December 20, 2007
Presidential Race Q&A: Pre-Christmas Edition

How would you characterize the GOP race right now?

It's a scrum. If you're looking for a visual analogy, it matches up pretty well with this delightful careerbuilder.com ad. It's a political brawl and gladiatorial theater all in one.

Anything new happen since the last time we talked?

Lots, actually. Rudy Giuliani has indeed tanked. Mike Huckabee is under a lot of fire but holding up ok, especially in Iowa. Mitt Romney likewise has a bulls-eye on every part of his body. And John McCain really is making a comeback of sorts. Oh, and the Iowa Democratic caucuses are truly up in the air.

That's a lot in five days. How can you be sure about Rudy?

Well, his national numbers keep falling. His once solid lead in his ""firewall" state of Florida is nearly gone, even before the earliest contests have begun. Worse yet, the media herd is starting to write the pre-obituary stories. Rich Lowry started it on the pundit side, now the LA Times, the New York Times, and Time have all taken the same angle. Since the media can be a lagging indicator for these sort of campaign trends that's an awfully bad sign.

Yeah, but what if the results in the first few states are muddled? Can't Rudy marshal is resources for a fight in Florida and February 5th?

I don't think so. Even when he was narrowly beating Romney in the fundraising race in the 2nd and 3rd quarters he wasn't raising Obama and Clinton like money. While he has reasonably well-funded compared to his competitors (minus Romney's personal checkbook), he never had the fundraising befitting a national front runner. And it's not like the money is going to be pouring in now with zip for momentum and increasingly little hope for any from Iowa, New Hampshire, and beyond. Rumor even has it his campaign is running low on cash. I wouldn't totally buy into that yet, but his sudden downsizing in New Hampshire does more to corroborate that rumor than oppose it.

Is anyone else in the top tier having money problems?

Yes. Fred Thompson is almost broke. With a dwindling TV presence and no mail, his bus tour in Iowa is a truly last gasp. Some reviews are good, some aren't. But cash-poor candidates camping out in Iowa is usually a sign of a campaign on its last legs. A late surge is possible, but not terribly likely.

Ok, so does that help Huckabee stay on top in Iowa?

It won't hurt. Huckabee is doing a splendid job of holding his base of Evangelicals, but he's doing precious little to expand it.

That now famous Christmas ad was in one sense a brilliant insulator to please many a current Huckabee supporter, especially in Iowa (where hardball politics remain largely a no, no). On the other hand it simply feeds into the impression that Huckabee isn't a terribly serious candidate, with the agenda to match. It's tough to see the ad moving the needle in New Hampshire and South Carolina too.

Is Huckabee's seriousness a real issue?

Yes, increasingly so. The initial reviews for his Foreign Affairs article we discussed last time weren't good, and good luck finding anything good being said about it in conservative circles since then.

Now, he may be going the Mike McGavick route - no negative advertising. That's a huge risk. Huckabee's late rise means that while he's been riding a wave of good press, voters don't actually know much about him, especially compared to the other major candidates. His competitors are more than happy to fill in the gaps for voters under those circumstances. If his response is more fluff that's not going to blunt the knife of his opponents, and the press, defining him to voters instead of his campaign doing its own work.

I guess that makes sense. But can't Huckabee fight back via the press, where he 's getting ample airtime?

Of course, as he should. But he's increasingly whining with an Evangelicals versus the rest of the world mentality that again, doesn't help him expand his base. Moreover, it's increasingly irritating other conservatives.

Do Evangelicals and other like-minded people share Huckabee's view of that?

Some do. See for example Rod Dreher's remarks on the matter. He seems to believe the conservative establishment isn't being consistent about not liking Huckabee while supposedly being ok with Rudy. The problem with that argument is Dreher must have been out of the country when, just for starters, people like James Dobson and Tony Perkins said Rudy Giuliani was absolutely unacceptable. He must also have missed when his old bosses at the National Review rejected Giuliani and embraced Mitt Romney, as have other conservative leaders like Paul Weyrich and David Keane. That's not exactly the warm and fuzzy embrace of Giuliani Dreher portrays.

Jim Geraghty probably has the best big picture summation of the topic: it's just the natural tension of the party primary season with all the usual friction between factions of the coalition (which affects both parties). That doesn't make it any prettier though, or totally mitigate what will inevitably be some hurt feelings by the end of things.

So what is going to happen at the end?

That depends in large part on who wins. And that is really up in the air right now.

