This weekend saw a convergence in Washington, DC of roughly 3,400 social conservative Republicans at a conference sponsored by the Family Research Council, the American Family Association, Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University and related organizations that has been dubbed the Values Voter Summit, where GOP presidential contenders strut their social conservative stuff like peacocks on a metaphorical catwalk in an effort to woo enough votes to win the straw poll conducted at the close of the final day’s transactions.
In a setting such as this one, where a relatively thin slice of the Republican demographic pie is represented, one would ordinarily expect the most socially conservative candidate (i.e., pro-life, pro-family values, anti-gay marriage, etc.) to prevail.
That wasn’t the case this time around: Dr. Ron Paul, a quasi-Libertarian, Republican Congressional Representative from Texas and full-time loon managed to garner a whopping 37% of the 1,983 votes cast in the straw poll. Herman Cain garnered second place with 23%, followed by Rick Santorum with 16%, Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry tied at 8%, Mitt Romney at 4% and Newt Gingrich at 3%. One percent of the voters were undecided. Jon Huntsman received no votes at all.
So how did Uncle Ron pull it off? After all, this is the same Ron Paul who has no problem legalizing all narcotic drugs (including heroin), who favors the wholesale legalization of prostitution, who is indifferent to same-sex marriage and who, as a general rule, does not support legislating morality – although he does make an exception for abortion, which he opposes.
According to the Christian Science Monitor:
Paul sounded a biblical theme throughout – from Samuel and Isaiah in the Old Testament to Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, from his pro-life stance on abortion as an obstetrician who’s delivered 4,000 babies to how “in the early church, they talk about being very careful about going into war.”
“We are taught in the New Testament about caring for the poor and caring for our families and our neighbors and friends. But never did Christ say, you know, let’s go and lobby Rome to make sure we’re taken care of. It was a personal responsibility for us,” he said. “Christ was confronted at one time by a prostitute, but he didn’t call for the centurions. He didn’t call for more laws. But he was very direct and thought that stoning was not the solution to the problem of prostitution.”
Actually, Christ was never confronted by a prostitute, but rather, by those who were going to stone her to death, a punishment still meted out to this day in Iran – a jihadist Islamic nation whose imminent development of nuclear weaponry does not appear to trouble Dr. Paul.
As for the stoning of the prostitute, Christ did not give a discourse on the proper place of government in our lives, but a stinging rebuke of the hypocrisy that lurked in the hearts of her persecutors then and all of us now: hypocrisy that takes many forms under many circumstances – for example, Rep. Ron Paul loudly braying that he is a strict constitutionalist and fiscal hyper-conservative even as he buried his snout in the Congressional pork trough to the tune of $400 million in earmarks for his district.
I’m certain that many – if not most – of the attendees at the Values Voter Summit are aware of these facts, which leaves me wondering how in hell Uncle Ron snagged 733 votes out of 1,983 – but not wondering for long:
In a press conference following the announcement of the straw poll results at the annual Washington gathering of social conservatives, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins all but dismissed the results as irrelevant, citing 600 people who registered Saturday morning and, he said, “left after Ron Paul spoke.”
A total of 1,983 ballots were cast. “You do the math,” Perkins said.
Well, I did the math. It appears that of the 733 votes garnered by Uncle Ron, 600 were most likely cast by a fanatical fringe known as Paulbots. Who are these Paulbots?
Anthony Del Pellegrino lends some insight:
While Paul certainly has support from women and people older than 30, the majority of his base are men below that age. And his support among both men and women progressively declines from the age of 27 and up. In other words, most of Ron Paul’s support comes from the very kids that you see on MTV during Spring Breaks specials at Senor Frogs in Cancun, or surrounding a stage on Miami Beach while drinking beer through funnels and flailing their bootie hands about to Fifty Cent’s latest rap about those he deems as bitches and hos…
While Ron Paul’s message about freedom and liberty has a certain basic truth about it, the extent to which he exagerates some of those truths, provides the counter-cultural, anti-authority, impulses of the youngest generations with what they try to make a courageous stand for freedom and a reason to defy authority. What they do with Ron Paul’s message is say “Yeah, that’s right. Government has no right to tell me what to do”.
All of which leads us back to the straw poll. If we subtract the 600 vote outlier caused by the Paulbot eruption, the total number of votes drops to 1,383. Here is the corrected tally for the Values Voter Summit straw poll:
When you account for the lunacy of the Paulbot fringe and subtract it from any poll tally, Dr. Paul rarely rises above the 10% mark – and fittingly so, because he does NOT represent the consensus of mainstream Reaganite conservatism in the GOP today.
And yet, strangely enough, NJ State Senator Mike Doherty (a member of the Conservative Leadership Caucus and potential GOP challenger to incumbent U.S. Senator Robert Menendez) endorses Ron Paul for the Republican presidential nomination. What’s up with THAT?