What About Ron?

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Aug. 16 2011 9:13 AM

What About Ron?

Had 73 votes gone the other way, Ron Paul would have beaten Michele Bachmann in Ames. He would have been the Winner of the Ames Straw Poll. He got more votes in Ames that Mitt Romney got when he won the thing in 2007.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

And yet nobody's talking about Paul after Ames. I mentioned his showing in the lede of my story on it, and I put up some photos of Ron, Rand Paul, and the massive crowd that came to see them. Everybody else? Not so much. Ames was the official start of the horse race, and Paul isn't being included in the horse race.

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This seemed to piss off Ron Paul's army of supporters -- who, last time around, added up to one million Republican voters. Worse, it pissed off Jon Stewart.

Can we give the media a pass on this? Look: The problem didn't start with Ron Paul. And it's not clear that it's actually a problem. Pretend that political coverage is coverage of 10 high school football teams. Three teams have a chance to win it all; maybe one has a chance to get a perfect record for the year. There's another team that's pioneered a lot of the techniques that the other teams are using to win. (In the analogy, maybe decrying the Federal Reserve is the equivilent of the halfback option play.) This team is only set to win a few games, though. It will get less attention than the winning teams.

"Is that supposed to be a defense of why Paul isn't being covered?" No, it's an explanation. It's only meant to explain why Paul isn't covered, not why Huntsman or Santorum are. Paul got 11,000 caucus votes in 2007, and almost 4,700 votes this time, just at Ames. He's on track to score at least 15 percent of the vote in the caucuses.

Anyway, there might be a simpler reason for this.

 

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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