What do the polls say?

That things are chaotic. I'm close to ignoring the pollster.com averages from this point forward because their design limits their short-term reaction to recent shifts in polling. Given that we're reaching the volatile closing portion of the campaign where voter support can shift quickly - especially as the primaries themselves unfold in succession - the snapshot averages at RealClearPolitics are a better bet. Make sure to keep an eye on the averages themselves, not the individual polls. Looking at the national poll average for example, the highs and lows for each candidate vary quite a bit, but the averages smooth out the volatility.

Alright, but you didn't answer my question. What do the polls say?

Huckabee is ahead in Iowa, though his lead has shrunk under the recent scrutiny and could shrink further if he continues his current strategy. Romney's lead in New Hampshire is under pressure from McCain, especially now that the press is writing another series of comeback stories in the wake of a spate of endorsements for the old cuss, including from Joe Lieberman.

Where is this McCain boomlet coming from?

A combination of things. The wretched press from the summer on immigration and his campaign's implosion are deep in the rearview mirror. The press is being nice to him again now that he's not the establishment front-runner. The endorsements and a couple strong debate performances helped. But more than anything, Giuliani's fade leaves a fair number of moderate Republican voters looking for a candidate, especially in New Hampshire.

Will McCain's mo' stick with voters?

Tough to say. I think McCain has a hard ceiling of support given his years of making conservatives angry and right now is mostly picking up less conservative voters peeling away from Giuliani.

Either way, what is likely is that Romney and McCain are likely to get nasty in the Granite State. Romney wasn't shy drawing aggressive contrasts with McCain over the summer when he viewed the latter man as a key competitor. For his part, McCain quite clearly loathes Romney more than an earmark to celebrate Vietnamese prison camps. McCain has already thrown a solid punch right at Romney via direct mail. Expect more, from both candidates and their respective campaigns.

Just keep in mind that with all these type of dynamics are going to be tough to track through the holidays, especially because polling won't be as reliable.

Why is that?

This is uncharted territory because polling from almost today through the Iowa caucuses on January 3rd is even less reliable than normal given that the middle of the holiday season is not exactly the best time to reach a cross section of the voting populace. Plus, Iowa's caucuses have always been very tricky to poll correctly. The Democratic side in particular is a challenge to predict given the complex formula by which final results are tabulated.

What about that Democratic race in Iowa?

A recent ABC/Washington Post says it all: "turnout will tell the tale." [pdf] If Barack Obama can actually turn out his peeps then the Clinton machine might be quickly brought to heel. Even a Hawkeye state win by John Edwards, which remains possible, could knock Clinton off stride enough for Obama to capitalize in New Hampshire. If Clinton goes o-fer in the first two states she's probably toast since the "inevitability" is such a linchpin of her candidacy.

You going to make any predications before the caucuses?

No, thanks. This race is too fluid and has too many variables. I can make myself look like enough of an ass without going down the prediction route too.

What about Ron Paul?

[Sigh]

Posted by Eric Earling at December 20, 2007 11:08 PM | Email This
Comments
1. I don't know what happened to my refresh button on Sound Politics alone for the last couple of days. Site meter said people were still reading and visiting but all I saw were old articles.

On point, are we going to rue the day the primaries have been moved up too near the holiday season? This is all absurd.

I have the Christmas celebration to attend to and after that, I have to survive the week and then New Years with the kids at home. I intend to leave work and politics behind and enjoy, enjoy and thank my good fortune to have a home, a great country and a great presidential and gubernatorial election to look forward to next year.

Posted by: swatter on December 21, 2007 07:06 AM
2. Eric,
Your last question and answer is the best of the piece. For all the moneybomb news, it appears that RP has a ceiling of support. With independents in Iowa deciding between Obama and McCain, I don't see him making much higher than third there. So, with all this money, he can stick around longer, but to what purpose. With the news that the surge may actually be working and with troops starting to come home, his anti-war stance gets less attention and his economic and other plans make him a non-starter with many non-libertarian oriented Republicans. He not going to attract any moderate, democratic leaning independents either.

What I don't like about the campaign is the new nastiness by innuendo and could be "bombs" for candidates. We have Bob Kerry supposedly innocently raising the Muslim card in his support of Clinton and later retracting. We have Clinton tied National Enquiror raising the supposed Edwards love child issue. On the republican side, we have Romney backed Drudge firing unfounded shots at Huckabee and now McCain as he gets back in the race. I just don't like it and to me it smacks of 2000 and South Carolina all over. Why can't these people let the race be deciding on the issues instead of feeding unfounded rumors and innuendo trying to shape the race?

