Using a mix of charm and procedural hardball, Mitt Romney’s campaign and his allies who control the Republican National Committee have ensured that the Texas congressman will neither speak nor be formally nominated at next week’s convention. It’s a significant victory for Romney, who could have been faced with a raucous rebellion from the Paul crowd if he hadn’t extended an early, and diplomatic, olive branch to what’s become a key constituency.
The libertarian septuagenarian controls the state delegations from Nevada, Iowa and Minnesota. But a candidate needs five states to be officially recognized on the floor. Paul supporters have made claims to Louisiana, Massachusetts, Oregon, Oklahoma and Maine. But Romney’s coterie of lawyers skillfully used the rules and interpersonal negotiations to peel each away.
The 168-member Republican National Committee approved a report Thursday by the Romney-friendly “committee on contests” that invalidated Paul delegates elected in Maine based on irregularities at the state convention. The RNC voted to split the at-large delegation in half, effectively depriving Paul of control.
The problem in the report and with the RNC’s framing of what actually took place is an outright lie. Paul has a plurality of states and has had them for some time. Cable news outlets, as well as, other media outlets and blogs acknowledged that months ago. But the article went on to say,
To dissuade Paul supporters from disrupting this week’s pomp and circumstance, the Romney campaign and its surrogates have bent over backward to show respect to the Paul forces. There have been months of previously unreported, behind-the-scenes phone calls and meetings between Romney and Paul acolytes to try to build bridges and reach compromise agreements. The establishment made significant concessions on the platform to the Paul folks even before the group convened, and then they allowed up-or-down votes on proposals from Paul supporters during pre-convention meetings at the Marriott hotel here.
Here’s the problem with that statement. There should not be a “bending over backwards” to show respect. In fact, both the Romney campaign and the RNC have done everything they can to strip Paul of the delegates won by following the delegation process. They demonstrated that this week, when, after stripping Paul of delegates in Massachusetts and Louisiana, they then allowed some of them back in, as if being gracious. But, they were not gracious, because then they turned right around and stripped all of the Paul delegates from Maine. The governor of Maine has threatened to boycott the convention if the Paul delegates aren’t seated.
While some may not like Ron Paul, for the most part, many who would not vote for him based on foreign policy acknowledge that much of his domestic policy they agree with. Then the question becomes, why would they not want that domestic policy in their party’s platform? Why would they not want to be heard? what is there to fear in having voices within your party that have good ideas and those ideas being brought to the floor of the convention. After all the convention is not a coronation ceremony, though that is what is being attempted here. The convention is to establish a platform and determine the best man to stand on that platform.
Sadly, the manipulations of the RNC breaking it’s own rules over and over have been well documented in video and report and yet they just keep right on doing it.
I’m beginning to wonder if next week we might just see some real fireworks from the liberty caucus over the manipulation of delegates to the convention and hear an outcry of injustice. After all we’ve been told that Romney has this all wrapped up. If that was the case, then why strip delegates from someone that the RNC claims will not be allowed to speak or even be cast into nomination at the convention, though, according to their rules he has a right to. However, even this week the RNC tried to change that rule. They tried to change the rule of being on the ballot from a plurality of delegates from five states to ten. That was struck down by one vote and was called for what it was, which was an attempt to keep Paul off the ballot.
The word now is that the RNC wants to push the nomination up to Monday partly because of concerns from Ron Paul supporters and of course the possibility of a Hurricane in their area.
I’ll leave you with this, which is a clear and concise four minutes of how things have shaped up in the past week from Ben Swann’s Reality Check: