Sunday, May 13, 2012
The following is a guest post from conservative activist David Tackett of Broken Arrow, giving what I consider to be the most fair and accurate assessment regarding the controversy from Saturday's Oklahoma Republican State Convention.
You know, conventional wisdom says I need to keep my mouth shut. I'm a candidate for State House and I don't need to upset anyone inside the party lest they won't help me.
But I just can't be quiet. And let me summarize it by saying this... Ron Paul people, you were right in principle, but wrong in execution.
First, let me try and say before the RPers completely ignore the rest of my diatribe... Remember, I was the one who stood with you at the 1st Congressional convention, not because I'm a RP supporter, but because I believe in the rule of law.
So let me start off with the 1st complaint... Credentials...
I was one of the volunteers who helped check in people. So I can answer exactly what the problem was.... new software, delegates who pre-registered incorrectly (we had several who registered as guests or typed their name differently than what was provided by their County Chair), and volunteers who entered in data wrong during the check-in (entering people as guests instead of delegates).
It was, frankly, insulting to hear people from the RP clan suggest fraud was committed by the credential volunteers. (I.e. badges weren't secured, etc.) I know each and every single one of the volunteers who helped with the process and not one has EVER done anything unethical.
Could the badges been designed where they couldn't be easily forged? Sure. But let me belabor this major point. ALL of the populous counties (Tulsa, Oklahoma, Cleveland) and the other 20 or so counties that had off numbers, verified their delegates registered against the master delegate list. And the two counties where the fraud could have been perpetuated the easiest because of their sheer size, Tulsa and Oklahoma, had each delegate verify, in person in the main hall, their status.
And don't forget the sheer size of this convention. This is by far a record-breaker in attendance. So were there problems? heck, yes? Was there fraud? No. Was their a conspiracy by the "establishment" to stack the delegates? No. In fact, I will argue that the delegates in question was about an even split between the 2 factions.
Now this is a point that frankly is the main issue. Did the chair wrongly decide that the standing vote was OK for the slate vote? Absolutely yes. But the RPers had a recourse, and that was to appeal the decision of the chair. They did and they lost by a vote of the delegates. At that point, the body in essence had rewritten the rule. In roberts rules, you have no recourse from this issue. You have a recourse in the RNC rules, and the chair advised of that process.
And let me step back for a moment here. Just because you can call a point of order, doesn't mean you have to keep doing it. It's called dilatory motions, when the only issue is to call motions just to impede the process. And I would wager $1000 that if the RPers didn't try to stall the process with all of the points of order, we would have had time for a secret ballot... or even more important, if there had not been the hundred point of orders before the egregious error NOT to have the slate voted on I'm sure the delegates would have been on your side.
And aside from the dilatory motions, one thing I have learned in my short tenure in convention politics - It don't matter how right you are... if you keep pressing a point, the majority of people will shut you down. If you think I'm just spouting off without any experience, then you weren't at the 2011 state convention.
Now let's hit another issue... It was clear from the first test vote that the voting came down 60/40 (about a 500 delegate difference) each and every vote... be it voice vote (hey, let me give the RP people credit for having some MASSIVE lungs!), standing vote, or secret ballot.
It wasn't close, the RP faction was in the minority. And so whether it was standing vote or ballot, the state committee's slate would have been approved. But, I know why all these motions and point of orders were happening... because I was told by several of the RP delegates that this was their plan... to drag out the process until everyone else left then they could redo the vote and get their slate in.
I'm sorry, but I get red faced in anger when I keep thinking about that above statement. That is NOT the way to win the hearts and minds of those conservatives who aren't yet with you yet. And the only way Ron Paul, Rand Paul, or any libertarian leaning Republican is going to win the nomination in the future is by getting more conservatives to join with you. You may have had 40% of the delegates, but you only had 9.6% of the popular vote in Oklahoma. And in Oklahoma it's the popular vote that matters so that is what you all need to be focusing on.
Oh and on that point, you will lose me and thousands of Oklahoman Republicans who sympathize with your movement if pledged RP delegates try to vote for someone else besides the candidate they were assigned to on the 1st ballot. It's not about what's legal (jurisdiction, etc.) it's about what's the right thing to do.
The last point - Adjournment and the Rump convention
It stated on the agenda, we had to be out by 5pm. Clear as day. No, the walls didn't go up because Matt told the facilities people to, the Embassy Suites people did it on their own. How do I know? They did it to us in the credentials room, they literally unplugged our computers in order to prep one side for another rental. (That explains for about 30 minutes of the delay in the credentials report, btw!)
I know there was other business to attend to, but if we have to leave, we have to leave. The party rules clearly gives the option for the state committee to convene and consider any issues that the convention couldn't address.
So then the RP crowd did what they did at the 1st CD, they held an rump convention, not an extension of the current convention. That convention adjourned. You can't appeal the decision of the chair to adjourn. When the gavel falls for adjournment, it's done.
And I was at a place in the hall to see both sides, (you could still see both sides from the stage as well at that point) and yes, it was the same 60/40 split. But the Ron Paul people screamed and hollered and made a mockery by holding a parking lot rump convention.
Yes, I said it... A mockery. Even if, and I say a MAJOR if... I accept that the parking lot convention was an extension of the first convention, you didn't have a quorum... not even close... Remember those precious rules that you said were being violated by the convention chair? Nothing you did mattered unless you had a quorum of the delegates present at the signed credentials report. Even with the first reported number, that would mean you had to have over 600 in your "parking lot" convention. I think the number you claimed was under 400.
So what does it look like from the outside? If the establishment breaks the rules, it's a travesty, but if the RP faction breaks the rules, it's OK.
Please hear me what I am trying to say. Thuggery can only get you so far. But the RP people MUST change the way they approach these conventions if you TRULY want people to change their minds and support your cause.
I will continue to come to the defense of anyone who is being wronged during a GOP event that I am at. But in order to succeed in the future, the tactics of the RPers must be revamped.
I say this last point. One way to earn the respect of the rest of the delegation, and frankly to increase your influence, is to keep being a part of the party apparatus throughout the year, every year. This is what the Christian Coalition did in the 90's throughout the country. And by doing this, the RPers (And yes, I know ALOT of RP supporters are already actively working in the party) will not be seen as an outside faction, but an important wing of GOP working to advance their cause in the party.
David Tackett is a conservative activist from Broken Arrow, and is the Republican nominee for State House District 12 against Rep. Wade Rousselot (D-Wagoner). His campaign website is DavidTackett.com.