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January 13, 2012

Perry Passes Santorum In South Carolina; Newt Still Leads The Anti-Romneys By A Wide Margin

Actually Perry only has nine percent to Santorum's seven percent, and Gingrich has a nice 25%, but I wanted to put this out there for the various people calling on Gingrich and Perry to quit the race in favor of Santorum.

Paul has climbed 11 percent in the last week and Perry has gained seven percent. Santorum, who was tied for second in last week’s poll at 24 percent, plummeted into fifth place in the current poll.

Oh, and Paul's at 20%, but I don't count that. Here's the reason I don't count that: Paul and his supporters wish the Republican Party to completely reverse its foreign/defense policy -- going from interventionist and hawkish to pacifist and strictly dovish, with Defense budgets slashed to ribbons to make up for the budget deficit -- without actually convincing anyone on this issue.

The pitch is that Paul will cut government spending. Golf clap. We'd all like to see that. We're all convinced on that point.

But what we're not convinced of is that we should reduce Defense to the coast guard and a nuclear bomber wing and trust that the rest of the world will be nice to us if we are nonthreatening.

You cannot bootstrap a change that great without actually convincing the party that such a change is good and wise. But that seems to be the Paul strategy, run on the one thing people are convinced of (shrinking government) but then implementing the thing that people aren't convinced of (adopting a doctrinaire pacifist policy with virtually no power projection at all, because, see, we don't need that anymore).

I have used this analogy of putting up a strongly pro-choice candidate who talked very strongly about cutting government. Would such a candidate win? Should such a candidate win, without even bothering with that little step of persuading the party that abortion is a right?

Of course not. And nor can the conservative position on defense be changed so radically without any actual agreement to do so. But that's what Paul has in mind.

Oh, and foreign policy and defense are uniquely within the president's exclusive power, unlike most other areas. The president has not just a first-among-equals status here, but a nearly preeminent position in this area-- the Constitution specifically calls him out as chief foreign relations officer, and of course commander in chief.

Nevermind all that bad old stuff about the attempted Nazi/fringe right (whatever your preferred euphemism is)-libertarian alliance. You just can't have a r3VO_|ution while skipping over that basic step of convincing a majority of the country they should have a r3VO_|ution. And for me, whining about killing Osama bin Ladin, a man who murdered 2996 Americans, just isn't covering it on the persuasion front.

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posted by Ace at 12:41 PM

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