5 Jan

Ron Paul Myth: Military Donations Favor “the Crazy Ol’ Uncle”

                                       

Open Secrets reveals Ron Paul’s top 3 contributors as being the following:

US Army $24,503
US Air Force $23,335
US Navy $17,432

Unfortunately, this doesn’t really tell us how many individual donors contributed. Isn’t it the case that Open Secrets only counts those (around 11,270) who give $200 or more (FEC- $250?)? I think about a third of donors don’t bother listing their workplace on their contribution form. And a combined $65,000 in military campaign donations accounts for very little as a percentage of the millions that the Paul campaign has raised.

In 2008, much was made by the Paul Bearers regarding military contributions (supposedly) going to Ron Paul. The same thing is happening again:

A posting on his campaign website the same day he appeared on “NewsHour” sheds a little light. Headlined “Ron Paul Campaign Raises Most Donations From Military,” it says that Paul has “raised more than any other current presidential candidate in donations from members of the military. Of those donors who indicated their occupation and employer, Paul topped the other contenders.”

Back in 2008, I blogged the following:

Paul: Absolutely. The real question you have to ask is why do I get the most money from active duty officers and military personnel?

(Applause)

Is he talking about “donors identified as affiliated with the military,”?

Like everything else Ron-con-related, I believe he is spinning the results of this.

As the reporter in the Houston Chronicle says,

“many contributors do not disclose their occupations, making it difficult to determine the total extent of military contributions to any one candidate.”

More importantly, the amount of contributions are incredibly small, hardly proving much of anything. Beth adds in the Outside the Beltway comment section:

Also not understood by the obsessed Paulbots and other assorted antiwar nutters: the fact that “military employees” includes civil service employees of the various services. That means a GS-7 who works at Whatever Air Force Base in BFE, Idaho has their employer listed as “Air Force.” For all we know, not one of those people is someone in uniform. I’m sure there are some, but it certainly is not all, nor is it indicative of some big antiwar sentiment in the military. For Paultards and Sullivan to extrapolate that idea from this is laughably absurd.

Furthermore, if one compares the 3rd Quarter statistics of Paul and McCain regarding the contribution amounts of those who do not list their employer, 100 dollars worth was given to Ron Paul’s coffers, compared to that of McCain’s: 2,244,223.39. Out of all of that money, how much of that could have been donated by active and retired veterans? Or “Affiliates” of the military? We don’t know. But it seems clear, by the paltry $100 given by the person(s) not listing employment, that the Ron Paul supporters are overwhelmingly listing their employment when making contributions.

Michael Goldfarb at The Weekly Standard writes,

among all the candidates, the total number of contributors surveyed here numbered less than 1,000–out of an Armed Forces of 2.2 million. And, remember, most of these contributors aren’t even active duty.

So yes, Andrew [Sullivan], those tasked with fighting this war do get it, which is why they aren’t donating to Paul. The only real report we have on political contributions from active duty military in this election cycle has Paul taking in just over $19,000, and that’s only counting donations larger than $200. So, maximum, we’re talking about 90 active duty soldiers who we know have actually contributed to Ron Paul’s campaign. The rest is pure speculation, and the Chron‘s tally of $63,440, with its average of $500 per donation, is unlikely to be populated by many of the guys who are “actually fighting this war.”

I have no doubt a number of active and retired military support Ron Paul and are attracted by what he seems to represent: Limited government and fiscal responsibility, conservative use of our military, and apparent loyalty to the Constitution, channelling the will of our Founding Fathers. That’s a seductive message for many Americans- especially the patriots willing to have their blood spilled on behalf of our country.

As this NYTimes piece notes:

Mr. Paul’s national security positions draw raves from many veterans, students and others who believe his noninterventionism would curtail a dangerous trend toward military adventurism and strengthen America’s influence and prestige while diverting resources to pay down the national debt. In interviews at Paul campaign events this week, many said they embraced his national security proposals, rather than reluctantly accepting them.

“He would get us out of our difficulties overseas,” said Tony Snook, a retired Army sergeant first class wounded in a rocket attack in Basra, Iraq, in 2007 who came to a raucous Paul rally that drew 500 people on Wednesday night in Des Moines. “You should choose your fights wisely,” he said. “If it’s not there, don’t invent something, don’t shed blood needlessly.”

But I think it’s a slick bit of propaganda for him and his supporters to push the Paul Reverist meme that the majority of those who actively serve (and those inactive) are overwhelmingly pulling the lever for an ArPee presidency (The NYTimes article itself admits there’s no way to actually verify the claim).

His passionate and energetic (as well as cult-like followers) supporters are the same rabid enthusiasts who manipulate straw polls and who in 2008 fervently defended their Constitutional Messiah whenever and wherever he was disparaged across the blogosphere (FA had a lot of fun back then, stirring up the Ronulans with one anti-ArPee post after another):

First, none of the hype about Ron Paul ever translates in to reality and actual wins. Much hype is made of his straw poll wins, online poll wins, text in poll wins.Did any of this translate in to any election wins? NO! It was all smoke and mirrors hype.

