January 05, 2008

The latest Rasmussen poll shows McCain at 31, Romney at 26, with Ron Paul rising to third place: 14 percent. The Huckster is stuck at 11, Benito is hung upside down by his heels at 8 percent, with Thompson, “others,” and undecided accounting for the rest.

This is the Fox-neocon network’s biggest fear: Ron Paul, the expliticly anti-neocon candidate, his campaign pointed like a dagger at their hegemony over the GOP. On top of that, their preferred candidate, Benito Giuliani, is sinking as fast as Ron is rising in the polls. Oh, the horror! The horror!

As a testament to the extent to which ideology can distort the mental processes, surely Poddy the Lesser‘s spin of Giuliani’s Iowa flop has to stand out as a classic: “The result in Iowa could not have been better for Giuliani tactically.” Yeah, sure. How about when he comes in next-to-last, barely above Fred Thomspon and “others” in New Hampshire?

Let them exclude Paul from their irrelevant “forum”—Fox News excluded itself from reality and real news reporting long ago. The news that the New Hampshire GOP has pulled out of co-sponsoring the Fox event in protest over Paul’s exclusion is another blow to Fox’s rapidly diminishing credibility—which is sinking faster even than Giuliani’s presidential prospects.

Commenting on the controversy, Republican Party chairman Fergus Cullen said,

“We believe all recognized major candidates should have an equal opportunity to participate in pre-primary debates and forums. This principle applies to tonight’s debates on ABC as well as Sunday’s planned forum on FOX. The New Hampshire Republican Party believes Congressmen Ron Paul and Duncan Hunter should be included in the FOX forum on Sunday evening. Our mutual efforts to resolve this difference have failed.”

I don’t go along with the idea that “nobody should be excluded.” It’s a news judgement, and a political judgement, that has to be made in context. If anything, one could make the argument that we ought to impose a double-digit rule: if the candidate doesn’t, at this point, register at least 10 percent in recent polls—then in the name of having a real debate, in which the candidates can interact—one could rightfully exclude them. Which means, at this point, Giuliani and Hunter, and not Paul, are eighty-sixed.

The pure vitriol directed at Paul by fuming Fox News commentators is bound to increase, with the hateful tirades of Bill Kristol now translated onto the New York Times op ed page. Get ready for a mudslide of smears—none of which will stick. This is the year of the mavericks and Ron Paul’s rise as a Eugene McCarthy-Barry Goldwater amalgam is not to be stopped, at least by those methods.


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