Roger Simon writes today that Ron Paul got “shafted” by the media because he got no credit for his second-place finish in the Ames straw poll:
“Close” does not fully describe Paul’s second-place finish. Paul lost to Bachmann by nine-tenths of one percentage point, or 152 votes out of 16,892 cast.
….Any fair assessment of Ames, therefore, would have said the winds of the Republican Party are blowing toward both Bachmann and Paul. Nonsense, some would say. Straw polls are just organized bribery, with the campaigns buying the tickets and distributing them to supporters. (And, in fact, this is what I wrote before Ames.)
What they really show, many argue, is not where the philosophical heart of the party is, but the organizational abilities of the candidates. Fine, I’ll buy that. But why didn’t Paul get the same credit for his organizational abilities as Bachmann did for hers?
I’m really tired of nonsense like this. Ron Paul isn’t getting any attention because he doesn’t deserve any attention, and Simon knows it. Paul has a small but fervent fan base that hasn’t grown noticeably since he ran and flamed out in 2008, and he has a well-known (but meaningless) ability to fire up this little fan base for assorted minor events like this. That’s his organizational ability and everyone is keenly aware of it. At the presidential level, he deserves about as much respect as Harold Stassen.
The media gets lots of stuff wrong, but not this. On the importance of Ron Paul in the Republican race for president, they’ve called it exactly right.