Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Constitutional scholar refutes anti-Paul claims

By Tom Woods
Wednesday August 31st 2011

A good rule of thumb I’ve discovered is that critics who claim Rep. Ron Paul doesn’t understand the Constitution are themselves the ones whose knowledge is deficient.

For example, Scott McKeag, a teacher in the Iowa City School District, came down hard on the congressman in these pages for denying that the federal government has a role in education according to the Constitution. The congressman further believes that education is better managed by states, localities, and parents.

McKeag cites the Constitution’s “necessary and proper” clause to justify the federal Department of Education, which opened its doors in 1980.

Let’s tick off the problems with this howler.

First, Alexander Hamilton noted in Federalist No. 33 that the necessary and proper clause was inserted merely for clarification and did not augment federal power at all. He even said the Constitution would be exactly the same if that clause were “entirely obliterated.” Appealing to the clause to carry the burden of justifying federal involvement in education — which is nowhere mentioned in the Constitution — is asking it to do much heavier lifting than even Hamilton, the broadest of constitutional constructionists, thought it could bear.

Second, George Nicholas, future attorney general of Kentucky, told the Virginia ratifying convention (and remember, according to James Madison, it is to the ratifying conventions that we turn for constitutional interpretation) that the clause “only enables it [Congress] to carry into execution the powers given to it, but gives it no additional power.” Many other statements to this effect can be found in the documentary records of the ratifying conventions.

In other words, citing this clause for authority to establish a Department of Education only begs the question, since McKeag has not first established education as one of “the powers given to it.”

Third, in numerous state ratifying conventions, the people were assured the federal government would have only the powers “expressly delegated” to it. Power over education is obviously not expressly delegated.

Fourth, Thomas Jefferson explained in 1791 that “necessary and proper” had to mean really necessary, as opposed to merely convenient, in carrying out the enumerated powers if the clause were not to swallow up the whole Constitution and defeat its very purpose. Because education is nowhere listed among the enumerated powers, it wouldn’t survive even the first stage of Jefferson’s test.

McKeag only makes things worse when he appeals to Jefferson: “President Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence, championed this idea from his time in the Virginia Legislature.”

Ouch. Here’s what Jefferson actually said: “An amendment to our Constitution must here come in aid of the public education.”

Got that? An amendment to our Constitution. That means federal involvement in education is unconstitutional given the text of the document as it stands. In other words, Jefferson held precisely the view that Ron Paul holds today.

McKeag has no better luck when he tries to claim Madison. Madison warned people in 1792 that if they interpreted the general welfare clause too broadly, we’d wind up with the federal government taking “into its own hands the education of children,” an outcome he considered absurd. Ouch again, Mr. McKeag.
The rest of the article argues from the precedent, “Hey, lots of politicians have thought the people were too stupid to run their own schools and needed to be taxed for the privilege of being bossed around by their Washington betters.” Maybe so, but that doesn’t answer the question: Is it constitutional?

Before filling the heads of Iowan children with any more nonsense, Scott McKeag might consider leaving Ron Paul alone and spending a teensy bit more time reading.

Thomas E. Woods Jr., who holds a Ph.D. in history from Columbia University, is a New York Times bestselling author of 11 books.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

As his numbers continue to improve, Ron Paul presents challenge to Obama, other GOP candidates

By J.D. Heyes
Wednesday August 24th 2011
(NaturalNews) President Barack Obama's campaign has dismissed his candidacy as a Tea Party fringe, much the same way as his fellow Republican presidential contenders have, but that's par for the course. Ron Paul knows he has always been an underdog.
But new polling data is showing Paul in a close race with Obama and other leading GOP contenders. Is it an anomaly? No, it's not and it shows clearly how Paul's message is increasingly resonating with a larger percentage of the American people, making him much less the underdog now than during any of his previous presidential bids.

According to Gallup, Paul is statistically tied with Obama, with the president leading slightly 47-45 percent. Paul out polls Minnesota Rep. Michelle Bachmann (she's behind Obama 48-44 percent), and just under former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (he leads Obama 48-46 percent) and Texas Gov. Rick Perry (who splits with the president 47-47 percent).

Not bad for a "fringe" candidate who has been virtually ignored by Big Media. And while other Republican presidential contenders Romney and Perry generally poll better, Paul continues to do well.

That's what the pundits call "the right message," and it just could be that a perfect political storm is brewing that will sweep him into office in 2012.

For one, his message has never changed. An obstetrician by training who is pro-life, Paul has espoused a small government, personal liberties and freedom platform since practically his first days in office. So there's the consistency factor; what you see is what you get, and what you get from Paul you've been getting for decades.

Also, Paul is the only major candidate calling for an end to what he has labeled unwinnable wars. His call comes as Americans support for the conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya are at all time lows.

As early as November 2010, support for the war in Afghanistan in particular began plummeting, with respondents to a Quinnipiac University survey saying they opposed it in general, 50-44 percent.

Almost three quarters of Americans, or 72 percent, support efforts to begin pulling U.S. troops out of Afghanistan, and only one in five Americans support continued U.S. involvement in Libya.

As the economy and unemployment remain stagnant, the current administration's solution is to raise taxes and increase government regulation. But recent surveys show most of us oppose such "solutions," and neither of those is favored by Paul.

In fact, his solution is to eliminate income taxes altogether, along with the so called "death tax" and capital gains taxes that stifle the free market. He wants to dump the Federal Reserve altogether, and he has pledged never to vote to raise the debt ceiling again.

Just a month ago, Obama held a 41-37 percent lead over Paul, but that's since been cut to 39-38 percent, a statistical tie. Paul's lack of coverage in the media is hurting him nationally, and his genuine small-government mindset is alienating most mainstream members of his own party.

But the fact remains that Obama's regime is collapsing, just like the economy and the free market. And despite what the other GOP candidates espouse, more Americans are learning that Paul is the real deal when it comes to offering a legitimate choice to change the direction the nation is headed. The polls show that Paul is gaining ground on everyone, so much so that he could be too hard to ignore for much longer.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Ron Paul spreading same message as always, resonating finally

By Alex Leary
Thursday August 11th 2011

Ron Paul framed it as "a fight that could literally change our country" and laid out a plan: Return to the gold standard, end U.S. military interventions overseas, demolish the Federal Reserve and stop bailouts.

"Overwhelmingly, people said they wanted a man of principle in Washington," his campaign manifesto read. "They said they want someone who was really against budget deficits, big spending and high taxes, not someone who says one thing and does another."

The fundraising letter could have arrived yesterday.

But it was written in 1984.

As he seeks the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, the Texas congressman is spreading the same message — and people are finally listening.

His persistent bleating about federal spending and the national debt, for years ignored by both Democrats and Republicans, has proven prophetic. Paul's Republican rivals today sound like he did in 2008, when he was viewed as the kooky older guy on the campaign trail warning about an impending crash.

"People kid me now about going mainstream," Paul said in an interview. "Maybe the mainstream came in my direction."

Anti-Washington from the day he stepped foot on Capitol Hill in 1976, Paul was the tea party before the tea party.

People are drawn to Paul — or at least respect him — because he has been consistent in an era of finger-in-the-wind politics.

"Many political campaigns devolve into personality cults — 'Vote for me. I'm the kind of guy you want to have a beer with,' " said former U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson of Orlando, a liberal Democrat who teamed up with Paul last year to pass a measure requiring an audit of the Fed. "That is completely foreign to him. He'll only talk about issues.

