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Archive for January, 2012

Is Obama Attempting to Buy Votes from College Students?

It is an amazing thing how politicians believe that all you have to do is throw money at a problem and it will go away.  Or perhaps I give the scoundrels too much credit as their ultimate goal is to buy votes from an unsuspecting, naïve electorate.  Whatever the case, Barack Obama is at it again, this time proposing to spend more money to stave off the negative effects of high college tuition on America’s higher education students.

Late last week, the President unveiled a plan to give relief to Americans affected by high college costs while at the same time providing incentives to colleges and universities to contain tuition costs.  Key provisions of the plan include boosting federal spending on Perkin’s loans from $1 billion to $8 billion, keeping interest rates low for current student loan recipients, and doubling over the next five years the number of work-study jobs available to college students.  Further, the President’s plan would force institutions of higher learning to contain tuition costs or risk losing federal funding.

Now, this isn’t the first time since becoming president that Obama has upped the ante when it comes to spending on higher education.  In fact, he has more than doubled Pell Grant funding and spent billions more on college subsidies in his so-called “stimulus” act and Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Given the fact that college tuitions continue to rise, you’d think that Mr. Obama would have learned that more money thrown at higher education doesn’t help college students.  The direct opposite happens.  Yes, college students take the money and go to school, but the end result is that many of them have debts they will never be able to get out from under.  In fact, student loan debt now exceeds credit card debt in America.  Additionally, since many high paying jobs have gone overseas, college graduates are finding it harder and harder to acquire positions that will give them any chance to pay down their debts.  Only about half of the jobs obtained by recent college graduates even require a college degree.

But more importantly, it is precisely because the government is spending billions every year to subsidize higher education that costs have gone through the roof.  Since 1980, congressional funding of college Pell grants has increased by 475 percent, after adjusting for inflation.  At the same time, the cost of tuition has skyrocketed by over 430 percent.  Economist Richard Vedder has pointed out that the same dynamic that causes health care costs to soar is also at work in higher education – third-party payments.  When someone else is footing the bill consumers are more willing to purchase the good or service provided.  The inhibition of cost is removed, demand increases, and tuition like medicine and medical care gets more costly.

What has been created by Washington’s policies is a financial bubble in higher education.  Like various bubbles in the stock market, dot.com industry, and housing before it, the federal government has pumped tons of cash into higher education, bidding up the price of the service.  We are at a point where the benefits of a college degree do not offset the high costs thereof.  At some point, when enough Americans realize it and stop being lured into the government’s financial trap, the demand for higher education will drop and with it the cost.  Of course, Uncle Sam will continue pumping even more money into the system to feverishly re-inflate the bubble.  That has been the track record of our government in the current financial bubble, there is no reason to believe it won’t do the same thing in higher education.

To solve the problem of high college costs, government must end its subsidization of the industry.  In the absence of the market determining interest rates, government should be raising rates for students not lowering them.  Government sponsored grants should be abolished altogether.  These two acts would decrease the demand for higher education causing its artificially high price to tumble back to reality.  Since there are few jobs requiring a college degree right now anyway, this seems like a good time to burst the bubble.

With thirty years of proof that government subsidization of higher education causes high tuition rates you’d think the last thing President Obama would propose is more spending on college education.  Or perhaps his ultimate goal is to buy votes from an unsuspecting, naïve electorate?

Article first published as Is Obama Attempting to Buy Votes from College Students?on Blogcritics.

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President Obama likes to brag. I guess it’s part of the job. Presidents have to speak up for themselves: no one else will do it. I didn’t watch the State of the Union address, but I hear he’s at it again. He saved the U. S. auto industry by keeping General Motors and Chrysler in business. Let’s take the case of General Motors. He fires the CEO while the company is nominally under stockholders’ control, uses our money to keep its doors open while it files for bankruptcy, and boasts that through his decisive action he saved our country’s automobile industry. I’ll bet Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns,  Countrywide, IndyMac, and hundreds of other banks small enough to fail wish they had received the same favor.

