The Campaign At Christmas

Today’s Courier Herald Column:

It’s hard to believe anyone really cares about the GOP nomination for President these days. Those that do are either hard core political junkies or are likely on the payroll of one of the campaigns. Or they live in a state which parades candidates around a year before the first primaries and caucuses making them eat fried butter on a stick at their state fair to prove they’re one of them.

Voters in Iowa and New Hampshire will not get a Christmas break from Presidential politics. Iowans vote on January 3rd, with New Hampshire residents visiting the polls on January 10th. As such, those looking to read tea leaves with movements of campaign momentum are largely looking to these two states to see where the campaigns stand.

As expected, Ron Paul appears to be continuing with forward momentum in Iowa. The state’s caucus setup requires organization and money to translate poll numbers into votes, and Paul is deploying both throughout the state. A Ron Paul victory in Iowa would once and for all do what Paul’s supporters have been demanding throughout his multiple Presidential campaigns. It would require other candidates and media to take his campaign seriously. They may need to be careful what they wish for.

Despite running for President before, Paul has never been treated as a candidate who has had a chance to win the nomination. As such, he has never been on the receiving end of a single negative ad, nor has he had the media colonoscopy that is a complementary perk of being a viable candidate. If Paul wins Iowa, he will begin to receive both.

Voters that are somehow just discovering Ron Paul would learn about anti-Semitic newsletters written under his name over a period of years which he now disavows, but refuses to name the actual author nor explain how he profited from a venture that was sold as his personal views for years but now claims the opinions were not his. He will have to explain how he believes he will be an effective leader that could build legislative coalitions despite the evidence of his decades in Congress where he remains a lone wolf on the issues he finds important. His views on foreign policy, including that Iran should be allowed to pursue nuclear weapons, will be closely inspected.

Most importantly, he will be subjected to actual quotes of his, not taken out of context, where he decries Social Security, Medicare, and large baskets of other social programs as unconstitutional. If independent voters winced at Paul Ryan’s reforms to Medicare and Social Security which still took 23 years to balance the federal deficit, they are likely to be repelled in droves by Paul’s approach to federal spending.

As for Mitt Romney, he has finally begun appearing on television interviews. Perhaps one of his best early performances was his presentation of the “Top Ten List” on David Letterman’s show. He’ll need to do more self-deprecating humor to assist with his image as an uptight all business task-master. Letterman was a good start.

Gingrich, on the other hand, sailed to “front runner status” in the first couple of weeks after Thanksgiving, and received both the renewed scrutiny described above that awaits for Ron Paul, as well as the buyer’s remorse that has affected everyone proclaimed “front runner” thus far in the cycle. Gingrich, without the money or organization in Iowa that the other leading candidates have, is falling in Iowa polls. Nationally, he still polls competitively with Romney with a possible advantage in Florida and South Carolina.

There have been sightings of both Newts this month on the trail, and the campaign and the candidate need to do a better job of keeping one of them hidden. The self assured, know it all Newt needs to take another Mediterranean cruise, this time until November. He needs less statements that “I will win the Republican Nomination” and more of the contrite, circumspect Newt that talks about his grandchildren and how America can be great again.

The vast majority of other candidates will likely be squeezed out of the process sometime between Iowa and the days immediately following the New Hampshire Primary. Gary Johnson has already bolted for the Libertarian party. Others are likely working with headhunters and those that book keynoters for the lecture circuit.

And then, still others are again being urged to enter the race late. This is the fancy of reporters and pundits with time on their hands. These folks will soon move to writing about potential third party candidates. It is quite possible this year that these stories will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. In the campaign that has become a reality TV show, new characters are likely to be introduced to keep the storyline fresh. Hopefully, we won’t be required to watch any potential newcomers eat fried butter on a stick. We’ve had enough of that to last four more years.


  1. elfiii says:

    Paul simply hasn’t been dispatched yet but his turn is coming. He was the easiest of all of the challengers to crush so he has been saved for last. Just like Palin, Trump, Johnson, Bachmann, Cain and now Newt he will be shot, gutted, skinned, quartered and packed in ice in the cooler and shipped home to TX via UPS Next Day Air before you can say “Jack Sprat could eat no fat”.

