T Nation

Presidental Straw Poll


The person who didn't attend the Southern Republican Leadership Conference won the 2012 GOP presidential straw poll.

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney won the straw poll by one vote over Rep. Ron Paul, 438-437.

Sarah Palin finished in third place with 330 votes, while Newt Gingrich rounded it out with 321 votes.

Several potential candidates addressed the three-day gathering which ended Saturday.

Eyeing another presidential bid, Texas Rep. Ron Paul told Republican activists that "the American people have awoken" because Washington won't address the nation's fiscal crisis.

Paul ran for the GOP presidential nomination in 2008.

Paul brought to the event a large contingent of boisterous supporters. Following Paul's lead, they booed some traditional GOP policies that lead to government spending.

"The reason why the American people have awoken ..... is because the country is broke and the people in Washington won't admit it," Paul said.

Evoking the memory of Hurricane Katrina, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour told Republicans that the policies of President Obama and other Democrats are a "man-made disaster."

He took the stage after a slick video paid homage to Barbour himself and his fellow GOP governors.

After recalling the 2005 hurricane, Barbour said, "Today we're here because we know we have to deal with a man-made disaster."

Barbour has not declared his intentions for the 2012 White House race.

Indiana Rep. Mike Pence, considered by GOP leaders to be a potential 2012 presidential candidate, vowed that House Republicans will repeal Obama's health care overhaul law "lock, stock and barrel."

In a fiery speech, Pence, a conservative Republican with a growing but limited presence on the national political stage, noted that Obama recently dared the GOP to try to repeal the law. Pence says his response to Obama is, "count on it."

Former Sen. Rick Santorum told fellow Republicans that the party failed the conservative movement when the GOP controlled Congress and the White House.

The former Pennsylvania senator said some Republicans were guilty of growing the size of government earlier this decade.

"Conservatives didn't fail America," he said. "Conservatives failed conservatism."

There will also be a so-called straw poll on who should be the party's 2012 nominee. After the speeches, the 3,000-plus conference attendees cast their ballots.

Ron Paul only lost by 1 vote, won't be long till he is the front running candidate.

Ron Paul 2012.


Ron Paul, aside from other things, is 74 years old.

I couldn't bring myself to vote for Romney in the last GOP primary.

This is not very encouraging.


My guess is that Ron Paul talking about our foreign policy at that event is what caused Romney to edge a small victory. Neo Conservatives(progressives) have a hard time understanding that if you intrude on people they will be mad.


76 when its time for election, he is in great health.

What is not very encouraging about Ron Paul, The fact that he loves freedom? Or the fact that he is the one politician that will do what he says.


John, I think you are a good guy. I understand how one could be interested in a candidate that trumpets the Constitution.

But, I wish you'd give up the ron paul cheerleading.

He is NOT the answer to obama. He's simply unelectable. If we move toward a strict Constitutionalist, it won't be him. It isn't the Republican "machine" that dooms ron paul. It's ron paul himself. In order to lead, you have to actually make allies. ron paul fails miserably on that score. Way too preachy/holier than thou/and simply wrong on many of his historical assertions.

So, please drop the ron paul talk.

Let's get serious. Romney and Pence are the two that seem viable at this point. I still get the feeling there is a dark horse.

Romney better come up with a mea culpa about Mass-health care. It's spiraled into a total disaster. I like Romney, but, so far, he doesn't have the right response.

I don't know enough about Pence, yet.

My hope is a Governor with executive experience. An outsider contrasts nicely with Mr. Washington Corruption.



No. No. No, John.

He's wrong. Fortress America isn't plausible. Never has been. It sounds nice, but, it isn't possible.

My suggestion is for you to read about Tom Jefferson's 8 years in the White House. Then skip forward and read about Woodrow Wilson.

While, I agree, we should work on limiting our entanglements, ron paul's rigid assertions, are not workable.



Ron Paul is very electable, you see the anti war left is going to go somewhere in 2012, they will flock to Ron Paul. That combined with the tea party and the republican party are going to put him into office.

Having Bush 4 is not the answer. It is the unwillingness to change that has led us down this path. Go back and look what Bush ran on in 2000, we won elections on what Ron Paul is preaching, the only difference is Ron Paul will deliver. The Commercial real estate bubble is about to burst, that is going to change the game heavily in Ron Paul's favor.

When the independents realize that goverment is not the answer and when the stimulus runs out next year and they realize that all the government did was paper over the economy they will revolt against obama at the voting booth.

Sit back and watch the death of the Progressives, and watch us return to the constitution. If your solution is another progressive then you are just part of the problem.


