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Posts Tagged ‘Ron Paul’

USA | Allt fler talar numera om senator Rand Paul som republikanernas blivande presidentkandidat. Detta säger en del om partiets problem.

The New York Times Magazine August 10 2014

Det har skrivits mycket om senatorn från Kentucky på senare tid. The New York Times Magazine och Time har haft honom på omslaget. The New Yorker har publicerat en längre essay. Time kallade honom t.o.m. för ”The most interesting man in american politics”.

Robert Drapers artikel i The New York Times Magazine fokuserar på de förändringar som republikanska partiet står inför om man vill kunna attrahera fler väljare.

After eight years out of the White House, Republicans would seem well positioned to cast themselves as the fresh alternative, though perhaps only if the party first reappraises stances that young voters, in particular, regard as outdated. Emily Ekins, a pollster for the Reason Foundation, says: “Unlike with previous generations, we’re seeing a newer dimension emerge where they agree with Democrats on social issues, and on economic issues lean more to the right. It’s possible that Democrats will have to shift to the right on economic issues. But the Republicans will definitely have to move to the left on social issues. They just don’t have the numbers otherwise.” A G.O.P. more flexible on social issues might also appeal to another traditionally Democratic group with a libertarian tilt: the high-tech communities in Silicon Valley and elsewhere, whose mounting disdain for taxes, regulations and unions has become increasingly dissonant with their voting habits.

Hence the excitement about Rand Paul. It’s hardly surprising that Paul, in Ekins’s recent survey of millennial voters, came out ahead of all other potential Republican presidential candidates; on issues including same-sex marriage, surveillance and military intervention, his positions more closely mirror those of young voters than those of the G.O.P. establishment. Paul’s famous 13-hour filibuster last year, while ultimately failing to thwart the confirmation of the C.I.A. director John Brennan, lit afire the Twittersphere and compelled Republican leaders, who previously dismissed Paul as a fringe character, to add their own #StandWithRand endorsements. Paul has also gone to considerable lengths to court non-Republican audiences, like Berkeley students and the National Urban League. In a presidential field that could include Cruz, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie and Paul Ryan, Paul — who has called himself “libertarian-ish” — is by far the candidate most associated with the movement.

Pauls önskan om att bli mer relevant i amerikansk politik har inneburit att han har varit tvungen att kompromissa och modifiera sitt politiska budskap för att kunna tilltala fler inom och utanför sitt parti.

Time Oct 27-2014

Det är talande är att Michael Scherers artikel i Time har rubriken ”The Reinventions Of Rand”.

It is a measure of his caution that his positions now take several sentences to explain. He will not say whether he supports bombing Iran if Tehran acquires a nuclear weapon, but also supports sanctions policies to try to prevent that from ever happening. He is against marijuana legalization even as he fights to end prison sentences for nonviolent drug offenses. He opposed limits on campaign donations but supports a plan to bar federal contractors from donating to politics. He opposes gay marriage but also opposes a constitutional amendment to define marriage, saying that states and Congress should pursue an extensive strategy of decoupling all government benefits from marriage so a ban might pass court scrutiny.

Paul uppfattas, både politiskt och ideologiskt, fortfarande stå i skuggan av sin fars politiska karriär. Kongressledamoten Ron Paul var under många år den tydligaste förespråkaren för de libertarianska idéerna inom det republikanska partiet.

Vid ett tillfälle bröt Ron Paul t.o.m. med partiet när han ansåg partiet hade blivit alltför konservativt. Inför valet 1988 nominerade Libertarian Party honom som sin presidentkandidat.

Ideologiskt har Rand Paul därför, precis som vicepresidentkandidat Paul Ryan under förra presidentvalet, försökt distansera sig från en lång rad nyliberala idéer.

Även om detta rent teoretiskt ökar sannolikheten för att han skall lyckas bli nominerad öppnar det samtidigt upp för attacker från politiska motståndare. Det är bara att fråga Mitt Romney.

När han nu försöker bättra på sin politiska image riskerar han slå knut på sig själv. Romneys motsägelsefulla försök att distansera sig från sin tid som guvernör i delstaten Massachusetts förföljde honom under hela presidentvalskampanjen.

Samma månad som Scherers artikel publicerades i Time publicerade The New Yorker Ryan Lizzas betydligt längre essay “The Revenge of Rand Paul”.

In some respects, Paul is to Republicans in 2014 what Barack Obama was to Democrats in 2006: the Party’s most prized fund-raiser and its most discussed senator, willing to express opinions unpopular within his party, and capable of energizing younger voters. The Republican National Committee, which in 2008 refused to allow his father, Ron Paul, to speak at its Convention, recently solicited donations by offering supporters a chance to have lunch with Rand Paul.

[…]

Yet, also like Obama at a similar stage in his career, Paul could be hobbled by past associations and statements, especially on race and foreign policy. He has questioned government attempts, including a core provision of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, to address discrimination in the private sector. He has proposed dramatically slashing the Pentagon’s budget and cancelling all foreign aid. Ron Paul ran for President as the nominee of the Libertarian Party in 1988 and as an isolationist Republican in the Presidential primaries of 2008 and 2012. Rand has followed his lead in opposing most U.S. military interventions of the past few decades, aside from the war in Afghanistan.

Many members of the Republican establishment see him as a dorm-room ideologue whose politics are indistinguishable from his father’s. Earlier this year, Mark Salter, who helped run John McCain’s 2008 Presidential campaign, wrote that Rand’s “foreign policy views, steeped as they are in the crackpot theories that inform his father’s worldview, are so ill-conceived that were he to win the nomination, Republican voters seriously concerned with national security would have no responsible recourse other than to vote for Hillary Clinton.”

[…]

As with so many aspects of his personal history, Paul approaches the subject of his intellectual influences as though he were defusing a bomb. In his book, he wrote about several libertarian writers he had turned to since high school: Ayn Rand (“one of the most influential critics of government intervention and champions of individual free will”), Hayek (“ ‘The Road to Serfdom’ is a must-read for any serious conservative”), and the Mises disciple Murray Rothbard (“a great influence on my thinking”). In my conversation with him, he shrugged them off.

Ayn Rand was just “one of many authors I like,” he said. “And it’s, like, ‘Oh, because I believe in Ayn Rand I must be an atheist, I must believe in everybody needs to be selfish all the time, and I must believe that Howard Roark is great and Ellsworth Toohey is evil,’ but she’s one of many authors I’ve read. I like Barbara Kingsolver, too.”

Hayek? “I wouldn’t say I’m like some great Hayek scholar.”

Rothbard? “There are many people I’m sure who are more schooled.”

[…]

Rand Paul has spent the past few months often clumsily trying to convince voters that his foreign policy differs from his father’s. Rand is perhaps best known, thus far, for his nearly thirteen-hour filibuster last year to protest the Administration’s use of drones—a tactic that further convinced Republican hawks that he doesn’t share their assessment of the risks posed by terrorism. Over the summer, Paul was under constant attack from rivals, such as Governor Rick Perry, of Texas, who described him as “curiously blind” to the threat posed by the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham. As with the criticisms of his past statements on civil rights, Paul felt that he was the victim of a smear campaign. “Unfair criticism from people who have partisan goals,” he told me.

Kritiken kommer knappast mildras framöver. Ju närmare valrörelsen vi kommer ju mer kommer hans idéer att granskas.

Och skulle han vinna partiets nominering väntar demokraternas attacker. Är det något man kan vara säker på så är det att demokraternas kampanjstrateger har en tjock dossier märkt ”Rand Paul – flip-flopper”.

Läs mer: Rand Paul: The Most Interesting Conspiracy Theorist in Washington” av David Corn i Mother Jones är ett bra exempel på vad demokraterna (och republikanska motståndare) kan komma att fokusera på.

Tidskriftsomslag: The New York Times Magazine, 10 augusti 2014 och Time, 27 oktober 2014.

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DEBATT | Inför deras första debatt har Barack Obama och Mitt Romney gått inför att skapa låga förväntningar kring deras egen debattskicklighet.

Strategin går naturligtvis ut på att överraska väljarnas med att de gjorde bättre ifrån sig än väntat när det väl är över.

“Governor Romney he’s a good debater, I’m just okey”, poängterade t.ex. Obama under ett kampanjevent i Las Vegas under förra söndagen.

Och Romney spelade samma spel i en intervju med Fox News i vecka som gick.

”I don’t know how to raise or lower expectations,” sade Romney. ”The president is a very eloquent, gifted speaker. He’ll do just fine. I’ve never been in a presidential debate like this and it will be a new experience.”

James Fallows, nationell korrespondent på tidskriften The Atlantic, har tittat närmare på debatternas betydelse för utgången av ett presidentval och de två kombattanternas olika styrkor och svagheter.

