If It Were Up To Republicans, Ron Paul Would Still Be a Second Tier Candidate

Bookmark and Share   Ron Paul’s recent surge to the front of the pack certainly makes this an exciting time for those who subscribe to his rhetoric and feel that his lack of actual accomplishments makes him an ideal President.  It’s also an exciting time for those who are simply fed up and looking for a way to register a significant protest vote against the system ans politics in general.  But for true conservative Republicans, Paul’s rise in recent Iowa polling is little more than a means of assuring the reelection of President Barack Obama and if left up to them, Ron Paul would still be lumped together with names like Jon Huntsman, Buddy Roemer, and Michele Bachmann in the bottom third of the Republican presidential field.

However, in states like Iowa, and even New Hampshire, the Republican presidential nominee is not chosen just by Republicans.

According to state Party rules governing the Iowa Caucus and several other state nominating contests, only registered Republicans in the state of Iowa can participate in the Republican caucus but individuals registered as Independents or affiliated with other parties, may switch their Party affiliation at the caucus site and cast their vote for the Republican candidate of their choice.  In other words, a non-affiliated voter or a liberal Democrat can walk in out of the snow, change their Party registration,  and vote for Ron Paul.

For some, the opportunity for people of any political affiliation to vote in a partisan primary or caucus is a good thing, and seems logical, but as a proud partisan conservative Republican, I can tell you that it is not.

For the record, while I am an American first and foremost, I must admit that I am a proud and devout, partisan conservative Republican.  My committment to the Party is based on ideology, and I am often not the most politically popular person in the Party because I am often at at odds with many of  its leaders who I believe spend most of their time playing politics and forsaking our conservative based ideology for political expediency.

That stated, I defend my ideological partisanship on the grounds that it is my deep conviction that ultimately, the conservative-Republican ideology is the best thing for America.  So my political partisanship goes hand in hand with my love of country and I do not separate the two.  That’s why I have never supported so-called open primary or caucus contests that allow people of opposing ideologies to choose the nominee that represents  my beliefs and Party.

The way I see it, as a conservative, why should I have the ability to pick the liberal nominee?  If  I had the chance to do that in 2008, I would have done my best to make sure that Dennis Kucinich won the Democratic presidential nomination for President.  Kucinich would have been a sure loser for liberals.

I am of the opinion that if Republicans and Democrats, or for that matter Libertarians, are to nominate the candidate that best represents their beliefs and can be the strongest one to represent their Party, then those who subscribe to the ideologies represented by those parties should be responsible for deciding who represents that Party.  In some ways, these open contests make about as much sense as us opening up the general presidential election to the citizens of other nations.  Which by the way, is not so unfathomable when you consider the lengths to which Democrats are trying to go  in with legislative initiatives designed at specifically making  it possible for illegal immigrants to vote.

Now some of you may be saying that I am blowing this all out of proportion.  Some may even suggest that crediting Ron Paul’s predicted success in Iowa to the opportunity for independents and Democrats to vote in their Caucus is overstated.  To them I must ask…………are you that stupid!!?

One need not look very hard to find that my assertion about the effect of independents and Democrats is true.

A recent American Research Group poll of  Iowa voters makes the case that if left up to Republicans, Ron Paul would not be a real contender.

According to ARG, among Republicans who intend to vote in the Iowa Caucus, Mitt Romney leads with 23% and he is followed by Newt Gingrich who comes in at 19%.

As for Ron Paul, strictly among Republicans, he pulls 12% of the vote which leaves him tied with Rick Santorum.

Among Republicans:

  • Mitt Romney 23%
  • Newt Gingrich 19%
  • Rick Santorum 12%
  • Ron Paul 12%
  • Michele Bachmann 9%
  • Rick Perry 8%
  • Jon Huntsman 6%
  • Buddy Roemer 1%
  • Other 1%
  • Undecided 9%

In the same poll, a deeper look at Iowa Republicans that breaks them down along TEA Party lines finds that Ron Paul does a little better among those voters most focussed on a limited and more constitutional government but not by much.   Ron Paul receives a 16% share of the vote from them,  but that is 9% behind Gingrich and 10% behind Mitt Romney.

Among Tea Party Supporters

  • Mitt Romney 26%
  • Newt Gingrich 25%
  • Ron Paul 16%
  • Michele Bachmann 10%
  • Rick Perry 9%
  • Rick Santorum 7%
  • Jon Huntsman 0%
  • Buddy Roemer 0%
  • Other 0%
  • Undecided 7%

In fact, the only segment of Iowa residents who Ron Paul gets a majority of the vote from in the “Republican” Iowa Caucus are Independents.  Among them, Paul polls 30% of the vote, 8% more than Romney, and 18% more than Newt Gingrich.