    Romney is going to be your huckleberry. The “fix” is in. Other applicants need not apply. The position has been filled. The Red Headed League has been disbanded and there ain’t nothin’ Sherlock Holmes can do about it.

  2. seekingtounderstand says:

    If Romney, the Bain of my existence turncoat, is the nominee, then Obama wins in 2012.
    No one will vote……………maybe thats the plan anyway. Control congress but let the president take the blame for a bad economic trend for the next four years.

  3. John Konop says:

    I think many of you do not understand the amount of people against the policemen of the world foreign policy. This is why Paul is gaining ground. Many of us realize we cannot afford another Iraq like war with Iran.

    • Charlie says:

      There is a huge jump from not wanting to be the policeman of the world to one who denies that Iran is a direct threat to Israel and to us. Given that this same person has the anti-semetic newsletters in his background, there is good reason to press Dr. Paul on this difference.

      As stated above, Ron Paul fans are getting their wish. He is being taken seriously. As such, that stuff that he’s said that was allowed to go without scrutiny isn’t being overlooked any longer. This is what having your candidate being taken seriously looks like:

      • John Konop says:

        I agree Paul goes to far on issues. But on the other hand many of us fear the Neocon foreign policy more. Do you really think we can afford another war? Most of us want A Powell doctrine type leader via foreign policy not another cowboy with a.quick trigger.

        • Charlie says:

          I think telling Iran they have carte blanche to do whatever they want with regards to Israel or Nuclear weapons is only ensuring that we will have to afford another war, and this one will be a lot more expensive.

          • Engineer says:

            And making statements about wanting to go to war with Iran like the other candidates have expressed isn’t ensuring war?
            – Newt Gingrich pushing for “regime replacement”, which is what we did in Iraq.
            – Bachmann saying about Iran, “The Pentagon must prepare a war plan”.
            – Santorum is constantly saber rattling, “We need to use covert activities. And we need to plan a strike against their facilities and say to them that if you do not open up those facilities and close them down, we will close them down for you.”
            -Perry already seems to think we are at war with Iran.
            – Romney said that if “crippling sanctions” and other strategies fail, military action would be on the table because it is “unacceptable” for Iran to become a nuclear power. (back at the SC debate in November)

              • KD_fiscal conservative says:

                John, I agree with you on the extreme dangers of W and Dick neocon policy, but the problem with Iran, diplomacy hasn’t/won’t work and even the Obama admin. sanctions are inciting Iran, so there is no easy solution with Iran. The major problem is Obama is already using covert CIA operations (such as hacking and spying) and economic sanctions against Iran, but the Repubs are pushing for an even MORE hawkish policy(which will HURT America). I think if Obama plays the foreign policy issues right and the Repubs keep making the case Obama is essentially unAmerican, he will get some Independents on those issues alone.

  4. Dave Bearse says:

    “There have been sightings of both Newts this month on the trail, and the campaign and the candidate need to do a better job of keeping one of them hidden.”

    I was expecting that to be followed with a line about Newt’s booksellin, and otherwise personally profiting from his campaign.

  5. ZazaPachulia says:

    The colonoscopy line is a classic. Another good read, Charlie.

    I’m not a Ron Paul supporter, but If I was, I would not be overly concerned about the newsletters from the 80s and 90s. If his supporters are ok with his consistent statements about foreign policy, some old newsletters that Paul disavowed are not going to make them wake up and suddenly be enamored with Newt or Romney.

    If you’re deemed (by the punditry) as too libertarian or too far right, you’re going to get associated with racists and extremists. If you’re deemed too far left, you’re going to get associated with communists and Hezbollah. The further you stray from the middle, the more likely you are to get labeled as an antisemite. That’s just how it is.

    • Engineer says:

      “If his supporters are ok with his consistent statements about foreign policy, some old newsletters that Paul disavowed are not going to make them wake up and suddenly be enamored with Newt or Romney.”

      Pretty much. Unless they can bring some solid proof showing Paul wrote those articles, like some revisions, correspondence, letters, or e-mails to the editors of that newsletter, I can’t really give them much credit. After all, it is commonplace for celebrities to have newsletters written entirely by agents and friends, so why can’t a congressman?