"He's actually a bit shy and isn't particularly fond of being in front of large crowds or cameras. But that preoccupation with the issues and internal revulsion toward personality politics is exactly what makes him so popular."

Paul, who turns 76 next week, is hoping a top-three finish in Saturday's straw poll in Ames, Iowa, will thrust him into the upper level of contenders.

For the past two years, Paul has won the straw poll at the American Conservative Union's annual gathering in Washington, his raucous supporters looked on with some disdain by establishment Republicans in the crowd.

He concedes that he is best positioned to affect the debate rather than win, but he holds an underdog's hope.

"How come I think I have a chance? My name's on the ballot," he said. "And the country's shifting my way."

Paul is an anti-war, anti-abortion Republican who was the Libertarian nominee for president in 1988. He burst from obscurity in the last election with a boisterous following and prolific fundraising.

On a single day in December 2007 — the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party — he raised $6 million as part of a "money bomb." His visions of small government, personal responsibility and strict adherence to the U.S. Constitution have become tenets of the tea party movement.

Paul remains a loner in his party, and even now some of his views remain on the fringe. During a GOP debate in South Carolina in May, Paul said that if a person wants to shoot up with heroin, it's that person's choice, and the federal government should stay out of it.
The audience boomed with applause.

So rigid are his views that his routinely is the lone dissenting vote in Congress. He opposes most programs not authorized in the Constitution or those he considers a waste of time or money.

Paul votes against resolutions honoring Boy Scout troops and civil rights leaders. He voted against a congressional medal for former President Ronald Reagan because of its $30,000 cost. He has voted against constitutional bans on same-sex marriage and flag burning, believing in individual expression. And he opposes farm subsidies that benefit constituents in his rural Texas district because he wants the free enterprise system to work.

A retired obstetrician who delivered 4,000 babies and fathered five (including son Rand, who in 2010 became a U.S. senator from Kentucky), Paul says no so often that he has a nickname in Washington: Dr. No.

In his 2008 run for president, Paul drew accusations of hypocrisy for requesting hundreds of millions in budget earmarks, or pork, for his district while voting against the final bill. Paul said he does not endorse the system but puts in earmarks because he represents people who want some of their money back.

A follower of Austrian economics, Paul said his political awakening came on Aug. 15, 1971, when President Richard Nixon ended the last tie between gold and U.S. currency. Paul said that opened the floodgates for both parties to spend and print money and run up debt.

Returning to the gold standard has been his burning cause. Most economists dismiss that as unrealistic and say the gold standard helped cause the Great Depression by limiting how much money could be generated.

But over the years, Paul has gained legions of believers.

Paul was one of only six Republicans to vote against giving President George W. Bush the authority to wage war in Iraq and has long bemoaned U.S. intervention overseas.

"We should spread our values, but we can't spread our values through guns and bombs and occupations," he said. "We should do it through following good economic policy and understanding what personal liberty is all about and set a good example. Maybe the rest of the world would want to follow us."

Paul demurs when asked about his longtime warnings about the debt, once ignored but no longer. His son, campaigning with him in Iowa on Wednesday, said it was something to highlight.

"We should do some gloating," Rand Paul told reporters. "The slogan for the campaign should be, 'Ron Paul was right!' "

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Ron Paul supporters blast back with over $1 million and counting

By Lori Stacey
Saturday August 20th 2011

The Ron Paul birthday money bomb is well underway and they have already raised over $1 million today.  It will be going on until midnight. This event was billed as "a fundraiser the establishment would never forget". Whatever the reason, part birthday celebration and perhaps part firing back after the lack of media coverage following his dead-heat finish in Iowa; the Ron Paul campaign is full-speed ahead.

The only thing the mainstream media has been able to keep beating the drums on is saying that he is unelectable.  For a 12-term Congressman from Texas to be constantly criticized about electability, it is ironic that his 11 re-elections makes him the most elected candidate in the Presidential field.

As the media keeps attacking or ignoring, his support continues to soar.  The Congressman spent the weekend at the 3rd Annual Liberty Summit in Orlando, Florida this weekend where the focus was on "The Future of Conservatism in America".  Paul was a keynote speaker at the event with a packed, standing room only crowd.

Can this momentum continue to build?  One thing is for sure, the worst thing the mainstream media can do at this point is continue to anger his supporters.

Continuous updates on the money bomb throughout the evening can be found here.

Ron Paul Wins NH Straw Poll

Hampton-North Hampton PATCH
By Kyle Stucker
Saturday August 20th 2011

The Texas congressman won Saturday's New Hampshire Young Republicans Straw Poll by a commanding margin.

Ron Paul got a great birthday present Saturday, as the 76-year-old defeated 11 other Republicans in Saturday's New Hampshire Young Republicans Straw Poll.

Paul, a congressman from Texas, won a commanding 45 percent of the vote and bested runner-up Mitt Romney by 35 percent votes despite not actually attending the event, which was held in New Castle and also included a lobster bake.

There were 302 ballots cast Saturday, and the full vote results are as follows, in the order the candidates were listed on the ballot: Jon Huntsman - 3 percent ; Herman Cain - 5 percent; Rick Perry - 8 percent; Fred Karger - 0 percent ; Paul - 45 percent; Mitt Romney - 10 percent; Thaddeus McCotter - 8 percent; Rick Santorum - 3 percent; Michele Bachmann - 5 percent; Buddy Roemer - 3 percent; Gary Johnson - 6 percent; and Newt Gingrich - 1 percent.

Rudy Giuliani and Paul Ryan each received 1 percent of the vote as write-in candidates, while another 1 percent was comprised of candidates who received less than 1 percent, according to event officials.

Gingrich, Perry, Romney and Santorum all were unrepresented at Saturday's event, as no one spoke on their behalf and none had a table at the event.

State Sen. Jim Forsythe spoke on behalf of Paul.

Saturday's event, which drew roughly 350 people, also featured a vote for New Hampshire governor

Friday, August 19, 2011

Ron Paul galore!

Concord Monitor
By Felice Belman
Friday August 19th 2011

The woman on the other end of the phone had never called a newspaper editor before, but she was angry. She had traveled to Concord from Connecticut to get a gander at Ron Paul on Wednesday night and was frustrated that Thursday morning’s edition of the Monitor included no story on Paul’s appearance. Yes, there were two large photographs from the event by photographer John Tully, but no accompanying news article. To make matters worse, a full story on Rick Perry appeared on the front page.

What the caller couldn’t have known was that our plan for this morning’s edition was a virtual Paul-a-palooza: two front-page stories, a photograph and an editorial. On, there is a video from Paul’s Thursday interview with the Monitor editorial board. Additionally, Sunday’s Viewpoints section will include more outtakes from the interview – and a terrific new caricature of Paul by longtime Monitor cartoonist Mike Marland.

Our goal between now and the presidential primary election is to give readers as much coverage of the presidential candidates as possible – while also keeping track of local news. We won’t achieve perfect parity among the candidates in column inches or number of photographs – nor are we trying to. But, with luck, by February Monitor readers will have a good sense of what each of the Republican candidates stand for and how that compares to their opponents – and to President Obama.