This love from Washington put the General Motors marketing people in a tricky position. After their shotgun bankruptcy, they wanted to let the country know they were back, without actually acknowledging why they were back. In all of the dozens, or perhaps hundreds of GM commercials I’ve seen over the last two years, in all the muscular public relations material they churn out about how Chevy runs deep, and Chevy trucks run even deeper, I don’t remember one ad thanking the taxpayers for their generosity. Well perhaps one of the early ones slipped a bit of gratitude in. If the taxpayers bailed out my business, I don’t suppose I’d publicly thank them, either.

Let’s not make a mistake about what’s going on when the leader of a political party saves one automobile manufacturer while he lets so many other businesses close up for good. You want to send a message to your supporters that you are not going to let them down. The UAW and public employee unions are a reliable source of money and votes. If you were a Democratic politician, would you let the UAW go out of business?

The same goes for the teaching jobs Obama thoughtfully saved with his so-called stimulus funds, also known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, or even more euphemistically as a jolt to the economy. When you see the Treasury open up its vaults with semi trucks backed up to the doors, think again about what is going on. The Treasury made big payoffs to organized groups who support Democrats. The White House PR operation has relentlessly touted the jobs they’ve saved. You have to make up a number to make it sound good. No government statistician can accurately count created jobs. How could you even distinguish created jobs from uncreated ones? One thing you can do in a crisis is spend lots of money. Whatever else you say about it later, say it worked.

The same goes for all the green initiatives the Democrats funded when they came into office. Solar panels at Solyndra, electric car batteries at Ener1, wind power, high speed rail: one business initiative after another receives millions of dollars. These are business initiatives that would have received private capital long ago if they had good prospects. In fact, they did receive private capital, and they didn’t turn a profit. That’s why they needed an infusion of taxpayer money from the Treasury, right? Public money would yield a different result because it comes in such large quantities. We’ve seen the results: bankruptcies and boondoggles, not business success or new jobs. While the federal government uses all its regulatory muscle to kill nuclear power, it funds new technologies that cannot replace established technologies in the near term.

All of these funding initiatives have something in common. They reward Democrats’ reliable supporters, people who will come to the polls and reelect President Obama when November comes around. We worry lest the money that flows into politicians’ campaign coffers should corrupt public policy, but even worse is the amount of taxpayer money that flows out of the Treasury to reward favored groups. If donors want to buy a lot of television ads to get their favorite politician elected, I’m not sure that’s a form of political speech we want to restrict. If elected politicians want to spend taxpayer money to reward favored groups, we want to extinguish that form of political corruption immediately. We citizens did not pay taxes to see the money used as a reward for favored groups.

If you belong to a union, run a well connected renewable energy firm, or belong to some other favored group, you’ve had it good under the Democrats. If you’re among the millions of people who lost a job during the country’s economic collapse, and you don’t belong to a favored group like the United Auto Workers or the American Federation of Teachers, forget it. The government pays unemployment benefits until everyone forgets about you, while you watch your family’s prospects and spirits shrivel. Meantime your own hopes of ever getting a good job again, of ever buying another home or improving your children’s prospects, dry up as well. Talk about the American Dream: you just saw it shoveled out the door in the form of political corruption.

Does that sound a little too bitter? It’s not bitter enough, by my reckoning. Suppose Obama says in his campaign rhetoric, “Look, here’s how the system works. You turn out the votes, and I pay you off. It doesn’t matter where the dollars come from – you’ll get some.” At least that would be honest. Instead, he pays off his supporters with our tax money and claims he’s creating jobs! In my memory, other politicians who’ve made it to the White House managed to be less blatant about the operation.

The country faced a large-scale collapse when Obama took office, so he thought he could mount a large-scale payoff, give it a marketing name like the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and call that job creation. You just have to make your supporters believe that what you did worked. If you claim you saved or created one million jobs, who’s to challenge you? No one, except the Occupy Wall Street protesters, a disfavored group if ever we saw one. After some equivocation, the mainstream media let Occupy Wall Street wear the establishment’s black stamp of public disapproval. The Tea Partiers know the process.

