Election 2008: April 2008 Archives

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.

My column in this week's Urban Tulsa Weekly is about the continuing push by the Ron Paul campaign to try to win the Republican presidential nomination for the Texas congressman, despite his failure to get above 3 to 7 percent in any primary election this year. The column explains how they plan to accomplish that goal and examines how they've implemented the plan so far in Oklahoma's delegate selection process.

It's interesting to read the comments, 13 so far, all of them from Ron Paul supporters. Although I tried to maintain a neutral tone, while explaining the antagonism between the Paul people and the mainstream conservative activists who constitute the core of the Republican grassroots, the comments accuse me of bashing, smearing, and slurring.

In the story I referred to ronpaulexposed.blogspot.com. You will also be interested in the Become a Delegate or Ron Paul Will Not Be President webpage, and the National DVDs For Delegates Project Meetup group:

Between now and mid-August, we will create, manufacture, and distribute a series of four DVDs to the mailing addresses of all identified Delegates and Alternates to the 2008 GOP Convention in Saint Paul.

This project will utilize the best of existing redistributable video content, and may require the creation of select new content.

Our goal is to use this opportunity to communicate important information to GOP Delegates. We will share media containing perspectives new to most delegates, media blacked out by the 5 mega-corporations who currently ignore the Ron Paul Constitutional Message from their news and other media coverage.

ELSEWHERE ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL: Columnist and mega-blogger Michelle Malkin linked earlier this week to a BatesLine entry from last August about Barack Obama's attempt to commiserate with Iowa voters about the price of an upscale leafy substance. One of Michelle's commenters, named Tennyson, has photoshopped a very funny revolutionary-style poster featuring Obama and some arugula. Click that link to see it.

Earlier in April See-Dubya had a post at Michelle's blog about other "Obamessiah Fancy Foodie Follies." And when George Will calls you a snob -- George Will! -- you're missing the common touch.

Here's what the junior senator from Illinois said, in response to a question from ABC's George Stephanopoulos during tonight's debate (click here to see the full transcript):

MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator, if you get the nomination, you'll have to -- (applause) -- (inaudible).

I want to give Senator Clinton a chance to respond, but first a follow-up on this issue, the general theme of patriotism in your relationships. A gentleman named William Ayers, he was part of the Weather Underground in the 1970s. They bombed the Pentagon, the Capitol and other buildings. He's never apologized for that. And in fact, on 9/11 he was quoted in The New York Times saying, "I don't regret setting bombs; I feel we didn't do enough."

An early organizing meeting for your state senate campaign was held at his house, and your campaign has said you are friendly. Can you explain that relationship for the voters, and explain to Democrats why it won't be a problem?

SEN. OBAMA: George, but this is an example of what I'm talking about.

This is a guy who lives in my neighborhood, who's a professor of English in Chicago, who I know and who I have not received some official endorsement from. He's not somebody who I exchange ideas from on a regular basis.

And the notion that somehow as a consequence of me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago when I was 8 years old, somehow reflects on me and my values, doesn't make much sense, George.

The fact is, is that I'm also friendly with Tom Coburn, one of the most conservative Republicans in the United States Senate, who during his campaign once said that it might be appropriate to apply the death penalty to those who carried out abortions.

Do I need to apologize for Mr. Coburn's statements? Because I certainly don't agree with those either.

So this kind of game, in which anybody who I know, regardless of how flimsy the relationship is, is somehow -- somehow their ideas could be attributed to me -- I think the American people are smarter than that. They're not going to suggest somehow that that is reflective of my views, because it obviously isn't.

Coburn got a lot of flack for some of the offhand comments he made during his 2004 Senate run, but I believe his friend and colleague from Illinois has surpassed him in the last seven days.

(Via TulsaNow's public forum.)

MORE: Coburn responds: "'Barack Obama is my friend,' said Coburn, when asked if he was offended by Obama's comment. 'We're not all necessarily happy with everything we say.'"

This recent Red State Update had me almost rolling on the floor. They've overdubbed the clip of Bill Richardson with Barack Obama, when he announced his support for the Illinois senator and related his awkward conversation with Hillary Clinton about his endorsement of Obama. The revoiced Richardson has a childlike simplicity and throws out non-sequiturs left and right, reminiscent of Danny DeVito's character Owen in Throw Momma from the Train.

The part that had me laughing to the point of tears is toward the end, when Richardson tells about his phone call with "Mean Pants Lady."

"And I think that any speculation on a vice presidential pick is premature. It's premature to speculate..."

"An egg is a premature chicken."

"Uh huh, OK, technically, Bill, I think that..."

"Hueeeeevos Rancheeeeeros."

"Mm-hmm. Allllll right...."

