Ron Paul on Jay Leno

Here’s the video.


Anarchy in the USA: Ron Paul and the Sex Pistols on Jay Leno Tonight

…in just a few minutes.

Update: see the comments for some reactions. I’m sure YouTube video will be circulating before too long. Actually, it’s up now, though it might be taken down quickly if the Tonight Show lawyers get wind of it. Hat tip to Jackson posting at Reason for the link.

Update 2: here’s Jesse Walker’s take on the Sex Pistols’ bit.

Allen Dulles’s Family Jewels

The New York Times has dedicated a blog to the many accounts of spying on Americans, wiretapping journalists, consorting with the mob, breaking and entering, plotting assassinations, and other varieties of skulduggery found in the CIA’s “family jewels” file. So far the family jewels–unsurprisingly–have revealed very little that wasn’t wasn’t already known. NYT reporter Tim Weiner, whose Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA is the one of the most important books that’s been published this year, is among the bloggers.

The Chickenhawks’ Candidate

Gee, guess who it is?

Then again, all of the top-tier Republicans are neocon favorites, as Bill Kristol says:

“I would say, as a card-carrying member of the neoconservative conspiracy,” said William Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard, “that I think Giuliani, McCain and Thompson are all getting really good advice — and Romney.” Mr. Kristol said that none of the leading Republican candidates “buy any of these fundamental criticisms that Bush took us on a radically wrong path, and we have to go to a pre-9/11 foreign policy.”

The Worst Republican Ticket

My liveblogging of the Florida Republican debate is here.

The results of Fox’s post-debate poll — Paul leading, followed by Huckabee, then Giuliani, with the rest in single digits — have prompted me to realize something that I should have considered earlier: Huckabee’s rise is coming at the expense of Thompson and Romney.  That makes sense, since the Values Voters are the key Republican demographic who so far have not had a dog in this fight and have heretofore been splitting their vote (one imagines, anyway) between Romney, Thompson, and the Huck.

So I’m now thinking Huck will do very well in Iowa and be a contender in other primaries.  Romney and Thompson will continue to hamper each other, with Huck also detracting from their momentum.  It makes the scenario I’ve been predicting — a Giuliani nomination with Huck as veep — even likelier.

For Romney to move ahead, he’ll need to win both Iowa and New Hampshire and beat Giuliani in South Carolina or Florida.  And even that might not do it: Giuliani might be able to survive trailing in the early states if he can win Florida, as long as there’s no single consensus candidate by that point — that is, as long as Thompson, rather than Romney, wins South Carolina and Giuliani finishes respectably.

The Washington Times calls Giuliani’s strategy “riksy.”  National Journal, on the other hand, offers an analysis similar to my own. It’s not that Giuliani is the first choice of most Republican constituencies, it’s that none of his opponents has a bigger geographic base.  Certainly Romney doesn’t; Thompson potentially could, but he’s barely a contender in Iowa and New Hampshire, and unless he can beat Giuliani in both South Carolina and Florida, he’ll be heading into Feb. 5 with very little momentum.

A further point that suggests Giuliani is going to get the nomination is that he continues to be seen by Republicans as the candidate most likely to beat Hillary.  The focus group of zombies that Frank Luntz assembled to evaluate the Republican debate tonight thought so, and they didn’t get behind anyone else as a consensus choice for the nomination.

To keep the values voters base happy and head off a third-party threat, as well as to diversify the ticket’s geographic appeal, I can certainly see Giuliani picking the Huck as a veep.

It would, of course, be the worst Republican ticket of all, since it would combine the socially liberal Giuliani with the economically liberal Huckabee, the union sealed with a commitment to continuing Bush’s failed foreign policy.  And I can certainly see Giuliani giving in to Huckabee’s health-nut desires to run everybody’s diet.  It would be the one thing that could make Giuliani’s police-state authoritarianism even worse: adding a fundamentalist and calorie-counter component to it.

