NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- What is that man thinking?
The individual to whom I refer is Ron Paul, the serial and -- for this year and no doubt all eternity -- unsuccessful candidate for the Republican presidential nomination. I repeat: unsuccessful. As in "not enough delegates." As in "Mitt Romney is going to be the Republican presidential candidate, not Ron Paul."
The reason I raise this question is that the Paul campaign is continuing to press on despite the mathematical certainty that any future delegate-accumulation will be futile. It's a matter of simple arithmetic. Nevertheless, Paul is behaving as if he's just a handful of delegates away from victory. Over the weekend, while normal Americans were enjoying the balmy weather and getting used to the idea of a Romney-Obama faceoff, Paul's operatives were winning 27 of Louisiana's 46 delegates. "Paul dominated the Louisiana Republican caucuses," the Houston Chronicle drily noted.
Contrary to media reports, Paul has not "suspended" his campaign, even though Paul ceased actively campaigning in mid-May. Paul made it clear at the time that he would continue to accumulate delegates. As one Paul loyalist correctly pointed out in the "Daily Paul" acolyte online newsletter, "There is a strategy shift: The campaign will not spend resources campaigning in primary states but WILL BE focusing on winning delegates in caucus states ... Rest assured, he is not dropping out ... We must now redouble our efforts."That's not some renegade talking, for that is clearly Paul's personal wish, and the Louisiana convention indicated that he definitely isn't going through the motions. I suggested in a recent column that Paul may be angling for a job in a Romney administration. After all, that is the only logical reason for him to remain in the race. That only makes sense as leverage. For politicians, leverage ordinarily translates into a bid for higher office. Leverage just for the sake of having leverage is ... well, a bit nuts. And that brings me to where I made my mistake -- my attempt to use reason and logic to analyze Ron Paul. There is absolutely no rational reason for Paul to continue to accumulate delegates, even though, as a libertarian, "reason" would ostensibly be one of his favorite concepts. Doing so can only serve to bring disunity to a party that needs to close ranks if it is going to defeat a sitting president, even one who is sitting in the middle of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.