As the tea party has lurched from one incomprehensible candidate to another and found itself settling (most recently) on Newt Gingrich in the final days before the January 3rd Iowa voting, one question remains unanswered.
Can Ron Paul finally be taken seriously enough to win the Iowa caucuses?
Notwithstanding the claims by some of the pundits that Paul’s position on Iran* could cause him to lose in Iowa, Paul has actually been gaining ground in the polls. And Paul would seem to be the natural fit for the tea party crowd (He was “tea party” before the tea party was cool, or even invented by the billionaire Koch brothers). Okay, maybe not “this” tea party, the whole being against unilateral attacks on countries we don’t like thing is anathema to the tea party, but close enough. After all, the tea party simply adapts reality to whatever it wants to rationalize that day (call it “The Matrix, Part IV”).
But I digress.
The bottom line is that Ron Paul is actually making a concerted effort to do well in Iowa. And why not, at 76 it’s really his last shot at the Presidency and his branding is good for this particular year. Stranger things have happened. For example, after the tea party cycled through Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, and Herman Cain they jumped from these unconventional candidates to the dyed-in-the-wool Washington insider Newt Gingrich. And could be in a position to vote for “the next guy in line” Mitt Romney, who has been running for President full time for over five years. So much for unconventional.
But there is still hope. No, I don’t mean Rick Santorum, whose severe anti-gay attitudes are too extreme even for the tea party (who prefer to wrap their bigotry in anti-Muslim garb these days). I mean Ron Paul. After all, he is the only one left in the ABM (Anyone But Mitt) rankings. And his anti-government views fit in with the tea party desire to remove all impediments to rampant robber baronism, fair opportunity for the lowly 99% of us, and those protections for human health and the environment that just cut into corporate profits and the ability to fund pork projects.
So Ron Paul has decided to go after frontrunner of the week Newt Gingrich. Besides being more than a little testy at the recent debates, Paul has issued a scathing reminder that Newt Gingrich tends to talk out of both sides of his mouth. Check out Paul’s new campaign ad:
The word “serial,” by the way, isn’t a coincidence. The political marketing guru’s know that it will instantly trigger visions of Gingrich’s serial affairs, marriages, un-marriages, and his hypocrisy of trying to impeach Bill Clinton for having an affair while Newt himself was carrying on his latest affair.
But that is just icing to the cake of the main message – Gingrich is a Washington player who puts his own financial well-being ahead of all else.
So with the Iowa caucuses coming up in just over two weeks, with the Christmas and New Year’s holidays squeezed in between, and with Gingrich’s sudden surge starting to un-surge, Paul is looking to do well and maybe even win in Iowa.
And that would be really really interesting. If nothing else, a vote for Ron Paul in Iowa is a vote for Mitt Romney in New Hampshire. Which is why Romney is snickering a bit these days.
*P.S. BTW, this is Paul’s explanation of his position on Iran and what the US should, or should not, do regarding the potential for Iran to get nuclear weapons.
Technically, the straw poll was won by Michele Bachmann with 29% of the vote, with perennial candidate Ron Paul nipping at her high heels with 28% and Tim Pawlenty ensuring that he will not be taken as a serious candidate based on his 14% of the straw poll vote. Ex-Pennsylvania something-or-other Rick Santorum got 10% and anti-Islam bigot Herman Cain came in with 9%. Anyone else on the ballot really doesn’t matter. Of course, only Romney and Perry matter anyway, but neither was there.
But in the end it was President Obama that won the poll. Given that Iowa decided to cast all of their votes toward tea party people known for 1) factual inaccuracy, 2) bigotry, 3) extreme right wing social hypocrisy, and 4) more than a wee bit of early onset (figurative) insanity, things are looking up for Obama to get reelected.
Of course, the real Iowa caucuses aren’t for six months so there is a chance that things could change dramatically by then. And then there is the New Hampshire primary, where people tend to be more Independent and less extreme. Following that and another skewed right state of South Carolina (where walking the Appalachian trail and “we had sex” rumors have become the talk of the town). And then the real states get to vote. So perhaps the GOP will decide they want to win the election before then, but clearly they aren’t there yet.
Until the GOP decides whether they want to be the party of responsible adults (no signs of that yet) or the party of “I am not a witch” and Koch-funded “the poor should pay for tax breaks for the rich to hide more of their money from taxation,” the country has a choice between President Obama or the nut house.
The jury is still out on which choice we will make.