Posts Tagged ‘Ron Paul’

republican candidates for president 2012

And then there were four. And four. And four ... Amazed it took them this long to get down to four from that lot of mugs. But even so, it may go on for some time yet.

So it’s Super Tuesday, when Romney would hope to deliver a knockout blow to the other three remaining candidates in the Republican primaries.

Here’s an excellent article by leading Democratic strategist Donna Brazile  on why the Republicans may continue to bloodlet for some time yet after tonight – especially as, as I notice now, the night kicks off with Gingrich having secured a win in Georgia, possibly vindicating his “southern states” focus, and Santorum has won Oklahoma with Gingrich neck and neck with Romney. Ohio seems split down the middle between Santorum and Romney. Santorum seems to have won Tennessee well, which would hurt Romney badly by making him look like just a “northern”candidate. It appears that Romney has also done poorly in Virginia and Vermont, despite winning the states.

So in all likelihood, no one is going to die tonight – except perhaps Ron Paul, and he never expected to win anything anyway – and he is only in the race to force his libetarian philosophy to the centre of the GOP’s deliberations. Or as Wolf Blitzer has just remarked on CNN some hours after I originally posted this article “This race is going to go on, and on, and on.”

Given that Donna is coming from a particular political perspective, and that the article was published on CNN which the right loves to hate – so some degree of bias is present, obviously – nevertheless her nous in these matters is impressive, and I suspect she is spot on in her analysis.

What is most telling, I feel, is the points she makes about grassroots Republicans not warming to any of their very poor group of candidates – the stuff about turnouts which I have been noticing for some time now – and just makes me even more certain Obama will be re-elected in November. It is fearsomely difficult to unseat incumbents at the best of times, and these are definitely not the best of times for Republicans, despite America’s ongoing financial difficulties. The simple fact is, the people are not stupid. Not book-learned, perhaps, but not stupid. They know this bunch of GOP candidates is fearsomely unimpressive, and they will stick with a President who’s first term has been very much a curate’s egg, albeit unenthusiastically.

Although this is a long shot, and I haven’t seen it suggested elsewhere,I am still not sure that yet another Republican candidate may still arise, at an unenthusiastic or deadlocked convention, for example, before this circus is all done … and the thought of Paul, Palin, Perry, Gingrich and Santorum and others trying to agree on who to be kingmaker for is hilarious …

Certainly the American people deserve better than the choice they are being offered at the moment – just as Australians deserve better than the “hold your nose” choice between Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott.

Article begins:

It’s probably better to be the default candidate than the noncandidate, but it’s a position that usually has too many gaps to fill. That seems to be the position of Mitt Romney, and it says a lot about the current state of the Republican Party.

When the Seattle Times came out for Romney ahead of the Washington caucus, the editors stopped short of a real endorsement, calling him the “practical choice” and “the only option in a weak field.” They wrote that he “does not excite voters and is a suspect choice, except for all the others.”

Several candidates created political earthquakes, only to sink beneath their own aftershocks. One might argue that Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain and Rick Perry represented the usual “froth” that appears every four years, and now the Republican Party has gotten down to the serious business of nominating a candidate. But the track records of Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum suggest otherwise.

CNN Contributor Donna Brazile

Of the three remaining candidates, Santorum had the best chance to make a run at Romney. He’s emerged as the strongest anti-Romney choice. But Santorum has problems other than what may be called a narrow appeal. (He does best among the evangelical Christians, the less-educated and rural voters, which do not not even constitute a majority of Republicans.) On Super Tuesday, Santorum may lose more than a quarter of the delegates in Ohio even if he wins, because he didn’t file full delegate slates in all 16 congressional districts.

But as long as some billionaire is paying the bills — and pulling the strings — a candidate can and will stay in the race. Sheldon Adelson has propped up Newt Gingrich. Peter Thiel supports Ron Paul, and Santorum’s got “not tonight, I’ve got a headache” billionaire Foster Friess.

