Sadly, it seems clear from their actions that the answer is “no.”
Recently, Washoe County GOP Chair Dave Buell filed paperwork to make the Washoe County GOP a distinct entity from the State Party, disclaiming any intention to coordinate with or be controlled by the State. While this Declaration of Independence has the advantage of adding a new legal entity to which potential donors can max out political contributions (the stated purpose), the real reason is because the State Party, largely controlled due to sheer numbers by the Clark County GOP, has fully run aground. The Ron Paul Revolution “took over” the party, and now can’t raise money, register Republicans, or inspire faith in any Republican candidate or voter that their organization adds any value to anything whatsoever. In order to reassure voters, volunteers, donors, and candidates that they aren’t wasting their time and money by contributing to and associating with their party, the Washoe County GOP had no choice but to distance itself as much as possible from the state party. Moreover, now the Romney campaign has a local party operation in this state they can trust and coordinate with.
This is not about ideology, it’s about competence. Buell did exactly the right thing, and now the Clark County folks, who have chased off every sane Republican in the state, are not only crying about it, but they’re stomping up and down and filing complaints with the FEC in order to force the sane amongst us back into their boiling crab pot.
Oh, the delicious irony of a bunch of self-proclaimed libertarians gnashing their teeth when the only organization in the state who could keep them looking remotely effective decided to Go Galt!
Much has already been said about this “internal rift,” most recently by Ray Hagar of the RGJ and my friend Sean Cary in the Sparks Tribune. Both of them have roughly the same take – “Why are you people fighting over the small stuff when you presumably share the same, more immediate, larger goals in less than three months?” Both of them correctly recognize that Republican candidates, especially Romney and Dean Heller, would be better off if this fight didn’t have to exist.
But I think their underlying assumption is wrong. The Ron Paul crowd that took over the Clark County (and therefore, the State) parties don’t have the same goals in November. In fact, I think they actually want Republicans to lose. I think that would be true even if Ron Paul had won the nomination.
I’m not talking about all Ron Paul supporters, because I count many amongst my friends, and I know they understand that you do battle with the candidate you have, and not always with the one you wish you had. But those aren’t the people who have taken over the state party.
The most extreme example is former Ron Paul Campaign Chair Carl Bunce, who is now the Clark County GOP’s Vice-Chair. Back in May, he announced that he and his crew fully intended to eventually oust successful GOP elected officials if they were insufficiently pure, mentioning Joe Heck and Dean Heller in particular. Now he’s been the public face of the temper tantrum over Washoe County turning their backs on incompetence and insanity.
But you see it all the time in Facebook threads and comments on articles from the pro-Paul folks. (I saw one blog post from a CCRP Central Committee member who literally advocates that fellow Paulestinean supporting delegates throw their feces in protest during the GOP convention in Tampa.) They’re still banging the drum against Romney and now Paul Ryan, as if Ron Paul – in spite of winning not a single state’s primary or caucus vote – could still win over convention delegates and emerge as the Republican nominee for President.
Even the most die hard Paul supporter understands at this point that they’ve lost their argument in every state they’ve made it, and therefore the die has been cast. And surely they must realize they’re winning no converts to the anti-Romney-pro-Obama-by-default national suicide club. If anything, they must realize that they’re actually turning off anyone who might be open to persuasion.
So why do they persist in what seems to be such a counter-productive vein?
Either Mitt Romney or Barack Obama will be sworn in as President this coming January, and will be the President for the next four years. Most of us understand things will be better by some order of magnitude or another if Mitt wins.
They know this, in spite of silly claims that “both parties are exactly the same!”. Indeed, if they actually thought that either outcome equaled Armageddon, they wouldn’t be wasting time on Facebook or practicing poo flinging on their way to the convention. They’d be spending the End of Days with their families, or in church, or building a compound off the grid. They would CERTAINLY be keeping a lower profile on line lest the NWO troopers track their IP addresses back to their physical addresses, fly in with their black helicopters, and stash them in the same secret concentration camp that the REAL passengers of United 93 (not the fake ones Bush tried to crash into the Capitol) are being held.
The truth is that they don’t WANT converts. They’re emotionally invested in being Cassandra. They’re the losers who get pissed when their favorite band suddenly catches on big, because that alone is proof positive that they’ve “sold out”. As soon as a critical mass of people agree with them, they don’t feel special any more. Worse, they could have to actually shoulder some responsibility and/or leadership. They think it’s worth it to see the nation suffer what would be an economically disastrous second Obama term, because feeling smug about having been “right” is more important to them than imperfectly getting things headed back in the right direction.
What a shame this truly is. At a time when the Republican Party needs – and seems willing to embrace – libertarian ideas, these folks are validating every absurd stereotype about “DR. RON PAUL!!!!” followers, and Libertarians generally. Indeed, if Obama wins in November by narrow margins, the libertarian philosophy will be unfairly blamed because of these clowns, and will not recover any kind of cache for generations.
I would pity these people, if what they were doing wasn’t so destructive to my kids’ future. But I refuse to let pity translate into acquiescing to being drug back into the crab pot. As pitiable as these people are, it is good and right that they be isolated and avoided. It’s important for every voter, volunteer, donor, and candidate (oh, and also media commentator) to understand what these folks’ goals are and what they aren’t.
It’s a shame Dave Buell had to separate our county party from the state organization, and a further shame that now extra energy that should be being spent getting Romney and Heller and Heck and Tarkanian and everyone else down the line elected has to be expended battling “Republicans” who don’t care to see Republicans elected to office.
But while Hagar and Cary are right that Republican candidates would be better off if this fight wasn’t necessary, what I think they both miss is that those candidates would be worse off if it wasn’t now being fought. The only alternative was to simply let folks run the GOP show who not only can’t win elections, but don’t even act as if they want to. The more you look at it, no competent Republican party official would have – could have – done anything else.