  6. debbie0040 says:

    “Who Wrote The Ron Paul Newsletters? Ron Paul Wrote Them – Clear Proof”

    Ron Paul did not deny he wrote or approved the articles in this 1996 interview – in fact he defended them.

    Can you imagine the field day the Obama campaign would have if Ron Paul were the nominee? The anal exam has begun on Dr. Paul and it is about time….

    • Engineer says:

      In regards to your first article/link (Considering if you look at the guy’s site, it is 80% of the articles pertain to anti-Paul articles, so I question the legitimacy of the article). First, I again note, it is commonplace for agents and friends of celebrities to ghostwrite newsletters on the celebrity’s behalf, so why can’t that have been the case for a congressman? The other problem is that those pictures don’t actually show anything offensive written on them. Additionally here is a clip from the October 2001 Texas Monthly article (You can thank Charlie for this one) where he explains that this was the case:

      “What made the statements in the publication even more puzzling was that, in four terms as a U.S. congressman and one presidential race, Paul had never uttered anything remotely like this.

      When I ask him why, he pauses for a moment, then says, “I could never say this in the campaign, but those words weren’t really written by me. It wasn’t my language at all. Other people help me with my newsletter as I travel around. I think the one on Barbara Jordan was the saddest thing, because Barbara and I served together and actually she was a delightful lady.” Paul says that item ended up there because “we wanted to do something on affirmative action, and it ended up in the newsletter and became personalized. I never personalize anything.”

      His reasons for keeping this a secret are harder to understand: “They were never my words, but I had some moral responsibility for them … I actually really wanted to try to explain that it doesn’t come from me directly, but they [campaign aides] said that’s too confusing. ‘It appeared in your letter and your name was on that letter and therefore you have to live with it.'” It is a measure of his stubbornness, determination, and ultimately his contrarian nature that, until this surprising volte-face in our interview, he had never shared this secret. It seems, in retrospect, that it would have been far, far easier to have told the truth at the time.”

      Second link, while I was already aware of this, it doesn’t give any smoking gun that he actually wrote the articles. I will concede that the statements he made regarding the articles do come across in a poor way, but it still doesn’t sway my overall opinion.

      On the other hand, if this is the best dirt they’ve got on Paul, then that is good, because the skeletons in Gingrich and Romney’s closets are much bigger than these. 🙂

  7. elfiii says:

    Ron Paul will not be the Republican nominee. He’s a dead man walking. His supporters just don’t see it yet.

  8. debbie0040 says:

    Ron Paul’s endorsement in 2008:

    Paul, who unsuccessfully sought the Republican presidential nomination, will tell supporters he is not endorsing GOP nominee John McCain or Democratic nominee Barack Obama, and will instead give his seal of approval to four candidates: Green Party nominee Cynthia McKinney, Libertarian Party nominee Bob Barr, independent candidate Ralph Nader, and Constitution Party candidate Chuck Baldwin, according to a senior Paul aide.

    Ron Paul: why racist newsletter flap could hurt him in Iowa

    “When did he become aware of these comments and begin to say they did not reflect his views? Already, journalists and bloggers are picking through years of old Paul interviews in an attempt to find replies that are inconsistent with what he’s saying now. On the conservative blog RedState, for example, contributing editor Leon Wolf pointed out Thursday that in a 1995 C-SPAN appearance, Paul was still touting the newsletters as something folks should read.

    “Apparently, Paul did not change his story on these newsletters until 2001,” Mr. Wolf wrote.”

    • Lo Mein says:

      Oh no, Paul didn’t endorse the Democrat (whoops, GOP nominee) John McCain? Gee, that must be why McCain lost. It couldn’t be anything else, like the fact that tons of people agreed with Paul and wouldn’t vote for McCain either.

      As for Debbie’s imaginary “racist flap” hurting Paul in Iowa: Paul gained 5 points in 5 days after the debunked smears began being thrown by liberal MSM and fake Tea Party “leaders” – .

    • Engineer says:

      Btw, about the CNN clip that that article is talking about, well the truth came out. In case you are unaware (which wouldn’t surprise me at all), CNN cut out nearly 6 minutes of an interview with him to have it look like he walked out on an interview, when in fact the interview lasted around 8 minutes (when you don’t count time spent taking off the mic). The Raw interview by CNN:

    • Engineer says:

      Is that really the only thing you have to argue, 20+ year old disavowed newsletters ghostwritten by staffers?

