It’s been played over and over again by now. The large amount of “boos” Ron Paul received after the announcement of the results of the CPAC Straw Poll where he won with 31% of the vote. Not much has been explained about how or why someone who got this kind of support would be booed like he was. Here is my take.
These are the facts, I know because I was there.
- Ron Paul’s keynote speech on Friday was the first speech in the main room to pack the house and require overflow seating in other rooms. He was welcomed with cheers as can be witnessed by watching the video of his speech. His supporters (31% apparently) had a chance to get into the main room to hear his speech.
- Saturday, the Campaign For Liberty held a panel discussion that began at 2pm and didn’t end until nearly 4pm. By this time the line waiting to get into the main room was 8-10 deep and down the long hotel hallway. When I left the Campaign for Liberty panel I overheard a volunteer telling people in line that they would likely not get into the main room and should instead find an overflow room to watch the event.
- CPAC sells Saturday-only tickets. A co-worker and his wife took advantage of this so they could see Ann Coulter, Newt Gingrich, and Glenn Beck. Many people, apparently, took advantage of this which left those that attended the conference all 3 days in overflow rooms.
- Those that came on Saturday were not able to vote in the straw poll. The polling ended on Friday at 1pm.
So, those that were in the main ballroom during the straw poll announcement were mostly unfriendly to Ron Paul. I didn’t even know there were boos when they announced the results because in the overflow room I was in there were mostly cheers and clapping drowning out the boos from the main room.
It makes for a good story for the media, pointing out the boos, but if the room was full of Ron Paul supporters and Mitt Romney (or someone else) had won there would have been a large number of boos at the results.
Please note, I’m not suggesting that Ron Paul supporters were blocked from the main room on purpose. It’s just the way it ended up due to the logistics of so many people coming to CPAC on Saturday to listen to Glenn Beck, Coulter, and Gingrich. Most of these people were neo-conservatives antithetical to Ron Paul’s foreign policy of non-intervention who did not and could not vote in the straw poll.
It’s safe to say that if the panel at 2pm by the Campaign For Liberty called “Why Real Conservatives are Against the War on Terrorism” were held in the main room, the cheers would have drowned out the boos when the poll results were announced. Of course, Judging from the boos in the main room, there may have been a mutiny if the anti-war panel were held there.
Sometimes the truth hurts.