Saturday, May 5, 2012

What, Me Worry?

The Christian Science Monitor asks the question:  Should Mitt Romney worry about Ron Paul?

Of course, if the supporters of Congressman Paul just went along like good little Republican Party minions, the answer would be a resounding NO – at least for those whose only focus is the immediate elections, as is always the case for the high time preference apparatchiks of party politics.

Texas congressman Paul has yet to win a primary election or caucus. Romney has accumulated 10 times as many delegates as Paul (847-80). And yet long after the withdrawal of Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich (both of whom had won more than twice as many delegates as Paul before quitting), the dedicated libertarian keeps on keepin’ on.

Unfortunately for the Republican Party machine, they are finding that Ron Paul and his supporters are doing the unthinkable: Dr. Paul’s supporters are playing by the rules when it comes to delegate selection, especially in state party conventions.  It seems no one has done this before; instead these conventions were supported by those who would gladly follow orders in exchange for coffee and donuts.

In Maine and Nevada this weekend, Paul’s strategy gets another test. There, state conventions are scheduled to affirm the naming of delegates. In both states, GOP party officials clearly are worried that Paul supporters – always an energetic force to be reckoned with – could use state rules to gain delegates in a way that’s sure to rankle the Republican National Committee (RNC).

“The national Republican organization is increasingly anxious over the ability of the Paul campaign to take over state-level organizations, especially in states like Iowa and Nevada that have outsized importance on the nominating process,” the Hill newspaper reports. “National Republicans worry that if grassroots party loyalists aren't supporting the presumptive nominee, the party could struggle against President Obama's fundraising and organizational efforts.”

In my view, the entire intention of the script for the 2012 election was exactly for the Republican Party to not just “struggle against President Obama's fundraising and organizational efforts”, but in fact to lose to Obama – the oligarchs want, for some reason, Obama to win.  I have previously written about this here:

So why should it matter to those in power whether Obama wins as opposed to (take your pick from) Romney / Gingrich / Santorum (I must set aside Paul, for obvious reasons)?

I believe it matters because elite power is not exercised only through direct command and control.  Elite power is best exercised by finding vessels (vassals?) that are pre-disposed to behave in manners that are desired.  For example, knowing the calamity to come in financial markets, it was best for the elite to find someone like Bernanke to put in charge of the Fed.

I believe a similar dynamic was in play four years ago during the last presidential election cycle.  It seemed clear we were to be offered the choice of John McCain and Hillary Clinton. From the position of the elite, there seems nothing wrong with either choice.  And in the big picture, either would have sufficed. So why did Obama come out of the blue?

As only Nixon could go to China, it seems to me only Obama could do what was desired: Only Obama had the track record (or lack thereof) to defy the democratic base and continue the wars.  Only Obama could extend the Patriot Act and sign NDAA into law.  Yes, Clinton too is a democrat, but had nowhere near the anti-war / pro-civil liberty credibility that Obama had.

Back to the CSM article:

"Just look at this last week,” Paul told Bloomberg TV. “The news is very favorable to us. We could even end up winning Iowa, ironically enough. In Minnesota, we're doing well, and Maine, Nevada, and Missouri. We're doing very, very well. Some of the states we could very well win or come up very much because the delegate process is completely different than these straw votes.”

In Nevada, political analyst Jon Ralston of the Las Vegas Sun puts it this way: “The RNC fears that mischief at the Sparks convention this weekend could result in Ron Paul delegates taking Mitt Romney slots and then not abiding by GOP rules to vote for the presumptive nominee on the first ballot in Tampa,” site of the Republican convention in August.

Even though RNC chief legal counsel John R. Phillippe Jr. warned state party chairman Michael McDonald that the Nevada delegation might not be seated in Tampa if Paul delegates take too many slots, Ralston writes, “I don't think these Paul folks respect authority too much.”

Authority is respected when authority acts in a manner that earns respect.  This is true in every avenue of life – from children with their parents, to employees with their bosses, to the electorate with their party machine.  There has been enough written in this election cycle about the shenanigans that the Republican Party machine has pulled in an attempt to bury Ron Paul.  Such behavior doesn’t deserve respect. It deserves derision and ridicule.

Add to this the fact that the party machine wants to once again ignore its own rules: does this earn respect for the party when the general counsel warns that (quoting from the article) “the Nevada delegation might not be seated in Tampa if Paul delegates take too many slots”?  In other words, your punishment for following the rules is that we will not follow the rules.

Although they’re pledged to back Romney (who won the state’s primary), 17 of 27 delegates selected at the Massachusetts caucuses last weekend support Paul.

Paul won 20 of 24 delegates allocated at congressional district conventions in Minnesota, and they did very well in Louisiana last weekend – winning four and a half of six congressional district caucuses, which gives them 74 percent of the delegates to the state convention next month.

Paul supporters now co-chair the party in Alaska, and they include a majority in the Iowa Republican State Central Committee.

It is often said that it does not take a majority to win the revolution, just a small and dedicated minority – as little as 10 percent.  It seems in this case, Ron Paul has attracted such a minority.  By actual vote count, they are rather small.  But for dedication, you cannot get better than this:

The way party politics is conducted in this country is at risk when an outsider like Ron Paul attracts supporters who are smarter that the party machine and dedicated enough to use the party’s own rules in the attempt to secure victory.  This is a risk to both the Democrats and Republicans, because it is a risk to those above both parties and presidents who desire to control the dialogue and choices offered to the electorate.  In this regard, it is also likely that another outcome of this 2012 election process will be to change the way delegates are awarded. 

There is already a strong movement afoot for such a change at the national election level.  I believe the Ron Paul threat at the party level could be used as the spark to bring this effort to full fruition.  I have covered this in the same above-mentioned post:

Imagine the scenario of a brokered Republican convention. No clear winner, backroom deals, new names being thrown about (Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, etc.). Worse, what if Ron Paul, through “loopholes” in the delegate system, comes out on top despite not having won any primaries, or at least none of great significance? A complete sham is made out of all of the efforts to date through the primary season. What is the use of voting if it doesn’t count - if my vote doesn’t matter anyway? There will be an uproar for a change in the system – or an uproar will be generated by the media….

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the foundation for a “solution” was already in place: The National Popular Vote Bill.

From the site:

The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in the entire United States. The bill preserves the Electoral College, while ensuring that every vote in every state will matter in every presidential election. The National Popular Vote law has been enacted by states possessing 132 electoral votes — 49% of the 270 electoral votes needed to activate it.

The states will award their delegates based upon whichever candidate wins the popular vote across the country. Whichever candidate wins the most popular votes in the country wins the national election.

Thank God for the dedicated Ron Paul supporters who are doing the hard work on the ground in this election cycle.  Whatever the outcome, and whatever rules are broken or changed by those in authority as a result, these committed individuals are exposing the machine for what it is.

For anyone who still believes that elections in the United States are run in a free and fair manner, 2012 will serve as a watershed moment to strip away one more (large) layer of legitimacy from both the government and from party politics.  The party machine is being exposed for what it is – purely the means for control.  The electorate will either behave as the party wants, or the party will change the rules (and break the rules) to get the desired outcome in any case.  

Stripping away this legitimacy may end up being the largest victory of the year for those who truly want a reduction in the state and in government control.

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