Ron Paul to speak in Hayward and San Francisco

So soon after U.S. Sen. Rand Paul’s Bay Area fundraising blitz and speech at Cal, the region will get a visit from the Paul who started it all.

Ron PaulFormer 12-term congressman and three-time presidential candidate Ron Paul will speak on “Liberty Defined: The Future of Freedom,” at 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 9, in the university theater at the California State University, East Bay campus in Hayward. Admission is free and it’s open to the public, but tickets will be required and are available on a first-come, first-served basis either online or by calling the Independent Institute at (510) 632-1366, ext. 105.

Paul will do a separate, private reception and book-signing at the campus after his speech; the $75 price includes a copy of one of his books.

Paul also is scheduled to address the Commonwealth Club of California at 10 a.m. Thursday, April 10, at the club’s offices on the second floor of 595 Market St. in San Francisco; tickets are available online or by calling the club at 415-597-6705. This event also will be followed by a book-signing.

“The father of U.S Presidential hopeful Rand Paul and former U.S Presidential candidate himself, Ron Paul, a former U.S. Congressman from Texas, will tell us why he believes that to believe in liberty is not to believe in any particular social and economic outcome,” the club’s news release says.

“He says it is to trust in the spontaneous order that emerges when the state does not intervene in human volition and human cooperation. It permits people to work out their problems for themselves, build lives for themselves, take risks and accept responsibility for the results, and make their own decisions. In fact, Paul calls liberty the seed of America,” the release continues. “He maintains the term “liberty” is so commonly used in our country that it has almost become a mere cliché. But do we know what it means? What it promises? How it factors into our daily lives? And most important, can we recognize tyranny when it is sold to us disguised as a form of liberty?”

Paul’s CSU-EB appearance is sponsored by the Smith Center for Private Enterprise Studies – a free-market think tank at the university – and by the Independent Institute, a nonprofit nonpartisan libertarian group based in Oakland. No state funds will be used to host or pay Paul (nor will Peter be robbed).


Gone, but not forgotten

Though Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney clinched his party’s nomination last week with his win in the Texas primary, Californian Republicans went to the polls today to cast their ballots – and early returns showed eight out of 10 of them were accepting the inevitable.

As of 11 p.m., Romney had about 80.7 percent of the vote, while Rep. Ron Paul, R-Tex., followed with 9.4 percent. Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum had 5 percent of the vote, even though he dropped out well before former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who was at 3.8 percent.


Ron Paul to speak at Cal, raise $$$ in SF Thursday

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul will speak at UC-Berkeley this Thursday evening, addressing “the state of American politics today and … how limited government can solve our country’s woes.”

Ron PaulThat’s according to Students for Liberty, a Cal student organization, and Youth for Ron Paul, which are co-sponsoring the 7 p.m. event in the campus’ Zellerbach Auditorium.

The event is free and open to the public, but because of the auditorium’s limited size, those wishing to attend are encouraged to get an early seating voucher online. The voucher will only be good until 6:30 PM, at which point seating will switch to first-come, first-served.

“College students today are beginning to break the left-right paradigm of American politics and turn to independent ideologies like Congressman Paul’s libertarianism for answers,” said the student groups’ news release. “This event should prove to be a true testament to the shifting nature of the youth vote.”

Paul earlier Thursday will attend an 11:30 a.m. fundraising luncheon at San Francisco’s Marriott Union Square hotel; tickets cost $350 per person, or $250 for those with student or military ID.

Thursday’s events will cap the Texas Congressman’s three-day campaign and fundraising swing through California; he has similar campus events scheduled Tuesday evening at Cal State Chico and Wednesday at UCLA. His fundraisers won’t be open to the media.

Paul, 76, during a radio appearance Monday in Washington, D.C., said he has not yet decided whether he’ll support the eventual GOP nominee.

A Republican candidate needs 1,144 delegates to clinch the nomination; Mitt Romney now has 464, Rick Santorum has 205, Newt Gingrich has 135 and Paul has 34, according to the Associated Press. Paul has not won any state primary or caucus so far.


GOP presidential candidates discuss Prop. 8 ruling

Mitt Romney issued this statement on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling that Proposition 8, California’s ban on same-sex marriage, is unconstitutional:

“Today, unelected judges cast aside the will of the people of California who voted to protect traditional marriage. This decision does not end this fight, and I expect it to go to the Supreme Court. That prospect underscores the vital importance of this election and the movement to preserve our values. I believe marriage is between a man and a woman and, as president, I will protect traditional marriage and appoint judges who interpret the Constitution as it is written and not according to their own politics and prejudices.”

Newt Gingrich responded to the ruling with a Tweet – “Court of Appeals overturning CA’s Prop 8 another example of an out of control judiciary. Let’s end judicial supremacy” – with a link to a section of his platform in which he promises to “(r)estore the proper role of the judicial branch by using the clearly delineated powers available to the president and Congress to correct, limit, or replace judges who violate the Constitution.

