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

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February 7, 2008

The Republican Race For The White House Is Over

by Doug Mataconis

With today’s announcement by Mitt Romney that he was suspending his Presidential campaign, I think it’s fair to say that the race for the Republican nomination is over and that John McCain will be the Republican nominee.

As improbable as it would have been for Mitt Romney to beat McCain after Super Tuesday, it’s pretty much impossible for Mike Huckabee to do it. And Ron Paul ? Well, at the very least, this should put an end to that segment of the Paulbots who, even after Tuesday, were dreaming of a brokered convention, or maybe not.

It does lead to an interesting thought though — when this all started a year ago, who thought that the last three men left in the race would be Ron Paul, Mike Huckabee, and the de facto nominee, John McCain.

Update 2/8/2008: Okay guys, it’s officially over, here are the results of the first post-Romney poll in Virginia:

One day after Mitt Romney withdrew from the Republican race for President, John McCain collects approximately two-thirds of Romney’s support, according to before-and-after tracking polls conducted by SurveyUSA for WJLA-TV Washington DC, WDBJ-TV Roanoke, and WTVR-TV Richmond. In SurveyUSA interviews conducted on 02/06/08, before Romney withdrew, McCain got 45%, Romney 22%, Mike Huckabee 20%. In interviews conducted on 02/07/08 and 02/08/08, immediately after Romney withdrew, McCain gained 12 points, to 57%, Huckabee gained 5 points, to 25%. McCain led Huckabee by 25 points before Romney dropped out. McCain leads Huckabee by 32 points now. McCain leads in all regions of the state, though Huckabee runs slightly stronger in the Shenandoah and in Southeast VA than he does in the DC suburbs and in Central VA. To the extent that Republicans in Virginia see John McCain’s nomination as a foregone conclusion, and therefore do not turn out to vote, McCain’s margin of victory may here be slightly overstated or understated — but the dynamics of the contest are clear. At stake are 63 winner-take-all delegates to the Republican National Convention.

For the record, Ron Paul came it at 9% in this poll and seems to have picked up none of the Romney votes. This is how it’s going to play out from here on in. There will be no challenge. There will be no brokered convention.

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41 Comments

  1. Macain may indeed win. but as of right now he dose not have enough delegates to take the nomination.so long as somone is running against him and he lacks the needed delegates to take the nomination the race is on no mater how you,I or anyone else thinks.

    Comment by Brokencage — February 7, 2008 @ 12:09 pm
  2. At this point, I’ll decide what I’m going to do in November…in November.

    Comment by Kevin — February 7, 2008 @ 12:24 pm
  3. Leave it to Doug to see the grey lining in an otherwise silver, nay golden, cloud.

    My G-d man, this is the best thing to happen to the Ron Paul campaign since 12/16/07 when $6 million was raised!

    To the extent that Romney was getting votes, they were coming from anti-McCain, anti-Huckabee “I want someone who at least pretends he isn’t a liberal puke” conservatives.

    There is only Dr. Paul for that now.

    Don’t be confused over delegates. A lot of Super Tuesday primaries don’t mean squat because the delegates are not legally required to vote for the winner of the primary. Others are only pledged for 1 or 2 rounds. A lot of Romney delegates may vote for Ron, just to stick it to McCain.

    Others may have been stealth Ron Paul supporters all along. I can’t have been the only one to think about calling another campaign and volunteering to be a delegate in the hopes of being a faithless delegate. Oh! don’t look so scandalized ;)

    Besides, McCain may still do something stupid, like let his temper show on bational TV or eat some spicy food and have a heart-attack scare.

    I just hope it’s after Huckabee drops out too.

    Maybe a few weeks afterwards so the horse race pundits get to talk about how it’s “McCain and Paul”. Once it’s down to 2 people, then MSM will have to mention Paul, just to have an “opponent” to talk/write about.

    Even as McCain suffers financial problems and takes Federal matching funds, the MSM will be saying that Ron Paul is trailing badly…. LOL

    Later.

