Opinion: Cain, Ron Paul and the Ever-Shifting GOP Sands

Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - 12:52 PM

Talk show host and conservative Herman Cain (Brendan Smialowski/Getty)

Romney and Perry? No! Ron Paul and Herman Cain

As we try desperately to make sense of the Republican search for a presidential candidate to beat President Obama each week seems to bring a new fork in the road.

We had just gotten used to Michelle Bachmann plunging and Rick Perry ascending. We were sure the die was cast and we were witnessing a two-man race between the former Massachusetts governor and the current Texas governor.

The suddenly, BAM! Herman Cain wins a Florida straw poll and Florida moves its primary up so we figger “Oh oh! The Tea party is restless and they want a non-politician businessman as their standard bearer.”

Now we are really confused because this weekend there was a new fork in the road at the Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit where over 3K social conservatives met to sell their merchandise, vet the contenders and vote in another straw poll.

And wouldn’t you know it they gave Ron Paul 37 percent of the vote, putting the Texas Congressman and doctor in first place! Of course, the media long ago decided that Paul is NOT going to be the GOP candidate for president and I’m betting that even is he were to get the nomination at the GOP national convention next year the media will still ignore him.

Regardless, Herman Cain came in second with 23 percent, which still puts him at the top in these tests of the Republican Party conservative base.

Now matters turn serious. Third place should have gone to one of the former top contenders Perry or Romney, but the surprise here was Rick Santorum with 16 percent! The former Pennsylvania Senator is a bonafide conservative, but he has almost disappeared from the radar. Now he came to annoy Rick Perry who places fourth with only eight percent (167) votes. And that after evangelical preacher Robert Jeffress gave Perry a big “atta boy” by labeling Mitt Romney’s religion a “cult” and saying he would never vote for anyone except a “real” Christian who has Jesus Christ in his heart. How’d that work out for ya Governor Perry?

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who has been labeled the new comeback kid scored three percent (not enough of a comeback I guess), but still managed to lead Michelle Bachmann in fifth and Mitt Romney in sixth with only 88 votes (which is half as many students as I have in my American govt class this semester. Pitiful) 

So what does this all mean? First, it means that the Republican base is still very uncertain about who they like best and they are changing their minds as they see more of the contenders.

Second, Iowa is not Florida; Florida is not South Carolina; New Hampshire is not Nevada (I think I have all the “early” primaries and caucuses accounted for.) That means there are regional differences that may present advantages for some of the candidates.

Third, the GOP political season is littered with special interest organizations that sometimes trump and overshadow the established GOP party organizations. As I watch all of this I’m again not sure that’s a good thing. The party leadership and organization tends to be pragmatic and focuses on picking someone who can actually win the general election in November of 2012.

The special interest groups, state caucuses, straw poll-meisters are often driven by a different agenda. While it’s admirable that we give passionate grass roots groups a real voice in the political process, that sometimes does not prove to be an effective strategy for choosing someone who needs to win the party base as well as a big chunk of independents.

Steffen W. Schmidt is University Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at Iowa State University and Chief Political Correspondent of Insider Iowa.


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Comments [31]

Scott Beutler from Seattle

It isn't enough to just vote for Ron Paul. We must also caucus for him to! Get elected to go to your county and state conventions. This is where we can make a HUGE difference! Know the process in your state and plan ahead. SPREAD THE WORD!!!

Oct. 18 2011 10:18 AM
Tom from USA

The media will always ignore Ron Paul because he threatens their wallet! That's why the media keeps abusing its power to lie and claim that he isn't electable, etc.

It's simply not true. Ron Paul is our best hope! Go read over his site! Please. Listen to him and all the videos out there. He's courageous and that's not easy in this world today. Do NOT let the media decide who becomes president.

Oct. 13 2011 02:43 PM
Harrison Bergeron from NYC

Ron Paul is the only politician on the national stage who is talking common sense and reason. Most of us don't bother with these things. He will never get a major party endorsement. I hope he runs as an independant.

Oct. 12 2011 10:32 PM
Steve in NY from LI NY

Attention NYers that are not registered to vote REPUBLICAN - Download and print this form and mail it out TODAY: - The deadline is this week! We need EVERYONE in NY to register republican to vote for Paul in the NY primaries. It takes 5 minutes and costs a single stamp. DO NOT LET THIS SLIP PAST! Do it today and spread the word AS FAST AS POSSIBLE.
This Friday, Oct 14th is the deadline!

