Ron Paul Delegations: Losing Maine, Some Platform Victories, and Happy Cooperation with Romney?

The Maine delegation to the Republican National Convention (RNC) in Tampa next week has been essentially unseated by the Republican National Committee's Committee on Contests, in a compromise intended to split the delegation 10 for Ron Paul, 10 for Mitt Romney.

The delegation intends to appeal to the credentialing committee today. I was told two days ago by delegation member (and in-coming national committeeman on the RNC from Maine) Mark Willis that "We were duly elected and we are all going to Tampa and we expect to be seated as a delegation, all of us or none of us. We are united and strong and the Romney campaign underestimate our resolve."

We'll see how that works out. My recent blogging on the Maine fight here and here.

Romney and Paul political operatives seem to have cooperated on feeding the angle to this long Politico story today: Ron Paul gets no actual role at the convention, and the Romney forces have successfully arranged it so a floor nomination for Paul seems impossible (although some in the Nevada delegation are apparently still going to try).

But! The platform (meaningless unless a specific candidate/politician really believes in it) has some sops to Paul's monetary policy ideas--audit the Fed, rethink gold--while little to his foreign policy or civil liberties stances, except for:

Internet freedom language adopted that is nearly verbatim to an Internet freedom manifesto published by the pro-Paul Campaign for Liberty.

For the first time, the platform has a whole section about the U.S. Constitution. Paulites also won on language opposing the use of domestic drones and protecting private property from being seized unfairly by government.

All, it seems, to make sure the Paul factions/liberty movement seem a loyal part of the Republican Party moving forward rather than an ignorable and hated rabble.

Back in May, when the Paul campaign began confusingly ramping back its efforts, some distrustful grassroots forces saw it as a deliberate sellout; I could detect then that to the Paul operatives it was a matter of how the liberty movement was going to be perceived by the GOP moving forward, what with all the talk of "respect" and "decorum" coming from Paul's political director Jesse Benton.

What you make of this depends on whether you believed there was still any chance whatsoever Paul could actually get the nomination as of May. If you did, anything less than full speed ahead was treason. 

If you did not--as Paul's political pros and Paul himself clearly did not--then the question became: do we move forward as bloody nuisances to the GOP power structure, shouting on the floor at the RNC, one that they will be desperate to marginalize and ignore? Or try to position ourselves as a meaningful "part of the coalition" even if little concrete (other than a Rand Paul speaking slot) comes from it?

Whether you agree that this strategy of staying firmly within the GOP tent is best for the liberty cause or not--and a huge part of the Paul activist grassroots does not--this Politico story that seems sourced from both within the Romney and Paul camps shows that's roughly what happened, from the perspective of the political operatives themselves. What value this path of polite cooperation will have for the libertarian cause within the Republican Party won't be clear in the next week, or next year. 

How the Ron Paul cause got to where it is now is a story told in my book Ron Paul's Revolution: The Man and the Movement He Inspired.

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  • Pro Libertate||

    There is another. . .freedom candidate.

  • johnl||

    Exactly. These dirty tricks are like a "Johnson/Gray" advertisement paid for by Romney. I get it already, the GOP doesn't want my vote.

  • ||

    The platform . . . has some sops to Paul's monetary policy ideas--audit the Fed, rethink gold--while little to his foreign policy or civil liberties stances, except for . . . Internet freedom language [and] . . . a whole section about the U.S. Constitution. Paulites also won on language opposing the use of domestic drones and protecting private property from being seized unfairly by government.

    That's it? This months-long pissing contest over delegates won them THIS? Rand Paul better fucking make an impact on the foreign policy front, because from where I'm sitting it looks like the Good Doctor basically sold out to preserve Rand's position in the GOP.

  • Calidissident||

    How did he sell out? He hasn't endorsed Romney and there was no way he was gonna win the nomination

  • ||

    Maybe "selling out" was too strong a word choice on my part, but I can't help but feel that if he wasn't concerned about his son's career he would have at least done a lot more calling out of GOP leadership, if not left the party all together. But, to be fair, I'm just pissed off in general at seeing the miniscule returns on what started in '08 so maybe I'm placing too much blame on Ron Paul himself.

  • ||

    He sold out by not insisting all his delegates be seated.

  • tarran||

    The pissing contest wasn't about this....

    I believe his goal has been to use his campaign as a vehicle to convince supporters to start the long climb to power within the party hierarchy.

    I think this screwing of the Paul delegates is actually a Phyrric victory of the Republican Establishment. At the end of the day, Romney was going to walk out a nominee no matter what.

    But, now there are a bunch of people with a grudge, and ideology, and the opportunity to avenge the slights by doing the ridiculous things required to become a mover and shaker within the state and local level party.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I imagine Paul's been tossed some bones, too. Possibly even a role in the Romney government. Not foreign policy-related, of course.

  • BakedPenguin||

    If he got to choose the next Fed chair, I could see him endorsing Romney.

  • ||

    If Paul doesn't get to speak from the podium, it's a total loss.

    I guess the idea is to pass the torch to Rand. But I don't see it. The GOP has been fucking us as long as there's been an us. Burn the house down sez I.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "If Paul doesn't get to speak from the podium, it's a total loss."

    What do you think that will accomplish? Everyone that gives a crap has heard Ron Paul by now.