    Comment by Kevin Houston — February 7, 2008 @ 12:30 pm
  4. No surprises here. A little recognized fact was that Romney was almost as much of a pariah (to the Neo-Conservatives & the New World Order) as Ron Paul. That is why neither one had a chance to win this nomination. That is why Limbaugh held off on any endorsement until it was too late to help. McCain’s comeback was a carefully orchestrated media event, including Huckabee’s Romney-Killer faux campaign, and was a foregone conclusion even before the Iowa caucuses. And to top it all off, Limbaugh can still claim that he tried to fight off this putrid excuse for a candidate, John McCain.

    Comment by John Bowery — February 7, 2008 @ 12:31 pm
  5. Kevin (Houston),

    You really don’t get it do you ?

    Those Romney supporters are also loyal Republicans. They can see the writing on the wall and they’re going to rally behind their Party’s nominee.

    That’s the way these things have always gone down.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — February 7, 2008 @ 12:52 pm
  6. Money. The “Mother’s Milk” of politics indeed.

    I doubt Romney will foot the massive bill for McCain to win. In the meantime Ron Paul will keep raising money. When is his next money bomb by the way?

    Let the sedated MSM report on nothing but McCain. That will only help Ron Paul’s cause. Americans haven’t “bought” the war in Iraq and we’re certainly not buying McCain.

    Ron Paul has money and he is waxing strong. Respect!

    Comment by Seth M — February 7, 2008 @ 12:54 pm
  7. McCain could say he wants to round up all the iraqi children and torture and rape them to death, live on national tv, and people would still vote for him. You think I’m kidding? Most of the republican party is simply braindead. Ron Paul is just a voice off in the distance that they cant quite hear…. They’re just too busy gloating about that 5% tax cut. In fact they are so obsessed with the 5% tax cut that they dont even realize that Bush/McCain’s policies have caused the value of the dollar to be cut in half. That’s the same thing as a 50% tax increase. But they still go around saying how much they love the tax cuts! Like I said, totally braindead.

    Comment by Iconoclast421 — February 7, 2008 @ 1:00 pm
  8. “In the meantime Ron Paul will keep raising money. When is his next money bomb by the way? ”

    McCain, who’s campaign was declared all but dead last summer, has been pulling 30%+ percentages in most primary contests. Huckabee, also campaigning on a shoestring budget, has won a few southern states and done respectably in a few others. Meanwhile, “Money Bomb” Paul has (with a couple of exceptions) garnered single digit percentages and has not won a single state.

    I’m sorry, I just don’t see it. For all the “money bombs”, Paul has barely moved the needle in most contests so far. Barring McCain getting hit by a bus, I just don’t see Paul getting the nod from the party, and maybe not even then.

    Comment by SC — February 7, 2008 @ 1:15 pm
  9. Yes, I’m afraid its all over but the fat lady singing now. And, I am absolutely convinced that the “useful idiots” in the media have orchestrated this outcome just as they wanted it to be – whether willfully or through skillful manipulation. Unfortunately, I’m afraid many bloggers contributed to our heading the direction we’re now going as well – it seems that even though we *know* about the wiles of the MSM, bucking the system and ignoring the polls is easier said than done. The only way that I can see of control of elections ever returning to the people is for us to reform our primary system so that candidates may campaign for a period of time wheresoever they choose, but all primaries to be held over a simultaneous, same day period. That, alone, would insure that people who voted would not be swayed by the votes of others being broadcast.

    If McCain will choose his running mate carefully, the Republicans *might* hold onto the White House – but it’s looking more and more likely that we’re to head down the path of socialism.

    Comment by Kay — February 7, 2008 @ 3:08 pm
  10. Doug,

    I get it quite well. You have no idea who those delegates are. Not as people, and not as delegates.

    For all you know they were 100% LDS, and the only reason they were supporting Romney was pure religious chauvinism. I’m not saying that is the case, I’m saying no one knows.

    Also, now that McCain is seen as the nominee, the MSM will turn on him like a rabid dog.

