Ron Paul

New Hampshire GOP Presidential Debate Live-Blog

We’ll be covering the debate sponsored this evening by CNN, WMUR and the Manchester Union Leader beginning at 7:30pm. The candidates participating this evening are Rep. Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, former Speaker Newt Gingrich, Rep. Ron Paul, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former Gov. Mitt Romney and former Sen. Rick Santorum.

Gary Johnson, who served two-terms as Governor of New Mexico, was not invited to the debate even though he met CNN’s criteria.

And before you watch the debate for tonight, here is some suggested reading: Dave Weigel has a report from the Granite State, AmSpec’s Jim Antle has a few quick thoughts on each candidate, The Hill offers five things for us to watch for this evening and a preview of tonight’s debate from The New York Times.

Why Rand Paul’s Recent “Loss” Was an Epic Win

During Rand Paul’s campaign to become Senator from Kentucky, he held a few positions that gave some of his father’s supporters pause. Specifically, his disagreement with Ron over the issue of criminal trials versus military tribunals was a point of contention making it difficult for some to back his candidacy without trepidation. Rand thought we should keep the tribunals while Ron was vehemently opposed to any trial that didn’t give the accused the best protection of his rights.

After this past week, It probably isn’t far fetched to say that any trepidation one may have had about Rand Paul’s commitment to the principles of freedom has vanished.

Paul managed to single-handedly take control of the Senate chambers in a heroic attempt to move the Senate to consider and debate the Patriot Act - something shockingly absent since it’s first passage. In fact, in 2001, when the Patriot Act was first introduced, a single Senator read the bill before casting a vote. The vote cast was a resounding “NO” by Russ Feingold, coincidentally, the only vote recorded in opposition to the bill.

Rand’s efforts were unsuccessful if you deem passage of the Act’s extension the sole measure of success. However, Rand did far more than capture the imagination and attention of the country for a suspenseful 36 hours, 7 of which were spent on the Senate floor.

The Apathetic Voter and the 2012 GOP Presidential Debate

The following was authored by Ron Davis, a conservative activist from Georgia and blogger at

I first became interested in politics during a GOP Presidential debate in 2008. In the middle of that array of candidates, one really stood out to me. What he had to say sparked my interest, and his 2008 campaign cured my political apathy.

There’s a significant group of people who will read this post who are, like I was, primarily apathetic when it comes to the political process.  If you find yourself in that group, this post is for you.

2012 is coming soon, and it’s going to be a huge election year.  The presumed frontrunner Republican candidates are, quite honestly, no good. So what’s so great about tonight’s debate? They won’t be there. Instead, we’ll be hearing from the people who actually have things to say – things that you won’t hear when those bigger names are in front of the camera.

Not everyone in tonight’s debate is a great candidate, but if you watch this evening, you’ll be exposed to some great minds – people who have real ideas for how to make America better who typically have to fight for their fair chance to be heard.

I’d like to ask each of you to tune into tonight’s debate. Watch it with an open mind and give fair consideration to what each of these candidates has to say. You may see somebody who stands out from the crowd – someone who resonates with what you believe.

And you might even go to bed tonight having found the cure to your political apathy.

Ron Paul to announce presidential exploratory committee today

News broke last evening that Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) will announce the formation of an presidential exploratory committee today as he continues to weigh a second bid for the Republican Party’s nomination:

Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, whose outspoken libertarian views and folksy style made him a cult hero during two previous presidential campaigns, will announce on Tuesday that he’s going to try a third time.

Sources close to Paul, who is in his 12th term in the House, said he will unveil an exploratory presidential committee, a key step in gearing up for a White House race. He will also unveil the campaign’s leadership team in Iowa, where the first votes of the presidential election will be cast in caucuses next year.
Paul took 10 percent of the vote in the Iowa caucuses and 8 percent in New Hampshire’s primary. He finished second, with 14 percent of the vote, in the Nevada caucuses, and eventually finished fourth in the Republican nominating process with 5.6 percent of the total vote. Paul’s campaign book, The Revolution: A Manifesto also reached No. 1 on The New York Times best-seller list in 2008.

This would seem to be an ideal year for Paul: Since the last election, the Republican Party has moved much closer to his view on deficit reduction, which made him an early tea party favorite. All of the party’s top-tier presidential hopefuls are focusing on lowering debt, government spending, and tax rates, issues Paul has long advocated.

It looks like Paul’s staff is getting better at planning, an aspect of his campaign that was missing sorely in 2008. This news will largely drown out the Gary Johnson’s announcement for president late last week (he is bypassing the exploratory process).

Gary Johnson or Ron Paul?

On Thursday, former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson announced his candidacy for President of the United States.  Texas Congressman Ron Paul is expected to announce his candidacy at some point in the future.  That would put two libertarians campaigning for the limited libertarian vote in the GOP.  Some argue that this would be a good thing, that the two could shred the likes of Donald Trump and Sarah Palin in the primary debates.  Unfortunately, let’s face facts.  Paul didn’t perform well last time in the debates, so the only reason to expect different this time is the pathetic line up we’re looking at from the GOP this time around.

However, as things stand at the moment, I’m putting my weight behind Gary Johnson.  This isn’t a lack of respect or admiration for Ron Paul, those are as strong as ever.  However, Johnson has a few things going for him that Paul doesn’t necessarily.

It’s true that both have a record to stand on.  However, Paul as repeatedly used earmarks to send money to his home district.  Granted, he always votes against the budget after adding those earmarks, but some can easily argue that Paul knows it will pass anyways so he’s just voting against the budget on form.  He’s bringing home the pork just like so many he criticizes, at least in their eyes.  Johnson, on the other hand, vetoed over 750 pieces of legislation during his time as governor of New Mexico.