It would follow that all of this is hype too. All part of the Paulbot scheming attempts to create the aura that Ron Paul is contending and winning.

Maybe Ron Paul does garner a lot of supporters from our military. But it’s not provable. We only have flawed and incomplete (easily manipulable) records and anecdotal evidence (driven by vocal and passionate activist supporters) to go by.

U.S. Army Corporal Jesse Thorsen, right, cheers on GOP presidential candidate Texas Rep. Ron Paul, left, in Ankeny, Iowa, on Tuesday

This entry was posted in Military, Politics, Ron Paul. Bookmark the permalink. Thursday, January 5th, 2012 at 1:14 am
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85 Responses to Ron Paul Myth: Military Donations Favor “the Crazy Ol’ Uncle”

  1. Nan G says: 1

    This whole idea of falsely creating what looks like a groundswell in the hopes that natural-born followers will jump on board is quite common this election cycle.

    Michele B. tried to use it, saying a few times that she knew of thousands of people who had been switching at the end of the Iowa campaign to support for her.
    The final tally bore out the lie behind her words.

    Obama does the same thing through a large, compliant media which carries water for him.

    To learn that Ron Paul has also done it is no surprise.
    I think the whole web-based polling situation has become more secure, less able to be spammed by Paul’s few supporters simply as a result of Paul’s spamming supporters.
    This was one of those statements I just believed without thinking about it.
    It is interesting to learn how easily Ron Paul twisted scant facts on the ground into a cute and self-serving meme.
    I’ll be more skeptical, if that’s even possible.

    There’s a site that breaks down how candidates compare on Facebook.
    http://socialbakers.com/elections
    One of its graphic shows new growth in the past month.
    As you rightly point out, Ron Paul has already got all his supporters.
    He didn’t grow that much.
    In fact, Huntsman, Santorum and Gingrich each grew more than he did last month.

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  2. bbartlog says: 2

    ‘I think the whole web-based polling situation has become more secure, less able to be spammed’

    There’s been a lot of improvement, but in the end you still can’t take online polls seriously (and they will still show disproportionate support for Paul, in general). Part of that is demographics, part of that is just that we (Paul’s supporters) vote on them in an organized fashion. In 2008 I saw a number of online polls with ridiculous vote counts, obviously run up by scripts (and not all of those were Paul votes). In 2012 I have yet to see that; I expect they all use IP address verification (or email address) rather than cookies to avoid vote duplication. Paul still wins them because people post on the RP forums and send a horde of supporters to vote in any poll posted online.

    The social media info you mention is interesting, but percentage growth is not by itself a terribly good metric. Huntsman and Santorum both grew fairly rapidly (percentagewise)… and at current rates, factoring in the exponential nature of growth, they’d have as many online friends as RP by sometime early 2013, assuming he doesn’t get any new ones. Of course, the election is not being held online, which is really the more pertinent thing.

    I notice in the post that there is a link for the text ‘same rabid enthusiasts who manipulate straw polls’ which doesn’t really have any information relevant to that claim. I’m not sure how you ‘manipulate’ a straw poll – mostly, people just show up and vote at these things, which would indeed be how you ‘manipulate’ a caucus or a democratic election in general. But maybe something else was going on that I’m missing.

    ‘regarding the contribution amounts of those who do not list their employer, 100 dollars worth was given to Ron Paul’s coffers, compared to that of McCain’s: 2,244,223.39.’

    This is actually interesting (not relevant to this election cycle, but interesting) because it reflects a difference in fundraising channels. The online form used to donate to Paul in 2008 required that something be put in the ‘employer’ field. FEC says you’re supposed to ask for the information (though people are not required to give it). With online forms of course you can set them up so that the field is mandatory, and I believe that they did. Ergo, there was ‘employer’ information for almost all of Paul’s contributors (even if some of it was no doubt stuff like ‘No one’ or ‘Not your business’). And I expect that that information was dumped to the FEC filing by automated means.
    I don’t know whether McCain raised most of his money by paper mail appeals or online, but in any case it’s clear that he didn’t require the information in the same way Paul did.

    As for the general point regarding military contributions: the demographics of the military (younger, more male) are such that one would expect disproportionate support for Paul compared to the general population.

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  3. Wordsmith says: 3

    @bbartlog:
    Excellent comment! Thanks for weighing in.

    I notice in the post that there is a link for the text ‘same rabid enthusiasts who manipulate straw polls’ which doesn’t really have any information relevant to that claim.

    You’re right! That was a lazy, crap link.

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  4. oil guy from alberta says: 4

    Do you believe that the military wants to gut and defang itself? Billions spent on training and equipment to be mothballed. Looks like insanity to me. I paraphrase- project and deflect we much.

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  5. bbartlog says: 5

    @oil guy from alberta: Some people in the military may feel like cutting back is the right thing to do, even if it’s against their self interest. As for the rest of your statement… do you know what the sunk cost fallacy is?

