Monday, August 15, 2011

Rep. Michele Bachmann Wins Iowa Straw Poll With Rep. Ron Paul a Narrow Second; Expect GOP Nomination Contest to Narrow to Four Top Candidates

CNN reports on the recent Iowa straw poll:
Rep. Michele Bachmann
After a busy weekend in Iowa and South Carolina, the Republican presidential race moves forward with what looks to be a three-way contest among upstart Michele Bachmann, newcomer Rick Perry and perceived front-runner Mitt Romney.

Bachmann, a U.S. House member from Minnesota, seeks momentum after winning the Iowa GOP straw poll — a preliminary contest that knocked former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty out of the race after a disappointing third-place finish.

Gov. Rick Perry
Meanwhile, the Republican race got a new and potentially formidable candidate in Perry, the Texas governor who announced his bid Saturday before a conservative group in South Carolina.

At some point, both Bachmann and Perry figure to go after Romney, whose campaign war chest make him the front-runner at this point.

"We've got a three-person race now," said Stuart Rothenberg, publisher of a non-partisan political report. "Romney, Perry and Bachmann."
The CNN story fails to mention that Bachmann only narrowly defeated Texas Congressman and libertarian favorite Ron Paul, 4823 (29%) to 4671 (28%).  Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty finished a distant third and shortly thereafter ended his presidential campaign.  Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and new entry to the race, Texas Governor Rick Perry, did not actively participate in the Iowa straw poll.

Rep. Ron Paul
I disagree with Rothenberg on one point.  The number of libertarian-leaning Republicans, people who do not in particular like the drug war, loss of civil liberties and military intervention, has increased markedly over the past decade.  Paul's popularity reflects that growing GOP libertarianism.  While at one time I think analysts could rightly see Paul as a marginal candidate, that's no longer the case.
Former Gov. Mitt Romney
I have long said it would be a non-Romney candidate at the end squared off against Romney, and the non-Romney candidate would win the nomination.  I have changed my mind.  With the entry of Perry in the race, I'm not sure Romney will be one of the two left at the end. Social conservatives don't like Romney and they dominate much of the GOP nomination process.  Romney' ace card though was always economic issues, but on that front, Perry can more than match Romney's record without the baggage of Romney's support for government run health care and his advocacy of government taking steps to address supposed man-made global warming.

Bachmann, a tea party favorite, will probably fall short when it comes to addressing the economic issues which will undoubtedly dominate the 2012 election.  While Ron Paul's libertarian niche in the GOP continues to grow, traditional Republicans still dominate.  I expect that, given Paul's enthusiastic young supporters, the congressman may stay in the campaign all the way to the convention.   I expect Bachmann might actually edge out Romney when it comes to total delegates won and Romney may be out of the race before she is.

I'd put my money on Texas Governor Rick Perry accepting the GOP nomination at the 2012 convention.  Perry's economic message resonates as the country continues to be plagued with high unemployment and the prospect of a double dip recession.  Perry also is acceptable to social conservatives and is liked by many tea party types.   Perry's weaknesses in terms of nomination issues is that he is more of a moderate on immigration (understandable given the number of Mexican-Americans living in Texas) and his rhetoric suggests he would be more of an interventionist on foreign policy than many increasingly isolationist-leaning Republicans would like.

Bottom line, Perry is a strong, forceful speaker who hits most issues that resonate with most Republicans and most Americans. With his being able to point to the economic success of Texas during these turbulent times, I expect Perry will be a very formidable candidate in the difficult contest to dney President Obama a second term.


Nicolas Martin said...
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Nicolas Martin said...

The growing libertarianism is among independents who are willing to vote for a Republican like Ron Paul. The vast majority of Republicans remains socially intolerant, internationally militarist, and willing to embrace big government when it suits their agenda (e.g. ethanol subsidies, massive military budget). The number of Republican congressdolts who are not named Paul and are even vaguely libertarian is vanishingly small. The same is true in state legislatures. So, if there are many vaguely libertarian Republican voters, you can't tell by who they elect.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Nic, you have Republicans considering overhauling the pot laws. You have Republicans criticizing the war on drugs. You have Republicans speaking out against a loss of civil liberties. I don't know how you could have missed this trend. Those libertarian-leaning individuals are not all independents by any stretch.

