Ron Paul plans to take his message outside GOP state convention Friday

Presidential candidate Ron Paul, effectively denied a chance to address this weekend’s  Republican State Convention, plans to speak instead to his supporters and other participants Friday morning outside the Mayo Civic Center convention site in Rochester.

The decision follows several unsuccessful requests to the state GOP seeking a speaking slot for the Texas congressman, according to Marianne Stebbins, Minnesota coordinator for the Paul presidential campaign.

Stebbins said that a letter from GOP chair Ron Carey on Friday said he would only consider allowing Paul to speak if he “withdraws from the presidential race and publicly endorses our presumptive nominee, Senator John McCain, prior to our convention.”

Considering Carey’s “one condition” unacceptable, the Minnesota Paul campaign confirmed the Friday morning event.

“I put in five calls to the MN GOP over the past several weeks, requesting a simple yes or no on letting Dr. Paul speak, with no response,” said Stebbins, “and only received the written denial following a demand for response via certified mail.”

Depending on Paul’s flight schedule, supporters may invite him to the convention after it begins in an effort to let delegates decide for themselves if they wish to hear him speak briefly, according to Stebbins.

Efforts to reach GOP officials over the weekend were unsuccessful.

From ‘dismissal’ to ‘challenge’

In early April, Paul supporters won six of 12 delegate slots to the September GOP national convention at 4th, 5th and 6th District conventions. Since then, GOP leadership has expressed attitudes toward Paul supporters that ranged from dismissal to outright antagonism. In a recent email memo to the GOP “Leadership Team,” Minnesota state party chair Ron Carey now calls Paul supporters “a serious challenge.”

The question remains, “A serious challenge to what?”

Are Paul supporters a serious challenge to GOP unity because they stubbornly insist on supporting a candidate with no chance of winning the presidential nomination?

Are they a serious challenge because their touted delegate victories at district conventions were by plurality, not majority, votes and undermine aggregate state party support for McCain?

Or are Paul supporters a serious challenge to what they contend is the façade of Republican principles reflected in the likes of “transcendent” candidate McCain and other Republican candidates?

Paul supporters are under no delusion that their man can wrest the nomination away from presumptive GOP nominee McCain. They see Paul’s continued presence in the race, however, as neither Quixotic stubbornness nor entirely symbolic. Supporters view it as a means to continue the effort to return the party to Goldwater-Reagan principles.

“Having the majority [of Minnesota’s 41 delegates to the GOP National Convention] means we can appoint our own people to the platform and other national convention committees, and it gives us a better chance of having Ron Paul speak at the national convention,” Stebbins said in an email to Paul supporters.

Anticipating a state convention rules report that would be designed to keep Paul advocates from becoming national delegates, Stebbins says supporters will ask convention delegates to amend the rules to make them more fair and open to all interested in competing for the delegates slots.

“Other challenges to the rules may be brought in an orderly fashion, but by no means as an attempt to disrupt the convention,” said Stebbins. “We simply favor an open, democratic process to allow for the delegation to make decisions about whom it wishes to support.”

On the issue of Paul delegates winning national delegates slots based on pluralities, rather than majorities, Stebbins replied that in all such cases, convention rules were followed.Specifically in the 6th District, she said, convention rules allowed the election of delegates with less than 51 percent of the vote. Stebbins noted that Paul supporters garnered all three delegate slots in the 5th District, which followed a majority rule.

“We anticipate the state convention having a 50 percent rule in place (to elect national delegates), and we will have to meet that goal,” says Stebbins. “All we are asking for is a fair and open process.”

Paul supporters directly involved in the congressman’s campaign lay claim to a history of working within the Republican Party from the local to the district to the state and national levels.

Positioning Paul supporters as “a serious challenge” without offering specifics risks alienating many loyal party members, both inside and outside the Paul camp, supporters believe. Better for the party, they argue, to debate issue differences among Republicans right up to the actual September nomination at the convention in St. Paul.

Fwd: FW: Fwd: Turn out your folks, please!
Dueling emails between the Paul campaign and the state GOP lend credence to Paul supporters’ contention of a rift between party leadership and the party’s grass-roots. Emails urging delegate turnout for McCain came not from his campaign, Stebbins notes, but directly from GOP chair Carey. She contends that such action encouraging turnout for only one candidate is a misuse of the GOP chairman’s power. The party bylaws, she says, clearly forbid such activity.

