1 Year Ago Today, Paul Ryan Announced He Would Not Run for President

  Bookmark and Share  What a difference a year makes.

About a year ago the G.O.P. seemed to be in an endless and desperate search for a presidential nominee that had many wondering if Republicans would ever be able to find someone they could enthusiastically get behind.   The political world was still a buzz over Michele Bachmann’s victory in the Ames Straw Poll  which resulted in Tim Pawlenty ending his candidacy and withdrawing from the race.  We were also talking about the potential of Texas Governor Rick Perry who announced his candidthe presidential the day before Pawlenty dropped out of it.

Yet many Republicans were still holding out for someone else to surprise us with their candidacy and win us over.  The media’s talking points were that Bachmann was too nuts, Santorum and Cain were too dangerous,  Romney would not be able to overcome his creation of Romneycare, Newt Gingrich was too extreme and undisciplined, Perry was to closely associated to George W. Bush, and the others were just not known or liked enough to be in serious contention.  So many Republicans were looking for a White Knight.  We had urged people like John  Thune and Mike Pence to run but Thune decided to forego the race and Pence decided to run for Governor of Indiana.   Some were urging names like Sarah Palin, Mitch Daniels, Haley Barbour, and Chris Christie to come forward and save the day.  Others, including myself, were urging House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan to run.

Then suddenly exactly one year ago today, Congressman Ryan released the following statement;

“I sincerely appreciate the support from those eager to chart a brighter future for the next generation. While humbled by the encouragement, I have not changed my mind, and therefore I am not seeking our party’s nomination for President. I remain hopeful that our party will nominate a candidate committed to a pro-growth agenda of reform that restores the promise and prosperity of our exceptional nation. I remain grateful to those I serve in Southern Wisconsin for the unique opportunity to advance this effort in Congress.”

Just days before this announcement, word was out that Ryan had been giving a run for President some serious consideration and many fiscal conservatives were buoyed by the prospects.  In one post entitled ” Heavy Hitters Urge Paul Ryan to Run for President“, White House 2012 detailed the high praise being offered for Paul Ryan’s potential candidacy from such political luminaries as Mitch Daniels,  Jeb Bush, Bill Bennett and Scott Walker.  And in that same post I wrote;

“If Paul Ryan were to be our Republican presidential nominee, he will begin a national dialogue that will consist of tough truths and sellable solutions, not bumper sticker slogans and hapless hyperbole. If Paul Ryan runs, the question will not be is he ready to do the job, the question will be is America ready for Paul Ryan. We already know that the guy who currently has the job was not ready for it. But I know Paul Ryan is.”

On this day a year ago, Paul Ryan released an announcement that put an end to all the speculation.  He would not be a candidate for President.  But a year later even though Ryan is not not running for President, his vice presidential candidacy is doing exactly what I indicated his presidential candidacy would do.  He has changed the narrative of this election by getting us away from the dialogue of distractions perpetuated by the left and President Obama, and thanks to his expertise, and credibility on matters of fiscal responsibility, Paul Ryan has gotten us to talk instead about those sellable solutions on the economy that he is now promoting on the campaign trail quite well.

In just one year the road to the White House has seen more twists and turns than  England’s famous Longleat Hedge Maze.  Names like Huntsman, Gingrich, and Bachman have become faded footnotes of a nomination contest that few remember with great detail.  Few recall the promise of the Perry candidacy that petered out within a moment of his momentary memory lapse.  Faded memories of the derailment of the Cain train over unproven sexual harassment charges have left most Americans asking “Herman who?”  And the past’s surpise surge of Santorum which was rolled back by the consolidation of support for the slow but steady momentum of the Romney campaign has people now wondering if the nomination contest was ever really close.  Now, one year ago to the day that Paul Ryan declared he would not be a candidate for President, Mitt Romney has taken that momentum he had in the primaries and increased its pace by getting Paul Ryan to run for Vice President.

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Three Points and a Poem

Paul’s Talking Points Get Stale

I’ve heard some good three point sermons.  In fact, in my youth I traveled with some pretty good preachers.  Occasionally it would be a preacher who used the same three point sermon at every stop.  Eventually, you know it by heart.  That is how I would describe Ron Paul’s campaign.  We saw it on display last night when a question about sugar subsidies came up.  Paul’s answer basically began with “Well, with all the wars out there, and economic turmoil…”  It reminded me of when he was asked about Medicare Part D.  He fell back to one of his three talking points, the wars, the fed, and smaller government.

Now, I like a lot of Paul’s principles.  But where he is overflowing with principles, he is short on plans.  Paul’s record is one of a loud, dead weight.  His padding bills with pork and then voting against them is really no different than Barack Obama abstaining.  Of course, that is just one of the similarities between Paul and Obama.  Another is an invisible record of legislative accomplishment, masked by the ability to get people to scream, hoot, and yell at political rallies (whether it is his rally or not).

