Preview of coming destructions?

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Michelle Malkin links to reports in the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the Reno Gazette-Journal that chaos reigned at Saturday's Nevada Republican State Convention in Reno. Proposed rules of procedure were overturned by a two-thirds majority led by Ron Paul supporters. The Paulites also managed to pass their platform, according to the Review-Journal:

The party passed a 20-plank platform that stresses "a literal interpretation of the U.S. Constitution" and calls for the repeal of the Federal Reserve Act and the Patriot Act as well as withdrawal from the United Nations and North American Free Trade Agreement.

After 10 hours in session, the convention's lease on the facility ran out and party officials suspended proceedings to a later date. While votes had already been cast, but not counted, for the three delegates from each of three congressional districts, no ballots had been cast for the state's 22 member at-large delegation.

Here's what I gather had happened: The proposed rules would have pitted pre-submitted slates of national delegates against each other. The Ron Paul people, plus some sympathetic non-Paul delegates, wanted to open nominations to anyone who wanted to run that day. They wound up with over 200 candidates for 31 slots.

How the heck do you efficiently conduct an election with 200 candidates and 31 seats to be filled?

I suppose you could have a ballot the size of a bedsheet and use preferential balloting, but it took us long enough at the district convention to count ballots for about 25 candidates for three delegate slots and a similar number for three alternate slots.

The only method that makes sense to me is you allow full slates to be nominated with a substantial number of signatures required for nomination. The voters then pick one slate or another, with one or more runoffs if no slate gets a majority.

At least one non-Paul delegate suspected the whole point of the maneuver was to stretch the process out as long as possible until only the most fanatical were still standing:

"The Ron Paul contingent constantly nitpicks and delays things on purpose so that all the old people leave and they can take over," said Eric Tolkien of Reno.

The Gazette-Journal story describes the Paul group's organization:

Paul, who came in second in the Nevada caucuses, actively worked to ensure his supporters attended both the county and state conventions.

His contingent came to the state convention prepared for battle. They had a row of printers to print ballots for their supporters to the national convention. They set up a communications network using text messages to cell phones to make sure everyone voted correctly on motions that would benefit their effort. And they scoured the rules for opportunities to level the playing field.

Both Ron Paul and Mitt Romney, who won the caucus straw poll earlier in the year, addressed the convention.

MORE: Reno Gazette-Journal political reporter Anjeanette Damon live-blogged the convention on her Inside Nevada Politics blog. And here is a Ron Paul supporter's account of the day.

AND MORE straight from the horse's mouth -- State Sen. Bob Beers, the convention chairman, explains why the convention was recessed. This will ring true for anyone who has been involved in the nuts and bolts of running a convention.

Early in the day, the state delegates voted to depart from the way the Nevada GOP has elected national delegates for the 15 or so years I have been involved. Instead of short voice votes, the delegates wanted two separate and lengthy election processes: first, dividing the state delegates by our three congressional district, then having each third separately elect three national delegates each; second, an at-large election of 22 delegates from a list of candidates that would combine those who had applied through normal channels and those who self-nominated themselves from the convention floor. Many people who had gone through the normal channels also self-nominated themselves from the floor.

By 6pm last night:

  • we were overtime on our contract for our convention space
  • we were paying our stagehands and audio-video technicians overtime
  • our volunteers running the convention (myself included) had already put in a 12-hour day
  • only two of the three congressional district elections had been counted. The third (and largest) was about half-way done
  • our rough calculations on how long it would take to compile the results of the upcoming 22-person ballot were l-o-n-g based on the three-person ballot taking as long as it had
  • The convention secretary and party secretary (all volunteers) had compiled the 200 or so self-nomination candidates into their computer, but had not started figuring out who was on both lists and needed to be consolidated for the final, master ballot
  • Delegates, frustrated that our 5pm end time had been missed, with no end in sight, had left and were continuing to leave to execute their travel plans.