How do we do that? We send journalists to scads of campaign events: in the Concord area and, when the news merits it, out of the area. (Earlier this week, for instance, reporter Karen Langley filed a story about Mitt Romney from Berlin.) We’ll publish profiles of the candidates – including these on Paul and Bachmann from earlier in the summer. We’ll check the veracity of their statements. We’ll talk to voters. We’ll dissect the big issues of the campaign. We’ll let readers know when and where the candidates are appearing.

Additionally, we’ll invite all the candidates for long sit-downs and use those conversations to help inform our news coverage as well as the newspaper’s eventual endorsement of a candidate. Editorial board interviews with presidential candidates are among the joys of working here –  and yesterday’s interview with Paul was particularly fun. He speaks his mind and – though he’s been saying the same thing for years and years – his performance is remarkably refreshing.

Here’s one more tidbit from yesterday’s interview: Asked whether his age would be a detriment to getting elected (he turns 76 tomorrow), Paul smiled and dismissed the hypothesis:

“That’s an old-fashioned idea. In this day and age, what really counts are your ideas and my ideas are promoting liberty – and that’s a very young idea and young people love it.”

He went on to challenge anyone worried about his senior-citizen status to a physical competition. “Anytime any other running candidate wants to come to Houston at 12 o’clock noon when the temperature is 100 and the humidity is 102, I’ll ride 20 miles with them on a bicycle.”

Any takers?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Ron Paul: Rick Perry makes me look moderate

The Ticket
By Chris Moody
Thursday August 18th 2011

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, the national drumbeater against the Federal Reserve, said Wednesday that compared to "some southern governor" (a clear reference to fellow contender Rick Perry) Paul looks more like a moderate.

"I'll tell you what, he makes me sound like a moderate," Paul said at a campaign stop in Concord, New Hampshire. "I have never once said Bernanke has committed treason. But I have suggested very strongly that the Federal Reserve system and all the members have been counterfeiters for a long time." The remarks were first reported by NBC News.

The title of Paul's book is End the Fed.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry said earlier this week that Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke would be "almost treasonous" if he increases the money supply before the elections in November.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Ron Paul has a dirty little habit of telling the truth

New Jersey
By Michael Hayne
Monday August 15th 2011

Perennial Republican Presidential Candidate, Ron Paul (R-TX), was the clear-cut winner of last Thursday nite’s debate, according to many different polls. While former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, now no longer a presidential candidate, attempted to break himself free from the shackles of mediocrity by sparring frivolously with crazed Congresswoman Bachmann, Ron Paul did the unthinkable in today’s circus-like GOP by sticking to the facts. Indeed, Ron Paul has a dirty little habit of telling the truth and strictly adhering to the seemingly dead fundamental philosophical underpinnings of the founding fathers, sometimes at his own peril.

On the economy, all the presidential wannabes spoke about lower taxes, cutting spending, and a balanced budget – the usual mantra– in focus group approved, Fox News soundbite fashion. But like always, Ron Paul threw caution to the wind and downright cut right through the carefully arranged beauty pageant that elections have come to be by thoroughly explaining why we have recessions in the first place. Mr. Paul stuck to his hallmark positions of criticizing the role of the Federal Reserve System and the monetary system, one in which money can be created out of thin air whenever the political class wants it.

"The country's bankrupt, and nobody wanted to admit it,” said Ron Paul during the Fox News Debate.

On foreign policy, Ron Paul once again proved that he is a the sharpest voice and firmly understands the pivotal Law of Unintended Consequences with regards to America’s interventionist polices in the Middle East. Mr. Paul is famed for schooling Rudy “I appeared on television the most on 9/11″ Giuliani on foreign policy during a 2008 Republican presidential debate. Paul has now said, those who spread the lie that it was all Muslims throughout the world who attacked America on that September morning are also those who seem to favor the most wars in the most places, usually so long as other Americans fight them. This time around, however, it was walking gay joke and long shot far-right candidate, Rick Santorum, who was on the receiving end of an epic Ron Paul history smackdown.

Mr. Paul handily dismissed the comments of the neoconservative former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum as “war propaganda,” which indeed Senator Santorum can be relied upon to parrot at every opportunity. He then beautifully explained that the history of U.S. relations in Iran did not begin with the hostage crisis in 1979, as Senator Santorum. On the contrary, It began with the U.S./British coup in 1953 that brought the oppressive shah to power, and it was resentment over his police state that turned Iranians against the U.S.

"Just think of what we went through in the Cold War when I was in the Air Force, after I was drafted into the Air Force, all through the 60's. We were standing up against the Soviets. They had like 30,000 nuclear weapons with intercontinental missiles. Just think of the agitation and the worry about a country that might get a nuclear weapon some day."

-Ron Paul when asked by Fox News channel anchor Chris Wallace why he was "soft" on Iran in his opposition to economic sanctions against the country

Oh no, Ron Paul! Just call the black guy a socialist, demand to see his birth certificate, and utter totally empty slogans like “Drill baby Drill” and “Washington is out of touch with the people”. Oh, and make sure you say nothing remotely factual. Above all, be sure to wear the biggest American Flag pin you can find while uttering such easily digestible ignorance.

But while Ron Paul displays a refreshing and audacious ability to speak from the gut, he also displays a dangerous mindset that reflects some of the more severe libertarian propensities. Case in point, Ron Paul compared social security and medicare to slavery earlier this year. Indeed, Ron Paul has the remarkable gift of politely invoking thought while simultaneously causing immediate aversion and bewilderment—unlike Perry, Bachmann, et all.—who just invoke setups for late night comedy and fodder for the American Psychological Association.

Now that the debate is over and the dust has settled, it is clear that Ron Paul is a formidable force— stronger and better positioned—than he was four years ago.

Ron Paul Scores Big in Iowa Despite Media Bias
By Doug Wead
Tuesday August 16th 2011

Out of 16,892 votes cast in the Iowa Straw Poll last Saturday, Texas Congressman Ron Paul came within 152 votes of upsetting Congresswoman Michele Bachmann in her own home state.

The close call was ignored by the national media. On Sunday, Bachmann, who was born in Waterloo, Iowa, appeared on five national news programs carried by ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and the Fox News Channel. Paul was invited on none.

The following day, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty withdrew from the race and was featured by all of the networks all day long. Once more, Ron Paul was ignored.

To give you an idea of how staggering Paul’s victory was, and why the national media risks a total disconnect with its readers and viewers in their effort to ignore it, he won twice as many votes as Tim Pawlenty and almost as many votes as Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Herman Cain, New Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman combined.

There’s more. Michele Bachmann was a regular attendee of Dr. Paul’s famous weekly congressional meetings until she was re-elected to congress in her own right.

She openly claims leadership of the tea party that was inspired and started as a Ron Paul fundraiser. Except for her lapse in voting for Nancy Peolosi’s stimulus bill, she has been careful to mimic Ron Paul’s votes in the House. The combined total of the Bachmann-Paul votes amounted to a tea party takeover of the GOP. But once more the media uniformly declined to make an observation.

Some reporters were at times schizophrenic in their post straw poll analysis. Executives had apparently prepared them. There were talking points for what to say if Bachmann wins and what to say if Ron Paul wins.

