Wednesday, March 21, 2007

More than just a placeholder

As I have said on a number of occasions, I am not yet prepared to make an endorsement for the Presidency. Many have wondered or asked me outright why I have not endorsed Ron Paul, since Congressman Paul is the one candidate in the field who comes the closest to approximating my own ideological point of view.

I am not, nor have I ever been concerned with whether others in the Republican Party, or the press, or political pundits think a candidate is "electable." I am far more concerned with whether a candidate reflects what I believe to be right than whether others think he or she is electable. What is of importance, however, is whether a candidate enters the race with the intention of victory, and with the will to be elected President should that become possible. That a candidate is prepared to serve is paramount. I strongly believe, for example, that Pat Buchanan had every intention of pursuing the Republican nomination in 1996, and he did so to the very best of his ability. He used every means at his disposal to achieve that goal, and ran a campaign that indicated that he was in the race with the intention of winning and was ready to serve as President. Even though his opponents shouted that he was unelectable, he came closer to the nomination than the establishment ever cared to admit.

Even though he did not win the nomination, Patrick Buchanan was not a placeholder candidate. He represented a significant segment of the Republican Party and he ran a very serious campaign for the Presidency.

In spite of my ideological closeness to Congressman Paul, I do not believe that his campaign resembles that of Buchanan. I am not convinced that he intends to run a serious campaign for the nomination-he intends to act only as a placeholder on the ballot, as a protest vote for those who simply cannot vote for anyone else on Primary Day. In this election, that may prove to be an important role, especially if the top three choices remain as they are-but the candidate who chooses to act as "None of the Above" will not only fail to win, he will not make a real attempt at winning. I do not believe that Ron Paul has any intention of being President of the United States-he wishes to serve as a candidate, as an option for the voter, but not as President.

We need a candidate who is actually going to run for President-a man or woman fully ready to take the oath.

Some people are lampooning the "Draft Fred Thompson" movement-some are trying to say that he is not a conservative, even though his record in the Senate clearly proves otherwise. He has been criticized as too pro-war, as if McCain, Romney, and Guiliani are somehow not pro-war. I have been opposed to this war from the beginning, I was opposed yesterday, am opposed today, and will be opposed tomorrow. I am not under any illusions, however, that troops are coming home anytime soon, in spite of my wishes to the contrary. Fred Thompson and Howard Baker may be buddies, but that Thompson is very much his own man-when it comes to the vast majority of conservative issues, Thompson comes down well to the right of Rudy McRomney. He is an infinately better choice than anyone in the field at present with the notable exception of Ron Paul-and I do not believe Ron Paul intends to make a serious attempt at the nomination.

Does all that mean that I endorse Thompson? Firstly, I do not think it is appropriate to endorse a candidate who has not entered the race for the Presidency and may yet choose not to do so. Secondly, even Thompson deserves a bit of time to be observed should he choose to run. I have heard from Thompson the Senator and Thompson the radio commentator-to get my endorsement, I must hear from Thompson the candidate.

I will say that if Thompson enters the race, he will not be a placeholder.



At Wednesday, March 21, 2007 11:51:00 AM, Blogger Rob Huddleston said...

David -

Excellent post. I'm in the unique position of knowing Fred, so I can state that I will endorse him the day he decides to enter the race.

If he doesn't, I doubt I will endorse anyone. Heck, I might write in "Oatney"....



At Wednesday, March 21, 2007 12:37:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Greetings and well said.

I've only recently "discovered" Ron Paul and can say that he has my support. But can you detail WHY "I do not believe Ron Paul intends to make a serious attempt at the nomination."? Is it something he as said/done or NOT said/done? What exactly would his campaign need to do to convince you that he is serious about winning?

P.S. I found your blog via searching for "Ron Paul" on the google blog search; glad I did. You are now in my bookmarks.


At Wednesday, March 21, 2007 12:49:00 PM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

As you have time, I want to talk to you more about Fred Thompson-you know him better than anyone that I have discussed the movement to make him a candidate with.

At Wednesday, March 21, 2007 1:03:00 PM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

I am humbled and deeply honored that in finding my blog, you have chosen to bookmark it. I hope that you become a regular reader and commenter.

