The Ron Paul Rope-a-Dope

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There’s no
question that things so far haven’t gone the way we had hoped: Ron
came in 5th in Iowa with 10%; 4th in New Hampshire with 8%; 4th
in Michigan with 6%; and just finished 5th in South Carolina with
4% and 2nd in Nevada with 13%. He may have won the recent Louisiana
Caucuses, but the victory may have been stolen from him by various
shenanigans. I’ve seen no mention of this by the mainstream media.

As usual,
the blackout and transparent bias was present at the recent MSNBC
debate in Florida, where Ron was given by far the least amount of
time to speak — which, amazingly, was
admitted by MSNBC
:

Candidate

Total
Speaking Time

Number
of Questions

Romney

21:11     

13
     

McCain

16:00     

13
     

Giuliani

13:50
    

11
     

Huckabee

12:11
    

9      

Paul

6:31
    

6
     

The bias is
even more obvious when there are only five people in the debate.

I still believe
the Internet is going to destroy the Establishment’s ability to
set the agenda and manipulate reality through the mainstream media.

However, while
massive progress toward that end has already been made, I may have
been premature about when the breakthrough will come, because the
media’s blackout and marginalizing of Ron Paul seems to still have
worked based on the ultimate criterion for one election, which is
votes. (I specify “ultimate criterion for one election” because
the Paul campaign has done a great deal of good for society by bringing
libertarian ideas to the mainstream, and educating many thousands
of people — at least — about things like inflation and fiat money;
war; empire; civil liberties; and the proper role of government,
just to name a few; and I expect the effects to be felt in various
positive ways over the next generation — possibly even in future
elections, even if Ron loses in 2008.)

It’s also
possible that socialism and fascism are still a lot more popular
among the public than I thought.

But there
is a bright side for this race, which isn’t over yet.

(Please understand
that I personally know no one in the campaign, so this is all speculation;
and that, if my speculation is correct, that I’m not divulging secrets
that will harm the strategy, because this is already all over the
Internet and is easy to find.)

Although I
can’t verify this, Ron apparently spent little money on advertising
in Iowa and New Hampshire — far less than what he could afford,
based on the roughly $20 million he raised last quarter. Word is
he was only shooting for around third place, to not win but also
not get crushed.

There has
to be a reason for that.

Well, the
rumor is that his strategy is to sit back through the first few
states, let the candidates attack each other and spend themselves
nearly broke doing it, then step in and try and fill the void by
dropping all of his money on ads for Super Tuesday, and possibly
Florida the week before.

If true, this
strategy is smart for several reasons based on the conditions a
month ago — all of which are peculiar to this year, which is unlike
any we’ve seen in modern history:

1. Going
into Iowa, there was no front-runner — and there wasn’t likely to
be one going into Super Tuesday a month later. So no one was likely
to build unstoppable momentum by winning most of the early contests.

That has proven
to be correct; after six states, there’s still no front-runner:
Huckabee won Iowa, McCain won New Hampshire, Romney won Michigan
(Romney also won Wyoming, but that was a caucus dominated by party
hacks, and no one really noticed). McCain barely won South Carolina
over Huckabee, while Romney won Nevada. Regardless of what happens
in Florida, we still have no front-runner going into Super Tuesday
— no matter how hard the mainstream media tries to convince people
that it’s now McCain.

2. All of
the candidates besides Paul and Romney are probably about broke
and unlikely to have the cash to compete with Ron long-term.

It was revealed
this week that Huckabee is broke and his staff is working without
pay. Giuliani’s staff has been working without pay since before
Christmas, so he’s probably broke to

3. It appeared
prior to Iowa that a candidate or two could drop out before Super
Tuesday or immediately after, due to lack of cash, lack of votes,
or both.

That turned
out to be accurate; Thompson is already gone. And again, Huckabee
is broke and Giuliani probably is too, and Giuliani has staked his
whole campaign on winning in Florida, where he’s now polling a distant
third. Barring some unexpected event, I expect Giuliani and Huckabee
to be gone after Super Tuesday, and the race to come down to Romney,
McCain and Paul in a brokered convention. Frankly, Ron’s vote totals
so far have been low enough that it’d be best for him if a couple
more were to drop out.

4. The party
front-loaded the contests like never before, where 20 states will
hold them in one day, on February 5.

The word is
Ron shot for third in the early states also to stay under the media’s
radar as long as possible, and that he felt winning the early states
would make his overall chances at the nomination worse. Remember
how the Establishment crucified Buchanan in 1996, after he won New
Hampshire? Ron is a much bigger threat to the Establishment’s interests
than Buchanan ever was.

The combination
of 20 states holding contests in one day and no front-runner going
into that day makes it possible to pull the rug out from everyone
else on that day.

5. There
will almost certainly be a brokered convention.

After Iowa,
New Hampshire and Michigan, Ron was a solid fourth in total votes,
and he had decimated two Establishment candidates who have been
shoved down everyone’s throats for two years; in the event that
he fails to emerge from the primary season with enough delegates
to secure the nomination, but he can at least maintain his current
standing, he should have a decent position going into a brokered
convention, which seems virtually guaranteed now.

Then he’ll
have several more months to make his case — especially that he’s
probably the only Republican who can beat Hillary. With the unpopularity
of the Iraq War, I especially don’t see how McCain could survive
the general election after his recent comment that he expects U.S.
troops to remain in Iraq for at least 100 more years.

Ron
Paul isn’t stupid, nor is he an amateur; he’s been involved in politics
off-and-on for 35 years and has defeated incumbents for Congress
three different times, which is nearly impossible to do. My instincts
are that many people underestimate him because he’s so polite, soft-spoken
and mild-mannered, and that he’s a lot shrewder than people give
him credit for. He certainly knows a lot more about campaigning
than I do; if these rumors about his strategy turn out to be true,
who am I to say he’s wrong?

Besides, even
if this rope-a-dope strategy fails, or turns out not to exist, one
consolation is the other candidates are still dopes.

January
28, 2008

Johnny Kramer
[send him mail]
holds a BA in journalism from Wichita State University and is available
for hire as a writer and copyeditor. See his
website
. He writes from Wichita, KS.

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