So I haven’t been inclined to blog but recent experiences will be changing that! You might ask “Michele, why blog now and about what?”. Fair question, how about I’m fed up with the sad state of so much of the world today seems committed to irrational behavior.
The topic of today’s post is my recent adventure in Republican politics. Some background.
Last election I was a strong supporter of Ron Paul. Even though the media virtually ignored him he was able to do much better than anyone predicted. Why Ron Paul, well, I am a “Goldwater” republican. I believe in limited government, fiscal conservatism but liberal social views. Basically the government has no right to interfere with my or any other citizens personal life. Barry Goldwater supported gay rights, particularly in the context of the military and was disowned by large segments of the Republican party that he revitalized in the early 60’s. He was a “good fences make good neighbors” politician that supported rational economic policies, minimal government, sound ecological policies and liberal social views. Some might even call him a Libertarian. For me, he is what being a Republican should mean.
These days only one politician in recent presidential elections has been anywhere near those views. Ron Paul. So I’ve hoped against hope this could be the year he really gains traction and changes politics in America forever. Good news, he certainly has changed the dialog, bad news, his attempts at the presidency has shown just how backwards, corrupt and rigged the Republican party is today.
I was lucky enough to be in a district that knew the rules, navigated the system and managed to elect a complete slate of Paul delegates and at the convention we got 3 Paul delegates and 3 alternates sent to the national convention. Another district managed 2 delegates. As for the rest, district after district the old school insiders played all manner of shenanigans to rig the caucus outcomes. So the Romneyfiles won the day. So a few of the things I witnessed at the convention this weekend.
There was a serious question about one counties caucus process having been subverted against the party rules. Protests were filed in a timely manner with Republican officials and ignored. When asked by delegates if the protests were ever given consideration the party officials admitted they chose to ignore the protests and admitted their decision was likely “extra-legal”.
We were then subjected to speech after speech from Romney supporters that seemed to take all the Ron Paul talking points and claimed these were Romney’s position. They ignored that Romney’s biggest donors are the banks that have caused the horror story economy we now suffer under and we bailed out while ignoring the citizens that are the real victims.
Given the large and energized number of Paul supporters the Paul and Romney national campaign had recommended to the state campaign leadership support a split of the “at large” delegates giving the Paul supporters 3 of the 10 delegates slots with the the other 7 going to Romney. However state leaders choose to ignore the Paul supporters in the name of “unity” and elected 10 Romney delegates. The “net” will be the disenfranchising of the most energized part of the party. I heard numbers of Paul supporters discussing who they will vote for now. I can say most Paul supports are not going to vote for yet another “business as usual” old school “owned by the large donors” candidate like Romney. Folks in my row stated openly 4 more years of Obama would be a safer bet than possibly 8 years of someone like Romney whose positions seem to change every time someone challenges him and that clearly has no clue as to the challenges in life for us normal folk face.
So what did I learn about the state of the Republic party in WA? They are old and confused. More time was spent trying to fight the “threat” of same sex marriage and fear that gun laws are satanic (OK, I might agree with the gun law thing! 🙂 ) than trying to address real issues that damage our country.
So let’s say I buy into the idea somehow being gay is something “bad” (I don’t!) how would same sex marriage be anywhere near the top of the list of the things we need to address to “fix” America. I haven’t come up with anything that same sex marriage does to harm anyone even if I didn’t support it. If someone has an example of how same sex marriage causes them harm please share, I am at a loss to see it.
I do however see how the erosion of our civil rights is worrisome, that the integrity of our monetary system is important, that the illegal wars should be addressed, that huge federal deficits and debt are a problem, that the decline of our national education system needs attention, that our stagnant economy and record unemployment should be addressed. This is what I came to the convention to discuss, not that some 80 year old fruitcake stays awake at night because there may be two loving people married together, committed to a loving life, that happen to have similar private parts. In fact I find the obsession with same sex marriage that some of the convention attendees displayed as down right creepy. It was practically something out of a Monti Python sketch!
