Secret combinations at the Republican convention?

Most of us at M* (including me) will be voting for Mitt Romney in November. Obama has been a disaster, as many of us predicted he would. But this does not mean we must turn a blind eye to questionable if not evil behavior taking place, apparently with Romney’s consent, at the Republican convention.

Please watch this video, which summarizes the Romney team’s shenanigans.

The Romney team, which had his nomination in the bag, changed rules to ensure conformity and lack of dissent within the Republican party. The goal is to make sure that “establishment” candidates only get elected from now on. In just a few days, the Republican party has destroyed years of work carried out by Ron Paul and tea party activists to broaden the appeal of the party. There is broad consensus within the party on dealing with pressing fiscal issues and over-spending. Instead of using this consensus to improve the Republican brand and create a “big tent” party, the party hacks are instead deliberately trying to expel true fiscal conservatives from the party.

Such tactics would have kept “Rockefeller Republicans” in charge of the Republican party in the 1970s and prevented the rise of Ronald Reagan, who was the key dissident of his day.

The tactics employed, which included keeping party dissidents on a bus and preventing them from attending the convention, are those of secret combinations. Even if we support Mitt Romney as better than Obama, we should raise our voices to oppose such chicanery.

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About Geoff B.

Geoff B graduated from Stanford University (class of 1985) and worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. He has held many callings in the Church, but his favorite calling is father and husband. Geoff is active in martial arts and loves hiking and skiing. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

30 thoughts on “Secret combinations at the Republican convention?

  1. What is the motive? You said the Romney team had the nomination in the bag. Do you think Romney is dreadfully worried about Ron Paul folks taking over after he leaves? Nope.

    I think you’ve got two factions seeking power. I don’t exactly trust those who are “in power”, and I also don’t trust those who are in positions of minority-power desiring to have more of it.

    There is just as much reason to think that some factions were trying to grab power for their own interests and their own benefit, rather than for concern over principle. There are many power mongers who are trying to co-opt the tea party message and use it to replace those already in power. I don’t have much use for the whole lot.

    Until you can show me that one side is pure and the other side is tainted, I think you ought to assume either the best (or worst) of both sides.

    Again, from a motive stand point, Romney has nothing to gain. The people in power have something to lose, but the people “almost” in power have a lot more at stake. So it makes sense they’ll also howl that there is foul play.

    I wouldn’t play right into their hands by trusting them so easily.

  2. Chris, I actually know some people who took part in the convention and challenged the party rules. They are not “pure” by any stretch, but they are motivated by one principle, which is to change the Republican party from the failed Bush/Dole/McCain party to a truly fiscally conservative party. Are they interested in power? Sure they are, but their main concern is the simple goal of preventing another disaster like we had in 2008. All people are tainted, but some people are tainted more than others, and in my opinion the most tainted people of all are the unprincipled party hacks who only care about winning elections and don’t care about fiscal sanity.

  3. I think it has more to do with Ron Paul supporters than the Tea Party. I frequent some Republican blogs and the response from the other side of this story is what comes around goes around, although conservative factions are getting the brunt of the rules. Ron Paul supporters have tried to take over state conventions with power grabs and intimidation tactics that break the rules already set up. The problem is the days where conventions matter are over. You have to take a stand before the convention as they are mere formalities. The same for the Democrats. Like Paul supporters on other things, they are trying to play by their own rules that only make people mad at them, but don’t change a thing or make things worse.

  4. Geoff, you say the RNC “destroyed years of work carried out by Ron Paul and tea party activists to broaden the appeal of the party.”

    Moving further to the right might make the base more animated, but it does not broaden appeal of the party towards the general electorate. The RNC is all about establishing a platform that can have the widest possible appeal to the general electorate, while retaining enough integrity to keep party activists active. They exist to get Romney elected!

