October 27, 2007
GOP Presidential Round-up

Some interesting news from the campaign trail this week...

Fred Barnes says it's a two man race, similar to what I've said before that in the state-by-state process that actually constitutes the nomination process, only Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney control their own destinies. John McCain, Fred Thompson, and most definitely Mike Huckabee do not.

Yes, that means no good scenario for Ron Paul, but Paulites rejoice! He's making a serious effort in New Hampshire thanks to his Internet millions, including this mailer. The question is how much of a spoiler will he play?

Meanwhile, Mike Huckabee is enjoying a gluttonous round of gratuitously favorable press coverage, sending the hearts of his supporters a flutter with rising national poll numbers. Though it comes with fair warning, when Gail Collins of the New York Times and Jonathan Alter of Newsweek (he of circa 2000 man crush on John McCain fame) are writing glowing things about a GOP candidate, that probably means a conservative backlash is coming. Sure enough, John Fund and the Club for Growth have begun to tell the other side of the tale. It's probably only a matter of time, with little over two months before the Iowa caucuses, before the latter starts pounding Huckabee over the airwaves.

Speaking of the airwaves, there's a bit of an odd void right now. As this discussion regarding New Hampshire illustrates, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Bill Richardson, Chris Dodd, and Joe Biden have all been on the air at some point in the early states. On the GOP side, Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson are still silent, which becomes more peculiar as the year progresses. Meanwhile, John McCain and Mitt Romney are on the air with some pretty good ads:

These ads are particularly effective because they fall into the genre where opponents can only respond something like this: "Well, but you see...well...[grumble]...alright, it's a good ad," then try to change the subject.

Why does that matter? It's actually getting awfully close to the actual primaries. For all the buzz a while back around a poll showing Giuliani closing in on Romney in New Hampshire, Romney has quietly reopened a notable lead thanks to Thompson's absence of traction and McCain fighting with Giuliani over many of the same voters. A candidate can only leave a major venue unfought for so long with crunch time approaching if they hope to achieve a strong showing.

Finally, as the closing sprint before the fast-and-furious pace of state primary contests begins, we are reminded by this good post that despite all the attention paid to this race thus far, even many likely primary voters haven't tuned into the contest in full.

Thus, many assumptions that have been made about candidates and their standing with the voters may turn out to have been wildly incorrect. In retrospect, that may turn out to be a major reason why the earnest analysis by the punditocracy of the latest national poll or latest little kerfuffle on the campaign trail may turn out to be simply wrong. In short: it's barely a couple months from game time and yet we still don't know all that much about how most voters are actually going to respond to the candidates and their campaigns.

UPDATE: here's Ron Paul's ad in New Hampshire. I'll say this, they didn't waste any money on production costs. I don't see where it will do much to move voters in a Republican primary.

UPDATE II: McCain continues to perplex, saying he may vote against AG nominee Michael Mukasey...as if conservatives needed another reminder of his unreliability on nomination matters.

Meanwhile, the Romney and Giuliani campaigns may well be pleased that it sure looks like McCain is making a play at a decent showing in Iowa (between sending more pricey mail and bringing on more staff). Neither camp will rue McCain spending a significant chunk of his limited resources outside of New Hampshire.

Posted by Eric Earling at October 27, 2007 03:22 PM | Email This
1. I'm starting to here some pretty disturbing things about Ron Paul. He has an association with an extreme right wing web organization that supports 9/11 "truthers", holocaust denyers and other wacko, black helicopter type stuff. I'm not saying that he agrees with them but he does have an association that he should have severed a long time ago. At best he has a tin political ear for keeping the relationship at worst he is a closet wacko that thinks Bush knew about 9/11 beforehand. Either way it's not good.

I say stick a fork in 'im and let the candidates with a chance take the stage.

Posted by: G Jiggy on October 27, 2007 08:12 PM
2. G Jiggy, I'm sorry you have been "gettin' jiggy with" the truth. Ron Paul is not a 9/11 truther. He has said that many times and in many places. The NY Times also smears him with similar tactics. It is guilt by association and an invalid argument.

