Shortly before 3am, the Iowa Republican Party declared that Mitt Romney had won the Iowa caucus over Rick Santorum, who appeared out of nowhere to be a serious player, by just eight votes (both had 25% of the vote) in what is the closest race ever in the state. Ron Paul, who was among the frontrunners going into Tuesday, finished in 3rd with 21%.
Here are the full results (numbers are rounded up via CNN):
- Mitt Romney: 25%
- Rick Santorum: 25%
- Ron Paul: 21%
- Newt Gingrich: 13%
- Rick Perry: 10%
- Michele Bachmann: 5%
- Jon Huntsman: 1%
The next week is going to be really interesting. Gingrich seems to be ready to go scorched earth on Romney, which may have long-term implications. Rick Perry stopped short of dropping out last night, but said that he would be heading back to Texas today to determine his next step. Read between the lines here, because Perry is supposed to be in South Carolina today. Surprisingly, Bachmann gave no sign that she is dropping out, but the indication is that she will drop today after cancelling a trip to South Carolina. She’ll hold a press conference in Iowa in about an hour.
We’ll have more on all of this and its implications.
In March of last year, I wrote a post on “Libertarian purity”. It was one of the most read posts of 2011, and probably the most read post I’ve personally ever written. As we look onto the 2012 primary season and eventual general election, I figured it might be a good time to revisit that post and how it could apply to this election.
First, we have a unique year this year. An actual libertarian - by most people’s definition anyways - has a legitimate shot and making some headway. Ron Paul’s slow but steady rise in the polls has been something that fills me with a level of joy that is hard to describe. “But Tom,” you might say, “didn’t you come out in support of Gary Johnson?” I would answer yes. I like Johnson more than Paul, but frankly a President Ron Paul wouldn’t exactly be anything close to bad in my book.
Further, Gary Johnson is challenging for the Libertarian Party nomination, so there’s still a good chance that I’ll get to vote for him in the general election.
It’s entirely possible that we’ll have two libertarians on the ticket, but it’s also possible that we won’t have but one. So what do we do about that?
In that post from last year, I said that it was vital that we start winning elections, rather than just debating politics from the outside. So let’s take a look at some of the options and how it relates to that post.
We’re almost there, folks. Tomorrow, Iowans will head to the various caucus locations to cast there ballots for the Republican nomination for president. Who is the favorite right now? It’s hard to say, because three candidates are in a dogfight for the top.
On New Year’s Eve, the Des Moines Register released their final poll for the caucus showing Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, and Rick Santorum rounding out the top, in that order:
- Mitt Romney: 24% (+8)
- Ron Paul: 22% (+4)
- Rick Santorum: 15% (+9)
- Newt Gingrich: 12% (-13)
- Rick Perry: 11% (+5)
- Michele Bachmann: 7% (-1)
- Jon Huntsman: 2% (—)
While the poll shows Romney and Paul in a virtual tie for the top, here is the kicker; Santorum took 21% in that final two days of the poll, which is leading many pundits to say that he is the likely favorite heading into tomorrow.
Public Policy Polling also released their final poll for the caucus. They too show Santorum surging, though still in third. There is bad news, despite leading in the poll, for Paul:
- Ron Paul: 20% (-4)
- Mitt Romney: 19% (-1)
- Rick Santorum: 18% (+8)
- Newt Gingrich: 14% (+1)
- Rick Perry: 10% (—)
- Michele Bachmann: 8% (-3)
- Jon Huntsman: 4% (—)
We’ll go over more in these polls in our rankings.
Yesterday, we went over the top 10 news stories from 2011, which were mainly about news and issues that made headlines this past year. This morning, we’re recapping our most read stories from 2011.
Being a libertarian-leaning blog, we touch on a variety of issues. From those of you that aren’t familiar with libertarianism, it is a philosophy grounded in individual liberty. We believe the individual is sovereign and has a right to pursue whatever lifestyle he chooses, provided that he doesn’t harm or disparage the rights of other sovereigns in the process. The belief in individual sovereign also extends to economic liberty and a belief in free markets.
