And We Were So Close…

Posted: August 15, 2011 in Political and Social Issues
Tags: , , , ,

Michele Bachmann wins poll at GOP’s Iowa carnival. The traffic was crazy, the lines were long and the sun was hot two days ago at the straw poll in Ames, and this isn’t the headline I was hoping for in return for my trouble. I attended, dragging two friends along, to support Ron Paul. Dr Paul did come in second by less than 1%, an impressive and important achievement for a candidate whose viability is so often called into question, but so slim a margin separating my chosen candidate from victory is bittersweet. Second place and 27.6% of the vote is far from a bad outcome, and as I said it sends exactly the message that Dr Paul’s campaign needs to send regarding viability, but of course to be so close and yet so far stings a little. And it doesn’t help to have lost it to Bachmann, of all competitors. Really, Iowa? Are you still so hung up on the gay marriage thing?

Other than that, there isn’t much to tell about the whole affair. I wasn’t kidding about the lines. My friends and I showed up having skipped lunch, voted right away, went to see the candidates speak in the Coliseum and then didn’t quite have it in us to wait it out for the free t-shirts and food. The candidates all had enormous tents in areas set aside for them, from which drifted non-stop mediocre music, and everything was packed.

Inside the Coliseum Dr Paul’s speech fell a tad flat as well, not terrible but certainly not so stirring as I’ve come to expect from him. I was very disappointed that he started out and spent so much time on abortion, I suppose in an effort to find common ground with a party in which he is often (ironically) seen as a fringe candidate, and given the time constraints this resulted in a cursory skimming over the major issues which really make his campaign unique and superior. Many issues, like the patriot act and the out-of-control military spending were only briefly touched on. Others, such as ending the expensive and counterproductive war on drugs, were left alone entirely.

The thing to take from the straw poll is this: Ron Paul is absolutely electable and viable. If he had spent the first part of his speech blasting homosexual marriage instead of abortion he probably would have won. He just forgot which state he was in. Ron Paul has gone from being a fringe candidate stealing votes from more serious contenders to being the serious contender who needs to reclaim votes from some of the fringe candidates in order to get the edge. And so far it doesn’t look like he’d need to attract very many votes to come out ahead. In fact, I know multiple people who have thus far withheld their votes because they believed him unelectable. With such proof to the contrary, (Dr Paul even won the CPAC straw poll), I wonder how many votes will trickle in without trying to win voters from other, less likely candidates?

I know I don’t have much for readers right now, but if you’ve somehow wandered across this page I have some questions. Did you support Pawlenty or do you support a fringe candidate such as Karger, McCotter, Cain, etc? Would you consider shifting support to Ron Paul? What would it take for that to happen?

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