GOP Front Runner in Iowa Too Liberal For Democrats

In some ways, it makes perfect sense that Republican activists would be attracted to a candidate like Congressman Ron Paul. After all, Paul wants to get rid of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and eliminate most protections for consumers, the vulnerable and the environment. Ten years ago, those outrageous positions would have horrified Republicans. Amazingly, today they are much closer to mainstream Republicanism.

But other Ron Paul positions simply do not fit the Republican mold. In fact, they’re much too liberal for the Democratic Party. You’d never know it from much of the news media coverage, but Congressman Paul also:

• Opposes most military involvement (including the bin Laden raid);
• Wants to slash military spending;
• Wants to legalize prostitution;
• Opposes federal laws to ban gay marriage and abortion; and
• Wants to legalize marijuana, cocaine, heroin and all other drugs.

THAT is going to be the choice of the hawkish evangelical patriots that are the backbone of the Republican Party? A war hatin’, Pentagon slashin’, prostitution promotin’, gay toleratin’, baby killin’, coddler of drug dealers?

I can’t see it. But if it happens, it will spark the mother of all GOP Party civil wars, pitting the libertarian wing versus the religious right wing, the military industrial complex wing, the flag waving wing and the moderate wing. I don’t like Paul’s odds in that fight.

Ron Paul’s current appeal reminds me of Jesse Ventura’s appeal in 1998. He represents a cathartic middle finger to the establishment. But as many a disgruntled Ventura supporter can tell you, the problem with voting for the middle finger is that you’re buying the whole body, not just that one finger.

– Loveland

22 thoughts on “GOP Front Runner in Iowa Too Liberal For Democrats

  1. PM says:

    Yeah, i expect that Mitt will be the nominee–but i don’t think he will win.

    What do you think about the chances of a third party candidate? Apparently, Gary Johnson is going for the Libertarian Party nod, not the Republican Party nod. What do you think the chances are that Ron Paul will decide to run on the Libertarian party ticket? After all, he has done it before.

  2. Romney’s Mormonism might be more repellant to the GOP’s evangelical wing than even Ron Paul’s libertarianism.

    In fairness to Paul, I don’t think he’s advocating legalizing all that stuff, necessarily, but, rather, turning the decision over to the states. You know, those laboratories of democracy, where mad political scientists rub their hands together and cackle.

    1. Joe Loveland says:

      Here he talks about “getting rid of those (drug) laws”, and “making the debate about why drugs ought to be decriminalized”, not giving the states the option of legalizing. Very tough sale in the Republican party.

      1. Erik says:

        Yes, well, decriminalization is a fairly consistent train of thought within the conservative movement. I know we’re all a bunch of unhip squares, but most conservatives of a certain age are familiar with and unfazed by marijuana. I doubt there would be serious institutional resistance within Republicanism were there a serious legalization initiative. The resistance is found within the urban, Democratic prosecutorial bar. You know… the people responsible for seeing that black people in this country are disproportionately jailed.

      2. PM says:

        This poll (in MA only) suggests that while there is significant support for various forms of decriminalization among Republicans (in MA), support among democrats is significantly higher.

        Got any numbers to back up your assertion, Erik?

  3. Erik says:

    So if there is significant support among Republicans, and even greater support among Democrats… what’s holding up the show? It’s not, as I assert, the urban Democratic prosecutorial bar? You don’t think that’s a factor (paradoxically or ironically)?

    No I do not have a citation. Like everyone else, I am waiting with baited breath for that first survey of urban Democratic prosecutors.

    1. PM says:

      Well, there is not yet majority support among Republicans (even in MA, where the Republicans are pretty liberal–see the career of Mitt Romney for support), so probably it is a situation where democrats hold back because they are afraid of being Willie Horton’ed to death by partisan opponents.

      But, by all means, continue to blame the bar associations, if that works for you.

