Despite The Hype, Support For Ron Paul Falls–Paul Tied With Allan Keyes

I’ve received tons of hate mail (which has been good for some laughs) following my recent assessment that, despite pulling in lots of money Ron Paul remains a fringe candidate with far too little support to win the Republican nomination. The responses have included a number of bizarre conspiracy theories (to be expected from Paul supporters) regarding the reasons for my prediction and post. The most absurd was that this has something to do with Israel even though the topic never even came up in my recent posts on Paul. It took a pro-Paul blogger, whose blog I will not provide a link, multiple lies in his post about what I wrote in order to make his claim. Truth and reality mean little to many of Paul’s fanatic on-line supporters.

Another humorous response was that I posted about Paul so that more people would click on my ads so I could make money. Ignoring the fact that blog ads based on clicking through rarely make money except for the biggest blogs, the person who came up with this theory might have first checked whether I even accept ads here. As I do not accept ads in order to prevent such outside influence on my views here (and as I really do not need the money) this theory is perhaps the weakest of all.

Despite many tons of comments with such off the wall theories, most of which contain a number of distortions of what I wrote so they can attack straw man as opposed to responding to what I actually wrote, none guessed at the real explanation for the prediction. I was simply writing the truth which most people, except the Paul supporters who are out of touch with reality, already know.

The facts as to Paul’s status as a fringe candidate can be seen once again in today’s Gallup Poll. Paul has fallen in support and is now down to three percent, tied with Allan Keyes. At least Paul beats Tom Tancredo and Duncan Hunter’s combined support. Giuliani leads and Mike Huckabee has stagnated in second. Of course as this is a national poll the comparative positions of the viable candidates doesn’t mean very much as everything can change after the Iowa caucus.

Paul’s real problem remains that, even if he is the best of the Republican candidates, his views are too far out of the mainstream of the Republican Party for him to win. While the polls are a reflection of this, having views which differ so greatly from most in the party is the more serious problem for Paul. We saw with Mike Huckabee that a candidate can move up from single digits to compete, but only if their views are consistent with those of the party. Paul’s supporters are also blind to how serious a problem Paul would have because of his failure to sever relations with white supremacist groups and his belief in conspiracy theories if he started to receive the same scrutiny provided to major candidates. Either of these problems would be sufficient to prevent him from receiving a major party nomination.

In the Democratic poll Clinton continues to lead nationally followed by Obama and Edwards, but this can also change after Iowa. Bill Richardson, who I thought had more potential earlier in the year, has fallen into fifth place behind Biden. While there is still a chance for Iowa or New Hampshire to shake up the race it is looking pretty unlikely for the more qualified candidates in the second tier to move up as I had hoped.

Update: More on this story at Pressing Matters, and AMERICAblog (found via Memeorandum).

Is Mike Huckabee The Antichrist?

This question is addressed here.

Shocking Finding: Atheists Can Be Good People

With all the talk about a War on Christmas, and now a War on God, there remains far more prejudice against atheists than the religious in this country. PZ Myers uncovered one example. A study by Michigan State sociologist Ralph Pyle presented at this month’s joint meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion and the Religious Research Association in Tampa, Florida compared levels of toleration versus prejudice among different groups. Among the findings:

The good news for religious groups: People who go to church regularly were less likely to be prejudiced, Pyle said. The bad news is people with no religious affiliation were also much less likely to be prejudiced than individuals showing modest levels of commitment to their faith, those who attend services monthly or less.

It is bad news that people with no religious affiliation are less likely to be prejudiced? The only explanation I can think of for this is that they see it as bad news because it contradicts their own prejudices.

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Ron Paul’s Plans After The Fund Raiser


Ron Paul makes more sense at his press conference (video above) following the success of last weekend’s fund raiser than he is given credit for at the site where I first saw this clip. The New Republic quotes from Paul’s statement but leaves out the important part of what Paul really said. Paul repeats a point I made in this post yesterday: The majority of his supporters are not people who are registered Republicans. Many have not voted before. Paul is completely correct in his assessment that there might not be enough time to effectively use this money, but that the top priorities are getting his supporters registered and out to vote. Of course he would be smart to also use some for advertising, and he would benefit from a more professional job than has been seen in some of his early ads.

