Saturday, August 18, 2007

Is Ron Paul This Year's Howard Dean?

On my website,, I wrote a piece about the Iowa Straw Polls where I single out Ron Paul's 5th place finish as evidence that the Iowa Straw Poll shouldn't be taken seriously. That one paragraph has already elicited responses from the Ron Paul Fanclub, including condescending posts about how I'm "a stooge" or "ignorant" and that I need to "wake up." Usually, I get those kinds of comments from faux liberals or egotistical faux conservatives who think they know more than they actually do, so I'm used to comments like that.

What I wasn't prepared for was a flashback to 2003-2004. I seem to remember another politician who had a lot of early support, was deemed to be the savior of his party, and was thought of as the real deal. That was before a fateful January when the candidate dropped to third at the Iowa Caucuses due in part to his snapping at an elderly gentleman and political machinations behind the scenes. Then, there was "the scream."

Yep, I'm talking about Howard Dean.

Judging from how defensive Ron Paul's supporters are about their candidate, I am reminded of how Dean's supporters were whenever anyone would question him. And after his comments at one of the Republican debates where he still unsure of what happened on 9/11, I think we've found a good reason to question him. His approach to the war on terrorism leaves a LOT to be desired because I don't think he gets it. He may be okay on other issues, but when you consider we're hip deep in an international war against people who want us dead for being us, you kinda need to have a handle on that, and I'm not confident Paul has that.

I have a hypothesis about Paul's support base, and it's only a hypothesis. Given how loose the Iowa Straw Poll and the Iowa Caucuses to a lesser degree are, it's entirely possible that Democrats are registering as Republicans so they can try to weaken top-tier candidates and knock them out, thus giving Hillary Clinton a much easier road to the White House. Then, surprise surprise, they "come to their senses" and reregister as Democrats. And all they have to do is talk up Ron Paul enough that people think he's viable.

But as we saw with Dean, being popular in the early going means nothing if you can't pick up the votes when it counts.


Anonymous said...

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Seven people were killed when a mortar barrage hit the town of Khalis north of Baghdad on Saturday, police said.

An estimated 17 mortar rounds hit the local market, residential areas and a hospital.

Ali Hamid, a sewerage engineer in the religiously mixed town, was in the market when the attack took place.

"It began raining bombs above our head. People in the market began running. I saw the body of an old woman lying in the street," he said.

Tens of thousands of Iraqis have been killed in a wave of sectarian violence since the bombing of a revered Shi'ite shrine in the town of Samarra in February 2006. The U.S. military launched a major offensive against Sunni Islamist al Qaeda and Shi'ite militias this week.

Anonymous said...

I agree that Ron Paul 'could' be this years Dean. But he's not Dean. What gets so many people excited by him is that he is a return to the political ideologies that some of our founding fathers embodies (some being people like Jefferson, less like Hamilton). As for your "His approach to the war on terrorism leaves a LOT to be desired because I don't think he gets it.", I disagree. The man 'gets' a proper foreign policy. If you look at his record it's a good foreign policy that he has been advocating for near 20 years. A foreign policy of not bombing countries for years and destroying all their infrastructure, a foreign policy of not doing trade embargo's that kills 500,000 people. Yet you say "people who want us dead for being us", yet their reasons for wanting us dead are because of the thing's we've done to them. Do you really think they care that our women vote? Sure, some do. But not the entire nation. Just as in America where some of us state that we want to kill all the fags, or kill all the blacks; but that doesn't make the entire nation.

Anonymous said...

Mr Lindaman,

I agree with you that many Ron Paul supporters are over the top, and they shouldn’t be so quick to suspect foul play. There have certainly been other sources that question the importance and reliability of the Iowa Straw Poll, with varying degrees of ambivalence toward Dr. Paul. I’m certainly no statistician or political analyst so I won’t speculate on that matter.

However, in my opinion Dr. Paul has been crystal clear (more so than the other candidates) about his position on the terrorist attacks. He is only voicing what has already been stated in the 9/11 Report and by CIA analysts. He is only saying that our foreign policy has had unintended consequences in the middle east on a number of occasions — this is well established. Given the contents of Bin Ladin’s fatwah where he specifically said that our meddling in the middle east has given them cause for resistence. It seems plausible then that the cause of Islamic terrorism is not simply “they hate us because we’re us”. There are more facts for which to account. Dr. Paul has been remarkably consistent, as the above comment adequately describes, in his foreign policy position. He backs it up with facts and reasoning, rather than emotionally charged sound-bytes as we've seen others do.

Dr. Paul knows that Bin Ladin is scum. Dr. Paul knows that the 9/11 attacks were in no way justifiable. Dr. Paul knows that there are irreconcilable differences between radical Islam and Western culture. He is merely proposing, in agreeance with our founders, that because of these vast cultural differences, we leave them alone (finally) to govern as they see fit, and we take care of shoring up our own national defense and govern a truly free, peaceful society that can honestly be the envy of the world.

Perhaps you are right that democrats are trying to weaken the GOP by posing as Paul supporters; however, given that many Paul supporters go to great lengths, and often invest time and money into their grassroots campaigning, in my humble opinion this scenario seems unlikely. Paul supporters are passionate because they love the message. I have never been able to say that before.

Time will tell!