    If the Tea Party is to be included at the RNC, it must absolutely be marginalized, because it thinks of itself as being “the future” of the party, when in fact, it’s politically toxic. It’s ideology would only be workable in a political environment when Republicans ruled 80% of Washington.

    But with the Republicans standing to loose even more ground in the Senate and House this Fall, for a future President Romney, nothing could be more worthless than trying to run a Tea Party administration. Romney wouldn’t get a dime cut from the budget, not a single tax cut, and would be exponentially further away than even Obama from balancing the budget.

    There is one thing a Tea Party Washington administration could do…lots of executive orders! Then you don’t have to deal with your Democratic controlled congress. But that wouldn’t be very libertarian of him would it?

    Under Romney, the Tea Party will die, because people we see it for what it is: a completely worthless political strategy.

  5. On second thought, if the Republican Party wants to tear itself apart, maybe it’s best to just let it happen. We might need more than just two parties in America. Of course, legislatively, nothing would get done. But maybe a future America divided equally into three parties rather than two, would, if the filibuster were abolished, be able to allow extremists in both party to actually have their crack at power, as happens in other countries. We could have the Tea Party for four years, and then the Socialists for another four. Then maybe four years of moderates. Maybe this would also crack the illusion of “right and wrong” “good and evil” which is deceiving so many on both sides.

  6. Nate,

    I totally disagree with your characterization of the Tea Party. I find it a complete misreading of what Tea Party is all about.

    Also, you say that the Republicans are “standing to loose[sic] even more ground in the Senate and House” this fall. I find this statement interesting, since they gained 60 seats in the House two years ago. Lose even more ground than what, exactly? Granted, the GOP might lose a few seats this cycle, but it won’t be anything for the Democratic party to croon about.

    The Tea Party has already changed Washington D.C. in profound ways. Do you truly think that we would be having an actual serious discussion about entitlements without the groundwork of the Tea Party the past few years?

    The answer is no. We are having serious talk about deficits and national debt and entitlement collapse precisely because of the Tea Party. Pegging them as “toxic” is ironic, when they have single-handedly exposed the whited sepulchers of both political parties’ penchant for the destruction of the dollar and their addiction to trillion dollar deficits.

  7. I think this was an issue of the Libertarians not wanting to compromise. They wanted to act like anarchists, to make their small number of votes for Ron Paul seem larger than they really were. The RNC tried to work with them, including some things in their platform, such as auditing the Fed. However, they wanted to create chaos, even though Mitt had clearly won. So, eventually the RNC had to make a tough decision, and disinvited the radicals. You will note that other candidates were given voice at the RNC. Even Rand Paul was given a voice, because he agreed to not be a jerk. While I am a libertarian, sadly there are a lot of idiot libertarians that insist in having things 100% their way.
    Romney won. Period. And he needed and deserved a convention that would highlight him, not a small group of ne’er satisfied people. Had they been allowed to disrupt things, then it would have doomed Romney’s chances at winning.
    If there was a secret combination involved, it was the radicals trying to overthrow the system, instead of working within it.

  8. I happen to agree with Ram here, no matter what the video shows. They made me mad enough to have probably joined the secret combination just to get even for the worthless disruption.

  9. On an unrelated note, watching the convention speech, when Mitt said that his promise is to “help you and your family” did anyone else get the Home Teacher vibe?

    “Is there anything we can do to help you and your family?”

    Obama said he’s save the planet and Mitt just promised to be the Home Teacher for the entire USA. Wonder how his percentages will turn out…

  10. I’m with Jetboy and Ram on this on. This post inspired the biggest eye roll that I’ve had in a long time.

    As Mike Huckabee said to the Ronulans: You lost, get over it. I would add that acting like petulant children trying to cause a ruckus doesn’t endear you to the rest of the party. I’ve followed the news during the primaries and saw countless powergrabs from radical libertarians that sought to ignore the will of the people. Its about time the party did something about it.

