the whitestick papers

looking at politics from a different perspective

Smokescreen

with 4 comments

Dr. Ron Paul has a reputation for integrity – for being consistent with his beliefs, with being honest to Congress, the President and the American people, for being above-board in his dealings and a stickler for the rule of law.  Whatever else you might think about his perspectives and political persuasions, even his critics have to admit he’s above reproach.

That, as it turns out, isn’t always the case with the more determined of his supporters.  Even four years ago, they stuffed ballots in straw polls and, disrupted conventions and delayed caucuses in an effort to get Dr. Paul nominated.  The effort continued and expanded this year, culminating in a scheme to elect “false flag” candidates to the Republican National Convention – people committed to Dr. Paul but running as Delegates and Alternates for other candidates.  In Oregon, this effort was frustrated by the adjournment of the District Convention on June 23rd; several of their candidates were elected as Delegates but Alternates were appointed by the ORP Executive Committee.

This blog has, in recent weeks, focused on this event and its ramifications so there’s no point in going over the details; articles and comments cover the differing perspectives well enough we don’t need to bo over the what and how.  The purpose of this article is to peel back the basic debate and talk a bit about the why.  After all, this isn’t the first time the Convention was truncated – it happened in CD3 in 2004 and CD1 in 2008 – but tis the first time there’s been this sort of controversy.  Up to this point, no one has really addressed why it’s such a big deal.

It’s the opinion of this writer that, under all the posturing and protestations, the real reason some Paul supporters in Oregon are so upset is that their plan to scam the system was thwarted.  If you boil down the anger toward Allen Alley, the recriminations and attacks on the ORP and denunciation of the RNC, it all comes back to the fact they didn’t get to elect their “false flag” Alternates.

This, of course, begs the question of why that stratagem was so important to complete.  What is it about having an entire Delegation – Delegates and Alternates both – dominated by Paul devotees that is so important?  A clue can be found, perhaps, in the resistance raised to the Delegates and Alternates voting for Delegation Chair and members of the various National Convention Committees raised by local Paul followers despite an existing Standing Rule demanding both vote for the positions and the fact that, with one exception, Oregon has always allowed both Delegates and Alternates to cast votes.  Is it possible that, had the Paul forces won both Delegate and Alternate majorities from Oregon there would have been no objection to the Standing Rules of the Oregon Republican Party?

Those positions perform key functions during the National Convention – determining credentials of the delegations from the various states and territories, the national Platform, the Rules of the RNC and reporting delegation votes during the nomination process.   A Republican National Convention dominated by Ron Paul would be significantly different from one providing a launching pad for the Presidential candidate endorsed by the majority of Republicans around the country.

So, the protestations and videos released recently intended to mollify the majority that Paul supporters will, in fact, honor their pledge and vote for the candidate they were elected to vote for is simply a smokescreen.  The vote, and the pledge to make it, was never the point.  A local Paul activist and organizer who ran as a Romney Alternate has admitted the Liberty Movement – the name Paul supporter’s give themselves – see Mitt Romney as virtually identical to President Barak Obama.  Why would anyone with a shred of integrity sully himself by nominating a person he considers among the worst the GOP has to offer unless something more important was the real goal?  There’s no question this person is a man of character and integrity, so that nomination, and therefore that pledge, must be relatively meaningless.

It’s not the goal of this article to determine the full extent of the scheme as it was (or is) intended to be played out at the National Convention.  It’s never a good idea for someone who doesn’t have first-hand knowledge of what’s going on to confidently declare the thoughts and intentions of a group or an individual.  In any event, we’ll all see what remains of this plan over the coming couple of weeks.

While we’re on the subject of ends and the means to them, it would be a good idea to take a deeper look at the discussion of the ORP Rule concerning Delegation election and related issues.  It can’t be clearer:

STANDING RULE #11

OREGON DELEGATION TO THE REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION

The persons elected to be Delegates and Alternates to the Republican National Convention shall be bound by the following:

  1. Except to the extent specified by the Republican National Convention rules, all Delegates (special Delegates and regular Delegates) and Alternates are eligible to cast votes on any matter requiring a decision by the Delegation..

The RNC Rules are silent on the issue, so this Rule applies – as was confirmed recently by the RNC.  And yet, the Liberty Movement members of the Oregon Delegation spent quite a bit of time and effort during the Delegation Meeting on July 14th trying to block this Rule from being followed.  This fits a pattern that can be seen during this debate; while quick to denounce Rules and Bylaws that run counter to their goal, occasionally inventing rule interpretations never before encountered and offering opinions on things of which they have no direct knowledge, they seem eager to disregard or dismiss Rules that invalidate their own actions.

