As the Republican National Convention looms in Tampa next week, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) continues to be the only Romney opponent still making relevant news, largely because debates and negotiations over how many of his delegates will be properly seated in Tampa continue.
I blogged yesterday about a deal on a couple of the contested states, Louisiana and Massachusetts, in which Paul wins some but loses some he would have had had the party establishment not been fighting him in the first place.
NPR had a long account of that deal, hitting the heart of why Romney's people are even nickle-and-diming the Paul delegates if the nomination is Romney's:
Pro-Paul delegations from Iowa, Nevada and Minnesota have already been credentialed, without challenge, for the convention.
Romney and the RNC had been pursuing a legal strategy that appeared designed to prevent Paul from coming into the convention with "the support of a plurality of the delegates from each of five or more states."
Why? Reaching that threshold, according to the party rulebook, would allow Paul delegates to place the longtime congressman's name into nomination during the convention, and the candidate to make a speech. Paul has not sought to be nominated from the floor.
More Paul delegate issues are still in the air as I write. While the Maine challenge–in which two local GOPers are trying to get a Paul-controlled delegation unseated because of alleged irregularities at the state nominating convention–is still being debated, sources within the Maine delegation assure me they are not amenable to any deal (especially a rumored one that would make the delegation half-Romney, half-Paul) and are going to Tampa and will fight to be seated no matter what.
In other Paul delegate news, Huffington Post reports that the RNC's Rules Committee considered, and rejected, a rules change to raise the number of state delegations one must control to be nominated for president from the floor from five to 10, allegedly to make triple-super-sure that Paul can't be nominated for president officially at the RNC next week. Excerpt:
the deliberations sigaled that the Republican Party and Mitt Romney's presidential campaign remain nervous to some degree about the potential for Paul supporters to disrupt the carefully scripted program for the four-day convention next week….
The Paul campaign told CNN that its count indicates that 373 of the 2,286 delegates support Paul. Some of those delegates are bound by state rules to vote for Romney. However, the state rules binding delegates to the presidential nominee do not apply to vice president, leaving open the possibility that Paul delegates could nominate an alternative to Romney's running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) from the floor.
But the Paul insider said that the Texas congressman does not want to be nominated for vice president.
The Romney campaign reached an agreement with the Paul campaign to seat contested delegates in Massachusetts and Louisiana this week, but delegates in Oregon remain contested.
*Some of the (very complicated) details of the Oregon delegate challenge.
*The Minnesota delegation is still for Paul, and happy about it.
*Christian Science Monitor writes of Paul activists who think all these delegate deals are raw deals.
*The lawsuit–not supported by the campaign itself–trying to get all RNC delegates declared "unbound" (with the dream they would then put Paul over the top even now) is struggling for life against a judge who might be prepared to dismiss it with prejudice any minute now. I wrote about the suit in June for the New York Times and wrote about an earlier version of the suit being tossed earlier this month. More of the filings from the suit's twists and turns available here.
*Jim Antle at Daily Caller, in an article quoting me, writes that "Paul activists uneasily embrace GOP." Money quote about a very complicated situation, one that will by no means be ending in Tampa next week:
Republican leaders have an incentive to resolve the impasse: they want to keep the convention running smoothly without any disruption from the Paul delegates. There is also much at stake for the Paul forces. If young Paulites make the GOP gathering their 1968 Democratic National Convention, they will endanger all the progress they have made within the party.
But if Paul backers come away from Tampa empty-handed, it will bring doubts many of them still have about working within the GOP into the open and potentially divide the movement.
*In other Paul news, even as Ron himself seems shut out of the RNC itself except for a possible video tribute and a speaking berth for his son, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a bunch of his grassroots fans are holding a multi-day festival of Paulian ideas, for which they have now turned "Paul" into an acronym–P.A.U.L. ("People Awakening and United for Liberty") (You try it!)
Ron himself is not scheduled to appear at that one, though Paul-inclined intellectuals and entertainers from late-period Misfits vocalist Michael Graves to Meltdown author Tom Woods to antiwar radio host Scott Horton, are. Even politicians are showing up–most prominently Libertarian Party presidential and vice presidential candidates Gary Johnson and Judge Jim Gray.
*Paul himself is holding a big rally the day before the RNC begins at Tampa's Sundome. Speakers run the full Paul gamut from the purely political, like Michigan Rep. Justin Amash, to the decidedly non-political such as Mises Institute founder and anarcho-Rothbardian Lew Rockwell.
*Adam Kokesh of Veterans for Ron Paul now says a planned march on the RNC in Tampa might not happen after all, out of general distaste for the way he sees the campaign treating the grassroots.
*And the Paul campaign's own website reminds you: even after Ron Paul is no longer on the political scene, it was always all about the message.