      1. Joe Loveland says:

        Keep in mind, Mr. Paul is talking about legalizing HEROIN, COCAINE and all drugs, not just pot. Even if Paul can convince Americans about legalization of pot, and he hasn’t yet, he won’t convince them about legalization of heroin. I can’t find a poll on that, but I have to believe the level of support for Paul’s position on legalizing heroin is as low as the percentage of Americans who want to cut Medicare (21% support, 78% oppose).

      2. Erik says:

        Yeah, and this is the thing. We can be taken with the fanciful notion that all these very whitebread, Iowa farmers are going to turn out for Ron Paul…. But it’s really not going to happen. Polls be damned, he’s not going to win Iowa, he’s not in danger of winning the nomination.

      3. john sherman says:

        Eric, you might actually talk with some urban prosecutors and judges before popping off. Who do you think is working to get drug diversion courts, which at the current moment is about the best that can be done. It’s not liberals who push the “lock’em up and throw away the key” line on drugs or anything else.

        You might look at those socialist hell-holes and Europe to see how they deal with crime.

      4. Erik says:

        Oh come now professor. If we were all obligated to check facts before popping off, we’d have nothing to obsess over in the way of comments. There wouldn’t be any.

        Now that my tongue is extracted from my cheek, note this. My assertion, expressed cogently, is merely that the urban Democratic prosecutorial bar would make up significant resistance to any legalization initiatives. That resistance is not spoke of often, because it’s against type for Democrats, but could be reasonably compared to that found among Republican social conservatives.

        I assert the above as a true statement. To the extent you can disagree with that, go ahead.

        Thus, I don’t have much vested interest as I stand aside and watch you beat the shit out of straw mans “diversion programs” and “socialist hell hole Europe”. I don’t have any quibbles with what you say is occurring in the courts in the way of sentencing. But in terms of politics, elected urban prosecutors, which are all Democrats, always run as law and order conservatives. Ibid, Amy Klobuchar. I find it ironic that urban prosecutors can’t run as the liberal squishes they actually are.

        And…. as a pedantic literalist and a context guy, I don’t throw the word Socialism around. More effort, John.

  4. Joe Loveland says:

    It feels like most news coverage of Ron Paul focuses on a) fiscal/monetary positions and b) physical descriptions (i.e. quirky, rumpled, old, odd), and NOT on his liberal positions on social issues. This also reminds me a bit of the Ventura boomlet, where the media mostly focused on descriptions of Ventura’s appearance, stage presence,and otherness…to the near exclusion of his positions and lack thereof.

  5. PM says:

    have read a couple of interesting articles that talk about how the media’s lack of attention to Ron Paul has actually been a help for his campaign–by not bringing attention to some of his “quirkier” positions.

    given that Paul has spent more of a classic Iowa ground game–lots of volunteers, lots of personal contact, etc., and has been far less dependent on the free media (unlike Gingrich), Paul has really been able to control what people hear about him.

  6. john sherman says:

    I looked up the 2008 figures: 118,696 people participated in the Iowa Republican caucuses; the population of Iowa then was 3,002,555. So we have endless speculation and concentration on less than 4% of a small state. And that sample isn’t representative of anything except old white crackpots.

    I can see the appeal to the media since it’s an on-going story with all sorts of fake drama and its reporting does not require intelligence or thought.

  7. PM says:

    and now Bachmann’s top aide is going over to Paul…

    It would be really ironic to see the social conservatives support paul in order to deny romney a win.

  8. Newt says:

    Joe has a fundamental misunderstanding of notiond of “liberal” and “conservative.” Nothing about Paul’s platform is liberal.

    1. Joe Loveland says:

      If Candidate X came out and said he or she wanted to end all military engagements, gut the Pentagon budget, legalize prostitution, drop all federal abortion restrictions, and legalize marijuana, cocaine, heroin, LSD, meth, and all currently illegal drugs, do you think he would that candidate labeled a conservative or a liberal?

      Republican platforms have long advocated a gilded Pentagon, support for foreign military interventions, a war on drugs, a ban on activities they oppose, such as abortion, prostitution and gay marriage. Republicans have labeled those who were not sufficiently aligned with those platform positions as liberals.

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