ByÂ Brad Knickerbocker, Christian Science Monitor
The Republican congressman fromÂ TexasÂ has doggedly worked his way through theÂ GOPprimary/caucus season, unwavering in his conservative-libertarian message, steadily picking up delegates to the August convention as his enthusiastic and loyal supporters turn out in droves to cheer him on.
But in his last chance to be nominated at theRepublican conventionÂ inÂ Tampa, Rep. Paul failed. What would have been a highly-visible event at the venue whereÂ Mitt RomneyÂ (who garnered the necessary 1,144 delegates two months ago) almost certainly will be nominated, will not happen.
At the GOP state convention inÂ NebraskaÂ on Saturday, Mr. Paul didnâ€™t win enough delegates to be nominated for president. It also means he wonâ€™t be able to demand a speaking slot at the convention.
Paul campaign workers say mainstream media headlines about Paul (like the one on this piece) miss an essential point: Theyâ€™re working on a movement, not just a single campaign.
â€œThey may be accurate in the immediate technical electoral sense, but are wholly inaccurate in the much more pertinent and larger sense when reporting on anything concerning Ron Paul and his very large, vocal and influential movement,â€ writes blogger Jack Hunter on theÂ RonPaul2012 website.
â€œRon Paulâ€™s movement is taking over the GOP from the grassroots up â€“ with many local and state Republican Parties being staffed, and in many cases led, by Paul supporters,â€ Mr. Hunter writes. â€œEvery last volunteer who spent time and effort working hard in their state conventions to secure delegates and the nomination for Ron Paul, can know that it is PRECISELY their efforts that are helping to transform the GOP of Bush into the Party of Paul.â€
At the state convention inÂ Grand Island, Neb., Romney campaign officials and lawyers were present to make sure nothing funky happened, that the delegate selection process occurred without any disruption by Paul supporters. (Paul himself had instructed supporters to be polite.) The GOP is working to make sure the same thing happens in Tampa.
“They want this thing to go smoothly. But all conventions are like that. And this is the one thing that annoys me a bit,” Paul said onÂ Fox Business. “If they want this thing to go smoothly and be a big media event, and it costs the taxpayers $18 million, and they don’t want a discussion, why can’t we have a little debate?â€
In 2008, Paul was shut out of the Republican National Convention inÂ Minneapolis, holding his own event across town as Republicans rallied aroundÂ John McCain, notesÂ ABC NewsÂ political reporter Chris Good.
â€œPaulâ€™s campaign has said it expects to bring as many as 500 supportive delegates to Tampa, so Paulâ€™s presence there could be noticeable nonetheless,â€ Mr. Good writes. â€œPaul is planning a rally in Tampa around the convention, and his supporters have organized Ron Paul Festival, an independent event that will include live music.â€
Laura Ebke, the unofficial leader of the Paul forces in Nebraska, said this was just the beginning, reported theÂ Omaha World-HeraldÂ newspaper. She predicted that the Paul supporters who were getting involved in party politics for the first time would be around in 2014 and 2016.
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