FIXED the missing close angle bracket on an object tag which was flummoxing IE 7.0. Thanks to Michelle for pointing it out. I'm amazed that none of the other browsers seemed bothered by it.

Paul plot

| | Comments (14) | TrackBacks (1)

John McCain has enough delegates to win the Republican nomination on the first ballot. All other candidates have either withdrawn or suspended their campaigns, conceding to McCain.

That appears to be the case, based on primary results and on the rules, which vary from state to state, that allocate delegates based on the primary results. But some hardcore Ron Paul supporters don't see it that way. They still have hope of getting the nomination for "the only man who can save America," and they have a strategy for making it happen.

You see, in Oklahoma and in many other states, there's no connection between the primary vote and the selection of the men and women who will go to the national convention as delegates and alternates. State law requires that our delegates vote at the national convention for the candidate supported by a plurality of primary voters in the state or in each congressional district. Based on that law, six members of the Oklahoma delegation are bound to Mike Huckabee and 32 are bound to John McCain.

But the campaigns don't select the delegates who will cast those votes. The delegates and alternates are elected by the five congressional district conventions (3 delegates and 3 alternates each) and the state convention (on May 3, electing 23 delegates and 23 alternates). For example, if I ran for delegate in this Saturday's 1st Congressional District Convention and was elected, I would be bound to vote for Mike Huckabee at the national convention even though I had been a Fred Thompson supporter. If Huckabee formally withdrew and released his delegates, he would encourage his delegates to rally around McCain, but I would be free to vote for Thompson, myself, or anyone else.

The Ron Paul plan is to exploit this situation by flooding these conventions, being stealthy about their intentions, running for delegate positions but not identifying themselves as Ron Paul supporters. They will try to elect their people to uncommitted seats (principally in caucus states) or to delegate positions that are bound to candidates that have withdrawn or suspended their campaigns. In some states they will seek to alter the party rules so that all delegates are unbound, notwithstanding the primary result, then elect their people to the delegate positions. In other states, the delegates will be unbound if no candidate has a majority on the first ballot at the convention. If they can break off enough delegates from McCain using these strategies to deny him a majority on the first ballot, many more delegates will be released to vote for whomever they wish. This web page, "Ron Paul will STILL win, the GOP can't possibly STOP US ALL!" lines out the strategy:

So, lets lay it out REALLY simple. How can YOU become a delegate? FIRST thing you need to do right NOW is to call your local county GOP, pay up your dues ($25/yr for me), and tell them that you want to become a delegate. Tell them that the reason you want to is because you don't want to see either Hillary or Obama as your president. The last thing you want to do is mention Dr. Paul. If you have to LIE, tell them you support McCain, then if you make it to state just say you changed your mind! Be cordial, and ask also if there is any way you can help or volunteer. My last meetup group was VERY informative. It was explained to me that the GOP is just a SHELL of itself. The APATHY of the voting process in many states has taken it's toll on the Republican Party. What this means is that voter apathy, while once thought of as our biggest obstacle, is now our ACE IN THE HOLE my fellow revolutionaries! We can TAKE OVER the Republican Party, quite easily, and UN-BIND the delegates in our respective states (this is one of the policies that delegates vote on) and nominate Dr. Paul at the Republican National Convention!

A reader has forwarded to me a link to a site called Ron Paul Exposed, with a list of the members of the Oklahoma Ron Paul Meetup group and excerpts from some of the group's chats about convention strategy. So far the Ron Paul people have dominated two congressional district conventions here in Oklahoma, getting several of their people elected as delegates and alternates to the national convention.

Remember that Paul only received 3.34% of the vote in the presidential preference primary. He received about 20% of the vote in a straw poll taken during the Tulsa County precinct caucuses. His supporters will succeed in getting elected as delegates only if the non-Ron Paul supporters don't bother to show up at the convention, assuming that this year's conventions will be like past years'.

Less than 5% of Republican primary voters nationwide supported Paul. It would take years, probably decades, of concerted effort to transform public opinion to line up with his views. Paul's supporters should run for office, volunteer for campaigns and to man party headquarters, and otherwise participate in public life. They should ally with other political groups when a common goal can be found. It took 16 years for conservatives to get from Barry Goldwater's landslide defeat to Ronald Reagan's landslide victory and even then Reagan's ability to change Washington was limited.

Ron Paul's supporters are welcome to participate in the convention process. If they do so in a constructive and open way, they can have an influence on the future direction of the party. If they instead use stealth and deception, they will fail and in the process demolish any possibility of building coalitions and moving incrementally toward the kind of changes they seek.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Election 2008 category from April 2008.

Election 2008: March 2008 is the previous archive.

Election 2008: May 2008 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.



Subscribe to feed Subscribe to this blog's feed:
[What is this?]