The Hangover

On The GOP’s Wednesday Morning Headache

by Jaret Glenn

Tuesday night’s embarrassing Romney loss to a weak incumbent left Republicans with a headache on Wednesday morning.  There was no shortage of name-calling and finger pointing as the blame game was in full effect all Wednesday long.

Ohio advertiser Nick Everhart blamed the Romney campaign’s “poor media buying”.  That sounds a bit self-serving, but okay.  I’ll bite.

Former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour blamed Hurricane Sandy, saying it “broke Romney’s momentum”.  This seems a bit of a stretch, but alright.

As usual, the most outlandish claims were made by Fox News commentators.  Fox host Jamie Colby and election attorney Doug Burns pointed out that one polling station outside of Philadelphia had one member of the New Black Panther Party stationed outside.  A few more were spotted at polling stations outside of Cleveland.  This led Burns to ask, “Did that have an impact on the election?”  I doubt it, but nice try.

MSNBC’s in-house, fake conservative Joe Scarborough came closest to hitting the mark on Morning Joe when he said “In many ways the country is becoming more libertarian.  They’re saying…stay out of my wallet.  Stay out of my bedroom.”  Yahtzee!

Scarborough’s analysis, though perhaps an oversimplification, may be spot on—wrong candidate with the wrong message.  Romney was never a popular candidate during the Republican primaries.  Even establishment Republicans recognized him as awkward and out of touch, and those comments came from rich, old, white guys.

Nowhere was this more evident than at the GOP primary debate at the University of South Florida in Tampa.  The crowd outside contained nearly one thousand Ron Paul supporters, twenty-five Rick Santorum Supporters, a half dozen Gingrich supporters and one paid Romney supporter driving a truck with a large campaign sign in the bed.    At his political rallies, Romney campaign staff passed out signs they’d made to the crowd to provide the illusion of grassroots support.  After the rally, campaign staffers were so sure that nobody at the next stop would be enthusiastic enough about Romney to spend five minutes painting a sign that the signs were gathered for reuse.  Even while drastically outspending all other candidates and enjoying the “frontrunner” label from the media, Romney still had to resort to cheating to win the nomination–his supporters running state conventions during the primaries routinely engaged in last-minute rule changes, throwing out entire precincts of votes, cancelling caucuses, switching open vote counts to backrooms with locked doors, and countless other acts of election fraud to ensure his nomination.  Prior to the convention, there were no Romney bumper stickers on cars or Romney yard signs posted.  It was only after Reince Preibus handed him the nomination that the “anybody but Obama” crowd settled for Romney.

Romney’s lack of support cannot be attributed entirely to his personality (or lack thereof) however.  During the worst recession since the Great Depression, Romney failed to deliver a clear plan for economic recovery.  While blaming President Obama for a “failure to lead”, Romney sat on the sideline amidst many opportunities to stick his neck out and take an early stance.  The few parts of his platform he did announce were nearly identical to those of the unpopular incumbent (whose record was nearly identical to his unpopular predecessor’s).  Consider the following unpopular positions:

  • Bailouts
  • Federal Reserve secrecy
  • The Bush Doctrine of pre-emptive war to prevent war
  • Going to war without a formal declaration from Congress
  • Torture
  • Indefinite detention without trial
  • A secret assassination list
  • Warrantless spying on American citizens
  • TSA 4th amendment violations

Now consider that, with the possible exception of the secret assassination list, these were George W. Bush’s policies that Obama won by promising to replace.  Remember that he beat John McCain, who promised to perpetuate these policies.  Thus Romney essentially doubled-down on every item on that list of losing platform positions, when separating himself from them may have won him the election.

It’s no use crying over spilt milk, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t valuable lessons to be learned from this defeat.  I offer the following suggestions to the GOP, to save the sinking ship:

  • GOP leadership should not select the candidate for the party.  Instead, they should oversee fair elections and let the membership choose the party’s candidate.  This is the best way to ensure actual support for the candidate in the general election.
  • Drop the militaristic, neoconservative foreign policy.  Americans are war-weary and don’t understand why we should suffer such drastic cuts at home while increasing our overseas belligerence toward countries that pose no threat to our national security and most Americans couldn’t point to on a map.  Besides, the peace candidate wins nearly every time.
  • Cut all foreign aid.  It’s taking money from poor people in a rich country, to give to rich people in a poor country.  It’s a losing argument to convince Americans they should suffer austerity measures while giving away borrowed money to other countries.
  • Stand up to the Fed.  Many of the people have figured out what “quantitative easing” is—printing money.  Further, they realize that it makes everything more expensive, yet provides no benefit to them.

