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Posts Tagged ‘District Convention

Smokescreen

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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.

Written by Jeffrey S. Smith

21 August 2012 at 2:17 pm

Vindication!

with 2 comments

Readers of this blog may recall the point of everything that was done in regards to the District Convention was to make sure the Oregon Delegation to the Republican National Convention would be seated (see Links in the chain Part 1 and Part 2).  Some participants and commentators have said they have a different goal in mind, but ORP Chairman Allen Alley, party staff and the Executive Committee were working to accomplish this one thing.  After all, the point of the District Convention is to select that Delegation and, if we failed to do that in a way that met RNC requirements, then it was an exercise in futility; the months of preparation and the votes of those who participated were pointless.

This past weekend, the efforts are vindicated.  On Saturday, August 11 2012, the ORP released the following.

ORP Executive Committee,

This email just went out to all of the Delegates and Alternate Delegates:

All Delegates and Alternate Delegates,

I am pleased to announce that the RNC has ruled on the Alternate Delegate contests.  They were very clear.  The following are their rulings:

  1. Whether the ORP, pursuant to their Party Bylaws and Standing Rules, has the authority to conduct the Convention as one meeting in five locations?  Yes.
  2. Did the Convention adjourn at 5:00p.m. as stated in the Official Agenda?  Yes.
  3. Were any of the elections of alternate delegates that occurred during any of the meetings after 5:00pm valid?  No.
  4. Was the ORP Executive Committee’s action on July 30, 2012, to select and certify alternate delegates to the national convention, authorized and legal?  Yes.

What this means is there are no changes to the list of Delegates and Alternates we previously published and all challenges are disallowed.  On the second challenge regarding alternates voting in our delegation meeting, the RNC ruled that they do not have jurisdiction therefore the elections stand.  There could be an appeal to the decisions but as I said before, the committee was very clear on their rulings.

I want to thank you all for working with us as we go through this process.  I am really looking forward to the convention.  With the announcement of Paul Ryan as our Vice Presidential nominee, I think we now have a ticket that the entire party, and the country can rally around.

On to Tampa!

Allen Alley
Chairman

Oregon Republican Party

Oregon Delegation RNC

It’s unlikely this will mollify the critics and rabble-rousers; they, after all, appearfocused on another objective, and we’ll all just have to wait and see how that plays out.  However, it’s clear the target the ORP was aiming for was hit right in the center.

Written by Jeffrey S. Smith

14 August 2012 at 9:27 am

Disenfranchised?

with 9 comments

Since the adjournment of the 2012 Oregon Republican District Convention June 23rd we’ve heard a lot about how the Precinct Committee People (PCP) were “disenfranchised”.  They had a right, or so the story goes, to vote on Alternate Delegates to the Republican National Convention.  By ending the Convention at 5:00pm, even though the published agenda made it clear that was the scheduled deadline, and not casting ballots for At-Large and Congressional District (CD) Alternates, they were denied their chance to vote on those positions.

To add insult to injury, the Alternates were chosen by the ORP Executive Committee, who didn’t vote for the people the PCP had intended to vote for.  Instead, this group of so-called “elite” used their power to vote for their “friends”, ignoring the “clear will of the PCP”. To hear them tell it, it’s disgraceful and an obvious abuse of power.

But there’s more to the story.  To understand the full picture, we need to step back a bit and follow the tale starting not with the District Convention, but with the Primary election in May.  At that time, a majority of the Republicans voting chose Mitt Romney (204,176) as their preference for President.  Coming in a distant second was Ron Paul (36,810), followed by Rick Santorum (27,042) with Newt Gingrich trailing (15,451).  Based on criteria that had been set up before, this resulted in Romney earning 18 Delegates to the National Convention from Oregon, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum with 3 each and just 1 for Gingrich.

This is where the plot thickens.  Supporters of Dr. Paul decided to ignore the clear will of the Republicans in Oregon and, instead, ran a number of people loyal to him as candidates for Delegate and Alternate pledged to Romney, Santorum and Gingrich.  Since they had a committed minority of those attending the District Convention, this elite cadre could – and did – elect their friends in place of Delegate candidates actually committed to the other Presidential contenders.

Rather than a delegation that reflected the will of the Republican voters of Oregon, the scheme was to substitute a Delegation that reflected the goals and values of a minority of the PCP.  Based on voting results from each of the Districts, the Paul supporters comprised 40-45% of those in attendance but, because they voted in near lock-step, they gained a result far out of proportion not only to their numbers but out of keeping with what the voters had indicated.   Instead of the Delegate spread as determined by the Primary vote result, Ron Paul had 16 Delegates from Oregon with the other 9 scattered among the other three Presidential candidates.

The full scope of the plan was thwarted when the Convention ran out of time.  There are conspiracy theories about the ORP and/or Team Romney running out the clock, but the main culprit was simple human error and the logistics challenge of holding a single meeting in five locations simultaneously.  One District had the bulb on their projector burn out and then took an extended lunch break, putting it nearly three hours behind the agenda for the day.  Another changed the order of elections so that the CD Delegate elections came late in the day.  As a result, the intrinsically interlinked meetings were all stalled waiting for results before they could move on.  In any event, the Convention was adjourned before the Alternate elections could take place.

The ORP has a rule to deal with a situation like this, and has had since 2005.  Standing Rule 11 provides for the state Executive Committee to appoint Alternates to any position left vacant.  Usually, that occurs when someone who was elected isn’t able to go but, in the past, has also included situations when not enough Alternates are elected to fill all available positions.  Thus, the Executive Committee was called together to select those Alternates, and did so by election on June 30.

Since they understood the purpose of the Convention is to elect a Delegation that matches, more or less, the vote of Republicans in the state and as a way to honor those who had worked for the various candidates, the Executive Committee invited representatives from each campaign to send a representative to provide the names of people they’d like to see included as Alternates.  The Newt Gingrich campaign didn’t send anyone, and a long-time ORP activist was elected to that slot.  The Ron Paul representative spent the first four minutes of his time talking about himself and, after being reminded why he was asked to be there, spent the last talking about Dr. Paul.   Since he provided no recommendations, three people known to be Paul supporters were elected as those Alternates.

The person who directed the Santorum effort in Oregon presented recommendations and tales of what they’d done for the campaign.  He and two of the other two he suggested were elected.  The Romney representative provided a list of those who’d been involved in their campaign not only in 2012 but, in many cases, in 2008 as well.  This included 2 of the 3 people selected in CD2 after that meeting voted for an Extension in compliance with Robert’s Rules of Order after the Adjournment.  They, too, were elected.

So, it kind of comes down to who disenfranchised whom, and who deserves representation.  You see, PCP are elected to be representatives of the registered Republicans in their precinct.  They can, of course, vote any way they want but, like those elected to the Legislature, are expected to reflect their constituency.   By substituting their own will for that of the people they are called upon to represent, did these PCP act like the worst and most corrupt of politicians?

And did the Executive Committee, by using the will of the people as their guide, really disenfranchise a minority of PCP or more accurately restore balance, to a point, to the Oregon Delegation?  If the PCP were right in voting their own will over a majority of the people, why is the Executive Committee wrong in doing the same thing in voting theirs over that of a minority  the PCP?

Written by Jeffrey S. Smith

15 July 2012 at 4:54 pm

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