Ron Paul placed third in the Iowa Republican Caucuses, trialing closely behind Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum. The only antiwar candidate reaped tens of thousands votes in the first campaign event of the pro-war party.
Paul didn’t come in first place, due apparently to Romney’s “electability” and a mysterious and rapid surge from Santorum, who was the only candidate yet to have experienced one. He lost to two of the most belligerent pro-war candidates in recent memory.
But Paul has so far displayed incredible sway, despite firmly advocating Republican Party sacrilege: anti-war, anti-empire, anti-secrecy, pro-civil liberties.
Towing the hawkish line, whether for a war of aggression against Iraq in 2003 or for maintaining an empire of bases peppered across the planet, is practically a religious commitment for Republicans. Paul broke from that and has succeeded to an extent that would have been unthinkable only five years ago.
In the 2008 Iowa Caucus, Paul came in fifth place with under 12,000 votes. His progress this year has been gradual, contrasting sharply with the erratic ups and downs most other candidates have experienced. Unlike last time around, Paul wasn’t ridiculed and laughed at with derision by the other candidates. Instead, they implicitly and explicitly acknowledged his credibility.
So how has an antiwar Republican garnered this much support heading into the Presidential primaries?
Part of it is because the people have come around to his ideas. “A CNN/ORC poll released in November,” writes Mary Meehan in the Baltimore Sun, “found that 68 percent of Americans opposed the war in Iraq and 63 percent are against the one in Afghanistan. Yet, we keep hearing that only hawks have a chance to be elected president.”
Some say Paul, partly as an antidote to the warfare and welfare of the Republican Bush years, has instigated a realignment. The Tea Party that he helped set in motion elected a number of Republicans in 2010 that are against nation building and military adventurism, including his son Rand Paul, Senator from Kentucky.
Antiwar sentiment has lost at least some of its pariah-like qualities within the party. In June, the New York Times profiled Rep. Walter B. Jones (R-NC), who “defied typecasting” on the issue of war. “An early critic of the American invasion of Iraq,” it read, “he has been ostracized by the Republican leadership in Congress. And now he is emerging as a leading advocate for swiftly withdrawing American forces from Afghanistan.”
Jones sponsored a bill last May that intended to accelerate the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, and “26 Republicans broke with their leadership to support it, triple the number who voted for a similar measure last year.”
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) “broke ranks with the GOP to vote against funding the war in Afghanistan,” wrote Antiwar.com’s Kelley B. Vlahos in July in a column exploring the new antiwar Republicans. “For these new members of the war opposition,” she wrote, “big budgets and nation building are unsustainable now.”
The Wall Street Journal also tackled the issue this summer, blasting many Republicans in Congress for “transform[ing] themselves into isolationists” now that a Democrat is in the White House. “What is the explanation for the 87 Republicans,” exclaimed the editorial, “who voted for Ohio Democrat Dennis Kucinich’s resolution that would stop U.S. military action in Libya within 15 days”?
This apparent rift in the Republican Party seemed to have provoked some 2012 candidates to advocate even more hawkish positions than usual. A number of them hysterically lied about Iran admitting its quest for nuclear weapons and openly advocated for aggressive covert action and preventive military strikes.
Still, a good portion of Ron Paul’s support has come from young people, independents, and even some antiwar Democrats. In other words: not your typical Republican voters. So Paul may not be changing the GOP as much as he is spearheading something new. Something separate from the two major parties.
History has made a fool of too many fortune-tellers reading change in the tea leaves. Politics is nothing if not capricious. It’s likely all the GOP needs to return to unanimous support for war is an unexpected international event or, indeed, a return to the Presidency.
The question is whether enough ordinary people, grassroots Republicans, Democrats, and independents, have been morally and intellectually convinced of peace and non-intervention to have a lasting change on American foreign policy.
38 thoughts on “Iowa Voters Bring Antiwar Message Into the Mainstream”
Good question, John. I wish it would be otherwise, but I suspect that if Ron Paul can be eliminated, his supporters will scatter with the wind.
Maybe so. But if Ron Paul is eliminated, and whoever of those psychos (democratic or republic) are elected to the white house; the US will scatter with the wind.
Damn good reply and I believe true , why else would a socialist like me be supporting Ron Paul .
