Republican Maverick Ron Paul Wins a Second Straw Poll and Reminds
the Critics Why He Matters
by Tim Stanley
Ron Paul reaffirmed
his status as a serious contender for his partys nomination
on Saturday by winning
the Republican Leadership Conference straw poll. He may not
be a serious candidate in the sense that he has a snowballs
chance in hell of winning. But he is superbly well organised and
funded, and he dominates the affections of the libertarian wing
of his party. Some dismiss Ron Paul as a perennial candidate.
Yet the reason why he keeps on running this is his third
shot at the presidency is because his constituency is just
as perennial as he is.
boos in the hall when the results were read out. Paul took 612 votes,
Jon Huntsman 382, Michele Bachmann 191 and Herman Cain 104. Mitt
Romney, the leader in national polls, took a pathetic 72 and Tim
Pawlenty a politician so bland that he makes Walter Mondale
look charismatic took 18. Neither Romney nor Pawlenty spoke
at the event, and questions will be raised about how representative
the voters really were. But Paul won the Conservative Political
Action Committee straw poll back in February too, which suggests
hes on some kind of a roll. Straw polls dont count towards
the nomination, but they do inspire people to get their check books
out. In the first quarter of 2011, Paul raised more money than any
other declared contender. His last online money bomb
appeal netted $1.1 million in one night.
seen all this before. In 2008, Paul drew large amounts of cash in
the months before the primaries, but then vanished when voting started.
His band of loyal libertarians is stretched too thinly across the
country. There arent enough economics professors, Hells
Angels, college slackers, dynamo-businessmen, pacifists and Aqua-Buddhas
in any one state to swing it his way. His hardcore ideology is too
socially libertine for religious conservatives and too economically
callous for crossover Democrats. His politics fall into a niche
by The Onion with this barfly motto: Fiscally Im
a rightwing nutjob, but on social issues Im f**king insanely
liberal. Paul complicates this by also being a bit pro-life.
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© 2011 Daily Telegraph