Are Ron Paul And Mitch Daniels Living In A House Made Of Brick Or A Poll made Of Straw?

Bookmark and ShareAs the results of the CPAC straw poll were released the Ron Paul Revolution has once again put the TX Congressman at the top with 30% of the vote. Not a big surprise to anyone in attendance as Paul’s supporters (half of the straw-poll voters were under 26) have made a yearly pilgrimage to the conservative conference in order to ensure he comes out on top of the straw poll conducted at the largest gathering of conservatives in the nation.

They are very adept at coordinating at these types of events and use them as a means to get Ron Paul’s name out there as they feel he is snubbed as a serious candidate by the mainstream media and Republican base. However strong the support for Paul appears, it unfortunately does not historically transfer to the primaries. With his anti-war, fiscal conservative message Rep. Paul appeals to the younger generation and his followers repay him with a loyalty that is unrivaled by any other candidate give former 2008 Republican VP nominee Sarah Palin. This loyalty gets Paul on the ballot but has yet to make a huge impact on the mostly social conservative GOP base. A base which is necessary to win a primary. That seems to be the stumbling block for the Revolution. Independent voters react to Rep. Paul’s message well and he may be the anomaly that would fair better in a general election than he does in his own parties primary.

A small surprise in the straw poll was little known Indiana governor Mitch Daniels whose message was along the same lines as Rep. Paul’s and was revered by the young pro-Ron Paul crowd garnering him 4%. Daniels took a different approach than most, speaking to the crowd personally and with a serious tone as opposed to the pep rally type atmosphere that others used as a pre-cursor to their possible candidacies. He shied away from mentioning President Obama in order to get the crowd riled up as some of the previous speakers had, instead going on a straight message of fiscal responsibility. It was an eloquently crafted, intellectually compelling call to arms against the red-ink forces of the national debt. He dubbed it “the new red menace”. Daniels also stated that if Republicans found the best way blocked they needed to be open to finding a different way, hinting that they should fore go purity in order to get things done and that to do so may require listening to independent and Democrat voters. A statement that was popular with the young CPAC audience but may not resonate well in a GOP primary.

So as the largest gathering of conservatives in the nation winds down and the potential candidates gauge their impact what does the straw poll actually tell us? I believe it tells us that Ron Paul and Mitch Daniels made nice inroads with a young, loyal base of voters that may just coax them into throwing their hats in the ring officially. It also tells us that the CPAC straw poll is in no way a valid snap shot of a Republican primary. In a primary you need the base. A base that is more socially conservative than fiscally conservative. The Republicans are not likely to nominate Ron Paul in 2012 for the same reasons he never won a primary in 2008 — the GOP mainstream is not going to embrace a purist who rails against the military budget with the same intensity that he attacks the Federal Reserve. Mitch Daniels may fall along that same line. A candidate that could fair better in the general election than he would in his own primary.

Bookmark and Share

4 Responses

  1. I was most surprised by Johnson coming in third (and first as the second choice). I say that as a Johnson supporter.

    I’m curious to know what makes you say that the Ron Paul folks like Daniels. Ive never heard any of them mention the guy. And in my experience, they don’t generally praise politicians without Paul as their last name.

    But I agree, Daniels is probably the closest to Paul on economic issues (after Johnson). But I have to wonder what his chances are. His call for a “truce” on social issues has somehow made him more demonized by social conservatives than the actual libertarians, Paul and Johnson.

    • I’m not sure they knew who he was prior to CPAC. I don’t think he gets 4% with the message he put out without a large Paul constituency in attendance. I took it as his ‘coming out party’ for the fiscal conservatives that are loyal to Paul. Johnson was a surprise in third as well but I would say a smaller surprise given the young pro-Paul crowd. I think Daniels surprised them, they knew what to expect with Johnson. Just my opinion however.

      • I really hope Daniels runs. I could see him choosing Johnson as his running mate. Daniels has a solid message, but small government conservatives and swing voters could be a bit put off by his association with the Bush admin. Nothing would signal a change in direction like choosing Johnson as VP.

  2. I totally agree. His fiscal message being in contrast with his Bush admin. ties will be hard to overcome. I like him as well though. I’m not convinced he can overcome it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: