Ron Paul and the Electability Question

Friday, January 11, 2008 at 12:53 PM

During last night's South Carolina Republican debate, Fox News moderators were tough on Rep. Ron Paul, most notably when journalist Carl Cameron asked him an incredibly derisive question.

Cameron asked: "Congressman Paul, yet another question about electability. Do you have any, sir? There's always the question as to whether or not you are, in fact, viable. Your differences with the rest of the Republicans on this stage has raised questions about whether or not you can actually win the Republican nomination, sir."

Leaving aside the issue of whether journalists have any business deciding which candidates are "electable," Paul got twice as many votes as Rudy Giuliani in Iowa and five times as many as Fred Thompson in New Hampshire. Yet Fox News did not pose that question to either Giuliani or Thompson, and I don't think it ever would.

After Cameron's question was met with loud ridicule from the crowd and his fellow candidates, Paul provided the night's best moment.

There's a furious debate going on at the Drudge Retort about bigoted newsletters published in Paul's name. I have concerns that he's not the steadfast old-school Republican he seems to be, but instead belongs to the angry hard-right fringe.

But last night, as he's done many times before, Paul held his party to account for straying so far from its principles. Crazy borrow-and-spend military adventurism has taken hold of the GOP to such a degree that ideals once solidly in the Republican mainstream are openly mocked by its most popular leaders.

I think the primary attraction of Paul is that he's a politician who won't sacrifice his ideals to please voters. If that approach is unelectable, we're in a lot of trouble.


As the DNC said in 96 It is the economy stupid'.

Our Nation produces 13.1 trillion dollars of wealth each year, and of that the government takes 2.4 trillion dollars and spends 2.6 trillion dollars. Since the government spends more than it takes, it has developed a debt, which is currently 10 trillion dollars. We have promised to make future expenditures above and beyond what we are currently spending, to an amount of 58 trillion dollars between 2017 and 2040. This works out to an average of 2.5 trillion dollars a year. In addition to this, 4 trillion dollars of the debt will also need to be paid back without any additional sources of revenue, although existing taxation can be increased.

To put this in perspective, imagine that you work for a company that earns $131,000 of annual revenue, they pay you $23,000 a year, and your budget is $26,000 for the year. At the same time you have $64,000 on the credit cards and $46,000 that you have borrowed from your 401k, and just signed a 30 year mortgage for your parent's house for $580,000, but the property is condemned. And this is all okay because you have $6.59 in the bank. Your parents are going to give you $1,000 a year until 2017, and then they need you to start paying them back.

We have established significant control over air travel, but our boarders are open, illegal immigration is not under control, our ports are not secure, and our visa system has not been updated. If the government thought that terrorism is a serious problem, they haven't done anything to stop it, yet they have stripped our rights and liberties under the banner of terrorism since October of 2001. Although we haven't plugged any of the holes in our system, there hasn't been a terrorist attack on U.S. soil for over 6 years. The government spending and the economy will destroy this nation in less than 33 years.

I believe that Ron Paul is the only candidate from either the Republican or Democratic parties that will even attempt to fix this.

(Numbers have been obtained from the CIA Fact book.)

Ron Paul is the only candidate that displayed substance and thought process in his answers. The man basses his decision on logic and reason, not emotion. He recognizes that emotion is for guidance not decision making. He is a man of great character and those who question it have obviously not been exposed to the vast amount of essays and speeches this man has given over the years. Circumstantial evidence if repeated enough will bend the weak minded to inaccurate conclusion. Think for yourself; Do not be easily led by the bridle of emotion.

McCain is a fool if he thinks we are not going into a recession. Bad Economic Records are being set at an unprecedented rate. Things are crashing on a massive scale never seen before. The Idea that McCain

Romney has the economic savvy and more than likely would be a good president. He is more of a compromiser than I would prefer.

Huckabee is a slick talking socialist in my opinion. He has great command of the language but is strategically telling people what he thinks they want to hear. He has steadily adopted closer positions to Ron Paul since the first debate.

Giuliani is just as corrupt as Hillary.

Thompson is just pretending. No real substance to his positions or character. More of the same.

Ron Paul is the only candidate that does not blow in the wind and has the wisdom to ask the right questions to allow logical conclusion.

I vote for virtue; I vote for Ron Paul.

Hey Carl, is Fox News watchable? I think we need a debate on this issue and if the FCC should pull their broadcasting license.