  11. ..or has read anything besides the mainstream press regarding the convention. Morgan, any eye-rolling should be at your lack of knowledge regarding some pretty basic facts of what took place at the convention. It was not just Ron Paul supporters who were upset — a long list of conservatives, including some of your favorite warmongers like Rush Limbaugh and Michelle Malkin, were noisily upset at what went on. You may want to spend more time educating yourself before commenting in the future. You can begin by reading here:

  12. Well, I watched the video early this morning when it hit my feeds and I have one thing to say. If you get where you’re going by subverting the power of the people, by pretending that the vote was something it most certainly was not, you will ultimately fail. Karma, Machiavelli, whatever.

  13. I have to ask, what did you think would happen? Never in a million years would the GOP leadership and the nominee allow a dissenting opinion during their convention. You had to have known this even when Paul was polling well 8 months ago. If he were smart he would have taken the steam he had built during last summer and fall and either endorsed someone in exchange for a seat in the administration or endorsed Johnson (I suppose he can still do this, but his popularity is much less now than it was then).

    And it doesn’t matter does it? Even you Geoff admit you will reward Romney with your vote. He knew he would get away with it because so few people cared about Paul once Romney clinched the nomination. Romney knows most people that would have voted for Paul will vote for Romney because he has a R next to his name. I laugh every time one of my friends on Facebook says they will refuse to vote for Romney, because come November most of them will have forgotten and all they will care about is Romney is slightly better than Obama in their eyes.

    Paul supporters have an opportunity to prove to the GOP that they are an important part of the party, but they won’t because effectively any statement they make will reward Obama.

    And thus comes an end to the Tea Party and libertarian wing of the GOP (thankfully in my opinion). Because anyone who has screamed about the things Tea Partiers have screamed for four years only to turn around and vote for Mitt have effectively admitted they opposed Obama, not the big government they claimed to oppose.

  14. “Paul supporters have an opportunity to prove to the GOP that they are an important part of the party, but they won’t because effectively any statement they make will reward Obama.”

    Not true. The bottom line is that the Ron Paul coalition comprises at most 10 percent of the GOP. You can’t take over a party with 10 percent support. That’s just reality. The shame of it is that the GOP cannot have long-term success without the young people attracted to Ron Paul. The party leaders should have come up with a way to make the RP/tea party/dissident group feel part of the big tent. It would not have been that difficult to do.

    Jjohnsen, I laugh when you ignore the reason that people like me are voting for Romney: it is the candidate you support, who is, by far, the worst president in the history of this republic. I voted for Clinton twice and would consider voting for a moderate Democrat, the kind of people you claim to support. The key moment for Obama came after he took a shellacking after the Nov. 2010 elections. He could have moved to the center like Clinton. Instead he moved farther to the left and decided to appeal to covetousness, greed and envy to keep his job. This decision sealed his fate. Obama will lose the election, and a year from now people like you will sheepishly be admitting (perhaps not to me but to your liberal friends) what a disaster Obama was for the Democrats. Too bad you didn’t think about that before electing him.

  15. Geoff B., I have listened and read statements from “a long list of conservatives,” but I have also paid attention to “a long list” of Republican right of center moderates and other conservatives. The “long list of conservatives” are putting blame for this in the wrong place I feel. The Ron Paul supporters have acted like petulant children (or more like Occupy Wallstreeters with better hygiene) during this process, working to disrupt and cancel out local election results. The thing is, they have tried to route the Tea Party with equal fervor as the moderates. Yet the anger is at the moderates for trying to protect against infiltrators who would like to steal fair votes. That isn’t to say the new rules are fair, but they are understandable.

  16. Thanks Geoff. At least you didn’t question my reading comprehension. 😉

    But pettiness and insults are what I’ve come expect from your corner of the political world. I agree with Jetboy that the radical libertarians acted like the OWS crowd but with better hygene. I don’t blame them for wanting to limit those voices.

