Ron Paul, not for the Long Haul


James Antle asks and answers a good question: If Ron Paul won dozens of delegates and his supporters won so many staged fights to collect more, how come the candidate only got 15 votes in St. Paul?

Paul supporters worked hard at state conventions and in district meetings to augment the number of delegates the Texas congressman won in the GOP primaries, often with surprising success against the opposition of party leaders. They staged a semi-successful credentials fight that resulted in four Paul delegates being seated in Nevada.

But those four delegates went for McCain over Paul in the final vote. About a dozen pro-Paul Massachusetts delegates did the same. They cited their delegation leaders' desire to show unified support for McCain (who won neither state). The Las Vegas Sun described them as gracious; Lew Rockwell complained "Ron Paul Republicans drop the prefix."

An argument could probably be made that this is a sign of political maturity as Ron Paul Republicans try to preserve their future viability and work seamlessly within their party like the religious right before them.

For Nevadan Paulistinians, this was a canny move. The Nevada GOP went through considerable agony 10 years ago when a rump of new and old members joined the party in an unsuccessful attempt to get Aaron Russo the nomination for governor. When I was in Nevada last month, sympathetic members of the GOP told me that they welcomed Paul voters until they started kicking up dirt about the meaningless delegate count. (Meaningless because McCain was inevitably going to be nominated.) The phrase I kept hearing: "We've seen this before." They expected the Paulistians to become the new Russophiles. And indeed, Paul supporters are divided between people who plan on quitting politics and people who will stay in the GOP. The stay-insiders are having a tough time of it. To quote Arden Osborne, one of the switcher delegates.

They've been tearing us limb from limb. We're being called traitors and cowards.

Sounds like the Libertarian Party, actually!