22 December 2011

Uhh.....seriously? Ron Paul??

Was I wrong about Gingrich being more than just another in the dreary succession of not-Romneys whom the Nutty faction of Republicans have rallied round, then found wanting and dumped? Like Bachmann, Trump, Perry, and Cain before him, he's now losing rank-and-file support (at least in Iowa and New Hampshire) as his negatives and Great Dismal Swamp of sleaze become better known. And the leading not-Romney is now -- Ron Paul??

You almost have to feel sorry for these people. I've heard of scraping the bottom of the barrel, but it's just getting ridiculous. Paul has of course been a libertarian cult figure for years, but has never shown much appeal beyond that. The one thing that might make him interesting to the smarter sort of Republican is that he does attract some support from the left, for his opposition to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and so might pull in a few left-leaning voters. But not many liberals are such blind single-issue voters as to support Paul over Obama. Paul has a good stand on one of my own pet issues -- legalization of drugs and prostitution -- but he's basically just another right-wing crank who rejects evolution and global warming science, wants to ban abortion, and would have the government do even less to address the crisis of skyrocketing economic inequality than it already does. His positives in a few areas where libertarianism deviates from the right-wing consensus are just another of those stopped-clock-right-twice-a-day things.

It goes without saying that he'd be a disaster against Obama in the general election. The last thing centrist voters want is someone who wants to cut the government safety net even more than most Republicans. Those racist newsletters are still out there. And on election day he'll be 77 years old, so if age was such an issue for McCain, it certainly will be for him.

How much chance does he have to be the nominee? A lot of his radical-right stands will resonate well with the teabaggers, and unlike many libertarians he's not soft on illegal aliens (the issue that helped sink Perry and has wounded Gingrich), nor does he have the sexual-hypocrisy baggage that so many Republicans carry these days. The fact that he couldn't win in November might not make much impression on a right-wing base more interested in ideological purity. I really can't see it, though. His isolationist approach to foreign policy could easily be portrayed as leaving the US vulnerable (as it, in fact, would). The cultish behavior of his supporters must surely be off-putting even to conservatives of other stripes.

And he doesn't culturally resonate with the Christian Right base the way Bachmann or Perry do. Gingrich is still way ahead of the pack in South Carolina and Florida, states far more typical of the Republicans' stronghold in the South than New Hampshire and Iowa are. Gingrich isn't a true fundie either, but he plays one on TV more convincingly than Paul does.

So I'm betting that it is Paul who will turn out to be just another not-Romney flash in the pan who will quickly fade, while the Nutty faction will continue to coalesce around Gingrich, as the Sanes already have around Romney. Once Paul fades, unless there's a Santorum surge next, it's hard to see where else the Nutties can go.


Blogger Bret Alan said...

A few points where I differ...

I think Paul would have a better chance of beating Obama than anyone, even Romney (I still think Obama would win in either case, as it stands today). I don't think there is such a thing as "centrists" in America, and Paul could easily draw more of the types of voters who would consider voting for Obama, or not at all. What Paul couldn't attract is a certain contingent of the right which is very pro-military, and may lead those Republicans to not vote (and I wonder if those are more than the extra votes he might attract). But yeah, it's laughable to think Paul would even win the nomination.

I could be wrong (I probably am), but I think we'll see one more rise of Perry before Romney wins the nomination. Perry has the most money behind Romney, and I bet he will win one key primary state. I'm still confident it will be Romney who ends up facing Obama, however.

What I think will be most interesting to see is if Paul runs as an independent, which I think he might. He's not running for his house seat next year, so he has nothing to lose. This is basically his last hurrah, and I think he could easily be the Republican Nader in the next election.

22 December, 2011 06:07  
Anonymous NickM said...

Does it amuse you that the Reps are in a tizzy over whether to have "anyone but Obama" or "anyone but Mitt".

A fight for the soul of the Republican Party could make a great new play in the sense of Dr Faustus!

In my darker moments it amuses me greatly. In my lighter ones it makes me despair at the silliness of US politics. Can you really have a country that large and disparate as a de-facto two party state?

Seems mad to me.

22 December, 2011 08:29  
Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

So Paul is the new one, eh? ... Hell, I didnt even know who's up this week. Paul made some interesting point's to me, especially some of the shit he brought up about the defense spending which I recently pointed out for shit's and grin's in a posting, however, I would never vote for him, even if he was inde. I dont now a thing about the race card stuff or much about the cult stuff or him too much period. But back over a decade ago he was in Dallas I think as an inde making a speech and answering question's and stuff, but I attended because my buddy Tim was going, I said "why not" ... after listening to him way back then, I thought, I would not want this man to even run a thing in Texas ... talk about "no" safety net's or whatever ... this dude back then was willing to drop every damn thing there was ... I dont know where he stand's today though. This GOP thing though has really been a freakshow it appear's, I wonder even how may republican's can even have any faith in them with all the recent shenanigan's playing this tax relief game and the stand- off's? But enough from me.