If there is to be a surprise, as Paul alludes to, it will be if he can get enough new voters out to vote. As turn out in Iowa is generally very small it is possible for him to have an impressive result there, surpassing what would be predicted by the polls. It is even possible that Paul, now that he is well-financed, could even pull an upset in some states in race where the establishment Republican vote is split. Unfortunately the one thing which would get the Republicans quickly united behind a single candidate would be if Paul showed any real chance at winning the nomination. Besides, if Paul’s supporters behave in the real world like they do on line, we can especially be certain they will antagonize far too many in the party to have any chance.

It still remains very doubtful that Paul can win the nomination, but he will continue to provide an interesting show. With his views on separation of church and state, his stress on states’ rights over individual rights, and his opposition to abortion rights, he remains a flawed messenger for freedom, but he is far better than anyone else the Republicans have to offer. At very least he has the funds to remain in the race all the way to the convention. At very least I hope he can pick up enough delegates to create some excitement there, such as a floor debate over current Republican positions on the war and civil liberties.

The New Republic also notes that just a handful of reporters showed up for the news conference. Many of the Paul supporters (those we all know who are spamming the blogosphere with their irrational rants) will see this as a conspiracy by the mainstream media (and perhaps the CFR) to stop their candidate. In reality this is a reflection of the media’s realization that, despite the success of the fund raiser, Paul remains a fringe candidate within the Republican Party with little chance of success. His chances of proving them wrong would be far better if his supporters didn’t spend so much time antagonizing everyone who doesn’t agree with Paul one hundred percent and instead worked on organizing and increasing support. They could stand to benefit from paying more attention to Paul’s toleration for the rights of others. For Paul’s sake I hope that those out working for him in the real world are nothing like those we see commenting on line, as those supporters haven’t a clue as to how to increase support in the real world and build a winning campaign.

Gambling on Obama

Something is wrong with the universe when David Brooks is making more sense than Paul Krugman. After seeing a number of specious attacks on Barack Obama coming from Krugman it was good to see at least one op-ed writer at The New York Times making sense.

David Brooks tends to make far more sense when he approaches politics from an independent viewpoint and drops the need to take pot shots at Democrats which he far too frequently lapses into. Obama passes one conservative test–no flip flops:

Like most of the rival campaigns, I’ve been poring over press clippings from Obama’s past, looking for inconsistencies and flip-flops. There are virtually none. The unity speech he gives on the stump today is essentially the same speech that he gave at the Democratic convention in 2004, and it’s the same sort of speech he gave to Illinois legislators and Harvard Law students in the decades before that. He has a core, and was able to maintain his equipoise, for example, even as his campaign stagnated through the summer and fall.

In recent campaigns it seems that the highest crime to a conservative is to change one’s position (although they do ignore many examples of this among their own). I wonder if this is partially due to the manner in which many conservative views are accepted based more on faith than evidence. For example, many conservatives believe in creationism, the possibility of a military victory in Iraq, and deny the scientific consensus on global warming based on how these issues fit into their philosophy as opposed to what the evidence shows. Liberals who change their positions based upon changing evidence seem like flip-floppers in their world view.

Brooks proceeds with more reason to support Obama, which presents a welcome alternative to the recent attacks from Krugman and many liberal bloggers who express more concern with fighting Republicans than the actual outcome:

Moreover, he has a worldview that precedes political positions. Some Americans (Republican or Democrat) believe that the country’s future can only be shaped through a remorseless civil war between the children of light and the children of darkness. Though Tom DeLay couldn’t deliver much for Republicans and Nancy Pelosi, so far, hasn’t been able to deliver much for Democrats, these warriors believe that what’s needed is more partisanship, more toughness and eventual conquest for their side.

But Obama does not ratchet up hostilities; he restrains them. He does not lash out at perceived enemies, but is aloof from them. In the course of this struggle to discover who he is, Obama clearly learned from the strain of pessimistic optimism that stretches back from Martin Luther King Jr. to Abraham Lincoln. This is a worldview that detests anger as a motivating force, that distrusts easy dichotomies between the parties of good and evil, believing instead that the crucial dichotomy runs between the good and bad within each individual.

Brooks even agrees with Bill Clinton on one point:

What Bill Clinton said on “The Charlie Rose Show” is right: picking Obama is a roll of the dice. Sometimes he seems more concerned with process than results. But for Democrats, there’s a roll of the dice either way. The presidency is a bacterium. It finds the open wounds in the people who hold it. It infects them, and the resulting scandals infect the presidency and the country. The person with the fewest wounds usually does best in the White House, and is best for the country.

