Dec 20, 2011

December 19, 2011: Adults in the Sandbox, Ron Paul as 'Spoiler', Precious Little Time Left.

“A Republic does not recognize unorganized opinion”
                                        ---from the 'Quotations of Chairman Joe'

It was announced over the weekend that the Des Moines Register, Iowa’s most prominent and influential newspaper, has endorsed Mitt Romney in the upcoming Republican contest. Citing ‘Baby Huey’s’ record of rabid partisanship and calling him a ‘divider’ and not a ‘uniter’ the paper’s editorial board chose Romney instead because of his record at not only cleaning up the failing winter Olympics held in the 1990’s in Utah, but his ability to work across party lines to move the state of Massachusetts forward on several important issues.

Today, was announced that Bob Dole, former Senate Majority Leader and 1996 Republican Presidential Candidate also announced his support of Mitt Romney for the Presidential nomination.

It has been my experience that there is almost an inverse correlation between a press endorsement and winning an election. Most of the candidates I have worked for over the years, including myself as a candidate for County Commissioner, have received, sometimes reluctantly as in my case, the endorsement of the local paper only to see office slip from our grasp albeit by the narrowest of margins. Conversely, I have worked in and managed campaigns were we did not get such endorsements and walked to victory. It is as if the public takes perverse pleasure in thumbing their collective nose at the megaphone of the elite.

Be that as it may, it is refreshing to see the adults in the playground begin to pass judgment, for it is clear that several of the Rescumlican wannabees are completely devoid of the maturity and judgment, not to mention native intelligence and political organization, to be serious Presidential contenders.

Still, one must remember, the Iowa contest will not be decided by primary vote, or even a closed primary vote, where only registered party members cast ballots. Instead delegates to the national convention will be chosen at causes held in living rooms and school gymnasiums all across the state. Only those candidates who reach a certain ‘threshold’ of support will be considered, meaning that those supporting say a lightweight like Michelle Bachmann will soon discover that she has insufficient support and will then throw their weight behind another candidate, say Rick Santorum or Ron Paul. This is the reason Bachmann has taken on Ron Paul in the latest debate, not only has Paul perhaps the best organization in the state, but his pre-caucus polling numbers suggest that many of Bachmann’s and Santorum’s supporters are looking for a place to go after the first ballot and they would rather have Paul be in the position of having his supports desert him and come to them instead of the scenario that now seems likely. Clearly, this system, being so closed and involving such a low percentage of the qualified voters, gives immense advantage to those who have spent the time and the resources to build an organization and are now among the front-runners. As with Obama’s victory in Iowa four years ago (see previous posts), often the winner becomes every one else’s second choice.

This scenario favors Ron Paul, inasmuch as he has the national exposure and, like a stopped clock, is right twice a day. In his case he managed to parlay his opposition to the war in Iraq into a great deal of campus support in 2008 building a national organization and name recognition in the process. His ideas on spending and taxes are deplorably regressive and reactionary and will do material damage to the middle class should he prevail, but his early emergence on the war issue blinded many in the upcoming generation as to his domestic agendas. As a consequence he now stands before us as a first-tier contender who has the campaign experience and the organization to be a real spoiler in the race.

Recently the polls were showing ‘Baby Huey’ in the lead, Romney second, Paul Third. Bachmann and Santorum have been maneuvering to try to replace Paul so as to survive the Caucus and head to New Hampshire. To this observer, that seems unlikely. Neither have the organization to sustain them and their increasingly shrill campaigning will not suffice in this non-primary setting. From here it looks as if Paul may be the spoiler as Gingrich’s support begins to wane. Romney, I think will hold, but the party is still looking for some kind of viable alternative to the Mormon, and is now torn as it looks to alternatives. Gingrich, with all his baggage and his inability to organize, will struggle to win this contest. For Romney, despite his religion, has the inside track. That’s why the voices of influence are beginning to jump on his bandwagon. The issue will be decided at the South, the question being will the party be able to ‘organize’ around an alternative in time to grab the prize from the Mormon’s grasp. Not in Iowa, not in New Hampshire. Romney will hold his own in Iowa, win New Hampshire and then the real contest begins.

What the ‘tea baggers’ and the idiot wrong have to understand is what George Wallace did not. It is not enough to campaign and get crowds, one has to organize and for that there is precious little time.

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