Ya know, there were a lot of black helicopter types who voted for Reagan and Bush. Smearing the candidate by his supporters is a form of guilt by association. You are spreading stuff that the extreme left has made up about him, to stem the losses from the Hillary campaign by all those lefties who are unhappy that Hillary supports the war.

I think that getting smeared by the NY Times is a plus for a Republican. It sort of says you are a threat, and are being taken seriously.

Eric, I loved your article. Great job!

It is good to see that Ron Paul is now coming in 4th in the national polls, and it is great to see he is beating Fred Thompson in NH. I loved the mailers Ron Paul sent in NH. I think that as he spends the $5 million he raised in the third quarter, his popularity will continue to rise.

I really like the fact that Ron Paul is pointing out how the other candidates are not following the Constitution. This used to be a point of pride among Republicans. He could really return the Republican Party to the principles it should stand for.

There was a sign-waving event for Ron Paul at Greenlake today. I have yet to see signs for any other Republican candidate in Washington.

Go, Ron Paul!

Posted by: Bruce Guthrie on October 27, 2007 08:27 PM
3. Huckabee is a rising star. He will win the nomination.

Posted by: Oscar on October 27, 2007 10:42 PM
4. Nice try, G Jiggy.

Posted by: Geronimo on October 27, 2007 10:54 PM
5. Jiggy,
Please stop with the "kooky conservative" stuff. They try it with Buchanan, Paul, Keyes, and many others. It won't work, because we've been hearing it from the left for years. If you want to vote for Giuliani or Thompson, go ahead. But don't slander honest, decent men in the process.

Keep thinking positive. Mike's a good man. In fact, I only disagree with him on two major issues: His support of government services (and college loans) for illegal immigrants, and his continued support of the occupation of Iraq. He's a man of integrity, which is why the media will fight him the entire way.

Posted by: Kyle Brotherton on October 27, 2007 11:20 PM
6. Bruce, right on. As many know, I do not in any way support Paul for President, but he is no Truther. It's a completely bogus charge.

Oscar: Huckabee is the biggest liberal on the Republican side. Even bigger than Giuliani, I think. Yes, he is a "social" conservative, but he's a big-government statist. Or if he's not, his rhetoric sure is: as President he wants to fix health care, fix education, fix all our everyday problems. Count me out. We already had a governor from Hope, Arkansas who promised to fix all our problems, and I wish we hadn't.

Posted by: pudge on October 27, 2007 11:40 PM
7. Brotherton, Geronimo and Guthrie;
You boys have got to learn how to read. I said, "He has an association with an extreme right wing web organization . . . " and he does. He writes articles for it. That's an association. I didn't say that he believed what they espouse. If I did, show me.

I also said: "I'm not saying that he agrees with them but he does have an association that he should have severed a long time ago." And he should if they are as goofy as I have read (that's the "truthers" and whatnot).

I like what Ron Paul has said too. A month or so ago I thought he was the guy and said so to many others I know (not here at SP though I believe). But I am starting to change my mind based on other things I'm hearing. That's all I was writing about and it's pretty clear.

I wrote a technology post awhile back and talked about how the brain controls what the eye sees. Obvious details are completely missed because the brain can selectively focus the eye. I think you boys have a little of that going on. Read my post again.

The fact is that if Paul gets the nod for the GOP, the media is going to rip him a new one 24/7/365 (with the help of the Hillary machine feeding it daily press releases). They will dig for the dirtiest dirt they can find and even being in the same airspace as a "truther" or holocaust denyer is a pretty big target.

Posted by: G Jiggy on October 27, 2007 11:41 PM
8. Jiggy,
By your logic (and I'm using that word loosely), pretty much every person has "an association" with some evil entity. Jesus had an association with some thieves and prostitutes. Sean Hannity has an association with a liberal communist. You can soften it all you want; but your statement was, at best, misleading - at worst, slanderous.

BTW, I'm not aware of many websites that have exclusive Ron Paul content. Unless you're referring to LewRockwell.com or House.gov. Most sites just copy and paste articles he's written. So you may also be mistaken about that, can't say for sure.

