Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Ron Paul Is A Serious Candidate While, Sadly, Dennis Kucinich Is Not

It pains me to say it, but Republican Representative Ron Paul of Texas is a serious candidate for President who should, for the moment at least, be included in debates, while Democratic Representative Dennis Kucinich of Ohio is not serious.

A serious candidate for the Presidency is not by exclusive definition someone likely to win the nomination. It can be a “message” candidate who represents an important wing of the party. 

Democrat Jesse Jackson in 1984 and 1988 is an excellent example of such a candidate.

By this standard, both Congressman Paul and Congressman Kucinich might qualify.

The difference is that Ron Paul is raising money and he ran ahead of some of the so-called serious candidates in Iowa. None of this can be said of Dennis Kucinich.

Jesse Jackson in 1984 and 1988 won a few primaries and finished strongly in number of others. He earned inclusion as a serious candidate all the way to the convention.

Republican Pat Buchanan in 1992 and 1996 was another example of a credible message candidate.

As the primaries begin, Rep. Paul will have to prove he can routinely win at the least 10% of the vote to establish he can do more than raise money from a core of zealous supporters.

In 1988, Jesse Jackson won 29.1% of Democratic primary votes. In 1992, Pat Buchanan won 22.8% of Republican primary votes.

In 2004, Dennis Kucinich won 3.8% of primary votes. His campaign for 2008 seems no stronger than 2004.  

Texas based political blogger Jobsanger has a post today on the subject of Rep. Paul’s unfair exclusion from the Fox News debate last night.  

1/16/08—Update—Congressman Paul has run poorly in both New Hampshire and Michigan. He is not winning nearly the votes gained by either Pat Buchanan or Jesse Jackson. I’m not sure you can say Dr. Paul is for real anymore.

January 7, 2008 - Posted by | Campaign 2008, Political History, Politics | , , , , , ,


  1. I wish I could hear Kucinich in the debates still though. And Ron Paul has earned a place there.

    Comment by Fuck Fiction | January 7, 2008

  2. You haven’t really explained why you think Kucinich isn’t a serious candidate, have you? In my opinion he’s the most proactive, still carrying out his congressional duties while he runs, and has shown by his track record in Congress exactly where he stands. He’s the most consistently (since 2002) outspoken against the Iraq War, for one thing.

    Until every state has chosen a nominee in each party, then all the candidates should be included in the debates.

    Comment by Barbara | January 7, 2008

  3. FF–Thanks for the comment and for reading the blog.

    Barbara–Thanks for your comment.

    Mr. Kuninich could not muster support in 2004, did not do well in Iowa and is not raising much money.

    If Kuchinich runs well in New Hampshire tomorrow I’ll make note of it. But I don’t see why that will happen given he has been running for President for some years now.

    His followers have had the chance to send him money and vote for him. It’s not happening.

    If your view is that all candidates should be in all debates until someone has a majority of delegates, that is a view many might hold and it has some merit.

    For myself, Kucinich has been in many debates and has been a longstanding candidate. If whe ants to make a stronger effort for 2012, he has that right to try.

    Comment by Neil Aquino | January 7, 2008

  4. […] James Joyner wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptIt pains me to say it, but Republican Representative Ron Paul of Texas is a serious candidate for President who should, for the moment at least, be included in debates, while Democratic Representative Dennis Kucinich of Ohio is not … […]

    Pingback by Ron Paul » Blog Archive » Ron Paul Is A Serious Candidate While, Sadly, Dennis Kucinich Is Not | January 8, 2008

  5. Kucinich has won most if not all the internet straw polls. He definitely has a following. I do not believe in the media polls, as they can sway the results any way they want. The computer polls are different. They take effort to vote, and one can only vote once, as they keep track of that. So, Kucinich has a following. Now we will see if his followers remember that they must leave the internet and actually cast a vote for him. I know I will

    Comment by cheryl davis | January 8, 2008

  6. I said in a earlier post kucinich and paul would be a great ticket. they are both crazy smart and honest. they have a different tone in their voice. a sensible one.

    Comment by bill brady | January 9, 2008

  7. William—I cannot agree with on this point. Mr. Paul, while he does not always seem so, is in fact further to the right than any of the Republican candidates.

    Comment by Neil Aquino | January 9, 2008

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