While the rest of the world treats the GOP presidential race as completely over, the final selection of delegates in the state of Nebraska is still ahead on July 14, and Ron Paul is still fighting for them. A win, if he can pull it off, will be of greater importance than it might seem for a candidate who has already admitted his opponent Mitt Romney is sure to win the nomination. Nebraska, if he nabs it, will be the fifth state whose delegation Paul controls, which according to Republican National Committee rules gives him the ability to be formally nominated for president from the floor, guaranteeing him 15 minutes of floor speaking time before the first ballot.
Just as past conventions in Oklahoma, Arizona, and Louisiana have been chaotic because of conflicts between Paul forces and the GOP establishment, the Republican Party of Nebraska is getting mighty defensive ahead of time, as NBC's Anthony Terell reports:
Nebraska is the last state to hold a convention and its 32 delegates are not required to match the May 15 "beauty contest" primary, where presumptive nominee Mitt Romney won 70 percent of the vote. However, prospective delegates must indicate their presidential preference and are bound to vote for that candidate for the first two ballots at the August Republican National Convention….
Local reports say both Romney and Paul supporters have been "burning up the phone lines" making calls to delegates to assess who they're voting for before the state convention in Grand Island.
Support for Paul could embarrass Governor Dave Heineman, who was the first Republican governor to endorse Romney.
"I welcome the Tea Party and Ron Paul supporters," Heineman said. "That's great for our party. But it's time to be good sports and get behind Governor Romney."
When Republicans arrive at the Riverside Golf Club for the convention they will be met with additional security, hired by the state party in anticipation of a Paul insurgency.
"It's been communicated to us from other RNC members from around the country to watch for specific things," Jordan McGrain, executive director of the state Republican Party, told NBC News.
"Their experience has been instructive to us. We've received correspondence from those who attended the Nevada and Louisiana state conventions where they had significant disturbances and problems. It arose from not everyone being on the same page and we have the benefit of that hindsight."
Associated Press on the Nebraska buildup and fearmongering:
Nebraska GOP Executive Director Jordan McGrain said he has, for the first time, hired security for the July 14 convention in Grand Island. McGrain hopes to quash any disruptions like those at other state conventions, where disputes between supporters of presidential candidate Mitt Romney and Paul resulted in shouting matches, brawling and — in Louisiana — delegates being carted off by police.
McGrain said he does not expect Nebraska delegates to cause disruptions, but fears Paul supporters from other states might….
"It's just the reality of the situation and where we fall on the calendar that we've become the battleground to place Ron Paul's name into nomination at the national convention," McGrain said.
Laura Ebke, chairwoman of the Nebraska Republic Liberty Caucus that has led the effort to garner Paul delegates, said no disruption is planned "unless the party instigates something."….
"To the extent that outsiders, third-parties come in here and agitate and try to disrupt our convention — we're not going to tolerate that," said Nebraska GOP Chairman Mark Fahleson.
The Nebraska Republican Party is already experiencing a contentious divide. At local county conventions last month, Paul supporters and tea party advocates were successful in earning state delegate slots. The state convention will chose from among them to fill the state's 32 national delegate slots….
In other Paul/Nebraska news and commentary, Daily Paul advises would-be Paul Nebraska delegates: don't mourn (a possible loss), organize!
*Old-school libertarian thinker and activist Butler Shaffer remembers his days in the Nebraska GOP in the Goldwater Transition and sees another branch of the Republican Party dying:
The article about the Nebraska GOP bringing in more "security" to protect delegates from the Ron Paul supporters caught my attention. The quoted individual holds the same job in the same party that I held fifty years ago. I was a very active Goldwater supporter, but kept that separate from my official duties. At that time, the Goldwater people were in control of the party organization, and the principal challengers were the Nelson Rockefeller/Bill Scranton advocates. Unlike the GOP establishment in most states today, Nebraska GOP officials—such as myself—made certain to take a non-partisan approach in our duties…
That "delegations" from other states encouraged this beefing up of security forces at the Nebraska GOP convention is not at all surprising. Does anyone believe that such advice was being offered by Ron Paul supporters in these other states? A reading of reports as well as videos from other GOP state conventions reveals the establishment forces using "disruptive" means of allowing the Paul supporters to be seated and/or heard….
What we are witnessing, today, is the Republican party—and "conservatism" generally—in its death rattle. Fifty years ago, these elements could still make a pretense of supporting liberty, free-markets, and individualism, by opposing the Soviet Union. But now that this "menace" is gone, these people have no philosophically-principled base upon which to stand….
Rachel Maddow, one of the only national TV reporters who still understands Paul is in the running:
How did this whole Ron Paul thing go so far? For the full story, see my new book Ron Paul's Revolution: The Man and the Movement He Inspired.