Monthly Archives: March 2008

Thursday Open Thread — What’s Left For Paul Supporters?

This blog has had a long and sordid history with the more ardent supporters of Ron Paul, as clearly evidenced in the comments to this post from yesterday.

Over the months leading up to the primaries and throughout the primaries, I’ve seen that those enthusiastic Paul supporters have often found it difficult to believe that Ron Paul’s support was as limited as some of the national polls indicated, largely because Ron Paul dominated straw polls, both online and offline. They came up with several reasons for this apparent lack of support:

1. Media bias — If the media doesn’t give Ron Paul any airtime, how could his support improve?
2. Polling bias — If polls don’t mention his name, or don’t call the “youth” without land-lines, or only registered Republicans, can they be trusted?
3. Diebold — Those pesky electronic voting machines are paid for by people who are anti-Paul
4. Election fraud — The system of neocons will silence those who speak truth to power
5. Illuminati/Bilderberger/etc — The people who really control everything won’t let him ascend

Inherent in these excuses is a consistent belief that Ron Paul is actually winning the hearts and minds (and thus the election), but that the system is so incredibly corrupt and fraudulent that he is being kept down by those above. With this, the following point is clear: the system is no longer to be trusted, and if Ron Paul does not become President, it is an indication that the system has been hijacked by people who will not allow it to be fixed.

What does this mean? It means that these Paul supporters, who have committed themselves to the rEVOLution, are up against a wall. They’re faced with a question:

“If the democratic process no longer works and has been subverted, what are you going to do about it?”

Those of us who don’t believe that Ron Paul is being denied his rightful place in the Oval Office by nefarious henchmen suggest that the next step is for those Paul supporters to join a wider liberty movement, and carry the torch that Ron Paul has ignited farther than he could ever do himself.

But for those who have placed their faith in the man himself, the fact that he’s been bested by statists like John McCain is a fact that cannot stand. There are only two options: agorism, or rebellion.

The choice is simple. The system is flawed, and must be destroyed. Agorism is the attempt to do so, through extricating oneself from the system and working to establish an alternate system in parallel. The end goal is that legitimacy in the establishment will fail, and at the same time the agorists will have created a viable alternative. The system thus withers away. Rebellion, of course, is much more clear: the taking up of arms against the established system. I would think, of course, that this is a ticket to either a penitentiary or a morgue. But for those who believe that the true support for Ron Paul greatly exceeds what appears in polls, such a rebellion would be too large to be quashed.

So the question still stands. For those truly adamant Ron Paul supporters who believe that he deserves to lead this country, and cannot accept the fact that he will not be President in November, what are you going to do about it?

Does Ron Paul’s Campaign Really Think He Can Steal The Nomination ?

Just about a month ago, Brad Warbiany pretty much decimated the logic of the idea that Ron Paul’s supporters could infiltrate the GOP delegate selection process and steal the nomination for their candidate.

The race went on and yesterday, John McCain secured enough pledged delegates to win the Republican nomination.

Heck, when Ron Paul claimed victory in his Congressional race yesterday, he even talked about representing the good people of TX-14 for years to come.

That, it would seem, was that.

But then I ran across this February 22nd post from the Paul campaign’s own blog:

The nominee is decided at the National Convention, by the delegates chosen from state conventions, from those chosen from district and county conventions. It is tempting to assume the race a “lost cause” and abandon it for simpler pursuits, but there are two very important reasons not to: because the assumption is false, and because the assumption debilitates our movement.

Given poll results, media coverage, and the like, it may be hard to believe that Dr. Paul can still win the nomination. But you must understand that the nomination process is not a fixed procedure governed by the Law of the Primary; the Republican Party is a private organization, free to change its rules at any time. It may not be customary, but it certainly cane be done.

If we turn out for the county conventions as we turned out in the streets, we will decide who goes to the state convention. Likewise, a strong turnout at a state convention gives us the ability not only to elect national delegates but to change the state party rules—to unbind the national delegates, for example. It might be a long shot, but this is no different from two months ago.

A great number of disgusted patriots in the Republican Party will not suffer a nominee who refuses to defend the right to bear arms and to acknowledge the need for a strong border. And deep down, they know that every empire is a setting sun. If we don’t show up at the conventions, we’ll be forgotten. But if we turn out, if we prove where the future of the party lies, other Republicans will first accept and soon believe in us.

And the most ardent of Paul’s supporters seem to think that this is a viable strategy even today. See here, here, here, and here, while some people engage in the wonderful pastime of speculating about someone’s death.

So what’s going on here ? Does the campaign really believe the wacko theory about stealing the nomination or are they just stringing people along for donations ?

Update: According to this Texas newspaper, Paul is still holding on to the delusion that the race for the nomination is still going on:

WASHINGTON — President Bush welcomed John McCain to the White House today and hailed him as “the nominee of the Republican Party.”

But while that Rose Garden victory celebration was going on, Texas Republican Rep. Ron Paul — who issued a statement Tuesday night saying he will return to the U.S. House next year — continued a presidential race he now seems to be conceding he cannot win.

