Why Ron Paul Will NOT Be President Of The United States (But May Well Affect Who Is)

Crazy RonA few weeks back, I began what is to be a series of spotlights on select individuals from the impressive pair of packs currently snarling at each other for their respective alpha positions in the upcoming Presidential Election of 2008. These spotlights, I established, are to focus on some certain aspect of each person’s candidacy from a purely analytical point of view. Not a full evaluation, mind you… just the shit I want to point out, basically. I began this series with piece on Democratic front runner (then more than now) Senator Hillary Clinton, and so felt that the next entry should focus on a GOP candidate. I first considered choosing the Republican front runner, but there are two problems with writing such a post at the current date:

  • As of right this moment, it’s still extremely difficult to tell who that is. And whoever it is, it ain’t by much.
  • All the seeming front runners are apparently thus far doing their best to seem as uninteresting as possible, perhaps to avoid pissing anyone off too early. For whatever reason it’s working, and they’re all pretty fucking boring at the moment.

So I decided to highlight someone on the GOP side who actually WAS distinguishing himself in some fashion, the Internet’s Favored Son, Representative Dr. Ron Paul.

There’s one thing that one can say for certain about Dr. Paul. Of all the candidates, he is the one whose principles are least likely to come under attack. His consistent and legendary refusal to participate in any federal aid program in any capacity either in his personal, professional, or political career is well known. His positions are logically argued, his commitment is unwavering, and his authenticity is without question. Quite frankly, I’m amazed he’s survived in American politics as long as he has. More to the point, it’s a fucking miracle.

And, romantically motivating as it would be to see a stoic libertarian throwback to the Goldwater days shock the States of this Union and the nations of this Earth and actually take the White House (ushering in an age of glory or despair, depending on your take on it), the unfortunate truth is that it would take an even LARGER political miracle than the one Dr. Paul has already lived to make that happen.

lolRonFor starters, if Paul even finds himself in the general election at all, it will likely be as an independent or third-party candidate of some variety. There are two major obstacles to his becoming the Republican Party nominee. The first is that the performance on these grand intarwebs, impressive as it has been, has yet to translate into poll numbers that get the man anywhere near the top three slots in his party. The second is that the voting infrastructure of the GOP, fractured though it may be these days, isn’t giving him any particular nods. There’s as good a chance as any he may pull a surprise in the early states, but I would expect the Republican machine to kick in at that point and finally figure out who they like (think Bush over McCain in 2000). And “Dr. No” probably doesn’t have the party loyalty they’ll be looking for. The other Republicans are afraid of the internet too, I think, but that’s just a guess.

So that leaves the possibility of an independent candidacy. Perhaps the most exciting prospect of the ’08 race is that a Ron Paul independent candidacy is FAR from out of the question. For one thing, he won’t “rule it out completely” which is political speak for “we’re thinking about it already”. Also, there’s no reason to believe that a man of Dr. Paul’s known principled stances wouldn’t run with the wishes of his supporters after the surprising dollar figures they’ve thrown into his campaign. Add to that the facts that his spending has thus far been geared toward saving rather than going for the early knockout, and that he has in fact run on a third party platform before, and we could all well be looking at three known names on the ballot come November.

It’s been suggested that Paul’s primary run was designed to be less an actual attempt at the GOP nomination than it was a period to establish a name the media won’t have any excuse to ignore when he announces himself an independent candidate. If that WAS the plan all along, it’s brilliant. If that’s what it’s evolved into, it’ll still work.

PerotHowever, by “work”, I have to point out I mean “work to get him a newsworthy space in the general election”… and not “work to make him the President”. The general election is, near as I can tell, still shackled up by the twin dinosaurs of the Electoral College and entrenched state-level political structures catering to the two major parties. Just ask Ross Perot, assuming he’s not eating applesauce in a mint-green cinder block room somewhere.

And that leads me into what I mean by “may well affect”, when it comes to the ultimately elected candidate in 2008. HOWEVER many votes an independently running Ron Paul would glean from around the country, they’ve gotta come from somewhere. And that means, much like Ross Perot, he’s going to be sucking them off another candidate.