I’ve not yet seen statements from Rick Santorum, who is dead-set against same-sex marriage, or Ron Paul, who believes government has no place in the marriage issue but personally believes marriage is only between a man and a woman.

UPDATE @ 2:31 P.M.: Gingrich just issued this statement:

“With today’s decision on marriage by the Ninth Circuit, and the likely appeal to the Supreme Court, more and more Americans are being exposed to the radical overreach of federal judges and their continued assault on the Judeo-Christian foundations of the United States.

“I was drawn back into public life by the Ninth Circuit’s 2002 decision that held that the words ‘under God’ in the Pledge of Allegiance were unconstitutional. Today’s decision is one more example that the American people cannot rest until we restore the proper rule of the judicial branch and bring judges and the Courts back under the Constitution.

“The Constitution of the United States begins with ‘We the People;’ it does not begin with ‘We the Judges.’ Federal judges need to take heed of that fact.

“Federal judges are substituting their own political views for the constitutional right of the people to make judgments about the definition of marriage.

“The country has been here before. In 1856, the Supreme Court thought it could settle the issue of slavery once and for all and impose a judicial solution on the country. In 1973, the issue was abortion and once again a Supreme Court thought that it could impose a judicial solution on the country once and for all.

“Judicial solutions don’t solve contentious social issues once and for all.

“Should the Supreme Court fail to heed the disastrous lessons if its own history and attempt to impose its will on the marriage debate in this country by affirming today’s Ninth Circuit decision, it will bear the burden of igniting a constitutional crisis of the first order.

“The political branches of the federal government, as well as the political branches of the several States, will surely not passively accept the dictates of the federal judiciary on this issue. An interventionist approach by the Court on marriage will lead to a crisis of legitimacy for the federal judiciary from which it may take generations to recover.”

UPDATE @ 4:20 P.M.: Santorum tweets, “7M Californians had their rights stripped away today by activist 9th Circuit judges. As president I will work to protect marriage.”


Jon Huntsman calls it quits

So Jon Huntsman is done, and has thrown his support to Mitt Romney.

Jon Huntsman 1-16-2012 (AP Photo)Not a shocker. Huntsman had put all his eggs in New Hampshire’s basket, which quickly Humpty-Dumptied his sorry self with a distant-third-place finish. Facing Armageddon this Saturday in the more Christian-conservativey South Carolina – where he was even trailing a made-up persona, although some might say all politicians are made-up personas – Huntsman decided to end the masochism this morning in Myrtle Beach.

“America is more divided than ever, and for our nation to move forward together with new leadership and unite, the Republican Party must first unite,” he says in a statement posted to his website. “Today I am suspending my campaign and supporting the candidate who is best-equipped to defeat the president and return conservative leadership to the White House: Governor Mitt Romney.”

Replied Romney, in a statement issued this morning: “I salute Jon Huntsman and his wife Mary Kaye. Jon ran a spirited campaign based on unity not division, and love of country. I appreciate his friendship and support.”

This leaves Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul to duke it out in the Palmetto State. I figure Romney continues his sweep and finishes first. As Gingrich and Santorum vie for the more conservative voters, whoever doesn’t finish second behind Romney will find it hard to march onward to Florida. Paul won’t care so much, as he’s apparently less concerned with winning and more with continuing to get his message out; in fact, a strong finish – buoyed by the younger voters that pushed him forward in Iowa and New Hampshire – could ensure he continues campaigning for quite some time to come.

UPDATE @ 1:43 P.M.: No, I didn’t mention Rick Perry. That’s because I believe his campaign to be…
Texas toast


Iowa – so what?

It’s caucus day in Iowa, and the most recent polls show former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney with a thin lead over Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., a more distant third.

And as one of them pops the champagne corks and looses the confetti tonight, I’ll say… so what?

First, consider who is voting. Iowa has a total population of about 3 million, which is less than half of that of the San Francisco Bay Area; only about 2 million are registered, active voters. About 30 percent of Iowa voters are Republicans, but only a fraction of them actually vote in the caucuses: In 2008, it was a record turnout of 119,000, which was only about a fifth of the active registered Republicans at the time. This, in a state that’s 88.7 percent “white, not Hispanic,” as the Census puts it, and where self-identified evangelical Christians wield disproportionate influence by comprising 40 to 60 percent of caucus-goers.

Second, consider the process. Unlike a traditional primary election where you vote or mail in your ballot and then move on, a caucus – a community meeting at which voters express their preferences – can take some time (each campaign can have a surrogate speak for up to five minutes), meaning those who must work or can’t get out of the house for that long can’t vote. There are no absentee ballots, which also eliminates the votes of active-duty soldiers and college students who have left the state for the winter break.

The Iowa caucuses have been the nation’s first major event of the presidential electoral season since 1972, but it’s hard to keep calling them a bellwether when candidates like Ron Paul and Rick Santorum – who clearly don’t have the ground game, fundraising or policy stances to carry other states – are within striking distance of a win there. The ability to influence a tiny slice of one small, homogenous, rural state says hardly anything about who’s likely to win the nomination. Just ask Mike Huckabee.