The ongoing media blackout on all things Ron Paul is somewhat curious. One blogger calls the Meet the Press crowd knuckleheaded for their omissive reporting of winners and losers. Headlines blare, "Bachmann First, Pawlenty Third!" as if, by not saying Ron Paul’s name and crediting him with his earned reward, they can create an alter-reality.
Second is not first. Bachmann’s and Dr. Ron Paul’s 28.6% and 27.7%, respectively – less than a percentage apart, is a great horse race. Bachmann won by a nose, they would say. If this were the Kentucky Derby, we’d be on the edge of our seats focused entirely on Paul and Bachmann, not focusing excessively about horses at the back of the back, or those hoping to race later.
Real horse races start off at the same point in time and space. Bachmann may have had a bit of a head start in Iowa – although familiarity may also breed contempt, so the degree of that advantage is not known. The Bachmann campaign’s purchase and distribution of 6,000 straw poll voting tickets (where a third of those went uncast) also sheds real light on the fundamental power of the very different Paul strategy, and the wide and compelling appeal of his liberty, peace, and small government message.