Ron Paul Suspends Campaign; Faces Libertarian Challenge to House Seat


As announced in the above video, Ron Paul is suspending his presidential campaign:

“We are still in the early stages of bringing about the changes that this revolution is all about,” Paul said in the video. “Let us hope that we can one day look back and say that this campaign was a significant first step that signaled a change in direction for our country. Our job now is to plan for the next phase.”

For Paul, that phase will mean spreading his message beyond the campaign trail. He hopes to create an umbrella organization to stoke some of the grassroots support that made his presidential campaign notable.

In the ultimate irony, after easily winning a primary battle to maintain the Republican  nomination for his House seat, Paul is facing a challenger in the general election–from the Libertarian Party:

U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, the Texas Republican running for president who’s had surprising fundraising success, got a stick (or maybe a dust speck) in the eye Thursday as the Libertarian Party of Texas said Eugene J. Flynn, an immigration attorney, wants to challenge Paul for re-election to the U.S. House next year…

According to the Libertarian Party of Texas, Flynn tried to run against Paul as a Libertarian in 2006, but party members chose not to nominate a candidate against the Lake Jackson Republican at their spring convention.

Wes Benedict, executive director of the Texas party, said in an e-mail that he expects to be blasted “over this,” meaning Flynn’s challenge…

Benedict quoted Flynn as saying: “I agree with Ron Paul about 80 percent of the time. The problem is the other 20 percent is the most important to me, that is, immigration. … Ron Paul offers no way to allow those illegally in the U.S. to get right with the law. Instead he wants to spend more and more money to create bigger bureaucracies to secure our borders to protect us from needed workers.”

Contacted by e-mail Thursday, Flynn said; “We need a guest worker program NOW! One way to help get it is to defeat the (immigration) restrictionists such as Ron Paul.” He noted that as the party’s nominee for chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court in 2002, he drew 80,185 votes, just under 2 percent, statewide.

I can just imagine the blog wars between supporters of Paul and Flynn.

Bill Clinton’s Midas Touch

After reading this, it looks like there might be a lot of interesting things in those Clinton tax returns. Bill has sure made a lot of money while keeping the details secret:

Since leaving office in 2001, Clinton has wiped out millions of dollars in legal bills and become a multimillionaire through a brisk schedule of speechmaking and book-writing, as well as a pair of consulting and investing agreements that have yielded as-yet-undisclosed sums.

Clinton also raised more than $362million for his foundation through 2006 and secured pledges for billions more.

Interest in Clinton’s financial dealings has intensified since Hillary Clinton lent her presidential campaign $5 million in January. She has been asked in nationally televised debates whether she would disclose tax returns or persuade the former president to release information about his charitable pursuits.

But evaluating the transactions is difficult because both Clintons, while complying with legal filing requirements, have somewhat limited disclosure of their finances.

The Obama campaign has issued this statement on Clinton’s tax returns. They just don’t buy the argument that she is too busy:

Senator Clinton has also claimed that she is too “busy” to release her tax returns. Given the fact she is able to loan her campaign $5 million, you would think the Clintons would be able to hire an accountant. The reality is that she wants to keep this information hidden from voters. The people of Wyoming, Mississippi, Pennsylvania and the rest of the country should wonder why.

Newsday notes that Clinton didn’t always believe it was acceptable to keep tax returns secret:


Bill Bradley: “Hillary is flawed in many ways”

Yesterday NewsHour discussed the campaign with several Democratic leaders. Bill Bradley has a number of favorable comments on Obama, feeling that Obama has “a much stronger chance of beating John McCain in the general election” and that “Hillary is flawed in many ways.” From the transcript:

Starting with you, Senator Bradley, do you believe that both Clinton and Obama are viable candidates and both should go on from this point on?

BILL BRADLEY: I think Barack Obama has a much stronger chance of beating John McCain in the general election. I think Hillary is flawed in many ways, and particularly if you look at her husband’s unwillingness to release the names of the people who contributed to his presidential library.

And the reason that is important — you know, are there favors attached to $500,000 or $1 million contributions? And what do I mean by favors? I mean, pardons that are granted; investigations that are squelched; contracts that are awarded; regulations that are delayed.

These are important questions. The people deserve to know. And we deserve, as Democrats, to know before a nominee is selected, because we don’t want things to explode in a general election against John McCain.

JIM LEHRER: But as a practical matter, based on what happened yesterday, winning three out of four and where the delegate count rests right now, do you think she still has a really good — there’s a real good possibility she could win the nomination, Senator?

BILL BRADLEY: No, I really don’t…

JIM LEHRER: You don’t?

BILL BRADLEY: … because, mathematically, even if she won 60 percent of the rest of the races, she’d still be behind in pledged delegates. And that would mean that the super-delegates would end up making the decision.

And I think increasingly super-delegates are going to go with Barack Obama, particularly in districts that he won substantially.

I don’t think you’re going to find congressmen, even congresspeople that are behind Hillary early, go against their district, because if they go against their district, they’re going to find that they could very well have a primary challenge the next time.

The experience issue was also discussed, with Bradley noting that that facts do not support Clinton’s case:

BILL BRADLEY: The idea that Senator Clinton has got a lot of experience from the time she was the first lady, I think the facts don’t make that case. I mean, she has not named one issue that was a critical, national security issue, that we’re in a time of war, where she played a significant role.

She has no experience in weighing different kinds of intelligence reports and trying to make a decision. She hasn’t managed the egos and agendas of a national security staff. In fact, as first lady, she didn’t even have a security clearance.

So I can’t buy the argument that somehow or another — I mean, the role of a first lady is very important. I don’t doubt that. And I think, in certain diplomatic situations, she was helpful.