“There were 11. Now there are two,” says a posting on Paul’s Web site that shows the crossed-out faces of nine Republican contenders who have dropped out of the presidential race.

In the Tuesday night statement after he won renomination for his U.S. House seat, Paul said, “I have no Democrat opponent in November and will serve another term in Congress where I will continue my battle on behalf of taxpayers.”

“I look forward to representing all of the good people of the 14th district of Texas in Congress in the years to come,” he said.

Despite the comments, Paul spokesman Jesse Benton said Paul “remains in the (presidential) race and will do so as long as his supporters wish it.”

And, apparently, the “supporters” wish it:

“There is a very good chance that John McCain could drop out of the race when enough negative information hits the masses,” a Paul backer said in a Wednesday e-mail. “Ron Paul and his supporters are counting on this. Whether this is realistic or not, only time will tell.”

“McNut didn’t win nothing,” said another Paul supporter in complaining about reports indicating that Paul, in his comment about remaining in the U.S. House, was conceding defeat in the presidential race.

Ugh. Guys, John McCain has been in politics for 28 years. Everybody already knows the negative stuff about him and they’ve made up their mind accordingly. Stop engaging in fantasies and do something that actually helps the fight for freedom.

Ron Paul Wins TX-14

It’s usually not news when a ten-term incumbent wins re-election to Congress, but there was some speculation that Ron Paul’s quixotic campaign for President would hurt him among his constituents in Texas’ 14th Congressional District.

As it turned out, the Congressman had little to worry about:

DALLAS—Republican Ron Paul didn’t get many votes for president in his home state, but he easily won the primary night nomination for his congressional seat.

Paul—an Internet sensation in his presidential bid—easily defeated local Councilman Chris Peden in the Houston-area District 14 on Tuesday night.

Paul, a 10-term congressman, only drew single-digit votes for president.

Full results here.

And here’s Paul’s statement last night as reported by Hit & Run:

“I am honored that the voters in the 14th District expressed their continued confidence in my leadership by overwhelmingly reelecting me to the House of Representatives. I have no Democrat opponent in November and will serve another term in Congress where I will continue my battle in behalf of taxpayers.

My message of limited-government and upholding the Constitution has once again been endorsed by the conservative-minded voters in my district. They understand and support the battle I have waged for thirty years to make the federal government smaller, to reduce wasteful government spending, to balance the budget, and to promote a foreign policy that always puts America first.

Some Washington insiders would have you believe that Republicans no longer believe in the principles our country and party were founded upon, but the voters in my district have once again proven them wrong.

The message of freedom is popular, and I will continue to trumpet it in Congress and across America as I fight on behalf of the conservative, common sense values which made our country so great.

In conclusion, I would like to offer my thanks and gratitude to all of the wonderful people who supported me in this campaign. I look forward to representing all of the good people of the 14th District of Texas in Congress in the years to come.”

In other words, no third party run notwithstanding persistent rumors to the contrary.

And, with John McCain clinching the GOP nomination last night, the Republican Presidential campaign is, for all practical purposes, over.

TexOhio Primary Predictions And Tuesday Open Thread

At least one, and possibly both, parties’ Presidential nominating contests could be over tomorrow, so this could very well be the last prediction thread until after Labor Day.

So let’s get this one right.

Republicans

Let’s get the easy one out of the way.

John McCain is going win today and he’s going to win big enough to get the remaining 100+ delegates he needs to clinch the Republican nomination. He has double digit leads over Mike Huckabee in Texas, Ohio, Vermont, and Rhode Island. The smart thing for Huckabee to do tonight would be to congratulate McCain and drop out of the race.

Once again, Ron Paul won’t win any delegates but it looks like he will win re-election to Congress.

Democrats

If nothing else, I think we’ll see the end of Barack Obama’s consecutive win streak. Hillary Clinton has a double digit lead in Rhode Island and, barring a complete disaster for her, it looks like she’ll at least win that one.

Obama, on the other hand, looks to be headed to an easy victory in Vermont.

But that’s just the warm-up show. The big showdown will be in Texas and Ohio, and the race is tight in both states.

Let’s take Texas first. The trend has been clearly in Obama’s favor for the past two weeks and I think that will be enough for him to coast to a victory. His victory in the primary itself is likely to be narrow, but he will do well in the caucus part of the process and will come out of the day with the majority of the Lone Star State’s delegates.

As for the Buckeye State, this one really ought to be put in a too-close-to-call category, but I’ll go out on a limb and say that Clinton manages to pull off a victory here, albeit an incredibly slim one. Even if I’m wrong and Obama wins, I think the margin of victory will be under 5 percentage points, which will be important when it comes to allocating delegates.

It’s the delegate count that matters, of course, and here’s where we stand right now:

Pledged Delegates

  1. Barack Obama — 1193 delegates
  2. Hillary Clinton — 1038 delegates

Obama + 155

Total Delegates (w/ Super Delegates)

  1. Barack Obama — 1389 delegates
  2. Hillary Clinton — 1279 delegates

Obama + 110

As with past primaries, all of the Democratic primaries award delegates on a proportional basis, and Texas awards part of it’s delegates based on the results of the Tuesday evening caucuses. Barack Obama will get the majority of Vermont’s 15 delegates, and Hillary will get the majority of Rhode Island’s 21 delegates. In Texas and Ohio though, they’ll split the delegates much more evenly and any advantage that Hillary gets from winning Ohio could very easily be wiped out by the net gain Obama gets out of Texas.

