It’s the Economy, Stupid: Ron Paul Edition

Here’s something that I haven’t seen get more airtime: Ron Paul moves into top-tier in Iowa Caucuses, Now a 4-way Dead Heat:

The Iowa caucuses are just seven weeks away, but Republican voters in the nation’s first presidential nominating state seem as torn as ever over the GOP field.

A new Bloomberg poll of likely caucus participants shows a four-way tie in Iowa, with Rep. Ron Paul joining Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain in the top tier of candidates. Underscoring the uncertainty in the race, 60 percent of respondents said they could be persuaded to back someone other than their first choice for the nomination.

The poll, conducted November 10 - 12 by the West Des Moines-based firm Selzer & Co, shows Cain in the lead with 20 percent, while Paul comes in at 19 percent. Romney wins 18 percent support, and Gingrich earns 17 percent. The margin of error is 4.4 percent.

While Christian conservatives have more influence in Iowa than they do in the rest of the nation, only a quarter of likely caucus-goers say social issues are more important this year than economic issues. As many as 71 percent say they’re voting on issues like jobs and taxes.

It’s the economy, stupid, Ron Paul edition.

Even as the GOP tries to make issues out of gay marriage, abortion, illegal immigration, cultural mores, and a thousand other social issues, it remains that the area Americans are really focused on is the economy, jobs, and government spending. Although all the Republicans have come out with plans to cut back on the government’s purse, and I even wrote approvingly of Perry not too long ago, Paul still has the best plan out of the frontrunners, vowing to cut $1 trillion during his first year by zeroing out no less than four cabinet departments and the Federal Communications Commission. That’s some real talk that people want to hear.

Well, by people, of course, I mean voters—not the media, such as Fox News, which gave the second place man only five seconds in their discussion. It’s really getting ridiculous now how far the MSM is going to try and bury Paul’s campaign. It’s one thing for Johnson and Roemer, who really have no name recognition whatsoever (although, when they don’t even include them in poll questions, it’s sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy), as sad as that is. But with Paul, he’s clearly playing with the big boys, but the media just wants to think of him as a cranky uncle and ignore him.

The big losers of this, besides the voters, will be the media itself. Already, 55% of the country doesn’t trust the media to “report the news fully, accurately, and fairly,” as reported by Gallup. Partly, it’s through transforming the news media into “infotainment” in a spectacularly failed plan to raise ratings (forgetting that people don’t want their news to be “entertaining,” they want it to be informative), partly through having celebs do the news rather than people who really know, and also through dumb stuff like this. (Not to mention trying to fight social media. Yeah, that will show ‘em!) They’re already been discredited to some degree with the soft-glove treatment of the Obama Administration, and now their repeat of the 2008 playbook against Paul is just showing their colors more forcefully.

This might have worked in the seventies and eighties, but it’s 2011 right now. There are other outlets: blogs, Twitter, Google+, Facebook, online newspapers, independent online news channels, etc. They’re not the gatekeepers of information anymore, except to the gradually dwindling number of senior citizens who don’t understand those newfangled things. These sorts of antics just encourage more people to go to other sources that have—or at least, appear to have—more honest reporting.

In fact, the numbers show the media is already losing; despite the lack of coverage, Paul is still in second place, in the top tier. It also shows that social issues will not help candidates climb to the top, which is a very good thing.


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