      (not sure if that link is broken or their site is broken, but it keeps giving me a 404, site not found, page; maybe their site is just hiccuping or something)

      • Charlie says:

        No, it’s not even close to the only thing.

        But it really is cute to watch a cadre of campaign supporters who have dabbled in every conspiracy known to modern politics now want to shut down legitimate exposure to words published as Ron Paul’s, which he profited from for years, because they were proclaimed “discredited” at your last meetup. No one is evening having to make stuff up here. It’s his words, published under his own name, over a period of years. If he didn’t write them, then the profits he took from selling them codified them as his. He owns them now, regardless of any pronouncements that they have been discredited.

        Understand this: You guys have demanded Paul be treated like a legitimate candidate through his last 3 Presidential campaigns. This is what that looks like. Everthing he has said, and everything he has ever been associated with, will get a level of scrutiny unlike that which any blind supporter who accepts everything from his candidate as fact can imagine.

        • Engineer says:

          “because they were proclaimed “discredited” at your last meetup. ”

          What meetup? Oh that’s right, you are one of those people that think anybody defending a candidate has to be part of a campaign, they can’t just be individuals defending a candidate on their own.

          I happen to find it frustrating that people such as yourself claim I am the one blindly supporting someone all while you are standing blind to the facts that all the other GOP candidates are proposing hawkish and interventionist foreign policy and the top 2 darlings of the party (Mitt and Newt) both have histories of repeated flip-flopping on major issues.

          Romney – Romneycare vs Obamacare, Pro-Choice vs Pro-Life, Climate Change
          Newt – He was for Romneycare before he was against it. Global warming commercial for one of Al Gore’s organizations with Nancy Pelosi, now he is against it. (overall a worse flip-flopper on the issues than Romney) Then you bring in his effort to impeach Clinton for an affair, all while having one himself.

          So yes, before you even start with another being blind comment, you should account for the things I just pointed out about Newt and Mitt. Until then, you literally have no leg to stand on. Ron Paul is not perfect and I don’t agree with every idea of his, but by golly, he is by far more on point than Romney or Newt and worlds more consistent.

          • Charlie says:

            One thing we can agree on is that Paul is the most consistent.

            That’s one of the reasons the years of quotes from these newsletters are actually quite relevent.

              • Charlie says:

                See above and practice comprehension. Do you understand what a ghost writer is? It’s someone who is writing to project the thoughts and opinions of the “author” whose name under which the stories appear.

                This wasn’t one minor article. It was a major side business for Paul that netted him over $1 Million over the course of years. I find it an absolutely incredible assertion that Paul did not know what was being written and sold under his name for such a long period of time and that he did not endorse the words.

                Furthermore, Paul won’t reveal who the real author is. Perhaps because it would spoil OJ’s search for the real killer.

                • Engineer says:

                  Strange, the newsletters in question say:
                  Copyright *year* Ron Paul & Associates, Inc.

                  From Wikipedia:
                  “Ron Paul & Associates (RP&A), Inc. was initiated during 1984 by Paul, who was its President. Lew Rockwell was its Vice President, Ron Paul’s wife Carol was Secretary, and Lori Pyeatt was the Treasurer. The company published a variety of newsletters. An article in Reason magazine, citing tax documents, said that it had revenues of more than $900,000 in 1993. It was dissolved during 2001.”

                  Not that it matters, this entire argument is based on something that frankly, neither of us can prove one way or the other. Frankly, unless he decides to out the ghostwriter, or staff from the newsletter say one way or the other, there really is no way to prove who wrote what. You are gonna claim one way, I or somebody else will claim the other, and the cycle continues.

                  However, getting back to the case of Newt and Mitt, which (might I add) you still haven’t given any response to, are out in the open, in fact, they have them on tape talking about current and real policy issues. Old newsletters from the 1980’s are not current policy issues.

                  • Charlie says:

                    And that’s the beauty of politics. Candidates and their supporters don’t actually get to decide what are important issues.

                    A man that has made millions from blatant racism and anti-semitism is an issue to me, and most others that didn’t decide at a meetup that our cult leader is infallible.