  • OldMexican||

    What you make of this depends on whether you believed there was still any chance whatsoever Paul could actually get the nomination as of May. If you did, anything less than full speed ahead was treason.


    There comes a time where frontally storming the ramparts of the Party becomes an exercise in futility. You're doing nothing more than playing the enemy's game, fighting in a terrain of his own choosing.

    So now it is time to regroup and rethink the strategy. What comes down to is that the Grand Old Party will not relinquish its power that easily; you have to undermine it from below. That was the idea after 2008 but the timing was still not right for a full scale attack. The lovers of liberty showed their cards too soon - understandibly, since their philosophical leader (Paul) is not getting any younger.

    Liberty lovers have to bid their time, move slowly but surely, cutting the enemy's access to supplies and reinforcements. This means the GOP has to be left to die a slow death. It is not a sexy strategy, but it will get the job done, in the end.

    Why the GOP and not the Dems? Because the GOP is the distraction. The GOP needs the Democratic party to keep convincing people that they are the true balance to the radicalism of the left. You cannot get to the prize if you do no get them first. Once the GOP is gone, the Dems will be left defenseless.

  • CE||

    What is the big freaking deal? Why can't they just accept the original results? So Ron Paul won control of the delegations from 6 or 7 states fair and square, despite not winning the popular vote in any of them. So Ron Paul's name would have been placed in nomination at the convention, and Romney would been nominated with 90 percent support instead of 100 percent support. Was that really worth losing the potential votes of Ron Paul's supporters in an election that is 47-47-6 right now?

  • robc||

    All good questions, all ones Ive wondered about.

    The GOP has some sort of a weird need for consensus that I dont understand.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    This time the Repubs are nervous. The conventional wisdom (CW) is that each party has a base who will support the Team no matter how much they're sold out. The Dems have the blacks, and the Reps (says the CW) have the conservatives and Tea Partiers. Since the base's support is unconditional, the way to win elections is to appeal to "moderates" - voters inclined to support the Dems on taxes, regulations, deficits, etc, but who are worried about the economy. The CW tells reps to soothe these "moderates" while telling the base, "well, you don't want the Democrats to win, do you? Aren't you a Team player?"

    The Paulites clearly don't fit into the CW's categories. The Reps might actually lose their vote if they're not careful. They're not team players, and if the Reps act like Dems they'll shrug and withdraw their support from the Reps.

    So the Reps have somewhat increased their sophistication - they're seeing whether rhetorical concessions will work to keep the Paul people in line. The idea is that "maybe we have to promise currency reform and no domestic drones in the platform, but heck, nobody follows the party platforms anyway."

    The message needs to get out -- the Paulites intend to hold the Reps to their own platform and rhetoric, and this means even after the election is over and the consultants are contemplating throwing their copies of the platform in the garbage.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "This time the Repubs are nervous."

    The assumption here is that somehow the top brass in the GOP intend to get rid of RP delegates. I don't think this is the case at all.

    More likely, all this conflict is from the GOP members that have gone to precinct meetings and conventions for years with most things happening as assumed, and all of a sudden there's a mob of Paulbots in the middle of their party causing distress. Not saying it's right for them to freak out, but I think blaming some mythical establishment bureaucracy misses the target.

  • robc||

    If that is the case, why isnt the top brass telling them to shut the fuck up and deal with it?

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "If that is the case, why isnt the top brass telling them to shut the fuck up and deal with it?"

    Because you're giving too much credence to the idea that there's some wizard in an office somewhere pulling all the strings. Paulites aren't the only people that can get irritated about being a delegate or not. Think about it.

  • robc||

    What the fuck are you talking about?

    You suggested that it is the locals refusing to seat the delegates and Im saying if that is the case, the national GOP could tell them to shut the fuck up.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "If that is the case, why isnt the top brass telling them to shut the fuck up and deal with it?"

    And if the all powerful wizard had that much control over things, do you think this ever would have been an issue?

  • robc||

    If they were that nervous, the obvious answer would be to seat all of Paul's delegates, let him be nominated, let him speak, and then once Romney wins anyway, call for a united party, because see, look how well we got along.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Exactly. There's nothing about RP delegates being at the convention that the GOP leadership is concerned about. But, I bet it sure as hell bothers the dude that's been in the party for 30 years that didn't get to go because a Paulbot wanted to scream on the convention floor and then go vote for Gary Johnson. It's that simple.

  • robc||

    Then why isnt the GOP leadership seating them? Tell the 30 year dude to sit down and shut the fuck up.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Why would the national GOP tell people that have been working in the GOP for years while most of the RP delegates have been working for a third party or no party to STFU? You're thinking idealistically in the realm of politics. For a Paulite, of course the most proper thing would be for the GOP brass to come down on the people that have been loyal to the party. In the real world where does this happen?

  • robc||

    Because they need the votes. Duh.

    The 30-year dude isnt voting for Obama or Johnson.

    The Paulite might vote for Johnson if treated bad.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    I just met you. Come on over to my club and I'll tell my best friend to STFU while you talk. Really

  • CampingInYourPark||

    And for your Ron Paul tweet of the day:

    "Ron Paul ‏@RepRonPaul
    There are twice as many U.S. troops in Afghanistan now than on the day Bush left office."

  • Pro Libertate||

    Man, is Bush still sending troops there? That bastard!

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