If these positions sound familiar, it’s because most of them were voted into the Republican Party platform at the recent convention in Tampa.  Republicans have spoken on what kind of candidate and party they want.  Will the establishment listen, or will 2016 bring The Hangover II?

Let’s Make a Deal: The GOP is Extorting Ron Paul to Prevent his Nomination at the Convention

By:  Jaret Glenn

Several news websites have announced that the Ron Paul campaign and the Republican National Committee have “struck a deal” over the seating of Paul’s delegates to the Republican National Convention in Tampa:

In an article titled, “Ron Paul Delegates Set to Strike Deal with RNC”, CNN’s Political Director Mark Preston reports “both sides are close to announcing a deal that could help avoid a potentially embarrassing moment for Mitt Romney on the day he receives the GOP presidential nomination”.   This deal “will seat more Paul delegates at next week’s…convention”.   The RNC will seat 17 delegates from Louisiana and “additional” delegates from Massachusetts.  Parts of Paul’s platform (including an audit of the Fed and push for internet freedom) will be added to the Republican Party platform and his son, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, will also get a speaking slot at the convention.

NPR’s coverage delved a bit deeper into the arrangement by admitting that Romney and the RNC colluded to arbitrarily disqualify enough of Paul’s delegates to “prevent Paul from coming into the convention with the support of a plurality of the delegates from each of five or more states.”  Why?  Reaching that threshold would allow Paul’s delegates to nominate him from the floor.  As a result, he would be entitled to a fifteen minute speech and could potentially (though not likely) win the nomination.

The Christian Science Monitor was the only media outlet to correctly ask the question, “Is Ron Paul Getting a Raw Deal from the RNC?”  Though the title asked the right question, the article missed the mark.

So what’s really going on?  Weren’t delegates already selected by the states?  Doesn’t the RNC have rules and processes to govern this selection process?  Hasn’t Ron Paul already dropped out of the race?  Why is Paul’s campaign “cutting deals” with Romney and the RNC?  Isn’t Romney already the nominee?

Yes, delegates were already selected by the states.  What you probably didn’t see on the nightly news (in spite of the number of news programs and 24-hour news stations) was that the delegate selection process was a messy one.  The RNC broke its own rules at the county, state, and (now) national level to ensure the nomination for Mitt Romney.  In spite of every attempt to quell the Ron Paul revolution, Paul still came away with a plurality of delegates from at least seven, but possibly as many as eleven states:  Maine, Iowa, Nevada, Oregon, Massachusettes, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Washington, Minnesota, Colorado, Missouri.  The problem is though there are rules in place for selecting delegates, the rules were broken by local and state parties when it looked like Paul would win.  After he came away with a plurality of delegates in enough states to be nominated from the floor at the convention, the RNC decided their last resort was to arbitrarily disqualify even more delegates.  This would ensure that Paul could not possibly be nominated from the floor as he wouldn’t have the necessary number of states.  The “deal” that Paul has cut with Romney and the RNC would permit “some” of Paul’s delegates to attend the RNC, as opposed to none.  Some deal.

Contrary to just about everything you’ve seen on the news, Ron Paul can still win the Republican nomination for President.  He is the only candidate, other than Romney, who has not dropped out or suspended his campaign.  Romney is not yet the nominee and his campaign seems so worried about what Paul’s supporters and delegates might do that he’s taking every precaution to ensure his victory.

While the articles linked to at the start of this report describe the deal-cutting going on between the Paul campaign and the Romney campaign/RNC, they miss the most important point—Mitt Romney and the RNC have colluded to commit election fraud, and they’ve done it right out in the open!  That’s the real story that nobody is talking about.  On every occasion where fraud was alleged at the county or state levels, Romney was the benefactor.  What was Romney’s involvement?  Why hasn’t the RNC (or the FEC) investigated these serious accusations (most of which are substantiated by video evidence)?  Why has the RNC gotten a free pass for arbitrarily disqualifying delegates?    Was it the RNC’s plan to nominate Romney all along?  Did the primary votes of Republicans across the country count for anything at all?

Why has the national media completely ignored this?  Why is a part-time citizen journalist the only one asking these questions?

How the Republican Party Stole the Nomination from Ron Paul

Paul supporters gathered outside the Republican debate at USF in Tampa, Florida.