Just the opposite. Remember, in 2008, most of the Obama voters thought they were supporting the 'anti-war candidate' in that election, and they clearly thought they were voting for 'Change' from Dubya's policies. It turns out that they voted for a liar who's lies were being pushed out by a massive propaganda campaign powered by Wall Street millions, but that doesn't change the basic fact that the anti-war position has been the one the voters have been choosing in every election since 2006.
What the voters want has been very clear for years. Voters have been opposed to the Iraq and Af-Pak wars for a long time. The problem has not been a lack of anti-war sentiment among the voters. The problem has been a failure of American democracy in that we no longer have a government that is willing to respect the will of the voters. Instead, trickery like Obama's fake anti-war campaign, and a general failure of a restrictive two-party system that in many races keeps anti-war candidates off the ballot have been the only reason the government has stayed pro-war while the country has moved decisively anti-war since 2003. Just maybe Mr. Paul is the chance to break through that deceit.
"The question is whether enough ordinary people, grassroots Republicans, Democrats, and independents, have been morally and intellectually convinced of peace and non-intervention to have a lasting change on American foreign policy."
That message has made tremendous progress but we still have a long way to go. Santorum could never do that well anywhere else. Iowa has hardly any larger urban areas and an inordinate number of rural, evangelical and elderly voters. Nowhere else could Santorum do as well.
If Santorum would agree with Ron Pauls military cuts . I think Paul should agree to help Israel if they need it , Michele Bachman style .
At the end of the day this means nothing.
America will soon be at war with Iran. This bronze medal for Ron Paul is of no consolation.
After what NATO did to both Russia and China in Yugoslavia . We had best treat Russia and China with respect.this time in Iran . Russia and China both understand Islam correctly . We do not .
The first combat death of 2012 was reported today by the DOD. A US Navy soldier was killed in combat in Helmand province Afghanistan. 15 US soldiers died in Afghanistan in December. The lowest monthly total of the year due the usual winter conditions that limit combat in the mountains.
Ron Paul should just keep running as the antiwar candidate. The more he exposes the warmongers and their policies the better. He is the only one standing between us and WW3. Lets fight all the way to the convention and raise a stink there as well. The more we fight the bettor our chances of stopping these wars. On to New Hampshire.
I recall maybe the first debate which was more only a introduction . there was a candidate by the name of Gary Johnson who confirmed what Paul was saying . Lately it has been everyone just calling Paul a lunatic , and Paul being unable to get his total complete message across . Paul should go to where ever Johnson is campaigning . and work together . We might be able to get two on two instead of 6 against one . If the American people ever stop to think about hundreds of military bases in one hundred countries ., Instigating color revolutions all over the world , Bombing Yugoslavia , Iraq , Afghanistan , Libya , and driving out all the Christians in every instance . Just maybe the United States is not always telling the truth about all these wars . Just what would have happened if we had not been there ..I think the world would have been better off and we would be a whole lot richer too
There was a lot of fishy stuff in the reports from Iowa. Just as in 2000, 2002, and 2004, the Republican leadership may have stolen this election. Otherwise, it's awfully hard to explain Rick
Santorum soaring vote count from single digits to 28%, without saying anything new or sane.
I think Rick went to every Caucus and he is good candidate . makes a good comman man impression too .
"It’s likely all the GOP needs to return to unanimous support for war is an unexpected international event or……"
When those who benefitted most from the so-called "Terror Event" of September 11, 2001 determine that the time has come to reap even more, ever greater benefit by staging another Horror Show, WHO and/or WHAT is going to stop them? And HOW?
And when that Second 9.11 happens, all those ordinary, grassroots folks will believe their government once again, and follow it blindly, dutifully, and fearfully onward and downward into, through, and beyond the very Gates of Hell.
We have just watched a sickening spectacle in Iowa.
The American people are now so decadent and sick they will not need another 9/11. They have crossed the Rubicon on civilised and decent thought and behavior.
Ron Paul, who I believe to be a modern day hero – whose life is on the line each day he campaigns – who spreads a message of liberty and non agression, against malfeasance and greed was overwhelmed.
The American people – largely, if this is a cross section and I believe it is – are either utterly incapable of rational thought and any concept of honesty or are just plain stupid.
Only the Ron Paul voters showed any integrrity – all 20 something %
Nearly half the voters voted for two people who are known to be utterly corrupt – and whose first loyalty is clearly not to the USA.
Who have no problem in the destruction of the constitution, the rule of law.
No problem with the arrest and dissappearance of American citizens on American soil – an act of terror in itself.
One at least denies the existence of a Palestinian identity.
Both seek to attack a nation without any other cause other than on behalf of a foreign entity laying on the line the blood of young Americans.
Both believe in corporatist domination of state – Romney repeatedly supporting the mantra that corporations are people.
The list goes on.
80% of the Iowa caucas voted for politicians whose attitude and outlook are so grievous that it is an affront to humanity.
This is America today – and you seriously think they need another 'pearl harbour'?
They are montrous in a montrous state.
They appall me and millions more. They are the dregs – the crawlies creeping out from the corpse of civilization.
Pass the bucket.
Emily on a Roll…!!!
I'm with you Emilyrose, lead the way.
What I'm always be puzzled is,
how can anybody who claims to be a Christian support all of those
wars and slaughters of innocent people. And Santorum obviously
is the GREAT representative of those.
They aren't people. They are moooooslums
Isn't that the question. Religion, hypocrisy, and self-contradictions have always gone hand in hand. Abortion is the greatest evil, and yet the killing, injuring, displacing of Palestinian, Afghan, Iraqi, Iranian, Pakistani babies, children, and teens is great. You're supposed to have some regard for the poor, and yet, fighting wars against poor, defenseless, innocent countries is wonderful. You've got to support the troops and yet you do that by favoring pointless, frivolous, offensive wars that kill, damage, and dismember thousands of troops and ruin families.
The events in Iowa are dispiriting—and also baffling. How could such a loathsome creature as corrupt chickenhawk Santorum—a man who had no real organization in Iowa and who couldn't even draw a crowd—do so well? Will large numbers of people really vote for whomever the state propaganda organs tells them is "surging"? Or has there been some sort of fraud?
Either way, I don't think there's a future for peace and liberty in the GOP; and the same certainly goes for the other wing of the duopoly. Paul's last hope—*our* last hope—is an independent or third-party run.
You're baffled the way I felt baffled in 2004, when all the exit polls showed Kerry winning, but he was crushed when they counted the votes. Then I found out how easy it is to fix elections when you control the voting machines and counting systems. See Black Box Voting – http://www.blackboxvoting.org
Whatever anti-war message Dr. Paul's supporters bring will be completely ignored by the MSM. It is not even allowed to be discussed. For instance, last night on CNN the bubble-headed bleach blonde spoke with a uniformed soldier/Ron Paul voter who has already served two tours in Afghanistan and is on his way back for a third. The minute he began speaking about not attacking Iran and stating that Israel needs to stand on its own, CNN cut him off.
It's a done deal and the propaganda outlet of the United States government known as the main stream media is not going to allow the American voter interfere.
That sneering, rich-kid Santorum, has won the Republican Caucus in Iowa, where the majority of the Republican votors are ignorant, bible-thumping, war crazies. An aberration, to say the least.
Regardless of the outcome of the caucus vote, the message is stronger than ever. Compared to the 2008 Iowa caucus, Ron Paul has nearly doubled his vote this time.
If I had to choose what worked against him the most, it would have to be the media's constant harping that he is 'unelectable.'
It maybe impossible to win and tell the truth everytime . Paul has to run some polls himself and find out what the voters want to hear . and if it is opposite of what he is going to do , just be a little wishy washy and promise to do exactly what they want , first chance he gets a opportunity to do it . Just like Johnson done to Goldwater and Obama done to his voters . I believe Paul is the only Candidate that even addressed the issues . He should have easily won . He has to promise more and hide the costs more . slack-up a little more on the truth .
Here's my two cents as an outside observer on Iowa results.
The official candidate has to be Romney, I don't think reps have the luxury or time to push-test others from a lot which, Ron Paul excluded, probably hits the lowest political standards. Santorum was puffed up with votes stolen from Paul and others just for make believe. It is very important for the Rep establishment to keep Ron Paul "in the crowd" not as the principal contender to their chosen puppet. And it is very important for the establishment as a whole to paint an image where Ron Paul represents strictly a minority view. The establishment knows Paul will run as an independent eventually and they have to convince themselves and, they think, others that RP can't be a threat.