Cato said...

Paul, the Republicans are captive to the police lobby, so don't look for the GOP to take any stand that will increase freedom and reduce the employ of their constituency.

Nicolas Martin said...
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Nicolas Martin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nicolas Martin said...

So far, the only "reform" relates to "medical marijuana," which is an extension of government paternalism, not libertarianism. Trading prison control for control by doctors is not a step toward freedom.

Ron Paul introduced a bill (HR 2306) to decriminalize pot at the federal level with Barney Frank (who is listed as the sole sponsor for some reason). Of the other 11 sponsors only one, Rohrabacher is a Republican, and in his younger day Rohrabacher was an out-and-out libertarian. That is 2 Republicans out of 240 in the House.

Only 27 House Republicans voted against extending the Patriot Act last February, or a bit more than 10 percent.

The Republican libertarian movement is not impressive. Does anyone here a peep about privatizing the postal service, eliminating the Department of Education, or privatizing TSA or air traffic control? From the Paul's yes, but from who else in the House or Senate?

Nicolas Martin said...

A headache is giving me fits editing today. I won't even bother to fix the remaining typos.

guy77money said...

Lets hope the Republicans don't blow it once again. Perry should be their nominee. He has the personality and comes from the south It's a no brainer!

Nicolas Martin said...

"No brainer" is exactly the right description of a Perry nomination. But in that respect the Republican field is an embarrassment of riches.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Guy, I saw where the Texas Republican LIberty Caucus came out against him. That makes me wonder, but I'd still like something concrete against Perry. Nobody seems to have more than an issue here or there where he disappointed.

Hoosier in the Heartland said...

Perry's belief in Dominionism is enough to disqualify him, even if you forget that he said Texas should withdraw from the Union, touts job creation rightly credited to the oil and gas boom etc.

Nicolas Martin said...

PKO, in the end you are a Republican, not a libertarian. You can live with the likes of Pence voting for the Patriot Act and its abuses, despite your touting the (all but invisible) Republicans who allegedly opposed those abuses. You can live with Pence having voted to create the huge federal TSA workforce, with its inevitable unionization, and its obscene full-body searches, while libertarians were arguing that airport security should be the private responsibility of the airlines.

You want to have it both ways: nodding to liberty while voting for repressive statists. There has not been a single Republican president or congress in your lifetime that has led the country to greater freedom or smaller government. Every one has increased spending and taxes, and enlarged government while co-opting the rhetoric of freedom. ("Tear down that wall," but keep the ban on American travel to Cuba.) Yet you still cling to the fantasy, or pretense, that Republicans are in some way more dedicated to liberty and limited government than Democrats. That must be why Mitch Daniels is hopeful that smoking in public places will be banned by the next legislature.

In not a single memorable sense have Republicans used their control of the federal government to remove regulatory or tax burdens from Americans. (From some of their contributors, yes.) Their "tax cuts" are always cancelled out by inflation caused by the central bank they support and tax bracket creep. It is impossible to identify a single instance in modern times, including during the reign of the sacred Reagan, when Republicans have eliminated any sizable agency or program. They attack Obamacare by claiming that it will hurt Medicare, the existing socialist medical program. Republicans have overwhelmingly supported social repression through the war on drugs, war on pornography, militarization of police forces, etc.

Rick Perry supports all of the elements of government that libertarians detest, including the drug war and a pathetic constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. Yet you are waiting for someone to lay something "concrete" on Perry. Imperialism, prohibitionism, and bigotry aren't concrete enough for you, there must be something much more substantial. Perhaps Perry needs to endorse sharia law. Anything short of that and, like Pence, you can live with him.

Your fictional libertarianism is otherworldly. In this world you are a practicing big government conservative.