But in terms of being a person ready to go with the so-called red phone at the bedside on day one is just incorrect, given what the whole facts are.

Clinton Flunks As Political Pundit

I’ve been most concerned about the incorrect statements from Clinton with regards to policy issues, especially when she distorts Obama’s positions, but there have also been other incorrect statements coming from her. If Hillary Clinton has any desires to become a political pundit after she loses the nomination, so far she is not doing a very good job in that department with two major errors after Tuesday’s primaries.

Clinton has been claiming that her husband didn’t clinch the nomination until June and speaking as if this year’s “long journey” is customary. The New York Times fact checked this and found she was inaccurate:

The 1992 Democratic campaign to defeat President George Bush started much later than this year’s campaign. Bill Clinton, then the governor of Arkansas, announced his candidacy on Oct. 3, 1991. Mrs. Clinton began her race last January, and her Democratic rival, Senator Barack Obama, entered the contest soon after.

The state-by-state primaries and caucuses started a month later in 1992 than they did in 2008. And the compact front-loaded schedule this year means that, unlike then, most of the country’s Democrats have already been to the polls.

Yet by March 20, 1992, the list of Democrats seeking the nomination had dwindled to the point where Phil Angelides, then the chairman of the California Democratic Party, said, “Today is really the day we start the general election campaign against George Bush.”

Less than two weeks later, on April 8, after winning the New York primary, Mr. Clinton’s deputy campaign manager, George Stephanopoulos, declared the process complete.

“It’s mathematically impossible for Brown to get the nomination, and it would take Tsongas about 90 percent of the remaining delegates to win,” Mr. Stephanopoulos said, referring to Senator Paul E. Tsongas of Massachusetts, who had already suspended his campaign, and Jerry Brown, the former California governor. Though Mr. Brown competed until the Democratic convention, Mr. Clinton was the presumptive nominee.

But even if you take June 1992 as the month when Mr. Clinton had it “wrapped up,” as Mrs. Clinton now says, only nine months had passed since he had entered the race. By June, Mrs. Clinton’s campaign would be in its 17th month.

Clinton has also claimed that a candidate cannot win the presidency without winning Ohio. The Washington Post  found that she was incorrect and provided multiple examples. This includes John F. Kennedy winning the 1960 general election and FDR winning the 1932 election after losing the Ohio primary. This will place Obama in good company.

The Clinton/Bush/McCain Party vs. Barack Obama


There’s been a lot of surprise and anguish around the liberal blogosphere lately about Hillary Clinton “endorsing” John McCain. This began before Tuesday’s primaries:

Defending her provocative television ad suggesting he was not up to the challenge of answering the White House phone at 3 a.m. in a crisis, she told reporters at a news conference Monday in Toledo: “I have a lifetime of experience I will bring to the White House. I know Senator McCain [the presumptive Republican nominee] has a lifetime of experience he will bring to the White House. And Senator Obama has a speech he made in 2002” a reference to the address in which Obama, before being elected to the Senate, had publicly opposed the Iraq invasion that she and McCain had voted to authorize.

Kevin Drum writes, “Hillary needs to knock this crap off. It’s disgraceful.” Steve Benen agrees. On Wednesday, John Aravosis posted three more examples of Clinton endorsing McCain over Obama. He later posted this video which sums up how happy Clinton and McCain are together:


People need to look beyond the D or R after a candidate’s name and look at what they really believe. Clinton certainly has some disagreements with Bush and McCain on some economic issues, as well as rare social issues such as abortion, but for the most part the three are pretty similar. All support a similar top-down view of government power, increased presidential power, a similar foreign policy, similar views on civil liberties, and are fairly conservative on social issues. As I’ve previously noted, David Brooks recently revealed that the Bush White House feels comfortable in entrusting their legacy to Hillary Clinton:


Obama presents a real alternative to the views of Clinton/Bush/McCain on foreign policy, civil liberties, and restoring Constitutional limitations on executive power. I am not at all surprised that deep down Clinton would prefer McCain over Obama. Besides, if McCain wins, she can more easily run again in four years. It’s just a repeating cycle of a similar group of Democrats and Republicans fighting among themselves to see which can be president and do pretty much the same things once in office.

Reflections on Obama By Someone Who Knows Him

One of the memes of the Clinton campaign is to try to paint Obama as an empty suit. There’s been considerable evidence that this is untrue, and we see it again in a description of Obama by Cas Sunstein, a former colleague of Obama at The University of Chicago:

On this occasion, he had an important topic to discuss: the controversy over President George W. Bush’s warrantless surveillance of international telephone calls between Americans and suspected terrorists. I had written a short essay suggesting that the surveillance might be lawful. Before taking a public position, Obama wanted to talk the problem through.

In the space of about 20 minutes, he and I investigated the legal details. He asked me to explore all sorts of issues: the President’s power as commander-in-chief, the Constitution’s protection against unreasonable searches and seizures, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the Authorization for Use of Military Force and more.

Obama wanted to consider the best possible defence of what Bush had done. To every argument I made, he listened and offered a counter-argument. After the issue had been exhausted, Obama said that he thought the programme was illegal, but now had a better understanding of both sides. He thanked me for my time.

This was a pretty amazing conversation, not only because of Obama’s mastery of the legal details, but also because many prominent Democratic leaders had already blasted the Bush initiative as blatantly illegal. He did not want to take a public position until he had listened to, and explored, what might be said on the other side.

This is the Barack Obama I have known for nearly 15 years — a careful and even-handed analyst of law and policy, unusually attentive to multiple points of view.

Obama’s ability to get along with conservatives is seen as a positive attribute by independents and more his more open minded Democratic supporters, while many Clinton supporters see this as a negative. Sunstein provides further insight into Obama’s support from some conservatives: