Archives for December 2011
We’ve been posting a lot about the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) lately. You’re going to continue to hear about it online over the next few weeks. SOPA is touted by supporters as legislation that would prevent copyright infringement and secure intellectual property rights, but it would actually promote internet censorship and ignore due process. In fact, SOPA isn’t likely to stop piracy.
If you want to learn more about the law and its implications, you should watch this video that explains how many of the companies supporting SOPA are in fact guilty of distributing software that promotes piracy:
Earlier this month it seemed as though Newt Gingrich was rolling. Herman Cain’s exit forced conservative voters to look for yet another “anti-Romney,” which led them to settle on Gingrich. There were three things that could hurt Gingrich’s campaign moving keeping them momentum; 1) his past record and statements 2) his arrogance and 3) lack of campaign organization.
The first two have certainly played part, though his record has been a more glaring problem than his arrogance as campaigns have pounded his relentlessly for backing big government. But the lack of campaign organization is just embarassing. Just last week, Gingrich was booted from the ballot in Virginia because he failed to turn in the proper amount of signatures (Rick Perry also failed to meet the requirements):
The Republican Party of Virginia announced early Saturday that Gingrich and Perry failed to submit 10,000 signatures of registered voters required to get their names on the ballot for the March 6 primary.
“After verification, RPV has determined that Newt Gingrich did not submit required 10k signatures and has not qualified for the VA primary,” the party announced on Twitter.
The rejection is a significant setback for the Gingrich campaign since he is leading the polls in Virginia among likely Republican voters and is seen as a strong contender for the nomination.
Perry’s campaign told state election officials it had submitted 11,911 signatures, and Gingrich’s campaign said it submitted 11,050 signatures. State party officials spent Friday night validating the signatures.
We’re just a week away from the first votes being cast in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. Now that Christmas is behind us, look for news out of the Hawkeye State to be non-stop over the next week. We’ll be posting whatever polls come out and we’ll do one final Power Ranking on Monday.
You can see the latest polling out of Iowa here.
Ron Paul: Depending on the polls, Ron Paul is either in first by himself or his is in a statistical tie. His campaign has the best organization, but the recent coverage of the 20 year-old newsletters could threaten his momentum. It’s too early to say he’ll win, but if his campaign can stay on message, Paul could shock the establishment, which will be fun to watch.
Mitt Romney: Recent polls show Romney gaining some ground in Iowa, and he is seeking to capitalize on it by going on a three-day bus tour of the state in advance of the January 3rd caucus. If he wins the caucus and then wins New Hampshire with a decent enough margin, Romney may very well see a boost in other early and put talk of a long, drawn-out primary to bed.
Newt Gingrich: While he managed to benefit in the polls with Herman Cain’s exit from the race, Gingrich hasn’t pieced together a strong team in Iowa. This matter since a well organized ground game is important in getting people to locations to cast their vote. It would be unwise to say Gingrich “won’t win,” but it certainly seems unlikely.
Just an interesting side note as this whole newsletter thing heats up (and, as I’ve already stated, Ron Paul needs to ditch Lew Rockwell and come totally clean), a new CNN/ORC poll shows that among the Republican candidates, Ron Paul has the highest amount of support from nonwhites (in a match-up against Barack Obama.) The report is here [PDF], but let me just extract the most interesting data for you:
As you can see, none of them is even close to Barack Obama in this demographic category, none. I’m also not sure what to make of it, to be honest. It is, however, an interesting datapoint to take note of during this exceptionally crazy nomination battle.
Ron Paul needs to ditch Lew Rockwell.
As he climbs in the polls and gets within striking distance of winning the Iowa caucuses, it is inevitable that his newsletters would come up. You know the ones: written in the late Eighties, that contain racist material, that are really, really stupid, and that Paul swears he didn’t actually write. At least, that’s his line, and in an investigative piece by reason magazine writers Dave Weigel and Julian Sanchez back in 2008, it looks like the source is Ludwig von Mises Institute founder Lew Rockwell:
My friend Nate, over at his own ridiculous world, has an interesting idea about the campaign against Ron Paul:
Incredibly, Wes Messamore at The Humble Libertarian, a Paul supporter, is blaming the “liberal media” for this smear campaign. With all due respect to Wes, denial isn’t just a river in Africa. He and any of Paul’s supporters who are still firmly aligned with the Republican Party are going to have to face reality. While the so-called “liberal media” may be assisting in this smear campaign, it’s actually being driven by the Republican establishment. Oh, sure, Wolf Blitzer and Jonathan Chait are helping out, but it’s conservatives who are doing all the work. And that matters. If we’re going to effectively combat this zombie smear, we need to be honest about why Congressman Paul’s fellow Republicans are the ones pushing it. Their motives are the key to fighting back.
