Any hope that Mitt Romney might have had that the Ron Paul faction of the Republican Party would mind their P’s and Q’s during his coronation at the GOP convention has come a cropper. And ironically, the revolt is the result of his own efforts to reform the rules to make sure that a tiny minority can’t overturn the will of the majority who voted in a state primary.
An old-fashioned floor fight is brewing over new rules pushed through by the Romney campaign that have the Ron Paul delegates up in arms, as well as several state party chairmen who believe that the national party is trying to seize control over the delegate selection process. For the insurgent Paul forces, the rules changes would prevent them from wreaking the kinds of havoc at state GOP conventions that led to chaos in Louisiana and bitter clashes between the factions at the Nevada and Maine state conventions. At issue is a rule that would allow presidential candidates to vet delegates in order to insure their loyalty, and another rule designed to squash incipient revolts like the Ron Paul insurgency that would require delegations from statewide caucuses and conventions to adhere to the will of the majority who voted.
The latter rule is what is angering the Paul people. With a brilliant organizing effort, the Paul campaign literally took over the state conventions in Nevada, Maine, and Louisiana, catching establishment Republicans unawares and sending their own delegations to the Tampa convention. In Louisiana, regular GOP party members didn’t take their demotion gracefully. They called in the police, who physically escorted some Paul delegates out of the hall, injuring several. The establishment Republicans then went ahead and held a rump convention where they elected their own delegates. The Maine and Nevada state conventions were hardly less peaceful, with the well-organized Paul campaign running rings around the establishment Republicans.
Imagine if your state voted for Hillary Clinton but the delegates gave their votes to Barack Obama instead.
Oh, wait . . .
I’m not sure I have a handle on exactly what is going down in Tampa. But I know that democratic principles are more important than party rules. The voters get to decide, and their wishes should be respected.
Even if they vote for the wrong person.