So now we listen to President Obama tout his party’s success in his third State of the Union address. The Democrats have acted just the same as the Republicans, except they pay off different groups. If after all the corruptions we’ve witnessed, the Democrats still claim they saved the auto industry, and by extension most of the manufacturing sector of the U. S. economy, let them. Let them call it job creation! The millions of families who have lost their jobs and their homes, who have that pressing sense of insistent, low-level anxiety about the future that saps your energy and your hope, know better.

Note though that the payoffs did work, but not as the Democratic tout machine claims they did. The Democrats still enjoy support from public employees’ unions. They still enjoy support from the envrionmental movement. They might even enjoy support from General Motors. To take one instance of prominent political conflict, go to Wisconsin to ask teachers and other public employees which party they favor. Ask how they’ll vote in the governor’s recall election. Those voters know which side their bread is buttered on.

Then ask an unemployed engineer, a new college graduate with loans who can’t find work, or any of the millions of people who are idle now, who want to work but can’t. Ask them who they support. They’ll likely reply that they don’t support anyone who gives away their money. They just want government to stop doing things to impede small businesses that want to grow. Given the choice between fairness or equality or whatever the latest Democratic buzzword might be, and a job, a person will take a job every time. When the White House claims that it wants jobs, too, you have to give it credit for believing its own talking points. Look at its actions, and you can see what it actually wants. It wants reliable support from Democrats in the next election – and it’ll give away your money to get it.

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The Internet as Savior

 

It is no secret that online piracy is a very serious problem in our Technology Age.  The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is a measure before Congress meant to confront the sale and distribution of pirated movies, drugs, music and other consumer goods by rogue overseas sites.  Supporters of the legislation include big media, pharmaceutical companies, and the fashion industry.  They have overwhelmingly outspent the Internet industry supporting the measure.  For its part, Internet companies have stuck to their belief that the measure goes too far and could disrupt creativity, violate the First Amendment, and could give the U.S. government free reign in shutting down sites it deems illegitimate.  As is true of most legislation before Congress, this one is put forward with the best of intentions, but ultimately if passed could spell the ruination of the Information Super Highway.  Thank goodness, the Internet was around to protect itself yesterday.

The DailyPaul, Wikipedia, Reddit, and over 7,000 other high-traffic websites blacked themselves out or supported the protest of SOPA yesterday online.  The blackouts not only were a form of protest, but were meant to show Internet users how things could be if SOPA becomes law.

Apparently the tactic worked.  After being deluged with emails and phone calls many senators including co-sponsors of the measure, Marco Rubio of Florida, John Cornyn of Texas, and Orrin Hatch of Utah withdrew their support.  Rubio used the same medium used to protest the bill when he announced to his followers on facebook:

“Earlier this year, this bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously and without controversy. Since then, we’ve heard legitimate concerns about the impact the bill could have on access to the Internet and about a potentially unreasonable expansion of the federal government’s power to impact the Internet.  Congress should listen and avoid rushing through a bill that could have many unintended consequences.”

At this point in time SOPA has been essentially tabled and had its most controversial parts removed.

A potentially disastrous bill that seemed to have a relatively easy path to passage in Congress was suddenly halted and potentially killed.  And we owe it all to Internet activism.  Like the invention of the printing press during the Renaissance, the Internet is the great equalizer between moneyed interests and common folks.  The printing press spread the message of the Protestant reformers breaking the stranglehold of the Catholic Church over Europe.  It proliferated Enlightenment ideas dealing with the relationship between people and their government which eventually ushered in a new era of liberalism, representative democracy, and free market capitalism.

The Internet of course has similar potential to transform our world today.  Young folks are in tune with what is happening in their world through it.  My 8th graders in Qatar, who are usually a little behind the curve when it comes to current events, were keenly aware of the SOPA controversy because some of their popular sites were participating in the protest.  It was amazing to me how well read many of them were on the potential harm SOPA could do to the medium they rely on to function.

