(CAVEAT: I've already eliminated Ron Paul from consideration for my vote. This is an exercise, a test of the ad hoc system I'm using to pick my preferred candidate, and nothing more.)
Anyway, some choice quotes:
"Ron Paul has more money than his opponents and is just starting to gain momentum."
Ron Paul has more money on hand than his opponents, true. However, he's still below Giuliani, McCain and Romney in total fundraising for the campaign... and well behind Clinton and Obama across the aisle. As for his momentum... Fox News Opinion Dynamics polling shows him bouncing up and down between 1% and 3% from May 2007 through this month (Dec. 18-19). Wall Street Journal's polls show him rising from under 1% to a whopping 4% nationally in the same period. USA Today showed Ron Paul at a peak of 5% nationally on December 1 before falling to 3% on the 16th... losing votes, apparently, to new arrival Alan Keyes. Some big momentum, eh?
"Recent commentaries and political talk have mentioned the possibility of a brokered convention. This is an early admission by pundits that Ron Paul can’t be stopped, and a hope that he won’t have 50% of the delegates allowing his opponents to broker a deal to deny him the nomination."
Oh, really? Let's look at what Google turns up for discussion of a Republican brokered convention...
* GOP Convention Report doesn't mention Paul as a convention dark horse;
* Donklephant (nice blog name) mentions Ron Paul at the very, very end of its article, but only in speculation as to who John Zogby would like to see win;
* the Atlanta Journal-Constitution ran an op-ed Christmas Eve about a possible contested convention, with no mention of any particular candidate;
* The National Review explores the possibility of a brokered convention, but only mentions Ron Paul's cash, not his actual dark-horse chances;
* The Wall Street Journal article that started the current discussion doesn't even mention Ron Paul's name... except for a link to an Iowa poll that shows Paul polling at 4% there, less than "Don't Know";
* The neocon (and occasionally racist) Lone Star Times, based in Houston, mentions the National Review article but not Ron Paul- despite the fact that they attack Ron Paul's apparent anti-Semitism at every opportunity...
* Tony Blankley, a former Gingrich aide, discusses the horror of a contested convention, but doesn't mention Ron Paul's name...
... let's face it, nobody except Ron Paul supporters is talking about a contested convention as a means to block Ron Paul... nor are they discussing Ron Paul as a convention dark horse.
The primary calendar has been frontloaded which was deliberate to keep second tier candidates (candidates not bought and paid for) from having a shot at winning the nomination. It is doubtful that when planning the schedules anybody had a clue that Ron Paul would be one of the only candidate that could be competitive on February 5th
I wonder, is Fester aware that those two sentences are mutually exclusive? If nobody knew that a second-tier candidate had a shot to win, why would they try to sabotage them? (Besides, the "front-loading" has been going on for twenty years now, as states keep challenging Iowa and New Hampshire's first-to-vote status in the hopes of actually playing a role in choosing the Presidential nominee. As it stands, about ninety percent of Americans have effectively no voice in choosing the Democrat and Republican nominees; the choices are wrapped up by the first five or so states to vote.)
Iowa, Wyoming, New Hampshire, Michigan, Nevada, South Carolina, Florida, Maine are all up for grabs prior to Super Tuesday which is on February 5th. Given the low expectations Paul only needs to win one of these to show that he can win prior to Super Tuesday.
The Iowa caucus on January 3rd will be a tough start for Paul. He hasn’t spent that much time in Iowa and may not have the organization that Romney does to win the caucus. Placing in the top five is all that is needed there. A third place would be huge.
CNN Opinion Poll, Dec. 14-18 shows Ron Paul at 6%, in sixth place.
Des Moines Register poll, Dec. 1 shows Ron Paul at 7%, tied for fifth.
Two days later on January 5th is the Wyoming Caucus. This state is a neighbor of Utah and Romney may have a strong organization here as well. Paul may do well here though.
No polls available for the Wyoming Caucus, although considering how very, very few delegates are at stake that's no surprise.
January 8th in New Hampshire is where the campaign really starts for Ron Paul. He doesn’t need to win it but he probably will. Buchanan won this state in 1996 running on similar campaign themes with 27% of the vote. Paul’s support is much broader.
USA Today poll, Dec. 18, shows Ron Paul at 9%, tied for fourth.
Also: Rasmussen, also Dec. 18, shows Paul at 7%, fifth place; American Research Group, same date, 4% tied for fifth; Boston Globe, same date, 8%, fifth place.
By the way, no candidate in the past forty years has placed worse than third in New Hampshire and gone on to win his party's nomination.
Paul’s odds look good for Michigan on January 15th. The state is a foreclosure war zone and Paul’s blaming of the Federal Reserve for creating a housing crash may resonate well.