If you follow mainstream election coverage, you might think Mitt Romney has coasted to an honest, easy, well-deserved Republican nomination. Unfortunately for Republican voters, nothing could be further from the truth. The primary process has been an all-out slugfest and many of the delegates Romney has won may be the result of dirty tricks and even election fraud. The following narrative includes links to reports, first-hand testimonials, and video evidence highlighting actions taken by the GOP to ensure a Romney victory, at the expense of fracturing the party just prior to the general election. Party leaders at the county and state level have changed or violated party rules, cancelled caucuses, changed vote counts, thrown out entire counties of votes, counted public votes privately, called-in the SWAT team, and inexplicably replaced Paul delegates with Romney delegates to block Ron Paul from winning the nomination.

Iowa: Days before the caucuses, Paul held a commanding lead in the polls and all the momentum, with every other candidate having peaked from favorable media coverage and then collapsed under the ensuing scrutiny. Establishment Republicans, like Iowa’s Representative Steve King (R), attempted to sabotage Paul’s campaign by spreading rumors he would lose to Obama if nominated. Even though the Iowa GOP platform reads like a Ron Paul speech, shortly before the caucuses, Iowa Governor Terry Barnstad told Politico , “[If Paul wins] people are going to look at who comes in second and who comes in third. If Romney comes in a strong second, it definitely helps him going into New Hampshire”. The message from the Governor to voters of his state was: a vote for Ron Paul was a wasted vote.

Huffington Post reported that Paul was ahead by one point over Romney and Rick Santorum in entrance polls conducted by Edison Media Research for the AP before the caucuses. For the first time ever, the Iowa GOP changed the final vote count to a secret location . After the caucus, results from 8 precincts (including those with colleges, in a state where Paul won 48% of the youth vote) went missing. Interestingly, these were all precincts Romney lost in 2008. In addition, GOP officials discovered inaccuracies in 131 precincts. Though polling in a comfortable first place, Paul finished third in this non-binding straw poll, behind Romney and Santorum.

Iowa originally reported Romney in first, Santorum in a close second, and Paul third. After the recount, Santorum was named the winner with Romney in second. No mention was given to how the recount affected Paul’s vote count. Iowa GOP chairman, Matt Strawn, later resigned and was replaced by Paul supporter, A.J. Spiker and Paul went on to win the majority of delegates.

Florida: The Florida GOP broke party rules by switching to a winner-take-all state before the date allowed, which favors the candidate with the most money for advertising and attack ads.  Senior Advisor to the Ron Paul campaign, Doug Wead, claims this was done specifically to favor Romney.

Nevada: There is bad blood between Paul’s supporters and establishment Republicans in Nevada. This dates back to 2008, when Convention Chair, Sue Lowden and her enlisted delegates got up and walked out of the convention when it became apparent Paul’s supporters would claim a majority of the delegates. She claimed she would reconvene at a later time, but instead approved the McCain slate of delegates. This year, Paul supporters expected shenanigans; so his State Chairman, Carl Bunce, planned to win by outworking Romney. Just before the caucuses, he claimed to have “more IDs than Romney had votes in ’08”. This means through canvassing door-to-door and phoning voters, he had identified about 25,000 voters committed to show up and vote for Paul.

On caucus day, the media was denied access to most caucus sites and the few that were permitted were not allowed to take photos. Others were even ejected from sites. This CNN clip shows GOP staff preventing a Paul supporter from entering the premises to vote at a special caucus that was set up at the last minute for Newt Gingrich backer, Sheldon Adelson. Here, participants were asked to sign an affidavit (under penalty of perjury) stating they were Jewish and couldn’t vote earlier in the day due to “religious reasons”. CNN showed live coverage of votes being counted at this event, with Paul amassing nearly 60% of the votes. In some precincts in Clark County, the largest in Nevada, the number of ballots did not match the number of voters signed in at the caucus. Though votes were to be counted publicly, they were largely counted in private. The vote count was also inexplicably dragged out for several days, leading to a victory for Romney. Nevada State GOP Chairwoman, Amy Tarkanian resigned the day after the caucuses.

Another interesting note is that Paul’s 2012 votes had doubled, tripled, and more than quadrupled his 2008 votes in every state leading up to the Nevada caucuses, yet Paul received only 88 more votes there. Of all the places for this to occur, Nevada, the country’s most libertarian state; is the last in which anyone would expect this.

In spite of these irregularities , Paul won 22 of 25 state delegates and replaced state party officials with Paul supporters. Romney supporters then formed their own state party, called “Team Nevada”. The RNC then bypassed the official state party in order to organize for Romney and send all funds to Team Nevada.

Colorado: Romney supporters were caught passing out fake Ron Paul slates at the state convention. The RNC has not investigated or even commented on the matter.

Minnesota: Doug Wead, claims the state party instructed members not to vote for any delegates under age fifty because most young delegates support Paul.

Missouri: WXIX Cincinnati’s Ben Swann covered the fiasco in St. Charles County. Temporary Chairman, Eugene Dokes, started the meeting by banning video recording devices, a first for this event. Robert’s Rules of Order require the temporary chairman to accept nominations and elect a convention chairman to run the event. Instead, he appointed a chair of his choice. The crowd immediately erupted with booing. Shortly after, Dokes adjourned the meeting without the required two-thirds majority, called the police on attendees, and left. In adherence to state rules, Paul supporter, Brent Stafford, along with one of the top parliamentarians in the state, reconvened in the parking lot and attempted to resume the event. Shortly after, the SWAT team arrived and arrested Stafford, who was following state party rules. Dokes later admitted on talk radio that he and other state party officials deliberately broke the rules to prevent Paul from winning.

Maine: Ben Swann reported on shenanigans in Maine . Even though only 84% of votes had been counted; State GOP Chairman, Charlie Webster, declared Romney the winner over Paul by less than 200 votes. Hancock and Washington Counties hadn’t voted yet because Webster cancelled the caucuses due to an impending snowstorm, promising they could vote later and their votes would be counted. The snowstorm never occurred and he later reneged on his promise, telling voters in those counties their votes would not be counted after all. Washington County was Paul’s strongest in the state in 2008. Though other states with close outcomes held recounts, this was never a consideration for Maine.

At least one of the counties that did vote claims the state party recorded its tallies incorrectly. Matt McDonald, pastor of a small community church in Belfast, was nominated as the chairman of his caucus. He says the state instructed the caucus chairmen not to read any of the vote totals aloud, but rather to send the results straight to Augusta without a public reading. McDonald made a motion to change this rule, and it was approved unanimously. McDonald says 22 voters showed up, resulting in 8 votes for Paul, 7 for Santorum, 5 for Romney, and 2 undecided. When he called the votes into Augusta, he was told they already had the results and the totals read 9 for Romney, 5 or Santorum, and 2 for Paul. When McDonald told her the tally had been counted publicly, he says “her voice changed and she said…we’ll record this”. Doug Wead claims, “On every occasion, the votes that were lost were Ron Paul votes and the person responsible for reporting them were Mitt Romney supporters…in one case the votes were actually transferred from paper to…a computer and the lady doing the transfer was a Mitt Romney person”. To date, these tallies have not been corrected and Romney is still credited with the straw vote win while the media continues to report that Paul never won a state contest.

Arizona: The Examiner’s Kevin Kervick reports “ballot stuffing, rule violations, and improper vote counting that occurred behind closed doors” at the convention. In addition, Paul supporters allege threats of physical violence from Romney supporters.

Michigan: Doug Wead reports, ” Michigan, unlike any other state…had a special party rule forbidding any precinct delegate vacancies from being filled at county conventions until after the state delegates and alternates were chosen. In other words, countless Ron Paul supporters attending county convention were forcibly blocked…because they weren’t elected precinct delegates in 2010-long before the Ron Paul 2012 campaign began”. Wead also claims “documented instances in multiple counties where county party officials “edited” the state delegation lists after the county conventions adjourned”.

Wyoming: A commenter on Paul supporter website, DailyPaul.com, explains how members of the Republican Executive Committee (all Romney supporters) illegally cast votes in the delegate selection vote.

Washington: At the state convention , a Ron Paul delegate claimed bubble ballot sheets were withheld in King County’s district 36. He also claims the 37 th district caucus was forced to conduct the meeting outside because Chairwoman, Lori Sotelo, was irritated when a Ron Paul supporter was elected to run the caucus, instead of her choice.

Ben Swann interviewed a voter in Pierce County, Washington; who claims the local Republican leadership passed out what they called a “unity slate” to voters and said it represented an equal distribution of delegates committed to Romney, Santorum, and Gingrich. The plan was to organize to block Ron Paul supporters, who outnumbered the other candidates’ supporters, from receiving the lion’s share of the delegates. The Republican leadership prevailed.

Alaska: In spite of last-minute rule changes and violations of party rules, Paul supporters ousted longtime state chairman, Randy Ruedrich, and voted-in Paul supporter, Russ Millette.  Ruedrich then tried to sabotage the state convention and transferred all of the state party’s $100,000 to the local Capital City Republicans in Juneau, effectively bankrupting the party now controlled by Paul supporters.

Georgia: This video shows GOP Chairwoman, Sue Everhart, at the Athens Clarke County GOP meeting admitting “shoddy treatment of the Ron Paul people at that [2008] convention” and publicly apologizing. She presents the rule book that she helped to write and claims it won’t happen again. The video then shows the actual convention and party leaders breaking those rules to force their pre-selected slate of delegates and prevent Paul’s supporters from electing their own. Party leaders then adjourned the meeting illegally and ran out of the meeting.

