Why did Ron Paul lose in 2008?

In 2008 the Ron Paul Revolution burst onto the campaign trail in a frenzied grassroots blur. The ‘Champion of the Constitution’, ‘the Taxpayers best friend’, ‘Dr. No’ and ‘the Ultimate Conservative’, Dr. Congressman Ronald Paul of Texas was off and running for President of the united States.

Ron Paul did not win the primaries for the Republicant Party and the Ron Paul R[ƎVO˩]UTION soon quieted into the Ron Paul [OVER]LUTION.

That being said, there are some interesting anomalies to investigate. Not that I am declaring any foul play, no I am sure the members of the GOP were all little angels. I simply mean that there are some lessons to be learned here. An example is the use of MeetUps. Ron Paul had a literal Army of R[ƎVO˩]UTIONARIES. The other candidates, including Premier Obama had in no way shape or form near the help that the Paul Campaign had.

Back in 2008 I took some snapshots of the MeetUp Group numbers for multiple candidates. Here are the snapshops.

Yes, it is true primaries are not determined by the amount of Meetup members, however the ratio between MeetUp members and Delegate Representation SHOULD have held somewhat  true. It did not. So, either the Ron Paul delegates were the worst delegates in history or there was some amount of mischief. We do know that there was some amount of favoritism concerning television bias. Ron Paul certainly suffered there. In fact here is a good video explaining the television bias:

http://www.youtube.com/v/WiAL76OoXp0?fs=1&hl=en_US

Though Ron Paul garnered 14% of the votes and Huckabee only 8% they employed tricks such as leaving Ron Paul’s face off of a graphic when he clearly beat the Huckster.

So, here we are in 2010. Rand Paul is doing well and Ron Paul has hinted at running in 2012. The drums are starting to beat once again in favor of liberty. However did we learn anything in 2008? Although the article below was written by a Statist, they have very valid arguments.

From Nolan Chart

A calm anlysis of the reasons — and lessons that should be taken away from it , but probably won’t.

by Logical Premise
(statist)
Sunday, March 9, 2008

Why did Ron Paul lose?

Let me clarifiy that statement. It is theoretically possible that the superdelegates could vote for Ron Paul in the convention. It is theoretically possible that all of Huckabee’s and Romney’s delegates, being free to vote how they like, could also vote for Ron Paul in the convention.

But the ugly reality is that even if he wins in such a convoluted manner, he really lost. He got, on average, between 2% and 10% of the vote in most states. The people clearly are not “behind him”, and if the delegates at the convention acted in a manner that went against the wishes of the electorate, most of them will have a price to pay.

But why did he lose? If you listen to Libertarians, Ron Paul is conservative, Christian, honest, dedicated, and a strict constitutionalist. He’s against big government, seemingly a Republican virtue. He dislikes taxation, seemingly a Republican virtue. He is , on some issues, very close to being a paleoconservative of the oldest school.

Why did they all vote for someone else? Let’s examine the reasons:

  • No name recognition: The main reason there was a lot of “buzz” about some canidates is that they were well known. Huckabee and Romney were governors, Guilliani was all over the news in 9/11 and since then, the mayor of one of the most influential cities in the world. Fred Thompson was an actor. John McCain had already run for president and had his name floated around. Against this, you have Ron Paul. He doesn’t have the suavely presidential look of Romney, and he doesn’t have the stupidly macho-hero image of McCain, and he doesn’t have the charismatic “good ol boy” power of Huckabee. He is straightforward and clear and honest … but not that exciting to most people. And he’s not “big”. When most people think of him, unfortunately, they link him not to Republicans, but Libertarians.
  • No organization: the campaign he ran was a completely disorganized mess, a shambolic fuck-up of such monumental proportions I’m frankly astounded you Libertarians haven’t lynched his campaign staff for treason. I’ve seen better efforts by my city councilmen. The only real traction ever made in the campaign was by the grass-roots element. Fundraising? Grassroots. Internet viral message? Grassroots. Precinct level organization? Grassroots. Certainly, the grassroots deserves a commendation for one of the best efforts in history … but the grassroots cannot get your canidate ACCESS. That’s the campaign’s job, and they failed, leading to…
  • Locked out of the Media: As a result of the campaign’s ignorance of how to handle the media, Ron Paul started out crippled. When the money bombs brought in millions, the campaign did not take out nationwide ads, it didn’t take out a flood of interviews, it didn’t agitate to get him on as many places as possible. Even some writers on this website tried to get him on radioshows and the like and were ignored. And that you cannot do. If you ignore the MSM, it locks you out. Dennis Kunich felt that people should judge him on how he spoke, not the media spin, and he was locked out even more totally than Ron Paul.
  • Hindered by public perception: The presentation of Ron Paul’s proposals was another disastrophe. I won’t comment on the viability of his proposals — abolishing the IRS and 50 to 70% of the government departments, slashing spending, cutting pork, withdrawing our military from all over the world. The problem is that it was presented as one gigantic package. Over and over, I heard the same thing from people talking about Ron Paul — “That guy wants to cut stuff we need”. Talking with a mechanic for Lockheed, he said “I like some of the guy’s ideas, but he’d put me out of work cutting the military like that.” When I pointed out that Ron Paul didn’t say he wanted to cut the military, the mechanic said that “he had heard that” and felt more comfortable voting for McCain. To me this implies…
  • Lack of Control of the Message: People were hearing all kinds of crap that was attributed to Ron Paul. That he was racist. That he was going to ban abortion. That he has no problems with abortion. He would abolish the military. He would withdraw us from the UN and all trade agreements. That he didn’t trust any medicine except alternative medicine. That he planned to let the poor starve. And on, and on, and on. And no one in his campaign, and he himself, fought this. His site is full of doubletalk — his page on Racism is so vague and missing the point that most people saw it as code for “We won’t stop racism, it’s not our job, so if you’re racist go right ahead”.
  • The attitude: I’ve mentioned this before. But when you’ve got no name recognition, people don’t understand your position, you can’t get on TV , your campaign is paralyzed, and people link you to “fringe groups” , the last thing that’s going to help is hearing some nut screaming at the top of his lungs that Ron Paul is the greatest man since Jesus. It makes your canidate look like Lyndon LaRouche. People go with what they see, and for every time I had a calm, logical discussion with a RP supporter, I had five times I had to listen to a disjointed diatribe about liberty that told me nothing about how RP would deal with my problems, or the problems I thought that this country needed to address, and everything about things I didn’t care about. Perhaps that’s me…the votes suggest otherwise.
  • Pie-in-the-sky thinking: After the first few contests when he got beaten badly, someone — either the grassroots or the campaign — should have done some rethinking and new strategizing. Instead, the grassroots complained it was due to the MSM bias and the stupidity of voters, and the campaign did nothing. And so it happened again, and again, and then Super Tuesday came along and that was a trainwreck, and Super Tuesday II killed the popular vote aspect of winning. The answer? “Well, we can still win on delegates”.