Except the GOP has cut Michigan's delegate total in half for trying to move their primary ahead of New Hampshire, last I heard.
In any case:
The Detroit News, Dec. 18 shows Ron Paul at 4%, tied for fifth.
January 19th Nevada and South Carolina are up for elections. Paul should win Nevada and has an outside shot at South Carolina.
NEVADA: Las Vegas Review-Journal, Dec. 4: Ron Paul at 5%, sixth place.
SOUTH CAROLINA: CNN Opinion Research poll, Dec. 9-12: 11%, sixth place. Other polls: CBS News, Dec. 15, 3%, sixth; Rasmussen, Dec. 16, 5%, sixth.
On January 29th Florida is up. This is the state where Giuliani has circled his wagons. If he’s still in the race it will be an uphill battle for him especially if Paul has momentum generated by a couple victories. There is evidence of Paul support in Florida on the ground just by observing bumper stickers and yard signs on residences but Giuliani also has some visible support.
Again, Florida lost half its Republican delegates. Why Giuliani is using it as his firewall I don't know- besides, that is, desperation. Anyway, no direct links found, so using USA Election Polls for your reference: average of three polls from Dec. 13-15 is 3%, sixth place.
If Ron Paul doesn’t have the nomination sewed up on Super Tuesday, Paul’s delegate rich home state of Texas will be the final nail in the coffin come March.
Texas wasn't able to move its primary up to Tsunami Tuesday, so very few people have any serious expectation that people like, well, me for example will make a difference at that point. The only polls I can find for Texas are, again, at USA Election Polls; 5% as of mid-November, sixth place.
These aren't 2004 Kerry numbers; these are 2004 Liebermann numbers.
And Liebermann, if you'll recall, didn't get nominated- or even close.
"The point is it is already too late to stop Paul. He’s going to win the Republican nomination."
It's been a while since I've seen so many if's turn into one big WHEN.
And that's the kind of delusional personality at the core of the Ron Paul movement- not the people so desperate for something, ANYTHING different than the cookie-cutter Demopublican/Republicrat candidates that they'll support him, but the true believers who know everything he stands for and love it.
Yeah, not me, folks. I've stepped off that bus before it could run off the cliff.
But I promised a check on issues, specifically the ones I mentioned here. Time to do the comparison:
WAR: Out now, out completely, and out everywhere. 100% match.
SEPARATION OF POWERS: No position, indeed appears to avoid the subject. 0% match.
HEALTHCARE: Favors reducing regulation. Opposes tort reform. Opposes giving any government the power to force immunizations to deal with deadly diseases or epidemics. Supports quacksalver, opposes the FDA. 20%.
TAXATION AND BUDGET: Vast cuts in spending, abolish income tax, don't replace it, default on national debt. Goes further, much further, than I would. Makes on particular tax- income tax on tips- a major campaign issue, for some reason. 50%.
CIVIL LIBERTIES: Opposes separation of church and state. Advocates ending government spying on citizens. Supports repeal of USA-PATRIOT. Opposes torture, supports full freedom of speech (except for one flirtation with banning flag burning in the 1990s). 75%.
IMPEACHMENT: Avoids issue. 0%.
IMMIGRATION: Universal deportation of illegal immigrants. Amend Constitution to end birthright citizenship in order to deny it to children of immigrants. Reform immigration rules to make them more restrictive. 0%.
TRADE: Opposes any and all multi-lateral trade treaties as violations of American sovereignty; would not replace them. Believes unilateral free trade is feasible. Zero tariffs. 25%.
ENERGY: Gives tax credits to alternative energy private projects. Opposes all other government efforts in the area. 15%.
ENVIRONMENT: Blames federal government for all environmental problems. Would replace regulations with the right to sue for damages after the fact. Opposes eminent domain and use restrictions on property. 25%.
TORT REFORM: Opposes in all particulars. 0%.
AVERAGE SCORE: 28.2%
THEOCRAT: As seen in this article at Lew Rockwell, Ron Paul envisions a nation where churches hold more secular power than the government- effectively replacing government altogether.
RACIST: As documented, among many other places, in the Daily Kos, Ron Paul associates regularly with known white supremacists and courts their support.
And, if you've read my blog in the past, you'll know other reasons why I oppose Ron Paul... although, at this point, if the Libertarian Party wants him, they can have him.
Hell, they DESERVE him. They deserve a candidate who can't defend the fact he went for more budget pork earmarks than any other Texas Congressman, and whose past quotes read like a spotter's guide to political corn flakes.
Have fun storming the castle, guys... and if you win, THEN we'll need the miracle.
Next time: Mike Huckabee.