An Interesting Straw Poll
By Kevin Rex Heine, Section News
And it's one that Ron Paul didn't win, either. (In fact, he didn't even come close.)
Last Sunday (December 18th), the Tea Party Patriots held a tele-forum town hall conference with over 23,000 people nationwide participating. An introduction was provided by Emery McClendon, Julianne Thompson, Herman Cain, and Steve King. Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, and Rick Santorum were all on the call and answered a series of identical questions. (The links, by the way, are to the audio of the introduction and of each candidate's participation.)
Apparently, toward the end of the forum, a poll was conducted (in which 4,000 of the listeners participated). The results are . . . interesting.
I wasn't able to participate in this particular event, nor have I yet been able to track down anyone who did, but it appears that the poll had two parts: One part being which of the seven candidates the responders are currently supporting in the primary, and the other part being a "level of enthusiasm" for each of the seven candidates listed.
The current support, among those who responded, broke down like this (margin of error +/- 1.59%):
That's right, ladies and gents, only Jon Huntsman had a greater "hold my nose" factor than Ron Paul's 64% (well above Mittens, whose stinker rating didn't exceed 20%). And, of course, within the five hours following the story regarding the poll being published on the Atlantic Wire, legions of REP supporters lit up forums all over the Internet complaining to high heaven that this poll must have been rigged, or that the TPP has sacrificed all credibility, or that it isn't appropriate to hold a straw poll at the close of a forum, or any one of dozens of other memes. The reason for this virulent blowback? Apparently the fact that Dr. No didn't win a straw poll.
Robert Morris on Hammer of Truth goes so far as to accuse the TPP and the Atlantic Wire of manufacturing tea party dissent against REP. (It was from the comments section of this article that I learned that not all of those listening in on the conference call were voting in the poll.) Again, the fact that he finished a distant fifth is apparently all the justification that the REP supporters need to cry foul.
First, Jenny Beth Martin made it clear during the introduction that seven of the GOP presidential candidates (excepting only Gary Johnson) had been invited to participate. However, the campaigns of Ron Paul, Rick Perry, and Jon Huntsman cited scheduling conflicts as reason for non-participation. As we have seen here at various senate candidate forums in Michigan, non-participation in an event to which you were invited will negatively impact your score in a straw poll based on that event, scheduling conflict or not.
Second, Mr. Morris seems to not quite grasp the probability that there are people in the nationwide tea party movement who just might have legitimate questions about the viability of Ron Paul as the republican nominee to unseat Barack Obama.
Let's look at that for a bit, shall we?
Some REP detractors cite the overt racism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, and conspiracy-mongering rampant in a series of newsletters published under Ron Paul's name from about 1978 to about 2001. James Kirchick went into some detail about these letters in a January 2008 article in the New Republic, and his article has been cited at least twice in the past two weeks (Jonathan Chait of New York News & Features and Michael Brendan Dougherty of Business Insider). Mr. Chait seems content to pick up where Mr. Kirchick left off, while Mr. Dougherty does a bit of honest investigative journalism and comes up with plenty of evidence that debunks any claim that Ron Paul personally wrote those works. (The fact that Justin Raimondo picked apart Kirchick's credibility, and that Nelson Linder, president of the Austin chapter of the NAACP, also provided his own personal experience that debunks the bigotry allegations might also be considered useful.)
No, Michael Doughtry's main point is one that anyone considering how to vote in the presidential primary ought to consider: It's very difficult to accept that Ron Paul, who was the president and named partner of a million-dollar-a-year operation, would have zero knowledge of neo-confederate articles being distributed in publications bearing his name on the masthead. And if his management style is so laissez-faire that he can't seem to be bothered to police the people who use his name, allowing key subordinates to fly their freak flag at will, then what inferences should we draw about his likely management style should he actually be nominated and then elected? That question absolutely needs to be answered . . . yesterday.
Oh, and don't think for one second that the race card is going back in the deck anytime soon, debunked or not. Now that REP is positioned to actually win Iowa, the mainstream media (such as the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, Reuters, NPR, and FOX) isn't going to let up on these newsletters at all. And the CNN interview-interruptus (full video available at Breitbart TV), is triggering all manner of "ron paul racist" Google searches. Yeah, given that the media elites absolutely trashed Herman Cain based on "evidence" and "testimony" that would never stand up in an actual courtroom, what do you think they're going to do with twenty-odd years worth of actual, publicly available, documentation? Do you think that the smear artists are going to pass up a legitimate shot at playing the race card?
Now see, here all along REP and his ardent supporters have been demanding that the "captured media" take his campaign seriously. And so, now that the polls in a key early state indicate that he ought to be taken seriously, the media has abandoned all discussion of his policy platform and political positions and instead focused on digging up as much dirt as humanly possible, as well as making those newsletters the focus of every single story that even tangentially mentions him. Yeah, maybe it'll ultimately be an exercise in futility, but I wouldn't bet on it.
Merry Christmas, Doctor Paul; the media now takes your campaign seriously.
I haven't sat through all of the footage of the debates that have taken place so far (I will get to that during the holiday break), but I'm curious as to when, if at all, REP ever went after BHO by name or even by obvious reference. I'll be double-checking to make sure that I'm not missing anything, but I seem to recall that REP spent more time going after his own party than going after the incumbent. The last I checked, securing the republican nomination is going to involve currying some minimal favor with the party establishment, or at the very least not using their cereal bowls as your personal urinal.