Until a few weeks ago, I also thought that "the primary attraction of Paul is that he's a politician who won't sacrifice his ideals to please voters." I no longer think that is the primary attraction. I think he is supported by a relatively small base of folks who yearn for the days when the government was virtually nonexistent.

That base isn't big enough for him to get very far in a presidential race, so, for the 2008 election, his campaign has been heavily targeting younger voters with a message that Paul is the truthteller, the sage, the crotchety grandpa who turns out to be right. Which is certainly their prerogative. But they make a real point of glossing over the extremeness of Paul's positions in many areas, focusing instead on things that these younger voters are likely to find attractive, like taxes (always described as "illegal," "coercive," etc), and always conveyed in speches dominsated by references to "freedom," "liberty" and "responsibility."

All this is offered up part and parcel with a message that we're on the edge of disaster and Paul is the only savior in sight. And I emphasize "savior." You've read the comments about the newsletters, on both WTW and the Retort--remind you of the indignation with which born again Christians tend to react to criticism of their religion?

And good Lord, how few of the Paul supporters even bother to pay lip service to the subject they pretend to be responding to. Every mention of Paul on the site simply draws comment after comment praising Paul and urging people to vote for him.. Isn't it odd that these people so quickly identify every mention of Paul in the "blogosphere?" I doubt that occurs by some fortunate accident.

I agree completely that "we're in a lot of trouble" if truthtelling makes you unelectable.' I think that Cameron's debate comment/question about unelectability was ridiculous. But I don't think that Paul's unelectable because of truthtelling, per se, but because of the nature of the "truth" that he is telling. I think (hope like hell) that Paul is unelectable because he is, in fact, an extreme extremist of a certain far right type, the majority of whose solutions for todays grievous problems would only make them far more grievous.

GW Bush has spent seven years pulling us furiously away from common sense and reason. The last thing we need is a Paul to spend another four years leading us much farther away from those things. The idiocy of Cameron's comment notwithstanding.

"I have concerns that he's not the steadfast old-school Republican he seems to be, but instead belongs to the angry hard-right fringe."

You haven't ever read anything the man has written, for the last 25 years, have you?

I'm sick of morons leading morons in this country.

"Isn't it odd that these people so quickly identify every mention of Paul in the "blogosphere?" I doubt that occurs by some fortunate accident."

When I first heard of Ron Paul, I dismissed him. He wasn't a name I knew, and I thought he was little more than a small-time candidate who would disappear in a few weeks. After I heard about the money he was making online, I decided to take a look. What I found impressed me. Instead of a candidate who is just trying to maintain the status quo of overspending and being the world police, we have a candidate who wants to move away from that. His goals and the fact that he stays true to his ideals is completely different from the other candidates out there who are nothing but liars trying to guess the magic pass phrase that will gather everyone to their banner so they can win and get started forgetting about everything they promised to do.

Back to why I quoted you: You seem to be insinuating that there is either some conspiracy to shout down all opponents, or that we're all waiting around on some website for someone to post that Ron Paul has been attacked and for us to swarm. The truth is, Ron Paul has made me excited about an election for the first time in my life, and I am actively spending time looking for stories on him to see how he is doing in the race, and I think others feel the same way. We're not here because there's someone telling us to, we're here because his message and his goals make us excited enough to want to read more.

FOX and the other candidates were obviously after Ron last night. Sean Hannity was rabid. It makes you wonder why they are so threatened by someone who doesn't have a chance. Maybe it's just the message that they don't want us to hear.

Lee Russ

If you think Paul is so dangerous and radical, one can safely assume you won't be voting in a Republican Primary. As your non story linked at Drudge Retort the other day shows, you are clearly no journalist. So why all the time spent trashing Paul? Wouldn't your time be more wisely spent trying to influence the Democrats race?

why all the time spent trashing Paul?

"All the time?" I posted a link to one story and commented on that story. I then responded to a bunch of pro-Paul and/or anti-me comments to that story, and posted one comment to Rogers' post (certainly not anti-Paul) here and another in response to the pro-Paul crowd on one of Six's posts.

Wouldn't your time be more wisely spent trying to influence the Democrats race?

Your assumption that my goal is influencing the race is wrong. If that was my main goal, no, I wouldn't try to just influence the Democrats. The ultimate race is at least two-sided.

I find many of Paul's positions to be dangerous as hell for this country. It's one thng for him to sit on the back bench and snipe at others' policies, and another to apply his own policies to the country. This "let everyone take care of their own business" crap is unworkable. Just unworkable.

