Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Notes on NH Primary Day

Here are what the pundits are saying about the New Hampshire primary:

McCain is the new front runner. McCain is likely out if he doesn’t win New Hampshire.
Romney is in it to win it. Romney is likely out if he doesn’t win New Hampshire.
Thompson did well in Iowa and has a shot. Thompson will drop out soon.
Giuliani’s Feb. 5 strategy looks like it will pay off. Giuliani is becoming a non-factor.
Huckabee is now the GOP favorite. Huckabee has no shot at being the GOP nominee.
Ron Paul is running for president. Ron Paul is running for fifth place.

The race is Obama’s to lose. Obama will crumble with added attention.
Hillary Clinton is the sure nominee. Hillary is done if she doesn’t win New Hampshire.
Edwards will be competitive for a while. Edwards is nearly done.
Bill Richardson is still in the race. Bill Richardson is still in the race?

Obviously not all can be true (but there is good chance at least two are).

Ron Paul's Racist Newsletter:

This New Republic story on the racist and homophobic screeds produced in Ron Paul's name is bad news for the Ron Paul Revolution. I disagree with the article's dismissal of the Mises Institute and others (though I frequently find fault with them), but the newsletter quotes cannot be justified by any rational voter. In Ron Paul's defense, he claimed a "ghostwriter" wrote most of that and it is "old news". Of course it isn't old news to anyone who just started following Ron Paul in the last year (almost everyone), and saying "I didn't know that the Ron Paul Newsletter was printing racist rhetoric over three decades" isn't exactly inspiring stuff.

My day-long search for new on this has also revealed that just a bit too much of Ron Paul's support (though all candidates surely have some unsavory supporters) comes from the wacko crowd (thanks to the Ron Paul Newsletter?), and the white supremacists are coming to his defense.

The positive side of this story? The number of respectable Ron Paul supporters - including the one who tore the Ron Paul sticker off his car in the parking garage and stuck in on my window - who have denounced Paul like Michael-to-Fredo in Godfather Part II: "You broke my heart. You broke my heart." (Roundup Here, another thought here, and an more recent extended roundup here).

I have contended that Ron Paul supporters are voting for the libertarian ideas he represents more than the man (and that Ron Paul really isn't the best man to push as a champion of those ideas). An interesting post by Arnold Kling ask how this affects the libertarian movement, and how Paul supporters should react. I am not a Paul supporter, and I don't consider myself libertarian (preferring Classical Liberal or "conservative with libertarian tendencies"), but obviously I think abandoning Paul is the best move. It was never about making Ron Paul president, but about sending a message. That message is no longer what Ron Paul supporters thought it was yesterday. (Update: David Boaz says all this and more).

I close with this:
We are told to remember the idea, not the man, because a man can fail. He can be caught, he can be killed and forgotten, but 400 years later, an idea can still change the world. I've witnessed first hand the power of ideas, I've seen people kill in the name of them, and die defending them.

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