Honestly, the young generation and Ron Paul deserve each other.  I know liberal pro-choicers who are supporting Ron Paul.  He has certainly connected on his talking points and has no problem leading a successful altar call.  Most voters might be satisfied with his answer that we need to focus on ending the wars and then worry about the details of domestic policy, or that he needs to study the issue more which was his second answer on sugar subsidies.  For me, that does not instill confidence.

Dude, where’s Mitt Romney?

Calm, smooth, classy, gracious, these are all words I’ve used in the past to describe Mitt Romney debate performances.  There was none of that in the Tampa debate where Romney stuttered and choked his way through all the attacks he had chided his superpac for running just a week ago.  Romney is full speed ahead on the attack, and in the process losing everything voters like me liked about him for so much of this race.  It’s getting so bad that the establishment is looking for a new candidate, like Mitch Daniels, to dust off and toss back in the ring.  Has it occurred to the establishment that maybe they are  part of the problem?

Romney’s attacks made him sound like a desperate candidate who has run out of ideas.  Honestly, it made him sound like Michele Bachmann.

Iowa Recap

Romney won, Bachmann quit, Santorum is rising, Paul is maintaining his status quo, Newt is struggling, Perry has faith, and Huntsman….who?  Iowa recapped:

Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney won in Iowa. Honestly?  No big deal. Romney will gain momentum from winning, but when people look at the numbers they will realize that if Michele Bachmann wasn’t in the race, Santorum would have won comfortably.  If Santorum wasn’t in the race, Newt and Perry probably would have both outpolled Romney.  In Iowa, he got his fiscal conservatives and the social conservatives split the rest.  But it’s not all bad for Romney.  In fact, while Romney may have come to a predictable finish, he won by choosing his opponent.  Gingrich was a shoe in to win Iowa barely more than a week ago.  Instead, Santorum now has the social conservative momentum and Romney should easily win New Hampshire and could win South Carolina.  So Romney’s win is:

Good for: Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum      Bad for: Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, Ron Paul, Michele Bachmann, Jon Huntsman

Rick Santorum

A shocking surprise to some, a mild surprise for others, Santorum has Huckabee’d Iowa.  With a great ground game, time, hard work, and the luck of Newt Gingrich being destroyed by Romney, Inc, Michele Bachmann, and the Republican establishment, Santorum is finally getting his shot at vetting.  Already, he is being called a war monger and “big government conservative”.  But Santorum’s rise may be too late in the game for a vetting process to destroy him.  Many social conservatives have been waiting for a reason to believe that Santorum could win.  From the day he started running the narrative has been that Santorum is simply unelectable on a national scale.  So, Santorum’s second place finish is:

Good for: Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney   Bad for: Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann

Ron Paul

Paul’s third place finish is certainly not what the Paul camp was hoping for.  Ron Paul came very close to breaking free from his libertarian ceiling, but in the end social conservatives showed they would rather take a gamble on the unvetted Rick Santorum instead of giving Ron Paul the ‘turn’ he was starting to experience.  Paul has been passed over as the anti-Romney.  He may be able to turn things around in New Hampshire, but a third or worse finish in New Hampshire should be a clear signal to Paul that the revolution is over.  Paul’s third place finish is:

Good for: Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney  Bad for: Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich

Even if Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann dropped out of the race and split their votes on a pro rata share, Newt would still not have passed Mitt Romney.  The fact is, Romney ran an incredible, strategic dismantling of Newt without even breaking a sweat.  In the meantime, Newt refused to go dishonestly negative, but managed plenty of headlines saying “Newt Goes on the Attack”.  Newt is realizing in time for New Hampshire, he won’t win with a positive campaign.  Can he win with a negative one?  New Hampshire will probably go Romney’s way.  But Newt needs South Carolina.  Without South Carolina, he won’t have the momentum to take Florida and Florida is the key.  So Newt’s dismal fourth place finish is:

Good for: Mitt Romney   Bad for: Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann

Rick Perry

Perry’s fifth place win got him to re-think his campaign.  But with Michele Bachmann choosing to drop out, perhaps Perry thinks he still has hope.  He should have decided to stay in Texas.  Perry’s placing is:

Bad for: Rick Perry

Michele Bachmann

Bachmann barely registered.  Iowa was her last hope to connect with social and evangelical conservatives and she failed.  Fortunately, this provided the wake up call she needed to see the end of the race.  Bachmann has decided to drop out of the race and return to Minnesota.  Unfortunately for Bachmann, she has not built the cult following that Sarah Palin did.  Hopefully she will continue to be a strong voice for the TEA party.

Good for: Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry   Bad for: Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney

As for the other contender, Jon Huntsman’s disrespectful snub of Iowa, especially in light of Romney’s stronger finish in the state and momentum, seals Huntsman’s irrelevancy.

