Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Uncivil War, Nebraska Style

For a while now, we’ve been watching the state Republican and Democratic conventions around the country as they’ve been choosing their candidates for local, state, and national positions.

For the most part, the Democratic conventions have gone smoothly, even in places like West Virginia, where Republicans attempted to sabotage the Democratic presidential nominating process. As expected, President Barack Obama picked up the official party nomination in every state, won the national nomination (back at the beginning of April) and is now on the ballot in every state, across the country.

For the Republican Party, however, the process has been less than a smooth path this year, even if the leading nominee for the GOP's overall nomination has quite obviously been Mitt Romney, for quite some. The latest reason for rough spots? Officially, Rep. Ron Paul has yet to withdraw from the Republican race for President.

According to the official rules of the Republican National Committee - the RNC - a presidential candidate must get a plurality (a majority) of votes at five state conventions in order to have that candidate’s name be officially entered as a contender at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, later this year.

The last chance for Ron Paul to get the delegates he needs happens to be in Nebraska, this upcoming weekend - which seems to be confusing more than a few people.

In case you haven’t been keeping up with the arcane rules of state-level party politics, at the state level in the GOP this year, just because the Republican voters of the state voted for a candidate doesn’t necessarily mean their wishes will be accurately represented at the national convention.

At many state party conventions, whoever shows up to the convention picks from the people at that event the delegates who will go to Tampa this year. And in many, many cases - including Iowa, Nevada, Maine, and others, the supporters of Ron Paul have flooded state conventions. At some state meetings, this has led to literal floor fights, and in one case, an early adjournment of the state convention.

For Republicans, this has shown the outside world the internal divisions in the former "Big Tent" of the GOP that we’ve been telling you have existed for years now.

The problem for Republicans is this. The GOP is really made up of several different factions these days, from the “Religious Right” to the war-loving Neo-Cons, from the Tea Party/Libertarians to the Wall Street bullies. Even the old-fashioned moderate Republicans have a say in what the Party does (though frankly, not nearly as much of a say as anyone sane thinks they should).

In short, Mr. Paul’s state level supporters - nominally, Libertarian Republicans - have used the official rules of the GOP game to attempt to rig the system against the wishes of the majority of Republican voters, and against the Republican Party as a whole.

Which means this weekend in Nebraska could be anything but dull for the GOP.

We know that technically, Nebraska state GOP chairman Mark Fahleson and the Tea Party/Ron Paul state leader, Laura Ebke have agreed to some kind of a truce. We also know that part of the supposed truce was to scale back the unusual security the Nebraska GOP had called for this weekend.

We also know that similar truces in other states haven’t exactly had the force of law.

All we can recommend to our Republican friends this weekend, who are planning to attend the state convention in Nebraska, is be careful and remember - Nebraska Republicans didn’t elect Ron Paul in the primary.

As one of our teachers from days gone by used to say before handing out an ugly test, “Good luck - and have fun!”

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