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.