There were important things we should have been talking about, but no, the largest cheers from the myopic and clearly age induced dementia crowd came with over and over when yet another talking head would lead with minimum government bound by the constitution (YEAH!!!) then follow with and that limited government must make sure marriage is only between one man and one woman (?????). So which is it? Limited government or government dictated morality???? Wait this that trick that makes robots heads explode, give them a conflicting set of statements, creating a paradox and their heads explode! Sadly, none of the heads exploded and the Republican “old guard” seems to be able to defeat logic and reason to ignore the clear conflict in those two statements.
Other high points of the convention included one woman standing up, trying to defend a motion that would eliminate delegate speeches because “everyone knows the delegates spots are rewards for the special people in the party that worked the hardest and we all know who they are”. You might as have added “wink wink, nudge nudge” to the end of that in admitting that the whole thing is just for the “special” insiders that really run the party. Let’s just skip that whole complicated “electing” thing and let the “special people” fill out the ballots for us unwashed outsiders that don’t know enough to see that our ideas aren’t worthy of representation. The “special” people know what is best for us and we should just trust them.
In that theme, the last part of business on Saturday was the WA state Republican position document. Basically it is what the core values of the party are supposed to use when figuring out what good governing might look like. It started out mostly OK, with maybe a little bit too much one country under the one true god stuff which I can choose it overlook, it hits on the Constitution as defining the scope of our federal government (Great start but I would point out that is a document that makes it pretty clear god is not part of what defines the role of government), then goes on to again stating the limited scope of the place of government powers, still on track. The gets meanders into defining marriage (not in the Constitution last I checked), that government must insure family values (whatever that means). Goes on to make some confusing statements about educations in college having to be limited to things with practical application (so sad for you music majors or scientist trying to invent new things!). Then makes a weird foreign policy statement that calls out Israel as basically the only ally we need to commit to without question and under any circumstance (take that Great Britain!). Then continues to meander with some reasonable and crazy talk Judea-Christian values stuff (in the context of limited government) for a while longer.
So we had this document read to us. The rules clearly stated that we then were supposed to be allowed to discuss each section and vote on changes. A lot needed changing if you asked many folks there. But instead of following the rules, the Chairman accepted a motion that clearly was in violation of the rules and adopted this poorly worded mess as read with no opportunity to discuss improvements or revisions. We were told the committee had worked on it really hard and we should respect that they know best for us. We were also told any other changes that were submitted and recommended for adoption would be included. We, of course have no idea what those might be, who knows, maybe we agreed that the platypus must be driven to extinction because god couldn’t have possible created such a confusing creature! We’ll just have to wait and see.
So in summary, yes there are a lot of folks that supported Ron Paul in WA, they worked really hard to work within the rules and change the system from within, but smoke filled rooms with “special” people can win if they have the right to ignore their own rules and marginalize members of their own party that want to change the old guard.
So where does this leave us? Hard to say, I think there is a growing number of people that see that current system broken and are committed to working in the system to accomplish this change. The new members of the Republican party are changing the face of the party. This election proves it, and those new members continue to learn how to use the system to fix what’s broken in the system. This is the year it really all starts to change. That’s what I think if anyone asks.
As for the election. Smart money is Obama regardless of the polls. Too many Americans will see Romney for the “bought and paid for”, “business as usual”, “no strong convictions or values” sock puppet that he is. Obama will mop the floor with him the debates, too many women will realize their rights would be at risk if Romney wins, too many Americans see the homophobic nature of Romney and aren’t about to roll back the gains in equality the GLBT communities have made. And once it sinks in that Romney is the best friend of the banks that put us in the mess we are in now with our economy there aren’t enough photo ops with “the Donald” to save him.
So time to strap in, we are in for a crazy campaign season, a Republican convention circus like we’ve never seen before and another clear win for Obama. We can only hope we get some real change in 2016.
Will I be at the state Republican Convention in 2016? Oh gawd, I hope not!!