Ron Paul and the Electability Question

During last night's South Carolina Republican debate, Fox News moderators were tough on Rep. Ron Paul, most notably when journalist Carl Cameron asked him an incredibly derisive question:

Congressman Paul, yet another question about electability. Do you have any, sir? There's always the question as to whether or not you are, in fact, viable. Your differences with the rest of the Republicans on this stage has raised questions about whether or not you can actually win the Republican nomination, sir.

Leaving aside the issue of whether journalists have any business deciding which candidates are "electable," Paul got twice as many votes as Rudy Giuliani in Iowa and five times as many as Fred Thompson in New Hampshire. Yet Fox News did not pose that question to either Giuliani or Thompson, and I don't think it ever would.

After Cameron's question was met with loud ridicule from the crowd and his fellow candidates, Paul provided the night's best moment.

There's a furious debate going on at the Drudge Retort about bigoted newsletters published in Paul's name. I have concerns that he's not the steadfast old-school Republican he seems to be, but instead belongs to the angry hard-right fringe.

But last night, as he's done many times before, Paul held his party to account for straying so far from its principles. Crazy borrow-and-spend military adventurism has taken hold of the GOP to such a degree that ideals once solidly in the Republican mainstream are openly mocked by its most popular leaders.

I think the primary attraction of Paul is that he's a politician who won't sacrifice his ideals to please voters. If that approach is unelectable, we're in a lot of trouble.

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I think the primary attraction of Paul is that he's a politician who won't sacrifice his ideals to please voters. If that approach is unelectable, we're in a lot of trouble.

Would that it were so, but I think you're being willfully naive to make your point. I first noticed what you're complaining about with James Stockdale-- there was someone who probably possessed more leadership quality than the last half-dozen presidents we've had yet he was mocked out of town mainly for asking a rather trenchant question, "What am I doing here?" His only sin was not having a couple of dozen position points memorized for the sake of spouting them back thoughtlessly. I do think we demand visceral appeal: a haircut, a sharp suit and clean teeth matter most. If even a simple majority of voters (who are, theoretically, better informed and more interested than non-voters*) cared more about substance than style, would Mitt Romney even be in the race? Fred Thompson? Would someone like Hillary, who seems entirely interested with the power and prestige (tearful pleas for the sake of the country notwithstanding) be allowed in the door?

* Unless they're not and non-voters simply cannot stomach the thought of picking a devil they know.

I share your concerns about Ron Paul, but I would say it's a good thing that our tongue-tied Connecticut shogun, George W. Bush, can't even simulate such articulate speech off-the-cuff.

Whatever Paul's true (possibly unspoken) ideology is, he's the only Republican candidate who dares to identify the stinking rot at the core of the GOP-- its abandonment of the fiscal principles it once upheld.

Republican administrations since the Reagan 'revolution' have enabled corporate raids on the public commons and our national treasury, so of course Fox News derides Paul (underhandedly) for such audacity-- daring to expose the hallucination of Republican fiscal responsibility.

Leaving aside the issue of whether journalists have any business deciding which candidates are "electable,"

I didn't watch the debate, but based on this clip, I don't understand what you are saying.

Why does asking this question, imply that the journalist is doing the deciding?

The question is out there. Many people do wonder if Paul is electable. If journalists don't Paul the question, he never has the chance to make his argument.

By asking Paul a pointed question, Paul gets a chance to make a pointed response. I wish that more of the debate questions were like this. I wish that more of our national conversations were like this exchange. Cameron asked a direct question and Paul provided a direct answer. How refreshing.

The question is out there. Many people do wonder if Paul is electable. If journalists don't Paul the question, he never has the chance to make his argument.

My problem with electability is that the concept is so vague as to be meaningless. Why is the question "out there" about Paul but not "out there" for Thompson or Giuliani? How is someone unelectable after only two small states have voted? Technically, all of those Republicans are electable -- they could win enough delegates to take the nomination.

I don't want candidates to have to waste time on nonsense about electability, likeability, or Wessonality. Journalists should stick to real issues.

If the question was rephrased from "electable" to something more complex like "Do you think that your qualities which appeal so much to your base also limit your prospects of broadening much past it?", then that wouldn't be half-bad. It would be comparable to the way Romney gets the "Mormon" issue, and Giuliani a New York/too-liberal issue.

The Great Debaters

"Leaving aside the issue of whether journalists have any business deciding which candidates are "electable,"..."

The media attempts to influence the race, and the choices. To ignore that fact is to ignore the purpose of journalism, with which to begin.

"But last night, as he's done many times before, Paul held his party to account for straying so far from its principles. Crazy borrow-and-spend military adventurism has taken hold of the GOP..."

So, here you are as a journalist, attempting to influence your public that the GOP is off-course, ideologically, because of "military adventurism". Which "adventure" is an invasion of a country that had been warned for over 12 years, and still insisted on its tyranny, threats, and attempts at genocide: Iraq/Saddam.

You play the prancing fool by ignoring the "off-course" activities of the prior 8 years of Democratic "adventurism"! Let's see, there's Bosnia invasion to involve the USA in a civil war, one which could lead to WWIII, and for far less reason(s) for invading Iraq!

After that, let's see: Somalia, 2 seperate airwars against Iraq and an invasion of Haiti to further involves the USA in another civil war ... !!!

Seems the rot has thoroughly corrupted the understanding, knowledge and vision of anyone claiming to be a Democratic, but who still points their clownish finger at the "GOP"! And, especially those trained as journalists ...

"I think the primary attraction of Paul is that he's a politician who won't sacrifice his ideals to please voters. If that approach is unelectable, we're in a lot of trouble."

You said it, above, he is a touchstone for reactionaries and racists and just because he lies to them about subjects they respond to, heuristically; e.g., no war legal unless Congress makes a formal declaration. There is no such requirement "Period". Also, lies about foreign alliances! Like we didn't ally with France and Prussia, and then favor France's competions with England, ever since, or use treaties with foreign nations all during the beginnings of our national existence ... or involve the nation is wars and skirmishes by those same founding fathers!

No, Paul is just another political liar and is 'unelectable' for his appeal to the reactionaries -- just as Democratics will fail by appealing to the radicals.

He and his family will be set-for-life, though, if the Democratics can convince him to run like they did Perot. A Democratic stalking horse might even win the coming election for the Democratics -- no matter who they nominate!?!

Nah!

I think the primary attraction of Paul is that he's a politician who won't sacrifice his ideals to please voters. If that approach is unelectable, we're in a lot of trouble.

Unfortunately, electability in this country relies more on demagoguery than on principles. Paul is big on the latter and short on the former.

Unfortunately, electability in this country relies more on demagoguery than on principles. Paul is big on the latter and short on the former.

On the contrary, Paul is big on demagoguery. It's just that the audience for his demagoguery (pacifists and conspiracy nuts) is rather small.

Ron Paul and the Electability Question | Workbench

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I'm sorry to say that I missed that particular debate, glad to have been able to catch a glimpse of it here though. I enjoyed Paul's answer thoroughly.
Pointed question, direct answer, point made, done with it.
Shiny Up,
Poet Horton

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