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Friday, January 4th 2008

The Problem With Dr. Ron Paul

I’m a big Ron Paul fan if you don’t know. Doctor Paul is an Ob/Gyn and a ten-term Republican congressman whose about as libertarian as anyone ever elected to federal office. I’m such a fan that right now I’m somewhere between Davenport, IA and Texas, having spent more than a week in Iowa volunteering on his campaign.

Tonight as the world watched Ron Paul finished a disappointing fifth in Iowa.

Now, despite some of the, uh, optimisim I ran into amongst volunteers and staff in Iowa concerning Dr. Paul’s chances, most know that Ron Paul is not going to be the Republican nominee for President. To the chagrin of some choice dickheads. (I love that Ken Layne couldn’t make it into Palmer College, much less Duke Medical School and yet somehow Wonkette keeps publishing Paul critiques like there’s some value to the lives of it’s editors*).

But whatever Paul’s chances at victory, fifth place is disgusting. Ron Paul lost to Fred Thompson, a man whose idea of campaigning is when someone notices him while he’s trying on slacks at the mall.

It wasn’t the media, it wasn’t the message, it wasn’t the “scandals,” it wasn’t that Iowans are stupid (although after speaking to hundreds of them I can testify to that).

Proof of a Mass Media Conspiracy!

It’s the campaign.

The final polls before the Caucus gave some reasonable hope to the Paul campaign. A finish of third would’ve been remarkable and not totally unreasonable. A finish of fourth more expected. A finish of fifth disappointing. But, even before the Caucusing began there was considerable doubt from anyone on the ground in Iowa, with any sense, who had spent any time with the Ron Paul campaign.

This is the most disorganized political campaign I can imagine. My credentials aren’t terribly impressive – I have some campaign education and I’ve worked on a Congressional campaign – but you don’t need a PhD in political science; one look at the Paul campaign and you know that this isn’t how you run a political campaign.

From near sexual harassment of volunteers to strategic moves like still cold calling people off the voter registration list a day before the Caucus and not even having campaign phone lines to use three days before the Caucus, the centralized Iowa effort for Ron Paul might as well have been non-existent.

While the entire time I was in Iowa was a near disaster in terms of organization, the GOTV effort may have been the most disgusting.

The database of known Paul supporters was, uh…shameful. To top it off, it was corrupted the night before the Caucus and the campaign had no back up of it. It was nearly six o’clock on Caucus night before some volunteers got their lists of supporters to call and remind of the Caucus and most of Iowa lacked Ron Paul volunteers in place to drive people to the Caucus if necessary, despite having the man power in the state.

The list is endless.

At the top the campaign cannot get the message straight. I appreciated the Iowa mailings I saw while up there, trying to appeal to typical Republican Caucus goers with Conservative issues but then you see Dr. Paul go on Larry King and stray off into near conspiracy talk about NAFTA, without even appealing to the consequences of globalization.

It’s like they got some money and finally said, “Hey, let’s actually try to run a campaign with a chance.” But no one told the actual candidate.

From Campaign Chairman Lew Moore to the Assistant National Youth Coordinator Dallas Moorehead; no one knows how to do their job. I doubt Huckabee’s newly on board chief strategist, Ed Rollins, would let Lew even organize an Iowa precinct for Huckabee right now.

I would say they all just need to be fired, but there’s little point. With this result today Ron Paul’s message is dead, at least for this election. There will be no more multi-million dollar money bombs, no more 300 student volunteers scouring a state, no more blimp donations. This campaign did irreparable damage to itself by it’s complete bafoonery. That’s no matter how they spin this result. Ron Paul needed marketing but this campaign just couldn’t figure out how to use all this grassroots support and all this funding they were getting. Hell, they probably couldn’t figure out how to tie their shoelaces from what I’ve seen.

Let Some Heads Roll? What’s The Point Now.

Get off the Ron Paul bandwagon. Early prediction: fourth in New Hampshire.

*p.s. I don’t know what one has to do with the other, except to say that the “Paultards” collective life accomplishments kind’ve shame all of those of the Wonkette nation