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January 4, 2008
Ron Paul Wins*
*Over Guiliani, anyway.
Actually Paul did quite well in the Iowa Caucuses last night. The 10% of voters who believe in Paul's pastiche of libertarian dogma and paleoconservative theology turned out and gave Paul a 5th place showing.
What does it mean for the GOP?
To give Paul his due, even in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 -- when the emotional response to the assault was at its rawest -- serious scholars had begun hashing over the role played by American policy in the Mideast, particularly long-standing support for Israel, in fueling Islamic extremism and hatred for the U.S. Since Rudy made no effort at all in Iowa, I'm not sure exactly what kind of "victory" Mr. Paul can take away from the contest. One thing, however, is absolutely sure; all the complaints by the Paulbots that the pollsters were in cahoots with "The Man" to destroy Paul's candidacy have now been proven to be the idiotic rantings of paranoids that every sane person was saying they were. Paul does not have some huge resevoir of support in the GOP nor anywhere else for that matter. He has a lot of money - partially raised through neo Nazi and Kluxer websites - and not much else.
But in the format of a candidate debate -- where rhetorical zingers count far more than lengthy discourse -- Paul's remark amounted to a grooved fast ball down the middle, and the consensus at the time was that Giuliani parked it.
As MSNBC's online political note put it at the time, Giuliani may want to "hire out Paul for the campaign trail -- he could be the Washington Generals to Rudy's Globetrotters" (i.e., the patsy willing to get beaten in every game). That was then, this is now. In Iowa, Paul, 10%; Giuliani, 4%.
Maybe after a similar dismal showing in New Hampshire, Ron Paul will read the writing on the wall and go back to Texas. Whether he can recapture a well deserved obscurity is another matter entirely.