Also consider donating to Pauls campaign on Oct 19th for the "black this out" money bomb protesting the medias refusal to cover Paul and their attacks.

Oct. 12 2011 11:11 AM
Joe from 32835

Please Remember To Vote for RON PAUL you must register Republican 31 days before the primary to be eligible to vote.

Oct. 12 2011 10:16 AM
Val from SC

Ron Paul will not "owe" anything to anyone, will stand by the legal citizens of this country, bring our troops home from places where our presence (in over 700 bases all over the world) is more of a threat than a detriment so that we can properly secure our borders and defend this country, end the ridiculous prohibition against marijuana which is a waste of money and full of HYPOCRISY, dissolve the IRS, decrease spending and stop the devaluation of the dollar. He WILL NOT LIE or go back on his promises. His record speaks for itself. It's time for that "revolution" Dr. Paul!!! I hope he takes the bull by the horns on the next debate and shows this country what a true candidate looks like. I want this country to be a DEMOCRACY again. Right now we are in the midst of a social republic.

Oct. 12 2011 09:22 AM
John Foster

Dear GOP-
Nominate Ron Paul or we will give you four more years of Obama. We are serious!

Oct. 12 2011 08:44 AM

im gonna vote for Ron Paul

Oct. 12 2011 04:35 AM

10.864 people have pledged to fight against the media blackout against Ron Paul on Oct 19th! Have you ? If you have, please ask others to do the same! We decide, not the media!

Oct. 12 2011 01:39 AM
Ron Paul 2012 from Texas

In the light of everything going on around the world and in this nation I would have thought all Americans would be behind a candidate like Ron Paul. I have even seen europeans blogging saying what is the matter with you Americans why in the world would you not vote for Ron Paul?

Oct. 12 2011 01:30 AM

We will get Ron Paul. We will flood your interviews, we will be the reply giver on your articales, we will take over occupy wall street, you will have to rig the election so hard it will cause revolt if you don't let us have our peaceful revolution. Its not the sixties we have the internet and your time is ending Ron Paul 2012

Oct. 12 2011 12:07 AM
TLR from Kentucky

America is tired of having the media choose our candidate. We the people are doing it this time, and we're choosing Ron Paul. He will win unless the election is fixed. I'm switching parties to vote for him.

Oct. 11 2011 10:10 PM

the real evil of the 9-9-9 plan; the national sales tax. Since
Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan is can’t be immediately instituted due to the
sheer size of our government. Herman Cain has created a series of
phases, that have, in my opinion a low probability of success. Initially
the 9-9-9 plan would be more like a 9-9-25 (or so) plan. So initially
we would need to begin with a National Sales Tax of 22-30% to fund our
government. Which would undoubtedly have detrimental effects on our
economy, as the author of the following scenario suggests.

“Generally, when you purchase a final,
refined good, you are paying for the raw materials that went into processing
it. So let’s use a hypothetical example and compare current tax law with Cain’s
9 / 9 / 9 plan.

current law: As a manufacturer, you go to purchase raw materials.
Suppose your Widget needs a stack of lumber that costs $1000. Because of state
sales tax, that lumber costs, on average, $1070. That cost is built into the
end price of the Widget.

Now, you
manufacture these widgets. To make up for the expense of the Widget, and to
ensure you’re making money to pay for labor, transportation, inspection,
regulation, etc. and profit, your final product costs $2000, and one of your
customers will pay $2140 it. Your customer has to get the Widgets to market,
and charges $3000, or $3210 with final state tax.

Under the
Cain 9% plan: Now the stack of lumber comes with a 16% tax on it (state’s
7% plus 9% for Federal), which makes the lumber cost $1160 for raw materials,
$2320 for the manufacturer, and $3480. Notice a few things here–

A) The
profit margin for the manufacturer has decreased. In order to make up for this,
his end product needs to be more expensive. So let’s call his end price to
market is $2410 to make up, just in revenue lost from paying the extra tax on
raw materials. Notice this now a 20.5% increase in price with built in
taxation– not 16% as figured from the state + the Cain 9%).

B) The end
distributor for customers now also has to make up for that increase in price,
so let’s put that new term at $3750 for recouping what was lost in tax before,
so the end price is now 25% higher. If this distributor is pushing items out to
stores for end-sales, we’re looking at a 30% increase in prices from a 9%
increase due to a NST.” – The Autopsy

middle class would suffer greatly from this while the rich would gain.

