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