Texas Congressman Ron Paul handily won the presidential straw poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney had dominated the poll in years past, but Romney wasn’t even close in the tally Saturday — and neither was Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, or Newt Gingrich.
So whom did NBC invite to appear on “Meet to Press” Sunday to talk about it all? Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who came in fourth place with 6 percent of the votes. Another typical day for the Rodney Dangerfield of American public life.
Meanwhile, inside the beltway, commentators who touted a CPAC win in previous years as an important initiation rite for any future GOP nominee, were quick to explain to us dummies that the Ron Paul victory was unimportant. The Washington Post’s favorite blogger warned us to “be careful.” We were told “not to read too much — or much at all — into these results.”
During live coverage of the CPAC event, Fox News commentators were endlessly apologetic, explaining how Paul accidently won the vote, apparently embarrassed that they were covering an event where he would triumph.
But no matter how deep the denial of the American media, you can be sure that Paul’s victory sent shock waves through the rest of the American establishment.
Although it is unlikely that anyone at the Federal Reserve actually has started shredding documents, the idea surely has crossed some minds. And young staffers at the Justice Department may have asked, “Can the government seize our e-mails? Hold on a minute, we are the government.” Some fat billionaire bankers on Wall Street had chest pains Saturday night. Others wondered aloud whether they shouldn’t petition the Obama administration for another bailout while there is still time. (To save the country, of course.)
A tiny few savvy political literates actually paused and took note of the fact that Paul won this with actual votes of ordinary convention attendees. And young ones at that. Always a bad sign. And he did it without hiring the people who did the voting, as Romney had done in years past.
So a few — not many, but a few — are considering a worst-case scenario. What if he does this at the Iowa cavalcade? Another small universe that usually precedes a win at the caucus. And then maybe New Hampshire. Egad, what if someone like him actually wins the presidency?
Such a worst-case scenario could mean an end to American wars abroad and fat war profits for favored insiders at home. An end to young men sacrificed on foreign battlefields to assure re-election victories for incumbent presidents. An end to the draining the U.S. Treasury for political supporters. An end to cronyism, where billionaires give soft money, get positions and honors and favorable laws in return and, after it’s all over, offer their private jets to whisk the former president around the world at their expense. Imagine Lew Rockwell as secretary of Commerce and Judge Andrew Napolitano as attorney general, and you get the idea.
Now some of these elitist rich Americans, the ones whose wealth has been fattened over the years by our diminishing IRAs and other retirement vehicles, are big owners of media stock. Some actually sit on the boards of those media entities, as well as the banks that we all now work for and for which our children and grandchildren will also work for throughout their lifetimes. So you can imagine the dilemma at NBC.
“Should we get Ron Paul for ‘Meet the Press’?”
“Are you kidding me? Are you nuts? Isn’t your dad on the board of directors? He would have a fit if we did that. Gregory won’t want that. Tim Russert would never have allowed that.”
“Yes, but Ron Paul won the CPAC election.”
“Doesn’t matter. He wouldn’t win an election in our newsroom or anybody else’s, I can tell you that.”
“But maybe we should have him on and expose his idiotic ideas? A little overexposure and we kill the whole thing?”
“That’s what they did in the 2004 presidential debates and it was the biggest, most moronic, most asinine mistake they ever made. Don’t you get it? The people in this country actually agree with Ron Paul. How do you think he won at CPAC without buying the votes? Listen kid, you’ve got to think ‘Lord Voldemort.’ He who cannot be named.”
“Oh my God.”
“What? What are you looking at? Brian Williams? What did he say? Did he mention Ron Paul by name? Did I just hear his name?
“Oh my God.”
“Come on kid. Doesn’t matter. What could he do? I mean Ron Paul won. So it just slipped out. Now, snap out of it. Who will Gregory want? What would your daddy want? Focus. If it’s Sunday. it’s 'Meet the Press'.”
“Born-again Christian. And she won’t do it anyway.”
“Another born-again Christian, and he’s on FOX, remember?”
“We’ve had him on five times now.”
“Hmmm, how bout Tim Pawlenty?”
“Perfect kid. Someday you will make a great television producer. Okay, we’ll see if Gregory wants Tim Pawlenty.”
2010 CPAC Straw Poll Results:
- Ron Paul — 31 percent
- Mitt Romney — 22 percent
- Sarah Palin — 7 percent
- Tim Pawlenty — 6 percent
- Mike Pence — 5 percent
- Newt Gingrich — 4 percent
- Mike Huckabee — 4 percent
- Mitch Daniels — 2 percent
- John Thune — 2 percent
- Rick Santorum — 2 percent
- Haley Barbour — 1 percent
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