Liveblogging a GOP District Convention

Hey, political junkies. I'm at the Texas Senate District 14 (more or less Travis County) Republican convention and it's dragging on so I might as well take advantage of the free wireless provided by the Austin ISD to put some notes out about the experience of attending a district convention. Special thanks to the folks from Americans for Prosperity who got bored and abandoned their booth in the convention hall, unwittingly providing me with a comfy place to sit down and share my thoughts.

So, how did I get here? Most people who haven't been through the process have no idea how one gets involved in the convoluted process through which the parties pick their candidates and set their platforms. You go and vote in your primary or in a caucus and you think that's all there is. That's really just the beginning. After you vote in the primary some of the most motivated voters get together and hold a precinct convention.

Attendees at the precinct convention vote to select delegates who then go to a regional convention, in this case broken down by Senatorial districts, which is why I'm at the Senate District 14 convention right now. Our precinct convention had an impressive turnout. In 2006 there were three of us at the convention. This year there were more than two dozen, which is a big step forward for our largely rural district. Of course, the Democrats had even more, but the growth we showed was very encouraging.

Here at the district convention we pick another set of delegates who get to go to the state convention, and at the state convention they will pick our state's delegates to the national convention this summer. In addition to picking delegates each of these conventions votes on resoultions which ultimately get passed up through the process in hopes of finding their way into the party platform, which is symbolically very important because it gives a sense of where the party body politics stands on the issues and ought to be taken to heart by candidates, even if the resolutions include no absolute compulsion to enact legislation down the road.

I don't guarantee that all the district conventions around the country are just like this one, but there are going to be a lot of basic similarities and even Democrat conventions will be structurally similar. Ours may be a bit unusual, because we're representing a Republican minority in an overwhelmingly Democratic district within a state which is equally overwhelmingly Republican. Every statewide elected official in Texas is a Republican. All but one elected official in this district is a Democrat. A very weird political situation. I knew this before the convention, but it was really driven home to me on the drive over here when it took 45 minutes to get here from my house which is all of four miles away because my route took me by the Texas Exposition and Heritage Center where the Democrats were holding their convention with so many attendees that traffic from every direction was blocked by endless lines of cars and by pedestrians who had parked miles away and walked to the convention.

I have to admit it was pretty intimidating, but our Republican turnout isn't exactly embarassing. We've got double the numbers that turned out for the 2006 convention and that includes lots of first-time participants. Many of the new delegates were brought here by their interest in Ron Paul, but for the most part they're sticking around and taking it seriously and deserve some credit for that.

2:43 PM: What Happened to Lunch Breaks?

So, you may wonder why my first entry beyond the initial introduction comes at almost 3 p.m. It's largely because it took us about six hours from the 9 a.m. start of the convention to actually get beyond the first procedural rules debate and move on to the meat of the convention.

What held us up was a very real, but ultimately futile, debate over the apportionment of delegates for the state convention. It should have been clear from the very beginning that there was no equitable solution to the problem, but a lot of people were very unhappy so the debate got dragged out to the bitter end over a period of over five hours before we had even elected the permanent officers of the convention.

The heart of the problem is how the state party decided to assign delegates to the various districts. They used as their basis the votes which were cast for Governor Rick Perry in the 2006 election. The problem is that it was an election with very low Republican turnout where many Republicans voted for other Republican candidates but chose not to vote for Perry who had lost a lot of support as a result of his endless shilling for toll road construction which a great many Republicans opposed for a variety of reasons. Voters were offered two independent gubernatorial candidates in that election as well, so that drew away even more votes from Perry.

The end result of all this is that in a district with 196 precincts we were assigned only 164 delegate slots. That means that some precincts were guaranteed not to get any delegates to the state convention at all. In fact, because some precincts were much larger than others and got as many as five delegates based on voting population, we ended up with 95 small precincts who were mathematically excluded from having delegates. The way the math worked out, the only chance those small precincts had of any representation at all was if their delegates were selected for one of 32 at-large slots by the nominating committee. Not surprisingly some people were unhappy.

The dissatisfaction with this state of affairs came largely from many of the first-time delegates, especially Ron Paul followers who saw themselves being disenfranchised because the delegate slots were going to be assigned by an administrative committee which no one had voted for and appointed by the convention chairman. Even worse, the at-large delegate slots could be assigned to anyone including extra delegates from the large precincts which were already well represented.