Posted by: tc on December 21, 2007 07:13 AM
3. Thanks for mentioning Ron Paul.

Sigh.

Posted by: Bruce Guthrie on December 21, 2007 07:26 AM
4. tc, it was just a couple of days ago that Drudge was accused of being in the tank for Clinton. So, which is it? Or is he equal as far as which campaign feeds him stuff.

Bob Kerrey. He was such a favorite of mine in 2000. Then he had his VietNam moment and we witnessed a changed man. I thought it would be for the better. After that, Clinton saw to it that he got the president job at a liberal university. Ergo, the loyalty.

I really, really liked him and the way he talked to reporters in 2000. Such a change and not a good one.

Posted by: swatter on December 21, 2007 07:56 AM
5. Candidates:

Afflicted with Bush stinky-poo.


Posted by: WVH on December 21, 2007 08:11 AM
6. My prediction for Iowa is Romney, Huckabee and Thompson, but I don't know what order.

tc, the Wall Street Journal had a very good article the other day about the problems that Campaign Finance "Reform" has created. Did you see it? Here is a link if you have subscription to WSJ Online Interest Groups Gain
In Election Cash Quest
If not, I can e-mail it to you if you want.

Here are a few quotes from the article:
"Political groups unaffiliated with the two major parties account for an increasingly large share of spending on federal campaigns -- 19% of the total in 2006, up from just 7% in 2000..."

"Over the past four years, the national Democratic and Republican parties have raised and spent less on elections than during the prior four years, when adjusted for inflation. At the same time, independent political groups have more than doubled their spending, and have begun to rival the parties as an election-season financial force, the Journal's data analysis shows. The shift, largely the result of campaign-finance laws intended to curtail big-money donations to parties, could further polarize the American political landscape."

"The nonprofit groups are financed by wealthy individuals, corporations, labor unions and other interest groups. Unlike the national parties, they face no limits on how much money they can take in from contributors. They often don't have to disclose their donors' names until months after an election -- if at all."

Many of these groups are shifting from 527 plans to 501(c) plans, which (1) makes the contributions tax deductible, and (2) allows the groups to not disclose the contributors at all!

In other words Campaign Finance "Reform" is not reform at all. You might as well try to keep water from running down hill in trying to keep money out of politics. This fiddling with unconstitutional restrictions on free speech is making things much WORSE, not better.

McCain sought the praise and approval of the mainstream media in pushing McCain-Feingold. What it has wrought has been much worse than benign. Fred Thompson, initially a supporteer of the "reform" has had the good sense to say it was a big mistake. McCain has not done so. One reason I will never vote for McCain--of course along with his terrible record on illegal immigration...

Posted by: Bill H on December 21, 2007 08:14 AM
7. Regarding Hillary's "Christmas Ad" where she puts universal health care, etc. under the tree--I think someone should revive Paul Tsongas' characterization of Bill Clinton in the 1992 election as Pander Bear. Perhaps in the spirit of the season, she should be dubbed Pander Claus.

Posted by: Bill H on December 21, 2007 08:22 AM
8. Bill H,
I find it humorous how opponents of Campaign Finance Reform bring up continuing problems with campaign finances as a reason why reform hasn't worked. Do you really think the money wouldn't exist without reform? My view is that the Reform hasn't gone far enough due to the critics stonewalling reform and that is the reason for these problems. Without reform the attack money would still be present. The problem is lack of openness. McCain-Feingold was a start, but more needs to be done.

On a separate point, I forgot to mention the Tancredo drop out and endorsement of Romney. If I was Romney, I am not sure if this would be good news or not. Sure, it is always good to have someone endorse you, especially a former candidate running for the same position, but I am not sure in this case it is the best for Romney. Let us not forget the Tancredo didn't just want to stop illegal immigration but all immigration period. To have him state that Romney best shares his views on immigration may put Romney on the defensive. I am sure Romney doesn't favor banning all immigration, does he?

Posted by: tc on December 21, 2007 09:01 AM
9. TC
McCain-Feingold was a start, but more needs to be done.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Wrong, the more you try to control it, the more they find ways around it.
Make it open to all and must be reported within 24hrs so we ALL can see is giving.

PS Incase you didn't know. McCain was racking in the bucks just pior to his worthless bill. When questioned about it, his answer was ( the law has passed yet) Yeah some leader he was.