                    Welcome to having your candidate being taken seriously. As I’ve said many times before, you really should be careful what you wish for.

                    • Engineer says:

                      Oh Charlie, making himself look more more like a conspiracy theorist. More implying that Ron Paul was the only person at the company getting paid, that no bills had to be paid. More conspiracy about cults and secret meet-ups.

                      How about some explanations regarding the things I pointed out about Mitt and Newt. So far all you’ve done is ignore it. I’ve argued my end regarding my preferred candidate over several posts, now you do the same.

                    • Doug Grammer says:


                      Congressman Paul had the newsletter use his name, and he made money from the writings. He didn’t stand up and say he disagreed with the writings the day after they came out, even if it was published without his knowledge. He didn’t disagree with them a week, a month, a year later or a decade later.

                      HE OWNS THOSE NEWSLETTERS. (literally and figuratively.)

  9. seenbetrdayz says:

    Well Charlie, I’m afraid that if this is all the ‘dirt’ you got, guess you’ll be voting democrat or staying home next November.

      • seenbetrdayz says:

        Well, not everyone.

        I for one ain’t laughing because this is borderline pathetic. Not just the issue, I mean, but the fact that Charlie manages a major political blog in Georgia and writes a column and yet he has either not been paying attention, or he’s hoping that no one else has.

        This particular “guilt by association” tactic is really all that Ron Paul’s opponents have left. It is a worn out subject, a dead horse; they’ve been pointing to these racist newsletters for decades now and it still remains their ‘nuclear option’ to defeat Ron Paul’s character. This is, as far as I can tell, their “Ah-ha!” moment. “Look what we’ve found!”

        Give me a break—this is about as new as the sun. The only people this might affect are the ones who had not even the slightest intention of voting for Ron Paul to start with, and the ones who still see the media as God’s personal messenger of truth and won’t look things up for themselves. That group is relatively much smaller than 4 years ago, and continues to shrink, fortunately.

        The major flaw in the strategy is that if you spend five minutes looking up Ron Paul and hearing him speak, you come to the conclusion that he can’t possibly be racist. Of course, they’re not exactly saying that Ron Paul is racist—it’s certainly a strong implication. The goal in any media smear campaign (regardless of who the target is), is to simply create enough doubt to drive away fence sitters. The problem with Ron Paul’s campaign is that once someone actually makes the effort to climb up the fence, they actually start to like what they see on the other side (what they see for themselves, I mean, not what someone else told them to see), and they don’t ride that fence for long.

        So, like I said, Charlie’s either not paying attention or he’s hoping no one else is. ‘Cause if he were really paying attention, he’d notice that these attacks have gone on for far too long to be interesting material, and have been largely ineffective at that, since Ron Paul’s support has continue to grow in spite of all the lousy bimbo journalists, armed with “racist newsletter interview questions”, the MSM could throw at him.

        There’s not much of a plan B for them, either.

        Can we bring up his stance on the war? Americans are tired of it. You try to bring up the war and it actually reminds people why they should support Ron Paul.

        Economy? Americans are suffering in it–ditto.

        Freedom? We’re losing it, so people support Ron Paul.

        Everything they’ve built up in a not-so-secret bag of issues to destroy Ron Paul have already been over-played. They’re trying so desparately to shine a light on Ron Paul but they’ve drained the Duracells. It might slow him down just a bit but it won’t stop him. Especially once people look up Ron Paul and be their own judges of his character, and then come back to the realization that these attacks, like Charlies thinly-veiled attempt here, are quite pathetic.

        Ron Paul’s long-fought struggle to be taken seriously is about to become the pundits’. Enjoy it.

        • Charlie says:

          Oh good grief, the whining, the self torture…

          It’s a good thing most of us are into Shadenfreude.

          Those of you following Dear Leader Paul have created an alternate political universe in which you’ve lived for decades, at least those of you who’ve been around for the first few iterations of this scheme. You demand that Paul be taken seriously, but when he is, you then decide on what terms he can be discussed, and that everyone accept your view of Dr. Paul and his past, present, and projected future. Grow up.

          Is there anything new about Newt’s marraiges? About Romney’s positions during his campaign against Ted Kennedy? About Santorem at all since his last defeat in 2006?