The underlying absurdity here, which I haven't seen anyone really address, is that Paul would be unable to apply most of those policies even if he was elected by some miracle. He'd be sitting in the executive branch, surrounded by hostile Republicans and hostile Democrats, unable to enact any legislation they didn't buy, and facing a joint investigation of any actions he took on his own.

So what would a Paul presidency look like in the real world? The Long Island Expressway at rush hour in the worst blizzard in history.

You seem to be insinuating that there is either some conspiracy to shout down all opponents, or that we're all waiting around on some website for someone to post that Ron Paul has been attacked and for us to swarm.

You may be cominf upon this info independently, but I have my suspicions about some of the other folks. As I said in another thread:

...try running the following Google search:


Posting after posting after posting using the same language and treating Paul's candidacy with the same zeal usually reserved for religious matters.

If you support Paul, fine. If you want to give him money and volunteer for him, fine. I don't and I won't, which should also be fine.

I just hope that all Paul supporters understand that this is a debate about a candidate, not a religious insurrection. And I certainly hope that his supporters have thought long and hard about how (whether) a country could actually function in this day and age with no federal government to speak of.

One question for all you Paul folks, and it's a genuine question: Does Norquist support Paul, attack Paul, or ignore Paul?

Lee Russ

Good Job! You've grasped the fact that American Politics rarely turn on a dime. A Paul presidency will mean an immediate end to the war and troop withdrawl from the rest of the empire, but not an immediate transformation into a libertarian hoedown. Clinton saw some of the best years of the American economy in recent history because he faced a hostile congress and real negotiation was forced. The country has swung so far to the left (fascist) under Bush2 that we really need a pull to the right(liberty) to fix things. The Patriot Act has to go!

Think of it like this, we've had big spending hawks in office for long enough to push the empire to the brink of disaster. Now we need a fiscal conservative(not in name only) to pull us back from the edge.

Please stop with the slander. Paul supporters are for the most part intelligent and rational people who are really sick of being labeled religious zealots, kooks, and racists. We see the country we love in danger and want to fix it. Paul and Kuchinach(?) are the only candidates that even talk about the patriot act and if you want to talk about least Paul hasn't had a close encounter of any kind.

Ron Paul vs. The Philosophically Bankrupt

After reading the name-calling and other non sequiturs from the anti-Ron Paul crowd, I am of the view that their hostility arises less from his opposition to war, or the direction American foreign policy has taken for decades, or any of the other specific programs he has criticized. What troubles them the most is that Paul has a philosophically-principled integrity in what he advocates and that, to challenge him, one must be prepared to deal with him at that higher level.

But modern political discourse long ago gave up on principles, in favor of the pursuit of power as a sufficient end. There is an intellectual bankruptcy exhibited by writers and speakers on the political "left," "right," or "middle." Competing ideas and values that once engaged the minds of thoughtful men and women have given way to little more than pronouncements on behalf of narrowly-defined political programs; the validity of a proposition no longer depends upon reasoned analysis, but upon the outcome of public opinion polls.

Ron Paul's campaign interjects an energized, principled inquiry into the political realm, an undertaking for which men and women with no philosophic center or rigorous minds find themselves woefully ill-prepared.

I support Ron Paul but there is some truth to Gino's comments above. I think he won't be elected because most people don't want what he is proposing. Most people DO want the so called safety net for themselves and others. I think this is a bad idea or rather one that should be left to the states but most people like it. The don't want the responsibility that comes with the freedom Dr. Paul preaches.

A prime example of this is Katrina. Why, I ask, didn't New Orleans and the Great State of Louisiana make sure their levees were up to snuff? Why should this be a Federal responsibility? Who had the most to lose (and lost it) if the levees broke? It was billions of dollars to fix them but surely New Orleans and Lousiana could have done this. But instead, they act like the Federal Government is the super in their apartment building and blame the Feds when the pipes leak.

We are all beneficiaries of the empire that Dr. Paul wants to dismantle (I agree we should). We all want $40 an hour jobs but to buy goods made by people with $1 an hour jobs. This keeps the standard of living high in the US and is the main fruit of empire for the average American. Dismantling the empire is the right thing to do, but don't imagine it won't have consequences to Americans.

I think Dr. Paul is right about monetary policy, but the problems are so bad now that simply reverting to proper policy won't fix them. There is massive pain to come even if Dr. Paul is elected. If we went to the gold standard there would be a giant sucking sound as all the gold in the US were siphoned off to China.