Same with Ron Paul taking money from KKK groups.
Both are fools!

Posted by: Army Medic/Vet on December 21, 2007 09:30 AM
10. tc: "I am sure Romney doesn't favor banning all immigration, does he?"

If it will help him get elected, he will favor anything you want. It'll sure be an ugly election if it's him against Hillary.

Posted by: Lynnwood Evangelical on December 21, 2007 09:31 AM
11. Tancredo actually said Mitt was the only candidate who would be able to achieve ANYTHING on the immigration front

Posted by: Andre on December 21, 2007 09:46 AM
12. Army Medic/Vet,
Prior to McCain-Feingold, there was less openness in giving and third party groups. So, I am not sure how getting rid of it meets your goal of more openness. Please explain how elections were more open prior to McCain-Feingold. Is what you are really stating is that yes we should have campaign finance reform to make it more open, but that you don't think McCain-Feingold acheived this goal?

Posted by: tc on December 21, 2007 09:47 AM
13. Geez Army M/V, who would have thought that Neo-Nazis would be avowed libertarians who hate the Govt? Heck, they even share similar views with Tom Tancredo on illegal immigrants.

My predictions:
Dems:
Edwards takes Iowa due to the strange way Dem's hold caucuses.

GOP:
Huckabee takes Iowa, Romney takes NH, Ron Paul maybe ends up in 3rd or 4th place in NH.

Posted by: Angry White Guy on December 21, 2007 09:48 AM
14.
The one-month of fame enjoyed by Huckabee will thankfully be over soon.

Supporters who wore his buttons will treasure them like Nehru jackets.

Posted by: John Bailo on December 21, 2007 10:23 AM
15. On the night before Tancredo's "Big Announcement", all the buzz in the blogosphere had it that he would endorse Fred Thompson, as if they had inside sources, which is very likely. Some were saying that Romney was "pushing hard" for it too.

It sounds like both candidates were pushing hard for it because they know that even though Tancredo wasn't pulling anymore than 6% in Iowa, a large portion of voters outside that 6% agreed with him too, but saw other candidates who seemed like they did too (in the case of Hunter and Paul, they actually do).

I'm sure Thompson and Romney both thought that picking up the Tancredo endorsement would not only pull Tancredo's 6% support, but possibly some of Hunter's and Paul's and even some of the others too, because it would give the candidate more "credibility" on the issue. If Romney was more believable, this might be true. Also, if the much sought after endorsement of Rep. Steve King (IA) hadn't just gone to Thompson. But the way these endorsements have split, it probably isn't going to help either Romney or Thompson that much.

I agree, Eric, this race is WIDE open.

Posted by: Michelle on December 21, 2007 10:35 AM
16. My cyberstalker is at it again:

"Candidates:

Afflicted with Bush stinky-poo.

Posted by WVH at December 21, 2007 08:11 AM"

This is not my post. For the record. I am still researching candidates with the exception of Hillary and Ron Paul. I don't feel that Hillary is qualified to be president. Her only qualification is, she, in the minds of many is a woman and was "close" to power for eight years. I don't vote for anyone simply they are a ______. In my opinion, they have to be capable of doing a good job. Unlike, any other major republican candidate with the exception of Strom Thurmond, David Duke and George Wallace, Paul has refused to dissassociate himself from Nazis, KKK, and Aryan Nation types. The only way I would vote for Hillary is if Paul won the republican nomination and then you would recognize me with the "vote for the crook" sweatshirt with a closepin on her nose, doorbelling for Hillary. Short of that, I have nothing to say about candidates as I am researching.

Stalker, you are such a loser.

Posted by: WVH on December 21, 2007 10:56 AM
17. tc says " find it humorous how opponents of Campaign Finance Reform bring up continuing problems with campaign finances as a reason why reform hasn't worked. Do you really think the money wouldn't exist without reform?"

I find it humorous that you continually miss my point. I'll state it again if you missed it:

There should be NO limits on what anyone can contribute to a political campaign, but the contributor and the amount should be posted immediately. Limiting what you can contribute to a political campaign is a blatant infringement on political free speech. McCain-Feingold has made things worse, not better. It has NOT reduced the amount of money in politics, it has just made the whole process less accountable.

tc says: "McCain-Feingold was a start, but more needs to be done."

When you find yourself in hole, you don't keep digging. We need to realize that McCain-Feingold has been an utter failure and we need to scap it along with the pre M-F limits on contributions, along with requiring immediate disclosure.