Thanx for the read Infodell ....

22 December, 2011 08:56  
Blogger Beach Bum said...

Ron Paul is a nut but I rather enjoy seeing the republican party going into seizures over his internal popularity.

23 December, 2011 04:09  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

BA: Centrists may not make much noise, but they exist. People strongly committed to a political side are the minority. They tend to write the political blogs and participate in politics, but I think most people are more pragmatic -- "whatever works". Sensible leftists would be turned off Paul by his extreme anti-abortion and anti-government views; mainstream Americans would be turned off by the ideological shrillness and lack of pragmatism those things imply.

NM: It is rather amusing, except for the risk that one of these crackpots could actually become President, as unlikely as that is. That's why I hope the Republicans nominate Romney -- the risk of Obama losing would be somewhat greater, but Romney could actually handle the job, which the rest of these clowns couldn't.

I think the two-party system has served us well by forcing those diverse factions to work within a larger framework and to compromise -- we don't have medium-size third parties cluttering up the government with stupid demands in exchange for joining coalitions (like the religious parties in Israel, say).

RC: I think some people like him because he says what he really thinks, and doesn't pander. It's when you actually listen to what he really thinks that you realize how dangerous he'd be, in power.

BB: I hope they have plenty of seizure meds. If Paul doesn't lead the party over a cliff, Gingrich will be happy to try.

23 December, 2011 04:54  
Blogger okjimm said...

I think that Jerry Ford would be a GOOD GOP candydate.... even if he is dead... he still speaks with more eloquence than this bunch....and Jerry was not very eloquent.

23 December, 2011 10:11  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

I wonder if the Constitution specifically says that being alive is a required qualification for the Presidency. Many, indeed most, deceased individuals would do less harm in the office than some of the Republican aspirants.

23 December, 2011 11:00  
Blogger Jack Jodell said...

We can only hope that the Republicans will keep switching front runners all rhe way up to their convention next summer. That will lead to major divisions in their ranks and will certainly signal a massive defeat for them in all branches of government.

23 December, 2011 13:25  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

If they keep working through front-runners at this rate, by the time of the convention they'll be down to Christine O'Donnell.....Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble.....

23 December, 2011 13:45  
Blogger Leslie Parsley said...

He's not just a crank, he's a very paranoid crank. Here's a link to an article about a 1993 appeal letter where he warns of a race war and assails Israeli lobby. Pretty bizarre.


Here's a copy of the actual letter - a bit long - that was posted by an investigative reporter I know - in real life!


23 December, 2011 13:49  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

LP: Thanks for those links. So the guy has a problem with blacks and Jews -- and apparently gays as well. We've been down that road before, I think.

And -- "An IRS agent with the dead eyes of a mako shark"?? Money that keeps track of you? This stuff is lurid enough for Turner Diaries or Left Behind. In a way it's too bad he won't be the nominee -- I'd love to see what a Democratic opposition-research team could do with such material.

23 December, 2011 16:17  
Blogger godlizard (aka dotlizard) said...

I would not write Ron Paul off. His supporters are some of the most fanatical I've ever seen, and they've all been at it for at least the last 10 years, if not more. And lately their fanatical arguments have resonated with disaffected voters of all political stripes, from the disillusioned Obama hopers all the way to the teabaggy end of the political spectrum. He has a wide appeal to the less-informed liberals, especially those who favor legalizing pot and oppose all types of war.

I wouldn't write him off as a Silly Party candidate just yet.

23 December, 2011 19:58  
Blogger Dusty,Hells most vocal Bitch said...

Love it! You spell it out quite logially and I agree with all of it.

I will send this to my friend who is a liberal but refuses to vote for The Big O come election time next year, which I won't be doing either. We have been having a huge email discussion on Mr RP and his problems, which she blames on the media picking on him LOL.

24 December, 2011 07:54  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

GL: True, but most of this has been true for a very long time. In terms of getting actual votes, Paul doesn't seem able to expand beyond his cultists. Of course, the degree of derangement of the teabaggers does seem to be something new.....

DHMVB: Thanks! The latest link round-up has more on Paul, and don't miss the letter Leslie Parsley linked above.

24 December, 2011 09:10  

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