Sometimes they couldn’t get it straight. A pundit would say that it was a stunning victory for Bachmann and a significant event since it knocked out Pawlenty out of the race and crippled fundraising for the lower tier candidates. Then the same pundit would add in the same sentence that it really didn’t mean anything. No one offered their viewers any explanation for why the networks were spending three days talking about something that didn’t mean anything. A reporter from one network told me that they had 900 journalists and technicians covering the straw poll.

The Ron Paul Campaign arrived in Des Moines on Wednesday buoyed by a CNN national poll showing their candidate ahead of Bachmann and Pawlenty. But they soon had a taste of what was to come in that night’s presidential debates. They were greeted at their headquarters’ hotel by the headlines of the Washington Examiner declaring “All Eyes on Romney, Bachmann, and Pawlenty.” The Examiner, along with Fox News, would co-host the evening’s debate.

The debate kicked off with a series of questions to Bachmann and Romney. Seven minutes into the debate, Ron Paul was asked one question and given one minute to answer. He would not be heard from again until 38 minutes into the program, after all the other candidates gave their answers to multiple questions.

This included a lively exchange between Bachmann and Pawlenty. The debate within the debate was launched by questions from Fox News anchor Christ Wallace, who occasionally added a provocation to keep things going and seemed perfectly delighted to have a presidential debate turn into an infomercial for Bachmann and Pawlenty.

What was happening did not go unnoticed by the national media. Although on-air discussions were rare, private stories abounded. And one from an MSNBC journalist, of all things. (MSNBC producers were intercepted in their own debate telling Chris Matthews in his ear piece, “Don’t go to Paul, don’t go to Paul!”)

Knowing that the race was tight, Chris Wallace announced on Friday that regardless of what happened at the straw poll, his Sunday guest would be Michele Bachmann. It was apparent that Fox News had decided against the Ron Paul candidacy and was willing to risk the scorn of violating its own motto “fair and balanced” to achieve its ends.

Ron Paul supporters should not panic at this media snobbery. Ronald Reagan won in a landslide in 1980, in spite of unanimous and vitriolic attacks from the media. He was portrayed as racist, a warmonger and an extremist.

Reagan went directly to the television airwaves with his own message. Ron Paul tested that in Iowa with stunning success. Iowa showed that given a small taste of the truth, without the media filter, people will choose Ron Paul. The real test to his campaign will be decided in his next money bomb. If it works, he will compete on the airwaves in the Iowa caucuses and he will win.

Doug Wead is a New York Times best-selling author and a former adviser to two American presidents. He is senior adviser to the Ron Paul presidential campaign.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Ron Paul ties Michele Bachmann in Iowa Straw Poll
By Kevin Kervick
Monday August 15th 2011

Independent Americans are steaming this morning. The mainstream press is once again telling critical thinking Americans what to think and they don’t like it.

The results of the Iowa Straw Poll were 4,823 votes for Bachmann and 4,671 for Paul, a statistical tie for first place. Bachmann’s campaign had hoped she could amass over 6,000 votes in her birth state and in an electorate that is increasingly dominated by Evangelical Christian voters, Bachmann’s key voting block. Consequently, her showing was less than expected. Paul, on the other hand, exceeded expectations and to most observers in Iowa, his campaign apparatus was the best organized and most energized. Paul’s campaign is gaining steam while Bachmann’s popularity has receded in recent weeks according to national polls including this one from CNN. Yet, the big media report the event as a victory for Bachmann and make little mention of Paul.

Additionally, as her star has risen nationally, there is growing public scrutiny of Bachmann’s literalist Christian beliefs. Specifically Bachmann is on tape saying that she believes the end times are near. As these beliefs become better known to a wider cross-section of Americans it is likely that Bachmann will fade as a candidate. Paul, on the other hand is able to talk about moral issues in a way that appeals to critical thinking Americans. His explanation for his stance as a pro-lifer for instance, is entirely based on reason rather than dogma. That is an approach that appeals to independents.

The Teavangelical wing of the Tea Party Movement is attempting to usurp the independent spirit of the populist uprising because they sense their influence is fading. The popular press, perhaps wanting to further the Progressive-Evangelical Christian divide that keeps it readership activated, is advancing this false narrative, perhaps also in the hope that labeling all Tea Partiers as Evangelical end-timers will further diminish the movement and will strengthen President Obama’s election chances. There is little mention that a new paradigm is emerging that represents a new governing coalition in America, a common sense independent conservative coalition. Ron Paul is tapping into that exciting energy, and thus status quo power brokers are marginalizing his message.

If one listened to the popular media this morning he got the impression this race has dwindled to three viable Republican Presidential candidates, Romney, Bachmann, and Perry, the latter of who only announced his candidacy on Saturday! It is an outright scandal that Ron Paul’s terrific showing in Iowa has been so neglected by mainstream press sources. Independents are steaming this morning and they should be.

Ron Paul supporters decry media neglect

By Keach Hagey
Monday August 15th 2011

Ron Paul finished just 152 votes behind Michele Bachmann in the Ames Straw Poll, but from the headlines and TV news coverage, it’s hard to tell he even showed up.

With the exception of The New York Times and The Des Moines Register, most major newspaper headlines didn’t even mention his name in their reports of Saturday’s contest. Nor was he anywhere to be found on the Sunday morning talk shows.

By Monday’s second-day stories, Paul had disappeared from the prevailing narrative of the Republican primary race altogether, as consensus coalesced around the dynamics between Bachmann, newcomer Rick Perry and front-runner Mitt Romney.
“We are certainly disappointed, and we think that people are missing a very big story here,” said Jesse Benton, Paul’s campaign manager. “You look at ’07, and Mike Huckabee was able to turn what was a very weak second place — Mitt Romney had 4,516 votes and Huckabee had 2,587 — into a huge national story.”

The Texas congressman’s campaign and supporters blame the curious lack of coverage on the mainstream media’s bias. Though some charge this bias is of the typical liberal variety, most complain it is more of a bias against anyone the media consider an “unelectable” candidate.

Thousands of highly motivated, very wired Paul supporters have been letting the media know their displeasure in no uncertain terms — sending emails to reporters, filling comments sections below columns and even leaving messages on the voicemails of experts quoted in stories they don’t like.

From the perspective of the campaign — which emphasizes it has nothing to do with the independent online activities of Paul’s supporters – the greatest disappointment lies with the television media.

“We were turned down by all the Sunday talk shows, including “Fox News Sunday,” which promised us an interview,” Benton said. “And we were turned down by all the shows today.”

Paul was initially scheduled to appear on NBC’s “Today” show Monday morning, but the appearance was canceled.
“He was tentatively booked, but because of logistics and timing reasons with the news in Indiana and Somalia, we couldn’t do it,” said Megan Kopf, a spokeswoman for “Today.”

Benton said “Meet the Press” was one of several Sunday shows that Paul had a “loose arrangement” with to go on if Paul did well in the straw poll, but when he did, “their answer was, ‘Sorry our show is set.’”

“It was an effort to shut Ron out, no question,” he said.

Betsy Fischer, the executive producer of “Meet the Press,” said she extended Paul an invitation to come on the show two weeks before the straw poll, and his campaign declined.

“I wanted him to come on and make a commitment to come on the show,” she said. “And they wouldn’t make a commitment to come on because they were worried they wouldn’t do well.”

When the campaign, flush with its strong showing, emailed Saturday night, she said the Sunday morning show was already set.