The natural suspicion was that the nominating committee would be dominated by insiders and they would pick their cronies as delegates and leave the newcomers out in the cold. It's a reasonable concern, but to be fair, the nominating committee was set up with some representation for the Ron Paul supporters, including prominent local libertarian-leaning Republican and candidate for County Tax Assessor, Don Zimmerman. Most of those who were upset were unaware that they had an advocate on the committee, so debate got pretty heated.

The focus of the debate was on a minority report submitted by Robert Morrow who differed with the rest of the rules committee on how the problem of inadequate representation should be dealt with. The majority plan was to select the at large delegates from anyone available. Morrow's proposal was that the apportionment should be changed slightly with 36 at-large slots specifically reserved for delegates from the small precincts selected by the nominating committee.

Debate was heated and some delegates were unruly and really angry. At one point the Sergeant at Arms had to be sent over to threaten some people with expulsion. There were three microphones set up and dozens lined up at each to ask questions and make statements and generally express a great deal of dissatisfaction. Unfortunately, the rules committee chairman didn't explain the situation very well so there were a lot of questions and it took a long time for people to realize that there was no "fair" solution to the situation and that delegate slots could not possibly be allocated to satisfy everyone because the situation we were given by the state primary system was the problem and nothing we could do would change that. Even the minority report proposal wouldn't solve the problem because it replaced underrepresentation of the small precincts with underrepresentation of the larger precincts.

Not surprisingly, with the larger precincts having more delegates, the majority report was eventually adopted and the minority report was just barely voted down. The reason the process took so long was that it took a roll-call vote and several procedural voice votes to resolve the issue. Some of the dissatisfied delegates walked out after the final vote, but it was heartening to see that many Ron Paul supporters remained and I hope they'll keep working within the party to generate positive change.

More than five hours later, with the delegate crisis resolved, we've now moved on to short speeches from our various candidates for office while the nominating committee works on selecting the at large delegates in another room.

4:33 PM: Nero Fiddles as the Committees Drone On and On

Once we resolved our procedural differences to universal dissatisfaction, all the fine candidates for local office began making speeches in the main hall/basketball court. But the real business pf the convention was happening in two noisy and overcrowded back rooms where the nominating and resolutions committees were meeting.

The committee meetings seemed to be where the excitement was, so that's where I headed. What exactly was going on there was hard to tell despite my keen reporter's senses, because the nominating committee room was closed to observers and the noise was so oppressive in the resolutions committee meeting that I could barely hear what was going on.

I did get to talk to some of those who met with the nominating committee and got the scoop a bit after the fact. First off, they kept about 110 people waiting to be interviewed for the 32 slots which were available. They kept them waiting for almost an hour while going over the credentials of prior applicants who saw the committee during the week before the convention. Then they called them in four at a time to meet with four-man subcommittees where each candidate had 30 seconds to speak. By the accounts of those I talked to, the interviewers seemed to represent a breadth of factions and perspectives and they gave people a fair hearing, but the rumor was that only a handful of slots were being made available at the convention and most had been assigned to those who applied in advance. The vote on the nominations is coming up, and there are likely to be objections of all sorts raised.

I spent some time at the resolutions committee meeting, despite the overwhelming noise in their meeting room which was essentially a converted stairwell with all the fine acoustic features you'd expect. It was hard to tell what people were proposing, but I know at least some of them were unhappy with the reaction they got and stormed out. One fellow made a very rational suggestion to change a proposed resolution for pulling out of the UN to a more moderate wording to withhold troops or money from UN projects which were not of benefit to the US. One very angry hard-money fan made an impassioned by largely incomprehensible attack on the Federal Reserve and the expanded powers of banking regulation which have been proposed for it. I even got my two cents in, with a quick suggestion that they strike a resolution in favor of posting the Ten Commandments on government property. I was not well received to say the least. When I told them that I didn't like my tax money being spent to promote a document which was at least 40% in violation of the separation of church and state the tension was palpable. But it was nice to at least pipe up and have my say.

Of course, we'll really have our say in a few minutes, when the two committees finally emerge and present their nominations and resolutions to the convention (the half of us who haven't left in despair or out of exhaustion). I'm bracing myself for debate into the wee hours.

