On Saturday, in proving that the Ron Paul political organization is working better than ever, Paul won the iconic Values Voters Straw Poll with a whopping 37% of the total 1,983 ballots cast.
Herman Cain, who is experiencing a modest bump in popularity as values voters shuffle away from Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry and Mitt Romney, placed a distant second with 23% of the votes. Paul was also top choice among attendees for the Vice President straw poll, with Bachmann coming in close second.
For his part, Paul’s speech spoke directly to the Christian anti-war sentiment that has been growing in popularity. In his delivered speech (video: part one, two), he said, “Divorce rates are very, very high among the military, because these young men are being sent back two and three and four times. And there was one story told me about a little boy, a little boy who was 10 years old, and his dad was getting ready to go back again. He was screaming, I hate you, daddy, I hate you, daddy, because he was leaving him.”
“So this is why, in the early church, they talk about being very careful about going into war, and also to be thinking about the admonition that peace is far superior to war. That should be our goal.”
Doug Wead, a born again Christian and former adviser to two U.S. Presidents, said he was blown away by Dr. Paul’s command of the scripture. “He offered a scriptural rationale to every position and moved from one passage to the next without hesitation. The man knows the Bible.”
Less than a week ago, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins made a bold set of statements in an op-ed with Washington Times about the then upcoming poll writing, “The Values Voter Summit will test each candidate’s ability to motivate its base to get out and cast a vote in the summit’s straw poll.”
The Perkins piece is also full of other compelling reasons to put stock in the poll. “The winning candidate will be the Reagan-style uniter of the three cords of the conservative coalition: the strands of fiscal, social and foreign-policy conservatism.”
Now, Perkins is quickly changing his tune, claiming that a win in his own poll is not that important. “Let me just take you back four years to this event, when we had a straw poll. Mitt Romney won that straw poll,” he said. “I think people are still in the process of deciding where they want to go.” He also hinted at a fix, because allegedly Ron Paul supporters showed up in droves, got their vote on, and left.
To me, it sounds like a simple case of sour grapes by someone who doesn’t like that Ron Paul’s base of support is more energetic in out-organizing the rest of the field than in 2007.
Bumpdate (Mon Oct 10): Tony Perkins continued to make the news rounds, further hinting at impropriety and attempting to distance his ultra-conservative Family Research Council from the straw poll’s winner. In an interview with CNN’s American Morning on Monday he continued the verbal downplay, “I don’t think Ron Paul is truly reflective of where values voters stand.” He remained recalcitrant in painting a picture of 600 Paul supporters (a number pulled out of thin air, no doubt) who came merely to listen to the congressman’s speech, cast a vote, and promptly beat feet.
It seems fairly easy to predict that the newfound personal vendetta — after inviting Ron Paul and his supporters to attend (not for free, tickets were $99) — will continue to vex the campaign as Perkins responds to future interview requests.
Perkins did finally cede a point to the Revolution, “I give them credit for being organized.”
Update (Tue Oct 11): Jack Hunter, the dedicated Ron Paul campaign blogger, has responded by posting a ton of screen shots “showcasing how the mainstream media is spinning or downplaying” the win. The screen shots show The Washington Post, FoxNews, CBS (twice), The Atlantic, Politico, Business Insider, The Daily Beast, New York Magazine and Hot Air all giving backhanded coverage of the straw poll with pertinent selections marked or underlined. Credit went to the Ron Paul Forums for their detective work.