Among Independents

  • Ron Paul 30%
  • Mitt Romney 22%
  • Newt Gingrich 12%
  • Rick Perry 11%
  • Michele Bachmann 6%
  • Rick Santorum 6%
  • Jon Huntsman 6%
  • Buddy Roemer 0%
  • Other 1%
  • Undecided 9%

If that is not enough to convince you of the undue influence that non-Republican entities are having on the Republican Caucus in Iowa, maybe you will believe it coming from Ron Paul’s own people?

Back in March of 2011, the hero worshippers behind the propaganda based website entitled The Daily Paul, posted a call to arms entitled “2012 Open Primary States: The key to Ron Paul’s Republican Nomination”.  It basically calls upon Pauliacs to sabotage the Republican nomination process and steal the nomination from the Party by asking Democrats and Independents to flood the primaries and caucuses of the 17 specific states that have open primaries which allow Democrats and Independents to vote without even having to register as a Republican.

The article reads;

“We must organize and put the strongest efforts in these states to encourage Democrats and Independents to vote for Ron Paul and capture all the Delegates of these Open Republican Primary States”

By the count of the author behind the plot, winning those states would give Ron Paul 874 of the 1,212 delegates needed to win the Republican nomination.

Fortunately for rational conservatives though, not only is that a substantial number short of the delegates needed, most of the states do not have election laws that allow for opposing parties to easily and blatantly circumvent the democratic process in the general election by sabotaging a Party’s nomination process and leaving them with a nominee who is the weakest possible candidate they could have representing them.

Additional good fortune is the fact that Iowa is one of the few state’s that Ron Paul is actually doing that well in.  Nationally, Ron Paul’s average standing in the polls is half that of Romney and less than half that of Newt Gingrich.  While national polls do not mean much to a process that is based on the collective results of individual state contests, that national average does accurately reflect most state polls.

In the final analysis, while excitement erupts about Ron Paul rising to the top, the truth is that such excitement is based on a lack of any real depth of truth, and thankfully, it is the G.O.P. which will still determine their own nominee.  Even so, I still think it is about time that state parties and their representatives rethink their willingness to allow the political opposition to influence who our own Party’s nominees are.

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The Importance or Lack of Importance of Iowa to Each of the Candidates

Bookmark and Share    While readers are free to disagree on this point, it is nonetheless a political reality, that the Iowa Caucuses will bolster or diminish the chances of several candidates but in the end will do little to determine the ultimate Republican nominee.

The fact of the matter is that the lack of an undeniable favorite consensus candidate among Republicans and a higher than average number of undecided voters at this stage in the game will allow for wide swings in popularity for one candidate or another based upon regional idiosyncrasies and local influences in ways that are far more significant than in recent presidential nomination contests.

With the economy still proving to be the issue at the forefront of the election,  Mitt Romney and his succesful background in such things as business and even his incredibly well engineered turnaround of the 2002 Winter Olympics, has allowed him to squeak by as one of the most promising figures when it comes to that critical issue.  However; Romneycare and doubts about his committment to social conservatives issues have prevented Romney from capitalizing on his positive economic credentials as much as he could have.  Meanwhile, social conservatives have failed to find a single figure that they can comfortably get 100% behind.

Given these circumstances, Iowa’s results will still leave the field with very inconclusive results that will not begin to get any clearer until South Carolina and Florida hold their primaries. Nevertheless, at this point in time, the stakes are higher for some than others in Iowa.

Do or Die:

For Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, and Rick Santorum, anything less than a third place showing will leave them struggling for relevance, a position that will only be compounded by the difficulty they face in New Hampshire where Mitt Romney’s victory is a foregone conclusion and which is the only state that longshot candidate Jon Huntsman finds himself to be much of a factor.  This will make South Carolina Bachmann, Perry, and Santorum’s only hope of becoming viable candidates as the nomination contest moves ahead.  So for these three candidate the race is on for third place.  Anything better than that would be considered a surprising finish tha will give them a brief opportunity to take advantage of the spotlight.

Establishing Themselves as the Clear Alternative to Romney:

Newt Gingrich is the candidate who has the best chance of truly establishing himself as the alternative to Mitt Romney, in order to do this he can ill afford anything less than third  a place finish.  Short of that, Newt will have a hard time maintaining momentum as he heads in to South Carolina and Florida.

Saving Face:

There is a low bar for Mitt Romney to meet in Iowa.  He merely needs to avoid being embarrassed with a finish any lower than third place.  But even if he did happen to finish towards the very bottom of the pack, chances are he will still win in New Hampshire and go in to South Carolina with a strong organization and the backing of the state’s popular Tea Party Republican Governor, Nikki Haley.  But on the flip side, a first place showing by Romney will go a long way establishing the type of impression of inevitability that could stymie the momentum that other candidates may be establishing in their plight to become the candidate with the best chance of beating Romney.

Mattering:

Jon Huntsman is considered the top of the bottom tier candidates that consist of Gary Johnson and Buddy Roemer. However being slightly ahead of two candidates who nobody really knows is running for President or really cares if they are running for President, does not say much. And Iowa is a state that that Huntsman simply ignored in order to focus on New Hampshire.  For this reason, Jon Huntsman is essentially of no consequence in the Iowa Caucus and just wont matter.  The only way his name will even be mentioned is if he somehow manages to beat anyone else and not come in last place.

