Monday, April 07, 2008

Scenes from the front 

I received a letter from one delegate to the CD 6 convention, one portion of which I used in the post just below. Here's the letter in full, unedited:
It was interesting what happened at the CD6 convention and I wanted your take on it. I don't know whether you witnessed any of what went on Saturday or heard from anyone. The session lasted until after 7pm. All of the National Delegate candidates were vetted beforehand to determine whether they would vote for and support John McCain's nomination. That information was provided on the displayed list of the candidates to aid in voting by the BPOU delegates.

From the results of the voting, it appears that the Ron Paul supporters plan to hijack the nomination from John McCain I am making that judgement from observations of went on during the meeting, discussions overheard. Just linking the events together with the results proved to be interesting. Such analasys of causality is characteristic of my profession. The final capper was towards the end of the resolution balloting when the National Delegate selection results were anounced and what happened at the end when a motion was made to bind the selected delegates to vote for John McCain The sound of a stuck pig is more civil than the Paulestinian Jihadists (Ron Paul Supporters) cry of foul. They started getting really uncivilized during the discussion. At least one of the selected delegates selected claimed that he "didn't understand" the question that was asked each delegate. The Rules Committee made it clear during the discussion that during the vetting process everyone was asked the same two questions in the same words.

If one was the suspicious type one might suspect that the Ron Paul supporters were given marching orders before the convention to vote in a block for specific supporters of Ron Paul as delegates. I must confess that I looked over the shoulder of one of the known Ron Paul supporters in violation of their secret ballot privilege to see who they were voting for. My interpretation of the way thing went is that this was orchestrated in advance. If one could get access to the ballot, one might surmise from the numbers there may have been an unbalanced number of votes for the ones who won. Being of a suspicious nature I might further surmise that it wsa an unnaturally high block of votes for supporters of Ron Paul's names that had the highest vote totals. Have you heard any rumblings of such possibilities?

Also it was interesting who wound up being selected as tellers for that process that when I volunteered they didn't want me in the group. Aren't the tellers and assistants picked in advance?
First, I wasn't there as my broadcast duties prevented me from participating at the caucuses, and because I knew the convention was going to go long (I'd pretty much have left after the speechifying, which frankly I'd have to say would be the least interesting part of the day.

Second, the description of the question asked by the nominating committee in this letter says the candidates were asked if they "would vote for and support" McCain. The description on Leo's blog says only support with a 'maybe' answer possible. I'll ask around to get the exact wording, which seems important to me now. As noted by commenter J. Ewing, you can be a Fred Thompson guy who now supports McCain. But if you were asked if you would vote for McCain at the convention and misrepresented that, a more serious question can be raised about whether those delegates should be seated. And regardless, in my view the motion to bind the delegates to McCain, passed by CD6 late in the day, exists and will have to be decided by higher rules and credentialing committees.

Last, I was told by Andy Aplikowski that many delegates left the convention after voting for national delegates, so that while more than 300 were there the vote on binding was taken by a group of less than 200. I would argue this is not a problem for the Paul supporters, if we are to believe that they stayed in higher proportion than the McCain supporters. It is a problem for McCain's supporters. Michael and I have questioned on air whether the McCain campaign in Minnesota has been adequately staffed and organized. That you might have lost that vote because your people left the room should be of great concern to the McCain campaign. Even if you think the national convention will be like a coronation, there's work to be done to be sure the crown rests easily.

Conventions are often messy (and DFL ones more so, taking Kevin Ecker's example) but it appears this one was more than it should have been, and that the majority might have taken a play off, as we say in sports. That's not the minority's fault.

UPDATE: Drew Emmer has an independent assessment from the front. He apparently had no problem telling who the Paul supporters were. Drew thinks the rules were changed ex post; again, I am asking what questions were asked by the nominating committee. I am told that some answers to the two questions were changed during the nominating speeches.

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