A Little Bit of Huckabee Love

Huckbee, ClintonWhile sorting some old papers today, I came across this item from the 2008 Republican presidential primaries.  Although I don’t believe that this flyer was ever distributed to the public, it is likely one of the most amusing pieces of literature to come out of the Ron Paul campaign.

To offer a bit of background regarding its creation, in early 2008, there was a fear that Mike Huckabee would emerge as the Republican nominee.  After all, Mr. Huckabee won the Iowa caucuses with a strong plurality, 34% to second place Mitt Romney’s 25%.  Rush Limbaugh echoed this concern when he said, “I’m here to tell you, if either of these two guys (Huckabee or McCain) get the nomination, it’s going to destroy the Republican Party, it’s going to change it forever, be the end of it.”  If Huckabee could capture the socially conservative South Carolina, that win would provide him with considerable momentum and could propel him to victories in future contests.

The image is priceless.  If you recall, Mike Huckabee served as the 44th governor of Arkansas while Bill Clinton was the 42nd.  The picture suggests that Huckabee, looking for guidance, turns to his predecessor and is rewarded with a smirk and a thumbs up thus giving him the Clinton seal of approval.  Given that many social conservatives viewed Huckabee favorably, if one were to tie him to the morally bankrupt Clinton, it may cause many of them to have second thoughts about supporting him in the South Carolina primary.

Unfortunately for the Paul campaign, due to the previous poor results of Iowa (where he finished fifth), New Hampshire (another fifth place finish), Michigan (where he finished fourth), and the one bright spot of Nevada (where he claimed second), it seemed highly unlikely that Ron Paul would be able to post huge numbers in the next contest, South Carolina.  Therefore, if Paul couldn’t win the state, one theory emerged to work to weaken one of the candidates who might win the state (in this case Huckabee).  Doing so could prolong the process and allow Ron Paul to gain a much needed victory in a later state.

At the end of the day, John McCain defeated Mike Huckabee to capture the lion’s share of the delegates from South Carolina.  Although Huckabee did end up winning a handful of southern and border states in later contests, his defeat in South Carolina likely eliminated any chance that he had of becoming the Republican nominee.

Although the piece pictured at the beginning of this article would have had no effect on the outcome in the 2008 South Carolina primary as it was not distributed, it does highlight the growing fear, at the time, of a Huckabee nomination.  It is simply another interesting tidbit of our political history.

The Music of Ron Paul

Regardless of whether you care for Representative Ron Paul or not, you do have to admit that he enjoys a legion of loyal followers who express their support in a variety of creative ways.  More impressive still is the fact that they are completely independent of the official campaign.  While some methods are clever and innovative, like the Ron Paul blimp, others are merely bizarre.  Unfortunately, a few are counterproductive to his election chances.

One important fact to remember in all of this is that Ron Paul supporters are not a monolithic group.  They include folks from all walks of life and various political persuasions.  Although we can (and do) disagree among ourselves, we are all bound by an ideological thread to the Texas doctor.  But I digress…

Getting back to my original point of supporter created material, I’d like to share two songs written by professional musicians and Ron Paul supporters during the 2007-08 campaign.  The first is by Rick Ellis, a Frank Sinatra impersonator out of California.  The second is by Aimee Allen, another singer/song writer out of Los Angeles.  Although there are numerous sub par examples out there, I think both of these are quite good.

As you listen to them, I’d like you to ponder this thought.  How many other candidates, Republican, Democratic, or otherwise, have such a devoted following to write music singing their praises?

I hope you enjoy!

Note:  While Aimee Allen’s song is available on iTunes, Rick Ellis’ is free on his website.  Also, if you know of any more good examples, please let me know and I’ll add them here.

Special thanks to Joel for reminding me of Allen’s effort.

The R3volution: Two Years Later

Let me start with some background.  After finishing my work for a pro-life organization in the state of Tennessee, I faced a tough dilemma.  What would I do next?  What about working for a presidential campaign?  After all, I had been rigorously volunteering for political campaigns for about a decade at that point, and in the last election I had the opportunity to work for the Republican Party of Virginia.  But which one was best?  For starters, the candidate had to be completely conservative both socially and fiscally.  One thing was certain; I wasn’t about to offer my services to any sort of pro-choice politician, no sir.   In addition, I had become increasingly frustrated with a growing number of Republicans over their apparent abandonment of the principles of a constitutional, limited government (George W. Bush anyone?).  And so I researched.  One candidate far and away drew my attention…Congressman Ron Paul of Texas.  Sure, I had heard of him, but I didn’t really know too much about him.  After all, with 435 members in the House of Representatives, who can keep track of them all?  Many fellow Republicans regarded him with derision calling him Dr. No due to his track record of voting against so many bills.  But the more I read, the more I liked.  Unlike so many other members of Congress, he consistently voted in accordance with the Constitution, even though doing so meant he wouldn’t bring home pork to his constituents.  He opposed tax increases; he favored state rights, slashing spending, and the elimination of many federal programs, departments, and agencies.  Although heavily controversial, he also opposed the conflict in Iraq, a big selling point for me.  Even though I was, and still am, leery of the legalization of many types of drugs, he was right, it was a state issue, not a federal one.  He represented, in my mind, the true ideals of the Republican Party and conservatism.  My goal was clear.  I had to promote Ron Paul aggressively.  I had to work for his campaign.

