During the Democratic Convention, Reason.TV interviewed delegates about their “pro-choice beliefs.” It seems choice is an individual right when it comes to abortion, not so much with other things. I found the video funny as I thought it made them look silly, hypocritical, and dumb. Don’t they realize what they are saying?
The Republicans, on the other hand are different right?
The Republican Convention was to highlight a unifying set of principles geared to bring back small government, the constitution, and individual rights. A similar interview of the Republican delegates might have posed questions like:
- Do you believe in States’ rights?
- Do you believe in a “Big Tent” and the importance of the grassroots movement?
- Do you believe in freedom of speech?
- Do you believe in the importance of the Republic concept of delegates and the electoral process, vs. the “one man, one vote” concept of straight democracy Al Gore has recently espoused?
- Do you believe it is time to get rid of crony capitalism in Washington?
If your answer to these questions is “yes,” then how do you reconcile what actually happened at the GOP Convention? Are you ok with the GOP elites’ show of power as they silenced and replaced state delegates because they did not like their views (e.g., Maine)? Or how about the rules changes at the last minute to censure dissenting opinion?
We all got a good laugh at the Democrats as they took (3) different “votes” about the God, no God, Jerusalem, no Jerusalem debacle. Take a look at Boehner’s version of “accurate” vote counting at the GOP convention:
The GOP power grab was not funny or silly. It sent a shock wave through the grassroots GOP delegates and party faithful. Those that were, and are, angry are not just Ron Paul supporters as the video below (of a Tea Party delegate) highlights:
There was another GOP candidate, like Ron Paul, that the establishment tried to silence. His “revolution” and “silent majority” tried to use similar delegate and convention rules and strategies to ensure their voice were heard as they combatted a weak, sitting incumbent President. His efforts led him to having the chance to deliver what came to be known as the best speech of the convention, after his opponent was chosen as the nominee. The year was 1976 and the man was Ronald Reagan. After hearing the speech, many of the delegates wished they had voted for Reagan. That process set the stage for Reagan’s election in 1980.
The GOP needs to allow dissenting grass roots voices to be respected and heard. If the nominating race is not that close (like this year) then what was the big deal? Allowing the differing views helps to grow the party at a time when it needs to grow during a close presidential race. If the nominating race is close (like in 1976), the process could lead to actually choosing the best candidate at the convention. Ford went on to lose to Jimmy Carter that year.
If Romney wins a close election, it will be won by the very people the GOP establishment just disrespected and pissed-off: the grassroots Tea Party and constitutional/libertarian minded folks from both the right and the left. These votes are critical to defeat Obama.
Given the importance of this election, the power grab by the politics-as-usual GOP elite was at worst an arrogant, power tactic signifying their true colors. At the least, it was just plain dumb and unnecessarily risky.