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  6. ycats says: 6

    Noticed that Jesse Thorsen shown in the picture above had a criminal record ( arrested in Lehigh back in 2006). One wonders how many of these character flaws are prevalent among the Paul military supporters. That had me thinking: Its not so much a stretch to think that many of the rank and file vote for Paul given they tend to enlist right out of highschool or college and haven’t done a lot of deep thinking about political ideology. In a way this article nailed it about the lure of Paul, his talking points sound great until you start asking hard questions.

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  7. JustAl says: 7

    Paul deragement syndrome is filling the blogsphere. If he is as unpopular as neo-cons, social-cons, and business as usual elites say he is, they why are their anti-Paul articles here, American thinker, PJ media, IOwntheWorld, etc?

    I don’t agree with everything he says, but the same is true of my wife and pretty much anyone else. Sure, Paul saying the hodgies attacked us just because we went there isn’t the whole truth, but anyone who says it isn’t part of the truth would deny that swimming in the Amazon contributes to piranha attacks.

    The truth is we do need a smaller global footprint militarily, we do need to get the hell out of the UN, we do need to stop paying the bill anytime someone needs an earthquake cleaned up or a tyrant taken out. If he would only couple this philosophy with a definitive statement outlining his willingness to use nuclear weapons to defend the US, he’d be great.

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  8. Greg says: 8

    Of all the republican contenders, I find what Ron Paul says to be the most interesting. While he’s not the only alternative to Barack Obama, he’s the only republican alternative to the republican establishment. None of the others are really focused on Constitutionally guaranteed individual liberty. That’s an area where traditional Libertarian values and traditional Liberal values overlap. It’s anathema to “conservatives” who believe it’s the proper place of government to see to it that other people behave as they think they should.

    Ron Paul’s position on a woman’s right to choose does puzzle me as an apparent inconsistency with his libertarian views.

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  9. JustAl says: 9

    @Greg:
    Oh come on Greg, sure the social cons want to use government to enforce their world view, but so do Liberals, to the same extent. True libertarnism is about both individual freedom and individual responsibility, and thatis anathema to “liberals”.

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  10. Hard Right says: 10

    Greg, you are a flaming hypocrite and introspection handicapped in the extreme.

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  11. Richard Wheeler says: 11

    Greg says ” Constitutionally guaranteed Individual Liberty is an area where traditional Libertarian and traditional Liberal values overlap.It’s an anathema to “conservatives” who believe it’s the proper place of government to see to it that other people behave as They think they should”

    THERE IT IS

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  12. Nan G says: 12

    @Richard Wheeler:

    Buy any 100-Watt incandescent lightbulbs in CA lately?
    Land of the fruits and nuts says it is THEIR proper place to see to it that other people behave as they (CA’s liberal fruits and nuts) think they should.

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  13. Richard Wheeler says: 13

    NanG. I’m enjoying a balmy 75 and clear day and anticipating a perfect Catalina sunset. How bout you?Seen any terrorists up your way?
    btw Call me old fashioned but I prefer sunlight. candlelight and fireplaces to light bulbs whenever possible.

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  14. Greg says: 14

    Whale oil lamps! It’s the only way to go!

    I can’t abide this newfangled kerosene.

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  15. Nan G says: 15

    It is beautiful today.
    I wonder if the fog will stay away so we will be able to see Catalina.
    It’s been coming in and staying pm til am everyday.

    I grew up with fireplaces.
    Lots of fond memories around them.

    CA is now setting standards for if and when you can use your fireplace.
    You are supposed to make sure it is OK to fire up in your area on any given day.

    We don’t have one here, but they are nice, aren’t they?

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  16. bbartlog says: 16

    @JustAl: I think in some ways it’s a crying shame that there isn’t someone on Paul’s wing of the party who is about half as radical as he is. You know, someone with positions like this:

    - wants the JCS to draw up a plan to close half our bases overseas over a period of four years (but not every last one)
    - wants a top to bottom review foreign aid with a goal of cutting it by two thirds (but not every last penny)
    - wants a smaller UN budget (and smaller area of authority) with more equally distributed contributions, and is willing to not pay dues until they accept that (but doesn’t want to withdraw from the UN)
    - wants the fedgov to stop sh*tting all over states that legalize medical marijuana, and/or legalize marijuana at the federal level, entirely (but not stop policing international heroin and opium traffic).

    …and so on. Instead we get Paul’s rather extreme stances, which are to my mind in the right direction (hence my support), but needlessly radical. They’re designed to appeal to people who find fanaticism appealing in its own right. And they suck all the air out of the room for someone else who might have wanted to run from that wing of the party (not that anyone comes to mind who is in that position ideologically).

    (edit): fireplaces… I’m heating my house entirely with wood this winter. Split it all with an axe, too. Of course, I have a woodstove (two actually), not a fireplace.

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  17. Hard Right says: 17

    @Richard Wheeler:

    Project much?

    ReplyReply
  18. Richard Wheeler says: 18

    H.R. I’m Projecting a low scoring Steelers win over the Broncos. How bout you?

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  19. just me 95 says: 19

    Unless another candidate comes out against the NDAA, and will shut down the TSA, and will get us out of the UN or at least untangle us from Agenda 21 and it’s stupid ‘sustainable development’ tyranny, I will continue to only support Ron Paul.