    Questions about his conduct during the war,
    Questions about his conduct in office (S&L debacle? Keating Five?)
    Questions about his conduct in private (sex scandals?)
    Questions about his health and fitness.

    Six months ago you never would have thought Ron Paul would be among the last 3 standing. You were certain he would be finished completely and he (paraphrasing) “wouldn’t win a single delgate.”

    Six days ago, you would not have believed that Romney would drop out. But of course, it is only common sense that he would. Who can spend that kind of money from his own pocket with no chance of winning?? No one, that’s who.

    Ron Paul doesn’t have that problem. Every dime he can spend is money that we gave to him on condition he use it to run for President. We supporters already pissed that money down a rat-hole by donating it to the campaign, the most honorable thing Ron Paul can do is use it for it’s intended purpose.

    Six months from now, you will be amazed that Ron Paul looks poised to become the nominee, and you will swear up-down-and-sideways that the Democrat (Obama or Clinton) will shred Ron Paul in the general election.

    What happens next in the short term depends on Huckabee.

    If he stays in, then he will probably start gathering more delegates and we will have a brokered convention – stealth Ron Paul delegates will surprise everyone.

    If he gets out, or takes McCain’s VP offer, then it turns into Ron Paul Vs McCain (or McCain-Huckabee)

    The calculus of negative voting just shifted. Romney’s success, such as it was, was as the “anti-liberal” and was based upon the perception that he was most likely to beat McCain. That anti-liberal (i.e. conservaive) vote will go somewhere else. It probably won’t go to Huckabee (he is a liberal too) but it might

    The conservatives are going to have to choose between the war on (the rest of the world) or their pocketbooks – empire or tax cuts – they can’t have both.

    A lot of GOP base are ***PISSED OFF*** I would not be surprised to see Ron Paul become the vehicle for their protest vote. Once they get a good listen to the platform, it will go down like buttered rum.

    Any pessimism at this point is grossly premature. As is any wild optimism.

    Ron Paul still has a snowball’s chance in Hell of winning, and I am not claiming that the air conditioning has been turned on, but the furnace has sure been turned off.

    The next few days & weeks will be *very* interesting.

    Comment by Kevin Houston — February 7, 2008 @ 3:17 pm
  11. As improbable as it would have been for Mitt Romney to beat McCain after Super Tuesday, it’s pretty much impossible for Mike Huckabee to do it.

    I’m not so sure. Romney and Huckabee were splitting the anti-McCain vote. As long as they were both in, McCain could just run out the clock and win. If Huck decides to fight it all the way, he’ll probably pick up a large majority of the Romney supporters.

    That might just tilt the balance of power enough for Huck to force a brokered convention. Did you notice that Romney “suspended” his campaign, rather than dropping out?

    Comment by Jeff Molby — February 7, 2008 @ 3:21 pm
  12. Jeff,

    1. Actually, the exit polls from Super Tuesday showed that the second choice of the majority of Huckabee voters was McCain, not Romney.

    2. The rules for Republicans don’t work the same way as the Democrat’s rules. Suspending the campaign does not necessarily mean that the delegates remain loyal to Romney.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — February 7, 2008 @ 3:24 pm
  13. Kevin,

    What makes you think that Romney and Huckabee people would go for Ron Paul ? There’s just no evidence to support it.

    Nice try, but it’s over.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — February 7, 2008 @ 3:25 pm
  14. Well, here we sit, waiting to see what happens. Romney out. McCain, Huckabee and Paul. You know the Ron Paul campaign is getting ready to let loose. About one more month. I have tried to tell people that the weather is the big factor. Sure, those of you that live in sunny warm places don’t think of these things, but to those of us frozen in, it matters. Let’s see, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Wisconsin. That’s a lot of people. Just wait until the spring breaks through and these midwestern folks get going. I think you will see that the perfect conditions will arise for Ron Paul to win the republican nomination. Then what will Hillary do?

    Comment by mistermr — February 7, 2008 @ 4:24 pm
  15. Doug,

    Because they were *never* Romney or Huckabee people. They were “not-McCain” people. Just as McCain’s supporters are mostly “Not-Huckabee/Not-Romney” people.

