GOP primary? Or continued party fractures

The weekend Republican convention in Augusta was truly, as discussed and debated in tweets, blogs and around water coolers, a “pass the popcorn” event.

Ron Paul’s supporters organized, in advance, a convention coup to claim Maine’s delegates from the RNC-designated presumptive Republican presidential candidate.

You could call it a revolution or a fiasco, depending on your point of view, but no one could ever call it boring. Nor could it have been called respectful.

The entertainment continued Monday as state Republicans reached out to swipe one another and toss around a little guilt and a lot of blame, cementing GOP fractures.

It’s not like Mitt Romney supporters didn’t know about the coup. They had clear advance notice.

Several days before the convention, GOP Chairman Charlie Webster sent an email to convention delegates and alternates noting that he was aware of the potential Ron Paul “take over,” having heard about it “several weeks ago” at a meeting at GOP headquarters.

Nevertheless, Webster magnanimously noted that “in my role as party chairman, my obligation is to welcome every Republican activist to our convention, and to guarantee that all voices are heard.”

That’s where the magnanimity ended.

And all voices were not heard.

His message to delegates and alternates expressed his regret for “the necessity of writing this message, but unfortunately there are those among us who would choose to divide us rather than unite us.”

Isn’t Webster the chief GOP divider?

In his call to the convention, Webster repeatedly referred to Paul supporters as “them,” as in “not us.”

He referred to “their own personal political opinions,” as in not the opinion of “us” mainstream Republicans.

It was practically an invitation for upheaval.

And upheaval it was.

From the start, Paul’s supporters took energetic charge of the convention, electing their own convention chairman and naming 21 of Maine’s available 24 delegates from among their ranks, and electing themselves to seat a majority of the state Republican Committee.

So, not only did the Paul supporters take over the convention, they took over the state committee.

A total coup.

And a not-so-subtle reminder that Mainers pride themselves on their involvement in politics, in having a say in our republic.

Having a say is one thing, though, and shouting into the din is quite another.

The convention was more about Republicans quarreling with each other, a mighty battle of Romney vs. Paul, than about a unified GOP effort to defeat Obama in November.

So, if we really want to talk about who won at Maine’s Republican State Convention, it was Obama. And he didn’t even have to make a speech.

As entertaining as the weekend convention was, if state GOP officers and delegates really can’t get along well enough to focus on the end goal, maybe it’s time for Maine to return to embrace a Massachusetts-style town-by-town primary vote.

It wouldn’t be as lively, but there would be fewer ugly, party-fracturing recriminations.

The opinions expressed in this column reflect the views of the ownership and the editorial board.

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 's picture

No comments, I'm shocked

I think I heard this morning that the National GOP intends to void the delegate selections made at the convention or not seat the Maine delegation. I'm sure this will continue to be entertaining as the GOP continues to embrace cults, gurus, and failed ideologies.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Yes, but oBAMa has completed

Yes, but oBAMa has completed his evolution of morphing into butterfly. He has finally come around to announcing that he favors same sex marriage after having denounced it since 2002. You wouldn't suppose he's doing that for campaign votes would you? If a democrat changes his position on something he is 'evolving'; if a republican does it, he is flip-flopping. See how that works?

Zack Lenhert's picture

" You wouldn't suppose he's

" You wouldn't suppose he's doing that for campaign votes would you?"

Does any politician do or say anything for any other reason? What about your guy Mitt?

BTW... Obama never "denounced" same-sex marriage, he just never supported it until now. He was remaining politically ambiguous, which is kind of dishonest in its own way.

 's picture

I agree with BTW

But there is a world of difference between Obama and Mitt and I disagree with "all politicians are alike".
I would never vote for Romney nor would I ever vote for a "tea party" republican. I would have under the right circumstances voted for a Nelson Rockefeller, Bill Scanton, Evertett Dirksen. I worked for Goldwater in 1964 and that experience confirmed for me that the current Republican Party which is the true heir of the Goldwater movement is the single greatest threat to our Constitutional form of Government since the Civil War. Therefore, I will never vote Republican.
Given that, Romney is a special case. Taking credit for the Auto bailout - absurd. Taking two, three, four, and in some case more contradictory positions on the same issue depending on his audience - appalling. The man has ambition and no core civic values he is willing to defend. He does have and make no mistake about this strong Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints values and that is to his credit. But he will not discuss them. He also sees his business life divorced from his moral values. That's a very dangerous view. In the end, Romney truely is a representative of the 1% who assumes his personal superiority over the 99%. He doesn't hate us; he just assumes we are inferior to himself. He will never represent me or the vast majority of this country.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

"I would never vote for

"I would never vote for Romney nor would I ever vote for a 'tea party' republican."
I would never vote for obama nor would I ever vote for a living democrat with the exception of perhaps, Joe Lieberman. I was born in a strong democrat household. Tended to vote democrat until Carter came along. I left the reservation when the democrat party nominated Carter for a second term. Their vision of what was good for the country no longer matched mine. The long and short of it, Jon, is that you and I are at opposite ends of the political spectrum, but I'm o.k. with that.

