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Posts Tagged ‘South Carolina’

Huckbee, ClintonWhile sorting some old papers today, I came across this item from the 2008 Republican presidential primaries.  Although I don’t believe that this flyer was ever distributed to the public, it is likely one of the most amusing pieces of literature to come out of the Ron Paul campaign.

To offer a bit of background regarding its creation, in early 2008, there was a fear that Mike Huckabee would emerge as the Republican nominee.  After all, Mr. Huckabee won the Iowa caucuses with a strong plurality, 34% to second place Mitt Romney’s 25%.  Rush Limbaugh echoed this concern when he said, “I’m here to tell you, if either of these two guys (Huckabee or McCain) get the nomination, it’s going to destroy the Republican Party, it’s going to change it forever, be the end of it.”  If Huckabee could capture the socially conservative South Carolina, that win would provide him with considerable momentum and could propel him to victories in future contests.

The image is priceless.  If you recall, Mike Huckabee served as the 44th governor of Arkansas while Bill Clinton was the 42nd.  The picture suggests that Huckabee, looking for guidance, turns to his predecessor and is rewarded with a smirk and a thumbs up thus giving him the Clinton seal of approval.  Given that many social conservatives viewed Huckabee favorably, if one were to tie him to the morally bankrupt Clinton, it may cause many of them to have second thoughts about supporting him in the South Carolina primary.

Unfortunately for the Paul campaign, due to the previous poor results of Iowa (where he finished fifth), New Hampshire (another fifth place finish), Michigan (where he finished fourth), and the one bright spot of Nevada (where he claimed second), it seemed highly unlikely that Ron Paul would be able to post huge numbers in the next contest, South Carolina.  Therefore, if Paul couldn’t win the state, one theory emerged to work to weaken one of the candidates who might win the state (in this case Huckabee).  Doing so could prolong the process and allow Ron Paul to gain a much needed victory in a later state.

At the end of the day, John McCain defeated Mike Huckabee to capture the lion’s share of the delegates from South Carolina.  Although Huckabee did end up winning a handful of southern and border states in later contests, his defeat in South Carolina likely eliminated any chance that he had of becoming the Republican nominee.

Although the piece pictured at the beginning of this article would have had no effect on the outcome in the 2008 South Carolina primary as it was not distributed, it does highlight the growing fear, at the time, of a Huckabee nomination.  It is simply another interesting tidbit of our political history.

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The 2008 Ron Paul Greenville, SC Office

As you likely know, former Speaker Newt Gingrich emerged as the winner of yesterday’s South Carolina Republican primary with a staggering 40.4%.  Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney placed in a distant second with 27.8% followed by former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum at 17%.  In last place was Representative Ron Paul of Texas with 13%. Regardless how other pundits might try to spin this result, this news ought to come as a huge disappointment to my fellow Ron Paul supporters.

Looking at the results from the Huffington Post, you find that Mitt Romney won three of the counties while Gingrich picked up the rest.  Neither Santorum nor Paul managed to win a single one.  However, the news gets even grimmer.  With the exception of Abbeville County where he finished second, and neighboring Greenwood where he placed third, in every other county Ron Paul finished dead last.  Last!

Now, I understand the desire to try to paint as rosy a picture as possible for the Paul campaign.  For example, Jack Hunter’s Paulitical Ticker boldly reads, “Paul quadrupled his 2008 numbers after tripling them in New Hampshire and Iowa.”  Although that fact is certainly true, Paul’s numbers were much higher than they were four years ago, they were still worse than any of his three rivals.  Last I checked, there is no ribbon for the candidate who is “most improved.”  You either win delegates or you go home with nothing.  Unfortunately, Paul’ result in South Carolina is in the latter situation.

Let’s look at this matter in another light.  Today, four NFL teams are competing for two spots in the Superbowl.  At 6:30 PM, my New York Giants are taking on the San Francisco 49ers.  While the winning team will proceed onward into the possibility of glory, the loser will go home with nothing and will be a mere footnote in the history of the game, an otherwise impressive season quickly forgotten by a majority of fans and commentators.  Such a fate will befall the two Republican candidates who fail to claim mantle as the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney.  Even though delegates are awarded somewhat proportionally, winning comes first. For those casually watching the race, currently Santorum, Gingrich, and Romney have each won a state.  Isn’t John Q. Public wondering where is Paul’s state?  Doesn’t he need to win at least one?

Now, I’ll admit it.  Perhaps I hold the South Carolina result in too high a regard for two reasons.  First, four years ago, I campaigned vigorously in that very state on behalf of the Paul campaign.  Second, and far more importantly, since 1980 every GOP candidate who has won the nomination also has also won South Carolina.  It is historically a far better predictor than either the Iowa or New Hampshire contests that preceded it.

Looking to my time in South Carolina, I was quite impressed by the spirit of optimism and hard work displayed among the volunteers.  I was hopeful that the seeds sown four years ago, properly nurtured, would blossom into at least a third place finish this year.  But I haven’t been back there since then so it has been difficult to gauge how the tree of liberty has either flourished or withered.

Moving on, in Florida’s upcoming Republican primary, the Paul campaign has announced that they will not compete.  Although I’d certainly like to see Paul be competitive everywhere, I can understand this decision.  Funds must be spent wisely and as Florida is choosing to defy RNC rules by making their primary as winner-take-all, there is no victory for anyone other than the first place candidate, a monumental task.

Getting back to the situation in South Carolina, Mr. Hunter also writes, “Ron Paul campaigned in South Carolina for a grand total of four days.”  I guess that this point is meant to downplay the South Carolina result, reminding us that he did exceedingly well given the very little effort put forth.  Or perhaps that he knew South Carolina was a lost cause.  Either way, one does wonder if even these scant four days in South Carolina could have been better used to bolster the future result someplace else.  Then again, I’ll freely admit that it is far easier to be an armchair campaigner than someone deep in the thick of it.

The bottom line is that Paul needs a strong showing and he needs one soon if he wishes to remain competitive.  As already mentioned, he almost certainly won’t find this critical boost in Florida.  Therefore, that leaves a handful of states before the all-important Super Tuesday.  Spin it how you like, but I believe that the dead last loss in South Carolina is a heavy blow.  I remain hopeful but concerned.

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On Friday, Washington Examiner and President of the Young Conservatives Coalition Christopher Malagisi wrote an article concerning Ron Paul’s and Gary Johnson’s recent participation in the South Carolina’s Republican Presidential Debate.  I encourage you to read his piece for yourself.  To follow is my commentary on it.

As you can tell from the title of my work, I believe that Malagisi’s conclusions are just flat out wrong.  He starts out claiming that the Republican Party is a three-legged stool, a merging of libertarians, traditionalists, and anti-communists.  Unfortunately, in this article, we are left with only inadequate assumptions of what he means by these terms.  However, if we look to one of his earlier posts, we find that he lists them as “1.) Classical Liberals – who believe in a limited government, individual liberty, and free markets; 2.) Traditionalists – who believe in preserving our traditional values and heritage; and 3.) Anti-Communists – who believe in a strong national defense.”   Although I would shy away from using the phrase “anti-communist” because I think it is outdated and has little real significance since the collapse of the Soviet Union, I believe he is spot on regarding this fusion of political ideologies within the party.

After this one salient point, Malagisi’s work devolves into fairly mindless bashing of Paul and Johnson for embracing this libertarian or “classical liberal” wing.  He claims that both men are more suited to be Democrats rather than Republicans because they don’t support the war on terror or imposed moral standards coming out of Washington D.C.  Doesn’t it seem strange that Malagisi admits there are three legs of the party, while at the same time seeking to saw off one entirely?  Although this news may come as a shock to those who lack either common sense or a basic understanding of physics, but this two-legged stool that Malagisi seems to be advocating cannot stand.

But Joshua, Chris implies that Ron Paul doesn’t want to defend our country.  Oh really?  Is it possible that one can be in favor of a robust defense while at the same time opposing undeclared wars, imperialism, and nation building?  If he is so “anti-national defense”, why did Paul receive more donations than any other candidate during the Republican nomination process in 2007-08, including former military veteran John McCain?

OK, I guess, but what about his claim that Ron Paul wants to erode our social values through destroying traditional marriage and legalizing heroin. Wrong again.  What Ron Paul has consistently advocated is taking power away from politicians and bureaucrats in the nation’s capital and returning this power to the states.  Just because we want the federal government to do one thing or another, doesn’t that desire allow us to circumvent the Constitution?  After all, are we not a nation of laws?

Let’s look at the question in another light.  To use Virginia as an example, who has defended our Judeo-Christian values better, D.C. or Richmond?  Which has produced greater restrictions on abortion?  Which has enshrined the traditional definition of marriage in its constitution?  Under federalism, conservative states, like Virginia, can offer their citizens a more upright society, while more liberal states, like Nevada or Vermont, provide outlets for sins of the flesh.  Is your state too liberal or conservative?  The proper remedy is to lobby your elected officials in your state capitol or move to a state more suited to your point of view rather than ram your social values, or lack thereof, down the throats of every citizen of the U.S. of A.

