Ron Paul’s CPAC Takeover

February 23rd, 2010 at 5:11 am | 16 Comments |

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At The Next Right, Patrick Ruffini offers cautious praise for Ron Paul’s victory in the CPAC straw poll:

While I won’t necessarily be rooting for a Paul 2012 candidacy, I *like* the fact that CPAC was shaken up, for two big reasons. …

[I]t shows that Ron Paul and the Campaign for Liberty are engaging constructively in the conservative movement. In 2007, the Paulites were an oppositional force trying to submarine the GOP’s commitment to the war on terror, thus threatening traditional conservatives. Today, libertarians and conservatives have come together against Obama’s endless expansion of the State, with Ron Paul supporters supplying creative organizing tactics and boots on the ground.

Ruffini’s reasons have elements of truth, but I think an important qualifier is needed.

While this may have been a less disruptive CPAC than last year, I would not agree with the impression that this was a genial gathering. In the photo below there are two lines. The one on the right is to see Newt Gingrich. The one on the left is for a lecture on entitled “You’ve Been Lied To: Why Real Conservatives are Against the War on Terror”. The second photo shows how well attended that panel was. As you can see, it was packed.

Every panelist in that room described their isolationist politics as being part of an ‘authentic’ conservatism and rallied against the GOP as members who were listening to Newt Gingrich as members of the Washington establishment. This effectively functioned as the Campaign for Liberty’s ‘keynote’ panel. The importance of this panel to many attendees helped to underscore how many of them view isolationism as a key reason they support Ron Paul. Although Paulites have common ground with the GOP on opposing Obama’s domestic agenda, they remain passionate about their isolationist foreign policy, and also remain highly skeptical of the Republican leadership.

It’s also debatable how ‘constructive’ the Campaign for Liberty was at CPAC. They were certainly well-behaved, but they also functioned as a shadow conference. Many Campaign for Liberty attendees came for the explicitly Ron Paul flavored panels, not the mainstream Republican ones. Campaign for Liberty events were held at times when no one else would be interested in them (8:30pm on a Thursday, across from Newt Gingrich on Saturday) and the Campaign for Liberty pamphlets and copy from the conference underscored the separate identity of this conference.

(The photo below shows some Campaign for Liberty pamphlets from the conference. Of note is the mini-schedule that highlights only Campaign for Liberty events.)

They were not disruptive, but they were also not necessarily engaged with the broader conference.

Ron Paul’s influence is having an effect on the Republican Party and the broader Tea Party movement. In this respect I largely agree with Ruffini. However, at CPAC, it was also clear that there are still sharp distinctions between the Paulites and the rest of the attendees. When I attended the 8:30pm Q&A with Ron Paul, nearly every attendant I talked to said they were there for Ron Paul.

While they may not be combative, their independence should not to be underestimated.

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16 Comments so far ↓

  • franco 2

    If Republicans keep moving away from libertarianism, and embracing statism which is advocated by default on this blog, then isolationism becomes more logical.

    The Paulians have some traction because their adversaries are so utterly craven. Bush, McCain and the other statist Republicans went too far and exposed themselves as elites and corporate shills. Bush with all his supposed seriousness, puts forth a personal friend for the Supreme Court and expects Republicans and conservatives to go to the mat for him? Bush and McCain advocating a Trojan Horse Immigration plan and then calling those who oppose it racists and xenophobes? The GOP nominating McCain????? Blogs like FF advocating Specter and Powell and other pathetic apologists? I mean, if you Noah whatever-your-geneology-is can’t see how defending politicians like Specter completely damage any credibility you have and renders your entire position laughable, there is no hope for you. Y’all must have taken some unbelievably sophisticated political science courses to be able to wrap your heads around supporting Specter.