“Obviously, if there’s major breaking news, I’ll change the show on a Saturday, but the bar has to be in the sky.”

Benton said the shutout hasn’t been total, and that CNN and some Fox News shows have had Paul on frequently. CNN’s “John King USA,” for example, has had him on four times since he announced his candidacy in May.

But Paul’s absence from the airwaves since his strong showing in Iowa — a 4,671-vote performance that his campaign points out earned more votes that Mitt Romney’s victory at the straw poll in 2007 — has fueled his supporters’ charges of media bias.

“They concluded that he’s fringe, that his ideas are too far to the right, he’s too radical and they come in with bias,” said Drew Ivers, the Iowa State Chairman for Ron Paul’s presidential campaign committee. “These kinds of attitudes generally come down from the top.”

Paul’s supporters, who run an array of blogs and Facebook groups unaffiliated with the Paul campaign, have been trying to counter this attitude by flooding the inboxes and comments sections of the mainstream media journalists writing about the campaign.
Conservative columnist Michael Walsh became a target for his New York Post column “A two-man race,” and noted the phenomenon Monday on the National Review Online.
“And the winner is … Ron Paul! That, at least, is the conclusion of most of the commenters so far on my New York Post column today,” he wrote, later adding, “Well, I hate to break the news to them, but Ron Paul has about as much chance of becoming president as Lyndon LaRouche.”

Dennis Goldford, a professor of politics at the Drake University and an expert on the Iowa caucuses, found his inbox and voice mail filled with messages from angry Paul supporters after telling The Des Moines Register that Paul had support “an inch wide and a mile deep” left over from the 2007 campaign but that mainstream Republicans have never been comfortable with him.

“Ron Paul supporters are a group of very intensely devoted people who believe he’s an important political figure, and in their view they believe he doesn’t get the respect he deserves,” he told POLITICO.

Despite — or perhaps in part because of — this pushback, political analysts in the mainstream press tend not to take Paul’s candidacy seriously.

“The people in the press have made a judgment that he’s not likely to be someone who is likely to succeed in getting the Republican nomination,” Goldford said.

Stefan Stasishyn is among Paul’s supporters who are critical of the coverage, including a POLITICO story that did not include Paul’s name in the headline (POLITICO did publish a separate story about Paul’s showing in Ames).

“In my opinion, it is not the decision of the media to tell us who is electable and who isn’t,” he said. “That’s what polls are for. But any time a poll comes up in Ron Paul’s favor, the media skips it and instead shows another poll in some other candidate’s favor.”
He pointed to a recent Rasmussen poll showing Ron Paul picking up 37 percent of likely voters’ support, compared to President Obama’s 41 percent, which he said the mainstream media virtually ignored.

Most national polls put Paul at about 9 percent, behind Romney, Perry, Bachmann and Sarah Palin, but well ahead of the other Republicans competing in last weekend’s straw poll. Nate Silver, writing for The New York Times’s FiveThirtyEight blog, projected, based on national polling and the weekend’s results, that Paul would likely come in a close second behind Bachmann in the Iowa caucus.

In a Republican primary characterized by fierce adherence to conservative orthodoxy, Paul proudly displayed his libertarian divergence from these views during last week’s debate, displaying dovish opposition to foreign wars and a live-and-let-live approach to social issues that most Americans are used to hearing come from progressives.

“I think everybody is scared of Ron Paul,” Benton said. “Ron Paul is now a viable candidate for the president of the U.S., granted a long shot, but a viable shot. And he would shake everything up, including long-held dogma in the press.”

Once a fringe candidate, Paul shaping 2012 race

By Philip Elliot
Monday August 15th 2011

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Ron Paul, once seen as a fringe candidate and a nuisance to the establishment, is shaping the 2012 Republican primary by giving voice to the party's libertarian wing and reflecting frustration with the United States' international entanglements.

The Texas congressman placed second in a key early test vote Saturday in Ames, coming within 152 votes of winning the first significant balloting of the Republican nominating contest. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota won the nonbinding Iowa straw poll, but Paul's organizational strength and a retooled focus on social issues set him up to be a serious player in the campaign.

"I believe in a very limited role for government. But the prime reason that government exists in a free society is to protect liberty, but also to protect life. And I mean all life," he told a raucous crowd on Saturday.

"You cannot have relative value for life and deal with that. We cannot play God and make those decisions. All life is precious," he said, opening his remarks with an anti-abortion appeal to the social conservatives who have great sway here in Iowa's leadoff caucuses.

Later Saturday, Paul won 4,671 votes, or roughly 28 percent of the votes from party activists who flocked to a college campus for the daylong political carnival.

Paul's narrow second-place finish pushed former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty down to third, leading Pawlenty on Sunday to abandon his effort to challenge President Barack Obama next November.

Four years ago, Paul sought the GOP nomination while talking about economic policy, liberty and the Federal Reserve. Since then, the tea party has risen and seized on those issues, and some regard Paul as one of the movement's godfathers.

"The country's bankrupt, and nobody wanted to admit it. And when you're bankrupt, you can't keep spending," Paul said Thursday during a Fox News Channel debate.

He may lack the broad appeal that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney or Texas Gov. Rick Perry are claiming, but Paul's finish Saturday indicated he could compete.

Paul typically does well in such straw polls, which rely on supporters' intensity and organization. His base helped him win straw polls at June's Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans and February's Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, and his followers organize online to ensure strong finishes at any contest they can find.

It is part of their effort to get rid of the notion that Paul is a fringe candidate.

Paul's 2008 campaign came up far short of better organized rivals. This time, his advisers are putting together a more serious effort that taps into voters' frustrations with Washington and the fears about the economy.

His aides are working within the system instead of against it. For instance, Paul's base camp for the Iowa straw poll was at the same location Romney used in 2007. Romney won that straw poll after investing heavily from his deep pockets for the prime real estate.

Paul's campaign notes that it won more votes this year than Romney won four years ago during his first bid for the GOP nomination. This year, Romney didn't actively campaign during the straw poll; instead, he is looking at a campaign launch in New Hampshire, which hosts the first primary after Iowa's leadoff caucuses.

Still, Paul finds himself outside the bounds of traditional Republicans. His opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan defines him as a dove. His skepticism toward the Federal Reserve has spooked Wall Street. And his libertarian views on gay rights draw the ire of social conservatives.

He also tweaks Republicans on foreign policy, arguing it isn't the United States' role to police Iran's nuclear program or to enforce an embargo with Cuba.

"Iran is not Iceland, Ron," former Sen. Rick Santorum told Paul during Thursday's debate.
Paul also proves a reliable foil for Democrats.

"In previous presidential campaigns, we might have chalked extreme fringe-type candidates like Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul as an anomaly, (and) the Ames straw poll didn't mean as much," said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.

"But we're looking at the core of the Republican Party now. The heart of the Republican Party is the extreme right wing," she told CNN.

Paul, a 75-year-old doctor by training, is not backing down.

"These straw poll results, our growing poll numbers and our strong fundraising show that our message is resonating with Iowans and Americans everywhere," campaign chairman Jesse Benton said. "Our message was the same in 2007 as it is now in 2011, but this time we have quadrupled our support. That means our message is spreading, our support is surging and people are taking notice."