Standing up for principles isn’t a conservative position apparently

As a libertarian, I’m obviously a fan of Ron Paul.  I don’t agree with everything he says, but I think he brings up some valid points.  He’s also known for sticking to his principles.  Because of this, the Young Americans for Freedom have “purged” him from their advisory board due to his anti-war stance.

From the group’s press release:

(Washington DC – 2/12/11) The National Board of Young Americans for Freedom (YAF)—America’s oldest conservative-libertarian activist group—has, per curium, voted to purge Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) from YAF’s National Advisory Board.

YAF’s concern with Rep. Paul stems from his delusional and disturbing alliance with the fringe Anti-War movement.

“It is a sad day in American history when a one-time conservative-libertarian stalwart has fallen more out of touch with America’s needs for national security than the current feeble and appeasing administration,” said YAF’s Senior National Director Jordan Marks.

Paul, who had served on the YAF Advisory Board for more than two decades, was awarded with YAF’s highest honor, the Guardian of Freedom award, an honor Rep. Paul has touted on his biography for many years. Only a decade ago, Dr. Paul praised YAF’s work on the House floor. Paul called YAF’s founding document, the Sharon Statement “a great document explicating the philosophy of freedom.”

The Sharon Statement, clearly states: “American foreign policy must be judged by this criterion: does it serve the just interests of the United States?”

CPAC 2011 (So Far…)

It’s been an interesting CPAC this year. Before the conference even started it was embroiled in controversy over the participation of gay conservative group GOProud. Several organizations pulled out of the conference, but few of them were regular participants anyway. The most high profile and only real loss was The Heritage Foundation. Rumors are that their refusal to participate this year was not over GOProud, but due to a financial dispute with the American Conservative Union—the organization behind CPAC. Regardless of the dispute before then conference, GOProud seems to be getting a good reception from attendees.

The big surprise yesterday was Donald Trump. Trump showed up yesterday afternoon to a fairly responsive crowd, but quickly digressed into a fight over Ron Paul with a heckler. Considering the room was stacked with Paulie’s waiting to hear Rand Paul, that was NOT a smart move. No one seems to be taking Trump for President seriously. Rand Paul did a really good job. He seems to have more charisma than his father.

Speaking of presidential candidates, Gary Johnson, former Governor of New Mexico, looks like he’s gearing up for a run. Johnson has a booth and professional campaign consultants wandering around. He actually gave a good speech yesterday, but is still considered a long, long, long shot candidate. Johnson’s biggest obstacle is his drug policy (he supports the legalization of marijuana) and he will have a hard time getting traditional Republican primary voters to buy into him because of it.

Mitt Romney spoke earlier today and got a very tepid response from the crowd. The ballroom was only three quarters of the way full, and he largely skipped over the health care issue which did not go unnoticed. The fake Sarah Palin was a bigger hit than Mitt.

CPAC 2011: Podcast with Herman Cain

Herman Cain visited the Bloggers’ Lounge yesterday for a few moments. He gave us a quick introduction and took a few questions, including a couple from me on his support of the bailouts (he gave a woefully inadequate answer).

After making the rounds, Cain came by for a quick chat with me on campaign finance, free trade and spending. You can download the podcast here (3.3MB/3:39).

Stand by, I hope to have a couple more of these tomorrow.

Mini Revolutions

I’m temporarily living in a small Alabama town that’s still safe enough to allow my children to ride their bikes down the street unattended and to leave your door unlocked while you run to the store.  It’s quaint and seems untouched by the goings on in Washington, DC… and sometimes even Montgomery.  But of course, it’s not.  And conversations with the people you meet at the grocery store or the park reveal that.  People are angry.  Very angry.  Thankfully, they’re also becoming organized and that is starting to make a difference.

I’m not a whole-hearted Tea Partier.  I have my doubts about its long-term effectiveness, especially at a federal level if they continue to put all their efforts behind big-ticket races.  But I think their potential is almost unlimited when it comes to smaller, local offices.

Recently, our town had a street festival featuring music, crafts, vendors and of course, politicians running for office, busy greeting people and kissing babies.  I stopped to talk to one of the candidates who is running for a state house seat as he stood in the middle of the street handing out balloons.  Though my questions were asked with cynicism, the answers returned were thoughtful, sincere and refreshing.  Before too long, I realized I was talking to a real Tea Party candidate.  This guy was a true believer in the need to shrink government and his mannerisms were about as un-politician like as you can get.

But it got better.  As he told his story, it become clear that he had been the underdog in the primary, battling against a better-funded, establishment-picked candidate who hardly qualified to even be called a Republican.  But he’d won.  By a very large margin.

The Empire Tries to Strike Back

All y’all dumb motherf****** don’t even know my opinion on sh**.”

If there was ever a defining moment in the 2010 midterm elections, I would have to argue that it occurred when the statement above was made by a black construction worker who had just passed through a gauntlet of “protesters”. The crowd had assembled in lower Manhattan to express their absolute hatred for Muslims, fueled by years of neoconservative propaganda (though it only seems like a few weeks). The unidentified man, wearing a skin cap, immediately assumed to be a Muslim artifact, made the completely appropriate statement, under the circumstances, when the crowd started directing their vitriol toward him.

Clearly, none of the protesters were interested in knowing his opinion but rather projecting it upon him. Yet, he probably made the most sensible and astute comment they had heard since tuning off Fox News before traveling to New York.

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