Ron Paul to visit before state GOP convention
The Republican presidential race is on the verge of heating back up in Minnesota.
More than three months after the state's precinct caucuses, a showdown is in the offing at the state GOP convention in Rochester this weekend.
Long-shot insurgent candidate Ron Paul plans to speak to his supporters Friday morning, just before the convention begins. Then, those supporters hope to nab as many of the 14 national convention delegate spots that remain up for grabs as they can.
Yesterday, I received a letter in the mail from something called "Friends of the Minnesota Conservative Delegate Team" (or FMinnConDelT for short). It was a warning of the dangers poised by Ron Paul supporters attempting to "thwart the will of the majority" at this week's GOP State Convention in Rochester by electing pro-Paul delegates to the national convention. It asked people to do three things to prevent this:
1. Show up at the convention. The location of this year's convention and the fact that there are no endorsement battles has created something of a perfect storm for Paul supporters to attempt a floor putsch. Rochester ain't exactly a visitor hotbed and delegates from Northern & Western Minnesota and the Twin Cities may decide that it's not really worth the drive, especially with our current gas prices. Politics is all about showing up and if more mainstream Republicans don't, the door will be open for Paul's people.
2. Vote for the MinnConDelT slate of candidates for the national delegate and alternate positions. Most of the names on this list are familiar to party wonks like JB Doubtless. Pawlenty, Coleman, Seifert, Pat Anderson, Emmer, etc. One name that I was little surprised to see was that of Michael Brodkorb, our NARN colleague and proprietor of Minnesota Democrats Exposed. It's great to see Michael getting recognition for all his hard work and he's definitely got my vote. If my seat doesn't get snatched by a Paulite that is.
3. Reject the attempts of Paul supporters to change convention rules and procedures. I've been more open and willing to engage with Ron Paul supporters than many within the GOP. I admire their energy and enthusiasm and respect their viewpoints on most issues even if I disagree with many of their policy prescriptions. I liked having Ron Paul at the Republican primary debates and believe that including dissent from the right will only serve to make the party stronger in the long run.
However, the votes have now been cast and the reality is that while Paul raised an impressive amount of money, he was able to attract only minimal support among Republicans. His voice and his views were heard and a majority of the GOP decided that they weren't the ones they wanted their standard bearer to promote. It was a nice run, but it's over.
Paul's supporters should show up at the convention and should continue to raise awareness of the issues that matter most to them. But to try to get delegates and alternates elected to the national convention through a back door process by jamming the convention is only going to serve to further divide the party.
Sometimes Democrats go too far with their rhetoric about the "voice of the people" being heard and people being "disenfranchised," but when the vast majority of Republican voters and caucus goers across the nation have rejected Ron Paul, it would be a travesty for a minority of activists (no matter how vocal) to impose their will at the convention. That doesn't mean they won't try and that should make for a much more "interesting" convention than had been expected.
The Northern Alliance Radio Network will be covering the goings on beginning Thursday night on AM1280 The Patriot when King and Michael kick things with a two-hour broadcast from 5pm-7pm. I'll be joining the Final Word duo on Friday night from 5pm-7pm and on Saturday we'll have our full slate of shows from 11am-5pm (although I believe that Mitch and Ed will be in studio rather than on the convention floor).