by John Hawkins | December 9, 2011 6:43 am
I’m famously not a fan of Mitt Romney and I’ve endorsed Newt Gingrich; so it’s fair to take what I have to say about Ron Paul with a grain of salt.
But, let’s set aside whether I’m a fan of Ron Paul or not (I’m not) and discuss how electable he may be. Over at Reason, Emily Elkins has written an article called Is Ron Paul Electable? Iowa Says He Might Be. Here’s the gist of it…
Taking a step back, Ron Paul looks pretty good. He’s viewed as the most honest, one of the best at understanding the problems that Iowa voters care about, and standing up for what he believes is right. It sounds like this candidate should be winning.
Yet the poll also revealed some of Paul’s potential weaknesses: These same Iowa Republican likely caucus-goers perceive that Paul may not represent the GOP coalition very well, may have difficulty winning in the primaries, and might not fare well against Barack Obama in a general election. (Only 8 percent of Iowa Republican likely caucus-goers thought Paul was best able to beat Obama.)
…In sum, among registered Iowa voters Paul appears to have the best shot at beating Obama. However, among Iowa Republican likely caucus-goers, only 8 percent believe Paul has the best chance of beating Obama. Moreover, among registered New Hampshire voters, Paul has the second best chance of beating Obama, second only to Romney, and even then only marginally.
Based on this data, it is not obvious that Paul is less electable than either Gingrich or Romney.
Ron Paul has absolutely no chance of beating Barack Obama in a general election. None. Zero. Nada. It absolutely, unconditionally won’t happen. In fact, Barack Obama, who is one of the worst, if not the worst President in American history, would probably win 40+ states against Paul and it’s not entirely out of the question that he could beat him in a Reaganesque landslide.
How can this be, you say? Ron Paul is for the Constitution and limited government! Libertarians love him! He has enthusiastic grassroots support! He can raise money.
Let me tell you exactly what Barack Obama’s strategy with Ron Paul would be. He would run a devastating negative campaign against Paul that would paint him as a kooky dangerous crank. Incidentally, his look fits right into that meme. Squeaky voice, odd, rambling speech pattern, weird head and arm movements, ill fitting suit…
However, the campaign would really work perfectly because Ron Paul has a number of positions that would scare the living hell out of most Americans. Just imagine the attack ads they would run…
— My son was only 14 when he died of a heart attack caused by Crack. Heroin usage killed my daughter. My son was such a beautiful boy. He had a bright future before crack — Ron Paul. He wants to make drugs like crack, heroin, and meth legal. What will happen to your children?
— Barack Obama has pledged to build the fence on the border (Sure, he’s never going to do it, but he’ll pledge to do it.) What does Ron Paul say about the fence? “Every time you think about the fence, think about the fences being used against us, keeping us in.” Ron Paul, a crazy person who wants to let illegal aliens run wild because he’s afraid a fence will keep us in!
— Ron Paul wants to abandon Israel, allow Iran to build nuclear weapons, and he thinks America deserved to be hit on 9/11: “Yes, we don’t like American bombs to be falling on our country. We don’t like the intervention that we do in their nations. So to deny this, I think, is very dangerous. But to argue the case that they want to do us harm because we’re free and prosperous I think is a very, very dangerous notion because it’s not true.”
Then it’s Ron Paul wants to get rid of the CIA and FBI, Ron Paul wants to go back to the gold standard, Ron Paul going on the Alex Jones show and refusing to shoot down the North American union theory, 9/11 conspiracy theories, the birther theory, etc., etc. The Dems could probably use 10-15 effective ad campaigns all designed to portray Paul as extreme, out of the mainstream, or just plain loopy. By the time they got done, Paul would be lucky to attract 40% of the vote in a general election. It doesn’t matter whether the American people agree with Ron Paul on the size of government, spending, and the Constitution (and incidentally, a large slice of the country doesn’t) — if they become convinced that he’s an extremist loon, people just won’t vote for someone like that. The average person would rather have a bad President than someone they consider to be an extreme, unstable President.
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