6:28 PM: Rumors, Religion, and Recriminations

I bet that after the last report you thought I'd be reporting on some meaningful votes by now. No such luck. The committees are still deliberating, which has given me a chance to talk to some folks from neighboring precincts who are a bit more clued in than I am on the local political scene. While I've been worrying about national politics they've been in the local trenches witnessing some very dirty deeds that flew right by me. Now most of these are Ron Paul folks, but they're also genuine Republicans who want the party to change and improve and move forward with or without a Ron Paul candidacy, so I take their reports fairly seriously.

The big scandal of the convention is what appears to be a concerted effort by elements of the convention leadership to squeeze newcomers and nonconformists out of the process. The chairman of the convention is a fellow named Dr. Joe Pojman who is a member of the Legacy PAC, which is an ultraconservative, religious-right organization with a pretty scary agenda. He's been running things with a pretty heavy hand, applying Roberts Rules somewhat selectively, and shutting down anyone who doesn't march in step with his agenda. Particularly troubling have been his outright attacks on the Ron Paul Republicans who are trying to desperately to get a fair hearing at the convention. Before the convention he sent out emails, direct mailings and made phone bank calls to try to make sure that every blue hair turned out ready to do battle with what he calls "renegade Republicans". One postcard which he sent out to his supporters reads:

Our platform is under attack! A new angry, populist group has taken over several precinct conventions. Many of them do not believe government has a role defending traditional marriage or protecting the sanctity of innocent life. Many are opposed to our fight against Islamic extremism. They want to take over our state convention and strip delegates away from our presidential nominee. Legacy PAC will equip you to defend our platform at the upcoming SD convention!

Inviting loyalists to attend strategy meetings so they can work together to disenfranchise enthusiastic party neophytes is really unappealing – like making the party into a private club for the morally righteous. There are some ethical questions surrounding this campaign of exclusion. At the least it's not terribly Republican and doesn't fit with the 'big tent' traditions of the party. It may be unethical, as some have claimed that resources from the non-partisan Texans for Life PAC may have been used in the campaign. Obviously his behavior is contrary to the best interests of a party which desperately needs new blood and new ideas. It particularly troubles me that several people I talked to confirmed overhearing him essentially declaring war on the Ron Paul faction and promising to crush them.

To me it's all somewhat inexplicable. That the religious right should object to Ron Paul makes very little sense. Paul is as pro-life and pro-Christian as you can possibly get, and while his followers may be a more diverse group, plenty of them follow right along in his footsteps. I wouldn't think common ground would be that hard to find, and this kind of hostility can only be bad for the future of the party. In fact, it might destroy whatever future the party has.

7:45pm – Chicks and Chickens Coming Home to Roost

So I went out to the BigAss EcoTruck and drove down the road to bring back some yummy KFC chicken for folks from our precinct delegation, and when I got back my prime blogging spot had been usurped by someone giving away a rather intimidating selection of Jack Chick comic booklets. So I moved over to the now abandonned table of our friends at the East Austin Republicans. As I left I snagged a copy of Chick’s classic denouncement of the satanic influence of the tooth fairy and Easter Bunny, Fairy Tales?, for my future reading pleasure.

As we dined the committees finally returned with their results and they read the endless list of nominee and alternate names. I didn’t mention it, but I was picked as our precinct’s one alternate earlier in the day, so I got to have my name read. With the alternate number of 112 I’ve probably got a 50/50 shot at being seated as a delegate if I go to the state convention in Houston. Apparently by that point a lot of delegates are discouraged and the most dogged alternates get picked to fill their spots.

Objections began almost as soon as the list of delegates and alternates was read. The Ron Paul supporters had come up with the quixotic strategy of moving that each of the almost 100 at large delegates and alternates be debated and voted on separately with a roll call vote. Based on the roll call vote we had earlier in the day that process would probably take the next 3 or 4 days, so that proposal was not well received. But as it turned out that proposal was not the actual proposal, just a convenient misinterpretation of it from the convention chair, and in the confusion he managed to get it voted down and shut down further debate and additional motions and basically ram things through to a vote on approving the at-large delegates and the alternates.

Then followed a series of confused and somewhat pathetic attempts to fill a small clutch of unfilled or vacated alternate seats by various means proposed by enthusiastic but naive neophytes, including an attempt to get a spot for some strangely dressed guy who attempted to get seated under a pseudonym and was then forced to reveal his real name, which consisted of 5 or 6 unpronouncable consonants, and then had his offer to serve voted down for his trouble. Ultimately the renegade faction caught on and after a number of unsuccessful attempts to vote people into the unfilled spots in some sort of equitable way they realized that whoever they shoved up to a microphone first could just ask for and get one of the empty slots by acclaimation, so that worked out fairly well for them, probably assisted by how tired and increasingly irritated most of the convention was getting.