 's picture

So am I

Actually some of our exchanges have been fun.
I would suggest that you reflect on Thomas Jefferson's comment on membership in parties - its a matter of personality (not a quote). In my case, facts drive my conclusions. The Goldwater folks and Ayn Rand who I was studying at the time (I was 17) had no respect for facts as do the current republicans who have no respect for science or demonstrable information. And that was incompatible with my personality.

P.S. Read Gienapp The Formation of the Republican Party 1852-1856 (I butchered both the name and the title but its close) and Westcott's New Men, New Issues The formation of the Maine Republican Party Maine Historical Society (this one is good because it is based on voluminous original newspaper accounts of the times and since the newspapers were party affiliated their bias had to be taken into account). Both beautifully characterize the process and the personalities that created and I argue maintain the Republican Party.
I would also argue that the Carter Presidency was an aberration caused by Vietnam, Nixon, Ford's pardon of Nixon, and the Oil embargo. In normal times he could never have gotten the Democratic Party's nomination same by the way is true of Wilson who only got the nomination because the party organization in NJ wanted him out of the state and he was elected because T. Roosevelt was too arrogant to go Safari-ing for another4 years.
And I'm not now a registered Democrat. I'm an anti-corporatist or more correctly a pro-Constitutionalist who sees the mal-distribution of power as the core problem of the 20th century America. Each party has succumbed to the power distribution and no longer represents a consistent Constitutional view and the worst agents of that are the Tea Party and the Libertarians both of which were invented by the corporations.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

"I would also argue that the

"I would also argue that the Carter Presidency was an aberration caused by Vietnam, Nixon,"....
Couldn't it be said then, that the obama Presidency was an aberration also, caused by Bush, 911, Katrina, Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Wall Street collapse? If the left had not had such a deep hatred for Bush, much of it based on perceptions rather than reality, it is highly improbable that obama would have been elected president. Not provable, but certainly worth debate.

 's picture


Electing a black man in America even in 2008 particularly one with almost no government experience, no national reputation, no military service, and a campaign that really rested on the simple fact that he "was not bush" was not only historic but wildly atypical. But I think you are very wrong to suggest that it was perception not reality that drove the rejection of Bush. Iraq was real. Afghanistan justified. His policies directly lead to the economic collapse. He and particularly Cheney made very clear that they really did not listen to anybody. And he did not capture or kill Bin Laden or revenge the 9/11 attacks. I think all objective evaluations of Bush and its really too early but are well below even Carter in terms of performance. I've seen 45th - 48th worst President of all time. The Patriot act is unnecessary and unconstitutional. The "Bush Doctrine" the most damaging foreign policy mistake ever. And the secret Oil & Gas meetings lead by Cheney got the Bush Administration off on the wrong foot from day one. No, Bush's poor performance was real, not perception.
Off to PA for a week; you'll have the comment section all to yourself.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Bush got Hussein and we

Bush got Hussein and we actually got to see him in captivity before he was executed. I'm still not convinced, and probably never will be, that the body dumped at sea was actually bin Laden's. What was the big rush in dumping him in the sea in the dark of night?
Bush's policies may have impacted the collapse, but they got lots of help from people like Barney Frank in key positions who's application of these policies also contributed. The collapse was a concentrated effort on the parts of many people and events. You can't just lay it all on Bush and Cheney; that jusn't isn't realistic and not even factual.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

P.S. I've not been a

I've not been a registered republican since 1973. I pay tribute to no political party.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Show me where I've ever

Show me where I've ever stated that Romney is my guy. For the record, I'm not a republican, either.

 's picture

Has nothing to do with GOP fiasco

He has never denounced same-sex marriage. Just has never thought it necessary. NO. I think the consensus is that he will lose votes by his announcement. He'll lose black votes and some independents and gain none. I seem to remember a republican campaign made up entirely of "he voted against it before he voted for it" and talking about the democratic candidate flip-floppping so none of the BS republican victimization stuff.
Another case of Obama leadership as opposed to Romney showing again that he won't stand up against anything even some minor league hillbilly crack on the raadio. Think its time he bows out and lets his wife run the campaign.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Strange, I heard audio sound

Strange, I heard audio sound bytes two days ago, one in which he said he believed that marriage was a union between a man and a woman, and, the other in which he stated that he was not in favor of same sex marriage. His voice; his comments. I think you're engaging in a bit of verbal stunt flying, Jon.


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