At first glance, this seems like it would be bad for the Republican nominee, whoever that winds up being. An old-school small government conservative could wind up pulling a HOST of varied voter-types from the ranks of the Republicans, especially if a neo-con/fundamentalist Christian base forms again around the official candidate. But there’s a Hank McCoy sized x-factor in play, which could draw just as many votes from the Democrats. Namely, Ron Paul’s position on Iraq.

If Paul becomes a prominent figure in the 2008 race, he’ll be the only candidate on the field with “full and immediate withdrawal” as his position on the matter of Mesopotamia. And it will be an unassailable position, because he’s voted that way since the very beginning. The GOP will not field such a candidate (they don’t even have one, other than him, do they?), and the Democratic front runners are all vague on their position at best, but clearly not favoring a quick pullout.

Paul StatsWith getting the hell out of Iraq as soon as possible an idea that has monumental support on the left, it’s a complete guess as to which side of the aisle Ron Paul would yank more votes from. Or whether he would cancel himself out, mathematically difficult as that might be. The bottom line is this: it would create a vast unpredictability, for both the Republicans and the Democrats. It would turn the 2008 election into the political equivalent of a random shootout, with both the major candidates fearing who Dr. No was going to do the most damage to. It would be wild, murky, and volatile all around, and the conclusion would be likely unknowable until the very eve of election night, if not some weeks afterward.

Regardless of victory, it could well be precisely what this country needs.

Out for now…

– Paris “Rev” Battle

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No Sleep Since Brooklyn

Empire StateFinally, I’ve a chance to breathe, relax, decompress, and gather my thoughts following a very productive trip for Memetic Press up to Big Apple Con in New York City last week. If this post seems scattered and fried, it’s because so much happened in those three days (and the five since) I’m still not really sure where to start or finish. This, I might add, is a bad position for a writer to be in.

First of all, a note on modern conveyance. It is absolutely astounding to me sometimes how we take for granted that a person can go from David Cox Road in Charlotte North Carolina to One Penn Plaza in midtown Manhattan in just under four hours. Car, airport shuttle, plane, air train, subway… And you’re there. This reality is in itself amazing enough, but the experience was made all the more surreal by the fact I’ve never been to New York City.

As a place of myth of legend, the City’s influence obviously cannot be understated. In some ways, it’s everything one imagines it to be: loud, rushed, and full of almost any sort of thing you could imagine the planet Earth to contain. There is quite literally more to see and do in three Manhattan city blocks than most cities I’ve been to can offer at ALL. One finds oneself wandering the streets and remembering every film set there, every tale that’s come from this place, every cliche that’s been burned into the American psyche by the energy emanating from this concrete polis. It is a place of indescribable magnitude, and about five hundred times more impressive in person than it could ever be from afar, regardless of radiance.

StreetsThen, one notices little things that never occurred to you. Did you know people sleep on subways? I don’t mean homeless people, I mean people riding the train. That was a method for spotting native New Yorkers, I think. Not only were they asleep sitting up (and in at least one case I observed, STANDING), but they’ve somehow trained their brains to wake up at their particular stop. This is undoubtedly an acquired skill. As is the timing of a New York jaywalk. The jaywalk, however, one can generally master after a day or two. I wasn’t about to attempt subway sleeping, although the gods know I could have used it.

So after falling in love with New York in general (and Brooklyn in particular), there was the Con itself. Much like the City that hosted it, Big Apple Con was loud and packed. Thanks to the very fine folk at Secret Identity Podcast, Memetic Press quickly went from being a roving operation to having a table all our own, and for this they deserve acres of thanks. Also, Matman scored an interview with an up-and-coming comic book writer who shall remain nameless, at least until the interview is up. I’ll let everyone know.