Cain is a sycophant He runs his big mouth about how has never held elected office, but the fact is he was APPOINTED to Chairman of the Kansas City FED which is a privately held financial terror machine of the elite oligarchy that has Americans under it's thumb.

END the FED!

Ron Paul 2012!

Oct. 11 2011 07:32 PM

The Following is What is Different and Better About Ron Paul Over All Others:

He has never taken a government junket.

He does not participate in the lucrative Congressional Pension Program.

He returns a portion of his annual Congressional Office Budget every

He has never voted to raise taxes.

He has never voted for an unbalanced budget.

He voted no to the bankster bailout.

He voted no to raising the debt ceiling and warned us against
the “Super Congress” part of the legislation that resembles both
an “ Enabling Act” and a “Politburo.”

He has never voted to restrict gun ownership.

He has never voted to raise Congressional Pay.

He never voted to increase Executive Branch Power.

He will Reinstate The Constitution and Save The Republic

He will END the unconstitutional FED.

He will phase out the unconstitutional IRS beginning immediately 

He will secure the borders

He will limit Big Government in your private affairs

He will stop Illegal immigration and no amnesty

He voted against regulating the Internet

He is the only candidate for President in 2012 who actually served his country.

He was a flight surgeon during Vietnam.

Ron Paul’s popularity is so high among U.S. service members that the Texas
 Congressman’s presidential campaign has received more money from U.S.
soldiers than any other candidate in the 2012 presidential race.

He voted against the Iraq War and warned us against going forward with
an undeclared war.“Let it not be said that no one cared, that
no one objected once it´s realized that our liberty and wealth are in
Jeopardy” July 10th, 2003

He voted against the unconstitutional and un-patriotic misnomered so called “Patriot Act”.

He supports a non-interventionist foreign policy yet a strong defense

He will end the inflation tax He is a true Constitutional

He would have soundly beat Obama in 2008 because Independents trust him and like him.

We could have had a V8 instead of McCain´t in 08

Ron Paul for President 2012

Because no one else can be trusted to say what he means and do what he says like Ron Paul does.

Ron Paul is the man of the hour. They used to laugh him for being way ahead
of the others in his thinking and his warnings. Now, they are not
laughing because what he predicted is coming to pass. Now, he is being called
a prophet for having warned us and still calmly suffered through the
barbs. "First they, ignore you, then they fight you, then you
win." Gandhi

When fascism goes to sleep it looks under the bed for Ron Paul.

Oct. 11 2011 07:17 PM
Dan from Vacaville, Ca

Ron Paul should win the nomination and everybody even the rich know it!

Oct. 11 2011 07:11 PM

The term 'buyer's remorse' is an understatement when describing Herman Cain. I have never, ever, seen a candidate for president who was more rude, arrogant, and condescending. Not to mention quasi-racist in his remarks that he would pre-judge all muslims as non-patriotic or biased. Geez.

I vote RON PAUL--first and foremost, I want the WARS to END so that the economy can recover. Let's fight in the commercial markets as opposed to the battlefield.

Oct. 11 2011 06:53 PM
Pip from Queens

I had no idea NYC had so many Paul supporters! Awesome comments! REMEMBER ONLY TWO DAYS LEFT TO REGISTER TO VOTE FOR THE PRIMARY!

Oct. 11 2011 06:17 PM

I have some experience in GOP Politics having worked in 3 Presidential Campaigns.They do not like primaries! The NY GOP kept Pat Buchanan off the ballot in '96 and tried to do it again in 2000.The establishment likes to anoint the standard bearer. They do not however like Romney.They view him as a dragon to slay.Each Knight they brought forth so far has failed to slay the dragon. Trump disappeared after Obama produced a birth certificate. Bachman melted away like Margaret Hamilton in the wizard of Oz.The Cowboy from Texas found out his gun was full of blanks and Christie is afraid of Dragons. That leaves Cain. As long as he stays viable there will be a primary season.
If he disintegrates the bosses will not let Paul fight it out with Romney. No they will declare Romney the nominee and demand that all party loyalists jump on Romney's wagon for the sake of unity. We Paul supporters need Cain to stay viable until New Hampshire or there will be no New Hampshire. The movement has already started: note Christie and Melendez endorsement of Romney.Christie was told "If you want a shot in 2016, do this for the Gipper"They've already given up slaying the Dragon. The only hope we have is to reach deep in our pockets for the Oct 19 money bomb and score an upset in Iowa or what looked like a long race will turn into a sprint.

Oct. 11 2011 05:59 PM
rob from florida

Ron Paul has started a movement. he may not win, but his ideas will (in the end.)

Rich and powerfulls can't stand him because following the constitution and ending the FED will stand in their way of empire (on the backs of the American taxpayer.)

America is at the crossroads; either a republic or empire. one is good for the common man, one is good for that 1% the Occupy Wall St has gone on about.

Once the Paulites educate the Left on what the left-leaning people actually want in terms of ending wars (drugs or arabs), ending bail-outs, and giving liberty to all, the nation has a chance to squeeze out that 1% and take the nation back.

Both the paulites and Left need to end the status-quo politics of division! We basically want the same thing; freedom!

Oct. 11 2011 04:40 PM

I think the powers that be would be happy enough with Cain. That's what troubles me. He was "their man" as a member of the Federal Reserve Board of Kansas City, he favored the TARP bailout, he's not worried about civil liberties erosion by TSA or Homeland Security, he thinks we ought to continue as the world's policeman. Although he is dynamic and says some of the things we want to hear I think he's a big case of buyers' remorse waiting to happen.

Oct. 11 2011 04:39 PM

If Cain says "first, identify the problem" one more time I will scream. I'm serious.

Oct. 11 2011 03:52 PM
KS Sandhu from California,USA

Ron Paul is the SPIRIT of our Nation today,Let the SPIRIT of our great nation rise high.
All others are stooges of current status quo,all they do is flip-flop the words to win..if they succeed in fooling us again..then..
1.Soldiers will keep on dying,injured on foreign lands..their families will fall/suffer..
2.Banks will not participate in true revival of economy..hide their misdeeds..
3.Lobbyists will laugh to their vacation islands/yatchs..
4..Much more..

Oct. 11 2011 03:16 PM

Excellent op-ed, Steffen.

"So what does all this mean?"

It means the American people are waking up! It means people are unwilling to let the mainstream media or party leadership choose the next status quo nominee. The electorate is finally seeing right through the trite soundbytes from the pretty-haired, plastic, special interest puppets (of BOTH parties). People are tired of the endless wars, bank bailouts, money printing, debt accumulation, and erosion of our basic liberties.

Ron Paul's plan is to reverse our course. He's ignored, not because his ideas are "fringe," but because he uses the Constitution as his authority, which today (222 years since it's adoption) represents a threat to a whole lot of powerful individuals.

Oct. 11 2011 02:53 PM


Oct. 11 2011 02:33 PM
heatwave from tahoe

the more the media ignore ron paul, the less relevant they become...

Oct. 11 2011 02:32 PM
benjamin from Minnesota

Yes! Ron Paul!

Oct. 11 2011 02:11 PM
lovecookie from Boston

Mr. Cain, catchy slogans will only get you so far.

Here's one for you... Herman Cain't.

Anybody in the mood for a pepperoni pizza???

Oct. 11 2011 02:10 PM

the establishment uses polls to manufacture public-opinion. they think you're an idiot.

Oct. 11 2011 01:50 PM
nader paul kucinich gravel mckinney baldwin from Heartland

Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Herman Cain

flavor of the month
flash in the pan

Oct. 11 2011 01:39 PM

Cain will likely drop once people pay attention to his policies. Everyone is excited because he has a great resume, but few could be excited about what he stands for.

Will cain...
Bring the troops home?  No ( more wars will be coming )
Audit or end the FED? No ( more printing money for the bankers and less for you and I )
Restore lost civil liberties under Bush and Obama?  No ( expansion of tyranny continues )
Support the constitution?  No ( he doesn't even make it a point )
Restore disparity between 1% and 99%? No ( he says he doesn't even understand the OWS protests)

Is Cain our economic savior?
Cain has repeatedly said our economy is strong just before the economy takes another dip downward.

Is Cain consistent?  Can he be trusted to even support his own policies?  No
The list of flip flops on policy already:
Federal Reserve Audit:
Debt Ceiling:
Killing of Anwar Al-Awlaki:
Muslims to Serve in Government:
Israel/Palestinian States:
Iraq Withdrawal:
Supporting TARP: 

Only Ron Paul can answer yes to today's most important issues.
Only Ron Paul predicted our economic problems many years in advance.  Cain never saw it coming.
Only Ron Paul is consistent and can be trusted to even do what he says.

Oct. 11 2011 01:34 PM

You've got your definitions mixed up.

Ron Paul is a real conservative.
Santorum is a chickenhawk neocon.

Oct. 11 2011 01:32 PM

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