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Ron Paul Wins Historic Vote Total In Ames Straw Poll

Ron Paul 2012
Sunday August14th 2011

Ron Paul Wins Historic Vote Total at Ames Straw Poll

Dr. Paul shatters expectations, proves strength of candidacy

AMES, Iowa– Congressman Ron Paul won 4,671 votes in today’s Iowa Republican Straw Poll, topping Governor Mitt Romney’s vote total from 2007 and drawing a near statistical tie with today’s winner at 27.6 percent of the vote versus 28.5 percent.

Dr. Paul’s finish earned him a strong second place and it was the fourth highest vote total ever received by a candidate at the important test of candidate strength.

Said campaign chairman Jesse Benton,

“Dr. Paul is surging in this race, and today’s results show the strength of his grassroots support and top notch organization.

“These straw poll results, our growing poll numbers and our strong fundraising shows that our message is resonating with Iowans and Americans everywhere.

“Our message was the same in 2007 as it is in now in 2011, but this time we have quadrupled our support. That means our message is spreading, our support is surging, and people are taking notice.

“We are uniting a coalition of longtime supporters, fiscal conservatives, constitutional conservatives, independents, tea party and anti-big government activists to take on the Washington establishment.

“Today, Ron Paul has emerged as a top tier candidate and is a serious contender to win the Republican nomination and the Presidency.”

Friday, August 12, 2011

Amidst the chaos, Ron Paul shines through

The Washington Times
By Conor Murphy
Friday August 12th 2011

Washington, August 11, 2011 – One thing you could say about the debate; this one was definitely more exciting than the last one. Once again, Ron Paul came away looking smarter than the rest.

The biggest loser was the increasingly irrelevant Rick Santorum. The former Senator from Pennsylvania was irritated with the lack of attention he was getting, and when he got that attention during the second half of the debate, he proceeded to make a fool of himself.

While trying to score points with the few establishment Republicans left, Santorum's attacks on Congressman Paul backfired when the Representative from Texas taught him a lesson in history. When Dr. Paul informed Santorum that the United States helped overthrow the government of Iran in 1953, the former Senator seemed unaware or uninterested in this fact. This confrontation was similar to the one that Giuliani and Paul had last election cycle over 9/11, which eventually gave a boost to Paul's campaign.

One of the most memorable events of the evening was the confrontation between Michelle Bachman and Tim Pawlenty, the two candidates from Minnesota. In a clear fight for domination over the Iowa voters, Pawlenty and Bachman were at each other's throats. It would not have been surprising if a knife fight had broken out with any more intensity.

Pawlenty was the clear loser in the exchange after he made it clear that he would sacrifice principle in favor of pragmatism. Those in attendance did not take too well to this approach; all the more reason to believe that the former Governor of Minnesota might be finished after the Iowa Caucus.

While Bachman may have won that exchange, she once again dug herself a hole with the very first answer she gave. Although she answered the question, she added some red meat by declaring that Barack Obama was a one-term President. This will do little to silence her critics who claim she has no substance.

The debate did have one newcomer, and that was John Huntsman. To say that his performance was lack luster would be an understatement. The only real message that the former Governor of Utah was able to convey was that he was proud of his record. What that record is remains a mystery to those who watched the debate.

Perhaps the candidate with the biggest night was former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. This was not because he won the debate, it's because he was all but finished before last night, and somehow kept his campaign alive with a solid performance.

Some of the credit for Gingrich's big night should have gone to Congressman Paul, however. Speaker Gingrich drew great applause for his support of auditing the Federal Reserve, something Dr. Paul has supported since his first term back in the mid 70s. Gingrich spoke of the poor monetary policy of the Fed going back to the 90's. This was quite amusing because there isn't any evidence that Newt Gingrich has even had a position on the Fed at all before this election cycle. The Speaker's comments on the Fed were taken almost word for word from other speeches given by Dr. Paul.

Governor Romney might have had his weakest performance yet. He constantly dodged questions, and did not have a satisfactory answer to the fact that while he was Governor, Massachusetts was ranked 47th in job creation.

Governor Romney also missed the point entirely when discussing the difference between Romneycare and Obamacare. While Romneycare was technically Constitutional, the former Governor avoided the fact that it was still a bad policy. It is no wonder that he has decided not to compete in the Iowa Aimes Straw Poll.

Herman Cain may have escaped the debate with the fewest bumps and bruises, but this was only due to a surplus of bland and non-committal statements and a refusal to take many difficult positions on the issues.

Cain has still failed to convince most voters that an owner of a pizza company is qualified to be commander and Chief.

Congressman Ron Paul, once again, was the only candidate to provide useful and rational insight into our nation's problems. He explained how the Federal Reserve creates bubbles and is the cause of the business cycle; a concept probably lost on most of the other candidates.

Dr. Paul did have some trouble with the follow-up to his first answer when he was asked about getting an immigration bill through a divided Congress. He recovered nicely, however, with his explanation of government-run healthcare and the wedge it creates between doctors and patients.

Congressman Paul's finest moments came when he had to teach his fellow candidates about the Constitution. When Michelle Bachman challenged Paul on his view of the rights of enemy combatants, Dr. Paul rightly stated that the courts exist for a reason. He reminded Bachman that automatically declaring an individual as an enemy combatant without a trial was against the rule of law.

Rick Santorum later challenged Dr. Paul on his views of state's rights. He quoted Abraham Lincoln by saying that “The States do not have a right to do wrong.” If Santorum truly believes this then he denies the intent of the 10th amendment.

It was these reasons and more that Chris Wallace gave Ron Paul the title of “Constitutional expert” during the debate. While it is still yet to be seen how well Dr. Paul will do in the Iowa Straw Poll, it is likely that he will surprise many people.

Ron Paul Slides into Top Tier – Wins Debate by Telling Iowans — and America — the Truth

Revolution Super PAC
By Thomas Woods
Thursday August 11th 2011

AMES, IOWA – August 11, 2011 – Thomas Woods – Once again, Ron Paul distinguished himself in a Republican presidential debate by telling Americans the truth, answering the questions he was asked, and refusing to treat his countrymen like ten-year-olds who should be spoken to in bumper-sticker slogans.

On the economy, everyone talked about lower taxes, cutting spending, and a balanced budget – the usual boilerplate. Only Ron Paul sought to explain why we have recessions in the first place. Only Ron Paul mentioned the critical role of the Federal Reserve System in blowing up the bubbles that have popped in America over the past decade. Only Ron Paul explained that the monetary system we have, whereby money can be created out of thin air whenever the political class wants it, is a recipe for the very kind of disaster we are living through right now.

To be sure, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich had some critical words for particular Fed policies, but surely his recent criticism of the Fed is one of the exceedingly rare times, if not the only time, he has made serious mention of the Federal Reserve in over three decades in public life.

The only reason any of them will even talk about the Fed is Ron Paul, who took the issue from the depths of obscurity and turned it into a live issue for the first time in the nearly one hundred years of the Fed’s existence.

But where Congressman Paul really stood out, of course, was in foreign policy. He dismissed the comments of the neoconservative former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum as “war propaganda,” which indeed Senator Santorum can be relied upon to parrot at every opportunity. He explained that the history of U.S. relations in Iran did not begin with the hostage crisis in 1979, as Senator Santorum tried to pretend. It began with the U.S./British coup in 1953 that brought the oppressive shah to power, and it was resentment over his police state that turned Iranians against the U.S. Before the U.S. government’s interventions in the Middle East, Americans had an excellent reputation in that part of the world – another piece of history our political class ignores.

