The success of Ron Paul backers at the Massachusetts Republican Party caucuses this weekend is more indicative of establishment laziness and the ability of well organized Paul folks to take over small events than it is of a threat to the candidacy of Mitt Romney. Sure, there might be some awkward moments for Romney at the convention if enough Paul folks get elected around the country but there is no chance that he will be the Republican Party nominee in 2012.
Paul's people may have some impact on the writing of a relatively meaningless party platform but their only attainable goal, at this point, is getting Paul a primetime speaking slot at the convention. If Paul goes in there with a couple hundred delegates he will have a decent bargaining chip to get a speaking slot but it's pretty much impossible for him to upset Romney's coronation.
The other upside for the Paul folks is that the Tampa convention will be another opportunity for them to network and continue to build their libertarian movement in the Republican Party. At the moment though it does not appear that they will have their own large scale venue to do that at. When I interviewed Paul during a campaign appearance in Rhode Island he told me that his campaign has no plans to organize a shadow convention like they did in 2008.
Why the state Republican Party let this happen is anybody's guess. Perhaps it was obliviousness to this happening in states across the country. Perhaps it was taking Romney's overwhelming Super Tuesday win here for granted. Perhaps it was just indifference because all the delegates are required to vote for Romney on the first ballot anyway. Still, it's an embarasment for Romney and his Massachusetts supporters.
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