Monday, June 25, 2007

Ron Paul Debate Exclusion: Much Ado About Little

Ron Paul Debate Exclusion: Much Ado About Little

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:

  • Tom Tancredo spent Sunday campaigning alongside fourth-tier contender John Cox (who, for some reason, the Iowa GOP and no one else seems to have bumped up to the third tier) and fifth-tier "contender" Daniel Gilbert (who?) in Dubuque. I'm in the process of backing away from my earlier judgement that Tancredo was the sleeper candidate to watch.

  • Back in my native Wisconsin the GOP has a dilemma: Tradition calls on folks to back a home state candidate, but Tommy Thompson doesn't have a prayer. What to do?

    And, from the Only In Wisconsin files: In Wisconsin charity race, runners are encouraged not to drink water, but beer.

  • Finally, Barack Obama picks a significantly hipper song than Hillary Clinton.

    Josh said...

    Please register as a republican and vote for Ron Paul in the primaries. The future of America is at stake. -A liberal for Ron Paul.

    Josh said...

    Please register as a republican and vote for Ron Paul in the primaries. The future of America is at stake. -A liberal for Ron Paul.

    Bill Stegmeier said...

    Hey John! I would like to make two predictions: #1. Ron Paul's event draws a larger crowd than Ed's. And #2. Ed has so disgraced himself over such a stupid, stubborn insistance of precluding Ron Paul from his event that he will start cutting his own hair, rather than putting up with the snickers down at the barber shop.
    Wadda ya think?

    Anonymous said...


    Why are you all of a sudden so hot on covering the GOP presidential sweeps?

    BTW, good analysis on Romney. I agree leave the money at the GOP HQ door, keep a tight hold on the fawning multitudes already signed up for August and schedule more time elsewhere. They're all going to want to be back in SeptemberOctoberNovemberDecember for more face time to play with their big media buys.

    The worst thing for a Romney race is if the "religion question" lingers. That's what can happen with lots of different staffs moving around the state looking for whatever it is they look for on any given day.

    John said...

    I normally reject anon comments just on principle but the last had some merit.

    I've always been interested in the GOP horserace but as an amateur I didn't feel justified in spending the time on it. As a pro I'm now taking that time. It's the single biggest change the new status has wrought.