By now it was getting late and the hall was getting less and less full, when we finally got to the report from the resolutions committee…

10:35pm – Send in the Goons!

So I’m home now, the convention having wrapped up right around 10pm in a conclusion which was both sudden and dismaying. As I mentioned before, everyone was getting tired by about 8:30 when the resolutions committee finally showed up with the fruits of their labor. I’ve got to give them credit. They did a difficult job and came up with what were generally improvements on the original slate of resolutions. We ended up with nothing which was embarassing and most of the resolutions were better written and made more sense than they did when first offered to them.

That having been said, things began to fall apart pretty quickly once they offered their report. It started when someone on the far side of the hall from us stood up at one of the microphones and entered a motion to adjourn before the resolutions had even been presented. Then there was a barrage of motions and questions and attempts to offer last minute minor amendments to the resolutions, and it became clear that some elements on both sides had just had enough.

The Ron Paul delegates. Strike that. We’re now calling them ‘Renegade Republicans’, as they were referred to in one of the attempts to demonize them which issued from the poison pen of Dr. Pojiman — and they’ve even embraced it and made themselves bumper stickers. It’s a much more positive and broadly applicable term, so I think it’s got legs.

Anyway, the renegades – who had suffered from organizational problems all along – began to fall apart and broke into two factions arguing over whether it would be better to just give up and go home or whether the resolutions mattered and ought to be heard out. Their squabbling was interspersed with attempts to introduce amendments to the resolutions, culminating in one which would have endorsed a prohibition of any use of torture by the US government. Attempts to get it discussed kept getting interrupted by a creepy little woman in an oversized pink coat who had seized control of one of the microphones and refused to give it up, while mocking and harassing the harmless latter-day hippy who proposed the amendment. The chairman then ruled the amendment out of order because it didn’t attach clearly to an existing resolution. Then with dozens waiting to propose other amendments the chairman cut off further discussion and called for a vote on the resolutions. With everyone tired and fed up they passed pretty much as written. That done, before anyone could catch their breath, someone moved to adjourn a quick vote came and it was all over except the recriminations.

Some observations and tidbits of information came to me as we packed up and headed out. It turns out that the efforts of the Legacy faction (as they were calling the religious righters associated with the Legacy PAC) was far more organized and insidious than I had realized. In addition to Dr. Pojman’s pre-convention smear campaign – which turned out to be more vicious and pervasive than I had initially realized – they actually had goons walking the convention floor, wired for sound and listening in on the planning sessions and conversations of the Renegades and reporting them back to their leaders so that anything the Renegades attempted to do could be countered before it even started. No wonder they seemed so frustrated and disgruntled. Oh, and pink coat lady was put at the mike on the convention floor as a shill to move things along. Pojman’s high-handed behavior at the podium while running the convention was irritating, but what was going on behind the scenes was far more reprehensible.

The Renegades came into this process eager to bring change and new ideas to the Republican party, and willing to work within the system if they were given a fair shake. Many of them were suspicious of the establishment, prone to calling everyone ‘neocons’ and eager to find a conspiracy. Some of us assured them there was nothing to fear and that we’d welcome them because the party needed new blood and had always claimed to be a ‘big tent’. But what went on at this convention and probably at others around the state and the nation provided the worst possible confirmation that all of their fears were real. There really are small-minded, bigoted elements in the GOP with no scruples and a screwed up system of values who put their own petty agenda and egomania above the welfare of the party. The party needs new blood to be strong and grow, but screw that. When people come to us offering their votes and their support, we’ll drive them away because they don’t pass the religious litmus test of a self-righteous minority.

The behavior of the Legacy group at this convention made me ashamed to be a Republican, and as far as I’m concerned the need to purge them or at the very least curtail their access to any positions of power is long past due. They are a net liability and if allowed to carry on as they did here in Austin they will marginalize and ultimately destroy the party.