    On a final note, how secret is this if it was reported in many national news outlets? And if we know the perpetrators? That isn’t a very good secret or combination. But radical libertarians typically paint their opponents as evil: (I question their isolationism so I’m automatically a “war monger” for example.)

    I’m not going to spend my holiday weekend on a pointless debate so this will likely be my last post. I understand you have a great deal of passion for where this country is heading, but I think your methods are needlessly argumentative and often insulting. (I feel like Billy Madison half the time, “A simple wrong would have okay.”) I appreciate you letting me say piece, even if I’m wrong and a horribly undecuated Visigoth. Everybody have a great weekend!

  17. Morgan D, you are projecting your own proclivities onto others. You will notice that there were several comments in this thread disagreeing with me, and I had no problem with them. I only had a problem with yours. Why was that? Well, cast your eyes upon the words “This post inspired the biggest eye roll that I’ve had in a long time.” So, my friend, it was you, not me, who is “needlessly argumentative and often insulting.” If you want to disagree, fine, but do so without the personal attacks. “Eye rolls” is a personal attack, meaning “You are so dumb I had to roll my eyes in response.” You will notice that when I used the same phrase you did not like it at all. Ideas are things to be discussed. You and I may agree on many things. But I will not agree that somehow you are an innocent victim being insulted without provocation. You started it, my friend.

    I let your comment go to teach you an object lesson that hopefully you will learn. Future comments along those lines will be deleted or edited, so keep your insults to yourself if you would like to comment here. Thanks.

    One last point, Morgan D, you still have shown no evidence you actually read or understand the totality of what went on at the convention. I will repeat: it was not just the Ron Paul people who were upset — in fact the vast majority were conventional conservatives, Rush Limbaugh types, etc. So by concentrating on the Ron Paul bogeymen you are showing you still haven’t understood what the issue is.

  18. Jjohnsen, I laugh when you ignore the reason that people like me are voting for Romney: it is the candidate you support, who is, by far, the worst president in the history of this republic.

    Well no hyperbole there at all.

    And there will always be a candidate you think is the worst in history that will give you an excuse to vote for a lesser of two evils instead of the candidate you actually agree with. Why bother supporting anyone else in the first place? You had to have known nothing was going to come of a Paul candidacy, was it just to make you feel like you weren’t ALWAYS going to vote for corporatism, but instead were forced into it in the end?

    And you thinking Obama ins’t centrist only shows how far to the right you are.

  19. Geoff B, yes it is and I read Michelle often and sometimes disagree with her. In this instance I disagree with her. Count me as one of those strange conservative Republicans who don’t believe in existence of “the establishment,” but simply factions. A president doesn’t a party make.

  20. “And you thinking Obama ins’t centrist only shows how far to the right you are.” I do not hide the fact that I am a free marketeer. I am in favor of legalizing marijuana — does that make me a right-winger? I am pretty clear on what my politics are, but it is people like you who constantly must hide who they are by saying they are “moderates” and claiming Obama is a “centrist.” If he is a centrist, then what was Clinton — a right-winger? At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what Obama is ideologically, he is an incompetent loser who is ruining the country and destroying the Democratic party, and as I say in a year or so you are your liberal buddies will all be admitting it, privately.

  21. Hardcore moderates can be pretty extreme in their compromise, deal-cutting ways. Moderates of both parties are pretty much responsible for the national debt.

  22. Good point, Michael Towns. I fall for the same trick too, but labels like “moderate” and “right-winger” are pretty meaningless. At the end of the day, you are either pro-liberty or against liberty, and saddling our kids and grandkids with trillions in debt is not pro-liberty.

  23. I received the following information from somebody who went to the convention. He has succeeded in changing my mind a bit on what took place there. For people want to influence others, and perhaps change their minds, a bit of advice: good information, not slinging insults, may actually accomplish your goal. What a concept!

    Here is the comment that changed my mind:

    “First, there is an accusation that some party hacks told a bus driver to circle the convention cen
    ter three times and get somebody there late. The fact is that on that first day, the day when the rules for 2016 were decided, most of the drivers were unfamiliar with the route and a large number of the 700+ busses (most which had out-of-town or out-of-state drivers) got lost, made wrong turns, or did not get into the Secret Service approved line-up and had t go around. These things got worked out on Wednesday and Thursday. There was no conspiracy to delay busses, it just happened.

    Second, I was there for the “voice vote.” What the video reporter fails to tell you is that the “voice vote” is not merely a shout-out for everybody in the convention hall (20,000+ people?). No, it is a vote of the delegates only and these votes were cast in writing prior to the inaptly-named “voice vote” and the delegate votes are the only ones that count. It was done in complete accordance with the rules that were drawn up at the 2008 convention.

    Most of the Ron Paul supporters that I talked to were thoughtful and understanding and knew that they could work within the system to affect the party (and I sincerely hope that the rest of the party took notice) but there were a lot of Ron Paul supporters who simply thought that if they shouted as loud as they could that they would somehow “get their way” through bullying and general stupid behavior. One guy actually told me that he would single-handedly “take the Party away from the bureaucrats” (whatever that means). I told him that this sounded more like a Bolshevik Revolution than a democratic process and he said “Exactly – that is what we want.”

    What the heck? Are we to conclude from this conversation that Ron Paul supporters align themselves with communist tactics? Well, of course not. There is a continuum of belief within all political parties. This guy was way off to the whacko side of that continuum. The 2016 rules were written to ensure that the voice of the Republican voters (those that vote in those state primaries) is not merely shouted down by a wacko delegate that wants to ignore the voters he or she represents. I have no problem with that. And I doubt that you do, Geoff.”

    Comment from Geoff B: I still tend to think the rules changes were intended to consolidate power for the establishment and to prevent tea party/Ron Paul types from dominating state conventions. In general, I think that is a mistake, but I am convinced that the conspiracy is not as horrible as I thought it was a few days ago.

  24. Its not conspiracy. Its process played by a powerful or numerically superior group. You might as well say U.S. elections are conspiracy. Look, I really want more conservatives to be in control just like the leftists have taken control of the Democratic Party. That isn’t going to happen by a sudden change of rules, but of rulers. Local elections are the key and not some every four years presidential contest.

  25. From a simplistic standpoint, perhaps you are either pro-liberty or not. But there are a WHOLE LOT of ways supporting liberty can be done. And no one, outside of the crazy or brainwashed, support ALL liberty at ALL times.

    I highly doubt that many people would approve today of Captain Moroni’s tactics to preserve liberty.

  26. The reality is, conventions are no longer the place where candidates are decided. They are a formal process that mostly focuses on advertising the candidate and party.

    I’ve worked with Libertarians for decades. My favorite radio talking head is Neal Boortz. Boortz is a strong Libertarian, but when he supported the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, many in the Libertarian party called him an enemy, refused to let him speak at their convention, etc. He mocked them, because when asked by the media what they stood for, the first thing many Libertarians would say is, “I’m for making drugs legal.” While I have no problem with that necessarily, I (and Neal) have a problem when that is the main focus of a party. Instead of true Libertarians that seek to make the nation free, we have faux Libertarians that want to make the nation stoned. As I’ve said, I was a registered Libertarian for many years, until I tired of the shenanigans like this.
    Of course, there are shenanigans within the Republican Party, as well. As various factions shuffle around seeking power, we see such things happen. But I’ve seen many Libertarians take it to another level. I really would like for them to work within the party better, and seek to make compromises and inroads. For example, while most Libertarians want to abolish the Fed (as do I), the Republican Party has sought to meet them half-way by saying they will audit and regulate the Fed (something Ron Paul suggested in his candidacy). Such battles will lead us to greater freedom without having a Bolshevik Revolution.

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