As for Ron Paul-he has "run" for President before. In 1988, he was the Libertarian Party's nominee, he received a whopping 0.47% of the vote. You can chalk that up to being a third-party candidate if you like, but Ron Paul has been involved in Republican politics in Texas since the mid-1970's-he was a known commodity there when he was a candidate in 1988, and he had already twice been a Member of Congress. He drew just over 400,000 votes nationwide. He was probably the most well-known candidate the Libertarians have ever nominated, and he could not crack a million votes.

I have immense admiration for Congressman Paul because as a Member of Congress, he says the hard things that need to be said, he takes action when it needs to be taken, and his words about small government are more than just words-but he is essentially the Libertarian Party's contribution to the Republican Primary. He has run before and not been a serious contender, and his campaign apparatus has shown little indication that 2008 will be any different for him.

At Wednesday, March 21, 2007 1:44:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok, he hasn't done well in the past. Of course, since then our goverment has continued to become even more corrupt.

But you didn't answer my question. "What exactly would his campaign need to do to convince you that he is serious about winning?" I don't expect a research paper on the subject, how about just one thing? Example: I would love to see his campaign create 5-minute internet videos aimed at teaching the american people what he thinks is wrong with our current government and what he plans to do about it. Then encouraging people to pass them around, link to them, upload them everywhere. Maybe even run them on t.v. should he raise funds. Similar to the many Michael Badnarik videos you can find.

Personally I think the upcoming debate he has agreed to participate in should be fun to watch.
"Congressman Ron Paul has accepted Nancy Reagan's invitation to participate in a presidential debate to be held at the Reagan Presidential Library on May 3, 2007. MSNBC will moderate and televise the 90-minute debate starting at 5:00 p.m. ET. The debate will also be simulcast by to give citizens the opportunity to submit questions online"


At Wednesday, March 21, 2007 2:43:00 PM, Anonymous ManFading said...


If leaving the libertarian platform and running republican isn't an indication of seriousness I don't know what is. A vote for Ron Paul is more than likely the most politically correct and patriotic thing any adult American could ever do in his lifetime for this country. The man has written and cosponsored more conservatively meaningful bills in congress than all the other candidates combined including the unannounced. The only questions of seriousness evolves around the many politicians, political writers and contributors involved in campaigns of disinformation either directly or indirectly engaged against Dr. Paul. When a person of influence shrugs their shoulders and sits on the sidelines waiting to flock to the glitziest and most glamorous candidate of big money and media just to gloat in the aftermath with an "i told you so attitude" then there is a problem not only of their credibility but of their values. I am a conservative with a capital "C" and know the issues extremely well. That is why I see Ron Paul as the correct and only choice for the job. We simply cannot afford 4 more years of stay the course and that exactly is what we are going to have if Americans don't wake up.

At Wednesday, March 21, 2007 6:15:00 PM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

And the fact is that Ron Paul is not doing what it takes to run a serious campaign...In 1996, Pat Buchanan, the underdog that the establishment wrote off, had himself and his people on the ground a year and a half in advance of the Iowa Caucuses. He was out there going to the Lincoln/Reagan Day dinners, gladhanding voters, kissing babies, but most importantly, he was visiting every town and hamlet and going to the newspaper editorial boards and the party chairmen and the precinct captains and delegates.

He put a machine in place and nearly pulled off a win.

We just aren't seeing that kind of effort from Ron Paul-nice website, hard-core speeches, but no hard-core campaign or effective grassroots organization. That is how we know he will be a mere placeholder.

At Wednesday, March 21, 2007 6:20:00 PM, Anonymous ManFading said...

His organization isn't even 2 weeks old man.........Hello?

At Wednesday, March 21, 2007 7:53:00 PM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

He announced a long time before two weeks ago...where have you been? He's had his exploratory committee, and has had utterly nobody on the ground in key early areas.

At Wednesday, March 21, 2007 9:58:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I actually agree with many of your posts. what I disagree with is your attitude. No offense, but who cares who an individual endorses other than maybe his/her friends or family?