And there is no question that the Web has been an effective tool used by Ron Paul and his supporters to win over young voters.  It is a place where anti-establishment types can organize and spread information without interference from the corporate/state controlled mainstream media.  And that is the point here.  Any time real Americans can circumvent the bias of the Establishment media to deliver an important message they now can.  So, the Internet didn’t just protect itself yesterday, it protected all of us.

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Ron Paul is Nibbling at Romney’s Heels

To listen to Republican Presidential candidate Ron Paul’s speech after placing a strong second in the New Hampshire Primary you would have thought that he had just won the contest.  Filled with his usual attacks on the Federal Reserve, Military/Industrial Complex, the bloated federal government, and an ever expanding police state, Dr. Paul’s speech was also an inspiring rallying cry for his ever growing base of fervent supporters.  In many ways he did win the New Hampshire Primary.  He tripled his vote total from four years ago.  He finished a strong, undisputed second behind a candidate with home field advantage and tons of Wall Street cash.  He also proved the naysayers wrong who have been preaching for months that he is unelectable.  Most importantly, the New Hampshire Primary results have made the race for the GOP nomination for president a two man contest between Mitt Romney and Ron Paul.

Look at the facts so far in this race.  Ron Paul is the only other candidate besides Mitt Romney to do well with two totally different bodies of voters.  In Iowa, both men garnered support from evangelical and socially conservative voters while in New Hampshire more socially moderate and fiscally conservative voters.  For his part, Paul got the most support of disaffected Democrats and Independents of any of the other Republicans running.  This trend bodes well for him since as many as 13 states hold open primaries and caucuses where his support outside of his own party will be a distinct advantage for him in those states.  Overall, in the first two contests in Iowa and New Hampshire Dr. Paul has collected 25,000 more votes than his nearest competitor Rick Santorum.

Besides broad support, financial backing also differentiates candidates from one another.  The Paul Campaign reported that it raised $13 million in the fourth quarter of 2011.  The only other Republican candidate to raise more was Mitt Romney.  The sum Paul has collected in donations has allowed him to not only purchase air time in South Carolina, but to jump ahead and spend money on direct mail in Louisiana, Nevada, Maine, Colorado, Washington, and North Dakota.  Additionally, a pro-Paul Super PAC Revolution PAC plans to spend millions more on the congressman’s quest for the presidency.  And recently the Santa Rita Super PAC which was just created on January 4 bought over $300,000 worth of ad time in South Carolina promoting Paul’s candidacy.

Then there are the recent poll results.  A CBS News poll released a day before the New Hampshire Primary found Romney and Paul to be the strongest Republican contenders against President Obama.  Romney leads the President 47 to 45 percent while Paul trails Obama by 45 to 46 percent.  But even more important to the moment, an American Research Group poll conducted over the last two days indicates that Congressman Paul is getting a massive bump from his strong showing in New Hampshire.  The good folks of the Palmetto State are now paying attention to the race because their turn to vote is coming up quickly.  In less than one week Paul’s support in SC has risen from 9 to 20 percent placing him third in that race.

To be sure, the campaign for the presidency is a long drawn out affair.  Staying power is essential.  After South Carolina, lower tier Republican candidates will begin to drop out or become irrelevant.  Two things will happen.  Their supporters’ votes and money will need a new candidate and all media attention will focus on Romney and Paul.  Given Paul’s appeal to a broad base of voters and conservatives’ mistrust of Mitt Romney, I like the Texas Congressman’s chances.  In fact, it is highly probable that he will deliver

many more inspiring, rallying cries for his ever growing base of fervent supporters.

Article first published as Ron Paul is Nibbling at Romney’s Heels on Blogcritics.

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As a rule, I’m pretty sparing with my tweets. I tweet these posts, and links for articles I like. Twitlonger lets me beat the 140 character limit that made micro-blogging so hard to begin with. Something dramatic has to happen for me to send several tweets in a row. One such event happened last week when police killed Jaime Gonzalez at Cummings Middle School in Brownsville, Texas. That shooting upset me, as it did many people.

