Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Bad Call, Good Call

Calls I made, that is. In the keeping me honest category...

I haven't mentioned it since the primary, and I should: wow, I was dead wrong about Tommy Thompson. I figured he would fade right out of the picture -- really, I don't think I specified anything and I'm too lazy to look it up, but if I had I would have predicted he would finish third or fourth, far from winning. Obviously, I got that one totally wrong. 

On the other hand, I'm pretty pleased with my advise back during the primaries and caucuses that the Ron Paul "delegate strategy" was basically an overhyped nothing. Today's reports have the Paul people and the Romney folks reaching deals, and Paul certainly appears to have received things he was looking for. And yet it's hard in my view to argue that he would have received much more or much less had his delegate count been significantly different. His leverage has always been walking out entirely, and the threat of taking his voters elsewhere doesn't depend on how many actual delegates he has in the building.  

By the way, I should note that it is possible that his caucus-state organizing might make a difference in other ways if it produces more Paul influence within formal state organizations going forward. It's possible that happened; I don't know how many states link party governance and delegate selection procedures.

This is, by the way, exactly as it should be. My Thompson prediction was basically just a guess based on my reading of the GOP electorate in Wisconsin, the Republican Party, and the various candidates; in other words, basically stuff that I have no particular expertise about. I should, on the other hand, get things I say about nomination procedure right, so I'm glad I did. I hope I make it more or less clear which category I'm doing most of the time.

Anyway, enough about myself, but I did want to mention the Thompson thing. 


  1. Just speculation but do you think the Ryan choice reduced Paul's leverage versus. say, choosing the "safe" Tim Pawlentty in that Ron Paul's delegates would have formed the discipled nucleus for a VP revolt?

  2. I am curious to see how Paulites accept this.

    Meaningless delegate counts. Paul's son gets a speaking slot. And platform language on the Fed. That seems to be about it. I mean, this is still a platform that's essentially going to be calling for us to invade Iran, right? And will pledge to not cut a dime in defense spending. And may have bromides about spending and taxes, but the history of this particular party would suggest that they only really mean the tax part of it.

    The rubber is hitting the road. I'm curious to see what 5+ years of rabble-rousing has done. If the Paulites are just a personal faction, they'll say they love this and fade into the woodwork. If they believe what they say, one would think that some mighty cognitive dissonance would come into play.

    1. Matt, the convention is basically an extended, taxpayer-funded advertisement for the party nominee. Paul and his supporters are lucky to get anything. Having said that, I doubt they'll be totally thrilled since what they really want is to vote for Paul and see him speak. Rand Paul's endorsement of Romney was viewed by many Paul supporters as an unforgivable betrayal rather than the necessary and inevitable political gesture that it was… I think they’ll come around when he speaks, but I’m not even sure of that.

    2. @Matt, the libertarian movement may not have the gains that would satisfy you, but it's still a growing movement that is getting more airtime and more votes than before. It doesn't make sense for them to give up now, or overplay their hand and look foolish.

  3. I don't think there would be any interest in throwing a bone to Ron Paul if he had little or no delegates. The fact is, he has enough delegates (even a majority from Romney's home state) to make an embarrassing scene for Romney. While there has been a lot of thrust and parry behind the scenes, Paul has also held off on playing all his cards and is getting rewarded for this as well (The campaign never so much as issued a press release celebrating their victory in Massachusetts, which was obviously embarrassing for Romney.)

    Regarding the deal that was reached, it all sounds pretty vague, so we'll see have to see what's really been worked out.

  4. As a Wisconsinite it's very odd to see Tommy Thompson all over the news again.

    Tommy may have won the primary, but the 'tea party' or more right-wing candidates still received 2/3 of the vote. I think that Tommy won because there was *too much* enthusiasm in the right wing of the party, leading to Neumann, Hovde, and Fitzgerald splitting the vote. If either Neumann or Fitzgerald had dropped out, I think Hovde would have beat Thompson rather easily.


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