Picking Obama is a roll of the dice as we can’t be sure what he will do on a number of issues once in office, but that is true of all the candidates. At least Obama’s instincts were far better than those of Clinton and Edwards who backed the war and the Patriot Act. Obama’s instincts on health care are also far better as he tries to avoid mandates while Clinton and Edwards see government regulation and control as the solution to most problems.

It is this understanding of the views of others, including the skepticism of government prevalent today, that allows Obama to seek solutions to problems which might be objectionable to the least number. This approach has a far greater chance of success than engaging in a never ending battle with Clinton or worse, turning everyone you disagree with into an enemy who cannot be compromised with as John Edwards does. Picking Obama is a roll of the dice, but if limited to the current front runners that is our least risky gamble.

A Republican Case Against Republican Candidates

Lately the topic has come up (more in the comments than main posts) of which of the viable Republicans might be preferable. Call it the lesser evil if you cannot conceive of the concept of a good Republican. This year has been harder than most to find one that stands out and is more tolerable than the rest (and I’m not terribly thrilled with the Democratic field either). It was due to considering this issue that I was interested when following track backs to a link from Stephen Bainbridge.

Bainbridge is looking at the candidates from a Republican perspective but he does make many points I agree with, along with providing a number of other links worth reading. He is playing a game of Survivor in finding reasons to eliminate candidates fro consideration, and linked here in his post on the case against Ron Paul. His arguments against Paul are argued in more detail at his blog but are summarized below:

1. “As Michael Medved observed, Paul’s campaign has attracted ‘an imposing collection of Neo-Nazis, White Supremacists, Holocaust Deniers, 9/11 Truthers and other paranoid and discredited conspiracists.’ It may not be a case of birds of a feather, but it’s at least a case of lying down with dogs and getting up with fleas. Moreover, ‘the behavior of Ron Paul supporters (spamming blogs that reference their candidate with fund-raising appeals and flaming anyone who actually dares to express substantive disagreement) frequently alienates far more potential friends than it attracts.’ (Link)”

2.Bainbridge objects to Paul for demanding immediate withdraw from Iraq, but as he agrees that “getting into Iraq was a huge mistake” we have some common ground.

3.The conspiracy theories–which is where Bainbridge links here.

4.This is a grab bag of objections for not supporting various conservative causes where Bainbridge supports government action.

5.Paul’s support for pork for his own district.

6.”According to the Club for Growth, ‘Ron Paul embraces the importance of free trade, but lives in a dream world if he thinks free trade will be realized absent agreements like NAFTA and CAFTA.'”

7.”Ron Paul claims to be a constitutionalist.” As I’ve often noted, Paul’s version of the Constitution is quite a bit different than what was intended by the framers.

8.”He’s a crank on economic issues and saying so brings out the worst in his supporters, as David Frum found out.”

There is quite a bit of overlap with my objections to Paul which I’ve discussed in several posts including here and here.

I also agree with many of his arguments against Mike Huckabee with a condensed version presented here:

1.”He’s a wowser. Consider, for example, that he supports a national smoking ban.”

2.”He’s a religious bigot, as Hugh Hewitt points out.”

3.”He sounds pretty homophobic, as Andrew Sullivan points out.”

4.”Huckabee supports the death penalty.”

5.”Speaking of hardened criminals, is Wayne Dumond Huckabee’s Willie Horton?”

6.”He’s clueless on foreign policy.”

7.”Huckabee’s a serial tax hiker.”

8.”He’s probably a closet economic populist, as the Club for Growth noted.”

He has an earlier post here which more quickly eliminates McCain, Romney, Huckabee, and Tancredo. I’m not sure if this means he supports Giuliani or Thompson or if this means he just hasn’t gotten to them yet.

He lists a few objections to McCain including his support for campaign finance reform which he argues has “gutted the first amendment.”

His objection to Romney is that “I am deeply suspicious of politicians whose views on abortion, stem cells, and the rest of the culture of life issues ‘evolve’ just in time for them to run for higher office. Even when they claim to have come around to my side.” Apparently we are on the opposite side on these issues but neither of us trusts Romney on them.

On Tancredo he writes, “I don’t have a lot of time for a nativist (and, I suspect, racist). I’m an open borders guy and unapologetic about it.”