The results are in for the Maine caucuses. Well, kind of. There are still some small ones left to go. This whole primary process is really bizarre in some states.
It looks like Mitt Romney will win, with Ron Paul taking a close second. Without the final results yet, Mitt Romney has approximately 39% of the vote to Ron Paul's 36%. Once again, Ron Paul has done considerably better than 4 years ago, this time about doubling his percentage.
It really is too bad that Paul could not come away with a win in Maine. It's not that it matters that much in terms of delegates, but the headlines and the subsequent momentum would have been nice. While it is still amazing to think how far the libertarian movement has come in the last 5 years, the mood of the country still isn't quite ready for a dramatic change in the status quo.
The status quo is war, government spending, government debt, government spying, government orders, government regulation, taxation, etc. While many Americans say they want a balanced budget and less government, they are not prepared to support significant and specific spending cuts. Too many people want to live at the expense of other people.
The biggest laugh is when I hear someone go off on people collecting welfare. Then I hear that same person talk about his Social Security and Medicare. Or perhaps they are younger and will talk about his kids attending government schools. Look, I am not condemning people for collecting Social Security and Medicare benefits. They are just trying to get something back from all of the taxes they paid previously and are currently paying. But we at least have to admit to ourselves that these are welfare programs. It is not like all of the previous payroll taxes were set aside in private accounts for people. They can only be paid right now by collecting current taxes or by running up debt and creating new money out of thin air.
So while the libertarian movement has made great strides, much because of Ron Paul and his message, we still have a long way to go. With the coming economic storm ahead and with the open communication of the internet, I think we will get more people looking for answers over the next few years. I think Keynesianism will be seen less favorably. I think many people with an open mind will start to see libertarianism as an answer.
I hope Ron Paul stays in this race all the way to the convention. As I've said before, the longer he stays in, the more time there is for people to hear his message.