With that said, our top posts from 2011 range from civil liberties issues, including the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and the Fourth Amendment, to defending free markets and fighting cronyism and corporatism in Washington and on Wall Street to covering Ron Paul’s presidential campaign and having an open discussing the libertarian philosophy.
We offer no additional commentary on these posts. If you would like to read them, just click on the title. Again, have a safe and happy new year.
We’re winding down on another year. Much like recent years, 2011 represented challenges for liberty and the Constitution. These hurdles came from all sides, including the Obama Administration and Republicans in Congress, and we are ending the year a little less free than in 2010.
Below is a recap of some of bigger stories of the year that were covered here at United Liberty (though a couple are thrown in for fun). Thanks for reading in what was a record breaking year for this blog. We appreciate the readership and hope you’ll keep coming back in 2012
Happy New Year!
— The Death of Osama bin Laden (Jason Pye): On Sunday, May 1st, word broke that the White House had called notified the press of a major announcement. You could tell that it was a significant event since the president was making such a statement late on a Sunday evening.As you probably remember, wild speculation started almost immediately as many people said that it could have only meant a couple of things, either we were going to war or Osama bin Laden had finally been captured.
Around 11pm, President Barack Obama told Americans that, after nearly 10 years after murdering nearly 3,000 innocent people, Osama bin Laden was dead. Bin Laden, leader of the terrorist group, al-Qaeda, was killed in Abbottabad, Pakistan by a group of Navy SEALS at a compound that he had lived in for five years.
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.
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:
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.
The only certainty in this year’s GOP nomination battle has been uncertainty (that, and “Whoa nelly, has this been a ride or what?”) Republican primary voters have hopped from Bachmann to Perry to Cain to Gingrich and now seem to be settling into a confused Gingrich/Romney/Paul split. Part of this is because the entire race, so far, has been a farce (though Paul’s recent ascendency leaves one to hope it’s not entirely a farce), but I think another part is the increasing heated and intense Republican litmus test being applied by those within the “conservative movement.”
I’ve noted here previously that “We’re All RINOs Now,” citing Dan Drezner and David Frum. As I wrote there, using Drezner’s language, the Republican Party has turned into a “cargo cult,” moving farther to the right on several points, especially on LGBT issues, and I think it’s beginning to place itself outside of the “Overton Window,” the selection of policies considered politically acceptable by the public. Gay bashing, abortion banning, and putting a greater emphasis on religious morals in government may appeal to a segment of the conservative movement, but compared to the general populace, that is gradually disappearing.
This narrative is quite popular among the left, who want to paint the Republican Party as more and more radical and opposed to the general beliefs of the American population, but as I pointed out, a lot of people you would consider conservative feel the same way. One explanation is to place the blame at the feet of talk show pundits like Hannity, Limbaugh, and O’Reilly. I think, however, there is a much better explanation to be had.
Rep. Ron Paul rarely makes news, and his candidacy is frequently ignored by Beltway reporters. But headlines, his aides say, are overrated. In fact, the Texas Republican’s low-key autumn was strategic. As Paul’s competitors stumbled and sparred, he amassed a small fortune for his campaign and built a strong ground operation. And with January fast approaching, his team is ready to surprise the political world and sweep the Iowa caucuses.
“This was a movement when he first started running in 2008,” says Trygve Olson, a senior Paul adviser. “Now it’s turned into a highly professionalized campaign, but the energy from that last run is still there, and at the heart of what’s keeping up his momentum.”
The latest polls back up that confidence. In the influential Des Moines Register poll published over the weekend, Paul placed second. Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, captured 25 percent of likely Iowa GOP voters, but Paul garnered 18 percent, two points ahead of Mitt Romney, who in 2008 placed second in the caucuses.
If Paul wins Iowa, the upset could upend what many politicos say is a two-man race between Gingrich and Romney. According to state GOP insiders, a Paul victory is a real possibility. In background conversations, many say Paul is much stronger than outside observers believe, with deep and wide support among a frustrated electorate. With Herman Cain’s departure from the race, operatives see Paul potentially collecting a quarter of caucus attendees.