Despite all of this, I think that the Renegades did manage to capture maybe 20% or more of the delegate positions and maybe a higher percentage of the alternates, which is pretty impressive and a tribute to their enthusiasm. It does raise some questions about the whole convention process, since they’re probably actually represented out of proportion to their actual turnout in the primary election. It leads me to suspect that the two extremes came out of the convention overrepresented at the expense of the rest of the more mainstream core of the party.

In a final touch of irony, towards the end of the convention, news filtered in from another neighboring convention that it went exactly the other way, with the Renegade faction seizing control and apparently shutting down the religious right faction there pretty effectively. I look forward with dread and fascination to see what happens when the factions meet again at the state convention.

On the way home I drove by the Democratic convention site and discovered that despite their enormous turnout and all of their internal strife they had wrapped up before we did. An unconfirmed source (the convenience store clerk down the block) told me they had turned out 12,000 people for their convention, and I find it credible. But it’s also troubling, because the chaos and infighting at our convention was not the behavior of a party ready to fight a foe which is more organized, more unified and has a groundswell of popularity which we can’t match. Very discouraging in what it promises for the future of this nation.


About Dave 536 Articles
Dave Nalle has worked as a magazine editor, a freelance writer, a capitol hill staffer, a game designer and taught college history for many years. He now designs fonts for a living and lives with his family in a small town just outside Austin where he is ex-president of the local Lions Club. He is on the board of the Republican Liberty Caucus and Politics Editor of Blogcritics Magazine. You can find his writings about fonts, art and graphic design at The Scriptorium. He also runs a conspiracy debunking site at


  1. Travis County SD25 got a bit heated at times, and was barely organized chaos, but tame by comparison. Thanks for the update on the rest of the county!

  2. I’d love to hear more about SD25. From what I understand the ‘Renegade’ faction came out on top there. How did that work out?


  3. Peggy, don’t take your rep at our convention to task over abandoning the booth. She had gone to lunch and did come back and let me keep hanging out there for a while until I moved to the FairTax booth which really was abandoned in a more permanent way.


  4. Dave,

    thanks for the article. I arrived at that convention about 07:30. They really did not want us ‘Renegades’ there because they see us as a problem. Our ideas are traditional; stemming from the beliefs of our forefathers. We believe in the constitution, small government, a sensible foreign policy, and an overhaul of our financial policies. We love our country or we would not have spent an entire day with at that convention where we disrespected and shown that we were not wanted.
    Many of us are new to this whole process and have become educated very quickly. The learning process will continue and our numbers will grow as ordinary people wake up to see their hard earned money depreciated, our national sovereignty depleted, and our freedoms eliminated. If nobody says anything, how long will it be before you have to have your blogs approved before you can post them?

    Thanks again for writing your account of yesterday 🙂


  5. Dave,

    I appreciate your diligent reporting and attention to detail, as well as your unswerving dedication to be fair to all, giving credit where credit was due, as well as criticism where it was also needed.

    But thank you mostly for your passionate plea regarding the future of our party.

    – George

  6. Thanks, George.

    And Stephen, the sentiment you express could be expressed with equal validity by almost anyone in any faction of the party. Those beliefs are held by the vast majority of Republicans, even if there are some individual variations.

    The problem is that some folks have not yet come to realize that what the more mainstream of the ‘renegades’ believe is nothing but a slightly more naive and idealistic version of what even the most jaded republicans at least pay lip service to. That ought to be some sort of common ground for working together.


  7. Dave,
    This is Steve from SD10 Fort Worth, TX. Pretty much the same thing happened here too. The Paulees were well represented and attempted to take control of the convention chair but lost by a 4 to 1 margin. The voting took two hours to complete and then the resolutions debating took another two plus hours. The convention was continuously interupted by Paulees wanting to inquire or debate every little item along with their appointed leader with his Roberts Rules book in hand to point out every little mistake.
    He had the gaul to request a recess just before the noninations were to be read so they could review the nominees before the reading and voting on them as a whole. Keep in mind we are in a rented autitorium and had it until 6:00PM and it is now close to 9:00PM.
    SD10 finally adjurned at 10:38PM. I got to hand it to our Chair, Stuart Lane for keeping his cool and alowing everyone the time to speak and made it fair. I was at the point of ready to throw something at the next Paulee who ran down to the microphone.

  8. Wow, you guys went even longer than we did by about 40 minutes. I don’t see the point of the kind of behavior you describe.

    In our convention I didn’t get the impression they were trying to take over. It was more like they were trying to make sure they got heard.

