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.


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. 



Crying Rape

False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.

Scotland Learns That Breaking Up a Country Is Hard to Do

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola: It Preys on the Compassionate

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B

How Will You Carry Around Your Huge New iPhone? Apple Pants!


Theo’s Joint and Vanessa’s Whiskey

No sitcom did the “Very Special Episode” as well as The Cosby Show.


The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

Cliff Huxtable Explains the World: Five Lessons From TV’s Greatest Dad

Why Television Needs a New Cosby Show Right Now

  News & Politics
The World
Sept. 19 2014 12:33 PM The Precarious Predicament of Russia’s Neighbors
Sept. 19 2014 12:09 PM How Accelerators Have Changed Startup Funding
The Eye
Sept. 19 2014 12:50 PM This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 11:33 AM Planned Parenthood Is About to Make It a Lot Easier to Get Birth Control
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 12:10 PM Watch the Trailer for Big Eyes, a Tim Burton Movie About People With Normal-Sized Eyes
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 12:38 PM Forward, March! Nine leading climate scientists urge you to attend the People’s Climate March.
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 19 2014 12:13 PM The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola  The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.