You think that the dam that M-F built just has a few leaks in it and it can be plugged with just a bit more reform. In fact, we need to tear the dam down.

Posted by: Bill H on December 21, 2007 11:26 AM
18. Bill H,
Ah, the free speech argument. There is nothing in limiting contributions that prohibits persons from free speech. Nothing, Nada! A person can speak all they want. What they can't do is "buy" a candidate. No, a candidate actually has to talk to lots of people and depend on many contributions, instead of relying on a few rich buddies.

The amount of money in current elections has not gone up due to campaign finance reform. Reform has probably kept a lid on it exploding, which Bloomberg may just do if he runs as a third party.

The issue is whether a candidate can depend upon a few well endowed PACs, Unions, or individuals or needs to reach out to the common voter for support. In your world, the common voter would have no voice, since their dollars would be meaningless. At least right now, even if the common voter gives $25, at least they know it may mean something, since it is 1/100th from the top contribution.

Posted by: tc on December 21, 2007 12:01 PM
19. tc says "There is nothing in limiting contributions that prohibits persons from free speech. Nothing, Nada!"

Justices Rehnquist, Scalia, Thomas and Kennedy strongly disagree with you.

Justice Thomas said "The First Amendment provides that “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech.” Nevertheless, the Court today upholds what can only be described as the most significant abridgment of the freedoms of speech and association since the Civil War."

Justice Scalia said "This is a sad day for the freedom of speech. Who could have imagined that the same Court which, within the past four years, has sternly disapproved of restrictions upon such inconsequential forms of expression as virtual child pornography, Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition, 535 U.S. 234 (2002), tobacco advertising, Lorillard Tobacco Co. v. Reilly, 533 U.S. 525 (2001), dissemination of illegally intercepted communications, Bartnicki v. Vopper, 532 U.S. 514 (2001), and sexually explicit cable programming, United States v. Playboy Entertainment Group, Inc., 529 U.S. 803 (2000), would smile with favor upon a law that cuts to the heart of what the First Amendment is meant to protect: the right to criticize the government. For that is what the most offensive provisions of this legislation are all about."

Scalia directly skewers the ridulous assertion that "Money is not Speech" in his opinion, which can be found here Justice Scalia Opinion

Now that O'Conner is gone from the court, I am hopeful that the Supremes get another shot at addressing this clearly unconstitutional law. With the make-up of the court now, they would certainly rule it unconstitutional.

As to your ridiculous assertion that "The issue is whether a candidate can depend upon a few well endowed PACs, Unions, or individuals or needs to reach out to the common voter for support. In your world, the common voter would have no voice"

If there were no limits on contributions there would be less need for PACs and unions to contribute. And if the government would force unions to disgorge member dues that go to political causes that they don't agree with, that would also be helpful.

It's just silly to say that "the common voter would have no voice". You can judge the candidates and judge who is supporting them. Right now you don't have that information BECAUSE of McCain-Feingold.

Posted by: Bill H on December 21, 2007 12:34 PM
20. I really, really think the open nomination for both parties is going to be good for the country.

Posted by: swatter on December 21, 2007 12:35 PM
21. One last thing, tc says "What they can't do is "buy" a candidate."

Right, so you have the ridiculous situation where a Ross Perot, a Steve Forbes or a Michael Bloomberg can fund their own run for office, but cannot fund someone else's run for office. That makes sense, why??

Posted by: Bill H on December 21, 2007 12:39 PM
22. Bill H.,
You were commenting on limits on contributions, the Supreme Court case dealt with the issue of limiting campaign commercials by third parties close to elections. It was a different part of the Campaign Finance Law than the limits on contributions. This part did have to deal with "speech" and the Supreme Court ruled it was constitutional. Just because the conservative wing was against it doesn't make the decision invalid. The law is still "constitutional." You may not like it. There are plenty of other laws that I don't like either. Such is your opinion.

Posted by: tc on December 21, 2007 01:06 PM
23. tc says "the Supreme Court ruled it was constitutional".

For now...by a 5-4 decision. If it was ruling today, it is clear that they would rule it unconstitutional. You also say that "The law is still "constitutional." "

No, what it means is that the formerly made up Supreme Court ruled by the narrowest of margins that it was constitutional. I.E. 5 supremes ruled it such, 4 ruled it not. And today, there would be 5 that ruled it unconstitutional. So, does it mean that if they ruled it unconstitutional today, or next week or next year, that it was constitutional in 2003 but it is not today? Clearly not. Regardless of what the Supreme Court said in 2003, I say the law is clearly unconstitutional. And I would also say, that as of today, the majority of the Supreme Court would agree with me.