Posted by: Kyle Brotherton on October 28, 2007 12:07 AM
9. "Thus, many assumptions that have been made about candidates and their standing with the voters may turn out to have been wildly incorrect. In retrospect, that may turn out to be a major reason why the earnest analysis by the punditocracy of the latest national poll or latest little kerfuffle on the campaign trail may turn out to be simply wrong. In short: it's barely a couple months from game time and yet we still don't know all that much about how most voters are actually going to respond to the candidates and their campaigns."

That is the truest part of all. I still remember how the media crowned Howard Dean king of the Democrats all through the lead up and then helped tear him down. That is the media's specialty these days, to annoint and then destroy. It is a cynical game to generate reader/viewership. People understand that and it is specifically why most don't pay much attention to the punditocracy.

So Eric, if punditocricizing (like jazzercising but with political prose instead of jazz) is your thing, hey have fun. At least you recognize and acknowledge that a few months from now we all may look back at these series of threads and realize how off-base the predictions were. Or perhaps we will look back an recognize you for being the sage.

Posted by: pbj on October 28, 2007 01:18 AM
10. My favorite of the warmongers tactic is G Jiggy's:

"I used to be a Ron Paul supporter, but [insert latest smear attack] has turned me away. I'm just saying."

It does two things:

1. It spreads the smear

2. Gives the impression that they had seriously considered Ron Paul from an unbiased viewpoint in an attempt to appeal to those new people looking into him.

Well, G Jiggy, if you WERE a Ron Paul supporter, I imagine you had to have read up on him pretty well to become one since the media isn't giving you the information. And if you had, you would ALREADY have known his positions. You would have ALREADY known about the slanderous attacks (none of it is new, just brought back out now that he is getting attention.) All of it has been answered to, every last bit of it. If you WERE a Ron Paul supporter, you would have known this. Also, if you WERE a Ron Paul supporter, you would have a bit more fortitude than you show, because it has been the case from the very beginning that certain people were going to use these smears. You would have been prepared to deal with it.

But, you know, the WAY you word your "I'm just saying" and the specific language you use betrays your whole tactic. You use the jargon, etc.. of the smear artists. Nobody is buying it.

You would think this would become obvious to you morons when Ron Paul just keeps climbing in donations, polls, and volunteers. It isn't working. But, just like the Iraq war that you goosesteppers support, you keep doing things that don't work. And like the Iraq war, the people are simply NOT buying it.

Thanks for playing.

Posted by: Scott McDonnell on October 28, 2007 03:11 AM
11. The fact is that if Paul gets the nod for the GOP, the media is going to rip him a new one 24/7/365 (with the help of the Hillary machine feeding it daily press releases). They will dig for the dirtiest dirt they can find and even being in the same airspace as a "truther" or holocaust denyer is a pretty big target.

Posted by: G Jiggy on October 27, 2007 11:41 PM

Well, that dirt is a whole lot cleaner than any of the other 'top tier', I'm afraid. Especially when the 'guilt by association' just doesn't work. So... Americans, both savory and unsavory support Ron Paul in their individual capacities. I mean, these people voted for someone before, didn't they?

You are an amateur at this game if you think it actually might work. I can guess you next tactic is to have a few more of your buddies come here, pretend to be indifferent and back up what you say to give an appearance that it is 'catching on.' Don't waste your time. The only people it is 'catching on' with are people that have been attacking Ron Paul all along. YOU have dirtied it by having all the originating sources cover it at the beginning being totally biased in the first place. All we need to do is show people where the attacks are coming from.

Do you REALLY want to start a war with the truth?

Posted by: Scott McDonnell on October 28, 2007 03:19 AM
12. Stuck in a loop:

This is what I see, and it is amusing. We have these jokers working in small groups to go on blogs and pretend to be completely unrelated people to give the impression that something is 'catching on.' The problem is that their confirmation that it is 'working' is another group of people unrelated to the first group using the same tactic.

You know what, idiots, when you form a group of people that buy into the same BS, another group that buys into the same BS will agree with you. Indifferent people will actually look for themselves.

This is like a coworker I had once. When him and I would get into an argument about something and he couldn't support his end, he would go and sell his view and poll everyone else around us. Then, he would come back and use the 'my view is the popular view' approach to winning. It didn't make him very happy when I just laughed at him. But, oddly enough, he just kept doing it.