I don't necessarily disagree with all of REP's foreign policy positions (Benjamin Netanyahu seems to think that Israel is perfectly capable of taking care of itself just fine, thank you), but not all of them, and not even most of them. For example, in that same video that I just linked to, Netanyahu makes it pretty clear that a hands-off approach in dealing with Iran is not a good idea. Likewise, while I agree that the United States shouldn't be sticking our nose into the world's business at will, power abhors a vacuum. If we're not going to be available to deal with rouge nations when necessary, then who do you propose do it? While I certainly agree that we don't need all of them, there's a reason that we have certain military bases strategically located overseas; closing down the ones we really need would be a bad idea.
In attempting to secure the republican nomination, and by extension the presidency, Ron Paul seeks something that has been accomplished only one other time in American history. James Garfield has the unique distinction of being simultaneously a sitting congressman and a president-elect. In addition to combat command (during the Civil War), Garfield also had some significant legislative success to claim . . . and he didn't even want the nomination in the first place! So here's the question: Does Ron Paul, who is actively seeking to become the second sitting congressman to simultaneously become president-elect, have either significant executive experience or legislative success on his resume?
Well, I suppose that you could count that publishing endeavor as executive experience; but, as we've already discussed, I'm not sure that actually speaks well of REP's management style. As for legislative success . . .
According to the biographical information in Ronald Ernest Paul, his tenure as a Representative from Texas will be 22 years and 9 months when he retires from office in January of 2013. Notable legislative accomplishments include helping prohibit: funding for national identification numbers, funding for federal teacher certification, International Criminal Court jurisdiction over the U.S. military, American participation with any U.N. global tax, and surveillance of peaceful First Amendment activities by citizens. We can also credit REP, at least partially, with significantly changing the tone of discussion in Congress to one that focuses on constitutionality.
Still, in my opinion (which I freely admit that many do not share), that lack of significant credible executive experience is a deal-breaker . . . at least while there are other viable options available in the primaries.
One final point is raised by Jonah Goldberg of TownHall, and that is that REP has a somewhat naïve view of what real leadership is. Evidently, Paul and his supporters seem to believe that his inauguration will somehow magically convince a notoriously stubborn legislature to see the light and vote in every single plank of the C4L platform. Nope, sorry, that's not how leadership actually works.
"Leadership isn't about power and authority; it's about influence, inspiration, and integrity. If you don't have those three, all the power on the planet isn't worth a Confederate Dollar. If you do have those three, then you can have less official power than the Lieutenant Governor and you'll still accomplish great things." (KRH - 20 Jan 2011)
Yes, that quote is one of my originals. (And I have 13 years of military leadership and a management degree with which to back it up.) Feel free to use it if you wish; all I ask is that you accurately cite the source.
The point is that being an effective chief executive has nothing to do with the power and authority of the office. Rather, in the case of a POTUS, executive effectiveness is directly proportional to the executive's ability to persuade the necessary congressional majority to see things his way. While no one that I know seriously challenges the fact of REP's constitutional integrity (though many question the perfection of it), his ability to influence and inspire is a whole different question.
Honestly, if REP were all that and a bag of chips, as his supporters seem to stridently insist (OFTEN IN ALL CAPS), why are we still on a fiat currency? Why does congress still insist on deficit spending? Why is the U. S. still deeply involved in the UN, WTO, and NATO? Why do we still dole out welfare benefits to illegal aliens? Why do we have the "alphabet agencies" sticking the federal government's nose into every aspect of our lives? Why does the Federal Reserve still exist?
For that matter, as Goldberg points out, why is there no Ron Paul Caucus in the U. S. House of Representatives?
So, before I wrap this up, let's see what we have here so far, shall we:
As I've already said, Ron Paul is currently positioned to actually win Iowa (though within the margin of error). However, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Florida are going to be an entirely different story. In fact, on the entire republican primary schedule, I will be very surprised indeed if REP wins any state that isn't a caucus state. Including Iowa, I'll cede that 9 states from New Year's Day through Super Tuesday within REP's reach, but I think that the 13 states that are actual primaries are probably not states he'll carry.
(Though, apparently, the Virginia Super Tuesday matchup will be a Paul vs. Romney head-to-head contest, so I may be dead wrong here.)
Caucuses are, by design, heavily dependent on a candidate's in-state ground game, and of the republican candidates, I don't think that anyone has a precinct-by-precinct ground game like the C4L. But primaries are another matter entirely, and they're much more like an actual election in that they rely more on name recognition and overall GOTV efforts. In those states, REP's chances seem much more in line with his nationwide polling numbers, which currently have him in a distant third.
I think that it probably has something to do with the reality that the mainstream primary voters are looking at the same six points that I'm looking at, and are asking the same questions that I am. And if those voters are asking those questions, then it shouldn't be too much of a surprise that REP can't score better than a distant fifth in a spam-proofed straw poll based on an forum that he chose to not participate in.
An Interesting Straw Poll | 12 comments (12 topical, 0 hidden)
An Interesting Straw Poll | 12 comments (12 topical, 0 hidden)
Related Links+ introducti on was provided
+ Mitt Romney
+ Newt Gingrich
+ Michele Bachmann
+ Rick Santorum
+ published on the Atlantic Wire
+ manufactur ing tea party dissent
+ went into some detail about these letters
+ Jonathan Chait of New York News & Features
+ Michael Brendan Dougherty of Business Insider
+ picked apart Kirchick's credibility
+ provided his own personal experience
+ New York Times
+ Chicago Tribune
+ CNN interview-interruptus
+ available at Breitbart TV
+ would never stand up in an actual courtroom
+ policy platform
+ political positions
+ ultimately be an exercise in futility
+ debates that have taken place so far
+ perfectly capable of taking care of itself
+ Ronald Ernest Paul
+ Jonah Goldberg of TownHall
+ positioned to actually win Iowa
+ New Hampshire
+ South Carolina
+ republican primary schedule
+ Virginia Super Tuesday matchup
+ nationwide polling numbers
+ Also by Kevin Rex Heine