In an email to the GOP “Leadership Team,” Ron Carey wrote, “We need to realize that all the planning in the world is for naught, if our traditional conservative Republican Delegates and alternates do not turn out in Rochester … Every Ron Paul supporter will be in Rochester to swell their ranks. Empty chairs will be filled with Ron Paul Alternates. Please take this as a serious challenge … We need to have a full convention delegation that reflects the strong majority support across the state for our presumptive nominee, John McCain.”

Carey’s email included an attached email from Stebbins to Paul supporters urging the candidate’s delegates and alternates to turn out. Stebbins then attached Carey’s email and her prior email to a new one urging Paul supporters to show up in Rochester.

“Ron Carey is now forwarding my emails in an effort to turn out McCain delegates,” said Stebbins. “I’m turning it back on him.”

“We cannot stress how important it will be for each Ron Paul delegate and alternate to be in Rochester for the state convention,” Stebbins exhorted Paul supporters in her first email. “We have elected 7 delegates to the national convention so far, and if we can get the 14 from state elected, we will send a majority for Ron Paul to the national convention. … We CAN elect these 14 from state, but … it is going to take every last Ron Paul delegate and alternate. A delegate who doesn’t show is likely to be replaced by a McCain alternate.”

Carey countered in response: “I need your help to motivate EVERY member of your delegation to get to Rochester and be in their chairs at 9 AM Friday … In Oklahoma, the Ron Paul people immediately tried to take control of the convention as soon as the gavel went down.  …  Please work … to get people in Rochester who support John McCain by early Friday AM.”

Some of those delegates, Stebbins is betting, will arrive even earlier — to listen to Congressman Paul.

Ron Paul to speak Friday morning

Texas Rep. Ron Paul is scheduled to address supporters and others at 7:30 a.m. Friday outside the State Republican Convention, which runs through Saturday in Rochester. The event will be at Mayo Memorial Park, which is adjacent to the Mayo Civic Center, site of the convention.

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Comments (6)

  1. Submitted by Robert Moffitt on 05/28/2008 - 03:11 pm.

    Good, insider’s view, Craig. Nicely done.

  2. Submitted by Jeff Urbanek on 05/28/2008 - 09:50 am.

    It still blows me away (and scares me) that Ron Paul garners so much support. This is a man whose newsletter included several racist and inflammatory comments. Look on David Duke’s website — see what he endorses and what he believes in. And then notice that he endorses Ron Paul as the best candidate to come along since himself. It is said you can judge a man by the company he keeps. Look at who his “friends” are, and I think there is reason for trepidation by the GOP.

  3. Anonymous Submitted by Anonymous on 05/28/2008 - 09:38 pm.

    It’s astonishing how some people have no idea what Ron Paul is all about. Perhaps they should read his website and his book.

    Crazy economic ideas??? He’s the only one in all of Washington DC that truly understands Free Market Economics! Govt. regulation in any part of the economy is a horrible idea. Perhaps you haven’t noticed that the value of the dollar has gone down 60% in 6 yrs vs the Euro(in 2002 they were 1to1, now 1 Euro is worth 1.60 dollars roughly). Perhaps you haven’t noticed that Oil is now 5 times higher in price than it was 6 yrs ago vs only 3 times higher against the Euro over the same period. The Federal Reserve is ruining the dollar and inflation is making every single one of you poorer. Not to mention that the govt removes Food and Energy from inflation numbers – the 2 most important things to inlcude! With those included, we’re at record inflation levels. Read chapter 6 of Ron’s book once. Read anything by the Mises institute and you’ll get a real economics lesson.

    As for the racist remarks, that’s already been disproven. Someone else wrote those articles and Ron Paul has never approved of them. He’s the only one that wants to end the drug war to stop poor people and minorities from being put in prison en masse. We spend billions upon billions fighting a war on drugs and what has it gotten us? a lot of people in prison and no fewer drugs on the streets.

    It’s time for the GOP old guard to step down and let the real, true conservatives take over and put the party back on the right path. Right now the GOP is nothing better than a bunch of Democrat liberals that want to spend us into bankruptcy.

    A few tidbits for you to read up on.. the war in Iraq was about Oil.. but not the way you think. It’s because Saddam was selling oil for Euros not dollars. The result of that simply devalues the dollar. Iran is doing the same thing, thus all the saber rattling to attack Iran. If the Euro becomes the new international standard currency (instead of the US dollar) guess where the dollar goes and where our economy goes with it?? that’s right down the drain.

