GOP Leaders Struggle to Contain ‘Revolution’
Despite changing the rules, closing state conventions, Ron Paul Revolution grows
By Pat Shannan
Although John McCain is the presumptive Republican nominee, as the various state conventions roll forward in obscurity, conflict and chaos continue to be spread by Ron Paul’s enthusiastic followers who continue to try to storm the ramparts of the GOP establishment.
These efforts by libertarian-leaning Republicans, looking to strike a blow against the neo-cons, have met with some successes and some failures and certainly a very undesirable backlash. Their strategy, as demonstrated at district conventions around the country, is to show up in large numbers, use procedural motions to disrupt the convention, and if their forces are sufficient, force a vote to suspend the convention rules, remove the convention leadership, and start over again with their faction in control—all within the rules, of course.
This strategy is continuing at the state level as was demonstrated at the Nevada State Convention in Reno, where an attempt to take over the convention was near succeeding when the sitting chairman countered with a space-skipping checkmate. He had seen that the Ron Paul faction was far stronger than the John McCain delegation and cleverly adjourned the proceedings altogether in order to avoid the inevitable.
Officials indicated that they are to reconvene at a later date, but the Paul faction suspects a different and secret city.
As news of what happened in Texas Senate District 25 (where Paul supporters completely took over) and in Nevada has spread, state party bosses have drawn up their counter-strategies which include changes to how conventions are run which reduce direct input from delegates and motions from the floor, draconian measures to remove anyone they think is “disruptive” and in some cases special meetings of credentials committees to disqualify Ron Paul delegates before the convention convenes.
Meanwhile, as more state conventions are held the conflict continues. At the Maine Republican State Convention in May the screws were tightened, with no microphones on the floor of the convention and a number of Paul delegates forcibly ejected from the hall. Police were on hand to maintain security. Scheduled pro-Paul speakers found their time shortened or their appearances canceled.
Attempts to introduce delaying motions were quickly ruled out of order. The whole proceeding charged ahead with little opportunity to interrupt. This type of highly managed convention where delegates are treated more like observers than participants may now be the standard for these state conventions.
Not surprisingly, this type of behavior from party bosses has not been well received. One of the best reports on the Maine convention comes from Robert Miller, a young delegate whose account of the convention stresses the alienation which he felt as a Ron Paul supporter from the convention proceedings from which he described the bias for McCain and the prejudice against Ron Paul.
He said the anti-Ron Paul agenda became evident soon after the hammering of the initiating gavel. After the first order of business, someone from one county made a motion reminding the convention that since there were two candidates, and John McCain was well represented, someone should be allowed to speak on behalf of Ron Paul also.
Young Miller says that that idea “must have been too dangerous to vote on,” because the chairwoman immediately called the motion “out of order” and proceeded without even considering the matter, or letting it come to a vote.
Despite the obstacles being put in their path, the Ron Paul faction is having some success. They haven’t taken over a state convention yet, and may not, considering the stacked deck, but they are gaining delegates here and there. Some states use a system for selecting delegates to the national convention where a part of the delegation is chosen at district conventions and the rest are selected at the state convention. Paul supporters have done very well in states which use this approach, taking half of the 12 available delegate slots in Minnesota and a third of the delegate positions in Oklahoma.
This representation, out of proportion to Paul’s actual standing in the official (fraudulent) vote in those states, is made possible because Paul’s supporters are highly motivated and actually attend the conventions while less motivated partisans stay home, and because of the departure of two moderately successful candidates who have dropped out of the race and left a vacuum which the Paul forces can move in and fill.
If this pattern continues, even with crackdowns at future state conventions, Paul supporters are still likely to fill a lot more seats at the national GOP convention in September than would normally be justified by his showing in the (fraudulent) popular vote, “perhaps 30 times the 21 delegates they are officially entitled to based on the state primary results,” suggests political writer, Dave Nalle.
“Along the way they’re likely to antagonize party organizers and drive away potential allies,” he says, “and ultimately make themselves into pariahs. But the fireworks at the national convention should be fun.”
Some are suggesting that instead of trying to seize control of convention after convention, the Paul people could have laid relatively low and worked within the system and probably sent even more delegates to the national convention than they are likely to now, and by being more subdued they could have won over allies and made converts within the mainstream of the party.
Then the backlash would have been minimal, and while they might not have been able to stop McCain from getting the nomination they could have had a profound influence on the platform, the issues raised in the election and the future direction of the party.
In addition to the step-child treatment at every state convention, these loyal supporters have witnessed vote theft at every turn, but now the party bosses are is definitely cracking down.
Conservative radio talk show host Mike Gallagher told the hosts of Fox and Friends. “There is no question that this could be a major headache for McCain.
“John McCain would be well-served to kind of reach out and give him an olive branch at the convention,” Gallagher continued. “Let him speak, give him a role, because if these people are disrespected—you know, this, combined with Bob Barr’s announcement that Barr now is running as a Libertarian—is going to just take votes away from John McCain and could be a disaster for the Republican Party.”