Winning on delegates isn’t winning. Even if you win (unlikely, but still within the bounds of possibility), you haven’t won over the American people. In fact, if you win that way, there is no possible way you could win the presidential election — no neo-con will vote for Ron Paul, and that’s the majority of McCain’s base. That’s the base that has propelled him to where he is now. Social conservatives wont’ be very happy that Ron Paul won’t use the power of government to enforce their beliefs, and will probably simply not vote. And so you’ll get maybe 15%, maybe 25% of the popular vote — and either Hillary or Obama will crush you.

And the outcome? The GOP would be so divided and demoralized that it would take years to recover , and they would never ever trust Libertarians or their values again.

If you want to win, you need three things:

  1. A platform that doesn’t scare the shit out of people: If you’re really determined to roll back the changes in government, you are going up against literally everyone else. So sweeping changes are probably going to turn people away. Remember — just becuase everything is wrong and horrid to you doesn’t mean everyone else sees it that way. Most people see government as needing to be adjusted slightly , with “better people” in power — not “renovated”. If you move your platform slowly over time so people can see the results, then you can prove you were right. (Or, if your platform actually makes things worse, well, you have time to correct. That gold standard thing is not going to go well at first).
  2. A canidate that people besides Libertarians can get excited about: I certainly don’t mean to insult anybody, but only a small fraction of the population gives a shit about Ron Paul. You need someone younger, a charismatic speaker, someone handsome, married to a goodlooking woman, someone very Christian, a veteran, and who has a track record slightly less extreme than Dr. Paul. He has to be able to compromise. If you insist on playing it with guys like Ron Paul, the slick criminals like McCain and the messianic pretenders like Obama will beat you and keep beating you.
  3. A campaign that can at least find it’s own ass if it put it’s hands in it’s back pockets: C’mon, folks. I wouldn’t trust those people to lead starving wolves to fresh meat, much less leading the electorate to unite behind a canidate. If the people you’ve got running this mess are the best you can do, HIRE someone. Pay that evil demon that’s running Obama’s campaign, or hell, hire an ad agency. Anything. The grassroots element is already working perfectly, but you need a national level to coordinate it, to be the contact point for media inquries, and to leverage the money into something useful.

I’ve pretty much decided that, whatever happens, my vote is going to McCain, if for no other reason than to infurate friends of mine who believe statism should equal socialism, which I do not agree with. But what I choose has very little to do with the mistakes above. What you have to decide now is are you going to do things the same way in 2012? Or will you change, and try to make a more successful run?

Either way, the Forces of Statism will be there with sarcastic commentary.

END OF ARTICLE

The 2012 election rests upon us learning from our mistakes and missteps. What say you? Here are the results of the 2008 primaries as recorded by the New York Times.

http://politics.nytimes.com/election-guide/2008/results/votes/

Ron Paul 2012 to win? Not unless we improve.

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About SCrosnoe

I serve as a watchmen on the wall. In that effort, I have been a grassroots activist for over thirty years (first in Texas and now in Oklahoma). I am a conservative, limited government freedom lover. I am a co-founder of R3publicans or R3s –- we are Republicans working to Restore the Republic. I live in Bartlesville Oklahoma.
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