Our delicate ears are not supposed to hear the kinds of things Ron Paul told Americans tonight. We’re supposed to hear “USA! USA!” We are supposed to be flattered, told our leaders have infallible judgment, and urged to believe that anyone who questions that judgment, or who thinks anyone around the world might have a legitimate grievance against the American political class, “hates America.” Given how many grievances we Americans have with our political class, is it really so hard to imagine that other people might, too?

Everyone on the stage wanted to talk about budgets, but only Ron Paul pointed out that the wars are costing trillions of dollars, with a sixth war being seriously contemplated. This is pure insanity, and the only person who will level with the American people about it is Ron Paul.

It’s hard to imagine one person being so consistently and thoroughly vindicated as Congressman Paul. On the economy in particular, he has been warning for decades about the certain outcome of our monetary system and economic policies. The world is now beginning to undergo the exact convulsions he predicted would result.

Ron Paul is the only person on that stage who has the slightest grasp of what is happening in America and around the world right now. All they can do is repeat GOP talking points. Ron Paul knows the economics and the history inside and out.

Dr. Paul, who is often too humble even to say “I,” rarely points out in such a setting that he, alone among the candidates on stage, had been so prophetic about all this. That is where Revolution PAC comes in. We’re not humble at all. We intend to brag about Ron Paul like crazy. It is a scandal that Americans could even consider another candidate when a man of the intelligence and integrity of Ron Paul stands before them. He alone told us what was coming. He alone can point the way to a better future for America.

Dr. Paul’s prophetic words about the economic breakdown we are living through may be the best kept secret in America. At Revolution PAC, we refuse to keep it that way. Please help us spread the message!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Ron Paul racks up campaign endorsements in Iowa’s Story County

The Washington Independent
By Lynda Waddington
Thursday August 11th 2011

If the Ames Straw Poll was limited to only GOP activists from Story County, it would appear that the Ron Paul presidential campaign had a leg up. On Thursday the campaign announced its third endorsement from GOP Story County chairmen.

The most recent endorsement for the Texas Congressman comes from former Story County Chairman Heath Hill, who cited Paul’s support of the 10th Amendment as his reasoning.

“My endorsement of Congressman Ron Paul today is not simply because he wants to shrink the size of the Federal Government. It is because he is the only presidential candidate who would have invoked the Tenth Amendment and not granted the Federal Government 95 percent of its current size, power and programs in the first place,” said Hill, who is employed as market president at Premier Credit Union in Ames.

“If you want to preserve your community, preserve your liberties and reverse the tide of the ever-growing, ever in debt, and ever-intrusive federal government, please stand with me this Saturday at the Ames Straw Poll in support of Congressman Ron Paul for President in 2012.”

The endorsement was made Thursday morning before a rallying crowd at the Ames Hilton Garden Inn during an event that also featured his son, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky.

Paul was previously endorsed by Cory Adams, current Story County GOP chairman, and A.J. Spiker, a previous chairman. Spiker also serves as vice-chairman of the Ron Paul 2012 Presidential Campaign in Iowa, and is a member of the Republican State Central Committee.

Ames, home to Iowa State University, will play host once again to the Iowa GOP’s presidential straw poll, which is expected to be attended on Saturday by thousands of Republican activists from throughout the state. Although Ames is the most populous community in the Story County, Nevada is the county seat.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Ron Paul for getting rid of income taxes, bringing troops home

By Stephanie Claytor
Wednesday August 10th 2011

FAIRFIELD, IOWA -- If Congressmen Ron Paul is elected as the next United States President, there may be some drastic changes such as the legalization of marijuana.

Dr. Paul stopped by Fairfield Tuesday evening to defend his campaign for presidency.

If elected, he said he would bring home all of the US troops stationed around the world and get rid of the Federal Reserve, income taxes and the Department of Education.

Paul said he's fighting to restore personal liberties, including giving citizens the right to use the drugs of their choice.

" I don't think the federal government has any business telling you what to do with your own body, " said Rep. Ron Paul. "Some people will respond by saying 'but somebody might use some of these drugs that aren't good for them'. Yea, but some people might eat too much."

When KTVO asked him about what other specific government programs he would cut, he said, "I think they probably all need to be cut."

Then, KTVO asked him about the competition this time around in his third presidential campaign and whether the other candidates are qualified.

"They're pretty similar, it's just that our campaign is so much bigger."

Paul also mentioned cutting foreign spending and getting rid of passenger airport security screenings.

After his speech, he encouraged the crowd to head to Ames Saturday, Aug. 13 to participate in the Ames Straw Poll.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

August Surprise? Can Ron Paul Win the Iowa Straw Poll?

The Iowa Republican
By Craig Robinson
Tuesday August 9th 2011

Accurately predicting what will happen at the Ames Straw Poll is much more difficult than predicting the outcome of a traditional primary or general election contest.  My opinions on how each candidate will perform change all of the time.  The race in Iowa is as wide open as I have ever seen it, and the only thing I’m sure about is that anything can happen.

What makes the straw poll so difficult to predict is that nobody has a clue about how many people will actually cast a vote.  If turnout is high, I think that’s good news for Michele Bachmann.  High turnout for me would be anything above 16,000 votes.  If Turn out is 12,000 or lower I think it’s anybody’s ball game, but the advantage would shift to Ron Paul.

The other factor that must be discussed is the impact of the Fox News debate just two days before the straw poll.  The first debate propelled Herman Cain from obscurity to a nationally known figure.  The second debate ignited Michele Bachmann’s campaign and sent it into the stratosphere.

The third debate could have a similar impact on another candidate either positively or negatively.  Who knows, it could also suppress the votes for one candidate while giving someone else a boost.  More activists are undecided this year due to the late start of the caucus campaigns.  That means there are more votes to be gained or lost at Thursday’s debate.

Here are my predictions.  Those who are trying to predict the percentage of the vote someone gets at the straw poll are wasting their time.  Percentages are meaningless.  What counts in Ames is raw votes.  The hardest thing to predict is total votes.  My guess is that it will be somewhere between 12,000 and 14,000.

As always, feel free to disagree in the comment section.

First Place: Ron Paul

Needs: More space on the grounds for his supporters
Expectations: What expectations?  He plays by his own rules
Prediction: 3200 votes

I might not agree with all of Ron Paul’s policies, but I like how this campaign operates.  The Paul campaign is focused on what it needs to do and doesn’t try to look and feel like your typical campaign.

The other night I received a robo call from “Robert.”  Robert asked, do you know who has been called the champion of the Constitution and the taxpayer’s best friend?  Robert then says if you get the answer correct, you win a free ticket, a ride to, and food at the Ames Straw Poll.

The call may seem silly, but it’s actually brilliant because it identifies only Ron Paul supporters.  The last thing you want to do is transport and feed someone else’s supporters in Ames.  I called the number back and left my answer.  Seconds later a very nice staffer or volunteer called me back to inform me that I “won.”

Ron Paul received just over 1300 votes at the 2007 straw poll.  Paul’s campaign wasn’t nearly as organized then as it is today.  Paul doesn’t campaign like the rest of the candidates, he focuses on the parts of the state where he has a base of support and builds off of it.

