideas what I’ve learned over recent months hasn’t convinced me he’d be good president. And the rabid cult-member types that harass, insult and threaten anyone that doesn’t swallow Paul hook, line and sinker do not help one bit.

    “And you’re surprised?”

    Frankly, yes I was. I don’t usually expect threats of treason trials and violence when asking about the nomination prospects of a political candidate. Do you?

    “Idiot. Go fuck yourself. Go play with your Hillary doll. ”

    I can’t. You haven’t returned it yet.

    Comment by SC — February 8, 2008 @ 2:18 pm
  30. You loon.

    Yes, us Paul supporters are crazy. Heck, you can even quote one of us as proof.

    Meanwhile… McCain is some sort of bizarre hybrid of Dr. Strangelove and Joe Lieberman who can’t stop repeating ‘My friends, I was a foot soldier in the Reagan revolution’. And then we’ve got Huckabee, who believes the Earth is 6,000 years old.

    Neither McCain nor Huckabee could EVER win a general election – because not only will half the base defect, but the Democrats would eat them both alive.

    Ron Paul, on the other hand, could. If the GOP backed him. He draws support from both Independents and Democrats and Republicans.

    But we’re the crazy ones. Sure we are.

    Comment by hickory — February 9, 2008 @ 1:11 am
  31. To answer your question –

    Yes, Ron Paul polls low. So did McCain at one point. Most voters are not political junkies. Most voters go with the flow.

    If the mainstream news and GOP decided to back Paul (which they won’t) you can bet Ron Paul would be hitting home runs right now.

    Here’s the thing – Ron Paul is the only chance Republicans have of getting a Republican in office. If the talking heads started supporting Ron Paul, his % would go up dramatically.

    So, yes, it’s sort of a Catch 22. But nothing changes the fact that neither McCain nor Huckabee could ever win a general election. The only people who can are Ron Paul, Obama, and Hillary.

    Who are you voting for again?

    Comment by hickory — February 9, 2008 @ 1:18 am
  32. Hickory,

    “Meanwhile… McCain is some sort of bizarre hybrid of Dr. Strangelove and Joe Lieberman who can’t stop repeating ‘My friends, I was a foot soldier in the Reagan revolution’. And then we’ve got Huckabee, who believes the Earth is 6,000 years old.”

    I never said the alternatives were an improvement. :-)

    Look, I’ll point out once again that I said that *some* Paul supporters are kooks. I also said that some are reasonable and rational. From your replies, I’d put you in the reasonable and rational column, whereas James…well I think you can guess where I’d rank him. I just think the kooks have become what people *see* out on the internet and public because for some reason they seem to be generating a level of noise above and beyond what I’m sure their proportion is in the overall population of Paul voters (at least, I *hope* that is out of proportion…). And I frankly think that that segment of the Paul Supporter population does more to hurt him than they do to help. Stifling questions with threats and insults, spamming boards that have absolutely not the faintest thing to do with politics, being insulting to anyone that doesn’t immediately utter total fanatical support for Paul (referring to anyone that doesn’t run to the Paul bandwagon as “sheeple” seems to be one I’ve come across, but just generally using names like “moron”, “idiot”, “fascist”, etc, too), all these things probably do more to drive people away from, rather than toward, supporting Paul.

    Another problem Paul has in getting the word out is that his campaign has relied very heavily on the internet. That wouldn’t be bad if it weren’t that it seems to be that (with a few exceptions) his campaign doesn’t seem to be complementing that with hitting the traditional airwaves with effective marketing in most areas. And the problem with that is that a big bloc of voters isn’t really so internet savvy – seniors and other older adults. That demographic makes up a big part of the frequent voter population, but (around here at least) it doesn’t appear that there’s any particular effort to get the word out via traditional means (i.e., t.v. and radio ads) that would reach them.

    “who are you voting for again?” Well, my original question was asked on another board awhile back and needless to say the nomination landscape has changed massively since then. I’m frankly terribly conflicted. Paul’s ideas are interesting, but some of his history and associates leave me cold (I’m not a big fan of Lew Rockwell and his adherents, and the newsletter issue gives me the horrors because if the man couldn’t keep an employee on the small staff of his own newsletter published by a company with his name on it in line, that to me does not speak at all well of his ability to, for example, keep cabinet members in line, keep federal agencies in line, appoint competent judges, etc.) As some others have said, it’s not that I thik Paul *himself* is a bad man; but I’m afraid that he may prove to be a bad judge of character and surround himself with the wrong people (imagine if someone like his newsletter writer were put in a cabinet position, where he could do real damage to a Paul presidency with a few strokes of a pen. Or, on another thread here it’s been discussed that Paul appointed a very young, very inexperienced person as his press secretary with apparently far less than stellar results. Imagine that being done with political appointments (oh, wait, we don’t have to imagine…think back to “Heckuva Job Brownie” heading FEMA and how well that all worked out…). But the alternatives aren’t so hot either. It’s like being told to choose one of three doors, but there’s a hungry tiger behind all three…

    If you’ve got a reasonable way to assuage my concerns, by all means do so. PLEASE do so. And you might not only sway me, but maybe others looking in. In the meantime, I’ll wait for the *ahem* kooks to descend and try to have me for dinner…

    Comment by SC — February 9, 2008 @ 7:37 am
  33. hey ron paul reader and supporters please do n;t give up on ron paul it is so importing that he’s gets into the white house. and these are some reason why please look prisonplanettv.com the govermnet are saying that we are free but the question is free from what. they are planing to kill 80% of amercian and theres is nothing we can do so please vote for ron paul are food is being poison are doctors tell lie and so is our goverment. so please help get our freedom back.

    Comment by Mary — February 9, 2008 @ 5:34 pm

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