The goal of my last post on the Ron Paul Campaign’s exhortations to lie, cheat, and steal was to shine as bright a light as possible on their dishonorable and ultimately self destructive tactics. I’m not alone amongst principled conservatives – Ned Barnett in particular has been doing yeoman’s work in ferreting out the hypocrisy of these perpetually aggrieved, self-entitled, ends-justify-the-means thugs. I’m glad to say those efforts seem to have been successful, and judging from my comments section explosion, there are a lot of upset Paul fans out there who are spending a lot of time trying to intimidate me into silence while unintentionally helping make my point.
You could argue that the Paul campaign’s delegate strategy is odious and unethical, but that at least they’re “playing by the rules.” (Paul supporters are the first to scream bloody murder if another candidate plays the insider rules to their advantage, but when the Paul folks do it they’re JUST like the Founding Fathers (cue eye roll here).)
But then I saw this article from Ray Hagar, in which the Paul Campaign (not some random supporter, the state campaign chair) all but announced they would be ignoring even that fig leaf of legitimacy.
[Carl] Bunce, [chairman of Congressman Paul's Nevada campaign,] said the campaign will play by the rules but can’t answer for every Ron Paul supporter who is also a national delegate.
“People have a choice,” Bunce said about a first-ballot decision. “It is their vote. When people show up to vote, they vote their conscience, right?
When reminded of the RNC rules that apply to the first ballot vote, Bunce questions the binding rule.
“What is the punishment?” Bunce asked rhetorically, referring to the binding rule for the first ballot. “It (switching votes) is not something that I condone. There are a lot of rules, RNC, state bylaws. But the binding is kind of superficial as well.
First of all, if the word “but” appears after the phrase “I don’t condone that,” then you ARE, in fact, condoning whatever it is that you’re talking about. And remember, this is from the same guy who specifically urged his fellow travelers to be dishonest in a previous, meant-to-be-secret E-mail.
But it’s that last paragraph that’s really distressing. When you muse openly about the lack of consequences and suggest that the wrong thing is really the right thing, don’t tell me you aren’t giving a wink and a nudge. The Ron Paul campaign, which came in third place in this state, is fully signalling, “Our people are going to vote for Ron Paul, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
The tacit support for violating every election rule in place in order to manufacture victory for a guy who can’t win an election is unmistakable. And in doing so, the Paul Campaign is attempting to steal an election just as surely as if they stuffed ballot boxes back in February.
(Remember, this was the same crowd who went apoplectic (sometimes quite dishonestly so) over the mere possibility that registering new Republicans on the day of the caucus was terrible because it introduced the remotest possibility of “voter fraud”. Apparently actively working to subvert the will of Nevada Republican voters is only bad when not done in the service of the Cult of Personality that is the Paul campaign.)
Incidentally, there in all likelihood WOULD be consequences. It’s my understanding from talking to people familiar with RNC rules that Nevada could lose half – if not more – of its delegates should this cheating attempt be carried out in Tampa.
My post got linked around nationally (thanks, Politico!), and as a result, the Paul faithful came of of the woodwork to punish me for having a dissenting viewpoint (gee, thanks, Politico.)
The comments are generally a case study in rationalizing bad acts. Mostly, they suggest that the system is hopelessly corrupt, so they feel justified in cheating in return. The 80% of the Republicans who didn’t vote for Paul (and who would be necessary to win if Paul somehow pulled off a nomination at the convention) are endlessly derided as sheep-like neocon RINO shills, or other such nonsense. In any event, they find endless ways to justify in their minds why my vote (and the vast vast vast majority of GOP voters’ votes) shouldn’t count at all.
Great. So we replace the current corruption with new corruption?
You want, but can’t earn, so you’re gonna take. I tell you what, guys – if you don’t want me to say you’re acting like a bunch of leftist revolutionaries or self-entitled Occupiers, then stop acting like leftist revolutionaries or self-entitled Occupiers.
Look – if we truly are to build a new political paradigm that breaks the old patterns that have led to the mess America finds itself in now, it has to be built on a foundation of honor and integrity, and it has to earn popular support.
Is Romney the savior of America? Hardly, and I’ve made quite plain on this blog that Romney just isn’t a conservative. But he is a “fix it” guy, and he’ll at least slow the bleeding for a bit while support for real reform builds, if the allegedly liberty minded don’t completely self-destruct and discredit the entire movement along with them, that is.
For the record, I would be just as outraged if Ron Paul won the caucus vote and some other candidate tried to stack the delegates while telegraphing a refusal to honor the outcome of the vote. Paul supporters certainly are, in the rare cases (like North Dakota) where Paul bested Romney.
I tell you what, fellas. I’ll agree that you should have proportional, binding representation of your delegates in North Dakota (although there the state party chose NOT to bind their delegates), if you’ll agree to abide by the vote proportions EVERYWHERE ELSE.
The other excuse I often see is some version of, “Hey – if you were dedicated enough to have your voice count, you’d show up and be a delegate. Romney supporters just don’t care enough to be delegates, so therefore, they can be ignored.”
Let me explain why I find this, of all the excuses, so particularly disgusting and immoral.
Two weeks ago, my wife and I had a new baby. Knowing the little guy would be here, and further knowing I would have family in town to meet him, I did not put my name in for consideration to be a delegate to the state GOP convention in Sparks next week. Certainly I had put in my fair share (and then some!) of volunteer time with the party, and I had carefully considered each candidate in the runup to our caucuses.
A couple of years before I had also found myself elected to the state Central Committee after having complained about the way the 2008 caucuses and conventions had been handled, and I made a point to do what I could to avert a repeat of that craziness. During one of the Central Committee planning meetings for the caucuses, I was outspoken about the need to bind our delegates to the caucus vote, specifically to obviate any purpose for any faction within the party to “take over” the convention or try to push delegates who didn’t represent Nevada GOP voters. I also argued against “winner take all,” noting that less well funded candidates in small, early primary states can use those pledged delegates to build momentum, even if they can’t win outright due to funding issues or the lack of media exposure. (That’s right. I argued in favor of that specifically for the benefit of Ron Paul’s campaign.)
The Central Committee overwhelmingly agreed with me, and those rules were set in place.
So – I got involved, help solidify rules which would address my concerns, helped build a consensus behind those rules in order to get them passed, and then spent hundreds of volunteer hours away from my family to execute the plan.
If Ron Paul or any of his supporters think I am insufficiently dedicated, let me know. I’ll share some phrases with you that I learned in the Navy.
But even if I hadn’t done that, it would still be an outrage. Most voters don’t have that sort of time to dedicate, for a whole host of reasons. Republican voters were explicitly told – and therefore believed – that their votes would be binding on the national delegates, and that the party would follow its own rules. Do you Ron Paul folks think they will ever trust or support you after they found out you didn’t, and cheated your way to “victory”? Again, how in the hell would you ever expect to win in the general?
You can’t even win a single Republican primary. What are you going to do in November? Try to crash the Electoral College?
Ultimately, it will be up to our intrepid new state party chair Michael McDonald to ensure the rules are followed, and that no delegate who goes to Tampa to represent the will of Nevada Republicans is a cheater. What’s scary is that the Ron Paul supporters who largely “took over” the party were responsible for McDonald being elected.
They bought him. They think they own him. They’re counting on that purchase to clear their way for a full, rules-disregarding Ron Paul delegation to go to Tampa.
Here’s McDonald’s chance to prove me wrong about my opinion of his integrity.