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Ron Paul 2012

December 14, 2011 by staff 

Ron Paul 2012, The recent Public Policy Polling survey of the political landscape in Iowa just weeks before the state’s first-in-the-nation caucus is causing quite a stir. With former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s boost of support dwindling and Ron Paul surging (and Paul having the organization and momentum to carry the day) Republicans are bracing for a Ron Paul win. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, the conversation has turned not to what this means for the GOP and the 2012 election but the dubious future of Iowa’s already precarious first-in-the-nation status.
National Review’s Jim Geraghty writes “while I have no particular beef with Iowans, I find the state and its near-isolationist, agriculture-driven, almost communitarian political culture far from ideal to play such a pivotal role in the nomination process. So in a strange way, seeing Ron Paul win Iowa would be just peachy from where I sit.”

Chris Cillizza notes in his column at WaPo that “A Paul victory there, while intriguing and a case study for political scientists for years to come, would almost certainly mean that the real race for the nomination begins a week later in New Hampshire.”

On Monday, the Washington Post examined the decreasing importance of the Hawkeye State’s vote, nothing that candidates are spending far less time and money in that state unless, like for former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum or Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), the state is part of a strategic shot of adrenaline needed to keep donations coming in throughout the long primary season.

The report by Dan Balz quotes Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad worrying aloud about the diminished importance of the state’s caucus. “We worry about that just like we worry about the price of corn,” Branstad said. His jocular tone betrays the genuine concern he is expressing over the future of the caucus which, every four years, provides a much-needed injection of capital into his state.

Romney has provided the model that scares Branstad most; should he come in third place or better in that state, the lack of time and money he invested in Iowa could prompt future candidates to emulate his moderate success while they focus on the primary states.

While the conversation about Iowa’s future is surely driven partially by traditional conservative voter’s genuine fear over a number of policy proscriptions espoused Paul, and his seeming resistance to the ideological flexibility required of a president in office and not of a campaigner, there is merit to the argument that Iowa simply does not matter as much as it did 20 or even 10 years ago.

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