Mitt Romney is far less effective as a big-speech orator than Barack Obama, and in many other aspects of campaigning he displays what appear to be laboriously studied moves rather than anything that comes naturally. But debates are and have been his strength. He grew up enjoying “big, boisterous arguments about everything around the dinner table,” according to his campaign strategist and main debate-prep specialist, Stuart Stevens. “He loves the dialectic of arguing the different sides, and he’s most uncomfortable when no one is disagreeing with him.” He will enter this fall’s encounters with very recent, successful experience in a very wide range of formats and challenges.

In none of the Republican-primary debates was Romney judged the big loser; in many he was the clear winner, and as the campaign wore on, the dominant image from the debates was of a confident Romney, standing with a slight smile on his face and his hands resting easily in his pockets, looking on with calm amusement as the lesser figures squabbled among themselves and sometimes lashed out at him.

Civics teachers won’t want to hear this, but the easiest way to judge “victory” in many debates is to watch with the sound turned off, so you can assess the candidates’ ease, tenseness, humor, and other traits signaled by their body language. By this standard, Ron Paul, with his chronically ill-fitting suits, often looked cranky; Rick Santorum often looked angry; Rick Perry initially looked pole­axed and confused; Jon Huntsman looked nervous; Newt Ging­rich looked overexcited—and so on through the list until we reach Mitt Romney, who almost always looked at ease. (As did Herman Cain, illustrating that body language is not everything.) Romney looked like the grown-up—the winner, the obvious candidate—with or without sound. “He is as good as it gets in debating,” former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, who was the first major contender to drop out of the Republican race, told me. “He is poised, prepared, smart, strategic—tactical, too.”

[…]

Romney is very strong as a debater but has also shown two repeated weaknesses: a thin command of policy details, and an awkwardness when taken by surprise.

When the subject is one he’s prepared for, he rarely falters. When it’s not, or when an exchange goes on longer or in a different direction than expected, many of his ad-libbed responses turn out to be mistakes (“I’ll bet you $10,000!”). Thus the Romney team has the impossible challenge of trying to imagine every question or attack line that might come up in debates with Obama, while the Obama team tries to imagine what Romney’s might have missed. This kind of chess game is always part of debate preparation, but it is unusually important this year, because the gap between Romney at his best and at his worst is so wide.

[…]

“The history is that challengers tend to profit, particularly in the first debate,” David Axelrod, Obama’s chief campaign strategist, told me in June. “Just the act of being on the stage with a president is an elevating thing.” This sounds like a small matter, but through the years, analysis of debate reactions has shown that the public takes a candidate more seriously after seeing him, for the first time, on equal footing with an incumbent president.

[…]

In this year’s debates, Barack Obama’s most inspiring and powerful message as a candidate will no longer be available to him. Four years ago, “Change we can believe in” suggested that things could be different and much better with him in charge. Now even his most fervent backers doubt how much better things are likely to get in a second Obama term. His critics put the same point more harshly. “This time, the president won’t have the luxury of making stuff up and speaking aspirationally,” Tim Pawlenty told me on a campaign swing through Pennsylvania with Romney in June. “He actually has to defend his record and attach facts to it.”

One more factor is working against Obama in the debates. When the economy is bad and an incumbent is beset, the challenger’s task is simplified. He doesn’t need to belabor the case against the incumbent. Reality has already done that; everyone knows what’s wrong with the president they have now. All the challenger has to do is say: “Look me over. I’ll be okay in this job. You can feel comfortable with me.” This is what Ronald Reagan did in 1980, and Bill Clinton in 1992. Meanwhile, the incumbent has to work twice as hard, in order to make two arguments at once. He must prove something about himself: that, while battered, he’s still energetic, visionary, and up to the job. He must also prove something about his opponent: that he is bad for the country, unready, and overall worse.

And he must do all this without seeming defensive or tense; while appearing easily in command to those who see images without hearing words; and, in Obama’s uniquely straitjacketed case, while avoiding the slightest hint of being an “angry black man.”

[…]

If economic trends are bad enough—or, improbably, good enough—to turn the election into a runaway, we might look back and say that the debates didn’t matter. But in what gives every sign of being a close, bitter, expensive, and mostly negative contest, the way these men interact onstage could make a major difference.

Övrigt: Se även Fallows video “Romney the Debater: His Strengths and Weaknesses”. Inför valet 2008 gjorde Fallows en liknande analys som ovan i essayen ”Rhetorical Questions”. (Tidskriftsomslaget ovan är The Atlantic, september 2012.)

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USA | Rick Santorums tillkännagivande att han inte längre tänker fortsätta sin valkampanj kommer att göra livet lite lättare för Mitt Romney.

”We were winning in a very different way because we were touching hearts. We were raising issues that, well, frankly, a lot of people didn’t want to have raised.”