The good doctor's medicine is the right stuff, but it may not taste so good and the recovery process might be a little painful.

I don't know about all the rest of America but I am ready for change. I have for a long time disagreed with most politicians and their view of where MY COUNTRY should go. I don't like at all the need for our government to continue passing more and more laws to narrow down my freedoms and define what is an act of aggression or terrorism in their eyes. The laws they pass are meant to curtail our actions not the criminal because he doesn't obey the laws anyway. There is no common sense in our government anymore. Ron Paul makes a call for this again and that is what brings us to him.

Now maybe there are some radical sides to Paul as in everyone. As we all write these comments we all curtail our opinions and hide our controversial views as to not sound so radical that we get blown off as a wacko. If you say you don't you are a liar like all the politicians before us. If you commit them to writing you get sent to the extremist column and disregarded. Whats your dirty extremist secrets?

At how many witnesses does a conspiracy theory move from hypothesis to fact? It only takes one eye witness and a little evidence to put you in jail for murder for life! Mountains of evidence still haven't changed anybodies mind about any of the politicians, our two party farce of a system, our terrorist problem they claim we have or the danger of where they are leading our country at home and in the world.

One way or the other our world is going to change. Every day. I don't like the changes that have come in the last 20 years or those that have been behind these changes. If we keep electing the same people to office and their friends we will never change our direction. Ron Paul is making a call back to constitutional government and away from the police state we are slowly imposing on ourselves. Now maybe for Lee Russ that is all too scary for him because he put all his eggs in their one basket but i haven't bought the basket yet and only have a couple of eggs to protect. The world will not end! Our country will not fall to anarchy. Our country has been around for 200 plus years most of which we didn't have any of the laws we do now and we did fine. Survived a civil war even. So lets change our direction now! Don't let fear stall what you know needs to happen for just a little bit of security today. Do it for the children who have not yet explored themselves and the world and know not what rights you so easily give away that they may someday want to exercise or experience.

Yes I admit that Ron Paul if elected may meet the same fate as Jesse Ventura did bipartisan non cooperation. That is where the second part of our job comes in and we elect new congressmen and senators that want to work for us. The worse that could happen is that nothing happens. Wow no new laws for four years! I'll vote for that! Lets make it eight and bring our boys home.

The work in the world America needs to do is right here at home. Shall we get to work or just keep calling in sick?



See, first you want to "stop with the slander" of Paul (which I'm not doing in the first place), but then immediately repeat the falsehood that Kucinich has had a "close encounter," implying it was of the "third kind." Kucinich said he'd seen a ufo. Ufo happens to stand for unidentified flying object. Note the "unidentified" part of the definition. All Kucinich said was he saw some object in the sky which he couldn't identify. He didn't say it was aliens.

Some Visitor also said:

What troubles [the anti-Ron Pau crowd] the most is that Paul has a philosophically-principled integrity in what he advocates and that, to challenge him, one must be prepared to deal with him at that higher level.

Yeah, you got me. I fear the intellectual challenge.

Craig Morris thinks that "We all want $40 an hour jobs but to buy goods made by people with $1 an hour jobs." Well I don't. And there are a hell of a lot of other people who don't if for no other reason than that they understand that when you buy goods made by workers making $1/hour, only the investor elite and the managers in this country will be able to make $40/hour (& they'll earn a hell of a lot more).

MCV says that "Our country has been around for 200 plus years most of which we didn't have any of the laws we do now and we did fine." I suspect that most of Paul's supporters think that. I can only imagine which history books you're reading.

We certainly "survived" but just as certainly most of the people did anything but "fine." Most of the federal laws you so abhor came into being to protect common, ordinary citizens from hellish conditions, from child labor that bordered on slavery to locking workers into the building so that a fire meant the agonizing death of all the locked in workers, to innocent residents finding out that their backyards were so toxic that their cozy home was killing and deforming their children, to large employers murdering and beating anyone who "agitated" their employees to demand better wages or conditions, to Black people being lynched, beaten, and run off their property, get the idea.

This is real history, as lived by real people, who felt real pain and real misery and real hopelessness because of their real lack of power vis a vis employers, investors, and their friends. As opposed to the purely theoretical ideas of the joy and perfection of the market and economics expounded by Von Mises et. al. Fed to the public in the form of good old Ayn Rand's cautionary tales.

Actual, provable hellish misery versus abstract ivory tower theory. Now we've got the latest brand of these theories, which ties them into what its adherents insist is the only possible interpretation of a very ambiguous Constitution.

