Political Animal


August 24, 2012 4:09 PM Manufactured Drama

By Ed Kilgore

In one of what will be many efforts to manufacture some drama for the heavily-scripted limited-coverage TV show avec fundraiser called the Republican National Convention, check out this BuzzFlash headline: “Romney Campaign Radically Changes GOP Nominating Process After Ron Paul Takeovers.” The subtitle’s even better: “Paul Allies Freak Out.”

The actual story by Zeke Miller explains the “radical changes” as follows:

Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, led by top Romney lawyer Ben Ginsberg, forced through a major change the GOP nominating process on Friday in response to Ron Paul supporters’ efforts to win delegates to the Republican National Committee [sic].
The Republican National Convention Committee voted 56-40 to make it impossible for supporters of one presidential candidate to override the will of voters at a state convention, as Ron Paul supporters did in Iowa and Nevada.
The purpose of the change, Ginsberg said, was “to correct what we saw as a damaging flaw in the presidential election process in 2012.”
The rule forces statewide presidential primaries or caucuses to determine the ultimate allocation of delegates, preventing takeovers like Paul executed in Iowa by eliminating unbound delegates in statewide contests. States would be allowed to decide whether to give all their delegates to the winner of the primary or caucus, or distribute them proportionally according to the results.
“Iowa will have to change the way they do it,” said a GOP official.

Wow. That’s pretty radical all right. Just imagine: delegates have to vote according to the will of caucus and primary-goers, and have to vote for the candidate they are pledged to support. I believe the Democrats placed similar rules into effect a couple of decades ago, if not earlier, and the basic idea of binding delegates is about as new and revolutionary as Disco.

Miller quotes a couple of Paulites as grumbling about the changes, and even suggesting they might vote Libertarian in November to protest the implied “attack on their behavior” earlier this year. I really don’t know why they care, since Ron Paul is by all accounts hanging it up after this convention, and Rand, if he runs for president, will presumably run a more conventional campaign. Maybe some of these delegates just want to make a career out of Leninist-style takeovers of underattended meetings. But I’d be amazed if the Romney folk hadn’t made this change. Why tromp around Iowa for a year selling your soul to conservative activists only to watch your hard-earned delegate spots get swiped by pirates months later? And at this point, after giving the Paulites some of their pet policy planks, a nice video tribute to The Leader, and a speaking spot for The Heir, who cares if they “freak out?”

Actually, if I were a Paulite, I might have insisted a little less on retroactive validation of my room-packing skills and a little more on some modification of what will probably be foreign policy planks and speeches frothing for war with Iran and shrieking about Shariah Law. But then I hardly understand what makes these folks tick to begin with, other than too much time buying gold coins and reading Ayn Rand.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • c u n d gulag on August 24, 2012 4:37 PM:

    Jayzoos H. Keerist on Quaaludes - this RNC looks like NO fun!

    Sure, a lot of nuts, loons, kooks and morons, yapping, barking, and howling at the moon - but no REAL fun.

    Maybe the RNC should have conventions like Pope Alexander VI, the late 15th Century Pope, who had large gatherings of the Bishops, and favored Priests and intellectuals.

    After a fine dinner with a lot of drinks, naked children were brought into the hall, and gold coins were rolled on the floor.
    And as the poor naked children chased after the coins and bent-over or kneeled to pick them up, well, by that time, collars were off, mitre's were stiff, and everyone could have their pick - boy or girl, both, one another, or, whatever they wanted to hump - including the remains of the roasted boar and deer, and any dog stupid enough not to have made a beeline for the outdoors.

    This is only slightly different from current Catholic Church policy.

    But only in that instead of gold coins rolled on the floor of meeting halls, paper money may, or may not have been exchanged for sexual favors - and it was all on a parish-by-parish basis.

    This would add a lot of spice to the RNC this year.
    Though, it may cause some consternation for the networks.

    But don't worry, they'll remind us that Bill Clinton got a blowjob, so (repeat it with me) - "BOTH SIDES DO IT!!!

  • cwolf on August 24, 2012 4:41 PM:

    Oh,,, The Horror...
    Poor Republicans.
    Can you feel their Bain?

