Ron Paul

By marginalizing other candidates, MSM is forcing Perry and Romney on voters

MSNBC had a debate last week.  The featured players were clearly Mitt Romney and new frontrunner Rick Perry.  Michele Bachmann, who had been catapulted to “frontrunner status” after her win in the Aimes Straw Poll suddenly felt shut out.  Welcome to the world where the media tells us who to vote for.

OK, that might be just a tad cynical, but it’s not that far from the truth.  For example, Michele Bachmann received tons of press after her Aimes win, while Ron Paul’s second place finish barely got a mention.  The result?  A huge bump for Bachmann.  Now that bump is starting to slide as much of her base eases over to Perry, who the press immediately gave lots of time to.

I’m not the only one who’s noticed either.  For example, the New York Times seems to be seeing it as well, though they don’t necessarily disagree with the practice.

Mrs. Bachmann won the first important test of the Republican race in a straw poll in Iowa last month, but she has been upstaged ever since by the entrance of Gov. Rick Perry of Texas into the race.

She was uncharacteristically restrained at a debate last week in California while Mr. Perry and Mitt Romney tore into each other as if they were the only two candidates on stage. Moderators from MSNBC and Politico played into the storyline by returning to them repeatedly and giving each ample time to rebut the other. It was not until 14 minutes in that Mrs. Bachmann got to speak.

When they focus on these so-called “major players”, they give the impression that they’re the only real players.  Instead, if they gave equal time to all candidates, then the people of the United States of America could easily make up their own minds.  Unfortunately, that’s just not going to happen.

New ad from Revolution PAC calls Perry, Romney “plastic men”

Revolution PAC, a so-called “super” political action committee run by supporters of Ron Paul, released its first web ad of the cycle. The ad, which runs just over a minute long, calls the leading GOP contenders, Rick Perry and Mitt Romney, “plastic men” that supported the Wall Street bailout. It also made note of Perry’s executive order mandating the HPV vaccine for young girls and Romney’s health care plan that became the blueprint for ObamaCare:

Ron Paul dismisses confrontation with Rick Perry

Remember the photo of Rick Perry grabbing Ron Paul during a commercial break at Thursday’s GOP debate? Paul supporters said it was “assault,” but according to Paul, there was nothing controversial about it:

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) dismissed Internet rumors that Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) had tried to intimidate him during a commercial break at the Republican presidential debate Wednesday night, saying no “cross words” were exchanged between the two.

A Reuters picture snapped during the break showed Perry walking up to Paul’s lectern, grasping Paul’s arm, and pointing his finger in the congressman’s face.

But at a campaign event Thursday, Paul laughed about the exchange.

“A picture came out last night, it’s on the Internet this morning, with … I think the governor of Texas, or something? We had several governors up there, but truth was I never met him before,” Paul joked.

Paul said everyone — “my kids included” — had been writing to him to find out what had happened when the men spoke.

“Truth is, I wish it were a much more interesting story,” Paul said. “I don’t even recall the moment that was occurring and I don’t remember exactly what he said and we didn’t have any cross words.”

Yeah, it may have looked like more than it really was, but there is no reason to blow it out of proportion. Nevertheless, the Perry/Paul rivalry that is developing should be fun to watch during this race.

Rick Perry: Punching Bag

So, in case you missed it, there was a debate Wednesday night.  It seems that everyone’s favorite target, predictably, was front runner Rick Perry.  When you’re the frontrunner, that’s just what’s going to happen.  While much of the attention was on Mitt Romney’s back and forth throughout the debate, there were some points worth discussing.

For one, Michele Bachmann’s campaign has been centered around her desire to repeal ObamaCare.  Not a bad plank to have, at least in the GOP primary.  Bachmann took issue with both Perry’s and Romney’s comments that they would issue an executive order to deal with ObamaCare.  As reported on The Hill:

Bachmann reiterated her promise to repeal Obama’s healthcare law, a centerpiece of her campaign, and said that Romney and Perry’s promises to sign executive orders upon taking office to dismantle the law were inadequate.

“With all due respect to the governors, issuing an executive order will not overturn this massive law,” she said.

On this, she’s 100% correct.  An executive order is an easy fix, but it’s not the right one.  An executive order can be over turned with…wait for it…another executive order.  That’s all it would take.  The next Democratic president would put ObamaCare in place with a stroke of his pen.  And that’s assuming that the executive order doesn’t get blocked by Congress who can overturn executive orders within a certain period of time.

Another interesting point was when Ron Paul took aim at Perry’s past as a Democrat.  Again, from The Hill:

Ron Paul knocks Rick Perry in a new ad

Ron Paul is putting heat on Rick Perry for his Democratic Party past, including backing Al Gore for president in 1992, with a new ad that will air in New Hampshire; a crucial early primary state:

I noted last week that Perry was going to have to contend with this at some point in the future, either from Mitt Romney or another candidate, after The Daily Caller released a letter Perry wrote to Clinton, who embraced a single-payer system during her presidential campaign, praising her efforts to enact health care reform.

Why isn’t Paul a serious candidate?

Over and over again, I get told that Ron Paul isn’t a serious candidate.  After all, he’s Ron Paul.  However, Jason posted yesterday showing a recent Rasmussen poll of Iowa of voters likely to take part in the Iowa Caucus that clearly shows Paul is among the so-called top tier of candidates:

A Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of those likely to participate in the Iowa GOP Caucus shows that Perry is the first choice for 29%. Essentially tied for second are Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann at 18% and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney at 17%. Texas Congressman Ron Paul picks up 14% of the vote, and nobody else currently reaches the five percent (5%) mark. (To see survey question wording, click here.) 

