Tuesday, August 16, 2011

GOP Candidate Breakdown #8: Ron Paul

The internet sensation of Rep. Ron Paul is well known and well documented.  In spite of his age and demeanor (he seems the type that would yell at kids for getting off of his yard), he's someone that has appealed to the younger generation.  Personally, I have nothing against Ron Paul.  I think that he's principled and strong-headed, which could also be interpreted as narrow-minded and stubborn.

The problem with Paul is that he's an ideologue and not a practical politician or leader.  It's hard to have someone running everything that believes that he shouldn't be running everything, not out of a sense of psychosis but because they believe that it would be wrong for the president to do something.

This past weekend, Ron Paul made a strong showing at the Ames Straw Poll, nearly beating the winner of the contest, Michele Bachmann.  He was campaigning for it but didn't have the do-or-die approach that Tim Pawlenty had.  For some reasons, he hasn't gotten the appropriate amount of media attention for this win.  Rick Santorum is seen as the "other" winner of the straw poll, even though he didn't poll nearly as well.

So, why Ron Paul?  While this blogger doesn't support the Ron Paul campaign nor does this blogger think that President Ron Paul is a good idea, there is something to be said about his appeal.  I will at least acknowledge his stature in the campaign for president.

Age: 75.  He has this grandpa-type feel to him.  Maybe not always mean.  He's capable of being fired up (the debate last Thursday was a good sign of that) without coming across like a demagogue (learn something Zell Miller!)  However, if age is going to be the unspoken issue of the McCain campaign, I can't imagine that it wouldn't be ignored for a man that's a year older than McCain.

Hometown:  Born in Pennsylvania, but has spent the last forty-some odd years living in Texas.  He got into politics back in the late-70's, inspired to action by President Nixon completing the removal of the gold standard from the US economy.

Place in the Republican Party:  Pariah.  The fact of the matter is that Ron Paul is emblematic of most Tea Party issues, the main difference is that he started spouting the nonsense back in the 1970's while the Tea Party waited for a Democrat (and a black guy) to get elected president before they started kvetching about government spending.  Again, Paul is consistent and principled, which is the real reason why he won't get the nomination.

The other being that his foreign policy would make Pat Buchanan blush.  Paul is the most vocal member in the halls of Congress that advocates the withdrawal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.  He's always held this position, regardless as to whether or not it was politically popular to do so.  Readers will remember that back in 2008, he had cross-party appeal because of this position.  Whether or not he'll be able to pull liberals away from Obama remains to be seen.


Throughout all the polls, Paul usually falls in fifth place.  Technically, he can't be considered a front runner at this point.  However, some of these polls have not been updated since the Ames Straw Poll, so these figures could change rather quickly.

Nationally, he's behind established candidates like Romney, Perry and Bachmann but is also behind hypothetical Sarah Palin.  Whether she announces or not will have an impact on Ron Paul as to whether or not the media pays any more attention to him.  They barely pay enough attention to him now.  The Daily Show had a good bit about that the other night.

When he's matched against President Obama, like any other current Republican candidate, Obama wins hands down.  In this instance, he wins by over ten points.

Iowa:  While he ranks behind a lot of candidates, the poll is a little outdated: it includes Tim Pawlenty who dropped out of the race on Sunday.  It'll be interesting to see who his supporters go towards (probably someone like Romney) but Paul could gain a couple of supporters.

New Hampshire: Ron Paul does very well here.  The state has a libertarian streak in it and that might have a little more pull here than elsewhere.  Paul might do better in a primary voting system as opposed to a caucus system, but with the other candidates in the mix, it's hard to tell.  One thing is for sure, he could do well here.

South Carolina: This might be the strangest poll possible.  There's not enough to create a consistent average, but it might be safe to say that Paul might not do well here.  At the same time, though, South Carolina does gravitate to candidates that they think would win (John McCain, George W.) but they also like weird, weird politicians.  This is another state where Paul could do well and maybe even an upset.

Nevada:  Again, Romney is probably going to take this caucus without much of a struggle.  Paul is falling to fifth here, but that is including Palin in the polls.  If she were removed, some of the TP's that are supporting her would either gravitate towards Bachmann or Paul.  Either way, it's a win for Paul.

Florida:  While it's not one of the "first in the nation" primary/caucus or even first in the region, it's still an important state to show how one would do in the national election.  Now, I will include it in the profiles.  Here, we see Romney doing strong, as well as Perry and Palin.  Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul are making the second tier.

Quote me on this: If Florida is going to be vital in the general election (and there's no flippin' way that it's not going to be important), then the nomination for the GOP in Florida is going to be the bellwether of what the Republicans should do.  As of right now, Romney is leading, the one person in the race that could beat Obama and lead a bipartisan government. Next is Perry and Palin, who are more Republican operatives than dyed-in-the-wool Tea Party conservatives.

Also, remember that the current Tea Party Governor of Florida (R), Rick Scott is looking at less than 40% approval rating.  While I'm not saying that the more moderate the candidate the better (however true that may be), the key to victory in Florida is demonstrating how much of an average Republican the candidate can be.  Ron Paul will struggle here, even if he has victories in other states.

Gov. Rick Scott made significant changes after previous polls.

This is what you look like when you make bargains with Skeletor.

Right now, in mid-August of 2011 in the campaign, I would say that Rep Ron Paul of Texas is a long shot.  He was a long shot in 2008 and he's a long shot now.  The reason why he's a long-shot is simple:  he actually believes in the ideals that form the modern Republican Party.  He's a man of principle, rarely wavering.  And it's for this reason that the GOP will more than likely not nominate him.

As a liberal, this strikes me as odd.  After all, he's the perfect candidate.  But he also doesn't kneel at the altars that he should: he doesn't go on and on about how great Ronald Reagan was for one.  He's a guy that speaks his mind and sticks to his guns even if it means crashing on the ground in flames.

I would be pleasantly surprised at Ron Paul doing better in the campaigns than most.  He's probably going to spend more time on the Presidential campaign this time around (he's not running for re-election in his Texas district, which is fine, he can always come back in a couple of years and pick it back up.  He's done it before.)  Whether or not Paul does well remains to be seen.  One thing is for sure, he doesn't have the most important political factor on his side:  Fox News.

They report on the candidates that you can decide on later.  

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