As background, it must be stressed that, in Nevada, the Republican party is a private enterprise. While we comply with state election laws, the conduct of the party, its bylaws, and operations are conducted privately. Members, officers, and delegates are bound only by their consciences.
Under a new system implemented this year, Nevada Republicans do not elect a presidential candidate, but rather conduct thousands of mini-elections to select delegates, first at the precinct level and then at the county level. The delegates elected at the county level converge at the state convention to elect 34 delegates to the national convention. As in every other step, those delegates are bound only by their consciences.
Having said that, the apparatchiks in charge of this private party have done everything possible to thwart the Nevada campaign of Republican Presidential candidate Ron Paul (who, by the way, placed second in the straw poll conducted on the morning of the precinct caucuses). State officers tried to extort $10,000 from the campaign for the list of Clark County (Las Vegas) delegates while the other major campaigns got the list for free. Other counties reported similar shenanigans.
There was no question that the NRP would battle Ron Paul Republicans this weekend, the question was how they would do so without inflicting collateral damage on non-Paul delegates. The answer is, by using our non-refundable registration fees to survey delegates before they show up.
While I was in a meeting tonight discussing this weekend's festivities, I received a call from (866) 750-5167. After I left the meeting in disgust (it turned to talk of leadership councils, committees, and bylaws), I dialed the number and got a busy signal. About twenty minutes later, I received a phone call from the same number asking for me by name.
Now, the phone number on which I received the call is special. It is a temporary number until I get my usual number ported to a new provider. Until yesterday, only four people had that number: my wife, my father, the Ron Paul Campaign Coordinator for Clark County, and Ernie Hancock. Yesterday, however, I registered for the state convention and provided that number specifically because it is a temporary number.
On answering the phone, I was informed that the call was from mumble-mumble (Consumer Research Realty Corporation?) with a three question survey for me. Without waiting for assent, I was confronted with these three preambles and questions (paraphrasing):
1)The surge in Iraq has decreased attacks on civilians and our own troops. Do you think we should stay in Iraq and finish the job?
I answered all three questions honestly and intelligently, that is, wrongly. Therefore, officially, I am marked as “one of them”. As I am out registration fees, hotel, and airfare for this weekend, who wants to bet that I won't be seated as a delegate this weekend?
On a related note, if anyone is up for a little bingo-bango-bongo on the golf course in Reno Saturday, let me know. I'm pretty sure I'll be free.
ADDENDUM: After writing this, but before posting it, I've received an unconfirmed report that the calls are coming from the John McCain campaign. If this is true, then the NRP is providing private registration information to the McCain campaign, a whole 'nother level of scummy. If not, still scummy, just less so.