It matters, for example, that Dorothy Rabinowitz is a member of the editorial board for the Wall Street Journal, a newspaper owned by Rupert Murdoch. Murdoch’s media empire has been the driving force behind neoconservative policy implementation, using scare tactics to dupe the American people into initially supporting imperialist adventurism in Central Asia. It also matters that James Kirchick is a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a neoconservative think tank; that he’s a contributing editor for the New Republic, the leading newspaper of the neocon left; and that he’s taken his attacks against Congressman Paul to the pages of the Weekly Standard, for decades the intellectual headquarters of neoconservatism.
I thought the whole “birther” thing was over. Well, thanks to some of my fellow citizens of Georgia, it ain’t.
ATLANTA — Five Georgia men are challenging President Barack Obama’s inclusion on next year’s presidential ballot, with some arguing the Democrat is not eligible for office because the Constitution says that a president must be a “natural born citizen.”
In case you’re not familiar with them, there were newsletters written under Ron Paul’s name that had some very offensive, racist and homophobic content. Some past associates of Paul have attributed them to a ghostwriter, and almost no one believe Paul wrote them himself; though he certainly raised money off of them.
The newsletters were brought up to Paul during an interview with Gloria Borger on CNN. Sick of the questions about them, Paul took off his microphone and walked off the set:
While I’m a Paul supporter, I don’t think he could have handled that any worse. This is something that Paul is going to have to deal with, whether he likes it or not. The newsletters are disgusting and they bear his name. Explaining them away as “old news” or saying that he has “disavowed” them (and I don’t believe Paul is a racist) just isn’t going to cut it.
Paul’s chances to win the nomination were already low, but with all of this coming up just before the vote in Iowa, it really could put a damper on his showing.
In what is surely a complete coincidence, Ron Paul’s rise in the Iowa caucus polls has been accompanied by an incredible rise in anti-Paul rhetoric on the right. Now, certainly some of this is valid - I, like many others, am very bothered by Paul’s newsletters and many of his associations. But the level of hate and anger at Paul exceeds even that directed at Obama. It’s routine to see Paul referred to as anti-American, a charge heretofore reserved for liberals. It has even led to many claiming that, despite months of fetishistic obsession with the Iowa caucuses, Paul winning those caucuses would somehow render them meaningless.
Some, like Margaret Carlson, argue that a Paul win in Iowa would reduce the Iowa polls to obsolescence. She makes a number of other arguments as to why Iowa should be reduced in meaning, but the central tenet is that if Paul wins, they are essentially done. Now, I’m not going to defend the idea that Iowa’s claim to the first vote in the primary is somehow sacred, because I generally feel it is not. But if the caucuses were irrelevant, they have been so for a long time. It is nothing new that Iowa is not representative of the nation as a whole, that it is a poor predictor for eventual winner, or that the style of the caucuses is so unique as to be an entirely different beast from normal primary elections.
I noted earlier that Gary Johnson will be leaving the Republican primary and instead seek the Libertarian nomination. There is, potentially, one major obstacle in his way, noted at the very end of the Politico piece I quoted:
Libertarians, who were on the ballot in 45 states, are aiming to be on the ballot in all 50 for 2012. One problem Johnson could face is so called “sore loser” laws that will keep him from appearing as a third party candidate next November because he’s already on the GOP primary ballots in Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan and Missouri.
This invariably brings up the question, “What is a ‘sore-loser’ law?”
The short answer: a most detestable and rank piece of undemocratic filth, which has no place in our country.
The long answer: a sore-loser law is a law the prevents someone who either lost a primary or later quit a primary from running as either a minor party candidate or as an independent candidate.
As you can imagine, this goes a long way towards keeping out alternative voices in American elections. And you have to ask yourself: what is the point? Why do we need a law prohibiting people from exercising their right to run for office? Here’s how politicians would say it, when Charlie Crist ran from the GOP to run as an independent for Senate in 2010: