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Monday, May 9, 2011

Juan Williams: Ron Paul driving the Republicans' 2012 White House campaign

Is anyone noticing the difference in attention Ron Paul is getting this time around? This will make a HUGE difference for the results in Republican Primaries across the country. The mainstream media is not only paying the Congressman from Texas a level of attention merited by his fund raising success, impeccable record, conservative credentials, and poll numbers (instead of ignoring him as much as they could get away with like last time around), they are according him a great deal of respect, listening closely to his economic analysis, and frequently referring to him as the "Godfather of the Tea Party movement" (which he is).

Now Juan Williams, one of the moderators at the Fox News Republican debate in South Carolina, has penned this excellent piece about Ron Paul:

Here’s a news bulletin — it is becoming increasingly clear that we are living in a time when Republican politics are being shaped by a 75-year-old, 12-term Texas congressman with a son in the Senate. And incredibly, it is no longer out of the realm of possibility that this outcast of the GOP establishment may win the party’s presidential nomination.

If you have not been paying attention, it is time to look around and realize that we are living in the political age of Rep. Ron Paul.

A CNN/Opinion Research poll released late last week shows Paul faring the best against President Obama of any potential Republican candidate. He trails the president by only 7 points, 52-45 percent, in a head-to-head matchup. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee trails by 8 points, with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney down 11 points to Obama.

In February, Paul won the presidential straw poll at the Conservative Action Conference for the second straight year.

Last Thursday, the day of the first GOP debate, one of Paul’s fabulously-labeled “money bombs” exploded with the announcement of $1 million in contributions for the Paul campaign.

The Tea Party, which drove the GOP to claim a majority of the House in the mid-term elections, grew largely out of the ashes of his 2008 presidential campaign, which emphasized limited government and a return to constitutional principles. Since then, the Tea Party has bullied the Republican leadership in the House to force budget cuts at the risk of shutting down the government and collectively become the most persistent critic of the Obama presidency on financial regulatory reform and health care.

The roots of all of this are in the libertarian mind of Rep. Paul.

Incredible, huh??

Blogger, JammieWearingFool disagrees, writing:

"Juan Williams is supposedly a learned member of the Washington press corps, a guy who should know better than to pen tripe like this. Anyone with functioning brain matter knows Ron Paul is just a gadfly who won't ever get more than a couple percentage points in any given primary...

Go back to 2008 and the factors cited by Williams also happened then. Then when the ballot boxes opened Paul was reduced to a footnote."

Just a gadfly who won't get more than a couple percentage points? To begin with, he already did get more than just "a couple percentage points" last primary. Admittedly, he didn't do very well, but he did better than just a couple percentage points, and he's poised to do better this time around.

Secondly, how does JammieWearingFool account for the recent CNN poll result? JWF says "the factors cited by Williams also happened [in 2008]," but that is not true of Paul's poll numbers, and I'm not talking about random, unscientific Internet polls that Ron Paul supporters are notorious for swarming, I'm talking about CNN's scientific poll, conducted by phone on a random sample of voters, which found Ron Paul has a better chance of beating Obama than any other GOP contender. That's different than last time around. And Ron Paul's second place favorability ratings in Iowa and New Hampshire show he's made inroads in these key states as well.

Finally, the really different thing that JWF does not account for is the very fact that Juan Williams is saying what he's saying. Media attention makes a huge difference. They mostly ignored or ridiculed Paul last time around. Now they're taking him seriously, which means that their viewers and readers are going to take him more seriously. Whatever factors cited by Juan Williams that may have been happening "then," the big difference is Juan Williams wasn't citing those factors then. He is now.

Hat tip: Memeorandum.

Wes Messamore,
Editor in Chief, THL
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