Posted by: Bill H on December 21, 2007 01:19 PM
24. Well Bill, you and I disagree on the constitutionality of the law. We will not know how the current court may rule, unless a case comes before them to revisit the previous ruling. They just can't go back and change their minds without another case addressing the issue.

Posted by: tc on December 21, 2007 01:57 PM
25. tc says "They just can't go back and change their minds without another case addressing the issue."

Glad to see we can agree on something. :o)

Merry Christmas!

Posted by: Bill H on December 21, 2007 02:10 PM
26. Yeah, other top tier candidates are having money problems. Ron Paul has so much money and is not a big spender by nature that he has said it is hard to spend it all.

Oh and some people have problems with him spending money from racists to promote limited government rather than giving it back to the racists to promote racism. I have still yet to figure out why non racist people would have a problem with Dr Paul spending the money rather than the racists.

It does appear that Dr Paul has hit a ceiling with his support in polls that only poll past staunch Bush supporters. He seems to have about 10% of that population. Thankfully for oour country stuanch Bush supporters are few and far between even within the republican party.

Posted by: Travis Pahl on December 21, 2007 04:48 PM
27. Regarding McCain Feingold:

It is the primary reason I find it very hard to support McCain. It is shows a fundamental distrust in both free speech and free markets. If I earn a dollar I should be able to give it to anyone I chose and the government should not be able to interfere.

Posted by: Travis Pahl on December 21, 2007 04:51 PM
28. Oh and I almost forgot to answer the question asked initially 'did anything new happen?"

The answer of course is yes. Ron Paul set a record by raising 6 million in one day. Well actually it was his grassroots support that did it. The campaign did nothing. Oh and that 6 million is just online donations, we will find out the real total later when all the offline donations are counted.

Posted by: Travis on December 21, 2007 05:01 PM
29. Hey Travis,

You said:

"Oh and some people have problems with him spending money from racists to promote limited government rather than giving it back to the racists to promote racism. I have still yet to figure out why non racist people would have a problem with Dr Paul spending the money rather than the racists."

Goodness, you folks now admit that the Nazis, KKK, and Aryan Nations are racists. What brought that on, mass media coverage?

Here is a suggestion since you atheists claim that Paul is a Christian and loves his neighbor and all that. Why not ask Benton, the Paul mouthpiece to ask Paul to donate all donations from the Nazis, KKK, Aryan Nations, and Christian Identity groups to the Salvation Army. They are universally praised for their good works and God will cleanse the taint.

So, Dude ask about making the donation. Like that is ever going to happen. Truth is Paul supports the Nazis, KKK, Aryan Nations, and Chrisitian Identity movement which is why he keeps the dough. He simply doesn't want to offend his friends. Nice try at spin though. You work in PR?

Posted by: WVH on December 21, 2007 06:44 PM
30. Travis, I agree with you about free speech and free markets. I also don't think there is any "there" there with the racist support thing with Ron Paul. I'm not sure why they are supporting him, but there is nothing in his views that are in any way racist.

Posted by: Bill H on December 21, 2007 06:48 PM
31. Bill H said:

"I'm not sure why they are supporting him, but there is nothing in his views that are in any way racist."

I suppose we get into a Clintonian discussion like the meaning of the word "is." Here is an article from the Houston Chronical that makes one a tiny bit suspicious. I vote for the "birds of a feather flock together explanation."

"Less known to Paul's many Internet-driven supporters are earlier writings and speeches by the Lake Jackson Republican in which he made incendiary comments about African-Americans, immigration, AIDS patients and alleged victims of sexual harassment."
http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/headline/nation/5374328.html

Here are comments about Blacks:

"Consider one issue we don't hear much about with Ron Paul these days: His fear and loathing of African-Americans. The following statements were made by Ron Paul in his newsletter in the 1990s:

"Given the inefficiencies of what D.C. laughingly calls the `criminal justice system,' I think we can safely assume that 95 percent of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal."
"If you have ever been robbed by a black teen-aged male, you know how unbelievably fleet-footed they can be."
"We are constantly told that it is evil to be afraid of black men, it is hardly irrational. Black men commit murders, rapes, robberies, muggings and burglaries all out of proportion to their numbers."
"We don't think a child of 13 should be held responsible as a man of 23. That's true for most people, but black males age 13 who have been raised on the streets and who have joined criminal gangs are as big, strong, tough, scary and culpable as any adult and should be treated as such."
(Source: Houston Chronicle, May 22, 1996)

http://irregulartimes.com/index.php/archives/2007/06/04/ron-paul-racist-remakrs/

No one knows what is in his heart and that is the measure. But, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, well....