    In both cases and in the other conventions I’ve heard about it sounds like the most radical elements screwed things up for everyone by creating chaos so that more reasonable new voices never got to be heard.


  9. Why do you have to be a Freemason to get anything done around here? If you consider the smear campaign against us the days before,Dr.Pojman’s neocon agenda,and everything else we dealt with,we showed them our strength and unity:AND THEY WERE SCARED SHITLESS!!An impact was definitely felt within the party and we have a lot to be proud of. And booing Rick Perry was the best part of my day.

  10. Oh, good grief. What evidence do you have that any of these people were or are Freemasons? Or for that matter that if they are freemasons that caused them to misbehave in any way. Go back to the JBS meeting and leave the sane people alone. And while you’re there read up on the neocons. Pojman may have many flaws, but there’s no evidence he’s a neocon.


  11. Pojman personally sent e-mails and phone calls to party members warning them that RENEGADES were planning to hold the convention hostage.All I can say about you Dave is get with the real world.Pojman is a member of Legacy,a political action group that serves the interests of NEOCONS like John McCain,George Bush,and Rick Perry.I just have to ask,WHO’S SIDE ARE YOU ON ANYWAY?Stupidhead

  12. Glad you signed your comment ‘stupidhead’ because it fits.

    McCain is not a Neocon. You need to go look the term up and figure out what it means. For that matter I’ve seen no evidence that Pojman is one either. Legacy is a religious right group, NOT a neocon group.

    Until you have some idea what you’re talking about I’d suggest reading more and talking less.


  13. You need to get your head out your ass to make room for that RFID microchip McCain is going to shove up there.STUPIDHEAD!!!!

  14. The Ron Paul folks did hold the SD14 convention hostage, to the tune of probably about 5 extra hours. For probably around 500+ people, that’s pretty inconsiderate.

    Even though the “Legacy” folks are supposedly evil, they sure were better mannered and more intelligent than the other folks. Being 25 yrs old, I can’t help but think that I would not fit in with the Ron Paul people, even if I were to vote for him.

  15. The convention is not about you Sam.People need to stop thinking about themselves. 5hrs longer boohoo.Go fight in Iraq for the next 100yrs.If you vote McShithead we will be.

  16. Mark, are you aware that despite having two opportunities to vote for REAL ID, McCain didn’t vote for it either time?

    Again, inform yourself to avoid looking like a fool.

    And Mark, the fact that we COULD be in Iraq for 100 years does not mean that we WILL be in Iraq that long. No matter who gets elected we’ll be out of Iraq by 2010.


  17. Hello again. It’s really good to see discussion occurring on GOP topics. The right to disagree is one of the things that makes our country great and something we should appreciate and preserve. And again I commend Dave for this site and article.

    Sam, I don’t really see how we held up the convension for an additional five hours. The roll call votes took a while on the first votes concerning the Majority and Minority reports. There was a very long period of time when the commitees were deliberating. During the last leg of the convension it was my perception that we were railroaded pretty quickly and people wanted to adjourn before even hearing what the Resolutions Committee had prepared. I don’t think it is fair to place blame on anyone for this taking so long.
    I also don’t think it’s fair to say that we were less intelligent or poor mannered. For most of us it was the first time to participate in this process. Also, I think that as an American you would fit in just fine, Sam. We would welcome you with open arms. Sadly, we did not feel real welcomed by the Republican Party. I personally got lots of dirty looks from folks and could tell who was not on our side very easily.
    Dave, I hope we are out of Iraq before 2010 and hope that we are not in Iran. I don’t believe that anyone except for Ron Paul has promised to bring an end to this war. This war is unconsitutional and illeagal. It is fact that there are a lot of monitary interests for groups who are associated with our leaders.
    I do not believe that this is really the Will of the people. To me the voter turnout for both parties shows that this war has left a bad taste in the mouths of voters. People are voting against canidates instead of for canidates. I have heard many people say that they would vote for Obama or Hilary to keep McCain from getting into office as well as people voting for McCain to keep Hilary or Obama from getting into office. Sadly, the Democrats had a much larger turnout that us. I think this has to do a lot with the last 8 years. President Bush has endorsed McCain and I don’t think this helps him too much. We will definately fail this next election if we do not find a way to find common ground and work together.
    I also would like to ask that if anyone reading has not looked into Ron Paul that you google or youtube him. Please do not be turned off by us (his supporters). Many of us are brand new to this process and are learning. We do have the best intensions for our country and this party.