First We Take Manhattan

New Yorkers have until Friday to switch their party registrations over to the GOP if they want to vote for Ron Paul in the Feb. 5 primary.  I hope a great many Democrats and independents will do so, because something rather exciting could happen in New York and other East Coast states where Giuliani holds double-digit leads (such as New Jersey and Pennsylvania).  The other “top tier” candidates in those states poll in the single digits; Romney and Thompson aren’t going to waste any resources trying to win Giuliani’s strongholds.  But that means these other top tier candidates barely poll better than Ron Paul–they’re much closer to Paul than they are to Giuliani.  If Paul’s volunteers can make a concerted effort, they might very well be able to pull off a few upsets, raising Paul to second place.  If Paul finished in the top three in New Hampshire and can win second place in states like New York and New Jersey, he’ll come out of super-duper Tuesday on Feb. 5 with almost as much momentum as Thompson (assuming Thompson cleans up in the South) and more momentum than Mitt Romney.  The political establishment will have conniptions.

Romney’s problem is that he’s invested so heavily in Iowa and New Hampshire that no one is going to be surprised if he wins them.  And if he doesn’t win them both, his bid will be crippled: all those months of campaigning and millions spent will have failed to build or buy a movement.  Even if Romney does win both, where does he go after that?  Thompson and Giuliani are both ahead of him in South Carolina and Florida.  Michigan is more of a contest: if Romney can win that, he’ll have legs.  But he’s at a disadvantage nationwide against Giuliani and Thompson, each of whom has a serious and somewhat committed regional base, as Giuliani’s huge, Hillary-like leads on the East Coast suggest.  I’ve been saying that Giuliani will be the nominee in part because I think Romney will drain just enough support from Thompson to give Giuliani an edge, but it’s hard to say: the South has a lot of delegates, including super-delegates and various bonuses for voting so heavily Republican.  I haven’t crunched the numbers taking into account how delegates are divided up in different states.  But on a blind guess, it doesn’t seem at all so unlikely that Giuliani and Thompson may split the delegates nearly evenly, with Romney–and maybe even Paul–holding the decisive balance.  All the politicos say there couldn’t be a brokered convention, but I think there could be: delegates can be obstreperous, after all, even now, and if Giuliani and Thompson are close, unruly delegates could wreak havoc on the convention.  It’s another fun scenario, anyway.

On an unrelated note, my liveblogging of yesterday’s Republican economic-issues debate in Dearborn, Michigan is available here.

Rash Predictions

How well can Ron Paul do? Here’s a fun scenario. With $5.3 million in the bank now and a fundraising target of $12 million for the fourth quarter, Paul will be able to spend competitively in the early primary states, especially New Hampshire, which already has a libertarian culture, a strong antiwar backlash (even within the GOP), and the Free State Project. I think Paul will finish in the top three in New Hampshire, ahead of two of the big four (Giuliani, Romney, McCain, Thompson). He’ll beat McCain, knocking him out of the race, and Thompson, who will find his campaign on life support going into Feb. 5’s super-duper Tuesday primaries. Romney will win Iowa but lose New Hampshire and won’t win Florida or South Carolina. Thompson might win South Carolina, but not Florida. Going into Feb. 5, Giuliani will be the Republican frontrunner by default–he’ll pick up more support from McCain’s collapse–yet the floundering Romney and Thompson campaigns will hang on, with Paul picking up momentum the whole time, as the clearest and brightest alternative to Giuliani.

I think the likely outcome is that Giuliani picks up the GOP nomination and chooses Huckabee as his running mate. This will actually accentuate the weaknesses of both candidates: Huckabee’s fiscal liberalism and Giuliani’s corruption and social liberalism. There’ll be massive conservative and libertarian demand for a third-party alternative. Will Paul run? He’s been saying he won’t, and I believe he doesn’t want to. But he might very well think the Republic deserve another choice besides Hillary and Giuliani, and there might be popular enough by the summer to warrant taking a shot.

My prediction all along has been, and still is, that Hillary will run away with the Democratic nomination and with the election. I don’t think it matters who the Republicans nominate (unless it’s Paul) or whether or not there’s a third party draining votes from the GOP. For conservatives, the best outcome would indeed be a third party making a challenge to the GOP, because that would force the Republicans to come to grips with the consequences of betraying their vaunted principles. Not that I expect any soul-searching inside the GOP to amount to much, but at least there’ll be the potential for a shake-up and deck-clearing, which is what the Right needs.

If I had to give odds, though, I’d say Paul won’t run on a third-party ticket. And, while the odds are against him winning the GOP nomination, it’s not at all impossible–not if conservatives actually vote for the small-government they always claim to believe in.