If you want to know why Ron Paul supporters are the way they are, all you need to do is head down to a day game at Wrigley Field. While the vast majority of fans will be perfectly happy to play hooky from work and guzzle $10 Old Styles while watching the lovable losers do what they do best, there will invariably be a few pockets of true, unwavering diehards. These poor men and women may be able to process the fact that their Cubbies are 20.5 games out of the final Wild Card spot in the National League and that they hold the second worst record in all of baseball, but they are unable to accept it. They are well aware that their North Siders haven’t won a World Series since Teddy Roosevelt was president and that their parents and grandparents and possibly even their great grandparents went their entire rooting lives without seeing their boys of summer win in the fall. These people don’t care. They honestly believe that the Cubs have a chance to peel off 29 of the next 30 games and climb into contention for a playoff berth. Ask any of them why they haven’t won in the past and its always some grand conspiracy or divine flub that caused their demise. Whether it’s that damned Billy Goat being kicked out of Wrigley or Bartman busting up a foul ball like he was trying out for a roster spot with the Bears as a reserve DB, there’s always something. They still believe when they have no right to.
Enter the Ron Paul Revolutionaries. While most of the Republican National Convention VIPs were waiting out Tropical Storm Issac’s non-arrival in Tampa’s hotel bars, the Libertarian faithful were crowding an auditorium, rallying for a Presidential candidate that the rest of the world forgot about three months ago. Thousands of anti-fed acolytes descended upon the University of South Florida’s Sun Dome one last time on Sunday night to hear their fearless leader give his non-conciliatory concession speech in what should be the 77-year old Paul’s last run at the Oval Office. Paul has not been invited by the Republican brass to speak at this week’s convention because the Texas congressman has refused to endorse the Romney/Ryan campaign. Instead, Paul has chosen to rage against the dying of the light and continue to fight his peculiar fight along with the small, passionate base he has created for himself—a base that honestly believes it can still win the nomination despite all evidence to the contrary.
It’s not that Ron Paul has no chance of being nominated at the convention. Like the Chicago Cubs, he is not technically out of the running just yet. But, unlike the Cubs, he has every shred of organizational machinery working against him in pursuit of victory. At least the Cubs don’t have to deal with umpires that were paid off by the opposing team’s owner. Paul only won 10% of the vote in the Republican primaries and failed to carry a single state at the polls, but thanks to his tenacious ground game, he was able to pick up 177 delegates through state-level politicking and states where delegates were distributed proportionally amongst the candidates. In order to be eligible for nomination at the convention, RNC rules state that a candidate needs to have a plurality of delegates in 5 states and Paul only has a plurality of four at the moment (Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota & Colorado). The only problem is that Paul originally had a plurality in 5-6 states before the Romney campaign took Paul to court and arrested his chances at getting nominated. In fact, Republican Maine Governor Paul LePage is so furious over the course of events that he has refused to attend the GOP convention in a sign of support for Paul, who lost half of his 20 Maine delegates to Romney after an RNC credentials committee ruled that he had acquired the delegates illegitimately.
This indeed may be the single dumbest thing that the Romney camp has done yet, which is saying a lot. And, to compound the damage, the pro-Romney RNC party officials quickly voted on a rule change that would make campaigns from men like Paul even more difficult to mount in the future, upping the number of majority states needed for nomination from 5 to 8 for the 2016 election. Even with those extra 10 Maine delegates, Paul was going nowhere. While the delusional pro-Paul floorwalkers at the convention may be spouting pie-in-the-sky drivel about the GOP suddenly having a crisis of conscience and giving Paul the nomination after three or four ballots, it’s just kool-aid talk. Romney has had this thing in the bag since Super Tuesday and nothing short of an armed insurrection can stop coronation this week. So, why, in the name of Ronald Reagan’s excess chin flesh did the Romney camp decide it would be a good idea to shaft the good doctor from the lone star state?
