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Ron Paul: Winning at the wrong time

When it comes to selecting candidates for the general election ballot, some states have a primary. What happens when a state has both? Contests that grant fleeting victories.

Back in February, Republicans in Minnesota (where I live) held their party caucuses. They took a vote on the presidential candidates. Rick Santorum won, which gave him a boost in publicity, and most likely, fundraising as well. But a would-be nominee needs to lock up delegates to the national convention. The caucus vote was only a straw poll; the important vote would come later, in conventions organized around the state’s eight congressional districts.

Fast forward to last weekend. Republicans in four of the eight districts held conventions. Who won those? No. Not Mitt Romney. Of the 12 delegates up for grab, he scored a big fat zero.

Rick Santorum, who has all but dropped out of the campaign, picked up two. The other ten went to Ron Paul. He’s expected to do equally well when the other four districts hold their conventions.

That’s good news for Paul, I guess. But consider this: Santorum’s straw poll win was meaningless. Paul’s delegate victory was meaningless, too, at least in the short run. Romney will be the nominee. Period.

Paul will probably get a speaking slot at the national convention, which he might put to good use if he doesn’t blame all our problems on the Federal Reserve. Paul isn’t necessarily the best advocate of liberty, but he’s done a good job of reminding us that managerial competence isn’t all that we need in a president.