As I noted over the weekend, the actual process by which delegates are selected in the Iowa caucus process (misunderstood completely by the media, including the Associated Press and New York Times which had been issuing authoritative and totally wrong "official delegate counts" about Iowa for months–and still are today!) is over, and Ron Paul won–alas, a bit late for that campaign-season momentum boost.
Here's some reportorial and pundit reaction. First, Seema Mehta at the Los Angeles Times on what Paul's Iowa victory, and similar victories elsewhere, might mean in Tampa. Maybe….chaos!:
"We want to influence the direction of the party more than anything else," said Joel Kurtinitis, who was Paul's state director in Iowa until the congressman effectively ended his presidential bid in May. He said efforts by followers of Paul, a 76-year-old who will retire when his current term ends, are about more than him or his son Rand, a senator from Kentucky.
"We're going to hold up our values and we're going to bring conservatism back to the mainline of the Republican Party," Kurtinitis said.
But others say the move by the Iowa GOP is a black eye for the state's first-in-the-nation voting status and for Romney.
"Embarrassment is the word that comes to my mind," said Jamie Johnson, who served as Santorum's state coalitions director in Iowa. The former Pennsylvania senator, who endorsed Romney after ending his presidential bid in April, appears to have a solitary Iowa delegate heading into the convention…..
"Where their leverage is going to be is in how smoothly the convention plays out. They hold the wild card. They can delay events taking place in Tampa with parliamentary procedure," said Josh Putnam, a professor at Davidson College in North Carolina who has studied political conventions.
He said it would be a mistake to assume the Paul delegates are monolithic. Some are focused on long-term goals of remaking the GOP, but others are focused on creating instant change, such as trying to block Romney's nomination.
"Romney's going to be the nominee," Putnam said. "It's just a question of how much of a headache are these folks going to make for Romney or the RNC."….
"If they don't give Ron Paul or Rand Paul prime time, they will turn Tampa 2012 into Chicago '68," said conservative Iowa radio host Steve Deace, referring to a Democratic National Convention that was beset with riots and violence. "They will lose their minds."
From Associated Press, via Chicago Sun-Times:
Paul's idled candidacy didn't slow the hunt for delegate slots on the ballot at Saturday's Iowa GOP convention in Des Moines. The majority of delegates to the national convention elected by Iowa Republicans will be Paul backers.
Paul's following argues that the campaign has always been about more than electing a president.
"It's never been about a man. It's about liberty, and turning the tide," said Marianne Stebbins, Paul's Minnesota state director. She was elected a national delegate on May 18.
Although Romney seldom attacked Paul during the primary campaign, Paul supporters remain cool to him. Many consider Romney part of the GOP establishment's complicity in the soaring federal debt, another top concern for Paul.
Ken Walsh at U.S. News notes interestingly that the Democratic National Committee seems to be trying to stir up a "let's you and him fight" between Romney and Paul, quoting the above AP report:
A DNC spokesman sent an e-mail to reporters quoting an AP story that said, "Paul backers have taken over state Republican conventions in Nevadai and Maine, and had a strong showing this weekend in Iowa, aiming to increase their voice and clout at the nominating convention in Tampa, Fla." The DNC e-mail also referred to AP reporting that, "Although Romney seldom attacked Paul during the primary campaign, Paul supporters remain cool to him….
*Tim Carney at Examiner notes that he saw this coming (as did I) all the way back in the caucus, though he strangely underplays what happens by saying "Ron Paul Won Iowa…in a sense." Yes, in the sense that the delegates from the state support him. That's what "winning a state" means in a system of state delegates going to a national convention to vote for president.
*The Daily Paul's Iowa victory thread.
Ron Paul's latest video message to his supporters from last week: