I always thought it was because of his incipient senility, or the fact that his prunes and Metamucil worked that morning, but it turns out that Ron Paul has another reason to be smiling ever time he announces that he “lost” a straw poll. His supporters are being elected as delegates in bigger numbers than the straw poll totals indicate.
It works like this: Romney, Santorum and Gingrich supporters vote in the straw poll, then leave. Paul supporters vote in the poll and stay around for the county business meeting to be elected delegates. Because those delegates are completely loyal to Paul, not to the straw poll results, Paul, not Romney, Gingrich or Santorum, might actually be winning the caucuses. So, who the hell knows how many delegates any Republican has at this point.
Even before this news broke, it was pretty clear that the Republican caucuses were a shitshow. For example, in Maine, which Romney “won” this week, there were about 5,500 votes cast. That’s something like 1% of the registered Republicans in the state. That makes it about as meaningful as the 3,400 vote CPAC straw poll, which Romney also won.
If their strategy is as effective as the Paulists want us to believe, I don’t know why they aren’t keeping quiet about it. They’re either stupid, exaggerating for effect, or both. No matter: it’s becoming clearer every day that Republicans can’t even be trusted to run an election, much less the country.