    Giving the statist R’s the benefit of the doubt, they are possibly running on an outdated model. In the past, Republicans could afford to appease socialists as this country had a wealth of free market non-consolidated capitalism. It’s like you can take the hit because you are strong and the economy grows, technology advances and everybody has a piece of the pie. Those days are over. Not just because of the recession/depression but because, for example, we have already SPENT ALL of the SS money. Adding another program on top of that is madness. Perhaps they were just employing old formulas. But the tipping point has been reached. Reagan provided amnesty for a couple of million illegals. Back then it was no big deal, under today’s environment along with exponential numbers it can’t be done.

    Through appeasement with socialists and other natural forces like globalism, the USA is coming dangerously close to a completely non-free society. And the statist Republicans don’t see this because they occupy the high ground, the alligators will eat them last. They are richer and more insulated and many directly benefit from the status quo.

    Here at FF, most think that as long as they can have a role in the state and be a friendly critic of outright socialism, they’ll be fine. And those unwashed, non-ivy’degreed teabaggers should just go away and leave policy for the smart folks. We are treated to a panoply of neophyte writers who took some poli-sci courses at Georgetown, and failing to find a job in the private sector, write here in return for resume enhancement. They literally don’t know what they are talking about, I daresay.

    You can’t have an un-free country and pretend you can conduct an appropriate “war” defending said un-free country. You can’t dilute citizenship and expect people to fight for their country. War on Terror…. press 1 for Spanish. War on Terror….. defend the right of your government to confiscate your property and most of your working hours and call you names while you are at it. War on Terror? Submit to a drug test, a breathylizer checkpoint, a red-light camera, a body search at the airport.

    Defend your right to be treated like a criminal, fined and penalized by a greedy State while the money they confiscate goes to pork government union employees processing citizens for make-work and other corruption.

    As someone who used to believe that this country was worth fighting for and defending, I’m not so sure I want to spend my tax dollars for ANYTHING these folks advocate including the “War on Terror”.

    If those here writing in FF want to dampen the Paul movement, they would do well to take a hard line on Socialist Democrats, learn what they are doing when it comes to the media and stop appeasing and abetting them. Otherwise stop whining.

  • DFL

    Young people and libertarians seem to have plenty of time on their hands. Ron Paul is more popular with these sorts of people. That is why they can attend political conferences during the work week. Men and women with families have work to do, bills to pay and children to attend to. They are less likely to attend political conferences.

  • balconesfault

    Men and women with families have work to do, bills to pay and children to attend to.

    And they’re much, much more likely to favor government programs that protect their families from being exposed to the sometimes harsh winds of the unfettered free market without any safety net.

    That is the problem that the Republican Party faces as their rhetoric becomes increasingly libertarian.

  • DFL

    Valid point, balcone.

  • sinz54

    balconesfault: And they’re much, much more likely to favor government programs that protect their families from being exposed
    Yes, THEIR families–the middle class.

    Not the underclass.

    Liberals lost the working class when they started embracing the underclass at the expense of the working class.

    I remember the 1970s, when construction workers in New York City used to beat up antiwar liberal protesters.

  • balconesfault

    I remember the 1970s, when construction workers in New York City used to beat up antiwar liberal protesters.

    I can only imagine the joy that sight brought you, and still brings you today as you fondly reminisce about those good old days. Although the “antiwar liberal protestors” were hardly from the “underclass” – and I’ll bet most of them now have considerable more wealth than the construction workers who beat them up.

    But in the last election – Obama racked up 48% of the 50-75K demographic, and 51% of the 75-100K demographic.

    2008 doesn’t count? Well, outside of the deep South (SC/GA/AL/MS/LA/TX – where Bush won middle class voters by about a 70-30 margin), Kerry actually did better than Bush in those demographics as well.

    Democrats didn’t lose the middle class. They lost the south.

  • kevin47

    “Ron Paul is more popular with these sorts of people. That is why they can attend political conferences during the work week. Men and women with families have work to do, bills to pay and children to attend to.”

    Do you find this problematic? Young people with time on their hands did quite a bit to elevate Obama to… Oh, I see your point. :)

    “And they’re much, much more likely to favor government programs that protect their families from being exposed to the sometimes harsh winds of the unfettered free market without any safety net.”

    What are you basing this on? Middle-aged families are one of the most conservative demographics.

