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What now for Ron Paul?

By DOUG THOMPSON
A Capitol Hill Blue News Analysis
January 4, 2012

(REUTERS/Jim Young)

Ron Paul‘s Presidential campaign bumped up against a ceiling of limited support in Iowa Tuesday — a wall that usually sinks fringe attempts at national elected office.

Campaign aides tried to put on a confident public face but the Texas Congressman’s third place finish is not what they wanted or predicted in the days leading up to the first Presidential primary of 2012.

They point to John McCain‘s third place finish in Iowa in 2008 and draw comparisons to McCain’s surge to the front and the nomination.

They note that Paul — with 21 percent compared with 25 percent for Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum — doubled his vote and level of support from 2008.

A month ago, polls showed Paul and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich tied for first place in Iowa.  Paul faded to third and Gingrich plummeted to a disappointing fourth with just 13 percent of the vote.

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum‘s surge to a strong second place just eight votes behind Iowa winner Mitt Romney shifts the focus away from Paul.  Iowa was his best shot at a win and a third place finish wasn’t part of the plan.

Still, Paul claims momentum from Iowa:

We have tremendous opportunity to continue this momentum, it won’t be long that there’s going to be an election up in New Hampshire, and believe me, this momentum is going to continue and this movement is going to continue and we are going to keep scoring. So tonight, we have come out of an election where there were essentially three winners, three top vote-getters and we will go on, we will raise the money, I have no doubt about the volunteers.

GOP strategist Sharon Lipes sees it differently.

“Paul has hit his ceiling of support and that ceiling is even lower when you take Democrats, liberals and others out of the picture,” Lipes told Capitol Hill Blue.  “He will soldier on but he will continue to fade.”

Paul may welcome a break from the spotlight.  Considered a potential winner in Iowa placed him under a public microscope as racially-tinged newsletters from the 1980s & 90s, isolationist positions on foreign policy, support of conspiracy theories and posturing that plays on public paranoia raised questions about his legitimacy as a serious candidate.

“I took a second look at Ron Paul and I didn’t like what I saw,” caucus voter Alex Jefferson said.  “There are just too many questions about his past.”

Caucus voter Carol Linder said Paul’s “unwillingness to be candid or accept responsibility for his newsletters” caused her to shift her vote to Santorum.

Exit polls show most Iowa caucus goers wanted a candidate who could beat Barack Obama.

“I like a lot of what Dr. Paul has to say but he just can’t win a national election,” said caucus voter Larry Henderson.  “We need to get rid of Obama. That’s why I voted for Romney.”

Still, nobody expects Paul to slow down.  He hopes to do well in South Carolina, he and Mitt Romney are the only Republicans on the ballot in Virginia and he has money and a fanatical legion of followers.

“He will make noise, lots of noise, but noise is all it will be” Lipes says.  “From his comments after the vote Tuesday, I’d say he’s setting the stage for his son (Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul) to take his place in 2016.”

 

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17 Responses to What now for Ron Paul?

  1. Chuck L

    January 4, 2012 at 8:55 am

    Paul proved that he is the only Republican who can get the independent vote needed to beat Obama. Without moving toward Paul’s ideas, each party will lose in the future really. Both Democrats, and Republicans will be moving toward Paul’s position as the years go on. It is already happening if you pay close attention and compare conversations to where they were just 4 years ago. He will be in the top 3 again in NH, and then be in a good position to keep up the rest of the time. He was one of the last 3 standing 4 years back and his odds are better this round.

  2. sovereign

    January 4, 2012 at 8:57 am

    Ron Paul beat the news organizations expectations and was only 3% away from winning. That says alot for someone who has come under attack just recently from the other candidates and is marginalized by the media. Imagine how good he would do if he got equal amount of face time from the beginning. The big whigs have said his ceiling is 7%, then 10%, then 12 and 15%, and now he got nearly 22% in Iowa. Ron Paul is hasn’t had a surge like the other candidates, instead he’s consistently gotten more and more popular and the iowa caucus shows that this race is like the tortoise and the hare. I think we know how that race ended. Everyone on the fence with Ron Paul needs to check out whyronpaul.com and ronpaulmyths.com

  3. Sandune

    January 4, 2012 at 10:43 am

    I ran into the person who worked for Paul for many years until he began to do things that were bad for the campaign. I won’t mention his name but he is listed on many Libertarian sites simply to destroy Paul’s ability to campaign. He verbally attacked me yesterday via email claiming that Christians will destroy Islam and I should join them for this new powerful war. I predicted this after 911 and America will wage the final war against the evil of Islam. I contacted Lew Rockwell who told me this man was a war-loving Republican and wants to destroy Paul.

    My daughter did a double check on him and he is big nasty trouble and Paul had better be careful.

    From what I can assume is that Santorum will gain votes from the religious right if he continues to want to bomb Iran. It fits the new GOP agenda. My God, this whole fight for war must not be allowed to develop. All the more reason to vote for Ron Paul.

    • Jon

      January 4, 2012 at 11:30 am

      To be perfectly honest, Sandune, I dream of the day when educated intelligence will destroy blind faith in any and all fairy tales. Given humanity, though, I don’t think I should hold my breath (just hold my fire… :-)

      J.

  4. Carl Nemo **==

    January 4, 2012 at 11:43 am

    Although the Iowa caucus is just a ‘dipstick’ sampling of what’s to come on the campaign trail, my gut instinct tells me that in the event that either Romney or Santorum wins the Republican nomination they cannot beat Barack Obama this November. The race will be close, but “Mr. Change we can believe in” shall prevail.