    If the war was really about terror, they’d be hunting Bin Laden and not killing tens of thousands of innocent civilians in Iraq.

    Inflation: when the fed lowers the rates.. the banks and rich people get those new dollars before the prices actually rise so they’re able to buy a LOT more with it than you can by the time that new money gets to you. Notice how your salary doesn’t rise as fast as the prices you pay in the store? Inflation is a hidden tax on middle and lower income people. Prices go up quickly due to the lower value of the dollar .. salaries stay the same or rise very slowly in comparison. If you don’t believe me, read a 1966 article by Alan Greenspan himself where he was completely behind the idea of a gold backed currency instead of the junk we have now.

    If people would take the time to get their information from multiple sources and inform themselves, politics and our economy would be a lot better off.

    One last thing, we are now a 70% consumption economy. How long do you think we can continue consuming a lot more than we produce? We’re already at the point of being almost insolvent. We can only spend so long before going bankrupt. Do you honestly think your children and grandchildren will like having a 9 trillion dollar debt to pay back? or the 40+ trillion in entitlement programs (SS, medicare, etc) that will have to be paid somehow?

  4. Submitted by Jonathan Kovaciny on 05/28/2008 - 11:27 pm.

    @Jeff Urbanek:
    The racist smears have been discredited long ago, and Ron Paul has won several congressional elections since those allegations surfaced. I am not saying that the newsletter content was excusable. I am saying that it is campaign mud that you only hear about because his opponents know it costs him votes regardless of its veracity. The fact that these allegations “surfaced” on the eve of the NH primary should give you some clue that these are politically motivated attacks.

    Ron Paul is arguably the *least* racist person in the federal government because he does not vote for bills that grant special privileges to groups of people (“blacks”, “minorities”, etc.) but rather fights for the rights of the *individual* as outlined by the Bill of Rights. The rest of our government makes race a very big issue, asking about it in census data, offering grants to minority-focused groups, etc.

    @Bernice Vetsch:
    Ron Paul did not arrive at his economic stances lightly. Rather, he has spent literally decades studying free market economics with the likes of Hayek and Mises. Paul has written multiple books on economics, detailing why he believes what he believes. I don’t think you’ll find any other presidential candidates to have given even close to that much thought to economic policies. Check out or read the book “Politically Incorrect Guide to Capitalism” by Robert P. Murphy to get a better idea of the Austrian School of economic thought. I didn’t think much of economics until I came across the Austrian paradigm, and now I can’t get enough of it.

  5. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 05/28/2008 - 08:17 pm.

    Yes, Ron Paul has crazy ideas, especially about economics, but no crazier than John McCain’s view that we need to stop “crippling” business with government regulation. This no doubt comes from his economic advisor Phil Gramm, who as a senator in 2000 slipped some provisions into a huge budget bill that forbade the government from regulating the financial services industry. The intended result was to allow the companies to be more “creative.” The actual result was the housing meltdown that is harming both lenders and buyers here and around the world. Perhaps they got too creative without proper oversight.

    As president, at least Paul would favor ending our illegal occupation of Iraq. I would say that puts him way ahead of McCain in the minds of millions of Americans, especially his supporters.

  6. Submitted by Matt Ehling on 05/27/2008 - 11:41 pm.

    These actions on the part of the Republican Party reveal an institution on the brink of ideological crisis. In rejecting the infusion of energy and ideas that Paul’s supporters are attempting to bring to the party, the GOP seems to be tacitly acknowledging that its contemporary doctrines are not strong enough to drive the party’s political machinery on their own merits anymore. Rather, GOP elders seem to be indicating that the party machinery must be insulated against ideological reform – even if that reform comes up through the party itself.

    It remains to be seen what the GOP will ultimately decide to do. The Paul voters could be absorbed into the party structure for the long-term if they can be assured that they’ll have a voice in reformulating the direction of the GOP. If not, they may schism off to the Libertarian party, in numbers which could make or break John McCain’s candidacy.

    American politics has been here before. We need only look back a few years to see how the Democrats dealt with a similar challenge. After the Nader campaign seriously eroded Al Gore’s vote total in 2000, the Democratic Party did not try to lock out progressive activists who had formerly voted Green. Rather, the party infrastructure absorbed many of these same people, whose energy and involvement has reinvigorated the party over the past eight years. One wonders if the GOP will learn the same lesson.

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