TAMPA, September 2, 2012 – By the time of Marco Rubio’s speech at the Republican National Convention (RNC), rhetoric overload and sore feet had overcome any desire I had to listen. I sat down at a table in the corridor of the Tampa Bay Times Forum. A few minutes later, several young people sat in the other chairs.
One of them was wearing a tee shirt that read, “Texas Remembers the Alamo, and the Maine, and the Oklahoma, and the Louisiana, and the Oregon, and the Massachusetts.”
Those are the other five states in which Ron Paul had majorities one week before the RNC. Together with the three states he actually won (Iowa, Minnesota and Nevada) Ron Paul would have carried eight states had many of those delegates not been unseated at the last minute.
The man wearing the tee shirt was Chris Howe, Ron Paul supporter and alternate delegate from Texas. Rob Hinojosa was a guest and the graphic designer of the tee shirts.
One day before, both had marched out of the RNC along with the Maine delegation and an army Ron Paul’s other delegates chanting “As Maine goes, so goes the nation!”
Howe and Hinojosa went to work on their smart phones and in short order produced Ashley Ryan, 21, the youngest national committeewoman in the history of the Republican Party.
Ryan confirmed that Ron Paul did indeed still have 20 of the 24 delegates from Maine as of the day before the RNC. They had been ready for a fight since learning of a challenge to the delegation a month earlier.
All that has been reported so far is that the delegation was contested on the grounds that the state convention did not follow “parliamentary procedure.” However, the details tell a very different story.
“The contest was filed by current national committeewoman Jan Staples and Peter Cianchette, who was the Romney state director for Maine. Those are well-known Romney supporters. They filed the contest based on the claims that our state convention lacked credentialing and lacked security. The ironic thing about that is that Jan Staples is on the executive committee for the party, so it was her job to plan the state convention. So if there was lax credentialing or if there was lax security, that would have been her fault,” explained Ryan.
Credentialing and security means that the officers of the convention ensure that all inside are who they say they are and that only duly elected delegates are present to vote.
“When they first presented their case to the contest committee, the contest committee found that there wasn’t enough evidence to invalidate the state convention or to rule against the delegates. So, instead of throwing it out like you would in a regular court of law – in a court of law if you sue someone and you don’t have enough evidence your case gets thrown out – in this situation the RNC kicked it down the line for a few more weeks and said we’ll figure it out in Tampa,” continued Ryan.
So, the convention is chaired by a Romney supporter and the national committeewoman in charge of credentialing and security is a Romney supporter. After Ron Paul supporters win a landslide victory, that same committeewoman joins Romney’s state campaign director in filing a contest based upon her own failure to ensure proper credentialing and security. The matter is put before the RNC, who are working hand in hand with Romney’s campaign.
As Ron Paul himself once wrote of the Federal Reserve System, “If that sounds fishy, then you understand it just fine.”
A call on Friday to Ms. Staples’ home phone was not returned.
Facing similar pressure, four of the five states agreed to have some of their delegates replaced with Romney supporters, but Maine held out.
“We didn’t agree to anything. We decided that we’d fight until the very end. The Committee on Contests made a recommendation to the Committee on Credentials to take 10 of our delegation off, 10 of our alternates off, so that’s 20 people total, and then the RNC hand-picked 10 delegates and 10 alternates to take their place, obviously who are all Mitt Romney supporters, all hand-picked and for the most part, party insiders” said Ryan.
So who were these unelected delegates? Are they even from Maine?
“These people are from Maine, but the people who chose these people are not from Maine. From what I’ve been told, but I haven’t been able to confirm this yet, our state party paid for them to come down, paid for their travel expenses and their hotel expenses, which a lot of people are incredibly angry about because they worked for months and in some cases years to make sure that they could afford to be here. They saved up over the four years to be able to fly down and now the state party is paying to fly down people who were never elected,” said Ryan
These details lend insight into former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele’s comment to Jon Stewart that the RNC’s treatment of Ron Paul and his supporters was “the height of rudeness and stupidity.”
“Why would you alienate them,” continued Steele, “get on the floor and not let them speak? Let his name go up on the board and let them see the numbers of electoral votes that he received.”
Had all of his delegates been seated, Ron Paul would also have been entitled to a 15-minute, unedited speech.
Apologists for the RNC claim that all of this was done to ensure that the convention came off as a show of unity within the party behind its nominee for president.
One has to wonder, though. What were they really so afraid of?
Tom Mullen is the author of A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.