Yes, indeed, MCV, this "is all too scary for [me] because [I] put all [my] eggs in their one basket." That basket is experience.

Yeah Russ your right people suffered.

If you think about it we have this brand new country compared to most others with brand new ideas. Some firsts in the world as far as protections for the populous from its central government. We are made up of hundreds of different nationalities coming together. All pulling from thousands of years of experience and prejudice. Unfortunately some people believe themselves above others and treat these lower "races" poorly and have for thousands of years. So our country like many others throughout the world has gone through changes and growing pains. People change slowly and are not always ready to adopt some new thinking or theory. We carry the baggage of our ancestors with us good or bad. There have been mistakes in the logic. I would like to believe we are learning.

In theory our country and the world have moved on from this thinking and stopped abusing each other but not in practice. There is still a slave trade it just went underground and is only mentioned in passing now and again in the press. We still abuse the right of the less fortunate here and abroad. Do you think that illegal workers are not being used, beaten, and threatened right here in America while being paid sub scale wages and living fifteen to an apartment? Minority races and groups still get profiled by law enforcement harassed, searched illegally, and arrested. Houses are still even built on landfill and toxic factory sites. The old PG&E yard down the street was too toxic 10 years ago but now theres condo's there. Do you want to get into the abuses of eminent domain all around America? I personally know someone who lost a lease and a business to the need of a higher revenue strip mall. The ensuing law suit only made it harder to get permits for his sons business. In other places people are loosing their homes.

So i guess for some of us the experience continues.


The topic: Is Ron Paul Electable?, is more than just of passing interest. Of all the Republican candidates Ron Paul seems to have his ducks in a row, and the row seems to be quite close to the desires of the general conservative voting population. There's just one wrinkle in the fabric however. The President of these United States will not be elected by either the popular vote or necessarily the desires of the greater proportion of the United States voters. First and foremost the President, no matter the party, will be selected by the national political party machine. Then the popular vote will be interpreted by the state representatives to the electoral college, and then we will have an elected President. In a democracy the one man one vote, majority wins, is the rule. The United States national elections are, more or less, a republican form of government. Meaning we select representatives to vote, pass legislation, etc., that are in the best interests of the nation and perhaps even in line with the desires of the majority of the common citizens.

Is Ron Paul electable? Not unless the Republican National Party says he is. See, it's just like the tag you can find in mens underwear. 'He aint Presidential material until I say he's presidental material.'


I don't follow your last response. What do you mean by "So i guess for some of us the experience continues"???

Are you saying that the failure of the federal government to completely cure the problems means that we need to kill the fed government?


It's easy to criticize. That's generally the problem with dictators. They see the horrible government and try to replace it only to find that they make worse rulers then those they replaced. Yes, it's easy to criticize, but a person really worth their salt can actually fix a situation. A complainer can only complain or make things worse. What does that have to do with anything here. Well, breakthroughs in every field means we now know how to fix it, the world, but it's hard dragging the complainers along. In summary I suppose I would say, pick a candidate from the middle of the pack. Either end seems to be loaded. Actually a sane person wouldn't run, of course, and I suspect that in a crazy world, the less crazy rise to the top, but that's not my idea of a choice. Someone outside the asylum would do better, but "they're so weird." said the nut.

Is Ron Paul electable?

He could be if the MSM stopped furiously ignoring him when they weren't actively disrespecting him. The MSM fears the change that any populist, non corporately pre-approved candidate brings into the picture. Watching the MSM try to narrow this race down to the corporately pre-approved candidates of Hellary "Borg Queen" Clinton on the left and John "PSTD" McCain or Rudy 9ui11iani on the right has been very instructive if a bit disheartening.

Ron Paul was the only candidate on the right not speaking utter nonsense at the debates and the other candidates stepped all over each other in an effort to see who could pooh pooh his ideas first. "Wot's that Dr Paul yer saying the jihadist elements in the ME have a historical context in which to be understood? Don't be a moron they hate us for our freedom and cos they are just plain sub-human Thrill-Kill cultists." or words to that effect.

Just because Ron Paul is the one eyed King in the land of the blind doesn't make him electable per se but watching the MSM shape public opinion under the guise of reflecting it does make one wonder how we ever got to this point and how we can stop the madness and restore some common sense and rationality to the process.

America dropped the gold standard largely at the behest of the private banking industry and based on the asinine notion that the Petro dollar would keep the US economy afloat.

Not. So. Much.

Be Well.