Day 2: The Sinking of the Maine. delegates
The big news and the big ruckus at the Republican National Convention
today was that the elected Maine delegates were denied the opportunity
to participate as delegates. The chair only held a voice vote, and it
sounded like the nays were louder, but he summarily announced the ayes
had it and moved on with business. That's when hundreds and hundreds of
delegates started calling for a roll call. When that failed, a great
number of the thousands in the entire Tampa Bay Times Forum started
chanting "Seat them now." It went on for maybe 90 seconds. So, many of
the the people elected in Maine to cast their vote for the next
Republican presidential candidate did not get that chance.
next ruckus broke out when a vote was held on the new rules. While I'm
sure you can get a better report by reading on the internet, I'll tell
you what I've been able to figure out, from quizzing Arizona delegation
members who served on the Convention Rules Committee, and the chairman
of the Standing Rules Committee is from Arizona.
1) Rule 40 - changed it from "plurality from 5 states" to "majority
from 8 states". Rules do change - that is a given, but this rule was
made retroactive! So, even though candidates have been campaigning for a
year and a half, and two had met the old requirement, Mitt Romney and
Ron Paul, that was all for not for Dr. Paul, because the bar was raised
today! So, he was walking on the quicksand that is the rules of the
Republican National Committee, and this man was not even allowed the
dignity to finish in 2nd place and to address his fellow Republican
leaders at the convention.
2) Rule 16 - changed
the rule to circumvent the occasional practice of delegates not voting
for the candidate the state party expects them to vote for. For example
today, three members of the Arizona delegation defied the Governor and
the rules and voted for Ron Paul. It was just 3 of 29, so it made no
difference in the long run. The new Rule 16, effective next convention
in 2016, says that if a delegate does not vote according to state law or
state party rule, they will have been considered to have resigned and
the delegation chairperson just changes their vote.
Romney campaign tried to make this rule even tougher by having the
ability to disallow any delegate and substitute them with their own.
Fortunately, this did not pass but only after a huge fight by several
states and coverage in major newspapers like the New York Times.
read the rules from one end to the other (in my own quick read style),
and the part that kept flipping back to is the very first sentences -
"BE IT RESOLVED that the
Republican Party is the party of the open door. Ours is the party of
liberty, the party of equality, of opportunity for all and favoritism
I don't think I could come up with any greater example of hypocrisy than to compare that statement to what happened today.
had to recharge my electronic devices around 7 pm, so I went and hung
out with the press, and I was able to speak with a couple reporters for a
couple top 10 newspapers. I asked what they thought so far, and of
course, they loved the controversy about the Maine delegates and the
rules. One said, I'll probably give more column inches to the Maine
delegates and the new "smaller tent" rules than I will to Ann Romney,
Gov. Chris Christie and all the rest.
That's Day 2. =============
Day 3: Business as usual
There was very little agitation at the convention today as there was no business, just speakers and singers.
tribute video for Ron Paul was less than 4 minutes long, which was
probably the shortest segment of the whole evening. And of course, the
Romney supporters from Arizona around me who know next to nothing of
what Dr. Paul really stands for where making snide remarks and sneering
faces when thousands of people would cheer for something he or his
congressional peers said something beautiful about the Constitution or
liberty. The video hardly scratched the surface of the principles
Congressman Paul has promulgated with such perseverance for 30 years in
Congress, not even getting 10 seconds per year of this statesman's
service to our country.
Most of the day for me
was filled with conversations about the rules business from yesterday.
An Arizona representative on the Convention Rules Committee said that
the discussion was that the rule (increasing number of states from 5 to
8) was needed to stop the nomination of Dr. Paul, and so it had to be
retroactive. The chairman of the Standing Rules Committee told me that
the Rule 40 change was not to stop Ron Paul from being nominated because
he didn't have the states or the votes. Of course, I pointed out to him
that simple thinking about his words leads to one path or another -
that of the fool or that of the poor liar.
fool because only an idiot would make a new rule take effect immediately
and retroactively while also saying that it wasn't needed until four
years from now.
Or the mentally impoverished
prevaricator because if Dr. Paul didn't have the votes, there was no
need for any rule changes, especially ones that took effect immediately
Silence was his reply, and I was left to decide for myself whether he and his comrades were neither wise nor brilliant or both.
the non-rules committee members of the Arizona delegation, there is
nary a glimmer of comprehension of what transpired with the rules. Their
thinking is that if their leaders said the rule changes were good, they
didn't need to give it a second thought. One person asked me today,
"Are you feeling a lot better about things today since we got past that
nasty little episode (rules business) yesterday, and you've heard all
the great speakers?"
I had to tell them that
there was nothing to feel better about because the injustice had not
been rectified, and worse - it had been made permanent.
They said that they didn't understand how we could be upset as all that
was done was to fix the loopholes the Ron Paul supporters were
exploiting. Isn't that just the convenient label to use anytime reality
turns out to be different than lazily imagined? And the perfect cure for
such self-inflicted "injury" is retroactive application.
see nothing wrong with changing the scoring rules of the game after
play has concluded and the champion is to be scored and crowned, because
such behavior did, after all, prevent a pesky extra inning which would
serve no purpose but to delay the announcement of their victory.
mention the rule of law over and over, but pretend that they can't see
the brazen disregard for it that they are supporting, even personally
They can't comprehend how they
have closed off a wing of their "very inclusive" tent, all in the name
of their crusade for purity to principles of very questionable quality.
member even had the audicity to say to me, "Well, we're the majority.
Why shouldn't we be allowed to change the rules when we have the votes?"
DISGUST is too mild a word!
Good night to Day 3. Concluding Day 4 awaits.
2012-09-06 Hour 2 Steve Neil
(AZ delegate to RNC on the circus in Tampa)