Nicolas Martin said...

What could I have been thinking? Perry is actually a model of responsible governance and integrity.

Rick Perry’s Balanced Budgets

As governor of Texas, Rick Perry leaned on federal stimulus funds more than any other governor, using about $6 billion in federal stimulus funds to close roughly 97 percent of his state's budget shortfall in 2010. But that didn't stop him from complaining loudly about the stimulus legislation. "I have been vocal in my opposition" to the law, he wrote in a letter to President Obama agreeing to accept federal stimulus funds in Texas, because it "will burden future generations with unprecedented levels of debt."

This year, with stimulus money unavailable, he turned to other methods to balance the Texas budget. As The Washington Post's Suzy Khimm reports, Perry's new budget "ignores a $4.5 billion structural deficit that happens every year" thanks to a 2006 tax overhaul that didn't work as projected. According to a report by ABC News, Perry's budget also closed a big part of its budget gap by delaying a $2.3 billion education payment a single day. Thanks to that one-day delay, the payment will fall into the next budget year, and therefore will not technically affect the current year's budget.

Paul K. Ogden said...


I think you want perfection in a candidate and no candidate can ever live up to that. I just want a candidate that's with me 90% of the time.

Nicolas Martin said...

PKO. If slavery still existed I would oppose any candidate who supported slavery, even if I agreed with all of the rest of his views. Some beliefs are beyond compromise if one has principles. "We hold these truths to be self-evident..."

Are some actions not more morally important than others? Is Pence's support for TSA equal to his (probable) opposition to "the bridge to nowhere"? Have you no hierarchy of values? Is murder morally equal to jaywalking?

Can you identify any single position, likely to be found in American civil debate, that a Republican candidate might hold which would cause you to oppose him or her? Obviously support for multiple simultaneous undeclared wars, gay marriage ban, laws plundering civil liberties, irresponsible deficit spending, socialized medicine, and a huge new federal workforce are not enough to dissuade you, because you can live with Republicans who support those things. If he were the nominee, would Cain's defense of opposition to mosque construction disqualify him in your view?

If you can come up with an example of a disqualifying position it will surely have to be something that a Republican does not typically advocate, because I can't think of anything that Republicans advocate that is so heinous in your eyes that such advocacy is a disqualification for the presidency. There would still be the other 90 percent that you can support.

The 90 Percent Threshold that you hold dear could theoretically permit anything from putting homosexuals in concentration camps to exterminating Muslims. It is a species of moral relativism, if not moral absenteeism. If one subscribes steadfastly to principles, one doesn't attach a meaningless percentage to the violation of those principles. It is the magnitude and consequence of any violation that must dictate the response.

The difference between us is not incremental compromise. I support Ron Paul though I don't agree with all his positions. The difference is that you will always find a way to support a Republican and rationalize it, and the 90 Percent Threshold is a subterfuge since you can't begin to quantify any alleged grounds for disagreement. The 90 Percent Threshold merely gives you the excuse to stick with the home team, and nobody would realistically believe that you would not support the Republican if you imagined your level of agreement dropped to 75 percent. When being an independent is ascendent, you are a party stalwart, and that is how you first define yourself in your blog bio, not by any principles you cherish. In fact you make mention of no principles. You self-define by activities, not by beliefs.

guy77money said...

Here is a quick take on Gov. Perry from our favorite N.Y. Times columnist Paul Krugman

Nicolas Martin said...

Fortunately, there is still the other 90 percent to redeem Perry.

2011 Property and Casualty Insurance Report Card

(1) How free are consumers to choose the property and casualty insurance products they want?

(2) How free are insurers to provide the property and casualty insurance products consumers say they want?

Two worst states: 50th, Florida; 49th Texas.

Marycatherine Barton said...

CNN, a name that should not be trusted.

M Theory said...

Perry is as dangerous to America and Americans as Obama or Bush.

So if you weren't crazy about Presidents Bush or Obama, you won't like Perry either.