Posted by: WVH on December 21, 2007 07:08 PM
32. What's this? McCain as the Comeback Kid? And Huck brings home the Christian right. Victory '08 with McCain and Huckabee sounds better all the time.

Rudy is tanking, Romney hits a gilt-edged glass ceiling, Fred just flutters, Ron Paul stutters on white supremacy.

Make Duncan SecDef and Bob Gates SecState and we have a great new beginning.

Posted by: D-Web on December 21, 2007 09:01 PM
33. D-Web:

Ron Paul stutters on white supremecy? haha! That is funny. I wonder if all the non whites supporting him are aware that he is a white supremecist. I wonder how many years into his presidency before he will show his true colors? So far we have 20 where he has managed to keep his racist white supremecy views to himself and has a spotless voting record in this subject. It is probably all part of his evil racist plan though huh?

Haha. Thanks for making me smile!

Posted by: Travis on December 21, 2007 11:14 PM
34. Yo Travis,

You and your merry little band ever plan to address the issues:

1. Will Paul donate money from racists to Salvation Army or some other like group. Since he is raising buckets and buckets of real money, he doesn't need the dough, right? Yeh, he probably doesn't want to give the money back because they would just use it to buy sheets and burn crosses on people's lawns or paint swasticas on houses of worship. So, why not let the Salvation Army do some good with the dough?

2. Any response to the Houston Chronicle articles.
Thought so. So which of your team makes the next post claiming Paul as the messiah?

Posted by: WVH on December 21, 2007 11:25 PM
35. WVH:
Merry Christmas. I hope you have a wonderful holiday.

Posted by: Travis Pahl on December 22, 2007 01:55 PM
36. Yo Travis,

Merry Christmas to you and yours as well. We don't agree on Paul, I do believe that we agree on education. People work together on things where there is agreement and disagree on other things. I believe that you mentioned you had children. I wish them the best Christmas possible.

Posted by: WVH on December 22, 2007 02:08 PM
37. Merry Christmas to all!
Travis and Bill H raised the issue of free speech and free markets as their main argument against McCain-Feingold and thus McCain. I have discussed free speech ad nausem and won't belabor this point. I simply don't agree with them that it prohibits speech, but maybe that is because we are being Clintonian (yes, both of us) in our definition of what speech is.

The free market issue is an interesting stance. I could see Travis coming from a libertarian bent making this argument (i.e., any government involvement is essentially bad). I would grant the libertarian this position, since it fits with their overall doctrine. I don't see how non-libertarian oriented Republicans have this argument to stand upon. How for instance could they say support the government doing what Teddy Roosevelt did in breaking up the monopolies. Shouldn't he have left this to the free market to overcome? How could one argue for any support of tax policy influencing the economy, for instance, isn't it also government interferring with the free market? Shouldn't the free market allow its wild fluctuations and too bad for the person that gets caught on the bad end of swing? I personally do not think this. While I am a monetarist overall in my thinking, economically, I would say there has to be some limited government intervention (like the Fed controlling money supply) to keep the market from the extremes. In the same way, I do view that government does have a role in elections to allow everyone to compete and not just the rich (e.g., only extremes). Maybe this thread has went to long to discuss, but it is an interesting issue to raise (e.g., free market argument as it relates to campaigns). I haven't thought that much about this issue. Travis, thanks for raising it.

Posted by: tc on December 24, 2007 08:53 AM
38. tc, as a libertarian, I believe the only proper role of government is to provide armed forces for protection from without and police and courts for protection from within. All the other stuff you mention about tax policy to influence the economy or for multiple social welfare reasons is just a march toward socialism...