In Links in the chain Part 2, the problem regarding Convention Rule 7.1.1 through 7.1.4; that is, that those elected after the Adjournment did so without getting the results from the other Districts – was discussed.  That’s not the only Convention Rule violated but, to preserve some tactical elements until the presentation to the Committee on Credentials, they weren’t publically discussed before.  They include but are not necessarily limited to:

  • CR 7.2, detailing election integrity procedures following each Ballot, could not have been followed in CD4 or CD5.
  • CR 7.3, another election integrity procedure taking place upon adjournment, was not and could not have been followed in CD4 or CD5.
  • There’s no evidence any of the people required by CR 8 – Teller’s committee, Sergeants at Arms, etc. – were in place in any of the elections that followed the adjournment in any District, and even less that those who stepped into those roles were forwarded to the ORP at least a week before the Convention.

The bottom line is this; the issue isn’t really the adjournment; it’s whether the folks who planned so long and so hard to scam the system were thwarted in their efforts.  Even if you accept that the adjourn of the District Convention was invalid – a position most heartily not shared by this writer – there’s still the larger question of why is it so important to certain folks that “false flag” Alternates be elected as well as their Delegate counterparts.  Again, we may get an idea from their actions in Tampa; in any event, we’ll most likely get a better picture when they try again in 2016.

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Written by Jeffrey S. Smith

21 August 2012 at 2:17 pm

4 Responses

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  1. Which ORP bylaw requires a vote tally from the other conventions locations before voting may continue?

    Gabe

    22 August 2012 at 7:09 am

  2. There are some people in every group that are not willing to follow the rules. But the vast majority of Ron Paul supporters do everything they can within those rules. They knew the rules very well (far more than most republicans do, although maybe not as much as you), and they did everything they could to follow those rules. You may not like their tactics in what you call “false flag” delegates, but I think even you have to agree they followed the rules to get those candidates elected.

    Now let me talk about these so called “false flag” candidates. I have referred to some of these delegates as “Ron Paul supporters” which they are (they do in fact support ron paul). But voting for Ron Paul at the convention was never the reason they were trying to get elected as delegates. Sure they would love to if they were released from their pledge by Romney, but they know that isn’t going to happen. Instead the reason they got elected as delegates is to influence everything other than the selection of the nominee.

    Now it is true that Romney won the primary here in Oregon and he will win the appropriate percentage of votes for nominee for president that primary gave him. But the people voting for Romney for president doesn’t mean they don’t support the platform of another candidate. Just because Romney would be the best individual to defeat Obama doesn’t mean everything in his platform everyone that voted for him supports. If that were the case there would be no reason to have a republican party platform, Romney could just write whatever he wanted and it would be the platform.

    There was no plan to “scam the system” the system works the way it works, and the only way to “scam the system” is to ignore the rules. If you don’t like the system, advocate a different one, but don’t attack those that followed the rules and stayed within the system.

    If the true purpose was never to get Ron Paul elected, but to support some of the ideas that ron paul is an advocate for, that is why the alternates were so important. That is why the national convention committees is so important. As you are probably aware almost all the important work gets done at these committees, and although the delegates can change anything they want, it is very hard to do so. It almost always requires suspending the rules which requires a 2/3’s majority of the delegates. So having someone on these committees is critically important to anyone that wants a voice at the table.

    I am a Ron Paul Alternate Delegate selected by the executive committee, and proud to support Ron Paul. But I also know that I will be supporting the Republican nominee whoever that is (although I think we all know it’s certain to be Romney). Although I may prefer Ron Paul, I do know that Obama is a disaster that needs to be stopped, and a lot of other Ron Paul supporters feel the same way.

    As to the rules the RNC rules are quite clear and they are not silent: RNC rule 41(a)
    “The delegates elected or selected to the convention from each state, promptly once all such delegates are elected or selected, shall elect from the delegation a delegation chairman and their members of the Committees…”
    Nor does the RNC rules give to the state party in any way the power to change or alter this rule. Notice that the power to elected, selected, allocated, or bound any delegate is specifically given to the state party in Rule 15(a)(1). Any power not given to the state party, the state party does not have. It can’t just do anything it wants without the power to do it given by the RNC rules. Even if given the power, it can’t violate other rules of the RNC (which is what your thinking of) as the granting of the power specifically requires that, but in this case the ORP does not have the power to modify how the members of the committees are selected in the rules.

    Devin Watkins

    22 August 2012 at 3:46 pm

    • First, Devin, thanks for, in general, verifying the theme of this message – that the discussion of the pledge is a smokescreen and something else entirely was the point of running false flag candidates.

      Second, you’re right – the whole process of running and electing those candidates was done according to the rules. It’s the elections in CD2, CD4 and CD5 that run counter to the rules.

      As for the RNC Rules trumping ORP Rules, it’s clear the RNC doesn’t agree with your interpretation, otherwise both it and the Committee on Credentials would have ruled differently. There’s a bit of tunnel vision involved in your interpretation; you’re reading the term “delegate” to refer only to what we, in Oregon, call Delegates – those who aren’t Alternates. In the RNC Rules, the term “delegate” refers to all the members in the delegation from any state or territory. It’s a subtle distinction and easy to miss, but it makes a lot of difference.

