sitting on the edge of the sandbox, biting my tongue

March 22, 2012

Vote for a Non-Paul

Filed under: politics — Tags: , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 4:40 pm

Sometimes I wonder why I bother to vote.  Living in deep blue Alameda County in deep blue California, I know that my vote won’t matter much.  Public opinion is more or less unanimous here, and in most cases the voters chose opposite of what I want.  But this Primary season I feel empowered.  Even if Mitt Romney will emerge as a clear winner before the California Primary, my voice will matter.  I will be voting for anybody but Ron Paul.

I am very interested in libertarian economics, and find Thomas Sowell’s argument for ending the Fed persuasive.  But Thomas Sowell endorsed Gingrich for President (h/t Uncle Samuel).  Like Sowell and many other conservatives, I think that Paul’s foreign policy views are at best naive and at worst bigoted.

It’s naive to think that the world will be a better place if the US would pursue a policy of non-intervention.  We are a force of good in the world full of genocidal tyrants.  It’s short-sighted to expect that if we don’t engage our enemies at an opportune moment, they will not attack us when convenient to them.  We all but ignored Al Qaeda when it was at war with us in the last decade of the 20th century — until the country woke up on 9/11.  If we recall, Paul spent that last decade of 20th century courting Neo-Nazis.  His campaign video smearing our armed service members is pure bigotry.

Beyond foreign policy matters, on issues like immigration, extension of constitutional protection to terrorists and legalization of heroin, Paul is squarely outside the conservative mainstream.  (I actually agree with some of ideas he champions, in theory at least.  For instance, entitlement reform will take care of immigration reform because illegal labor is subsidized through various federal, state and local channels.  But who are we kidding?  California might be well on the way to bankruptcy, and we will not touch the welfare state we created.)

As was the case in 2008, Ron Paul is not running to win the GOP nomination.  In ’08, Paul wanted to built a political movement, which he did, gaining about 10% of the popular vote at the primaries and coming up in the 4th place by the number of delegates.  That year he refused to endorse the Republican candidate, and although he didn’t actively campaign for President, Paul amassed tens of thousands of write-in votes.  His relative success at the primary elections reflected the fact that the good doctor remained in the contest long after John McCain had won it, when the Republican primary became a two-person non-race and turnout was low.

Ron Paul’s support has grown dramatically since November ’08.  Paul capitalized on the libertarian-minded Tea Party movement, although the Tea Party appears to be lukewarm to his foreign policy ideas.  Here he is being booed at the CNN Tea Party Presidential Debate:

Ron Paul’s campaign is courting disaffected Democrats.  See here, for instance, the Paul campaign crediting their success in Vermont where he got 1/4 of the vote, the state that sent a socialist to the United States Senate, to the Taxes Republican’s appeal to Democrats and independents.  According to the Iowa Primary exit polls, Paul won about 40% of participating moderates and liberals.  He did better than anyone else with people who never attended a caucus.  Likewise, in New Hampshire Primary he won the largest share of self-identified  liberals, and second smallest of the very conservative demographic.  This is two states where Paul did very well, ending up with more than 20% of the vote.

Pundits agree that Paul’s 2012 game plan is to come up with the largest number of delegates possible to secure a prominent place at the Republican National Convention and force his agenda on the Republican party.  It’s his version of the Gramscian Long march, if you will.  While, as I said, I am very open to many Libertarian ideas, his foreign policy position alone should disqualify him from speaking at the national convention.  I fail to see how having Paul speak at the convention will help the Republican brand.  Somewhere between the Ron Paul Newsletter and legal heroin he will turn off most of the country.  Plus, considering that Paulistas caused a ruckus in the recent Missouri caucus, can we expect them to behave on national television?

The Republican establishment will be in a dire straits trying to placate Paul in order to secure his endorsement of the Republican nominee and keep the convention palatable to both the conservative base and the mainstream of the country at the same time.  Because Paul’s son is now building his own career within the Republican party, Paul will probably be a good sport and endorse the winner.  But why tempt fortune?  I don’t want him to be in a position to bargain.  I expect Mitt Romney to solidify his lead by the time of the California primary.  Although I doubt I will be determining the winner, I will turn out to vote for a non-Paul.



  1. I supported Paul for a long time because I liked his fiscal and monetary policies. Buy, I finally couldn’t ignore his foreign policies, especially his attitude toward Israel. So, now I have no horse in this race. I just want Obama out! The presidential election will be decided by six or so swing states. Romney is going to be a hard sell in those states. I hope the GOP gets their act together soon.

    Comment by Conservatives on Fire — March 23, 2012 @ 1:51 pm

    • I freely admit I’m very attracted to Paul’s fiscal policy. He actually promised to cut a billion out of the budget — wow! He doesn’t need to bother about keeping this promise because he’ll never be elected, so whatever. I’m not exited about any of the candidates, but it’s probably better this way. I’ll get behind Romney

      Comment by edge of the sandbox — March 23, 2012 @ 2:42 pm

  2. As Jonah Goldberg wrote a while back, something like ‘conservatives are happy to have libertarian help when laying siege, but don’t want to give them the keys to the castle.’ We want, and need them as allies for much of their domestic ideas, but, well it gives a new meaning to “containment.”

    Comment by AHLondon (@AHLondon_Tex) — March 23, 2012 @ 5:44 pm

    • Yep. Plus, Paul personally is not a sympathetic figure. Some young men find him persuasive, but his appeal is very limited. I don’t think much is to gain by offering him a spot at the convention.

      Comment by edge of the sandbox — March 23, 2012 @ 9:27 pm

  3. Don’t feel too terribly alone there. I am the other republican in Alameda County. Actually most of my neighbors here are Republicans and conservatives. I also happen to be a Tea Bagger. Not many of us support Ron Paul for the same reasons you state…open borders, NO taxes (not even the most radical of the Tea Party endorse that), and I still haven’t heard what his health care policy really is. The only thing he can hope to accomplish is to divide the base. Someday a 3rd party may become a factor with a play for the highest office. Now it can only result in giving the White House back to Obama. I’ll vote vote for Romney only because I can’t vote for the incumbent. I wont like it, but I will.

    Comment by calihurder — March 25, 2012 @ 9:14 pm

    • ‘ll vote for Romney. I actually like the fact that he’s such a punching bag for the party base. It’s healthier than Democratic infatuation with Obama.
      We have Republican population here, but we pretty much never cross passes. Conservatives here are basically greatest generation. They are dying off, and hipsters are moving in. They have no idea what makes for a good government. We have the 3rd most expensive school district in the Bay Area and not much to show for it. Needless to say, we don’t have the third wealthiest population. Oh well. We’ll be bankrupt in a few years.

      Comment by edge of the sandbox — March 25, 2012 @ 10:58 pm

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