  18. OK Dave. . don’t make me do your homework for you. . . . (sigh)
    wkipedia: Neoconservatism is a political philosophy that emerged in the United States from the rejection of social liberalism and the New Left counterculture of the 1960s. It influenced the Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush presidential administrations, representing a realignment in American politics, and the defection of some liberals to the right side of the political spectrum.[1] Neoconservatism emphasizes foreign policy as the paramount responsibility of government, seeing the American role of world’s sole superpower as indispensable to establishing and maintaining global order.[2]

    Merriam-Webster: 1 : a former liberal espousing political conservatism 2 : a conservative who advocates the assertive promotion of democracy and United States national interest in international affairs including through military means
    — neo·con·ser·va·tism Listen to the pronunciation of neoconservatism \-və-ˌti-zəm\ noun
    — neoconservative adjective

    and wait, there’s more. . . and I know, I know. . you’ll probably say that you can’t believe everything on the internet, although may I point out that you disperse information via the internet, and I’m sure that you always tell the truth. BUT-
    After googling “Mccain supports reald id,” the result was the following: Results 1 – 10 of about 303,000 for mccain supports real id. (0.26 seconds.
    Don’t take my word for it – Try it for yourself.
    And do you really need me to point out to you that the enforcement of legislation does not, and should never be the enforcement of a religious or idealogical belief. That’s kinda why we left England, you see.
    And as far as I can tell, the Legacy seeks to push (and shove) their extreme and religious ideas down the sheeps’ throats via the creation and enforcement of legislation. That means? you guessed it! More governance over our lives! ! !
    And that to me, by definition, is in NO WAY CONSERVATIVE. YOU PUKE.

  19. Stephen,

    I really appreciate your comments. And, yes, you are correct. The Rules regarding Delegates were both confusing and unfair. A lot of the delays came from the Rules Committee being unable to clearly articulate their decision and it’s consequences. They also were not able to clearly pinpoint any positive aspects. In essence, though, the gist was that many precincts did not get delegates. These were people who took the time to go out and vote (in their own party’s primary, no less… as opposed to voting in another primary to sabotage someone); to go to their Precinct Conventions, spend hours on resolutions, organization, and working to become a Delegate to the County Convention in hopes of making it to the State Convention. In other words, if you put in the efforts to be a part of the process and you secure Delegate spots for the County, then you should be able to realize the benefits of the very positions which you earned for the county. The Rules Committee essentially created taxation without representation. Smaller precincts didn’t get Delegates. This would be the equivalent of the state of Wyoming not getting to vote in the Presidential election.

    A lot of time was wasted simply trying to get a clear understanding… one which never happened. Fortunately, one individual (from a large precinct who DID have Delegates) had enough prior knowledge to proactively prepare a remedy which was much more fair and balanced. This alone saved everyone many hours.

    Instead, the Legacy group sabotaged it and divided the Convention. And they also killed the proposal, leaving us with a very unfair one.

    Also, not everyone noticed this, but the actual tabulation of the vote was handled improperly. If you’ll recall, the person running the laptop behind the screen was encountering incredible technical difficulties. Additionally, he repeatedly made clerical errors which had to be corrected. However, as soon as the votes were in, he was instructed NOT to simply hit the Sum Button and give everyone the results then and there. Instead, the screen was immediately turned off and that individual was up there, alone, with no one assisting him. There was far too much room for error, technical difficulties, or even fraud.

    When I noticed this, I immediately went up to the stage and approached Pojman. As soon as I voiced my concerns, I noticed that several people were immediately behind me with the same anxiety. And the first three rows were extremely concerned. We were told no less than four times by Pojman that the announcement was going to be made officially by them when they were done tabulating the votes. And when he got tired of us pointing out the serious problems with that, he turned and walked away.

