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June 21, 2010

Paul: GOP More Open to Libertarians in 2012

Not to be outdone by the Fightin' Fundi Muther Hucker, Ron Paul gave an interview to the Daily Caller in which he suggests that things might be different this time around, if you know what I'm saying.

Ron Paul says he hasn’t decided if he'll challenge President Obama for re-election in 2012, but he does predict that Republicans will be more open than they were in 2008 to nominating a libertarian-minded candidate.

"I think there’s no doubt about it," Paul said in an interview with The Daily Caller.

[...]

"I think even the issue of the Federal Reserve — that issue is almost mainstream," he said. "And I think things have shifted because of the financial crisis as well as the bogging down of our foreign policy. So the American people are looking for some different answers."

No doubt about it, huh? Let's pull the most recent numbers out there:

Ron Paul's favorability with Republican primary voters, at 29/25, is actually worse than the 35/25 we found for him on our poll with independents. That's just more evidence that he might be a bigger player in the 2012 contest if he decided to run as a third party candidate than he would be staying as a GOP also ran.

For comparison's sake, the favorable/unfavorable for other candidates among Republican primary voters:

Palin: 65/17
Gingrich: 58/18
Romney: 57/14
Huckabee: 53/15

I'm sure 2012, like 2008 in the last two months of the campaign, is going to be all about the economy. More than that, it's going to be about voters (especially baby boomers) scared for their retirements and their children's jobs. And there's going to be quite a bit of anger about the Obama government's years of waste.

Which is exactly why only crazy independents are going to vote for a guy who is one of the worst abusers of earmarks in the GOP, won't shut up about the gold standard and fiat currency, thinks the economy tanked because of our "empire", thinks that free trade agreements threaten U.S. sovereignty, wants to abolish social security, and has some...other issues, shall we say.

As one of the commenters said about Sir Hucksalot, when it comes to Ron Paul, FYNQ.

More on Libertarians: Don't get me wrong, I agree with Paul that the GOP may be more open to Libertarian ideas in 2012. But it's going to be the same fiscal conservative ideas that have had a place in the GOP since Reagan.

The "Uncle Fluffy" Libertarianism of Ron Paul and the college kids? Never going to happen. Legalizing marijuana? I love the idea. But it's probably not going to get many GOP followers in 2012. Abolishing social security? Not a bad idea, certainly workable, but whoever we nominate is going to need just a few Baby Boomer votes, y'know? Going to a gold standard? Eesh, we want to grow the economy, not cut it to pieces. Let's try and keep it a little real, okay?

When Paul says the GOP may be more open to Libertarianism, what we're looking at is what will motivate voters. In 2004, most voters were motivated by the War on Terror. In 2008, in the last months of the campaign it was the economy. It's a little early to say where the 2012 campaign will end up, but on the front side, the emphasis has been about the economy.

Mitch Daniels is in trouble for recognizing that, but jumping to the wrong conclusion that voters will want a "truce" on social issues. It's not about a "truce", though. It's about motivation. What will motivate more people, a strong fiscal candidate or a strong socially conservative candidate? I almost can't keep a straight face writing it, but how about a Libertarian?

The problem with the hypothetical Libertarian candidate is that he'll do some things to piss off the fiscal voters and do some things to piss of the social cons, making him not that great a motivator. And while he may get some independents who usually sit out to vote, he's probably also going to turn off the great movable middle that we'll need to persuade if we want to depose Obama.

So, sure, Libertarian ideas may get a hearing in 2012. I buy that. I doubt that they'll be chief motivators for GOP voters, though.


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posted by Gabriel Malor at 12:46 PM

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