Republican nominee Sen. John McCain wanted his former competitor Rep. Ron Paul to endorse him and give him the names of Paul’s supporters at the Republican Convention and elsewhere.
Paul, according to The Washington Times, resisted and continues to say “no.”
Their negotiation concluded with no resolution. Did it fail? After all, they didn’t reach agreement, right?
From McCain’s perspective, it probably did fail. His campaign wanted those names and didn’t want Paul or his supporters to distract from his message at the Republican Convention. Neither occurred.
But from Paul’s perspective, the negotiation succeeded. How?
Initially, it’s important to recognize that success is NOT always reaching a deal. While we often psychologically feel reaching an agreement means success, resist this urge.
We especially need to resist after we have spent a great deal of time negotiating, as this urge increases proportionately to our time spent in the trenches. The more time we spend at the table, the more we feel it would be a waste if we do not get a deal. Don’t fall into this trap.
Instead, evaluate your success by whether a) you achieved your goal (or not), and b) whether your Plan B – what you would do without a deal – is better or worse than what appears to be your counterpart’s last best offer. If your Plan B is better, walk away and know that walking means success. And if your Plan B is worse, sign the deal.
For Paul, I suspect he achieved his goal in these negotiations. Plus, his Plan B was better than almost any deal McCain realistically could have offered.
First, Paul is on an ideological mission to promote his cause of limited government and libertarianism. Success to him is not really getting more access to the Republican Convention (his stated objective in these negotiations), which is populated largely by traditional Republicans.
Instead, I suspect the additional publicity he received simply by negotiating with the McCain folks satisfied his goal. The more publicity for his cause, the better.
Second, last night Paul held a rally apart from the Republican Convention for about 12,000 supporters in Minneapolis. And his rhetoric about the two major political parties was fairly harsh, calling on his supporters to beware of their “counterfeit” ideas of change.
Overall, his interests and entire approach to government conflict with both the Democrats and most Republicans (despite his getting 1.2 million votes in Republican primaries).
Thus, his Plan B in his negotiations with McCain primarily meant continuing to lead the effort to “speed up the revolution” for his cause. A deal with McCain could easily have been perceived as diluting the impact of this revolution. This Plan B – for Paul – is better than what McCain could have offered.