    “Well, outside of the deep South (SC/GA/AL/MS/LA/TX – where Bush won middle class voters by about a 70-30 margin), Kerry actually did better than Bush in those demographics as well.”

    What is your source? I’m pretty sure Bush won this demo in Ohio, for example, not to mention mountain states. Either way, you’re cherry picking. If you take away the states with the largest victory margins, the demographic numbers will skew accordingly.

  • kukareku

    I hope people with Ron Paul’s views will take over GOP. It is time for Barry Goldwater comeback. Rockefeller republicans should get lost. Why don’t they found their american fascist party, they will be much more at home there. And that includes fraudster Frum.
    It is funny how Rockefeller family gave us disastrous central bank, ruined Goldwater’s presidentail bid and thus enabled LBJ’s guns and butter and disastrous 70′s inflation that followed, and now Rockefellers run CFR and propose all kinds of fascist and socialist legislatures for Obama.

  • sinz54

    balconesfault: Kerry actually did better than Bush in those demographics as well.
    I checked the CNN exit poll from 2004 and found this:

    Vote by Income
    $30K-50K: Bush got 49%
    $50K-75K: Bush got 56%
    $75K-100K: Bush got 55%
    Above $100K: Bush got about 57%

    So where did Kerry do well?

    $15K-30K: Kerry got 57%
    Under $15K: Kerry got 63%

    http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2004/pages/results/states/US/P/00/epolls.0.html

    Just as I said. The liberals win the underclass vote.

  • balconesfault

    I checked the CNN exit poll from 2004 and found this:

    Vote by Income
    $$30K-50K: Bush got 49%
    $50K-75K: Bush got 56%
    $75K-100K: Bush got 55%

    Exactly … and when you take out the 70-30 margin that Bush got in those demographics throughout the Deep South … you’ll see that elsewhere the Democrats most certainly had not “lost” the middle class vote. They lost the South.

  • DFL

    I vaguely remember that if you separated the 2004 vote in tenths, Kerry won the lowest three and the highest one, albeit by a very small margin. Bush carried splits 2 through 7.

  • sunroof

    Right now, which social class in America is the fastest growing? I’d say it’s the underclass, as middle class families lose jobs and homes and health care and hope. So maybe the Democrats are smarter, or luckier, than some of you think.

  • Lewis

    Quote from Ronald Reagan in 1975 from Reason magazine: “If you analyze it, I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism.”

    We need to bring back the heart and soul.

  • Paleoconservative

    Just read these two articles written around the time of the beginning of the Iraq War.

    “Whose War” By Patrick Buchanan
    “Sharon’s War” By Robert Novak

    Those are two real conservatives, not some neocon hack.

    Also you may be interested in reading these:
    “A Clean Break: A New Strategy For Securing the Realm” from 1997
    and the 1992 “Defense Planning Guidance” document reported on by the NYTimes.

    We are well aware of the histories of Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, Elliot Abrams, David Wurmser, Michael Ledeen, Norman Podhoretz, Irving Kristol, Charles Krauthammer, Larry Franklin, Albert Wohlstetter. As well as AIPAC, Commentary Magazine, and the American Enterprise Institute.

    All roads lead to Israel.

    I say AMERICA FIRST, SECOND, & THIRD……Everyone else LAST!

  • Carney

    Ron Paul is an advocate for imposing a disgraceful rout on our fighting men, ordering them to flee the battlefield in the face of the enemy, and had our vicious foes a resounding victory. Disgusting and contemptible. He and his cult have no place in a patriotic gathering.

  • radiofriendly

    Okay, I’ll be nice, ’cause you are trying to be nice…
    But I have to direct people to see David Frum’s appearance on the Daily Show:
    http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/tue-january-8-2008/david-frum
    Check it out at 3:00

    “Ron Paul is one of these people,unfortunately in a time of trouble people turn to some often pretty awful answers, and he is absolutely an example of that.” …“He is one of those people that the more you learn about him the more disturbing a personality he becomes.”