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Monday, May 14, 2012

Ron Paul Sorta Suspends

At The Washington Post, Jonathan Bernstein comments on Ron Paul's decision not to campaign in primaries anymore:

Rep. Ron Paul is sort of, in a sense, ramping down his presidential campaign; he’s not going to campaign anymore in the states that still haven’t held primaries or first-stage caucuses, although he’ll continue to fight for delegates where the rules allow for contested caucuses and conventions.
Dave Weigel suspects that the timing may be related to coming primaries in Paul’s Texas and his son Rep. Rand Paul’s Kentucky; contesting and getting clobbered in those states might be an embarrassment for the libertarian crusader. Could be, but I think it’s more straightforward. With the media no longer paying any attention to the primaries, there’s really not much of a point in maximizing vote share. Suppose that hard campaigning could lift the Paul vote from 5 percent to 20 percent; how exactly does that do him any good if no one is paying attention?
My best guess? Ron Paul pushes for votes on a few platform issues, and settles for platform committee losses on most of them but gets one or two minor victories, with something about the Fed probably the most likely. After that, his delegates then behave themselves in Florida but do wind up trying to generate some favorable publicity for him (and Rand Paul) without doing anything to harm Mitt Romney. And since reporters will be looking for stories, they’ll succeed, at least to some extent.
Keep an eye on the platform.  A number of Romney delegates may be sympathetic to Paul's position on the Fed and other issues.  In 1988 and 1992, by way of comparison, a number of delegates committed to George H.W. Bush were actually supporters of the Christian right.  The Bush campaign had to keep a close watch on the platform committee lest it provide ammunition to the Democrats.  The Romney campaign would be wise to do likewise.