Matt Mackowiak

This piece was co-authored by Ford O'Connell

It’s time to have a frank conversation about “the one,” and we are not talking about President Barack Obama.

The latest round of polling coming out of the Hawkeye State suggests that Texas Congressman Ron Paul could indeed win the 2012 Iowa caucuses.

In 2008, long-shot candidate Gov. Mike Huckabee scored a surprise win in Iowa, but his candidacy was serious and he was a governor. That year, eventual nominee Sen. John McCain essentially skipped Iowa, finishing fourth and marginalizing Iowa’s political impact.

Should Rep. Ron Paul, who first ran for president in 1988, win Iowa, it may be the last time the state has the honor of being the first state to hold a vote every four years.

We know Iowa GOP caucus-goers are frustrated with the status quo in Washington and are extremely concerned about the future direction of this great nation, but casting a vote this January for candidate Paul is beyond unwise for three reasons.

First, Ron Paul will not defeat President Obama in 2012. The most recent general election polling may suggest that Rep. Paul is within striking distance of Obama, but the president will score an easy victory next November if Paul is indeed his opponent. While conservatives and some establishment Republicans rightly cheer as Paul professes smaller government and fiscal accountability, his outrageous positions on U.S. foreign policy, particularly given the meteoric rise of China and continued saber-rattling by Iran and North Korea on the international scene, will cause most general election voters to double down on Obama before they pull the lever in Paul’s favor.

Let us also not forget that should Paul actually be the nominee, his decades-old incendiary (although unbylined) newsletters — once Team Obama highlights them — will likely damage the Republican brand for years to come. Simply put, if Paul is the Republican nominee, President Obama will be assured four more years in the White House, and Americans just cannot afford that.

Second, Ron Paul will not win the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, so there is no need to give him momentum. We know the field is large and there are several viable choices to be the Republican Party’s standard-bearer next year, but giving Paul a victory in Iowa can only serve to hinder the eventual Republican nominee’s chances in the general election.

Matt Mackowiak

Matt Mackowiak is a Washington, DC and Austin, TX based political and communications consultant and the founder and President of Potomac Strategy Group, LLC, providing political consulting, media relations and crisis communications assistance to campaigns, companies, groups and individuals. Since he arrived in Washington, DC, he has served in senior roles for two U.S. Senators, a Governor, in the executive branch, in winning political campaigns, and in the private sector. Over his career Matt has developed deep relationships with national, state and local media and political figures.

Most recently Matt worked with PSG client Gov. Sean Parnell (R-AK) as a senior communications adviser, providing counsel on strategy, speechwriting and media relations during the 2011 legislative session in Juneau.

In 2010 Matt served as Campaign Manager for Bill Flores, the Republican nominee in Texas’ 17th Congressional District. After winning a 5-way primary, Flores defeated 10-term incumbent Rep. Chet Edwards (D-TX) by 25% in November, the largest margin of victory for a GOP challenger in 2010.

In addition to offering counsel to individuals and corporations, Matt provides political analysis for the Fox News Channel, MSNBC, ABC News, CBS News, BBC News, and radio stations throughout the country. Matt’s on-therecord political analysis has appeared in Politico, the Washington Times, the Los Angeles Times, Bloomberg News, The Hill, Congressional Quarterly, the Washington Examiner, the Dallas Morning News, the Houston Chronicle, and on He is a syndicated columnist and has had opinion columns published in the New York Post, New York Daily News,, Chicago Tribune, Philadelphia Inquirer, Politico, Roll Call, Austin American-Statesman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Des Moines Register, National Review online, Congressional Quarterly and on the popular blog sites The Daily Beast and The Huffington Post. Matt has lectured and given speeches at the University of Illinois, the University of Texas, Texas Christian University, Georgetown University, Catholic University, the University of Denver, American University and the University of North Texas.

From 2005-2009 Matt served as Press Secretary to U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (RTX), the fourth ranking member of the Republican Leadership, and three-term former U.S. Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT). Earlier in his career he was a political appointee at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for Under Secretary Asa Hutchinson and Assistant Secretary Stewart Verdery, managed the second largest county in Iowa on the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign, counseled corporate clients at international PR firm Burson-Marsteller, and performed White House Presidential and Vice Presidential advance nationwide.

Matt is a Director of the Center for Public Policy and Political Studies at Austin Community College, and is a sustaining member of MaverickPAC. He serves as a member of the Board of Advisors for the non-profit Luke’s Wings and enjoys helping Becky’s Fund and USA CARES.

A native of Austin, Texas, Matt graduated with a B.S. in Communications Studies (Political Communication track) from the University of Texas in 2003. Aside from his professional work, he owns and manages the popular blog site, which the Washingtonian has called “one of the best political blogs.” In his free time, Matt enjoys sports, live music, reading biographies, and is an avid supporter of the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the University of Texas.