    Where will the “Not-McCain” vote go? Huckabee????

    I don’t think so. The kind of voter I’m thinking of is your typical Limbaugh/Hannity listener. Rush, Sean, Glenn have spent a week demonizing McCain, and the week before that demonizing Huckabee. As long as Thompson was in the race, they could support him. As long as Romney was in the race, they could support him. Anybody but McCain or Huckabee.

    Maybe I’m wrong, we’ll soon see.

    Comment by Kevin Houston — February 7, 2008 @ 4:35 pm
  16. Ron Paul knocks ‘em dead: February 07, 2008
    Dr. Paul speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC)

    intro:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8l8AIuJJRZo

    part 1:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8l8AIuJJRZo

    part 2:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-oaD9oM4xQo

    part 3:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGaZsAeMKFo

    Comment by Kevin Houston — February 7, 2008 @ 4:49 pm
  17. Oh! One more thing.

    go here
    http://www.pollster.com/

    And go look at any of the upcoming primary states, and tell me there are enough polls (or recent enough) to even *have* an opinion on what will happen next weekend. Any pundit who claims to know what is going to happen is either a liar or a fool.

    Mark my words: Romney’s departure has shifted the axis of this primary like an asteroid hitting the Earth. I’m not claiming to know what will happen with any degree of certainty. I’m just calling BS on anyone who thinks they know enough to know the future. Anything is possible.

    Someone said “short of McCain getting hit by a bus..” Well, stranger things have happened.

    Presidential candidates have died many times in office (one even from a common cold) and not just physically dying, but political death is just as sure (Nixon, Gary Hart, Howard Dean) and face it, McCain actually *is* crazy enough to do something foolish in front of cameras and everybody without even realizing it until it is too late. “..bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran..” being just one notorius example.)

    Oh, I will admit that the race is McCain’s to lose but you have to see that if anyone can snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, it is McCain. This isn’t a sprint or a war of agression, it is a marathon, it is a war of attrition. The sprinter looks great during the first half of a marathon – he is so far ahead, that there’s *no way* the marathon runner could catch him.

    But abusing his body that way carries a price, just as John McCain has abused the Republican base. You watch, sometime between now and Setember, John McCain will screw up big.

    I just hope Huckabee drops out at least two weeks prior.

    Later

    Comment by Kevin Houston — February 7, 2008 @ 5:11 pm
  18. Kevin,

    I think you’ll find out that you are completely wrong.

    Let’s just take one example. I live in Virginia. Even before Mitt Romney dropped out, I can guarantee you that John McCain would win all of our 63 delegates (VA is winner-take-all) for one reason:

    * He will win heavily in the two most populated regions of the state — Hampton Roads/Virginia Beach/Tidewater and Northern Virginia — because of both regions’ relative moderate/independent voting trend in the past ten years and because of his military history. Winning these these two areas of the state guarantees victory statewide

    The same thing will happen in states like North Carolina, Ohio, and Texas.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — February 7, 2008 @ 6:18 pm
  19. Just wait until the spring breaks through and these midwestern folks get going. I think you will see that the perfect conditions will arise for Ron Paul to win the republican nomination. Then what will Hillary do?

    Trust me, of all the things that Hillary has to worry about, Ron Paul is pretty much at the bottom of the list.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — February 7, 2008 @ 6:24 pm
  20. Just wait until the spring breaks through and these midwestern folks get going.

    I live in the Midwest. Nobody here has heard of him…BECAUSE HE DOESN’T FUCKING SPEND ANY MONEY ON ADVERTISING OR CAMPAIGNING!!!

    Coincidentally, back about a year or so ago, when I first heard about Ron Paul’s candidacy (before I discovered that he had a tendency to surround himself with idiots), I wrote the campaign telling them that I was interested in working for them as a volunteer in this region because I had some experience and thought I could help. I finally heard back from them…yesterday. My state’s caucus is a week away. If you honestly believe that a campaign that incompetent has any chance of turning it around, you’re a raving loon.

