The internets are ablaze with righteous indignation that libertarian slash GOP longshot Ron Paul has been excluded from Saturday's Iowans for Tax Relief/Iowa Christian Alliance debate. The conspiracy minded even note that Iowans for Tax Relief's Ed Failor Jr. is a major McCain backer.
But McCain's not even showing up. And the Daily Iowan, while also objecting to Paul's exclusion, makes the point no one else has bothered to mention:
Romney, the debate's "front-runner," has the support of a whopping 12 percent of GOP voters, according to a June 20 poll conducted by Newsweek. Huckabee, Thompson, Brownback, Tancredo, and Hunter and are polling at an abysmal 4, 2, 2, 1, and 0 percent respectively.
What about Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, and Fred Thompson? Apparently, they are far too popular - Newsweek has them at 27, 15, and 19 percent respectively among Republican voters. That's right: The top three candidates for the GOP nomination won't appear at a Republican debate, if it can still honestly be called such.
Forum attendees in Des Moines, then, will be treated to an awe-inspiring political bout between six candidates who share the same positions on nearly every issue and who, if victorious, may be able to move up from fourth to third among Republicans (i.e., have no chance at the nomination). Far from compelling, the debate is doomed to irrelevancy.
I'd beg to differ as to Romney's chances, but the DI's argument stands. Indeed, by joining a forum of second and third tier candidates, Romney runs the risk of reducing himself to their level. Meanwhile, Paul is playing the classic card of the uninvited, holding a counter-debate event immediately following. Such events usually rally a candidate's own die-hards, but are rarely if ever persuasive. Paul's protestation of exclusion from this bush-league event reeks of the paranoid.
More news on minor GOP candidates:
And, from the Only In Wisconsin files: In Wisconsin charity race, runners are encouraged not to drink water, but beer.