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  20. Aqua says: 20

    @ Richard Wheeler:

    Constitutionally guaranteed Individual Liberty is an area where traditional Libertarian and traditional Liberal values overlap.It’s an anathema to “conservatives” who believe it’s the proper place of government to see to it that other people behave as They think they should”
    THERE IT IS

    Really? Nice dodge on Nan G’s light bulb question. Then there is Obamacare, the NDAA, the EPA, the TSA, NLRB, and a list of thing supported by the republican and democrat establishments. You and Greg just want what the establishment GOP wants, to use government to shape policy the way you want it. There is no individual liberty if congress can stop the manufacturer of a safe product in favor of an unsafe product. I don’t care how many polar bears Al Gore says it will save. The people should be informed and left to decide for themselves. As soon as the government decides anything for us, we have lost our liberty.
    I haven’t heard Santorum, Gingrich, or Romney say they would shelf any government program and the democrats certainly won’t. If anything, they want more…enter Mr. Corday.
    Perry will and has proven it, but I’m not liking his chances. I don’t completely like Paul’s foreign policy, but I like parts of it. But I don’t like any of the current GOP front runners domestic policies.

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  21. Richard Wheeler says: 21

    Aqua Thanks and again congrats to the ‘Noles. See where their great d-end is coming back.N.D has to decide on q.b. I’m not a fan of Kelly who mishandled(read blew) bowl game.
    See you’re leaning to Paul. Sarah is right in suggesting Repubs. should not dismiss his beliefs and his supporters.
    I am a Libertarian in many ways.As you know I believe a Romney/Rubio ticket has best chance against BHO who as incumbant will still be tough to beat.
    Santorum is asking me for money every day???

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  22. Aqua says: 22

    @ Richard Wheeler:

    Santorum is asking me for money every day???

    Tell him to get bent, that’s what I did. Seemed to stem the flow rather well.
    I think if Romney gets the nomination he will pick Christie. If you want to know the truth, I think that is why Coulter jumped on the Romney bandwagon. Rubio has made it very clear that he will not accept a VP nod. I don’t blame him, he has a very bright future and he really doesn’t need to be a VP.

    As for Paul, I think Sarah is right too. I don’t like everything about any of the candidates, including Perry. So why not pick the one that is going to do what I want to see done most, which is decentralize the federal government and give the power back to the States. That’s my most important issue. I like Perry’s statement that everyday he walks into the oval office he will do everything he can to make Washington as inconsequential in our lives as he can.
    I have no desire to push my political will onto liberals any more than I want their will forced on me. Like I told Larry in one of our conversations, if California wants to be the leader of green energy, higher taxes, and tougher EPA standards, it is their right and the people of California have a much stronger voice in their own State. It is one of the reasons I left after 15 years. I’m quite happy here in Georgia, California is free to be what they wanna be.

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  23. Richard Wheeler says: 23

    Aqua Well said.As a Californian via USMC the protection of the environment is important to me.As you said if we’re fruits and nuts out here that’s our states rights.Save the peach.
    Interesting take on Coulter/Christie. Not sure he can turn Jersey red but Mario definately secures Fla for Romney and helps in N.M.,NEV.N.C and VA. Think he’ll take it if asked.
    Agree it best for HIM if not asked and he can concentrate on 2016 or 2020.

    South Carolina poll of likely Repub.voters out today shows Romney up 37-17 over Santorum with previous front runner Newt imploding.

    Unbelievable and bad news for BHO who would prefer a long nasty fight.Mitt wins S.C. the fat lady sings.

    Ron Paul veep Rand Paul

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  24. Wordsmith says: 24

    I can’t see Christie accepting a VP slot for probably similar reasons for why he didn’t run for president: He’s busy fulfilling his commitments to NJ as governor, having won election in 2010.

    Here’s an interesting exercise: Who would Ron Paul pick as a VP?

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  25. Aqua says: 25

    @ Wordsmith:
    He changed his stance when he endorsed Christie. I forgot the interview, but I think it was on Fox. I found an article at the Daily Mail though:
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2077767/George-H-W-Bush-backs-Romney-Chris-Christie-says-theres-chance-hell-VP-pick.html

    I agree it’s a slim chance, but it’s still a chance and something I think Coulter is pushing behind the scenes.

    I’m not sure who Paul would pick. I don’t think it’s going to be Rand as Rich was postulating. Mark Udall comes to mind. He’s not as libertarian as Paul, but he does have a healthy libertarian streak.

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  26. bbartlog says: 26

    Ron wouldn’t pick Rand. No ideological balance, the family thing is weird, and it’s impossible to spin Rand’s experience as adequate for the post.
    Mark Udall might be a good pick in the hypothetical scenario where he doesn’t announce the pick until after getting the Republican nomination. Otherwise, picking a (D) is just more trouble with alienating the base of a party he’s already on the fringe of.
    Hmm. Other choices… Walter E Williams is too old. Napolitano would be better as AG, not really VP material. Sarah Palin? Not sure she’d be interested. Hard to say, for sure.

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  27. Nan G says: 27

    Ron Paul allows his fans (are they ”supporters?) to post horrid ”ads” that make fun of and use images of the minor children of his REPUBLICAN opponents.
    http://blog.sfgate.com/nov05election/2012/01/06/pro-ron-paul-ad-mocks-jon-huntsmans-adopted-chinese-daughter/?gta=commentlistpos#commentlistpos
    I’m glad of it for one thing: I learned a couple neat things about John Huntsman that I had either not known or had forgotten.
    He has a couple of young adopted foreign born daughters who he and his family obviously love very much.

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  28. just me 95 says: 28

    @Nan G:

    Ron Paul allows his fans

    Allows? Wow, I didn’t know Paul had absolute control over a segment of the population.

    What you forget to mention is that Ron Paul’s campaign denounced that ‘disgusting’ anti-Huntsman ad.

    http://www.myfoxhouston.com/dpps/news/national/paul-campaign-denounces-huntsman-ad-dpgonc-20110106-to_16860453

    @bbartlog I watched an interview (can’t find it now) where the judge was asked if he would accept the VP spot if Ron Paul asked him and he said no, but he would accept a seat with SCOTUS.

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  29. MataHarley says: 29

    I found it interesting that you posted this on the heels of CJ’s post about his advertising violating campaign rules. CJ, an admitted supporter of RP, even finds this advertising offensive.

    I agree. And I think that bbart will remember that he and I, along with Poppa T and Just Al, had this discussion over a month ago. While bbart kept his cool, Poppa T and Just Al got downright vicious in their defense stance over the whole bit.

    The same points I made then are relevant now. Ron Paul deliberately attempts to portray his military donations as:

    1: Being from active serving soldiers in the field (hence the photos chosen) and

    2: Attempting to present this as overwhelming support from the military in general.

    To #1, the “military employer” category includes anyone who gets a check from the military branches, and includes their spouses as well. As of 2009, there was a military labor force of 2.4 million. The 3Q donations we were playing with in that thread translated to an optimistic 172.4 donors (using the $200 minimum per donor math… even less if some donated more). While I’m sure it’s gone up since then, even assuming 1000 of the military labor force making a donation to Ron Paul’s campaign is still a pathetically small percentage of the total military labor force.

    There is no evidence to suggest that the bulk of this came from soldiers in the theatre, and could just as easily come from support bureaucrats and desk jockeys… or even their spouses.

    To point #2… the amount of donors or donations is not an opinion poll. What RP’s donations mean is simply this… x amount of the military labor force donated to him. It is not an indication of what the military labor force, as an industry, believes based on a wide spread poll with questions and disclosed demographics of the responders.

    For Paul to use the military in this fashion, distorting realities, was despicable to me then, and even more despicable now that he continues this tact. And I was glad to see CJ, even a Ron Paul supporter, feel the same way. Paul’s a extremist on a short fuse, who’s demonstrating that sleaze is an easy component of his personality.

    And it is Paul who is the main factor for Romney’s “25 cent man “psuedo success. If there was a candidate that the other 75% could rally around… and Ron Paul will never be that candidate… Romney would have been properly put into his place by now. While I fully support Paul’s right to be an active candidate, and note that he has healthy support in some areas of the early primary/caucus states, he cannot go the distance elsewhere. I suspect he knows that since he admits he can’t see himself in the WH as POTUS. But I will say there is no doubt that if Romney is the GOP nominee, the largest person to thank for that will be Ron Paul, stroking his ego for too long.

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  30. Aqua says: 30

    @ MataHarley:

    And it is Paul who is the main factor for Romney’s “25 cent man “psuedo success. If there was a candidate that the other 75% could rally around… and Ron Paul will never be that candidate… Romney would have been properly put into his place by now.

    Yet none of the other candidates, save Perry, are even talking about the Ron Paul fiscal policies that are resonating with voters, not just his supporters. I don’t get it.

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  31. Richard Wheeler says: 31

    Aqua At your suggestion I told Santorum to “get bent’ and he stopped asking for money.Should I try it with the I.R.S.?
    Bbart Rand offsets his dad by appealing to young, pretty and sane demographic.lol
    Mata says” R.P. can’t see himself in W.H. as POTUS”. Not sure he can see himself in the mirror.too mean? He is definately helping Mitt to win the nom.Think he cares?
    CLOSING ? Will Sarah endorse? campaign? for Romney when he wins nom.

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  32. Aqua says: 32

    @ Richard Wheeler:
    Don’t think I would try it with the IRS Rich. You are required to have your sense of humor removed when you start working there.
    I don’t think Paul’s personality or outlook allow him to “see himself in the White House.” I’m pretty sure he believes he has the best chance to be the Not Romney. I think he’s right. Santorum is not going to continue, Newt is imploding, and my guy has not fired his political team, which he should. I think Huntsman gets the bounce out of New Hampshire, but I don’t see it playing in the South.