With the margin of error at on +/- 3%, Paul is clearly holding his own against everyone but Rick Perry.  However, historically, front runner status this early isn’t always an indication of later victory.  He wouldn’t be the first candidate to crash and burn later in the race.  A lot of Perry’s polling comes from being the “shiny and new” candidate, though a fair amount also comes from being a very charismatic governor.  While those drawn to his charisma aren’t likely to back down in the near future, the “shiny and new” crowd are likely to jump ship later.

How should libertarians handle the drug question?

Having only three years or so of libertarian experience, I sometimes find myself in the midst of a learning opportunity. This may well be one of those, but if it spurs some discussion, I am willing to be a martyr.

In the 2008 Presidential election, I was amazed at the intelligence of Bob Barr. I was constantly impressed at the depth of each subject he was asked about. How much basic sense each answer made even though some answers contained a level of sophistication that may have been over the heads of some.

Well, all except for one question.

In an interview with Sean Hannity fairly close to Election Day, Mr. Barr was put on his heels and frankly never recovered. Hannity’s style of attack, which one might term as that of an angry pit bull, didn’t help. That question of course was about the legalization of drugs.

Now don’t get me wrong, I have documented my struggle with this concept, and documented the “light bulb moment” I had - finally understanding that it was part of individual liberty, not to mention the amount of futile spending and creation of powerful underworld figures. It makes sense to me. I agree with it.

However, this question seems to take a serious, if not mortal, toll on all candidates running as small “l” libertarians within the Republican Party. In 2008, it halted what I believe might have been a staggering number of Independents and Republicans willing to vote for the Libertarian Party candidate when the best the Republican Party could offer was John McCain.

My theory is not about this question being asked… it’s going to be asked… but about the available answers. It’s about viable candidates explaining this concept in a thirty second sound bite or a timed answer during a debate that took me weeks, many hours of research and discussion with libertarians, to understand.

Three new national polls in the race for the GOP nomination

As we head into tonight’s debate at the Reagan Library in California, the first since Rick Perry joined the field, we have three polls to go through since so much has come out in the last few days. This is probably too much for one post, but it’s probably best to lay it out all at once instead of three separate posts.

With this also, the only commentary I’ll offer is just to say that the race is now a two-man race between Perry and Romney. That’s not to say that other candidates aren’t deserving of attention or respect, especially since a couple of them will continue to help drive the narrative over the course of the primary. But the numbers don’t lie.

We’ll start with the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, which is good news for Perry and bad for Romney; who trials by 15 points:

  • Rick Perry: 38%
  • Mitt Romney: 23%
  • Ron Paul: 9%
  • Michele Bachmann: 8%
  • Newt Gingrich: 5%
  • Herman Cain: 5%
  • Rick Santorum: 3%
  • Jon Huntsman: 2%
  • None/Not sure: 7%

And while President Barack Obama is taking heat for the economy, he still leads in pospective head-to-head matchups against both Romney and Rick Perry. Here are those numbers:

Barack Obama v. Rick Perry

  • Obama: 47%
  • Perry: 42%
  • Neither/other: 4%
  • Unsure: 5%

Barack Obama v. Mitt Romney

GOP candidates: What they are and what they ain’t

Ronald Reagan was said to have “Redefined the Republican Party”. Where that party is now… well, that’s anybody’s guess.

One reason libertarians are seen as pompous is because they actually have the answers that lead to less government. To reduced spending, and to individual liberty. This fact was illustrated in glaring truth at the Republican debate in Iowa when candidate Rick Santorum pointed to how Islamic countries treat gays as a reason to continue war. Santorum is a staunch Social Conservative and does not support gay marriage.

One has to wonder what exactly the boundaries are in order for someone to be a Republican. Especially those running for office.

Taxes: If there is a consistent issue in the party, I suppose it’s low taxes. Bush 41 famously broke his promise of “No new taxes” though.

Spending: This might have the widest array of stances as any subject. The Republican controlled congress, senate and held presidency of 2000-2006 certainly didn’t seem to cut anything. More recently, the TEA party seems to be hell bent on limited spending – but in almost every direction you look, elected Republicans seem to offer little resistance to any new spending measures.

Gay Marriage: This issue is divided within the party, from the religious base clearly in opposition to small “l” libertarians ranging from non federal intervention to all out support.

Abortion: Another basic non issue, but clearly a divide. Seems like a large majority are pro life, but a few exist in the other direction.

Romney, Perry tied among California Republicans

Mitt Romney and Rick Perry are tied in California, according to a new poll from the Los Angeles Times, with Ron Paul and Michele Bachmann in a virtual tie for third.

  • Mitt Romney: 22%
  • Rick Perry: 22%
  • Ron Paul: 11%
  • Michele Bachmann: 10%
  • Newt Gingrich: 6%
  • Herman Cain: 4%
  • John Huntsman: 1%
  • Rick Santorum: 1%
  • Thad McCotter: 0%
  • Other: 1%

This is the first poll from the Los Angeles Times in the race, but a field poll released back in June show Romney leading the pack. The two names closest to him were Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin, neither of whom have declared their intentions for 2012. Perry, obviously, wasn’t in the race at that time.

But California seems far from being in play for Republicans. A “generic Republican” manages to grab 37% against President Obama in the poll, but Romney doesn’t the best out of the candidates they paired with him.

Barack Obama v. Mitt Romney

  • Obama: 54%
  • Romney: 35%
  • Other: 2%

Barack Obama v. Michele Bachmann

  • Obama: 57%
  • Bachmann: 31%
  • Other: 2%

Barack Obama v. Rick Perry

  • Obama: 56%
  • Perry: 32%
  • Other: 2%

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