I have no doubt that Paul could double his vote total from four years ago, but I actually think he can do better than that.  The Paul campaign is impressive, and they are well organized.

The media and other campaigns would probably want to render the straw poll irrelevant if he wins, but winning in Ames requires motivating Iowans.  It’s not like he can bus kids in from around the country like he does at CPAC.  A victory in Iowa would mean the Paul campaign simply out-worked the rest of the field and I think they can do it.

Second Place: Michele Bachmann

Needs: High Turnout
Expectations: Super High
Prediction: 3000 votes

Michele Bachmann’s expectations are extremely high for a candidate who has only officially been in the race for just over two months.  In many respects, Bachmann’s expectations are the same as Romney had to deal with four years ago.  While that might seem unrealistic, Bachmann has brought it on herself.

Bachmann talked about the importance of the Ames Straw Poll long before she officially entered that race.  That means that she clearly understood what she was getting into when she announced her candidacy on June 13th at the New Hampshire CNN debate.

Bachmann has used her Iowa roots to endear herself to Iowa voters.  It’s worked well, but now everybody expects the hometown girl who is leading in the polls to put up a big win in Ames.  Her expectations are also increased by the fact that she is way in front of the rest of the field of candidates who are participating in the straw poll.  In the TIR Poll, Bachmann led Tim Pawleny by 16 points.

While there is plenty of hype and momentum surrounding Bachmann’s candidacy, her campaign is nothing like the campaigns that have turned out 4000 or more people to the straw poll in past years.  Only three campaigns have surpassed the 4000-vote level, George W. Bush (7,418), Steve Forbes (4,921), and Mitt Romney (4,516).  What did all of those three campaigns have in common?  Massive grassroots organizations and big Iowa campaign staffs.  Bachmann has neither.

Bachmann’s staff consists of only four field staffers.  They instead rely on Tele-Townhalls to identify supporters and offer them tickets to the straw poll. On a recent Bachmann call, I indicated that I would vote for her at the Iowa straw poll.  The next day I got an automated call from Bachmann saying that my tickets are in the mail.  The day after that, someone actually called me to confirm and ask if I could use more tickets.

The problem for Bachmann is that the process is too impersonal.  Politics is all about relationships, and many times people don’t want to let a candidate or even their field staffer down.  When the process is automated, you are not letting anyone down if you choose not go.  What’s the worst thing that could happen, another automated message?

Mega-churches, like the ones Bachmann has been visiting in Iowa lately, rely on small groups to create accountability.  It’s easy to skip church when you don’t think anyone will notice you’re not there.  Bachmann’s campaign lacks the accountability factor that personal relationships bring to campaigns.

Bachmann is going to put on quite a show in Ames.  She is making it worth people’s time to spend a day there supporting her.  Yet, it almost seems like she is relying on big name entertainment to get people to go to Ames instead of selling herself as the candidate best positioned to champion the conservative message.

Bachmann has excitement, but she doesn’t have the apparatus necessary to mobilize the numbers of people that Bush, Forbes, and Romney have done in previous straw polls.  For that reason, I think she will fail to meet her high expectations on Saturday.

Third Place: Tim Pawlenty

Needs: Bachmann to stumble
Expectations: Moderate
Prediction: 2500 votes

You have to remember that the straw poll is an organizational test, and Pawlenty has a team that knows exactly what needs to be done and how to do it.  The word out of the Pawlenty camp is that they are feeling good about things, but they still insist any finish better than the two percent he received in the Des Moines Register poll would be a victory.  Hogwash.

Pawlenty needs a first or second place finish, otherwise his campaign is in trouble.  If he can’t beat Michele Bachmann or Ron Paul how can he be expected to beat Mitt Romney or President Obama?  If Pawlenty can’t score a victory in Ames he’s going to struggle raising the money to keep the lights on in his Iowa campaign office.

After aggressively campaigning across Iowa, Pawlenty has honed his message and does a good job on the stump.  He does his best when focusing on the economy, but he seems to struggle at motivating Iowans to support his campaign.  June’s TIR poll showed that people liked him, he just wasn’t their top choice.

Ron Paul fires up his supporters on a number of issues.  Michele Bachmann gets her people fired up on repealing Obamacare and the nation’s debt problems.  Santorum speaks the language that strong social conservatives look for.  Pawlenty doesn’t have a base when it comes to an issue.  Instead, he appeals to those seeking a candidate who looks and sounds like you would expect a legitimate candidate to look and sound.  That might work in a general election, but it will cause him to struggle in a caucus or straw poll contest.

Fourth Place: Rick Santorum

Needs: An Impressive Debate Performance
Expectations: Low
Prediction: 2000 votes

Santorum’s decision to move to Iowa for three weeks was a wise one.  He’s been everywhere and done everything.  At an event last weekend, he claimed to have held events in over 62 counties, an impressive feat for a candidate who is cash strapped.

The only thing that I can’t figure out is if Santorum is more like Tommy Thompson or Sam Brownback from four years ago.  If he can post Brownback-type numbers, I think he might be the story coming out of the event.  If he disappoints, his campaign is probably over like it was for Tommy Thompson.

The one thing he has going for him is that he is motivating people on a particular set of issues and principles.  Santorum is the natural home for social conservatives.  If they give him a chance next Saturday, he may finally get his time in the spotlight.

Fifth Place: Herman Cain

Needs: A time machine to transport him back to May
Expectations: Moderate
Prediction: Under 1000 votes

Cain thinks he can finish in the top three, but I just don’t see any way that is possible.  Had Cain campaigned hard in Iowa over the past couple of months, he could have easily finished in the top three.  For more on Cain’s fade in Iowa, click here.

Sixth Place: Mitt Romney

Needs: Ames to be irrelevant
Expectations: None
Prediction: 500 votes

According to the polls, there are plenty of people in Iowa who still support Mitt Romney.  What’s odd is that nobody ever bumps into them.  Still, Romney will probably have some supporters from central Iowa go and pull the lever for him.  If Romney breaks into the top five, he would have to be very happy.

Seventh Place: Newt Gingrich

Needs: A Mulligan
Expectations: None
Prediction: A few hundred diehard supporters show up and vote for him.

The caucus process is a perfect match for Gingrich’s style of politics.  Even though traditional media has basically written him off, Iowa Republicans still respect the former speaker.  Had he focused his energies on Iowa, Ames could have been his shining moment.

Eighth Place: Thad McCotter

Needs: To be allowed into the debate
Expectations: None
Prediction: 22 votes

If he is not allowed in Thursday’s debate, McCotter is not going to be able to introduce himself to Iowa Republicans before they cast votes in Ames.  It is unlikely that McCotter will have much of a presence on the grounds, but what he paid for is access to the stage inside Hilton Coliseum.

Ninth Place: Jon Huntsman

Needs: Somebody to recognize him
Expectations: None
Prediction: Ten votes

The only reason I think Huntsman can get ten votes is because I saw a car with a Huntsman bumper sticker a while back.  I have proof.  I took a picture of it.  Cory Crowley, a former aide to Senator Grassley, is also backing Huntsman.  So we know he’s not going to get shut out.

Write Ins:  It’s hard enough to get people to go to the straw poll, let alone get there to support candidates who are not officially on the ballot.  Will Perry and Palin both get some write in vote?  Sure, but its going to be an insignificant number.

Enhanced by ZemantaCandidate photos Dave Davidson,