Those points aside, Malagisi then goes on to discuss the three most recent Republican nominees for President as “proper Republicans”.  But were they?  I maintain that Bob Dole and John McCain lost, not because they weren’t Republican enough (whatever that supposedly means), but because they could not appeal to all three kinds of Republicans.  Specifically, they were neither conservative nor libertarian enough.  As Malagisi points out, one of the reasons Bush won was that he advocated “a non-nation building approach”, an idea that resonated with most Republicans, like Paul and Johnson, who were weary of the multitude of Clintonesque adventures.  Then again, we saw how long Bush held true to these ideals.

Both Paul and Johnson are a welcome change to the current Republican politicians as usual who advocate a blend of fiscal irresponsibility, moral pandering absent any real commitment for meaningful legislation, wars without end, and the shredding of our Constitution.  Now, I will admit that Johnson is too libertarian for my tastes, after all, I am a social conservative.  However, with the recent debate as a guide, I would support him over Rick Santorum.  Although Santorum and I agree on many social issues, his statements in the debate lead me to fear that he would support an agenda more akin to fascism than liberty.

Despite what you may think from this post and others populating this blog, I am not a libertarian.  However, as a constitutional or paleo-conservative, I see libertarians as allies as we both seek to rein in the power of the federal government.  We can and do disagree on a number of social issues, like abortion and defending our borders, but the party should welcome these folks to counterbalance the Republicans who abandon any notion of limiting the power of government while Republicans reign.  After all, as the government continues to grow unabated, the greater fear is not having too much liberty, but having too little.  Still not convinced?  Remember that the idol of modern Republicanism, former President Ronald Reagan once said that, “the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism”.  If we punt Paul and Johnson off the team, we lose those whom Malagisi himself calls the first leg of Republicanism and, like in 1996 and 2008, the stool will collapse.

As Ron Paul’s viewpoints increase in popularity, it comes as no surprise that folks like Malagisi bash him as being a Democrat, even though such claims lack any merit.  Once you get beyond the surface, how many Democrats support reining in the power of the federal government, fiscal responsibility, a noninterventionist foreign policy, and states’ rights?  Can you name even one who embraces these platforms?  I maintain that unlike “mainstream” candidates, Ron Paul is a blend of all three legs of the Republican Party and should be treated likewise.  As I’ve explained above, shouldn’t Malagisi support Representative Paul given that the good doctor embodies Malagisi’s fundamental Republican principles of “individual freedom, limited government, free markets, a strong national defense, and preserving our traditional values and heritage”?

I would wager that either Malagisi is woefully ignorant of Paul and the conservative movement (unlikely) or he is a neoconservative who longs for the return to big government Republicanism.  Either way, I encourage my fellow traditional conservatives and libertarians to steer clear of his poisonous rhetoric.  Although he is welcome to his opinions, given his current political position, I fear how many other potential allies will become unknowingly tainted by his misguided and baseless words.

Update:  Fellow Jeffersoniad blogger Rick Sincere offers his take on Malagisi’s article here.

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Recently, while working, my thoughts drifted back to the Ron Paul campaign. The meetup group of Greenville, SC often met at a coffee/ice cream shop called Spill The Beans. In the early stages of the primary season, in order to get patrons into the spirit of the event, the shop offered various ice cream combinations based upon many of the candidates. Below were the six choices.

Giuliani, Paul, and Clinton

Giuliani, Paul, and Clinton


Romney, Obama, McCain

Romney, Obama, McCain

Some things you should note:
1. Yes, Rudy Giuliani did visit.
2. Unlike Fox News and the New Hampshire debates, this shop included Dr. Paul. Of course I ordered it…pretty tasty too.
3. Check out the price tag associated with Senator Clinton. Given the ingredient list and the price, I’m guessing they didn’t respect her much.
4. Whoops, misspelled the future president’s name.
5. John McCain’s special seemed about as appealing as his plan for government purchased mortgages. If you note, they say, “so far we’ve sold just one, to Mr. L. Graham of Oconee County”. For those unfamiliar with South Carolina politics, they are referring to Senator Lindsey Graham, one of Senator McCain’s biggest supporters in South Carolina and nationwide.

No great revelation here, just thought you might find these pictures interesting.

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With every new revelation offered by South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, I am continually amazed at the sheer audacity of his remarks. It seems to me that he has stuck his foot so deep in his mouth that he should be choking on leather. Perhaps some newcomers to this blog might find it strange to focus on Mark Sanford; after all, he is the Governor of South Carolina and not Virginia. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, Mark Sanford and I share many of the same political philosophies and he was (yes, was) my choice for the Republican nominee for President. Now that he has ensnared himself in this web of adultery, his support from people such as myself is quickly vanishing.

Rather than taking the traditional mea culpa: begging for forgiveness from his wife, his children, and his constituents, he instead goes so far as to call his mistress his “soul mate” and, though apparently grudgingly, concedes the need for reconciliation with his family. Even the sexual deviant, President Clinton, when caught both in an affair and lies associated with the event, pretended that he was sorry. However, this shocking twist clearly illustrates that despite his rhetoric, Mark Sanford’s primary motivation in life is the happiness of Mark Sanford, everyone and everything else be damned.

As I recall from the Monica Lewinsky scandal, many of Bill Clinton’s supporters argued, “what does his personal life have to do with his ability to perform his job?” Now, as both a social conservative and a Christian, I do expect our leaders to serve as moral examples to the general public. Don’t we seek the very best of us to guide and represent our interests in government? But, even if you disagree, I ask you, how can you trust a man who cheats on his own family? Don’t those very relatives rely on him far more than the voters of South Carolina can, or ever will? It is true that Mark Sanford has damaged and betrayed both the conservative movement and the people of South Carolina with his sin, however these marks pale in comparison to the damage inflicted upon his family. Governors come and go, and someone somewhere will claim the mantle of limited government conservatism for 2012; but the family unit is the bedrock foundation of our society, our religion, and our state. Therefore, until and unless Governor Sanford admits his guilt, turns away from his errant path, and seeks the forgiveness of his wife and his children, he will know neither true happiness nor peace. Will he rise above this wrongdoing? Or will he plunge further into the depths of selfishness? Therefore, I implore you, the reader, to pray for Mark Sanford and his family.

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This evening, I received a rather interesting email from the folks at Campaign for Liberty.  Embedded within were two video links from South Carolina politicians.  One is Senator Lindsey Graham and the other is Governor Mark Sanford.  The comments that they make really strike at the conflict over the future of the Republican Party.  Before I continue, you should watch both…


The first point I’ll make concerns Lindsey Graham.  Notice that when a member of the crowd calls him a hypocrite, he doesn’t deny the claim, only pointing out that “I’m a winner pal.”  Now perhaps he touches on the subject during the obvious gaps in footage, but don’t you think it strange that he immediately counters with such a line?  Is he saying, “I may be a hypocrite, but as long as I keep getting reelected, it doesn’t matter”?  Is that the kind of politician you want representing your interests in Washington?  Then he goes on to bash Libertarian ideas and calls himself a Republican.  Note that he doesn’t say he is a conservative, but simply a Republican.  He then touts the merits of winning.  Now, perhaps you might think from my earlier article, The Minority, that I hold winning in high esteem and that I dislike Libertarian ideas too.  It is true that winning is important.  If you are unable to achieve victory in an election then you will find it difficult, if not downright impossible to promote your philosophy and agenda.  However, one should never sell out one’s constituents or principles for the mere sake of victory.  If you do, then you seek to serve only yourself and your own ambitions.  As for our Libertarian friends, I would argue that I have more Libertarian leanings than your run-of-the-mill Republican.  You all have points with which I agree as well as ideas to which I am opposed.  Regardless of your own personal feelings about Libertarians, how many administrations, either Republican or Democrat, have actually successfully reduced the size and scope of the federal government?  As far as I can tell, these days it is all about advancing one facet of the government over another.  As either a Conservative or a Libertarian, doesn’t such a realization deeply disturb you?

Then, we have the response by Mark Sanford.  Unlike Graham, he embraces overarching Libertarian principles and is proud of the supposed slur.

Now, I’m not suggesting for a moment that the Libertarians and the Republicans merge, because there are a number of issues of great distinction between the two, especially when it comes to some important social issues.  But, I do think that the Republican Party must reclaim the mantle of fiscal responsibly and uphold the distinct rights of states and individuals made subservient to the federal government.  People like Governor Sanford display this conviction in both word and deed.  On the other hand, politicians like Senator Graham seem to concern themselves with maintaining their own power and advancing the federal government to suit their own designs.  Given a choice, I know which of the two I’d prefer leading both the Republican Party and the nation.

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