In case you were wondering, that was a purely rhetorical question. I have no clue why these things took place the way they did. The only two rationales I can come up with are abject idiocy or a hearty helping of masochism. Romney needs the Ron Paul people to be checking his name off in November if he wants to win this thing. Polling has had Romney and Obama in a dead heat for much of the summer and there’s no reason to expect either of them will pull out to a commanding lead before election day. Every vote matters and I would think it might be sound policy not to flip the bird to 10% of your base and growing number of Libertarian-leaning swing voters. If you were to ask a typical Ron Paul supporter why the Romney campaign has decided to do a hatchet job on their electoral hopes, I would imagine a stock response would center around the sentiment that Romney is scared of Paul and his constituency. Objectively this doesn’t make any sense and I’d like to chalk it off as another example of Libertarian hubris, but, I can’t because it looks like the truth.
If there has ever been a sign that Mitt Romney and his staff have a serious inferiority complex, this decision is it. How the hell are you people scared of the little OB/GYN bridge troll? No one in the mainstream media gave him any coverage, he didn’t win the most votes in a single state and half of his policies are directly at odds with mainstream GOP voter beliefs. Despite what his minions might proclaim, Ron Paul is not a viable candidate for the Republican nomination. What he is, is a pied piper of Libertarian voters that are 10 times more passionate and driven than any of the people Romney has going to bat for him. These are people that could inject your sad-sack, Anyone-But-Obama campaign with some life and you’ve lit a flaming bag of poo on their front porch. To bring baseball back into it, Ron Paul supporters are like Craig Biggio or David Eckstein: they’re that tiny middle infielder who isn’t fast, can’t hit for power and doesn’t have a cannon for an arm, but they out-hustle everyone else on the field and get on base by beating out a bunch of slow-rolling infield dribblers. Every team needs that firecracker who’s got no business being as good as he is and who sprints to first on every routine fly or grounder on the off chance that the center fielder loses the ball in the sun. That’s how Ron Paul got the majority of the 177 delegates he’ll take to the convention. His people on the state level schmoozed and massaged local delegates for months until they finally saw things from Paul’s point of view and agreed to represent him at the convention. They ran out all of the routine grounders to short that the Romney camp pulled up on because they thought they weren’t worth the effort.
A video “tribute” to Ron Paul will be the only acknowledgement given by the RNC this week that the Paul campaign happened at all. If they know what’s good for them, Reince Priebus and his band of sniveling sewer rats will drop to their knees immediately and begin asking Paul and his followers for forgiveness. In all likelihood, they will act like they never screwed the good doctor over and hope that Paul’s base hates Obama more than they hate Romney. If I were a Ron Paul Revolutionary, I’d transfer my allegiances to Gary Johnson and his Libertarian ticket to begin the torch-passing right now instead of waiting for 2016. The cynical among you may think that my obscenely liberal self just wants to take votes away from Romney to make way for an Obama victory, but, while that is a nice ancillary benefit, it isn’t my reason for suggesting abdication from the GOP. Unless Barack has a sudden change of heart and decides to actually care about the poor and disenfranchised, I will be voting for Green Party nominee Jill Stein this November. So, if you’re worried about your vote for Johnson keeping the POTUS at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., just know that my vote will be canceling yours out.
I agree with very little that the Libertarian party stands for. As a matter of fact, as an uber-liberal, New Deal progressive, my views on the role of government in the lives of the American citizenry couldn’t be much farther from those of Ron Paul and his followers. However, while I disagree with what they stand for, I am whole-heartedly in favor of them standing for it. Having a thriving Libertarian party in this country would do much to ignite substantive debate about America’s fiscal, social and international policies and may even light a fire underneath the ass of the disjointed American Left to resurrect a third party of their own. I will fervently fight the ideals of Libertarianism that I believe to be injurious to the health of our society, but it will be a fight that I am more than happy to engage in. Hopefully, Ron Paul’s supporters can take that for the compliment it’s meant to be.
Categories: US Politics