They all might be very wrong since Paul's force will be ultimately tested when former Obama voters will have to choose. Between independent Paul or Republican Paul which variant could be more appealing to them? Let the Republican establishment make a fool of itself, Paul's message is addressed to Americans and the more the dinosaurs and media accomplices show their true colors the better. The reps fabrictions should alienate Rep constituencies and the media bias should alienate fair minded Dems. While those standing undecided might interpret all the foaming at the mouth as sign of systemic failure and gather the courage to deepen the breach.
The republicans don't have much to offer the low income voter accept tax cuts that really dont pretain to them . The low income voters biggest tax is usualy the payroll tax . and republicans have that Jacked Up to 15 percent to make it comparble the highest tax rate for captal gains taxes at 17.5 percent for the highest incomes of way over 1 million dollars . So when evreything is all added up a lot of low income property owner pay a higher % of their income in taxes than the super rich that may or may not provide jobs . Yet many low income areas like the middle of the United States get highest republican votes So people do not really vote their income .
The political pundits seem to cherish telling us that Ron Paul has no chance at winning the GOP nomination. They want us to just give up and go home, or maybe sacrifice our principles to instead throw our support behind one of the mostly interchangeable other candidates. These things will not happen. Those of us who share Dr. Paul’s patriotism and passion for peace and liberty are here to fight and fight to the end.
That is because despite our affinity for the good doctor we are not in this for him. We are not fighting for one person, or political party. We are fighting for our country and our future. We are fighting because we don’t want our grandparents’ social security money spend bombing Iran, or sent as foreign aid to dictatorships so they can use it to buy weapons to kill their own people with. We know welfare should be for those in need, not big banks that made bad bets and bomb makers.
Because we understand what’s really dangerous for America is the status quo. Giving any President the power to kill and detain anyone, including American citizens, on a whim. Violently intervening around the world and then refusing to understand the deadly consequences for the occupier and the occupied.
Because we want the drug war ended, and the Fed audited. We are sick of seeing whistleblowers prosecuted and the government arming criminals. We’re tired of our nation making war, of seeing our vets come home to no jobs and inadequate care.
Some of us would just like to see an average, honest guy in office.
And there are way too many other reasons to list here that come from each of us. We are Tea Partiers and Occupiers, libertarians and liberals, conservative Christians, atheists and anarchists. That’s what the message of liberty is about. All of us different, striving to live together in peace and prosperity.
And that’s why no matter how many times they tell us Ron Paul has no chance to win, we are not going home.
Besides, the numbers make pretty clear who REALLY doesn’t have a chance.
The eloquence of these comments is breathtaking – I am priveleged to join in such distinguished company. There is one vindication, and it is small. Like Ron Paul has said in the 2008 debates, the Republican party is shrinking. It will soon become apparent that none of the republican pretenders can win without him.
I just read this morning in my local news paper ‘The Christchurch Press’ of New Zealand, that Romney won the Iowa Republican nommination narrowly by 8 from the anti-inteventionist and anti Israel candidate Robert Paul. Shame !
If so, you might consider getting your news from a more reliable source…just sayin'…Perhaps I should clarify:
Romney beats Rick Santorum by 8 and beat Ron Paul by 3796 – at last count. Near as I can determine there was no candidate named Robert Paul…
Unless Robert is how they pronounce Ron in New Zealand.
What common, decent, empathetic and concerned citizens should understand is this: Psychopaths have climbed to power within most every aspect of society; banking, politics, media, military, etc. Time to call them out.
I agree! "Call them out". Anyone that lives near one of these "Warmongers" should gather a group of anti war Americans that are willing to carry signs that say something like;We know what you are doing,we know who you are,ect.
Such sings should also be seen at any "MSM" event..in the back round while one of the Talking Heads is – Talking – on National TV.I would love to see a sign behind Campaign Carl saying something like;This man is lying to you,or,this man is paid to deceive you,or,this man is destroying the future of his own children..what does he care about your children? America must put a stop to these pain off idiots soon..that off the mask…turn on the lights….they will run like roaches for sure.
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