    Comment by UCrawford — February 7, 2008 @ 6:52 pm
  21. U.C.,

    Your experience just has me, as someone who has worked in politics and believes in individual liberty just banging my head against the table.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — February 7, 2008 @ 6:56 pm
  22. Doug,

    Hey, blessing in disguise I guess. If the guy likes to hire people who take a year just to answer an e-mail, why on earth would I want to help him become president. It’s not that Ron Paul didn’t have some good ideas (in fact, he had a lot of great ideas) but that’s meaningless if he appoints a bunch of clowns to his Cabinet to help him implement those ideas. That won’t do much except make things worse.

    A competent libertarian-friendly candidate will eventually come along, and I’m more than willing to wait. And if I have to put up with a bunch of statist bastards in the meantime, screw it…it’ll just be that much easier to get the right candidate elected because everyone else will hate oppressive government just as much as I do.

    Comment by UCrawford — February 7, 2008 @ 7:12 pm
  23. U.C.,

    Two words: Gary Johnson

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_E._Johnson

    Former Governor of New Mexico. Good on the Drug War. He even endorsed Ron Paul last week.

    He’s the kind of people that we need to be supporting.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — February 7, 2008 @ 7:18 pm
  24. My wife actively ignores politics. However, she wanted to vote on Super Tuesday, and so she asked me my opinion of the Republican field.

    First she asked me whom I the best candidate was. I unhesitatingly replied “Ron Paul”

    Then she asked me who would make a good president. Again, without any hesitation, I replied “not a single one of them”.

    I had to explain to her that “best” can also mean “least worst”.

    To me the deal killer is Ron Paul’s track record of making disastrous personnel decisions. Eric Dondero & Gary North, immediately leap to mind. I like the man, and respect him, but I have no illusions that he would somehow make a good President. His administration would be very much like the reign of the fictional Claudius in I Claudius, where his corrupt underlings and wife completely undermined all his best efforts to rule justly.

    All you messianic Paul followers, please note that this does not mean that I prefer McCain or Hillary to Ron Paul.

    Comment by tarran — February 7, 2008 @ 7:57 pm
  25. Yes Tarran, I actually agree with that. Ron Paul has many flaws (but far far fewer flaws than I have) He does have feet of clay. He is too trusting, and he is a poor orator.

    But he is not a power-hungry megalomaniac with delusions of infallibility. Every other candidate will tell us with a straight face that they know how to run the world, run the US economy, and run your life. All for your own good, of course.

    Ron Paul is the only candidate offering to let me ruin my own life, instead of telling me how they are going to ruin it for me.

    I like that. It may not be much of a difference to some, but to me, it’s all the difference in the world.

    Later.

    Comment by Kevin Houston — February 7, 2008 @ 8:35 pm
  26. Tarran,

    If I had any faith at all in Ron Paul to appoint competent secretaries of Defense and State to get us out of Iraq I’d probably still be willing to vote for the guy. But I honestly believe that he would appoint a bunch of personal friends who’d have no clue what they’re doing and he’d end up botching the withdrawal amd getting more people killed than would die before McCain is forced to withdraw them after an additional year or two.

    The Iraq war’s coming to an end within the next couple of years regardless of who gets elected…I’d rather see somebody who appoints competent subordinates who can a) close it out to minimize bloodshed for our troops and b) rebuild the military once the troops are back (and it’s going to require a lot of work). And sadly I think any of the remaining candidates would probably do a better job of that than Ron Paul could.

    Comment by UCrawford — February 7, 2008 @ 9:06 pm
  27. The Iraq war’s coming to an end within the next couple of years regardless of who gets elected

    It depends on your definition. We’ll definitely stop patrolling the streets, but do you really think McCain (or Hillary, for that matter) would abandon those massive bases we’ve built?

    Remember the big picture.

    Comment by Jeff Molby — February 7, 2008 @ 9:20 pm
  28. We’ll definitely stop patrolling the streets, but do you really think McCain (or Hillary, for that matter) would abandon those massive bases we’ve built? Remember the big picture.

