Read Ron Paul’s statement that he won’t compete in upcoming primaries and, vague though it may be, there can be little doubt he isn’t expecting to win in 2012. That is news to many die-hard supporters who blame any bad news on the mainstream, corporate media getting it wrong.
That has always been a strange argument, especially to anyone who understands the media. I’ve been involved with media nationally since my early days as a reporter at UPI in New York City. I’ve never known a political reporter or editor who didn’t want a great story, and a convention floor fight for the GOP nomination would be high drama, great for ratings and readership.
But it isn’t going to happen, regardless of how people may be counting delegates.
This story from Politico.com quotes Paul’s campaign chairman, Jesse Benton, as saying Paul was worried by recent incidents at state conventions where his supporters were disruptive, including the Arizona convention where Mitt Romney’s son was booed off the stage.
“It concerns him,” Politico quoted Benton as saying. “He wants to convey to everybody and our staff want to convey that we’ll lose more than we gain if we go and we’re disrespectful. Respect and decorum are very important to Dr. Paul.”
The piece also quotes senior Paul adviser Doug Wead acknowledging that party conventions aren’t fair or democratic. The rules committee may not even let Paul’s name be entered into nomination.
“They won. So we understand that,” he said of the Romney camp.
To Paul and his advisers, the important thing seems to be the message, not the person. Paul’s statement said as much: “But, this campaign is also about more than just the 2012 election.”
Movements and ideas take awhile to gel and gain a foothold. Ron Paul’s political philosophies could gain that foothold on the mainstream with time, but not if they are seen as the province of angry fanatics who won’t work within the political system.
The next few months will show whether Paul’s die-hard supporters get this.