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  33. bbartlog says: 33

    @MataHarley: I’m not sure that ‘can’t go the distance’ is quite the right turn of phrase when it comes to describing Paul’s difficulties. He has the money, the organization, and certainly the determination. ‘Can’t close the deal’ is probably closer to the mark.
    I also don’t think you can really blame Paul for the failure of Republicans to rally around some other alternative to Romney. The choices available weren’t that good and the Republican establishment did their best to knock each one down to size as soon as they seemed poised to knock Romney down to second place. The job they did on Gingrich was especially impressive (I know Paul ran ads against him too, but I think their impact was small compared to having George Will, Ann Coulter, and sundry others come out to slam Gingrich). I don’t even disagree with their assessment of Newt – I just see the timing as very deliberate and very pro-Romney in its net impact.
    It’s surprising to me that none of them has made much effort to steal Paul’s thunder. Bachmann was the only other candidate calling for the abolition of the TSA, for example. Likewise there’s no one else left who wants to abolish the Department of Education. Nor any apparent concern whatever for civil liberties (NDAA, SOPA etc.). I guess their platforms are sufficiently defined at this point that it would look pretty fake for anyone to try moves in that direction, but if they want to completely ignore the libertarian wing of the party then it kind of stands to reason that Paul will claim most of its votes, even as far out on the fringe as he is.

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  34. bbartlog says: 34

    @Aqua: Huntsman also didn’t get on the ballot in Illinois (or DC or TN or VA… anyway you get the point). Looking at his national polling it’s clear that his strategy has failed. At this point I think he’s just waiting until after the NH primary to drop out; having campaigned on a NH-only startup strategy it doesn’t make sense for him to drop out sooner, but there’s no bounce big enough for him to go anywhere afterwards.
    And it sort of stands to reason… what Republican constituency does he represent that Romney doesn’t suit better? A really small one. Republicans who mostly agree with Romney but think he’s not dovish enough on foreign policy? Republicans who mostly agree with Romney but wish he were a more consistent centrist/liberal? People who think he’d somehow run better against Obama (even though Romney has been preparing for literally years)? There’s just no voting bloc of any size for the guy within the party. If Romney weren’t running it would be a whole different story as he could maybe claim the centrist wing.

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  35. MataHarley says: 35

    @Aqua, granted few are as extreme as Ron Paul in the fiscal rhetoric. Then again, that’s all it really is… rhetoric. As a POTUS, he can’t do any more than he tried to do as a very ineffective House member. Nor could he “lead” his peers to follow his fiscal paths. Congress will not abolish major agencies, even tho I would like to see that done as much as RP.

    So I’d say that Paul may be expressing many of our fairy tale wishes. But it’s also foolhardy for a candidate to promise he could get rid of agencies created by Congresses past without their approval. There’s things we’d like to dream about, but we do need some realistic solutions within the current Congressional dynamic.

    @bbartlog, if you prefer “close the deal”, that’s fine. But he hasn’t the cash to go the distance either thru the general either. So far the only one with even something close to that in his coffers is Romney… who is rejected by 75% of conservatives on an average. Perry is second, but he’s never going to return to the top now.

    bbart: I also don’t think you can really blame Paul for the failure of Republicans to rally around some other alternative to Romney.

    Certainly if we had anyone impressive in the line up that captured the spirit and enthusiasm of all, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. But mentally remove Paul from the Iowa and NH line up, bbart. There’s now 20-23% of those state members that have to pick someone else. Who would that be? We can only speculate, and not with an ounce of surety.

    It might have saved Bachmann from oblivion, but doubtful. She pretty much sunk her own boat.

    Huntsman who? LOL Not a chance.

    The Bachmann to Cain to Gingrich to Santorum group would probably have followed the same route since they were never Paul supporters from the onset. So I’d say that Paul’s supporters would split camps, with some running to Romney, and others running to either Santorum or Gingrich…. depending on who was showing better that particular week. Those are really the top three left standing.

    … at least as of this evening. But then, it’s another debate, and tomorrow’s another day. One thing is likely. NH will probably belong to Romney. And who cares. He’s still the 25 cent man. After enough “25 percent” wins or showings, the GOP may just figure out that voters still resist their choice of a candidate who’s sole purpose is to win elections, and not advance the conservative agenda.

    Santorum may be a flash in the pan. He has yet to get his punches, so we’ll have to see. He’s either been ignored, or invisible until now…. having it relatively easy and no direct heat.

    Gingrich took a ton of hits in a full frontal assault with millions spent in advertising, but still held with respectable double digit showing in IA. He’s definitely a street fighter.

    Gingrich has done well in FL and SC in the past, only to be usurped by those curious about Santorum of late. That may last, or Santorum may also go down in flames. Time and events will tell. Frankly, I don’t think Santorum can stand up to Obama in debates, let alone beat him in a general.

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  36. bbartlog says: 36

    Few debate impressions:
    - Santorum… not very charismatic. Needs to work on body language. Didn’t have any terrible moments but overall still not a great performance. Pretty expansive foreign policy ideas. Wasted some time fighting with Paul when he could have been boosting himself.
    - Romney gets about twice as much time to speak as anyone else. Moderators? Debate rules? Who cares, it’s Romney we’re talking about! Well, it’s easy to leave an outsized impression when they give you outsized time. Overall it’s the performance we’ve come to expect from him: talk a lot, say very little, avoid shooting yourself in the foot.
    - Gingrich didn’t get much speaking time. Took a hit from Paul on his draft deferment.
    - Perry: confused, bad. Back to his usual unfortunate debating skills. Too bad, I like a lot of his policies. Besides the ‘re-invade Iraq’ stuff that is.
    - Huntsman: gets served up a bunch of softball questions, gives boring answers. Shows off his Mandarin, not sure whether that will impress or seem like he’s showing off.
    - Paul: has had enough practice with some of the negative questions he gets (3rd party run, newsletters) that he gives pretty solid answers now. Was center of attention for many of the conflicts, probably came out ahead with Gingrich and behind with Santorum. Got more time than usual.

    Winners: Paul (center of attention), Romney (unscathed)
    Losers: Perry, Gingrich
    Draw: Huntsman, Santorum

    (lest I forget): what is with the moderators? Sawyer seems baked or medicated (again). And why is Stephanopolous moderating a Republican debate? Do we get Limbaugh or Coulter to moderate the (D) debates?

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  37. MataHarley says: 37

    bbart, agree about Santorum and Romney. Altho the ABC “panel”, with a token conservative (Mary Madlyn (sp?) just couldn’t glow enough about Romney. Saying he won because no one could challenge him and his ideas. I’d say they weren’t listening. Most especially on the fiscal/tax section.

    Ron Paul was, as usual, a petulant grump for the most part. Was surprised they didn’t give him more time tho. And Gingrich did well, as he usually does. No, he didn’t take a hit on the deferment from Paul. He was continually cut off when he said he wasn’t eligible for the draft. Personally I don’t find his Army brat childhood a detriment or a plus. And I most certainly don’t find Paul’s military service a plus given his penchant for gutting the military. I’m not a stickler that a POTUS must have been in the military, but I am one that they have no intention of gutting it. But I’m quite sure that those who felt that Bush’s Texas Air Guard service was deficient on the lib/prog side would be happy to do the same to a RP nominee. Paul, tho serving in the mid 60s, has no record of foreign deployment as a flight surgeon that I’ve seen.

    Perry.. as I said, don’t think he’ll be resurrected. Huntsman is simply on his way out. Romney took pop shots only at him. Oddly enough showing some cowardice, skewering someone who’s basically bugging out.

    Disagree that Paul won anything. Romney didn’t win since, IMHO, he never answered any questions with direct answers and specifics. But then that’s my personal criteria for a debate winner. Do they do the rhetoric dance, as Romney and Paul did? Or actually put their ideas on the table for closer scrutiny. On that level, I think that Santorum, Perry and Gingrich all did exactly that… whether or not you agree with their ideas.

    But the questions and moderators really were deplorable. All in all, like a tired rerun movie that wasn’t worth watching.

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  38. Aqua says: 38

    @ MataHarley:

    As a POTUS, he can’t do any more than he tried to do as a very ineffective House member. Nor could he “lead” his peers to follow his fiscal paths. Congress will not abolish major agencies, even tho I would like to see that done as much as RP.

    I realize our Constitution is no longer anything but a piece of paper with some fancy scribbling on it, but the President used to be the head of the Executive Branch. Any of these idiots could cut government quite a bit just by getting rid of the Czars and their staff. Sure, congress has the purse strings and they can certainly continue to fund these positions if they see fit; there just won’t be anyone there to receive them. Same can be said about the Cabinet departments. The President can gut the departments and render them useless without any input whatsoever from Congress.
    So as Conservatives we are forced to choose between domestic policies and defense and foreign policies. I know you know I was in the military and I am a big proponent of Reagan’s “Peace through strength.” Right now Obama is cutting the military and the truth is that he is doing nothing more that what Rumsfeld proposed. There is a lot of glut in the military. There is way more glut in defense spending. I have seen the waste. There are bases we no longer need. I don’t favor pulling out of strategic countries, but “strategic countries” is a term that needs to be redefined yearly by the Pentagon and not with a “because we said so” statement.
    Is Paul that person? I don’t know yet. I’m not voting for Santorum or Romney in the primary. I will vote for one of the lawn fairies my wife puts at the base of the trees if they get the GOP nomination though. ABBO – Any Body But Obama.

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  39. Aqua says: 39

    Watching the debate this morning. So far Perry has been great. Maybe he’s a morning person. :-)
    *fingers crossed*

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  40. Aqua says: 40

    Two thirds of the debate done and Perry has been awesome!

    Curt, Mata, and Word on the the Left Coast so there is no open forum for the debate. Where is Aye, he should be up by now?

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  41. bbartlog says: 41

    Didn’t feel like watching back to back debates (saw last night’s) and anyway I had pigs to feed. Might catch up with it on youtube but probably not. Listening to Romney talk on and on… those are minutes of my life I can’t get back.

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  42. SgtB says: 42

    This is one military veteran (USMC) who has contributed to the Ron Paul campaign and can back up the assertion that the men and women of the armed forces support him.