    Ron Paul did quite well in Iowa. Beating out the likes of Gingrich et al. which is a political coup for Paul and well deserved humiliation for the ever bombastic Newt.

    Carl Nemo **==

  5. eve

    January 4, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    Since 911 Americans have experienced a consistent amount of “fear mongering” fed to them via the MSM.
    First it was colored alerts in the TV. “Threat levels.”

    There’s always seems to be a war/conflict. There always seems to be financial turmoil. There’s always religious strife. There’s always class warfare (Wall St.) and even fighting among the political hopefuls.

    It seems (at this point in time) America loves war and fear more then peace and prosperity.

    Non-interventionism would cure a lot of hatred that is directed towards the US.

    Ron Paul wants to put America first and pursue peace instead of war.

    He is the only candidate I see proposing this approach.

    Every other candidate wants to bomb someone into the stone age.

    If Iowa is any reflection of the rest of the US, (And the polls aren’t rigged) then the US seems to be full of war-loving egomaniacs.

    • Carl Nemo **==

      January 4, 2012 at 2:14 pm

      A spot-on assessment concerning the order of the day Eve.

      Our society has become inverted in terms of its values since 9/11 and the shadowy powerbrokers exploit such.

      It’s far easier to control the unwashed masses when they are confused and fearful in addition to being jobless, dead broke, with many having lost their homes too. Desperate citizens will hang to every word issued from the lying lips of politicians.

      It happened in 2008 post eight years of this nation being exploited by “war profiteers” as in the case of G.W.Bush/Cheney. Obama was the ‘silver-tongued’ demagogue of the day. Now after just four years of his inept leadership our citizens are ever so ready to be conned again by the likes of a Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich etc. These are the “chicken in every pot and a Ford in every garage” type pols who will promise everything, but deliver little to nothing as Obama, once elected.

      Re: Iowans’ political immaturity

      *****

      “Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public. H. L. Mencken

      *****

      Carl Nemo **==

    • griff

      January 4, 2012 at 4:53 pm

      I’m afraid our hubris rules the day. Diplomacy and a desire for peace is seen as a weakness and a threat to national security, while war is the manly-man way to go.

    • woody188

      January 5, 2012 at 1:28 am

      The monster truck show brings a bigger crowd than the opera or symphony. The Internet gives us access to millions of sources for education and learning, but the most sought information is pornography.

      We are what we are…populist Popeye’s.

      Ah ga ga ga

  6. eve

    January 4, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    Ooops, should have read:

    It seems (at this point in time) America loves war and fear more than peace and prosperity.

  7. Sandune

    January 4, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    You are right eve. Wars make more jobs and now that the religious right has their hooks in to the GOP the long awaited war against Islam could be right around the corner.

    For generations my family has fought all over the world but there is no reason for this to continue. My grandson has dual citizen with Ireland and I will personally take him there by force if necessary.

  8. frank verismo

    January 4, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    “I like a lot of what Dr. Paul has to say but he just can’t win a national election,” said caucus voter Larry Henderson. “We need to get rid of Obama. That’s why I voted for Romney.”

    Yeah – the car still won’t start, so you’d better change the tyres. Again.

    Look under the hood, doofus!

    • Carl Nemo **==

      January 4, 2012 at 5:52 pm

      Thanks Frank Verismo for the good laugh. I needed one today.

      Glad to see you posting your high order commentary again too.

      Happy New Year 2012 to you and yours! : )

      Carl Nemo **==

      • frank verismo

        January 5, 2012 at 4:56 pm

        And 2012’s finest to all Nemos!

        Personally, I thought the result was pretty good. RP stood rock steady and now Mr Sanitorium has blown his financial wad he can look forward to . . . not much at all. Certainly not in NH.

        Speaking of which, have you seen this?:
        Our daily tracking shows it all: Romney losing two points in the last 24 hours, while Ron Paul picked up four, bringing him closer to Romney than he’s been all week.
        http://www1.whdh.com/features/articles/hiller/BO147181/nh-suffolk-tracking-poll/#.TwXMeGZmg30.email

        Tee hee!

  9. memefilter

    January 4, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    Does anyone mind if I just start calling them Capitol Hill Wrong? Y’all got your spelling right, but that’s about all this article is good for.

    DC insiders really need to stop making predictions – too out of touch w/ the 300mil Americans (who make their jobs possible, natch) they think they can manipulate. It’s really becoming more sad than funny.

  10. Sandune

    January 5, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    meme. It might be that most of us have been writing and replying on this Home page for years and know each other well enough to try out some variations of political opinions. Doug Thompson is the chief honcho man around here and brings commentaries from others as well as his own to feed the members our daily political bread.

    Prior to the Internet, many of us had small groups at work or within our organizations that often brought out opinions of great value for us to grow on or against. Having many of us in one place in front of our own monitors in our offices, has been a boon for many of us who gather information on what others are thinking.

    We are all individuals and we learn from each other, or should.

    I’m the elder member here and remember using post cards to be sent out in quantities of 700 or even 1000 cards sent out prior to bills being passed in Congress or even in our state government bills.

    Join us and bring your opinions. All will be read and replied to, if possible.

  11. Harrison

    January 9, 2012 at 4:04 am

    But tell me, can a 76 year old (77 when President) win a national election? McCain had problems, and a major one was that he would have been 73 years old when he became President. Paul’s ideology is good, but we need someone who has a chance of defeating Obama.