MN GOP 2012
I have to say that GOP state convention this was a totally different experience this time around than any previous convention.
Part of this was no doubt due to the fact that the Ron Paul contingent which was in the majority. That led to a great deal more caution from the old guard. Part of it was due to the common ground that the RP delegation had with a significant number of the old guard in their support for Kurt Bills. Part of it is that many of the old guard are starting to realize that having the RP folks around is not a bad change, and in fact, that they have far more in common with the RP folks than they thought, and that further, the RP folks are quite diverse. Hardly the cookie cutters and personality cultists that the media has made them out to be.
The bulk of the RP delegation were respectful. There was, however, a significant number, all seemingly centered in one or two BPOUs, who were just plain jerks, needlessly impeding the process, calling for division on obvious results, etc., when it was quite obvious that the chair was bending over backwards to follow the rules, and do everything she could to be fair. It was fairly obvious that these people were all from the same area, although I never figured out which BPOUs specifically they represented. It was also obvious that of the RP contingent taken as a whole, they were in the minority.
Case in point: RP took 12 out of 13 delegates. Number 13 was a tie between a RP guy and Michelle Bachmann. The RP guy, after consulting with Marriane Stebbins (state coordinator for the RP campaign), gracefully bowed out as a sign of respect for Rep. Bachmann. The chair entertained a motion to suspend the rules in order to allow Bachmann (who was strangely not present) to be voted in without having to do a paper ballot with only a single candidate. This passed overwhelmingly, but the jerks in the back weren't satisfied with this. They were actually trying to force a ballot so they could vote for a man who withdrew. There were a number of cases like this of needlessly impeding the process, but that was the most egregious.
As to attempted dirty tricks, one individual, John Gilmore, put out a sheet calling out the RP slate (without mentioning RP) as the Chaos Slate, who were assembled for the sole purpose of causing disorder at Tampa. Rather humorously, the guy who did this got a number of names completely wrong, adding people who were not even RP supporters, and who, in turn, were quite vocal about this when giving their speeches. Vocal, not in swearing off an association with Paul, but excoriating the individual for his slander. As the ballots were being distributed, Pat Shortridge, the current chair of the GOP, came to the mike on the floor, and urged everyone to disregard the slanderous piece of trash, vote a slate if you so choose, or not, but that he was certain that every person named on the so-called Chaos Slate, would be fine representatives of the party at Tampa.
One highlight came later this afternoon, when Jeff Johnson (who is the state GOP representative to the RNC, and sits on the State GOP executive committee) gave an excellent speech, directly addressing the quite obvious division in the party that the RP contingent represented, rightly noting that there was a sizable number of people who absolutely love RP and likewise who absolutely hate RP, as well as a bunch of people somewhere in between. He noted, that all of this is normal. The party has always had a similar divide. There have always been battles over rules, highly contentious elections, and general ruckus and chaos at the convention, and that, surprisingly, this convention was rather mild in comparison.
He then addressed the two extremes in turn. To the pro RP group he commended them for their excellent organization, their dedication, and passion. He reminded them that, despite what they might have thought before, they have far more in common with the other delegates than they realized. He told them, "Many of the old guard think that you don't care about the Republican Party, and are planning to leave as soon as this is over. If that makes you mad, then make sure it doesn't happen." He encouraged them to know their fellow delegates, be long-term active participants in the party, and support all the GOP candidates. He then addressed the RP haters: "To the Ron Paul haters, who want to purge the party of the Ron Paul people, and keep asking, 'Why can't we go back to the way things were before?' my advice to you is, 'Get over it.' If we don't grow, we die as a party."
I really like this guy.
I talked to a lot of people, not RP supporters, but people I have come to respect in the local organization. To a person, they had appreciation and respect for the RP delegation. One person commented to me that there's hardly a thing that RP supports that he does not, but that he can't stand personality cults. I agreed with him. I can't stand personality cults either. It's the single thing about the RP movement, as a whole, that constantly grates on me.
Ron Paul is not a perfect candidate. I am not a libertarian. Not even a small "l" libertarian. I don't agree with him that abortion is a state's rights issue. (And I can argue this succinctly if anyone cares to take me up on it). I don't agree that all of our overseas bases should be closed (many, yes, perhaps even most, but not all). I believe that since marriage and the family is the foundation of any society, also the federal government has a responsibility and divine mandate, as part of the sword with which it is entrusted, to ensure that this most essential institution of any society remains intact. It is intrinsic in promoting the general welfare of the nation, and ensuring domestic tranquility. In spite of these disagreements with Paul, I support him. However, if, as seems fairly certain, Mitt Romney gets the nomination, I will be voting for Romney, even though I would never in my life endorse him.
I do not have any moral compunction when it comes to voting for the "lesser of two evils". That's all we ever do in any election, because we live in a fallen creation. But I challenge anyone to tell me with a straight face that Romney will be worse than Obama. Do I like it? No. I hate it. Romney is an enemy of liberty, of free markets, of US Sovereignty, and a friend of a corrupt monetary policy and the internationalists who support it, and of an Israeli state that denies basic human rights to Palestinians in general, and Palestinian Christians in particular. But I would hate the next four years even more if Obama is re-elected. There will be nothing left to vote for if that happens. And if you think that's an extreme statement, then you haven't been paying attention.