Så sammanfattade Santorum sin kampanj. Men skall man vara noggrann tillkännagav han inte formellt att han drar sig ur valkampanjen utan bara att han tillsvidare skjuter upp (”suspends”) valarbetet.

I vilket fall som helst bör Newt Gingrich och Ron Paul knappast kunna utgöra något riktigt hot mot Romney.

Vad dessa två möjligtvis kan göra är att skada Romneys möjligheter att besegra Barack Obama genom att förlänga valkampanjen och fortsätta med den hårda retoriken. Vilket i sig inte är ett osannolikt med tanke på allt ont blod som flutit under valkampanjen.

Det finns inget demokraterna skulle önska sig mer än ett fortsatt inbördeskrig bland republikanerna. Varje attack riktat mot Romney tar Obama närmare att bli återvald.

Brian Knowlton, International Herald Tribune, skriver:

Rick Santorum said his daughter’s illness prompted him to halt his fight for the Republican nomination, making Mitt Romney the near-certainty to challenge Barack Obama. Rick Santorum, the former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania who had risen from the bottom of the Republican presidential polls to become the prime challenger to Mitt Romney, suspended his campaign on Tuesday, almost certainly making Mr. Romney the party’s nominee for the election on Nov. 6.

[…]

 ‘‘We were touching hearts,’’ Mr. Santorum said. ‘‘We were raising issues that frankly a lot of people didn’t want to have raised.’’

He said that he wanted to be a ‘‘witness’’ of what Americans were living through, and help be an ‘‘interpreter’’ to provide them a voice.

[…]

By suspending rather than formally ending his campaign, Mr. Santorum can continue to raise money, file for federal matching funds and keep himself available in the wings, should something unexpected derail the Romney campaign.

Despite a succession of earlier primary victories that had kept his hopes alive, Mr. Santorum’s prospects of winning the nomination had grown increasingly slim, and his campaign faced both personal and political challenges.

Bella, 3, who suffers from a chromosomal disorder, had been hospitalized twice — most recently over the weekend — and Mr. Santorum was also facing the possibility of losing the primary on April 24 in his home state, where polls show a tight race.

[…]

Analysts said that his full-throated criticism that Mr. Romney would be a weak candidate against Mr. Obama — because he had supported an Obama-like healthcare program in Massachusetts — had been some of the most telling arguments leveled against the former governor.

Mer: Läs också Joe Kleins förvånansvärt respektfulla beskrivning av Santorums valkampanj på hans blogg In the Arena. Bild: Urklippet och citerade texten från International Hearald Tribune den 11 april 2012.

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USA | Sheldon Adelson har pumpat in 11 miljoner dollar till en super-PAC som stödjer Newt Gingrich. Och det är bara början.

Tills nu har han undvikit media. Steven Bertoni har dock lyckats få en eftertraktad intervju i senaste Forbes.

I den antyder han bl.a. att han kan tänka sig stödja Mitt Romney eller Rick Santorum om Gingrich inte skulle lyckas bli republikanernas presidentkandidat.

Sheldon Adelson plays as stubbornly in politics as he does in business. So the criticisms that he’s trying to personally buy the presidential election for Newt Gingrich are met with a roll of the eyes. “Those people are either jealous or professional critics,” Adelson tells me during his first interview since he and his wife began funneling $11 million, with another $10 million injection widely expected, into the former speaker’s super PAC, Winning Our Future. “They like to trash other people. It’s unfair that I’ve been treated unfair—but it doesn’t stop me. I might give $10 million or $100 million to Gingrich.”

[…]

So with Gingrich looking increasingly unviable, does that mean he’ll throw his largess behind another candidate? “If Ron Paul is chosen I certainly wouldn’t do that.” […] I know Romney; I like him. I know Santorum; I like him. … The likelihood is that I’m going to be supportive of whoever the candidate is. I just haven’t decided that yet and will wait to see what happens.”

Whomever he supports, Adelson claims he won’t pay for mudslinging. “I don’t believe in negative campaigning. […] “Money is fungible, but you can’t take my money out of the total money you have and use it for negative campaigning.” Of course, that stance ignores the fact that an avalanche of negative ads against Romney won Gingrich South Carolina, and that Adelson’s $5 million injection was the dominant source of his funding. “That’s what everybody says, but that doesn’t mean it’s true,” the billionaire says, waving his hands dismissively. “Most of what’s been written about me in this is untrue.”

Övrigt: Läs Bertonis huvudartikel – ”The billion dollar bet – i Forbes. Se även en intervju med Bertoni med anledning av intervjun med Adelson. Tidskriftsomslaget ovan är Forbes den 12 mars 2012.