So we made the decision to temporarily stop the convention and resume it at a later date.

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meeciteewurkor said:

It isn't destruction, Michael, it's revolution without guns.
The R party has this coming. If you don't represent or can't play, get out of the game:

Being dictated to from people two thousand miles away is reminiscent of some of the central causes of the beginning of our great nation. So like a spoiled child the Nevada GOP officers, after being out played and without any other options they just kicked over the table and went home.

This is also a good quote:

The party passed a 20-plank platform that stresses "a literal interpretation of the U.S. Constitution" and calls for the repeal of the Federal Reserve Act and the Patriot Act as well as withdrawal from the United Nations and North American Free Trade Agreement.

Again, if Paul is on the ballot, I will vote for him. I suspect a lot of people, many Repubs and Dems included will do the same. Our Constitution is just fine the way it is written and is the document that ensures the longevity of our nation.

Don't jack with the geeks. :)

Having two "knife fight" conventions would be great entertainment. And all this is a great civics lesson on how the American two-party political system really works, behind the cameras.

Of course, this is Nevada you're talking about. We all know that the entire nation west of Oklahoma is crazy. ;)

Kind of reminds me of the Byrd using his amazing knowledge of the rules of order to stymie movement in Washington. Or how that fundamentalist pastor in Sudbury won the party's nomination for MP in single night over the candidates who actually politicked.

Ted D. said:

Look's like it will be an interesting convention. I'll have to get plenty of sleep before hand (and I still think I'm young).

Orat said:

Nevada is not a sign of anything to come in Oklahoma. Many states have been much more contentious than Oklahoma, and I think that's because they are more liberal than here in our state. Oklahoma in general is already very close to Ron Paul's positions and there is very little difference between us here. For example, our state platform (with the exception of the Patriot Act plank) ALREADY has planks like those mentioned in the article. We are a very conservative state already. As a result, despite some definite unfairness and manipulation on the part of some party leadership, we have had a smooth go of it. I expect that to continue Saturday.

If you watch the video from the Nevada convention, the convention chair specifically singled out Ron Paul people for ridicule from the chair. This kind of thing has been happening in Missouri as well and other states. In Oklahoma, we have a much more amicable relationship with one another, and I don't see any reason why that should change Saturday.

D said:

You used a petty, cheaply worded headline for a subject as important as this. I honestly thought you were more progressive than to espouse the "keep the barbarians out of control" rhetoric.

How do you propose that the political process move forward when, a clearly growing bloc of concerned republicans is not given a seat at the table? Are they supposed to let the old party hacks continue to run the bully pulpit?

In the RGJ article, one gentleman suggests that because the nomination is locked up for McCain, "we are electing delegates not to fight out the nomination in Minneapolis, but probably rewarding people loyal to the party."

Give the party loyalists a lapel pin, and let a truly representative delegate slate represent the voice of the primary vote in Nevada - which was not for McCain. If he has the numbers, McCain will win the nomination without Nevada anyway, yet the people will be rightly and fairly heard.

Col Burkshire said:

Indeed. Transformation requires destruction. With all due espousement.
And I do believe this sort of a platform change will be healthy with such a pole riding group of old ninnies. Don't get me wrong or right, I want freedom and justice for all. Don't you michael? You fancy yourself an independent-acting type of man- posting threats in letters from the Tulsa "whirled".
So you're afraid of "these Paul people" eh? The Nevada state delegates voted to change the platform, as you described, Please explain how was this a "paul plot"? The delegates are in agreement with their votes.
Perhaps if you weren't a member of a Oklahoma convention committee i bet you would feel differently about all of the extra work.
Are NAFTA and UN and the proposed NAU not agents of globalism that conservative values so obviously denounce? Is the Federal Reserve not in debt to the world bank?
Subsidize the corporation of the United States of America! (and this it legally is written, located in the locality of the District of Columbia, son)
This money horse DESTRUCT should leave food for the pigs.

Respectfully yours. B.

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