          It’s not about what’s new. This is a campaign. And those who haven’t been meeting up on the internets to accept the gospel of Paul, Ron style, are actually finding a lot of new stuff about him now. And yes, there’s a lot more that will keep him from winning aside from the newsletters. But you guys are still claiming they’re not even his. Really? I wouldn’t want them either, but to the non-Kool Aid drinkers, they’re both obviously his, and obviously a problem.

          • seenbetrdayz says:

            You neglect one critical detail, which goes to show how very little you actually pay attention.

            The media did not help build up Ron Paul like the media hyped up all the other candidates. The mainstream media gave Paul nothing. Therefore, they can take nothing from him. If Ron Paul manages to win the nomination (which, I’m not sure of myself, but one thing is certain, the ‘movement’ itself is growing, and it seems like a wasted effort to try to stop one man from winning the nomination and thinking it’ll all be over), he will have won it without the media’s help, that’s for sure.

            And I’m not whining. After all, I’m not the one who posted some hit piece which should be quite embarrassing for someone whose side job is political commentary (someone who is actually supposed to be following these things). Get over yourself Charlie.

            Even people who never actually cared much for politics are starting to wake up to the fact that something is seriously wrong with this government, and distraction schemes aren’t particularly helpful (yours included). I’m looking forward to the day that no one pays attention to you or those like you, really. I guess I’ll be the one to start.

            Times are changing. Minds are changing. Neither you nor I could stop it now if we tried.

  10. debbie0040 says:

    Hit piece? Posting facts is not a hit piece. I can tell you that the overwhelming majority of tea party activists do not even like Ron Paul and have issues with his foreign policy views. Paul only receives 5 – 8% support from tea party activists.

    To be honest, Paul is at the very bottom of my list of GOP candidates. I have real problems with the people he has associated with and his views.

    It is about time people knew the real Ron Paul. The media has not built the other candidates up with the exception of Romney. Ron Paul and his supporters have complained very loudly that he has not been taken seriously. He is now and the increased scrutiny is just part of the territory. If you can’t take the heat, then get the hell out of the kitchen!! Don’t go around crying like babies that Paul is being targeted by the GOP establishment. He is being treated just like other candidates are and it is about time !!

    • seenbetrdayz says:

      Oh, well then, if Peach Pundit posters truly appreciate facts, then I suppose there’s no problem with me posting the ad that’s going to essentially shut down the flagrant distortion and desperate smears?

      The Compassion of Dr. Ron Paul (it’s going “viral”)

      See, this is the kind of stuff that someone as humble as Ron Paul won’t talk about himself, but thank God, his campaign has the sort of grassroots initiative and motivation that other candidates only WISH they could generate. When this ad airs, you guys might as well shut up for the rest of the campaign season.

      Yeah, it’s about time the people knew the real Ron Paul. I totally agree with you on that.

      While you’re at it, watch this ad (already viral and still spreading), created thanks to the same grassroots efforts. Perhaps that one is more of a general election ad, to win over the roughly 70% of Americans who are growing disgusted with these ****ing wars. Sure, I don’t see it going over well with GOP voters like Charlie or yourself. But . . . you know? It would be tactically sound to try to win over 70% of the American people when it comes to elections; that’d help the GOP out a lot, wouldn’t it? Too bad you’re crapping all over them and they can smell it. Hell, we keep hearing how the GOP is going to write off an entire state if Ron Paul wins in Iowa. The GOP is about to learn what ‘isolationism’ is first-hand, and they’re teaching themselves the lesson. I guess 2008 wasn’t enough schooling as to what happens when you run a washed-up generic flip-flopping candidate to win the White House. 6 months from now you guys are going to be running around like headless chickens trying to figure out how to win over those independents you’ll need to win the general election, but, “oh yeah, we pissed those guys off. oops!”

      Mark my words here and now: if Ron Paul doesn’t win the GOP nomination, Obama will assuredly win, and the GOP will continue to shrink.

      The “old guard” is clinging to neoconservatism like a cinder block tied to the leg of someone on a bridge who owes the mafia money. Let it go, or I can guarantee you, the broadly shifting opinions in the U.S. are going to watch you sink with it.

      All you have to do is . . . let it go.

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