A Public Policy Polling survey released Monday showed Paul moving to the head of the pack in Iowa, where the delegate selection begins on January 3. The PPP poll shows Paul with 23 percent and Romney in second place with 20 percent of likely voters. Gingrich, who until quite recently had been considered the frontrunner in the Hawkeye State, fell into third place with just 14 percent, a drop of 13 points in just three weeks, according to PPP surveys. A Rasmussen poll released early last week showed Paul moving up on Gingrich for second-place in New Hampshire, where former Massachusetts Governor and part-time New Hampshire resident Mitt Romney still holds a sizable lead. The Rasmussen survey showed Romney with the support of 36 percent of likely voters, Gingrich with 22 percent and Paul at 18 percent. A Suffolk University poll released last Wednesday, however, showed former Utah Governor and Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman moving past Paul into third place among likely New Hampshire primary voters.
The volatility of the polls notwithstanding, Paul's support has been growing steadily since last summer when he claimed second place in the Ames, Iowa Straw Poll, finishing just 152 votes behind Iowa native and Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. He has been drawing large and enthusiastic crowds and generating a buzz on the campaign trail. There was no shortage of Paul supporters in the studio audience of NBC's The Tonight Show Friday, when Jay Leno introduced the candidate to a standing ovation. Paul drew enthusiastic applause several times during the interview, most emphatically when he stated his goal of eliminating the Federal Reserve. Leno's next guest, Joe Rogan of TV's Fear Factor, came on wearing a Ron Paul shirt and stating unequivocally his support for the candidate. Later Paul quipped that Rogan “has agreed to be my running mate.”
The editorial in the New Hampshire Sunday News (the Sunday edition of the Union Leader) took Paul to task for wanting to close America's vast network of military bases around the world and bring the troops home. A previous editorial by the Union Leader argued that bringing the troops home would leave them without jobs, overlooking the fact that our military has not a few bases here in “the homeland” where the troops could be deployed, perhaps even to help guard our own borders instead of those of other nations. And they would be spending money here in the United States instead of overseas, thereby giving a boost to our domestic economy.
The editorial complains there is “no way” a President Paul could get his first-year goal of $1 trillion in budget cuts through the Congress. Perhaps he can't. But he might get some of it through. How much budget cutting might we expect from Mr. Gingrich, Freddie Mac's favorite “historian”? Gingrich admits receiving $1.6 million in fees from that Government Sponsored Enterprise. He says he would break “Freddie” and its counterpart, Fannie Mae, into smaller units, when they should be simply abolished. Michele Bachmann noted in last Thursday's Iowa debate that when she was trying in Congress to kill the agencies that did so much to create the mortgage crisis, Gingrich “had his hand out” taking money from one of them.
Paul promises to eliminate five cabinet departments. “But when we pressed him on this point in an interview, he acknowledged that he would keep many of these departments' functions,” the editorial said. Well, wouldn't it be worthwhile to get rid of at least some of the bureaucracy? Wasn't that what lay behind conservative opposition to the creation of a new cabinet-level Department of Education in the latter years of the Carter administration? The federal government, under the previous department of Health, Education and Welfare, had been performing some of the same functions for years. But making Education a stand-alone department created a whole new and expensive bureaucracy — one that a freshman representative from Georgia named Newt Gingrich voted for.
But what seems to bother the Union Leader/Sunday News most is Paul's stubborn refusal to join the drumbeat for a military confrontation, quite possibly leading to a full-scale war, with Iran over that country's alleged attempt to produce a nuclear weapon. “Paul is so deluded by his orthodoxy that he refuses to see the serious threat posed to this country by radical Islamists, including the ones who control the government of Iran,” the editorial claims. Paul has noted that the mass hysteria being stirred up now against Iran bears a striking resemblance to the warnings about the “weapons of mass destruction” that were never found in Iraq — warnings that were echoed, it should be noted, in the New Hampshire Union Leader/Sunday News. It only took countless lives and perhaps as much as a trillion dollars to discover the claim was bogus.
Should we now be willing, as Gingrich and other war hawks are, to go to war with yet another country in the tinder box known as the Middle East over what that country may or may not do with weapons it may or may not have at some point in the near or distant future? According to a timeline recently published in the Christian Science Monitor, alarms about Iran and the nuclear bomb it still doesn't have were sounded as far back as the 1970s. Jane's Defence Weekly quoted a warning from West German intelligence sources that Iran's production of a bomb “is entering its final stages” — in 1984. We might wonder if those were the same “West German intelligence sources” that nearly 20 years later passed on information about a biological weapons program, obtained from a worker in an Iraqi defense plant — who turned out to be a fraud.
“Paul has some good points about federal spending and has been consistently pro-life,” the paper concedes. “As a presidential candidate, he has been useful in pulling others toward the smaller-government end of the Republican spectrum.” (Where Newt isn't, it should be noted.) “But as a contender for the presidency, he simply is not credible.”
The New Hampshire Union Leader and New Hampshire Sunday News were beating their editorial tom-toms for the Iraq War in 2003. Now they tell us Ron Paul is “deluded” and “not credible.” It's a pity there's no Pulitzer Prize for chutzpah.