Getting involved in foreign affairs always leads us to war, war drains the economy, the economy collapses no more military. Rest of world has a vaccume affect and dictators rise to power.

That is where your path leads too.

I was a supporter of the wars, but its been 8-9 years and nothing is fixed, the second we leave Iraq they will fall right into a civil war. The war in Afghanistan is lost because nation building doesn't work, and especially not when they are nothing more then a bunch of tribes.


I don't see Romney winning, we need someone electrifying to harness all this energy. This movement is strong, now you need a guy who can bring it all together.


John, again, I've always liked you. But, your last sentence is the MAJOR problem with ron paul and his followers. You guys reek of fanaticism. It's literally: Either you are for ron paul, or you are "part of the problem."

Please give that sentence some thought.

I want you to read about the setting of the Straw Poll today. Did you notice the very vocal ron paul group? Did you see their age group? That age group is the LEAST likely of any demographic to A. vote. B. Generate enough funding, to win a campaign.

Again, ron paul isn't electable. He has a personality that is anathema to winning elections. You have got to win the hearts and minds. His entire "I'm right/if you don't agree with me you are part of the problem," attitude sounds great for his target audience of 18-24 year olds. But, it turns off the rest of the electorate.

When ron paul gets wasted, again, you may chalk that up to the party machine. But, the rest of us know that ron paul SUCKS as a candidate.

I am not part of any party. I don't take "orders" from any "machine."

I do not want ron paul within a million miles of true power.

Now, can we get back to talking about real candidates? It's critical to remove obama.

On that, I think we can agree.



Iraq's Civil War has been predicted for each of the last 7 years.

I doubt it's going to happen. W. won that one.

Afghanistan could go either way.

ron paul is advocating Fortress America. Think what that thinking does to the economy. Don't believe me, read about Jefferson and the Barbary Pirates.

Jefferson was the closest to a ron paulie. Check out what happened. Check out what he ended up doing. See what his Fortress America attitude led to in 1812.

If you won't look this up, simply imagine what happens when an aggressive nation decides to deny our exports. Or, they prey on our shipping.

Guess what? In a ron paul world, we'll be either paying tribute or going to war anyway.



Everyone else in office compromises there principles, have no desire or willingness to see them in office. Don't want a new guy that will promise the world then turn around and out Bush Bush.

Obama won because he got the youth, we will vote, and like it or not we are the new face of the GOP(as much as I would like to have a new party it seems I will have to reform this party).

Replacing Obama with a civil right abusing neo conservative is not the answer. I would vote Obama over Romney, at least its the devil you know there.


First off, we havn't gotten out of Iraq yet it will break down when we leave.

Second if we are denied exports and all that other stuff then you can initate force because force(economic) has been initated against you. That is the Ron Paul world, You leave me alone I will leave you alone. You mess we me I will mess you up.



Don't see that person, yet. It's not Sarah (while I'd take her over obama). Perry pissed me off with the secession talk. I'm a Union man, first. Pence, I don't know well enough. Jindal needs time. Gingrich.

Gingrich, SHOULD be the guy. He's brilliant (I don't use that word very often). Has plenty of experience. But, his personal life, unfortunately, dooms him with much of the party.

Romney has the Mass Health Care albatross around his neck. I don't see anything short of saying, "I've learned from my Universal Health Care experience. It's a failure. I'm in a unique position to repeal/replace obama care."

If he keeps waffling, he can forget it.



Then, friend, our discussion is at an end.

I hope your disappointment won't be too severe.



I'd vote for Romney. He made a failing Bain profitable again. Very very successful consultant. Smart dude and not a loon on social issues.


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What defines someone as being a "loon" on social issues?


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Yes indeed, however, doing what Jeff says would be both courageous and a brilliant campaign tactic and could change my mind.

I would personally love to see an army of young people with John S's sincerity and enthusiasm for first American principles. No offense John as I've told you as well how much I like you, but you have not been around my friend. I have a feeling some of us have been engaged in more elections than you've been alive for.

Jeff is right. You are setting yourself up for heartbreak. Donald Duck has a better chance of being elected president of the United States than Ron Paul for a whole list of reasons. I will give you that Ron Paul would not bend on anything in office. I will also say that much of his domestic philosophy is right on, but he has zero chance of getting the GOP nomination nevermind winning a general election.

The whole "neo con" thing is a red herring too. This is not 1800 during which era, as has been pointed out, it was not even possible to live in Ron Paul's world. Forget about today. There ARE things that must be handled "over there" lest they make their way over here at which time it will be far too late.