  • c u n d gulag on August 24, 2012 5:00 PM:

    Let me amend that schedule.

    NO children!

    This may not be easy, convincing this audience.

    Congressman King and Rich Santorum may want to substitute dogs for the children - but they need to be reminded that they are there to create, or support, JOBS.

    This will shock anyone who's not already one of their idiotic constituents, since they haven't brought one piece of job legislation up for a vote in the House.

    And, if children or dogs are out on the floor for the Convention attendees to schtup at will, then the poor male and female hookers who came to town will have to go home, as poor, or poorer, then when they came.

    So, rather than children or dogs, RNC attendees should take "Health Care Vouchers," and drop them from the ceiling, making it rain.

    And then, the attendees can go home knowing in their hearts that, despite their best parties best efforts to f*ck everyone, when they f*cked someone, those people got something out of it.

    Besides and STD, I mean.

  • SadOldVet on August 24, 2012 5:35 PM:

    Very humorous presentation of the repuke's Iowa delegate politics. Especially without mentioning that Iowa was actually won by 'Man on Dog' Santorum after the state repukes, the corporately owned media, and Mittens claimed victory.

    Channelling your inner Repuke-Lite Ed?

  • Anonymous on August 24, 2012 7:30 PM:

    The Republican National Convention Committee voted 56-40 to make it impossible for supporters

    The Paulite supporters in the RNC should have filibustered. After 2009-2012, sauce that's good for the gander is good for the goose or something like that.

  • Sean Scallon on August 25, 2012 9:09 AM:

    "But then I hardly understand what makes these folks tick to begin with, other than too much time buying gold coins and reading Ayn Rand."

    Actually it's the wars that you fail to stop. How many kids died today in Pakistan's because of Obama's drones? If was just gold and Ayn Rand it would be nothing more than a sect of the LP.

    The significance of these rules changes is that Republicans for years always prided themselves on being the party of "state's rights." They always let the states choose how to allocate their delegates. Not anymore. Now they've centralized their control of the process just like the Democrats do. Now again, what are the differences between the two parties?

    For a Leftist like you to use phrases like "Leninist takeover" is amusing (I guess that makes you a Menshivek right?)but also childish. Paul's supporters didn't do anything different than Barry Goldwater's or Ronald Reagan's or even George McGovern's supporters in attending precinct caucus meetings and state conventions which their opponents did not. If 90 percent of life is about showing up as Woody Allen once said, then Paul's forces lived life to the fullest. Is it their fault they followed the rules? Primary votes only bind the delegates to the winners of said primaries (and in some cases for just a few ballots) and caucus straw polls are just that - straw polls, with no more meaning than the numerous straw polls the GOP holds before the presidential election year. Once upon a time conventions were made up of actual human beings who made deliberative decisions in a deliberative voting body like a political convention. Now they're reduced to being stage props in party rally no different than what you'd find in North Korea. These new rules only further reduces the convention to irrelevance. You didn't go to Tampa for a reason. Because there's nothing important going on down there.

    Perhaps it's surprising the party hadn't changed their rules before but then again the party never quite had an insurgency quite like Paul's, so you can't say he didn't have an impact. Some will complain and remain on the outside but the big story of convention is not Romney's nomination but the break-up of the Paul movement. Truth be told Rand Paul isn't going to mind these rule changes too much because, like you say, he really wants to run a more conventional campaign in 2016. He and the claque around him have no use for Paul's grassroots supporters and would rather they disappear so he doesn't have to deal with them. With these new rules pretty much ruling out grassroots participation, he won't have to.

    This past week Rand, who is pretty much is the power behind the throne in the Paul campaign, has worked in cahoots with the powers-that-be in the party and the Romney campaign behind the scenes (and has for some time) to make sure there will be no convention floor disruptions which he feels will embarrass him and hurt his 2016 chances. Thus the average Paul delegate feels trapped being a good little party drone and telling the man to F-off. And that's where the split comes from. For there were really two Paul campaigns in 2012, one running for President and one to make sure Rand could run for President.