Is it all over for Ron Paul?
The Republican congressman from Texas has doggedly worked his way through the GOP primary/caucus season, unwavering in his conservative-libertarian message, steadily picking up delegates to the August convention as his enthusiastic and loyal supporters turn out in droves to cheer him on.
But in his last chance to be nominated at the Republican convention in Tampa, Rep. Paul failed. What would have been a highly-visible event at the venue where Mitt Romney (who garnered the necessary 1,144 delegates two months ago) almost certainly will be nominated, will not happen.
At the GOP state convention in Nebraska on Saturday, Mr. Paul didn’t win enough delegates to be nominated for president. It also means he won’t be able to demand a speaking slot at the convention.
Paul campaign workers say mainstream media headlines about Paul (like the one on this piece) miss an essential point: They’re working on a movement, not just a single campaign.
“They may be accurate in the immediate technical electoral sense, but are wholly inaccurate in the much more pertinent and larger sense when reporting on anything concerning Ron Paul and his very large, vocal and influential movement,” writes blogger Jack Hunter on the RonPaul2012 website.
“Ron Paul’s movement is taking over the GOP from the grassroots up – with many local and state Republican Parties being staffed, and in many cases led, by Paul supporters,” Mr. Hunter writes. “Every last volunteer who spent time and effort working hard in their state conventions to secure delegates and the nomination for Ron Paul, can know that it is PRECISELY their efforts that are helping to transform the GOP of Bush into the Party of Paul.”
At the state convention in Grand Island, Neb., Romney campaign officials and lawyers were present to make sure nothing funky happened, that the delegate selection process occurred without any disruption by Paul supporters. (Paul himself had instructed supporters to be polite.) The GOP is working to make sure the same thing happens in Tampa.
"They want this thing to go smoothly. But all conventions are like that. And this is the one thing that annoys me a bit," Paul said on Fox Business. "If they want this thing to go smoothly and be a big media event, and it costs the taxpayers $18 million, and they don't want a discussion, why can't we have a little debate?”
In 2008, Paul was shut out of the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis, holding his own event across town as Republicans rallied around John McCain, notes ABC News political reporter Chris Good.
“Paul’s campaign has said it expects to bring as many as 500 supportive delegates to Tampa, so Paul’s presence there could be noticeable nonetheless,” Mr. Good writes. “Paul is planning a rally in Tampa around the convention, and his supporters have organized Ron Paul Festival, an independent event that will include live music.”
Laura Ebke, the unofficial leader of the Paul forces in Nebraska, said this was just the beginning, reported the Omaha World-Herald newspaper. She predicted that the Paul supporters who were getting involved in party politics for the first time would be around in 2014 and 2016.
“We still have a presence in the party, and no one is going anywhere,” Ms. Ebke said.
One who is going somewhere – leaving his elected post in Congress – is Ron Paul himself. Will that deprive him of a platform to espouse his (for Republicans) unique views and positions?
Who in his party will there be to advocate a billion dollar cut in defense spending, refuse to engage in foreign wars, or end all US aid to Israel? No one on the immediate horizon from either major party.
But as Paul blogger Jack Hunter points out, there is the next generation – including the congressman’s son US Sen. Rand Paul.