Sunday, June 08, 2008

Kentucky Republican Party Politics

I believe that the president should defend and uphold the constitution. I believe the current (W) and previous (during my lifetime at least) presidents have not done so. Maybe in a future post I’ll list the repeated injuries and usurpations. For now, let it just be noted that the only candidate from the major two parties that seems to understand, and is willing to support and defend, the Constitution is Ron Paul.

So, I switched my party affiliation from Libertarian to Republican so I could at least cast one vote this year for someone who supports the Constitution. I also decided to see if there was anything else I could do.

Earlier this spring, I attended the Republican mass meeting for my county. 35 other people did as well. Since Oldham county has 47 delegates to the state convention, we voted all of us delegates (that was kind of fun). We also passed a bunch of silly resolutions (John McCain is a great guy, the state senators and congressmen are great guys, and the like). This was my first time at a mass meeting so I raised my hand and asked if I could submit a resolution. I quickly wrote one calling for the immediate cessation of hostilities in Iraq and Afghanistan. My resolution was defeated 33 to 3. Yes, it went down, but it did help me identify the two other Ron Paul candidates in the room.

I was not able to attend the regional meeting in April – we were on vacation.

The Republican state convention was yesterday in Bowling Green. I attended. It was a joke. I thought I might have an opportunity to express some of my concerns to a larger audience. No chance. The first item of business was to seat the delegates. The second order of business was to pass the agenda. Passing the agenda ensured there would be no discussion. It was amazing. The agenda only had 5 minutes allocated to the resolutions and 5 minutes to the delegates to the national convention. For each of these two items, someone proposed that they be accepted as proposed, someone seconded, and it was voted and passed. No discussion was allowed.

We “passed” some awful stuff. Not the least of which is a resolution that could be construed to be in support of laws that would make it a crime not to have identification proving your citizenship on your person at all times. I know these are just recommendations that will be passed to the national convention and be subsumed by what the party wants – but I hoped that a discussion would be allowed to perhaps inform, at least, the people sitting in the convention hall.

The chaos at the convention was troubling. There was a sizeable group (probably a 10th or more) of the seated delegates that wanted to have a discussion and challenge the agenda. They were put down completely. The microphones were removed from the convention floor (the one that worked anyway…) the sergeant at arms was ordered to remove them, their concerns were not addressed. I was surprised.

Other observations…
  • A state senator spoke – and left as soon as he finished speaking. He had NO interest in being part of the proceedings. Same with one of the congressional candidates. The other senator didn’t show (but had a good excuse)
  • Creating and passing the agenda is the key to ensuring you have control of the meeting. You allocate a small time to anything that might be challenged and you can effectively stall long enough to be sure nothing happens.
  • The state had NO interest in hearing anything from the party floor.
  • Of 2,500 potential delegates, only just over 500 showed.

OK – so what did my full day, $40 in gas and $20 in convention fee tell me?

You MUST get people who want to change things involved at the county level. You take the county meetings, you can take the state. I was thinking, for example, that if all the Ron Paul supporters had showed to the county meetings (or pick whatever group cares to make a difference), we could have had complete control of the floor (made it so only Ron Paul delegates were the ones seated at the convention). There, we could have passed our own resolutions and determined who would be the delegates to the national convention. I think, that there are many other states where we could have made a difference.

So, what does this mean? Or as a friend of mine elegantly asked, “So what?” It’s a fair question.

What if we could have controlled a significant minority of the county organizations in the country?

  • We’re stuck with McCain (I believe).
  • We could make a stink at the televised national convention.
  • We could own what happens in the party for the next four years at the local level.

Great experience. I’ve learned a lot. I think, as we watch our freedoms erode these next four years (McCain or Obama - there may be a difference in degree, not in principle), we’ll have no one to blame but ourselves. My little token effort doesn’t absolve me from being an accessory to the crimes this country is committing.