The Republican nomination may go to the highest bidder. Romney’s spent almost as much as Gingrich, Paul and Santorum combined. But in some ways the process seems more like a circus than an auction — or a poorly rehearsed skit of “Who’s on first?”

Of the 13 states that have chosen delegates, there’s been a counting controversy in two of them. (Of course, when it comes to counting votes, the Republicans have perfected the “fuzzy math” approach.) Iowa flipped from Romney to Santorum, and Maine is going to recount its votes. Romney had to scramble to win Michigan, his home state, which should have been a no-brainer. And probably was.

If this race stays close into the late spring, the candidates will look for reasons to raise questions about how delegates are being allocated and counted. Such confusion calls into question their competency. If the Republicans can’t trust themselves to count to 1,144 — the number of delegates needed to with the nomination — without messing up the numbers, how can the country trust them to honestly manage bigger numbers?

This brings us back to Romney, the apparent nominee-by-default. He’s the leading candidate, and the Republicans just aren’t excited. GOP turnout has dropped in five of the 13 states that have voted. (Colorado dropped 6%, Missouri 57%; Florida, Nevada and Minnesota dropped in double digits.) Compared with four years ago, Romney’s numbers dropped in six of the 13 states (only 1% in Iowa but 46% in Colorado, 63% in Missouri and 68% in Minnesota). Ironically, the only state with a significant increase in GOP turnout was South Carolina, where Republicans voted against Romney in a landslide: He got just 28% of the vote.

GOP turnout in 2012 is even worse when compared with Democratic primary turnout in 2008, despite population growth. Except for South Carolina, turnout is lower in every state that has voted — and by significant numbers. Turnout is down by 69% in Missouri, 72% in Nevada, 77% in Minnesota and 86% in Maine. In those four states combined, the average drop of turnout is more than 75%. Those numbers don’t bode well for the nominee or the party, no matter how much fuzzy math they use come November.

One reason for GOP indifference may be, ironically, Romney’s strength: He’s a fighter. But he fights with negatives. While he succeeds in soiling his opponents, he also sullies himself. He has a very high unfavorable rating among independents, and even among Republicans he doesn’t match where John McCain was at this point four years ago. When Romney’s not negative, he appears unfocused and becomes like a gaffe machine on steroids: “Cadillacs,” “Blunt amendment,” “firing people,” “not worried about the poor,” etc.

So what’s ahead? A desperate race and a war of attrition. Santorum, Paul and Gingrich have no incentive to exit the race, because they’re being paid to stay in and they’re getting just enough delegates. Therefore, what we’ve seen is what we’ll get: a negative arc; shrill attacks against other candidates; hysterical hyperventilation against Obama; the language of fear, war and doublespeak; and a social issue feeding frenzy, with fainting spells when women’s health is mentioned and panic over immigration. And the media lapping it up.

It’s going to be a long, hot spring.

A political candidate quoting Jesus Christ and meaning it. Whatever next?

To the bemusement of viewers all over America, and all over the world, Republicans in the audience for the South Carolina Fox/Twitter Presidential debate loudly booed the Golden Rule in the context of foreign policy January 16.

Libetarian Texas Congressman Ron Paul was talking about respecting the sovereignty of other nations when it comes to American military action:

“My point is that if another country does to us what we do to others, we are not going to like it very much. I would say that we maybe ought to consider the Golden Rule in foreign policy. Don’t do to other nations what we don’t want them to do to us. We endlessly bomb these countries, and then we wonder why they get upset with us?”

Why, indeed? Yet Rep. Paul’s remarks set off some of the loudest “boos” of the evening from the Republican audience, as well as mockery from his Republican opponents.

The Golden Rule is a key part of Christianity and all other major world religions. Perhaps the key part. In Christianity, Christ commands the Golden Rule twice, most noticeably in Matthew 7:12 but also in Luke 6:31. In Matthew 7:12, Christ says, “Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets.”