    We’ll abandon them because we won’t have a choice. We simply can’t afford to continue the war over there, even if we kept a smaller force there. And once we draw down in the spring (when we have no units to replace the ones rotating out) I suspect the environment will become far too hostile for us to maintain even a diplomatic presence with minimal troops. Hell, even now the State Department is having trouble finding people willing to serve in that giant embassy they’re building, and that’s with the surge-sized troop presence.

    Besides, historically it wouldn’t be unique. We abandoned major military bases in Vietnam, we abandoned major bases in the Philippines, we continued major construction work on Prince Bandar Air Base in Saudi Arabia right up until we pulled out of there and abandoned it, we’ve already got plans to shut down multiple major bases in South Korea despite a lot of recent work on them, and we slated a bunch of bases for closure here in the states (including Walter Reed) despite the investment put into them. Infrastructure, once paid for, is usually treated as a sunk cost…it’s never been reason enough for us to continue an engagement once we all recognize it’s a necessity to pull out. If Bush thought otherwise (and it’s reported he did) it just confirms to me how fucking stupid the man really is.

    Comment by UCrawford — February 7, 2008 @ 9:34 pm
  29. I live in the Midwest. Nobody here has heard of him…BECAUSE HE DOESN’T FUCKING SPEND ANY MONEY ON ADVERTISING OR CAMPAIGNING!!!

    Here in California, I was just discussing it with a coworker. He voted in the primary, he is a Republican, he is at least as informed on the issues as an average primary voter.

    He had no clue who Ron Paul was. Despite the fact that I see Ron Paul signs, bumper stickers, etc, he didn’t even know that Ron Paul was a Republican!

    I can’t think that this was a well-managed campaign, if a moderately-informed primary voter in the biggest state in the US had never even heard of Ron Paul.

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — February 8, 2008 @ 8:24 am
  30. He had no clue who Ron Paul was. Despite the fact that I see Ron Paul signs, bumper stickers, etc, he didn’t even know that Ron Paul was a Republican!

    18% of likely voters are aware of him

    I can’t think that this was a well-managed campaign, if a moderately-informed primary voter in the biggest state in the US had never even heard of Ron Paul.

    Don’t be so quick to blame it all on the campaign though. He was absolutely destroyed by his competitors when it came to free media coverage.

    I don’t want to get into another debate about whether he should or shouldn’t have received more coverage, because I readily acknowledge that the inexperience of the campaign staff probably contributed to it, but the notion that he could have just spent his way out of obscurity is ludicrous.

    Comment by Jeff Molby — February 8, 2008 @ 8:43 am
  31. Jeff,

    Don’t be so quick to blame it all on the campaign though. He was absolutely destroyed by his competitors when it came to free media coverage.

    Ron Paul appointed Jesse Benton, a 24 year old kid with no apparent contacts in the media to run his press campaign. If that’s not incompetence I don’t know what is.

    Comment by UCrawford — February 8, 2008 @ 9:05 am
  32. Ron Paul appointed Jesse Benton, a 24 year old kid with no apparent contacts in the media to run his press campaign. If that’s not incompetence I don’t know what is.

    Be fair. Back when Benton was brought on board, the campaign was pretty poor.

    The problem was that he stuck with Benton even when it became apparent that he wasn’t able to convert the campaign’s growth into a regular stream of media.

    And even still, it may very well have been too late by the time that was obvious.

    Comment by Jeff Molby — February 8, 2008 @ 9:14 am
  33. “18% of likely voters are aware of him”

    And that doesn’t take into account how many of those likely voters that are aware of him would actually vote for him.

    Comment by SC — February 8, 2008 @ 9:17 am
  34. Jeff,

    Be fair. Back when Benton was brought on board, the campaign was pretty poor.

    Fair?

    Fair is acknowledging that the Ron Paul campaign didn’t get coverage from the mainstream press because they appointed an inexperienced press coordinator who apparently had no clue what he was doing and they didn’t upgrade when that became apparent. Fair is accepting that the failures of the Ron Paul campaign mostly had to do with Ron Paul and his staff.