    And to anyone who says they will vote for anyone but Obama in the general election, just remember that a vote cast cannot be a vote withdrawn. I will be voting my conscience no matter who wins the primary. And until my conscience tell me otherwise, I am voting for Ron Paul. Even if I have to write his name in block letter across the front of the ballot. I will NOT vote for a person who doesn’t stand up for my Liberties and the Constitution.

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  43. MataHarley says: 43

    SgtB, you have more than earned the right to vote for any one you choose, of course. You have not earned the right to speak for your peers in the armed forces.

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  44. straight street1 says: 44

    To Nan G who said:

    There’s a site that breaks down how candidates compare on Facebook.
    http://socialbakers.com/elections
    One of its graphic shows new growth in the past month.

    This does not accurately represent support numbers for Ron Paul. Many of Ron Paul supporters do not like facebook because Homeland Security is monitoring this social networking site, and they don’t like big brother breathing down their necks. Ron Paul supporters like liberty and freedom and stay well informed about these issues, and have consciously elected to cancel their accounts or never open up a facebook account because they don’t like “big brother.”

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  45. Nan G says: 45

    @straight street1:
    Wow!
    SS1, there’s something I agree with Ron Paul’s peeps on.
    I despise FaceBook.
    Won’t have a page on it.
    Too many spy cookies.
    Plus, FB disagrees with me too much for me to want to support them, however passively.
    RP is sort of like a stopped clock: right twice a day without fail.
    And on those few things I admit I agree with him.

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  46. JustAl
    on your 7
    hi, maybe he would get nuclear weapons to fight the next war.
    was he ever ask?
    bye

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  47. speedyjerry says: 47

    1st. Ask yourself who in the military these days makes enough money to donate to any political cause and see their votes get shredded.
    2nd. The Pie at the top of the page shows more support for Obama than Republic Candidates? If this is true we have some un-educated service members that should go to the obamafile.com and study, after that go to speedyjerry.com for a condensed version of who Obama is

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  48. speedyjerry
    hi,
    I think that the MILITARY will naturely vote for one who is strongly showing his will to recall the CONSTITUTION AS IS FOR AMERICA, because they have made their oath to protect it, as oppose to the civilians who never made any oath to what is an AMERICAN to AMERICA, and live their daily life thinking they are citizens of the WORLD, WHERE AMERICA IS NO MORE IMPORTANT AS A COUNTRY,
    THAT IS THE NEW MENTALITY PROJECTED FROM THE WHITE HOUSE DIRECTLY, AND CORRUPT THE MIND OF THE MOST VULNERABLE WHICH ARE THE CHILDREN OF AMERICA BEING SCHOOLED IN THAT MENTALITY. SOME ARE EVEN BEING TEACH FOREIGN RELIGION BY THE TEACHER WHO BELONG TO IT, WHEN THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION IS NO MORE WELCOME ALONG THE CONSTITUTION
    ,AND THE FLAG, WHICH GIVE THIS NATION A NEW BREED OF YOUNG WHICH HAVE LEARNED TO ADORE OBAMA INSTEAD, VERY SAD IS IN IT, ALL THIS IN LESS THAN 4 YEARS,

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  49. Jared Myers says: 49

    “The NYTimes article itself admits there’s no way to actually verify the claim”

    “Maybe Ron Paul does garner a lot of supporters from our military. But it’s not provable. We only have flawed and incomplete (easily manipulable) records and anecdotal evidence (driven by vocal and passionate activist supporters) to go by.”

    So basically what the author is saying is that the numbers might/could/possibly be fudged and inflated in order to make it look like Paul has overwhelming military support, and that there’s no way to actually verify it. But isn’t the flip-side also true? If we use the same standard, isn’t it also impossible to verify the claim that Paul’s supporters HAVE fudged the numbers?
    Perhaps it’s true, but my point is that this author hasn’t proved anything and has only given us speculation.

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  50. MataHarley says: 50

    Jared Myers, no brainer. No… the military is not supporting Ron Paul, as he says, and is quite provable.

    SC Exit Polls…see link in my comment #40:

    21% of all those in the exit poll (2381 responders total , or 920 of them) were veterans. They went 39% for Gingrich, and 32% for Romney.

    Ron “the military supports me more than other candidates” Paul? 14%. Santorum got more support than Paul did. Perry was last with 1%, but he dropped out of the primary prior to the vote.

    ooops… that’s gonna leave a mark…. LOL Especially in a huge military base state with over 104,000 military personnel.

    Jacksonville, FL in Duval County… where the military is the single largest employer. Romney, 40%. Gingrich 39%. Santorum 13% Ron Paul? 7%

    Tampa in Hillsboro County… home to MacDill AFB. Romney 48%. Gingrich 28%. Santorum 13%. Ron Paul 7%

    Paul’s gotta stop pretending that a 750-1000 military employees who donated to his campaign is some sort of a poll and indicates support. It is what it is… about 750-1000 military employees out of over 2 million that gave him some cash.

    ReplyReply

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