Achieving Undeniable Viability:

Ron Paul’s rise in statewide polls of Iowa has now put him in the unenviable position of needing to meet very high expectations.  With such high expectations anything less than second place will generally be seen as a setback and will do little to help Ron Paul to begin turning around his numbers in other states, most of which place him in the middle of the field.  But if Ron Paul does meet current expectations with either a first or second place finish, he will merely remain a significant barrier between Romney and the emergence of a viable alternative to Romney.

A first or second place finish for Paul in Iowa will make him an undeniably significant candidate who can not be ignored, even by me, a die-hard anti-Paul conservative, or as Pauliacs call me, a neo-con.  However; as Newt Gingrich stated, it will be hard to imagine that Ron Paul will fly among mainstream Republicans and “decent Americans”.   While his limited government views are applauded, his isolationist tendencies which he denies having, will ultimately disqualify him in the eyes of voters who understand that the first constitutional responsibility of an American President and our federal government, is our national security and foreign policy.  Ron Paul’s unwillingness to come up with a proper defense and foreign policy, will ultimatelylead to the type of conclusion of Ron Paul that  Newt Gingrich expressed in his Tuesday afternoon interview with Blitzer, when he stated;

“As a potential President, a person who thinks that the United States was responsible for 9/11, a person who believes,…who wrote in his news letter that the World Trade Center bombing in ’93 might have been a C.I.A. plot,  a person who doesn’t believe that it matters if the Iranians have a nuclear weapon, I’d rather just say, you look at Ron Paul’s record of systemic avoidance of reality,”

Ultimately, I believe rational Republicans will come to the same conclusion that Newt believes they will.

The But:

Given the incredible anti-establishment sentiment within the electorate and a deep TEA movement-like desire to send a message to both Republicans and Democrats, and the lack of a singular candidate with very strong support behind them, even I can’t be sure that Ron Paul will fail in his attempt to draw the nomination down to a contest between himself andMitt  Romney.  If there is one thing I know in politics, it is that you never say never and given the volatility and indecision of the Republican electorate, Ron Paul might benefit from a social conservative vote that is deeply divided by far too many candidates, and an unusually high desire by voters to cast a protest vote for Ron Paul and make him the vessel through which they make their anger known.  Realistically, such circumstances will merely help assure Mitt Romney of the nomination in the end but it will still make Ron Paul a far more significant figure in the 2012 election than many other than Paulites, assumed possible.

Key Factors in the Closing Days

In these final days of the Iowa Caucuses, several factors will have a significant effect on the results.

A very large undecided vote can be swayed  in to the camp of one candidate or another by any number of things.  Most powerful of all would be an embarrassing last minute disclosure that could cost the unlucky victim support they already have and the support of those who were leaning towards them.  The other would be a successful pitch that inspires social conservatives to get behind one candidate and that candidate’s ability to coordinate the type of Get Out the Vote operation that delivers that social conservatives support to their caucus locations on Tuesday night.

Organization and momentum will be key and anyone who inspire and channel that momentum in these closing days, could pull off a surprise finish.  The two candidates with the greatest potential in that area are the two Ricks.  Both Perry and Santorum are best situated for such a result.

The final influence over the results in the Iowa Caucus will be something that no campaign can really effect……..the weather.

Bad weather favors Ron Paul.

His supporters are fanatics who will not allow anything to prevent them from voting for him.  If there is 6 feet of snow falling and a windchill factor of 6 below, expect Ron Paul to land a big win.

Others who would benefit from bad weather, but to a lesser degree than Ron Paul, are Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum.

Their supporters tend to be more deeply committed than are those of Romney, Perry, and Gingrich and they too will show up in significant numbers despite any foul weather.

Good weather favors Romney and Gingrich.

Both these men have established relatively wide support that does not run very deep.  This means with good weather, their large but not highly motivated number of supporters will actually show up to cast their caucus vote for them.  Such would not be the case if  bad weather made getting to their caucus location seem more trouble than that it was worth to them.

At the moment, it looks like the weather in Iowa on the day of the Caucus will be cold but clear.

Bottom Line:

Iowa will will have at best, a minimal effect on the race.  Just as it did in 2008 when the eventaul Republican nominee, John McCain, came in fourth place behind Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, and Fred Thompson, and just as it did in 1988 when then Vice President George H. W. Bush found himself in third place behind Bob Dole and Christian Broacast Network founder, Rev. Pat Robertson.  And it will probably matter as much in 2012 as it did in 1980 when George H. W. Bush defeated Ronald Reagan in that year’s caucus.

The start of the real race won’t occur until January 21st.  It is then that South Carolina’s primary will set up the race between Mitt Romney and one other candidate as they race moves on to Florida which holds its primary on January 31st.  And it is Florida which will produce the best indication of who the ultimate nominee is likely to be.

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