Get all that?
So, here’s the story: Faux News is having a New Hampshire Republican debate before the primary. They're only inviting Romney, McCain, Huckabee, Thompson and Giuliani, but not Ron Paul or Duncan Hunter, and there really is no good reason for it.
The move to exclude Hunter is understandable. I personally don't understand why Hunter's still in the race, but whatever. Excluding Ron Paul, on the other hand, doesn't make much sense.
There are basically three criteria (that I can think of) which would make it reasonable to exclude a candidate from a debate. They are: Polls, Fundraising, and Performance.
Well, the reason for Paul’s exclusion can't be polls. A Rasmussen Survey released on January 5th puts Paul dead even with Huckabee, the winner in Iowa, for fourth, and above both Thompson and Giuliani, who are invited. Other polls released the same day place Paul in fifth place by one to two points. No matter which poll is used, Paul is still ahead of one of the candidates that FOX invited.
As for fundraising, it can’t be that either. Having raised $20 million dollars, Paul is quite likely the current Republican fundraising leader. He has surprised everyone time and again by smashing fundraising records and raising enormous amounts of cash.
It also doesn't seem to be performance, and by that I mean performance in past contests, the only one at this point being the Iowa caucuses. In Iowa, Paul received support from 10% of caucus goers.
Ron Paul’s Response
So, what is it then? What can it be? If you ask Ron Paul, he says it's because Faux News is "scared" of him.
"They are scared of me and don't want my message to get out, but it will," Paul said at an event in the Granite State. "They are propagandists for this war and I challenge them on the notion that they are conservative."
Paul alleges that his position opposing the Iraq war, a position that is singular to him in the GOP field of candidates, is a key ideological reason why Faux News has excluded him.
FOX, in the meantime, has refused to elaborate on Paul's exclusion, only to say that the trailer they're using is too small for more candidates, to which I can only respond with one word: "Wow!" Are they serious? And if they are, why not bump a candidate with worse fundraising and lower poll numbers in New Hampshire?
In absence of a reasonable and logical explanation from FOX, it does appear that Paul's accusations, which can often times be wild, contain validity in this case. It does not see that there is not a "good" reason for FOX to exclude him – the reason being kicked around that because FOX’s agenda doesn’t match up with Paul’s is more and more believable, and it seems now to be likely.
Which also raises the point, should FOX be allowed to continue to operate under a banner of "Fair and Balanced?" They clearly have a political agenda. I don't see any reason why they should not, by law, have to register with the FEC for basically contributing to the Romney, Giuliani, Thompson, Huckabee, and McCain campaigns.
As for the New Hampshire state GOP? They smell a rat too. Where once they co-sponsored tomorrow's debate, they now curse it for excluding Paul and Hunter. The GOP state party chair said that Fox should include all viable candidates, and FOX isn't doing that.
“The first-in-the-nation New Hampshire primary serves a national purpose by giving all candidates an equal opportunity on a level playing field," said Republican chair Fergus Cullen in a press release. "Only in New Hampshire do lesser known, lesser funded underdogs have a fighting chance to establish themselves as national figures."