Trying to get employment with the Ron Paul campaign was a difficult task, a job in and of itself.  I called weekly and spammed the campaign with email.  Finally, when I heard a Ron Paul campaign staffer would be in Winchester, I hopped in my car and headed north.  It took months, but my determination finally paid off and I was soon headed to South Carolina.  This effort was not simply another campaign, but a revolution.  Although I can’t find a backwards l or a proper backwards e on my keyboard, you could often find signs that read, “Ron Paul Revolution” with a backwards e and l so you could simultaneously see the words revolution and love written backwards.  In many ways, we were just that, a nonviolent revolution.  Although we certainly wanted to win the primaries, we had an objective much more far reaching than a single election.  Our goal was the hearts and minds of the average citizens of America.  Some people treated us with skepticism; others, like Rudy Giuliani, rudely and openly mocked our principles.  But, we labored on, never second-guessing the importance of our cause, winning converts slowly but surely.  Unfortunately we didn’t win South Carolina.  Then again, the campaign didn’t win a single state.  Some people might view such a result as a failure, but we knew better.  After the South Carolina primary, I had hoped to continue on with the campaign to my home state of Virginia, but fortune had other plans.  Even though I was sidelined, a spectator, that didn’t stop me from cheering as loudly as I could.

During the primaries, Rush Limbaugh mentioned that the nomination of John McCain would destroy the Republican Party.  Now, if John McCain had actually won the election, I think Rush would have been right.  Given his plethora of non-conservative tendencies, we would be a party without a clear ideological direction, leaderless.  Although not necessarily as a result of, but definitely concurrent with, the election of Barack Obama, conservative activists began to rise in great numbers in opposition.  Even though I do not have the specific data in hand at the moment, a majority of Virginia Republicans viewed Ron Paul unfavorably in 2008.  By 2009, opinion had shifted greatly.  Had Ron Paul or his positions changed?  Not as far I as could tell.  One by one, activists and ordinary American have come to understand that maybe Ron Paul wasn’t a crazy tinfoil, hat-wearing lunatic.  Maybe the government had grossly overstepped its constitutional bounds.  Maybe we had to react now, before our liberties diminished further, before we totally become vassals of the state.  As proof of this trend, one only needs to look to rise of the tea party movement.  Although I can’t pinpoint the exact origins of this protest, I can easily see some roots from both the message and tactics of the Ron Paul campaign.  Conservatives of just about all stripes are fed up with the status quo, the steady lurches toward a socialistic nanny state, and demand a halt!  Many are discovering the merits of the 10th Amendment for the first time.

Although the Ron Paul campaign wrapped up back in 2008, I’m pleased to say that the movement has taken new forms, morphed to become useful post election.  The two largest and organized children are the Campaign for Liberty and Young Americans for Liberty.  Many of my former coworkers are heavily involved in these organizations.  I encourage you to visit their websites and learn more about them.  Take it from me; they are both worthy of your time, your money, and your support.  As history is still being written, it is impossible to gauge the full impact of the revolution, but in many ways Ron Paul could end up being the Barry Goldwater of this generation.  If you will recall, although he didn’t win the presidency himself, the movement that he started led to the rise and election of Ronald Reagan.  I will always respect Ron Paul and his followers for their devoted, principled stance and am pleased to count them as my allies.  Even if tomorrow is uncertain, two years later the R3volution lives on!

A Sweet Blast From The Past

Recently, while working, my thoughts drifted back to the Ron Paul campaign. The meetup group of Greenville, SC often met at a coffee/ice cream shop called Spill The Beans. In the early stages of the primary season, in order to get patrons into the spirit of the event, the shop offered various ice cream combinations based upon many of the candidates. Below were the six choices.

Giuliani, Paul, and Clinton
Giuliani, Paul, and Clinton

Romney, Obama, McCain
Romney, Obama, McCain

Some things you should note:
1. Yes, Rudy Giuliani did visit.
2. Unlike Fox News and the New Hampshire debates, this shop included Dr. Paul. Of course I ordered it…pretty tasty too.
3. Check out the price tag associated with Senator Clinton. Given the ingredient list and the price, I’m guessing they didn’t respect her much.
4. Whoops, misspelled the future president’s name.
5. John McCain’s special seemed about as appealing as his plan for government purchased mortgages. If you note, they say, “so far we’ve sold just one, to Mr. L. Graham of Oconee County”. For those unfamiliar with South Carolina politics, they are referring to Senator Lindsey Graham, one of Senator McCain’s biggest supporters in South Carolina and nationwide.

No great revelation here, just thought you might find these pictures interesting.