And so I got my full convention on: signed books, sold books, meeting and greeting with several individuals of note, and a general good time had by all. So now I’ll draw thanks to specific individuals for making this possible and/or memorable:

  • First, the talented and dedicated Lyzette HM, not only for her work at the convention (up to and including coffee retrieval, which was vital), but for all the work Pictor Photography And Publicity has done for Memetic Press and After. Don’t know if you guys know this, but it’s primarily due to HER that the book is on the shelves it’s on. And more shelves to come, I might add. Anyone looking to push a product… A LEGAL product, anyway… should contact her.
  • Even though they’ve already been mentioned, thanks have to go out to Secret Identity Podcast, for table wrangling and general support. These guys rule, and if you haven’t been checking out their podcast, I don’t know that I can do anything for you. Seriously, get out of here. You’re a disappointment to the whole family.
  • Mark Sparacio, for being Memetic’s “across-the-aisle” table buddy, and for trading me for my new Sgt. Rock print. Holy shit this thing rules. Seriously, check it out when he puts it up here. What’s Rock staring at? My theory, either someone in Easy Company said something stupid, or he sees some Nazis that need killing.
  • And finally, to the kind and brilliant Danielle Sucher, for providing a starving writer with a place to sleep (briefly) while in New York City. If you happen to be pushing an ILLEGAL product, you can try contacting her. AFTER they lock you up, gangsta.

And so I left the City, much improved from the experience, if perhaps exhausted. It was a brilliant place, a wondrous convention, and it seems AFTER is on it’s way to a BIT more recognition. And if that’s not worth the tax-deductable investment, nothing is.

Out for now…

– Paris “Rev” Battle

Behold These Lovely Images

Put forward and presented by the immensely talented Jane-Anne Egerton. Jane’s a photographer of great skill, and one of her galleries will serve as a design palette for a later super-secret project of the Memetic Press nature. Speaking of which, an NYC debriefing is coming up soon. I just have to recover.

I encourage everyone passing through to check this stuff out, tis the shit:

VENOMOUS SWAN.

Out for now…

– Paris “Rev” Battle

Big Apple Con

All is aligned for an epic journey to New York City’s Big Apple Con. I’ll have copies of After, Issue One on me (at $3) and I’ll even be sober. See everyone there.

Out for now…

– Rev

Why Hillary Clinton Will NOT Be President Of The United States

Hillary ScaryUp until now, I’ve remained apolitical on this forum. Primarily, I have intended this blog to be a vehicle for casual observational musings and shameless self promotion of my comic book (which, for those interested, can be ordered online here). And personally, I have generally been unimpressed by online ventures which turn into a pedestal to rant and rave about one’s pet political leanings. It’s not that I don’t appreciate open debate on the finer nuances of American politics with those who’re fairly well versed in the subject, it’s just that I don’t give a fuck what other people THINK unless they can back up their postulations with something resembling factual evidence. Foreign thought to most, that.

And with that state of affairs as my guiding light, I decided to rant and rave on some realities that NO ONE rallies behind, in the interest of getting away from the tradition of trumpeting my pet abstract theories on the world. For this purpose, I will indulge in the apparent freedom that the blogging community has over the content controlled so-called “mainstream media”, and deliver a series of messages on the candidates unencumbered by the rules of commercially viable mass broadcasts.

My first entry will likely upset some people. I’ve chosen the current forerunner for one side simply due to the fact that this person seems to represent the most extreme case of media and public self-delusion that I’ve ever seen in three decades on this Earth. Not long, you may point out, but considering that two of those decades were mostly the 80’s and 90’s, it still bears mentioning with this explanation. The title of this entry alone has lured you in and told you of who I speak, so without further explanation I’ll simply answer the question implied by the above title with the following:

Hillary Clinton Will Not Be The President Of The United States Because She Is a Woman.

Those of you firing up your hate mail launchers, I ask only one brief pause before the onslaught to clarify my position.

I’m not saying a woman can’t do the job of the Presidency. I’m not saying a woman SHOULDN’T do the job of the Presidency. What I’m saying (and with a fairly heavy heart, I’ll add) is that a woman will not be ELECTED to the office of the Presidency.

Some may consider this a bold statement. Some may consider this an embarrassing statement. Some may consider this a cringe-inducing statement. None of that prevents this from being a true statement.

But Rev, you say… America is READY. We’ve come so far. People don’t care about gender, they just want someone who can do the job. After eight years of Bush, people will elect whoever is qualified. And so forth, and so on… I’ve heard all this. I stand by my assertion. This country won’t elect a woman in the general election. Period. Point blank. End of story. She could be the reincarnated Betsy Ross with a war veteran running mate and the original flag dangling from her ass, it wouldn’t matter. And to see why, let me break it down by the numbers.