      Jeffrey S. Smith

      23 August 2012 at 6:09 am

      • I wont talk about CD5 (I was not there and my official position which I filed with the RNC is that I have no opinion on the outcome for the alternates in that CD). As far as I am aware the Committee on Contests have ruled (which is made up of state chairs and national committepeople), but not yet the Committee on Credentials (which is made up of delegates), but I could be wrong (I am not in tampa yet). But the final ruling is always by the delegates in Tampa, all the others are just precursors to that (like lower courts contests committee is lowest, then the credentials committee, then the delegates as a whole).

        An elementary canon of construction (how to understand what the rules mean) is noscitur a sociis which means that by examining the words it is used around it one can understand the meaning of an ambiguous word. 36 times in the RNC national rules the phrase “delegates and alternate delegates” are used. Had delegates also meant alternate delegates as well as normal delegates this phrase would be entirely unnecessary (they could have just said the delegates). Nowhere in the rules are the word “delegates” meant both delegates and alternate delegates, can you name one place in the rules other than the section we are talking about that this occurs?

        1) Preamble: “The rules under which delegates and alternate delegates shall be allotted…”
        2) Rule No. 10(d) “…binding of delegate and alternate delegates pursuant…”
        3) Rule No. 14(b) “…convention held for the purpose of electing, selecting, allocating, or binding delegates and alternate delegates to a county…”
        4) Rule No. 15 title “Election, Selection, Allocation, or Binding of Delegates and Alternate Delegates”
        5) Rule No. 15(c)(1) “Delegates and alternate delegates to the national convention may be elected, selected, allocated, or bound only in one of the following manners…”
        6) Rule No. 15(c)(1)(iv) “by any method consistent with these rules by which delegates and alternate delegates were elected…”
        7) Rule No. 15(c)(3) “No state law shall be observed that permits any person to participate in a primary delegate and alternate delegate selection process that also permits…”
        8) Rule No. 15(c)(3) “Delegates and alternate delegates to the national convention shall in that event be selected pursuant to state Republican Party rules…”
        9) Rule No. 15(c)(4) “…delegates and alternate delegates shall be elected as provided in paragraph…”
        10) Rule No. 15(c)(5) “In electing or selecting delegates and alternate delegates to the national convention, no state law shall be observed which”
        11) Rule No. 15(c)(7) “Any process authorized or implemented by a state Republican Party for selecting delegates and alternate delegates”
        12) Rule No. 15(c)(8) “Delegates and alternate delegates at large to the national convention…”
        13) Rule No. 15(c)(8) “when serving as delegates and alternate delegates shall be residents of and duly qualified voters in their respective states.”
        14) Rule No. 15(c)(8) “All delegates and alternate delegates allocated as delegates and alternate delegates at large shall be elected…”
        15) Rule No. 15(c)(8) “…method of election were those pursuant to which delegates at large and alternate delegates at large were elected…”.
        16) Rule No. 15(c)(9) “Delegates and alternate delegates to the national convention representing Congressional districts shall be residents of”
        17) Rule No. 15(c)(9) “…when serving as delegates and alternate delegates”
        18) Rule No. 15(c)(9) “…that such number of delegates and alternate delegates allocated to represent, and elected by…”
        19) Rule No. 15(c)(9) “…pursuant to which district delegates and alternate district delegates were elected…”
        20) Rule No. 15(d) “…election of delegates and alternate delegates by convention…”
        21) Rule No. 15(e)(1) “…governing the election, selection, allocation, or binding of delegates and alternate delegates to the national convention to convene during…”
        22) Rule No. 15(e)(1) “governing the election, selection, allocation, or binding of such delegates and alternate delegates.”
        23) Rule No. 16(b) “… shall inform the state of the number of delegates and alternate delegates it will lose.”
        24) Rule No. 16(b) “This reduced number of delegates and alternate delegates will be…”
        25) Rule No. 16(c) “…shall inform the state of the number of delegates and alternate delegates it will lose.”
        26) Rule No. 16(c) “This reduced number of delegates and alternate delegates will be reported…”
        27) Rule No. 18 title “Excess Delegates and Alternate Delegates”
        28) Rule No. 18(a)“No state shall elect or select a greater number of persons to act as delegates and alternate delegates than the actual number…”
        29) Rule No. 18(a) “…the actual number of delegates and alternate delegates, respectively, to which it is entitled…”
        30) Rule No. 19(a) “All delegates and alternate delegates shall be elected or selected not later than thirty-five”
        31) Rule No. 19(b) “Subject to the provisions of Rule No. 16, delegates and alternate delegates shall be certified”
        32) Rule No. 19(b)(2) “forwarded by said duly elected delegates and alternate delegates in the manner herein provided”
        33) Rule No. 19(c) “…the credentials of each delegate and alternate delegate shall be filed with the secretary…”
        34) Rule No. 21(a) “The names of the delegates and alternate delegates presenting certificates of election…”
        35) Rule No. 28(c) “Each delegate and alternate delegate to the convention shall receive at least one guest pass…”
        36) Rule No. 28(d) “total number of delegate and alternate delegate membership for that state”

        Devin Watkins

        23 August 2012 at 1:14 pm


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