At Wednesday, March 21, 2007 11:19:00 PM, Anonymous Alec said...

I can understand your point of view on not wanting to support someone that isn't serious about winning. I do, however, think you are jumping the gun on coming to that conclusion about Ron Paul. It's still early in 2007 and we're talking about the 2008 election. It's a marathon not a sprint. Ron Paul raised a half-million dollars from barely campaigning on the Internet before he officially announced AND pulled even in Internet search queries with the leading contender, Rudy Giuliani.

All indicators say to me that Ron Paul and his supporters are serious about making him the next President of the United States. TV coverage hasn't kept up with Ron Paul, but this election is going to be more heavily influenced by a different plastic box than the television.

At Thursday, March 22, 2007 12:07:00 AM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

Because of the frontloaded Primary process(something I profoundly disagree with), if Ron Paul, an announced candidate, has no organization on the ground in key areas at this point, he is as good as finished-that, I am afraid, is the problem.

Thompson, on the other hand, isn't even a candidate, and the forces behind him are already engineering a victory strategy-early bird gets the worm.

At Thursday, March 22, 2007 12:11:00 AM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

While there may indeed be many (including yourself) who could give a flying flop about who I endorse, there are a few people who do read this weblog, and are at least curious about who I might back.

Other bloggers have endorsed candidates for President. As of yet, I have not. Whether a reader cares who I endorse is entirely their prerogative. A few do care.

At Thursday, March 22, 2007 12:37:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I'm 30 years old, been voting since I turned 18 and have NEVER felt as strongly about a candidate as I feel about Ron Paul --based entirely on researching him and reading about his history. I will personally do all that is within my power to make his campaign "real". Hopefully HE and his supporters can change your mind and you will end up endorsing him soon enough. If not, God help us all.


At Thursday, March 22, 2007 10:35:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

After the primaries, politics is a team sport, it does you no good cheer for (support) a team that is not playing.

At Thursday, April 05, 2007 8:45:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ron Paul is the strongest candidate I have ever seen. I hope I am not an exception when I say he is since last week the first candidate I have EVER sent money too, and I am even switching parties to vote for him. It is the seemingly purposeful lack of media coverage that disadvantages him the most, but the internet could shake things up a bit this time around, and the internet could transfer over into television coverage. Politicians bring up the constitution, but the truth is that Ron Paul is the ONLY person in Washington actually protecting the constitution...he has my vote and support.

At Thursday, April 05, 2007 12:47:00 PM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

Media and internet aside, there is the great problem that Ron Paul has no money, either. An unfortunate fact that many of you forget and a requirement to run a successful campaign in 2008.

At Friday, April 06, 2007 2:40:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm with the other anonymous. RP's campaign is the first time I have ever given money to a campaign. And I am registering as Republican for the first time to vote for him in the primary. (I have always been registered as an Independent)

Dave, RP has not released his fundraising numbers yet. We all might end up being surprised. If you recall, when he first announced that he was exploring the option of running for presidet he clearly stated that he was surprised at how quickly they raised $500,000.

No, he won't have the sick amounts that some other candidates are able to sell-out for; but he might have a decent amount and get some attention. We shall see.


At Friday, April 06, 2007 9:27:00 PM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

I must say that I admire your commitment to Congressman Paul's Presidential bid even if I believe that he has no chance of victory. I do not expect any surprises-I have been around politics for far too long to be anything other than a realist.

That doesn't mean that I think Ron Paul isn't a good man-quite the contrary in fact. I think that he and I both know he has no prayer of winning the nomination. Hence, he will act as the protest candidate. As I said above, that may be an important roll this Primary season-but if that is the case, I would neither be surprised nor disturbed at this reality if I were in your shoes.

At Sunday, May 13, 2007 8:05:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I realize his chances are slim -- to say the least. But with that said; I feel Ron Paul is actually worth campaigning for.

So how about an update? Are your feelings unchanged? Do you still wonder if Ron Paul is serious about running or if he is a "placeholder" candidate?

How about your thoughts on the last debate. There is no doubt in my mind that Ron Paul at least stood out from the rest of the the candidates. Which given the negative sentiment towards the current regime can only be a good thing.



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