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Thursday, December 29, 2011

The GOP Primary: A Traffic Accident

      Yet you can’t avert your eyes. I mean what’s next? In Iowa we suddenly have a new candidate who “is not Mitt Romney”, Rick Santorium whose numbers are suddenly in double digits. Ron Paul has been leading here for the last few weeks.

      Meanwhile, the Gingrich surge we saw just two weeks ago, seems like another lifetime. Since then he has dropped 19 points in Iowa and has a new public humiliation-at least on the level of when his campaign quit on him last summer or when he and Santorium were the only ones to agree to the Trump debate-he failed to get on the Virginia ballot. Yeah this guy is a serious candidate all right.

     Now we have the story of Michelle Bachman’s major campaign leader and Iowa state senator, Ken Sorenson jilting her for Ron Paul, who some now call “a dangerous man.”

     Honestly, this canard about Paul being a dangerous man is embarrassing. Or more to the point, if I wanted to discredit someone I wouldn’t call them “dangerous” as it might strike someone that right now precisely what we need is someone “dangerous.”

     There is also another what I will “canard” that Paul’s foreign policy is his achilles heel. Not necessarily. Anyone who doesn’t know that Paul’s anti-interventionist foreign policy line doesn’t play anywhere doesn’t get out much.

     If Fireodoglake were the whole electorate he’d win in a landslide. Mind you these are liberals but they don’t believe anything Paul has ever said except that he’s opposed to the U.S. getting involved in endless “foreign dalliances.”

    When he prophecies a coming “race war” or that he wants to eliminate the Education Department, and that Social Security is unconstitutional, he’s just fooling.

   What is clear if that there is a sizable number of liberals and independents who find his foreign policy line attractive. If it’s an Achilles heel it’s the question of how many of the Republican voters will be put off as the GOP is supposed to be the party of “hawks.”

   Still Paul’s numbers in Iowa, and Ken Sorenson’s defection might suggest that it will not put off all Republicans and may even win over some. After all Pat Buchanan has long argued for the party to return to its older “isolationist” roots.

   Then too, Sorenson’s abandoning Bachman might just be the reality that her campaign has no traction and as other former Bachman supporters look for a new home, they may well follow Sorenson’s example. This could be a significant shot in the arm for Paul.

    Ultimately Paul is very unlikely. The irony is that while most of his platform is ultra conservative his foreign policy likely will make him a nonstarter-the entire GOP establishment will do everything to block him. Ironically with him being so conservative on most issues, he might fare better if he could only make it to a general election.

    With the GOP so focused on him in Iowa, it’s actually giving Romney another pass. In reality Paul is still a niche candidate who you have to really doubt can win the nomination. Yet with all Romney’s rivals attacking Paul in Iowa he again is unscathed.

    Romney has been called the weakest front runner in memory. He is, and clearly the conservative voters are not excited about him and would choose someone else, almost anybody else. However every time that “someone else” comes they have a few good weeks then they burn out. Gingrich is the latest example of this.

   Overall it’s a traffic accident, but a very entertaining one. All we need next is some circus music.


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