By the time the dust settles later this week, I think we’ll see that Obama is still ahead in pledged delegates by at least 150 and leading in total pledged delegates by at least 105.

After this there are only two races — Wyoming on March 8th and Mississippi on March 11th — between March 4th and the Pennsylvania primary on April 22nd. I have no idea what will happen in Wyoming — if it is, as I suspect, a caucus, then Obama will probably win — but I think it’s fairly clear that Obama will win Mississippi. Unless Clinton can pull off something truly convincing and surprising, which seems unlikely, the logic of her remaining in the race seems to be less and less tenable.

Originally posted at Below The Beltway

What Kind of Experience?

In the 2008 presidential campaign, there has been much discussion about which candidates have the most experience. John McCain criticized Mitt Romney’s lack of service experience as most of Romney’s experience was gained in business and “making profits” (as if that were a bad thing). John McCain, on the other hand, served his country in the Navy as a fighter pilot, as a representative, and as a Senator. John McCain has by far the most Washington experience than anyone remaining in the race, but does this in itself somehow make him more qualified to serve as president than his recently dispatched Republican rivals, Hillary Clinton, or Barack Obama?

I think not.

On the Democrat side, we have Hillary Clinton criticizing Barack Obama’s lack of experience (this from a woman who has served in the U.S. Senate less than one term longer than the “inexperienced” Barack Obama). But if one were to compare their biographies side-by-side, one would see that their levels of experience are quite similar. Both have spent most of their careers in the legal profession and as activists and neither of them have any significant real-world business experience. Both also had a relatively easy path to the Senate (Hillary’s opponent was Rick Lazio after Rudy Giuliani dropped out of the race due to health problems and marital scandals; Obama’s opponent was the a completely unelectable carpet bagger Alan Keys after Obama’s original opponent was forced to drop out of the race because of a scandal). When it comes to actual legislative accomplishments, their combined resumes could fit on one side of a business card.

The lack of legislative experience seems to be the main criticism of both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama from the right, but is this the right criticism?

I think not.

If one were to look at the legislative experience of all of the Libertarian Party presidential candidates, one would find that they are virtually non-existent (which should come as a surprise to no one since there are no elected Libertarians in the House or the Senate; most elected Libertarians are small town mayors and city council members). About the only “legislative accomplishment” one might be able to point to in the current field of Libertarian presidential candidates would be Steve Kubby’s successful efforts in 1996 to pass a citizen’s initiative in California called Proposition 215 which legalized the use of medical marijuana.

Does the lack of legislative accomplishments on the part of the Libertarian presidential candidates in itself disqualify any of them from being the next president of the United States?

I think not.

Actually, the accomplishments of many of the Libertarian candidates are quite impressive. Daniel Imperato is an international businessman who has worked in telecommunications, office building development, shopping malls, sports arenas, and is a consultant for Fortune 500 companies. Bob Jackson is an engineer, entrepreneur, and inventor. Jackson’s achievements in these areas are too numerous for me to list to keep this article readable. Wayne Allen Root is a self-made millionaire who made his fortunes on sports betting and in business. He’s considered by some to be one of the world’s best odds makers and prognosticators in sports (which he has also translated this success into picking winners in politics, business, and gaming). It seems to me that someone who knows how to manage businesses by managing risks by predicting outcomes would be a great fit as president.

As impressive as many of these accomplishments from real world experiences are, no one outside of libertarian circles has ever heard of any of these individuals or their accomplishments. If experience really mattered to the voting public, these individuals would at least receive some consideration.

Does this mean that candidates running for office, including president (especially president) are often supported by voters for arbitrary reasons which have absolutely nothing to do with experience?

I think so.

Rather than focus on what a particular candidate’s past experience, maybe we should instead focus on what we will all experience if his or her policy proposals are realized.

Monday Open Thread — Question For The An-Caps

As long-time readers of this blog know, I tend towards anarcho-capitalism from time to time, but have had lingering doubts. So here’s the question:

We have seen that areas outside of the “government” provision of security tend towards abuse. The specific instance I’m referring to is the gang or mafia model, where those groups designed to protect purveyors of “illicit” goods/services such as drugs, gambling, prostitution, etc, rule their “consumers” through fear and threat of force. A consumer fears retribution if they attempt to seek out another provider of security, and the damage created by “turf wars” hurts us all.

So the question is this: is there any reason why such a situation will not occur in an an-cap society? The nature of security is such that it is a good procured by the weak from the strong, and there may or not be incentives for the strong to behave towards one another in a civilized manner. Will private security forces be anything other than small feudal organizations?

Note — This question doesn’t mean that an an-cap society may not be better than our current monstrosity of government abuse. But to evaluate whether it will be better or not, we should ensure that we know what society we’re evaluating, not a utopian version of that society.

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