Bachmann’s Presidential TEA Party is Over

  Bookmark and Share    After canceling a planned campaign swing to South Carolina, Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann scheduled a press conference in which she announced that she was suspending her campaign.

Bachmann who won the Ames Straw Poll several months ago, lost the state in it’s first in the nation caucus to all of her rivals except for one, Jon Huntsman, the one candidate who did not campaign in Iowa.

Bachmann began the announcement to suspend her campaign by discussing the great responsibility to defend our republic is and explained that she decided to take responsibility by running for President and that her decision was made on the day that Obamacare was passed.  She described Obamacare as one of the greatest threat to the very foundation of our Republic and that its repeal is her greatest goal.

She promised to consider to fight against President Obama’s socialist agenda, as well as capital cronyism, family, life, and religious liberty.

But Bachmann said that on Tuesday, the people of Iowa spoke loudly and as now she will step aside and support the Republican whom we must all unite behind in order to defeat Barack Obama in November.

What Bachmann did not do is throw her support behind any particular candidate yet.  However her departure from the presidential race begins to cut down on a critical factor behind Mitt Romney’s success in the Republican contest.  With her in  the race, Bachmann helped divide the social conservative voting bloc among at least 4 candidates.  That dilution of the vote helped Romney hammer together his frontrunner status.  But now with her out, a candidate like Rick Santorum who essentially tied with Mitt Romney in Iowa, may benefit the most as he begins to become the candidate that social conservatives begin to coalesce around.

While Bachmann may not immediately throw her support behind a single candidate right now, her own future will probably consist of her filing the paperwork that will make her a candidate for reelection to her Minnesota congressional seat.

While a  prospective Republican candidate to replace Bachmann in the House did step forward, Bachmann supporters and the Minnesota G.O.P. have largely been anticipating a Bachmann reelection effort.  According to the deadlines established on the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website, the filing deadline for Bachmann is May 5, 2012, a date that gave Bachmann plenty of time to pursue her presidential ambitions and still file her candidacy for reelection to Congress if that pursuit failed.  That scenario was predicted by White House 2012 back in October of 2011.

Last night it became clear to Bachmann that her pursuit for the White House did fail, but you can rest assured that Bachmann will not fail the conservative cause as she moves forward.  While her campaign may not have been a been a big success from a strategic standpoint, she performed valiantly and was a ferocious defender of our founding principles who most definitely kept the other candidates on their toes and deserves credit for a job well done.

Bachmann now becomes the second Republican presidential  candidate from Minnesota to fall victim to the voters of neighboring Iowa.  Back in August, when Bachmann won the Ames Straw Poll, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty’s own poor showing led him to end his presidential campaign a day later.

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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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Iowa Last Minute Insanity

Ron Paul Buys Bachmann’s Campaign Chair

Bachmann campaign chair in Iowa, Kent Sorensen, has jumped ship as Bachmann becomes the latest candidate to contract the deadly disease AIDES.  AIDES (former aides to be exact) have already helped bring down Herman Cain’s campaign and have hurt Newt Gingrich’s campaign.  Now, with Sorensen opting for the bigger paycheck at the Paul campaign, Bachmann looks like a jury member on Survivor trying to pontificate about injustice, honor, lies and blindsides.  Welcome to politics.

Huntsman Disses Iowa

“They pick corn in Iowa. They pick presidents in New Hampshire.” Who would say something like that? Obviously a candidate who knows they have no hope of winning the Iowa caucus, and doesn’t seem to really care about Iowa in the general election either.  Huntsman would have done much better for himself to just say “We are focusing our efforts on New Hampshire.” and leave it at that.  Of course, this may help explain why Huntsman, an only slightly more moderate clone of Mitt Romney on most issues, is barely surviving on the crumbs that fall from Romney’s feast in the polls.

Coulter’s Temporary Insanity

Ann Coulter is in love with Mitt Romney.  And she obviously is no fan of Newt Gingrich.  In recent articles, she has accused Newt of being everything from pro-choice to big government, to being behind the bailouts of Freddie Mac.  Of course, all of this is Bachmann style campaign hyperbole and exaggeration at best.  Then Coulter let out a real shocker: she prefers Ron Paul to Newt Gingrich.  What??

Somewhere in a closet, the real Ann Coulter is tied up with duct tape over her mouth mumbling for this evil clone to let her out.  Meanwhile, Barack Obama and the media, who have convinced us that only Mitt Romney can beat Obama in 2012, are laughing all the way to re-election while Republicans fall for the same premise they did in 2008: vote for the candidate you think can win, not the candidate you really want.

What else would explain Coulter’s blanket acceptance and love for a former Massachusetts liberal who ran on a pro-choice platform, gave Massachusetts Romneycare, and voted for Paul Tsongas while she is treating a conservative who reformed welfare, reigned in Bill Clinton, and led Republicans to their first majority in the House in 40 years as a raving liberal.  What is it that the rest of us don’t know about Newt Gingrich?

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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