This evening I’d like to edit and arrange that series of tweets. I typed them during the day, as the news reports came in:

Police shoot to kill eighth-grade student in Brownsville, Texas: http://t.co/snbIv045. Shoot first, ask questions later.

Armed Texas 8th-grader shot and killed by police: mid-PM, and no details! No name of victim, no account of what happened? No discussion?

Police kill armed 15-year-old at school: “The individual confronted the officers, at which time they had to shoot him.” Good explanation!

Brownsville police kill teen at middle school – http://t.co/p8Z8tCTK. Zero tolerance acquires new meaning.

Student killed by officers had pellet gun. The policemen were in the wrong here, and they will never admit it. They protected themselves.

Police kill teen at school. And the school requires parents to sign a release form to pick up their children? What did the release form say?

Once again: the police are wrong here. Gunning down an 8th grader in the school hallway with three bullets?

Texas police kill eight-grader with pellet gun. This would not have happened without Columbine and hyper-charged police. Police protection? Think again!

Jaime G. Dead – http://t.co/8H0ReiMX. They shot him in the back of the head – after the entire school was locked down! They shot to kill!

Here’s a longer tweet, written the next day:

Here is confirmation of yesterday’s tweet, that the police will never admit they are wrong. They actively justify what they did! Here is an excerpt from http://news.yahoo.com/texas-school-shooting-many-questions-loom-234525229.html:

Jaime Gonzalez’s “parents have lamented police for their actions Wednesday, saying they could have taken non-lethal action. But there was broad agreement among law enforcement experts: If a suspect raises a weapon and refuses to put it down, officers are justified in shooting to kill.”

And that goes for a fifteen-year-old with a pellet gun in a school hallway! A frightened student who, on that morning, decided to die. If you don’t think we live in a police state, think again.

Update: Jaime Gonzalez died of gunshots to the torso. The wound at the back of his head occurred when he fell.

Lastly, here’s a message I wrote to a friend about the same event:

You might read this article, then my series of tweets on the subject:

    http://news.yahoo.com/texas-police-kill-8th-grader-carrying-pellet-gun-003818851.html

I was extremely critical of the police response to Columbine. This killing is amazing to me, and for me grows directly from our acceptance of the way police behaved at Columbine. I can explain later.

Here are my tweets, along with a few on other subjects:

    https://twitter.com/#!/sgreffenius

I think of those parents saying goodbye to their son in the morning. Then a few hours later they find out the police have gunned him down because he had a pellet gun. An official says the police probably had legal justification to use lethal force. Good God! Legal justification is not the point. Police charged into a middle school and gunned down a fifteen-year-old who had a pellet gun! Of all the poor police work we’ve heard about, this is among the worst.

My mom used to talk frequently about police training, police maturity, police having the skills necessary to resolve difficult situations without violence. Policemen with the right qualities could have calmed the student down. They certainly did not need to kill him.

The accounts I’ve read say the police charged in, shouted at Jaime to drop the weapon, then fired three shots at him, shooting to kill. From the moment they arrived, they brought nothing but force and violence. It bothers me so much that this killing happened, and even more, in a way, that so many of us seem to accept it. They seem to be saying, largely with silence, “It’s unfortunate, but if we want safety in our schools, we have to accept this kind of policing.” No. If we let police turn their guns on a fifteen-year-old in a middle school hallway, they will turn their weapons on us. When you look at police behavior in response to the Occupy movement, you can see they already have.

Here’s one more comment: why could the police not use rubber bullets? They came prepared for nothing but death – and self-protection. I know after 9/11 we just don’t call policemen cowards, but that’s what this is. Shooting a fifteen-year-old to prevent him from shooting you first is just cowardice. It’s not doing your job.

The matter of police not doing their jobs dates back to Columbine. The massacre at Columbine was an unusual situation at the time, and police were not especially well trained to handle it. Because of that, they followed standard procedures. They set up a command structure. They cordoned off a perimeter. They set up their communications. They searched students exiting the school. They dealt with the administrative tasks the come up when a disaster occurs. They stayed outside the building until they could enter safely. They wanted to get organized.