Posted by: Bill H on December 24, 2007 11:15 AM
39. Yay, Bill H! @ 38 :)

Yay, Travis P. as well! :)

Posted by: Bruce Guthrie on December 24, 2007 09:09 PM
40. So, Bill H., Travis, and Bruce
Why do you call yourself Republicans? One of the main reasons the Republican party was founded on one of the most government intrusive issue of its day, that is the abolition (abolishment of Slavery). In addition, the free land movement (another founding principle) was probably a giant social welfare gift to the common man. Add to this Teddy Roosevelt and the progressives, you have a long history in the Republican party of government action. Even under Reagan, the government grew a lot more than under Carter, or later under Clinton. The social conservatives call for government to end abortion, which is a plank both in the national and state level Republican party platforms, is truly government intrusion. Therefore, how can you with your libertarian views, state that you represent Republicanism? It seems to me as one looking from the outside, as an independent, you are farther away from Republican views than the social conservatives, who fit the traditional foundation of the party.

Posted by: tc on December 26, 2007 08:52 AM
41. tc says "So, Bill H., Travis, and Bruce
Why do you call yourself Republicans?"

As a trial lawyer would say--"assumes facts not in evidence". I have never said I was a Republican. I am registered as an independent and never voted for a Democrat or Republican for president for the first five elections in which I voted. I consider myself a "small l" libertarian.

I would prefer the voting laws to be changed to allow more of an opportunity for 3rd party candidates to do more than simply play a spoiler. If I could make a change to election laws it would be to have run off elections where the winner gets less than 50% of the vote. If that had been in place in 1992, Clinton would have never been president. Who knows what would have happened in 2000.

However, the point is that 3rd parties can't get any traction unless they have an individual who either has money (Perot), is a celebrity (Teddy Roosevelt), or both (Bloomberg). The reason is that people, even those who may agree most with the 3rd party, are afraid of throwing their vote away by voting for the 3rd party. With a run off election, however, this would no longer be the case. I think you could see a BIG increase in voting for 3rd parties if this change were made. Which, of course, is why neither the Democrat nor the Republican party would support this type of reform...

Posted by: Bill H on December 26, 2007 01:54 PM
42. I am not a republican in the late 1800's and early 1900's sense of the word. If I were living in that time I would call myself a Democrat and look to Grover Cleveland as my model politician.

Around the time of FDR the Republicans and Democrats switched roles in terms of which was for smaller government. It is the post FDR republican model that I favor. They have not always been perfect but better than the republicans. Starting with Bush Sr and culminating with Bus Jr the Republicans have abandonded the principles I hold dear.

What is worse is it is not like the previous switch. THis time the Democrats are stuck in the big government position as well. Dr Paul seems to be on his way to curing the republican party though and this I see as a worthy cause to support. Judging by his fundraising numbers so do alot of other people.

Oh and someone mentioned the federal reserve as one of the good examples of federal intevertntion in the economy. I do not have it handy, but please take a moment to look at a chart of the value of the dollar both before and after 1913. Once you find it you will realize the federal reserve has done the exact opposite of stabalizing our economy.

Posted by: Travis on December 26, 2007 10:24 PM
43. TC @ 40: The Republican Party, like the D's, tries to be a "big tent." It must in order to get over 50% of the vote. There is a VERY shaky alliance between social conservatives, fiscal conservatives, limited government/constitutionalists/individualists and foreign policy hawks. Each individual has some position on each of these scales, and though there is a lot of overlap, there is a lot of diversity and disagreement as well. Witness the Club for Growth's actions to eliminate big government "RINO" Republicans and the relgious conservatives' threat to bolt if Giuliani wins the nomination.

Smart Republican strategists want to hold the coalition together in order to gain power.

Libertarians (small "l") can be considered a segment within the Republican coalition. We are fiscal conservatives and limited government/constitutionalist individualists. Some of us are foreign policy hawks as well, and though some of us are socially conservative and religious, we choose not to force those views on others via the law. We libertarians tend to like the separation of church and state, even if we have strong religious views.

You are free to kick us out of the party by pushing neocon big government programs or nation-building. But I think that would be a strategic mistake on your part.

There is no neat, consistent definition of what a Republican is. A Republican is someone who has chosen to call himself a Republican. They tend to have some conservative views, but few have all of them, and what is conservative is debatable, especially in the area of foreign policy and legislating morality. Even fiscal conservatives disagree. Some what a true free market, while others want industrial policy and corporate subsidies.

As for me, I am happy to vote Libertarian when the Republicans nominate big-government, socially conservative neocons. It is my way of sending a message to the system about my values. If you want me in your coalition, nominate Reagan/Goldwater/Ron Paul types. If you don't, then nominate Romney/Huckabee types. It is up to you.

Posted by: Bruce Guthrie on December 27, 2007 04:34 PM
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