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David Responds

I had heard through the rumor mill today that David was fairly upset at Erick Erickson and I (and later Lance Dutson) for chastising him about his recent rant against RedState for banning Ron Paul’s venom spewing minions. I had heard he was worked up and would be writing a reply, so I’ve been keeping an eye out for it.

I assumed David would argue that he’s not bent on self-promotion. I had expected him to challenge the notion that he continually puts himself above the cause. I had a number of things floating through my head that perfectly illustrated David’s tendency to do this. The best example was the e-mail I received asking about the status of RightRoots while we were rebuilding. I told him we were expanding what we had done in 2006 and would soon be rolling out the new version. He then rushed to build Slatecard to compete with it.

Now I’m not against competition and welcome it, but it seemed odd that given his desire to advance the cause he would choose to muddy the water with multiple competing interests rather than jumping on board an existing initiative. His actions, in retrospect, all make sense. He would have been assisting with RightRoots, but his name would be synonymous with Slatecard.

So I had all this stuff running through my head, and the strangest thing happened. He explained away his tendency to put himself above his cause as the practical reality of trying to run a business in the PR world. So be it. It seems he agrees with our assessment that he’s out for himself, and offers a reason, so I’ll simply accept it and move on.

His motivations notwithstanding, let me dig into his reasoning for opposing the ban (he completely ignores the Google/MoveOn controversy by the way, and that is most of what Dutson dinged him on, so we’ll get back to that). David argues that the support for Paul is very real, and as evidence offers a NH poll out today showing him with 7 percent support.

And in New Hampshire, a state which Paul hasn’t actively campaigned in, he places fourth in a poll which was just released today by the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College

Ron Paul is turning on people that have likely never been turned on to politics including young people. And regardless of what party they thought they belonged to, they are now supporting a Republican candidate.

Well, actually, no, they aren’t. They’re supporting a fringe Libertarian candidate. Now don’t get me wrong. I consider myself to be of the libertarian wing of the GOP. I am not, by any stretch, in the religious faction and nobody who knows me would accuse me of that. As a libertarian Republican, I cannot now, nor will I ever, get behind Ron Paul. If Paul is our nominee, I would have to push the button for Hillary. I could no more vote for Ron Paul than for Dennis Kucinich.

And what’s interesting is another little study out today that shows I’m not the only one who considers Hillary to be more conservative than Paul. Based on visitors to their website, and those same visitors tendency to read partisan blogs, the kind folks at Compete have analyzed “The Company They Keep” – a look at the reading habits of campaign supporters. What did it show?

Internet darling Ron Paul is attracting significant interest from the left, leapfrogging even Hillary Clinton.

What, you say? Ron Paul’s supporters spend more time reading liberal blogs than conservative blogs? 23% of Paul’s visitors read liberal blogs while only 13% read conservative blogs. They are almost twice as likely to read liberal blogs than conservative. Does that make them “Reagan Democrats”? All draws that comparison (one that any Republican who was actually alive during Reagan’s entire tenure in office would find distasteful).

The fact is Ron Paul personifies a brand of Republicanism that most Republicans find objectionable. If the Republicans spontaneously nominated Howard Dean, there would be an exodus of GOPers regardless of how many crazed liberals he brought along.

All further explains his belief that Ron Paul represents “change” and this is going to be a change election. (Note: I have advocated that this is shaping up to be an anti-incumbent election, but not necessarily a change election in the traditional sense. 2006 was about change. 2008 is about anger at Washington. That’s not about change, that’s about lashing out with little concern for the fallout, and is a very dangerous and unpredictable type of election for either party.)

I disagree with his description of Paul as the change candidate, as well. Paul is a reactionary candidate. He is attractive to a very narrow and angry minority who feel displaced by society at any given point. If he loses the GOP nomination (which I will go out on a limb and guarantee) he will seek the Libertarian nomination (mark my words). His supporters will follow him, and he will get the same .5% that Harry Browne garnered in 1996 and 2000.

Will a single one of his supporters (attracted to an anti-war libertarian who has accused the current GOP administration of engaging in an illegal war) support a nominee that is likely to be in favor of finishing the jobs in Iraq and Afghanistan? I doubt it. If his anti-war hysteria is what draws them to Paul, I don’t really think they’ll hang in there to vote for Rudy, Fred, Romney or McCain regardless of how welcome RedState makes them feel.

All’s attitude reminds me of the county parties in New Mexico. When I was first hired to analyze the races in the state and make recommendations regarding which legislative districts would get resources (and where we should deny them), we were met with howls. The “fair” thing to do would be to divide the money evenly amongst our counties and candidates. We stuck to our guns, and ignored districts where we would not win, and put it into districts where we could. As long as we did, we added seats every year (regardless of what happened in DC or the statewide races. It was only when we were savaged by infighting that we lost.

David’s model is much the same. We should expend resources trying to make inroads in places we have no hope of making them. It’s a losing philosophy. It’s throwing a hail Mary on first and ten instead of steadily moving the goal posts.


David, as I mentioned, left the Google question untouched. Lance Dutson (who, like me, All describes as a ‘friend’ despite not knowing either of us very well) was not kind to David when he weighed in:

I don’t know David All very well, but I do know him. Based on my experience, I think I would take this beyond the criticism of self-promotion that Turk and Erickson levy against him, and say that he is actually hurting the very movement he has anointed himself the leader of. David All is providing a crass misrepresentation of the work that the rest of us are doing, he’s proffering poorly-deduced theories about how the Right should use the internet, and he’s allowing the traditional media to paint Republicans as inept and childish when it comes to technology. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some extremely talented people in this world over the last few years, and it really bothers me that David All has become the public face of what is in reality a remarkable group of people. His two-dimensional YouTube mania, his incessant and misplaced references to Anderson’s Long Tail theory, and his predilection for cliche in lieu of explanation works to widen the gap between an older generation of Republican leaders and the rest of us who are attempting to convince them of the need to evolve.

He also sums up David’s approach to the Google/Collins flap pretty succinctly.

All wrote a post about the issue at, in which he described me as his ‘friend’. His post indicated that he had contacted Google, and that after listening to what they had to say, he agreed with Google’s decision to ban the ads. Strangely, All didn’t bother to contact his ‘friend’ to get reaction or further explanation, a move that would have helped him avoid making a completely incorrect assessment of the situation.

I don’t think I can top that, so I’ll stop trying.

Written by Michael Turk