Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Ron Paul as Ralph Nader

John Podhoretz, reacting to Ron Paul's astounding one day fund raising effort on the Internet, asks: "Could Ron Paul run an independent candidacy for president in 2008 on a libertarian/anti-war/anti-monetarist platform?"  Of course, everyone in the Republican Party has probably been asking the same question, except now with greater urgency. What Podhoretz adds is whether the Democrats should be worried too. After all, which party would an anti-war independent pull votes from?

Despite Paul's nominal standing as a Republican — and it is nominal — wouldn't his candidacy draw more from disaffected Democrats, as liberal Republican John Anderson's 1980 third-party candidacy pulled voters away from Jimmy Carter and not from Ronald Reagan?

I guess the answer to that one is "it depends". Captain Ed argues that Ron Paul appeals to the libertarian instincts among Republicans as well. Theoretically, a Ron Paul candidacy will draw votes away from both mainstream nominees.  Theoretically. And only if one assumes Hillary Clinton is nominated the Democratic standard bearer because a Barack Obama or a John Edwards would be sufficiently pacifist to neutralize the antiwar draw of Ron Paul. In which case the Ron Paul libertarian effect would hurt the Republican party almost exclusively. Whoever is nominated Ron Paul's show of strength has revealed the open flanks of both the Republican and Democratic parties. In both camps there are natives that are restless. It would be unnatural for political strategists not to think of exploiting that gap. Nothing follows.


Blogger Arthur Dent said...

Ron Paul will help erect Hillary just as Perot erected Bill.

11/06/2007 03:23:00 PM  
Blogger Jeff Burton said...

I guess it might come down to the left's anti-war passions running up against their pro abortion enthusiasms. I think I know which will win out in the end.

11/06/2007 03:30:00 PM  
Blogger Arthur Dent said...

Paul is not a a left wing candidate. Why would a W hater vote for a Republican from Texas?

Paul is a wild card 'conservative'.

Giuliani and Romney are NY and MA conservatives, which means they are RINO's. 'Where is the real conservative?' is a question for the future.

Rino vs.Hildebeast?

Where is a libertarian conservative?

11/06/2007 03:49:00 PM  
Blogger hdgreene said...

Actually the big draw for the Libertarian party is drug legalization, which appeals to a lot of Democratic antiwar types. (often libertarians are more libertine than laissez-faire). So I wouldn't be too sure who Ron Paul draws from. A lot of what we used to call yuppies are turned off by Republicans as either "the square country club" types or "the even squarer Christians." So they cast an MTV Rock the Vote for the Democrats as the mo' cool party--which it may be, but barely.

Voting Libertarian could be a sound life style choice for them, and Ron Paul will be a fresh face whereas he's old hat for the Republicans.

Between the insane left and the loonier Libertarians, the problem could be tougher for the Democrats than the Republicans.

11/06/2007 04:09:00 PM  
Blogger Whiskey said...

There are a lot of assumptions built into this model.

One: that the election will be close in a closely divided nation and that the spoiler candidate will tip the election.

[The current wave of populism and Republican response to this, Democrat elitism in matters such as Illegal Immigration, Terrorism, Open Borders/Amnesty, Driver's Licenses and other special privileges for illegals such as in-state tuition indicate instead a massive disconnect with the people and Dem pols and more of a connect with Rep pols and voters. Even McCain "got the message.]

Two: that fundraising prowess in the Internet indicates voting strength. Dean and other fringers would indicate no, rather disposable income from a few nuts.

Three: That Ron Paul, and his "9/11 Truthiness" and Fundraising Campaigns based on celebration of terrorism (i.e. V for Vendetta the movie), along with overt anti-Semitism, anti-Israel and anti-Semitism (the two are linked), and a heartfelt desire to make the outside world go away and live in absolute moral purity because war and terrorism and nuclear threats are "obsolete" and America the sole source of all evil ... are in any way attractive to Republican Voters.