What should they have done? They should have entered the building immediately to save the wounded. Yes, that would have been dangerous, but so what? They should have followed the example of the Marines. The Marines are trained to go straight into the fiercest enemy fire to save a buddy. They don’t give up their lives foolishly, but they never leave a wounded buddy behind. When you go into battle with your fellow Marines, you know your friends will help you if you need it.

The police at Columbine did just the opposite. Their job in the community is to help people, yet they let the wounded bleed to death inside the school. I imagine students or faculty on that terrible morning thought to enter the school building to save their friends, but I’m sure if they tried the police would have kept them out. No one goes in, they’ll say, until we make sure it’s safe.

What’s the connection to Cummings Middle School in Brownsville? I expect police heard the criticism of their procedures at Columbine. They try to enter the building sooner now, not stay outside while they organize and evaluate. Their emphasis, however, is still on self-protection. They do not take time to evaluate the situation based on the evidence in front of them. Take the nature of the weapon Jaime Gonzalez held in his hand. Police officers know that a regular handgun and a pellet gun look similar. Yet they did not take time to determine what kind of gun Jaime had. They shot first and asked questions after it was too late.

Without doubt, policing can be hard, dangerous work. Sometimes an individual who wields a handgun shoots a policeman. That doesn’t mean if you encounter a fifteen-year-old student in a middle school hallway holding something that looks like a handgun, you shoot to kill him. It means you act with caution and some measure of courage. You don’t have to shout at the student so loudly that he becomes still more scared. You don’t have to fire first. You don’t have to fire at his torso. You fire at a person’s heart when you want to kill him with the fewest number of bullets possible. Nothing about the situation in the Cummings hallway ruled out warning shots. Nothing precluded rubber bullets.

In fact, no factor in that school situation called for firing any shots at all, except that policemen put self-protection ahead of community protection. If you confront a person who holds what you believe to be a lethal weapon, and the person refuses to drop it, the self-protective instinct if you have a gun is to shoot. But police officers weren’t called to the school to protect themselves. The principal called the police to protect the other students. Yet no other students were in the hallway when police shot Jaime Gonzalez. They killed Jaime not because he threatened other students at the moment, but in order to protect themselves.

The lesson of Columbine is not only to rescue the wounded as soon as you can. It is not only to enter the school building with guns drawn and safeties off, to be ready. Policemen have an obligation to gather information and assess the situation as well as they can. That assessment takes a little time. You can gather a lot of information in sixty to ninety seconds. I would like to know how much time elapsed between the end of the policemen’s shouted warning to Jaime to drop the gun, and the first shot fired at him. I expect you would measure the elapsed time in seconds, and that the number of seconds would be in single digits.

What has happened to police officers who are calm and courageous? Does the militarization of police forces mean they cannot fulfill their community functions any longer? Does it mean that their main function now is to intimidate, injure and kill? When you see the security officer pepper spray students at UC Davis, his matter-of-fact behavior as he walks down the row of peaceful young people is astonishing. The policemen at Cummings found themselves in a confrontation with more danger, but the main lesson is equally disturbing: police act with unnecessary force, then justify their behavior afterwards.

In one moment, Jaime sees police officers rush into the hallway. It’s hard to hear what they say, as they’re shouting at once and the hallway has an echo. They have their guns drawn. What should I do?

A few moments later, Jaime lies on the floor, gunned down and dying. I wonder what the policemen said to Jaime as they approached him? I wonder if he could hear it.

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Last month it was announced that only two candidates for president in the Republican Party had qualified for the Virginia Presidential Primary on March 6 – Ron Paul and Mitt Romney.  At the time there was a lot of grumbling by the other candidates and they eventually filed a lawsuit against Virginia’s ballot access laws.  Regardless of how that suit turns out, the incident foretold the eventual contest for the Republican nomination for president.  After roughly 6 months of campaigning and the Iowa Caucuses, the race is clearly a battle between two men – the Establishment candidate Mitt Romney and Constitutional Populist Ron Paul.