There is a major difference between winning and being right. I would think Ron Paul supporters (being that they are supporting an underdog) would know that being right is more important than winning. And that those that are wrong will destroy themselves in their quest to "win."

What you are selling, noone is buying except from those that collect it in the first place and that customer base is finite and is the minority. They were never going to support Ron Paul in the first place and are just looking for a group to join. I liken it to building an island and filtering it out so only like-minded people come to live on the island. It's called isolation folks, and I for one hope you keep doing it. Much easier to knock you down when you are grouped together than when you stand apart.

Hmm... you guys are operating like splinter cells. What other group of politically minded terr.. er, people work that way?

Move along.

Posted by: Scott McDonnell on October 28, 2007 03:42 AM
13. There is no need to make anything up about what Ron Paul says. What comes out of his pie hole at debates is more then sufficient. The moonbats have Lyndon Larouche. Republicans have Ron Paul.

Posted by: Attila on October 28, 2007 08:51 AM
14. pbj -

Thanks, I think. Though I'm not sure where I've any predictions on such topics. I offer commentary and tell it like I see it based on the information available, but I'm not in the business of making predictions. Politics, especially the current GOP nomination race, is too volatile to do that with much credibility.

Posted by: Eric Earling on October 28, 2007 08:53 AM
15. Someplace in a room, Demo leaders are raisng their glasses

Rudei or Romney is like chocolate vs. strawberry, as far as the Dem candidate is concerned. Either one betokens serious sinjury to the Rep party .. not just at the WH, but at the SH.

There IS an answer, if not for Prexy for local government ...

Piyushnabu "Bobby" Jindal

Gov. Jindal is all that most Republicans are not ... academically advanced (Rhodes), realistic, critical of corruption by both parties.

That is the sort of candidate WA state Reps need. Unless Dino divorces Guzzo (it may be too late) Dino's l;ast name might as well be Saur.

Posted by: SeattleJew on October 28, 2007 10:17 AM
16. It is really amazing the GOP made it this far without our local liberals to tell us how to win elections.

Posted by: pbj on October 28, 2007 12:41 PM
17. Eric good summary.
It is disappointing however to see the Republican choices coming down to Guiliani versus Romney. If that is the case, then let's hope for Romney to take charge. There is no way for Guiliani to win against Hillary, and the way it looks like right now the rest of the Democratic field is handing the cornination over to Hillary.

I don't think Huckabee will come through, much to the disappointment of the value voters last week. His problem is there is too many others to climb over.

It is also unfortunate that McCain stumbled so badly this year, however, his stumble started when he started sucking up to Bush four years ago. He was better as an independent, maverick candidate, than trying to potray himself as an establishment candidate.

Posted by: tc on October 28, 2007 02:22 PM
18. I gotta say, you boys sure know how to wind yourselves up. I heard what I heard from a good conservative source. I "reported" (for lack of a better term) it here and you numbskulls go bugf*cky. I tried to put into somewhat neutral terms but you guys wouldn't have anything to do with that. Noooo. You made up all sorts of BS from that post. None of what you said I wrote is in my original post. You made it all up. Either that of you can't read. Talk about a slam-shut mind. You boys take the cake.

Me, I'm going to check into it a little further to see how true it really is. But I guess that's a little to much for you screwballs because insinuation is so much easier.

Good bye.

Posted by: G Jiggy on October 28, 2007 04:50 PM
19. tc says "There is no way for Guiliani to win against Hillary"

Take note tc: The latest Rasmussen head to head poll shows Giuliani beating Hillary by 2 percentage points. No other Republican candidate beats or ties her. Rudy beats her in North Carolina and Ohio and Florida. No other Repuplican leads her in as many critical states. So why exactly do you say he cannot win over Hill and what makes you think Romney will get a better election result?

Posted by: KW64 on October 28, 2007 07:36 PM
20. Yaaaaaawn!

Elect the broad, Jacque.

Posted by: Jericho on October 28, 2007 08:25 PM
21. One more time...You people and the Republicans who are obsessing over Hillary are playing right into their hands - don't you get it ? They want you to raise her up and Republican presidential candidates mentioning them in every other sentence when campaigning. A recent poll said that 50% would never vote for Hillary under any circumstances - which is nice, but see what it is 9 months from you - alot can change.