This last assumption would seem the most problematic. Ron Paul attracts praise from Leftist lunatics: Glen Greenwald and Andrew Sullivan. His campaign is filled with Stormfront links, 9/11 Truthers, the candidate himself has appeared on 9/11 "Truther" nutcase radio shows, and has flirted with the ideas that the US "deserved" 9/11 and that it was a US conspiracy.

If anything Paul and his Paulnuts would seem to draw off from the lunatic base of the Democratic Party, which is substantial. The way Anderson did the adults from the Democratic Party in 1980.

If you look at his non-response to key questions of central interest to Reps: what to do about Iran's nukes [Paul's answer, nothing, because Iran could "never" be a threat to the US or "ever" give terrorists nukes, the "real threat is Israel."] or Pakistan's for that matter (see Iran) there is little that is attractive to the patriotic voter.

Paul is a bircher-esque, liberterian crank who essentially loathes America when it is not morally pure (convergence of hard Left-far Right lunatics) and wants the outside world to go away so he and his Slashdot/AICN crowd can go back to their comic books with corporate bad guys as the villains.

As such he is certain to draw Dem votes even if Edwards or Obama the Messiah were the candidates -- they are not sufficiently "truther" enough to appeal to Paul's base which resembles Kucinich or Gravel's.

[Paul's nutcases routinely accuse Rudy of being "in on the 9/11 Conspiracy" and constantly harrass the man.]

11/06/2007 04:13:00 PM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

According to Little Green Footballs, Ron Paulians have come up with yet another new way to trick people into thinking the Only Man Who Can Save America is riding a massive wave of support all the way into the White House: Decoy Election Websites (that)Pretend to Root for Your Candidate.


11/06/2007 04:33:00 PM  
Blogger Julius Martov said...

Neo-Nazi Support for Ron Paul

11/06/2007 06:16:00 PM  
Blogger Julius Martov said...

Neo-Nazi Support for Ron Paul

11/06/2007 06:18:00 PM  
Blogger Who Struck John said...

I agree with those who see Ron Paul as the new Ross Perot. It worked in '92 and '96, will it work in '08?

The Ron Paul-bots of the internet are a perfect advertisement of what happens to any commons when libertarian priniciples are applied in undiluted form. As you can see from the spamming of online polls, the commons will be abused whenever they can be, no matter what platitudes the abusers speak.

11/06/2007 06:30:00 PM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Off topic: Isn't it funny how the Republicans turned the tables on the Democrats concerning Kucinich's impeachment bill?

One has this vision of the moonbat as a pathetic rag doll that main stream politicians use to club each other on the head.

11/06/2007 06:38:00 PM  
Blogger Ticker said...


The reason they could turn the tables is that the Democrats didn't really mean to impeach Cheney. They simply meant to give the impression they wanted him impeached. Faced with the actual prospect, they recoiled in horror.

How much Washington politics I wonder, I like that, staged for the benefit of the cameras? What does Nancy Pelosi really believe about Mukasey? Or does it depend on the phases of the moon? And I'm not sure the Republicans are less susceptible to the temptation.

11/06/2007 07:23:00 PM  
Blogger Ticker said...

In the same vein what does Hillary really believe about illegal alien driver's licenses? Or about Iraq? Or torture? I have heard it argued that Hillary's great strength is that she believes in nothing and therefore can be counted on to act in her consistent self-interest. Maybe the real art in politics consists of saying as little as possible about the issues in as many words as can be managed.

But if that makes charlatans of politicians what does it make of the voters? Maybe part of Ron Paul's appeal is his willingness to call for the abolition of the Federal Reserve, warn against plots hatched in Israel, explain that rioting blacks are only waiting for their welfare check and maintain that service in the armed forces is a kind of servitude. His willingness to say something -- even if everything he says is reprehensible -- is so refreshing in contrast to the smudge tactics of regular politicians that he has acquired the aura of rebellion. The line from the Wild Ones expressing rebellion in its most primitive form, may apply.

"What are you rebelling against?"

