Ron Paul Roundup: The World Gazes on His Delegate Strategy in Wild Wonder
Lots of folk have had lots to say about Ron Paul's slow racking up of delegates and supporter influence in the Republican Party in the past couple of days. A sampling:
*Jon Ward at Huffington Post says some Iowan GOPers are peeved and distressed at the Paulian success in their state:
Conversations with numerous Iowa Republicans confirms the same thing: The state party establishment is dreading a Paul rout on June 15 and 16 at the two-day congressional district/state convention in Des Moines.
"Paul is costing the state a lot of credibility," said Bob Haus, a GOP consultant who most recently headed up Texas Gov. Rick Perry's campaign in the state.
Another Republican operative who works for a statewide official sounded an even more despondent note.
"It does not sound encouraging. The Paul people are in a position to control the delegates, and the result would be chaotic for the Republican Party of Iowa and bring it to a screeching halt, rendering it completely irrelevant to our efforts here," the Republican aide told The Huffington Post. "Nobody would rely on [the state party] for anything.
After the fiasco earlier this year involving the caucus results, Iowans are nervous that if Paul gets a majority of the delegates, it will endanger their first-in-the-nation primary status.
After a decent summation of where and how the Paul people are punching above their weight in other states such as Minnesota, Alaska, Colorado, and Nevada, Ward wonders: to what avail?
Despite the drama, it's still not clear what immediate tangible benefit these delegates will yield for Paul and his devoted followers. Romney still appears to be set to reach 1,144 delegates, the number he needs to clinch the nomination.
But at the very least, Paul's delegate total and the willingness of his supporters to vote for him on the floor in Tampa is certain to draw attention to his cause and his message of limited government. It seems somewhat unlikely that Paul would forego the chance to see his supporters give the GOP establishment fits on the convention floor, under a nationally televised microscope, simply to gain a better speaking slot at the four-day event.
So he may be simply building a movement with a view toward giving his son, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a head start for the 2016 race.
And some Republicans said he has already succeeded in pushing the Republican Party so far to the right on fiscal and budgetary matters that it has paid tangible dividends at the legislative level.
"There are a lot of establishment Republicans who need to thank Ron Paul for injecting a certain amount of courage to do what people always said needed to be done but where they also said, 'How do we do that?'" Iowa state Rep. Erik Helland said.
*Fox News calls the Paul strategy a "highjacking" of the Party and quotes a GOP strategist saying it will only in the end (for reasons unexplained) help Obama.
*The Hill pushes the same "Paul's state level victories might help Obama" line, with some actual explanations of how that might be the case:
State Republican Party organizations are usually responsible for get out the vote efforts and other functions key to a successful election. If officials aren't in Romney's corner, the former Massachusetts governor and down-ticket Republicans could struggle due to weak voter registration efforts.
The story goes on to detail some bad blood between the very Paulite new establishment running the Iowa GOP and Romney folk, based not only in Paul fandom but in Romney's steadfast ignoring of the state in the early days of the campaign.
*I blogged yesterday about a lawyer for the national GOP warning Nevada that it better do what the popular caucus vote said and nominate a majority of Romney delegates. The Associated Press reports on the response from the chair of Paul's campaign in Nevada:
The Nevada chairman of Ron Paul's presidential campaign…Carl Bunce called the RNC opinion "creative writing" and maintained Paul supporters will abide by rules that first-round balloting at the national convention be apportioned based on the outcome of the Nevada caucuses….
Bunce countered that rules adopted by the state party last fall and forwarded to the RNC say that delegates are elected at the state convention, but the allotment of delegates to particular candidates happens afterward.
"If Romney's the guy, what are they worried about?" he said. "It's obvious to those of us in the Ron Paul campaign … Romney did not have the delegates or the force to get his delegates to the national convention."….
Bunce predicted the 50 percent to 60 percent of state convention attendees will be Paul backers.
"It's going to be a Ron Paul rally, that's what it's going to be," he said, adding, "It will be a lawyer fest, probably."
The Nevada GOP establishment shut down their own convention to avoid a Paul delegate victory back in 2008.
*Independent Voter Network thinks that what is most important coming out of the GOP primary season is that "Ron Paul has built a political machine. Judging by recent events in state and local GOP conventions across the country, it may not be at all presumptuous for Ron Paul's supporters to call their burgeoning movement a revolution."
*Talking Points Memo thinks that "Ron Paul Supporters Antics Could Spell Trouble for GOP Convention."
*Thomas Mullen writing at a Washington Times "communities" page thinks the Paul strategy is perfectly legitimate, indeed a great hat tip to our traditions as a Republic-not-a-democracy:
Ron Paul's strategy takes advantage of the republican nature of the nomination process. That process does not rely purely on a popular vote to determine who will be the nominee. Instead, voters must go through a multi-tiered vetting process of successive elections in order to become a delegate to the RNC.
This does not remove all of the dangers inherent in a pure democracy, but it helps. At least a delegate has been forced to hear the arguments of other candidates before blindly casting a vote. He also must have the commitment necessary to endure the long delegate selection process.
That the process is republican rather than democratic does not disenfranchise anyone. Everyone has an equal opportunity to become a delegate. Everyone has an equal opportunity to read the rules. That supporters of some candidates choose not to go through the process does not "nullify their wishes." That they choose not to become informed on how candidates are actually nominated does not represent a deception. On the contrary, the whole process is intentionally designed to ensure that uninformed or uncommitted people do not directly choose the nominee.
*TV journalist Ben Swann from a Fox affiliate in Cincinnati thinks the RNC is violating its own rules by already behaving as if Romney won and supporting him; he also wonders if his reading of RNC "rule 38" means that delegates thought bound to the winner of state caucuses and primaries might not be after all; writers at the Daily Paul say he's wrong.
*At the College Fix, former Reason intern Julie Ershadi checks in with the latest of Paul's multi-thousand college campus appearences, at Cal State Fullerton, where he talks up civil liberties and fears government surveillance of us all.
*Robin Koerner at Huffington Post sees a media confused by the paradigm shift the Ron Paul revolution portends.
*As you might know, I have a book coming out within a couple of weeks called Ron Paul's Revolution: The Man and the Movement He Inspired, and it got a very nice write-up at RealClearBooks by W. James Antle III, a journalist with a great deal of experience writing and thinking about the modern American right.