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USA | Efter tre raka förluster tog Mitt Romney hem Maine med 39 %. Men segern var inte den enda goda nyheten för Romney.

James Rosen, Maine Sunday Telegram, skriver:

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney got a much-needed boost Saturday, winning a key symbolic vote over former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania among some of the nation’s most active Republican voters and besting the field in the Maine caucuses.

Romney’s 38 percent-31 percent defeat of Santorum in a straw presidential vote among thousands of activists at the annual convention of the Conservative Political Action Committee bolstered his claim that he can consolidate support among the Republican base.

[…]

In a separate nationwide survey of conservatives conducted by conference organizers, Romney also bested Santorum, though by a narrower margin of 27-25 percent.

The two results, announced shortly before the news that Romney also won the Maine caucuses, were a setback for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and provided fresh evidence that he’s losing ground to Santorum as the strongest alternative to Romney in the GOP White House race.

In Maine, Romney took slightly more than 39 percent of the 5,585 votes cast statewide. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas came in second with 36 percent. Santorum received 18 percent and Gingrich won 6 percent of the caucus vote.

Bild: Framsidan är Maine Sunday Telegram den 12 februari 2012.

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USA | ”Live to fight another day.” Så skulle man kunna sammanfatta Rick Santorums framgångar i Colorado, Minnesota och Missouri.

Även om det har varit lite förvirrat i media handlar det inte om några vunna delegater för Santorum. 

Däremot kan Santorum (och Newt Gingrich och Ron Paul) dra nytta av att spekulationerna återigen drar igång kring Mitt Romneys oförmåga att entusiasmera de konservativa gräsrötterna.

Skall Santorum lyckas även framöver måste han hålla ångan uppe. Han har nämligen inte mycket till kampanjorganisation på plats inför kommande drabbningar.

Segrarna ger honom dock möjlighet att fylla på sin sinande krigskassa. Trippelframgången borde göra det lättare för honom att få in nya kampanjbidrag.

Alexander Burns, Politico, skriver:

General-election viability has been a part of Santorum’s message since before the Iowa caucuses. Even when he was polling in the middle of the pack in Iowa, Santorum was urging Republicans there to think about which candidate in the race had a record of winning the blue-collar, Midwestern swing voters who decide elections.

Now, strategists suggest, is the time for Santorum to dial up that argument. The cornerstones of Romney’s campaign have always been his perceived electability and strength on the economy. With unemployment numbers dropping and Romney looking less formidable in polling match-ups with the president, Santorum has an opportunity to ask the GOP to reconsider their assumptions about the front-runner.

He’s started doing that, telling voters in Missouri last week that their party needed to nominate a candidate “much more multidimensional than Mitt Romney” to beat President Barack Obama. In his victory speech Tuesday night, Santorum said that it was his reliable conservatism, rather than Romney’s money and organization,that would give the president his toughest challenge.

Santorum will need to make that case at full blast if he’s going to persuade voters to view 2012 through an entirely different lens than the one they’ve been using. In a way, that’s been the story of his whole campaign — a White House run held back principally by the fact that it seems so implausible.

Bild: Artikel på framsidan av The New York Times den 8 februari 2012.

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NEVADA | Mitt Romney vann stort i mormontäta Nevada. Med ca. 70 % av rösterna räknade har Romney 48 %. På andra plats Newt Gingrich 23 %. 

På tredje och fjärde plats Ron Paul (19 %) respektive Rick Santorum (11 %).

Romney ser alltmer ut som den självklara presidentkandidaten bland republikanerna. Gingrich däremot låta alltmer som ”the crazy uncle in the attic”.

Och inte blir det lättare för Gingrich i kommande valkampanjer. Sam Stein, The Huffington Post, skriver:

The month of February, which brings with it a slate of primaries and caucuses that favor either Romney or Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), promises to be brutal for Gingrich. His campaign is reportedly low on cash. He has no formal infrastructure in place in most states and didn’t even make it on Virginia’s ballot. Pressed on all these points, however, his responses drifted between insolence and confusion.

[…]

He was, he concluded, ”mildly amazed at the news media’s desperation to find some excuse to say, wouldn’t you please quit this evening.”

The truth, of course, is that the press would love nothing more than for him to continue. Even an increasingly dull primary race is better than no race at all. But signs that his campaign has lost its defining rationale are mounting.

Övrigt: Framsidan är tidningen The Las Vegas Review-Journal som publiceras i Nevada.

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