"What have you got?"

11/06/2007 07:36:00 PM  
Blogger eggplant said...

wretchard said...

"How much Washington politics I wonder, I like that, staged for the benefit of the cameras? "

Obviously much of it is for the benefit of the MSM. However I am compelled at this point to praise our President. President Bush is a great president and a true patriot. President Bush knew at the beginning that he would be hated for his decisions and pilloried by the media. However despite this, the President made the tough decisions and stuck with them.

His low opinion polls are a Badge of Honor!

What a rare and precious thing this is: A politician who will actually do the Right Thing even if it is unpopular.

All praise to George W. Bush, our brave and honorable president!

11/06/2007 09:54:00 PM  
Blogger Nancy Reyes said...

I keep an eye on the US Catholic "peace and justice" sites and find several of them are googoo eyed about Ron Paul.
So yes, I think Paul is the Ralph Nader of the next election and will take more votes from Hillary than from Guilliani.

Guilliani may be able to steal the ethnic Catholic "Reagan democrat" votes...the people who hate abortion but want it legal in case their teenaged daughter gets pregnant...

11/07/2007 02:41:00 AM  
Blogger watimebeing said...

Dr. Paul is consistent. His stance on Limiting the Federal Government's role in Education, Health Care, Banking and Abortion are compatible with his Second amendment and border issue positions. No waffling with a clearly stated POV. In talking to a few Paul supporters, young hipsters, there is a disconnect between what Paul's stance is on domestic issues and the stance of his supporters. It is only on Federalism that most of their beliefs converge, not on gun control not on abortion not on education not on health care.

As a melting pot of Anarchists and Libertarians, The Pauly's, it seems, want their cake and wish to eat it too. Which also explains how they can claim non intervention is not the same as isolationism.

I doubt endorsements from the NEA or Teamsters or any government employee union are in the offing and I don't know if Paul's hard core states rights stances can maintain the mans traction. Paul would be a curious third party candidate, a curiouser GOP nominee but an outright fraud as a Democrat. With his very strict framer's view of the constitution, I am surprised he claims to belong to a political party at all.

11/07/2007 03:24:00 AM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

It seems to me we say we want politicians to state their positions on issues, but we punish them when they do.

The key to getting elected is to entice as many people to vote for you while causing as few people as possible to vote AGAINST you. Both sides of this coin are equally important.

At first glance, this seems obvious, but SOME people will always be deeply offended by whichever side of whatever issue you take. The answer? Whenever possible say vague things like "I support family values", "I want to help the middle class", and when you CHOOSE to offend some group, pick on a small group like "the richest 1%". Come down on BOTH sides of the fence.

We may claim outrage over this pandering, but Hillary's the frontrunner BECAUSE she practices this approach while Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich are kooky fringe candidates precisely BECAUSE they are willing to take positions on issues.

11/07/2007 10:00:00 AM  
Blogger DiscerningTexan said...

This is interesting; I am also hearing a lot of buzz about Bloomberg jumping in. Another who would draw from both parties, but probably more from the Dems. So it would be interesting to speculate on a race with Bloomberg AND Paul AND (possibly) Nader again...

A lot of variables. I actually think that Paul might draw more from the Dems; I sense that his supporters (and he) are much more of the Kucinich "nutroots" variety.

11/07/2007 12:43:00 PM  
Blogger ryanshaunkelly said...

Gravel kucinich paul nader perot carter [conyers?] united for truth elicit fear smear blacklist.

Honesty compassion intelligence guts.

No more extortion blackmail bribery division.

11/12/2007 05:50:00 AM  
Blogger pauldanish said...

Ron Paul might be unique among third party candidates (if indeed he decides to become one) in that both major parties may conclude that they have to actively campaign against him. The usual major party strategy for dealing with third party challenges is to ignore them.

A second interesting question about a Ron Paul challenge outside the GOP is whether he would mount it as a Libertarian or as an Independent.

11/12/2007 11:59:00 PM  

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