    Laying the blame where it most certainly belongs is being fair. Holding people accountable for what they do (or don’t do) is being fair. Demanding that a presidential candidate show some respect to his supporters by running a serious campaign and attempting to win is most definitely being fair. By those standards, I’ve been more than fair to Ron Paul and his campaign staff.

    Comment by UCrawford — February 8, 2008 @ 9:22 am
  35. Laying the blame where it most certainly belongs is being fair.

    Fair is acknowledging that you don’t know what you don’t know. Fair is refraining from Monday-morning quarterbacking.

    If you’re convinced that there was a point where Paul should have made a change that would have been in time to make a difference, by all means, make your case. Be prepared with specifics, because I don’t recall you calling for changes until recently.

    Comment by Jeff Molby — February 8, 2008 @ 9:29 am
  36. And that doesn’t take into account how many of those likely voters that are aware of him would actually vote for him.

    Read the rest of the link. His appeal rating was steady in the low 30s. A little bit behind the frontrunners, but competitive.

    Comment by Jeff Molby — February 8, 2008 @ 9:30 am
  37. Jesse Benton’s only 24? Jebus! At that age, he’s barely qualified to be the assistant press secretary in a backbencher Congressional office, much less a national Presidential campaign, no matter how minor.

    Comment by Mark — February 8, 2008 @ 9:31 am
  38. And UC, I’m not trying to say the campaign didn’t make mistakes. Obviously, they did.

    There is, however, a difference between being wrong and being incompetent. If you’ve played any poker, you know very well that you can make sound decisions throughout an entire hand and still lose your ass.

    If you’re going to accuse him of making unsound decisions, you have to get very specific and show why he made the wrong decision based on the information that was available at the time. And frankly, you don’t have anywhere near enough information to make such accusations.

    Comment by Jeff Molby — February 8, 2008 @ 9:34 am
  39. Jeff,

    And UC, I’m not trying to say the campaign didn’t make mistakes. Obviously, they did.

    I know that you’re not saying that. You generally make and accept rational arguments.

    There is, however, a difference between being wrong and being incompetent.

    Wrong is hiring a 24 year old with no media contacts to run your press campaign. Incompetent is keeping him in that position when he’s not getting you any free press. I can understand and sympathize if that’s all they could afford when they were starting out…but failing to recognize he wasn’t getting the job done, keeping him around when they had other options after they’d raised funds, and then blaming the “MSM” for not doing his job for him was inexcusable.

    If you’re going to accuse him of making unsound decisions, you have to get very specific and show why he made the wrong decision based on the information that was available at the time.

    You’ve already addressed that:

    The problem was that he stuck with Benton even when it became apparent that he wasn’t able to convert the campaign’s growth into a regular stream of media.

    I haven’t heard enough about Paul anywhere except the Internet to critique Benton’s specific efforts. Ron Paul is a non-entity in the world where most voters live and that pretty much sums up the body of work that Benton provided. If nobody knows who your candidate is and the press doesn’t care, the responsibility for that falls on the guy who was supposed to sell the candidate to the press. If you want a specific anecdotal critique, here’s a decent one from a New Jersey columnist who covered Ron Paul and who had a lot to say about the quality of Paul’s staff:

    http://blog.nj.com/njv_paul_mulshine/2008/01/this_rons_no_reagan.html

    Comment by UCrawford — February 8, 2008 @ 10:34 am
  40. And if you’re looking for more gripes about the “professional” staff, here’s another:

    http://ronpaul.meetup.com/boards/view/viewthread?thread=4013172

    Comment by UCrawford — February 8, 2008 @ 10:41 am
  41. If you want a specific anecdotal critique, here’s a decent one from a New Jersey columnist who covered Ron Paul and who had a lot to say about the quality of Paul’s staff:

    Thank you. That was good.

    Comment by Jeff Molby — February 8, 2008 @ 10:48 am

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