Right here you can find the US Census Bureau’s breakdown of said numbers with regards to who voted in the 2004 election. You may note that of citizens both eligible and registered, about 62% of men (58 million or so) and 65% of women (67 million) actually bothered to cast a vote. Good for them. At a glance, one could reach the conclusion that if the Presidential election were to somehow break down directly along gender lines, Hillary would command a clear majority. Of course it won’t do that, so I’ll stick to reality for the time being.

In the general election, Hillary Clinton would face a virtual plethora of obstacles to ascending to the White House before her gender even comes into play. She’s consistently polled as one of the most polarizing figures in American politics. Her acumen in the political game is staggeringly good (team Clinton still clearly possessing the skills it always has), but as of right now her ability to dance around the issues without saying anything concrete until is suits her is very cleverly being turned into a liability by her nearest rivals in the Dem primary. And while her husband might have possessed the charm and grace to laugh off notions of “fence riding” without ever directly addressing them, Hillary thus far does not. It doesn’t help anything that her crafted political image has never really included the words “charm” or “grace”. On top of all this, her position on the issue of the day (Iraq) is a major stumbling block to culling favor with members of her own party. There’s already a rising ‘anyone but a Republican OR Hillary’ sentiment growing in the ranks of the Democrats. In a general election, her biggest enemy could well not be Republican votes, but Democrats (male and female alike) staying home and washing their consciences clean of the whole affair.

ForerunnersBy themselves, however, these things wouldn’t necessarily halt her progress. Despite her position on the war, she’s still ahead in the polls significantly. This might have as much to do with the conspicuous lack of candidates on the left who are actually in favor of full troop withdrawal (with an exception or two) as it does her political skills, but either way she’s maintaining her lead so far. As I stated earlier, this may likely play very differently once the primary is over, but it’s still not enough to insure defeat. Nor are any other of her less-than-electable qualities, from polarization to general distaste.

And this is where gender comes in. Recent polls may indicate otherwise, but the most telling quote about this sort of polling came from Kellyanne Conway, an experienced Republican pollster who clearly doesn’t believe a female from either party is going to be President anytime soon: “People try to present their most progressive face to pollsters. Often they’re not being honest with themselves, so how can they be honest in a poll?”

Much as I hate to say it, she’s right. There is STILL a lingering, unadmitted sexism lurking in the population of this country. It can’t be narrowed down to any one group of people, or even one gender. Whether it be men who, on the extreme, don’t want a woman telling them what to do or leading the military, or women who allow jealousy to influence their voting behavior (“Fuck that catty bitch”, as my sister would say), this factor is going to play heavily on a female candidate from ANY party. There’s a damn good chance, in the midst of all this, that people who have never voted in their LIVES will register just to vote AGAINST Hillary Clinton.

Personally, I’m of the view that this is enough to sink any female candidate, at least at this phase of history. With someone who already has the baggage of Hillary in the mix, it’s essentially a forgone conclusion. If the Democrats nominate her, a Republican will be the next President.

Out for now…

– Paris “Rev” Battle

AFTER On Secret Identity Podcast

The fine folk at Secret Identity Podcast have deemed me newsworthy (Nov 8th entry). These guys do a pop culture news show and discussion that kicks some ass with eloquence and charm. Check out their latest show, it’s entertaining as fuck and plugged in, for all you folk that like to know shit before everyone else. Good stuff.

Out for now…

– Rev

AFTER On The Shelves (And Where That Might Be)

On The ShelfGood news, dudes and dudettes! After much with the wheeling and the dealing, and a great leap of faith and show of support by forward-thinking retailers, AFTER is on the shelves at SIX locations around this great nation of ours. Anyone wishing to purchase a copy can motivate themselves to one of the following locations (prices vary):

MonstoreSo there you have it, kids. Anyone within walking, driving, bicycling or human cannonballing distance of the preceding locations can now step, roll, pedal or blast themselves toward one of these stores and pick up the book. I’ll let you know just as soon as more locations start carrying AFTER.

Out for now…

– Paris “Rev” Battle