Instead of obsessing over what the Clinton;s will do, all the Republican candidates need to start talking about what you will do - OR expect to lose in the Presidential sweepstakes respectively. That's the way it is - either change the course of debate or fall flat on your face. To win, he will have to outsmart the opposition, which won't be easy - nuff said. The Republicans have a complex of being the "stupid party" while the Democrats are the "sneaky party" and that was never more apparent when Clinton was President. It's time to frame the debate instead of obsessing over the other side.

At this time, more voters would be in favor of raising taxes- some (not as much as Rangel is proposing) than continued tax cuts, with a balanced budget agenda. The Republicans had also better get a clue about striving for a balanced budget instead of the customary borrow and spend. This is thanks to the past 7+ years of fiscal socialism by the Bush Administration that has been accentuated by the Democrat controlled congress - but it was bad before 2006.

Posted by: KS on October 28, 2007 08:32 PM
22. KW64:
To think this poll or that poll proves your point is today. There are also polls that show Guiliani losing to Hillary. The problem with any national poll regarding potential matchups is there small sample size and the fact that they are not a state-by-state poll. Polls dealing with primaries are more accurate at this point.

The problem Guiliani has nationally is two-fold. First is how does he encourage religious right to vote. He can't do this on an anti-Hillary position, alone. It will discourage the turn-out of the religious right. A second bigger factor, given the first, is he will lose (possibly big) the women vote. This is one thing Hillary has going for her. If you look at how Bush won narrowly each time, it is these two groups, especially the women vote (where he was a lot closer to equal than expected) where he made up the difference. It is not only making up the difference, it is making up the difference in the right states. For example, between Guiliani and Hillary, who takes New York and its electoral votes. Guiliani's treatment of his second wife will be an issue. I surprised so many here are so readily dismissive of it. Guiliani is strong in the primaries where Hillary is strong. To beat Hillary, one needs to be strong where Hillary isn't strong. You underestimate her strengths.

Posted by: tc on October 28, 2007 08:51 PM
23. Eric: I offer commentary and tell it like I see it based on the information available, but I'm not in the business of making predictions.

You predicted many times that Turk would not win, and even gave a vote percentage threshold you said he would not breach.

Posted by: pudge on October 29, 2007 09:22 AM
24. I have given up any hope of Ron Paul winning the nomination. I would love to see him have a good showing in the primaries and garner enough support to run as an independent in the general. It would be an interesting election with Rudy, Hillary and Ron Paul. Paul would be running to the left of Hillary on the war and to the right of Rudy on the social issues. In a long drawn out campaign with the two parties nominating divisive candidates I could see Paul as an attractive alternative to many voters.

Posted by: RF on October 29, 2007 05:39 PM
25. Yes, TC Hill will carry women but some polls show her losing male democrats enough to make up for it. I think after the primaries, the leaders on the right that are threatening to walk out in order to cause Giuliani to lose the primary will switch postions and tell their followers to back him since he is better than Hill. I cannot prove that but listen to Babtist Minister Mike Huckabee rail about Hill and it is hard to believe the evangelical won't come out against her even if not "for" Rudy.

I also agree that much of Rudy's strength is that he holds the margin in Blue states down relative to how badly Bush lost but he could nip off a few as well. He is not far behind in several of them such as Pennsylvania where he is very close.

Posted by: KW64 on October 29, 2007 06:17 PM
26. pudge -

Yes, thanks, I have said as much on that race. The point of the exchange between pbj and I was specifically on this post and my other work on the Presidential race, as the context of the exchange seems to make pretty clear. Moreover, outside of the Sno. Co. Exec race I don't recall another outright prediction I've made. I could be wrong, but I hate making public predications for a lot of reasons in politics and that's my general rule.

Posted by: Eric Earling on October 29, 2007 09:42 PM
27. Those polls are a joke. Giuliani's 2% victory is well within the margin.

Anyway, if the choice is Rudy or Hillary, the respondents are probably just flipping a coin to decide.

Posted by: Kyle Brotherton on October 30, 2007 03:52 PM
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