GOP to Ron Paul: Drop Dead
You're still worried about online polls? Hah! The head of Michigan's GOP wants to bar Ron Paul from future debates.
Michigan party chairman Saul Anuzis said he will circulate a petition among Republican National Committee members to ban Paul from more debates. At a GOP candidates' debate Tuesday night, Paul drew attacks from all sides, most forcefully from former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, when he linked the terror attacks to U.S. bombings.
…"I think he would have felt much more comfortable on the stage with the Democrats in what he said last night. And I think that he is a distraction in the Republican primary and he does not represent the base and he does not represent the party," Anuzis said during an RNC state leadership meeting.
"Given what he said last night it was just so off the wall and out of whack that I think it was more detrimental than helpful."
Anuzis said his petition would go to debate sponsors and broadcasters to discourage inviting Paul.
Is there any previous example of a party banning a candidate because he offended members of the party? Did Alan Keyes get blocked for those reasons from any debates in 1996 or 2000? Perhaps Anuzis can issue an Index of Forbidden Ideas to clarify who does and doesn't deserve to be counted in the GOP.
UPDATE: Says an e-mailer to Jonah Goldberg:
Isn't it obvious why Saul Anuzis (Michigan GOP chair) wants Ron Paul barred from the debates? It's not about ideological purity. Anuzis is a McCain guy, and having Paul in the debates is a big advantage for Giuliani. All the candidates disagree strongly with Ron Paul about 9/11, but Giuliani (for obvious reasons) can get much more mileage from fighting him on the issue than anyone else. It's to McCain's advantage to have him barred.
Jonah's skeptical; I'm not. McCain put in a solid performance at the debate, absolutely nailing the questions on torture, and who won the headlines? Anuzis is a big Romney fan, and his guy was placing a firm first or second in the debate, but who won the headlies? Giuliani, Paul, and sissy-boy John Edwards.