Of course, this opinion won’t be heard anywhere on the Establishment-run media.  Instead the talking heads and so-called journalists which grace our TV screens continue to babble on about how Ron Paul is a kook, crank, nut job, etc… incapable of winning the nomination.  Their portrayals of the Good Doctor are more a result of their fears about him actually winning and ending their cushy establishment lifestyles than it is about reality.  But, I digress.  To back up the claim that the race has come down to Paul and Romney here are the facts:  both lead the field in money and organization.  Additionally, Paul has picked up steam in recent polls since Iowa and has demographics on his side.

Money – The Ron Paul Campaign is reporting that they raised $13 million in the fourth quarter of 2011.  The only other Republican candidate to raise more was Mitt Romney.  The sum Paul has collected in donations has allowed him to not only purchase air time in New Hampshire and South Carolina, but to jump ahead and spent money on direct mail in Louisiana, Nevada, Maine, Colorado, Washington, and North Dakota.  The Congressman’s base of financial support is unshakeable and as he rises in the polls it will become much broader.

Organization – As the Establishment candidate and someone who has been running for president for the last six years, Mitt Romney has a solid campaign organization.  But what the media and pundits alike have ignored is the ability of the Paul campaign to organize a first rate political operation as well.  The fact that only Romney and Paul were able to abide by Virginia’s strict ballot access laws and get on the primary ballot in that state is a testament to the quality of their organizations and the mediocrity of the other campaigns’.

The Paul campaign has gone to great lengths in building a strong presence on the Republican State Central Committees across the country.  In Iowa alone his supporters comprise one-third of the members of that state’s Republican State Central Committee.  It is from this committee that actual delegate selection for the National Convention will be done.  Besides Iowa Paul has supporters in the next ten caucus states that are virtually unopposed for delegate seats.

But besides ample war chests and strong campaign organizations, recent polling and demographics indicate that the Republican field has been winnowed down to two contenders.  The next contest on the docket is the New Hampshire Primary.  Two polls last week indicated that the race in the Granite State is between Romney and Paul.  The New Suffolk University Poll had Paul gaining 6 points on Romney in one day.  While Paul stood at 18 percent support, no other candidate garnered more than 8 percent.  At about the same time, a new Washington Times/John Zogby Analytics Poll had Romney at 38 percent, Paul at 24 percent, and no other candidate had more than 11 percent.  It is true that national polls do indicate that Romney leads the race while Paul lags behind other candidates, but two points need to be made.  The Republican nominee will be chosen from more than 50 contests not one national ballot.  And most voters in states with contests in the future have not paid enough attention to the race to make an informed choice.  Thus, given the results in Iowa and current polling in New Hampshire Romney and Paul are the two front-runners going into New Hampshire voting this week.

Lastly, demographics will play a huge role in winning the Republican nomination.  In light of his past poll numbers Romney’s support in relation to other Republican candidates has been steady.  As one after the other anti-Romney candidates rose and fell from front-runner status only one other candidate has seen steady upward poll numbers – Ron Paul.  Santorum in Iowa was just the final shooting star of the lot.  Fortunately for him his star rose at exactly the right moment.  Had there been more time to dissect his record he too would have fallen back to the pack of also-rans.

But Paul’s support has been a slow steady trajectory upward because it is solid, unwavering support.  Besides Evangelical and conservative Republicans the Congressman garners the most support from disaffected Democrats and Independents of any of the other Republicans running.  Since as many as 13 states hold open primaries and caucuses his support outside of his own party will be a distinct advantage in those states.

At the end of the day, the Establishment media and talking heads will babble on about the comeback of Newt Gingrich or the surging Rick Santorum.  They will resort to any distraction to cover the truth.  The truth is that we have a two man race for the Republican nomination.  Because of money, organization, demographics, and recent polling numbers that race is between Mitt Romney and Ron Paul.

Kenn Jacobine teaches internationally and maintains a summer residence in North Carolina

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