Thursday, January 5, 2012

We did not make a proper use of last winter

Via the Blunt Object, Classically Liberal unpacks the tragic--and sometimes despicable--missteps Ron Paul has taken in attempting to deploy the paleolibertarian strategy of attracting votes by pandering to the worst impulses of social conservatives:

So, how did this strategy work out in Iowa?

It didn’t. Ron’s support, according to entrance polls came from the voters LEAST likely to find the bigoted views of Rockwell and Rothbard appealing.

First, the most socially liberal age group in the Republican Party is those under the age of 29. Ron Paul won an overwhelming plurality of young voters. He had 48% support in that age group, more than double the closest rival. Santorum won the age groups of 30 to 64, those Republicans most likely to have come to the GOP during the take-over of the party by evangelicals. The oldest voters, those most likely to be old line Republicans, went for Romney...
Voters who self identified as “very conservative” rejected Paul; only 15% of them supported him, about the same percentage as went to Romney...Voters who identified as moderates or liberals went to Paul. Forty percent of them supported [him.]
The very kind of voters that Rockwell would dismiss as "hippies"—the young, independents, liberals and moderates—were the people who made up the majority of Ron Paul's supporters. The people that Rockwell tried to appeal to were far more likely to vote for Santorum.

The flaw in the paleolibertarian strategy was that the people they tried to win over like big government. They are not libertarians. The very kind of people that Rockwell and Rothbard attacked in those newsletters, and in other places, were the ones willing to vote for Ron Paul.

If Ron Paul had sounded more like Gary Johnson, I suggest he would have done better, perhaps enough to win. The publicity about his hateful newsletters lost him a lot of support. He was polling better a few days ago. By trying to appeal to the bigoted vote that Rockwell cherished, Ron Paul lost votes in Iowa.

I'm put in the mind of Thomas Paine:

"We did not make a proper use of last winter...
"The present winter is worth an age, if rightly employed; but, if lost or neglected, the whole continent will partake of the evil; and there is no punishment that man does not deserve, be he who, or what, or where he will, that may be the means of sacrificing a season so precious and useful."

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