The controversy which resulted in the massive booing of the Golden Rule originated with a misleading accusation by Fox News anchor and moderator Brett Baier. Baier asked (or rather stated):

“In a recent interview, Congressman Paul, with a Des Moines radio station, you said you were against the operation that killed Osama bin Ladin. You said the U.S. operation that took out the terrorist responsible for killing 3,000 people on American soil, quote, “showed no respect for the rule of law, international law.” So, to be clear, you believe international law should have constrained us from tracking down and killing the man responsible for the most brazen attack on the U.S. since Pearl Harbor.”

Rep. Paul responded that Baier was mistaken about his assertion:

“Obviously, no, and that’s why I did not say that. After 9/11, I voted for the authority to go after him.”

Paul clarified that he believed that Pakistan would have turned over bin Ladin to the United States alive if the Obama administration had requested him.

“KSM, (Khaled Sheik Mohammed) his colleague, was in Pakistan. And we communicated with the government of Pakistan and they turned him over. And what I suggested there was, if we have no respect for the sovereignty of another nation, it will lead to the disruption of that nation. Why can’t we work with the government?”

Paul followed with his Golden Rule statement, suggesting we wouldn’t want other countries such as China coming to the United States in search of dissidents and bombing us.

He also suggested that the United States follow its own constitutional requirement to give a trial by jury whenever possible:

“Think about Saddam Hussein. We captured him, the government tried him and he got hung. What’s so terrible about this? What’s this whole idea that you can’t capture people? Just think, Adolph Eichmann was captured. He was given a trial. What’s wrong with capturing people? Why don’t we try to get some information from him?”

(A very important point, in my opinion, that has been virtually ignored in the celebration of Bin Laden’s death.)

Watch Paul’s comments here:

But Rep. Paul’s Republican opponents pounced on his advocacy of the Golden Rule as a sign of foreign policy “weakness.”

“He’s not a Chinese dissident. The analogy that Congressman Paul used was utterly irrational,” Newt Gingrich responded to Paul, suggesting that trials and honouring the 6th Ammendment to the U.S. Constitution are unnecessary. “Andrew Jackson had a pretty clear idea about America’s enemies. Kill them.”

The 6th Amendment, to save you looking it up, reads “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.”

Essentially, it establishes the right to a trial. It is one of the most important things that all Americans are supposed to hold as an inviolable concept, to be defended at all costs.

Yet, “Speaker Gingrich is right,” Mitt Romney agreed. “Of course, you take out our enemies, wherever they are. These people declared war on us. They’ve killed Americans. We go anywhere they are and we kill them. And the right thing for Osama bin Ladin was the bullet in the head he received. That’s the right course for people that are killing American citizens.”

Texas Governor Rick Perry (who with breathtaking idiocy also chose to condemn the elected government of NATO ally Turkey as “Islamic terrorists” at another point in the debate, and later confirmed that this was, in fact, his view) continued the mockery, saying to Baier (about Paul), “I was just thinking that the noise you were looking for was a gong.”

As Thomas Eddlem at the New American pointedly asks, “With Republicans so resoundingly booing the Golden Rule, one really has to wonder: Whatever happened to the religious right part of the Republican Party?”

A very good question. And the answer of course is simple. Politicians in the United States are religious when it suits them, and not when it doesn’t. And primarily, when it doesn’t is when standing up for principle might cost them red-neck votes.

Of course, this distasteful behaviour is not just evidenced by Republicans, and nor is it limited to the United States. It is just more obviously demonstrated by the bulk of the buffoons that the “Grand Old Party” – to their shame – currently have standing for the Presidency.

Whilst I don’t think Ron Paul has a snowball in hell’s chance of winning the Republican nomination, (and nor should he, as his economic ideas are delightfully lunatic), his confronting and ruthlessly honest candidacy is the most refreshing thing to happen to American politics in years. And yes, that includes the election of Obama.

Those standing against him should consider what comes next in Matthew’s gospel.

“Enter through the narrow gate;for the gate is wide and the road is broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many.

How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.”

I think Ron Paul found the narrow gate last night. And they hated him for it.

(New American and others)