Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Ron Paul: the Case... in Favor?

No, I still oppose Ron Paul, and I still oppose the LP nominating him despite his run as a Republican.

That said, let me throw a few polls that came out in the last couple days into the air:

CBS Poll: Ron Paul 4% in Iowa, 8% in New Hampshire

Strategic Vision Poll: Ron Paul 5% in Iowa

Zogby: Ron Paul 7% in Nevada, Statistical Tie with McCain

and the strangest poll thus far:

Rasmussen: Ron Paul 8% in 4-way Race as Libertarian v. Clinton, Giuliani, Nader

The first two polls first. Ron Paul has spent a good bit of his money in Iowa, but to be perfectly blunt he hasn't a prayer there. In order to get any delegates at all from Iowa, Paul has to sway a MAJORITY of caucus-goers in 15% or more of the precincts. He should focus on New Hampshire, and it would appear, based on media buys, that he's doing so. Even so... last month Paul was polling no better than 3% in New Hampshire, and nothing in Iowa. He's climbing out of the also-ran bracket.

Now, Paul is not going to get the Republican nod. Not a chance. The hard-core Republican machine will not let him be nominated.

Unfortunately, the Republican national convention is in September. The Libertarian national convention is Memorial Day weekend. At that time Ron Paul will probably still be running for President, seeking to take the race to the convention... and he'll CERTAINLY be running again for Congress in his home district as a Republican.

All of which means that, should the LP nominate him, he might well reject the nomination... meaning the LP would likely be without a Presidential candidate in 2008.

But there's the temptation of those poll numbers. Even presuming the 8% in the Rasmussen poll reduces to 4% on election day, that's still nearly five times as much as any Libertarian Presidential candidate has ever done. That would be enough to maintain ballot access in a lot of states and perhaps even earn permanent ballot access in a few others. There's also the question of "coattails"- whether a stronger-than-usual Libertarian performance for President will carry over to all our lower partisan races.

And, of course, there's the money. Ron Paul raised in one day- Guy Fawkes Day- more money than any Libertarian candidate for President has raised and spent in their ENTIRE CAMPAIGN in the history of the party. That fundraising muscle, and the contacts and supporters that generate it, is a sore temptation indeed for the Libertarian Party.

I hope the LP is wise enough to pass that temptation by. Especially looking at the Ron Paul website, and looking through his positions, which include:

* Ending birthright citizenship. That's right, Ron Paul wants to give government the right and power to declare that YOU are NOT a citizen, no matter that you were born here.

* Withdrawing from all treaty organizations. That includes the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, etc. Granted that there are arguments in favor of such things, Paul's fundamental premise is that we should not seek to get along with other nations- we should get alone from other nations.

* Abolish the Federal Reserve and return to the gold standard. Never mind that the American economy prior to the Federal Reserve was prone to overwhelming collapses that make the Great Depression look like a minor inconvenience. Never mind that we would need about a thousand times all the gold in the WORLD to back all the dollars currently in circulation, at current gold prices. Ron Paul sees gold as a magic wand which will make all economic problems better. (And Ron Paul also buys into the Federal Reserve conspiracy theories, making him and anyone who backs him look like a nut.)

* Opposes forced vaccinations. That's right; Ron Paul believes you have the right to contract and transmit deadly diseases.

And that's just from the stuff Ron Paul has on his campaign website.

Right now Ron Paul's looks like a shiny red apple, sweet, crisp and delicious... but Libertarians should remember what an apple did to Snow White.

(A minor addition: the Strategic Vision poll says that 53% of REPUBLICAN voters in Iowa(and nearly 90% of Democrats) want the US out of Iraq in the next six months. If this holds up, and if Bush abuses his power and keeps us in Iraq through the 2008 election, we could see a unified Democrat-run Washington more terrifying than the unified Republican Washington of 2003-2007...)

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