Massachusetts: Paul won 16 of the 27 delegates selected so far in Romney’s home state. In addition, he swept all 6 from Romney’s home county. As a result (for the first time ever in the state), delegates were asked to sign an affidavit stating ” I certify under the pain and penalty of perjury, that on the first ballot at the 2012 Republican National Convention, I will affirmatively Vote for Mitt Romney, the winner of the 2012 Massachusetts Presidential Primary.” The state GOP then covered up Romney’s embarrassing loss by invalidating ballots and ousting the Paul delegates.

North Dakota: Ben Swann reports the selection of delegates was unfair: the GOP handed out pre-printed ballots with a slate of delegates with 60% of them being Mitt Romney supporters in a state where he won only 26% of the vote.

Oklahoma: Kevin Kervick of The Examiner reports that the Oklahoma convention had to be moved to the parking lot because Robert’s Rules were ignored, delegate credentials were not verified, a convention chair was never appointed, motions made from the floor were ignored, the Chairman illegally elected a slate of Romney delegates, and the convention was closed without a two-thirds majority vote. Consistent with Robert’s Rules, Paul supporters reconvened in the parking lot to elect delegates. Paul supporters have now filed a law suit to ensure their delegates will be seated.

Virginia: Doug Wead claims “at a district convention, they coaxed the Ron Paul delegation outside and then locked the door. The pastor of the church that was hosting the event was, himself, locked out”.

U.S. Virgin Islands: Ron Paul won his first caucus, only to have the GOP take down the straw vote results from their website showing Paul the victor with 29% over Romney’s 26% and replaced with a note from the party claiming Romney won because he won more delegates. Paul’s Official Campaign Blogger, Jack Hunter, explains how every other contest determined the victor by the straw vote, except the one straw vote Paul won.

Alabama: An inexplicable gap exists between Paul’s popular vote count and his delegate vote count. This is odd because voters choose both on the same day and on the same ballot. Alabama Republican Party rules state that voters can only vote for one candidate and then must choose between his delegates. Statewide, Paul received only about one-third as many votes as his delegates. This means voters chose another candidate, but selected Paul’s delegates. No other candidate’s totals showed a similar pattern.

Louisiana: Ben Swann reports a clash between the old Louisiana State GOP leadership and newly-elected leaders who support Paul. Old Chairman, Roger Villere, angered attendees with last-minute rule changes the night before the convention. At the start of the convention, Villere attempted to recognize the former Chair of the Rules Committee, who had been voted out the night before. When new Chair, Alex Helwig, rose to address the delegation; Villere instructed security (comprised of off-duty Shreveport Police) to remove him . They arrested him for trespassing and broke several of his fingers. Next, an overwhelming majority elected a new Convention Chair, Paul supporter Alex Helwig. Members then turned their chairs to face Helwig, with their backs to Villere. In desperation, Villere instructed the police officers to remove the duly-elected Herford. They did so and dislocated his hip in the process, sending him to the emergency room.  The reconvened group followed state party rules and went on to elect a majority of Paul delegates, which the state party later replaced with its own slate of Romney delegates.  The Paul campaign has appealed to the RNC, but it is unlikely that the RNC will reinstate the Paul delegates.

Oregon:  This YouTube video shows establishment Republicans in Congressional District 4 attempting to steal the ballot box and leave the premises when it became apparent the Ron Paul supporters were in the majority.  A Paul supporter is chased away from the ballots and claims he was accosted by an establishment party member.

Wisconsin: MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell reports Romney violated state campaign laws by bribing voters with free subs.

In other states, Paul supporters claim vote-flipping occurred with electronic voting machines. Once about 40% of votes are reported, there is typically little variation in the final numbers. However on several occasions, at about 40% Romney’s trajectory “flipped” with the leader, which was often Paul.  Austin Election Judge, Anne Beckett, has come forth publicly to claim she witnessed this firsthand.

Baseless allegations or a few isolated incidents may not be cause for concern, but there is enough video evidence in this report to disturb anyone who cares about fair elections.  Rule changes, disregard for existing rules, cancelling elections, running off with ballots, secret vote counts, throwing out votes, threats, physical violence, and arbitrary replacement of delegates are activities unbecoming of a democratic society.  Whether you’re a Ron Paul supporter, or even a Republican, is irrelevant.  That the Republican Party will seemingly stop at nothing to ensure their selected candidate is the nominee should be deeply troubling for all Americans.

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