    As if that were not disturbing enough, we have much bigger issues. The most important is that we all need to shed the divisive labeling of Ron Paul People, Legacy, Neocon, Right Wing Extremist, One of the Hillbilly Old School Redneck Republicans, and all of the other labels which I heard. We can’t have a bunch of infighting. Everyone who was there cared and cares about the political process and the future of this country. It’s very unfortunate that the entire Convention was “predetermined” to be a conflict before it even began. Emails were sent. Postcards were mailed. Phone calls were made. All with inflammatory language. And, in fact, Pojman, out of nowhere, several days and nights before the Convention, on multiple occasions, angrily stated that he was declaring war on The Ron Paul Republicans. (Actually, check out Liberty Maven. There’s a great piece in there today that the members of the GOP have actually become the “New Conspiracy Theorists”.) I also received the phone call that many of us received. And the timing was priceless. We had received urgent messages that volunteers were needed to help set up. Well, despite the fact that my day was extremely busy on Friday, particularly as I was covering for someone else, I was still hoofing it to leave early and make the trek to go and help set up. As I was frantically trying to wrap things up, juggling far too much, I am distracted by a phone call on my cell phone that I have an urgent message. And it’s good ol’ Kirk Overbee, telling me about the dangers of a renegade group who would try to take over the Convention and that I absolutely needed to make it there the next day. Well, you got your wish, Kirk. I made it there. In fact, I was one of the people who helped you get the rows of chairs set up. Yet, you didn’t have a clue that I was a Ron Paul Person because I don’t look like your distorted image of what a Ron Paul Person is. Talk about a great case study for Prejudice in America.

    So, anyway, the next day, I’m almost immediately hearing from people about “these Ron Paul people”, not realizing they were talking to one all the while. You know, for what it’s worth, Ron Paul and the Ron Paul People had nothing to do with the divisiveness of the Convention. Four years ago, during the Convention leading up to the last Presidential run, the same Legacy group truly held the Convention hostage. And it was really for nothing more than a petty, childish battle between two people with wounded egos. The whole goal was to get someone “reprimanded by the principal.” It wasn’t about the Party Platform. It wasn’t about Delegates. It wasn’t about Rules. It wasn’t about Credentials. It wasn’t about the Presidential Race or even the Democrats. It was about a petty squabble between a few people.

    The divisiveness already existed here, and the Legacy has perpetuated it. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Could some of us Ron Paul People learn a little more about process or be more articulate? Yes. But the Legacy group can also concede that this is a government for the people, by the people, and work with us. We’re not trying to chase you away. We want to work with you. It’s unfortunate that, because of Kirk Overbee’s phone calls from a supposed Non-Profit, Non-Partisan group known as Texas Alliance for Life (of which Joe Pojman is conveniently the Director), many people decided to not even attend the Convention. In fact, one of those people was a fellow co-worker of mine. He was actually on the fence, leaning a little more towards McCain, and trying to figure out where he stood, what he believed in, and how the whole process worked. Well, it didn’t happen. And I wonder how many times it (didn’t) happen and how many people reacted the same way… by not participating.

    Also, many of us waited in line for two hours to appear before the Nominations Committee. This was unfortunate, given that they had closed early during the officially scheduled slots during the week. Had they simply put in the time on the front end, perhaps many hours would not have been wasted during the Convention.

    And let’s not forget about the Resolutions Committee. Although I wanted to attend, I wasn’t able to. I was in a two hour line. One which could have easily been avoided. However, I had been told by someone who did make it there that it was extremely loud and chaotic. Additionally, people were so up in arms about so many of the Resolutions that many significant changes were being made. Well, imagine my surprise when the Platform appeared on the screen with very few substantive changes whatsoever. And that’s when I could see it. Remember our fool behind the screen? Once again, technical difficulties. Glad we trusted you and only you with our votes!

    For those of you who weren’t there, the Convention had three microphones. As we prepared to move into Q&A, the lines at the mikes filled up. One guy tried to make a Motion for an Amendment and was initially told that he couldn’t. However, Joe Pojman decided he would continue to do his selective Parliamentary Procedure, and changed it by the second, as that little Witch from the Rules Committee cut in line and took over Mike # 1. Joe and she essentially had a conversation back and forth, making fun of the poor guy, telling him where he was messing up, telling him what he needed to do, and then telling him it was too late to fix what he had done wrong.

    Well, even though we had many people lined up for Q&A and then, subsequently, for Debate and possibly Amendments, Joe and Witch decided to usurp the Convention Body’s Authority, completely abandon Parliamentary Procedure, and end Debate (which never even actually started), and call the Platform to a vote. Unfortunately, so many people were exhausted and frustrated by this time, that the vote was passed. And this is extremely unfortunate. Although the Platform appeared to be a strong one, there were some devastating problems with it. At the very least, the pros and the cons needed to be fully disclosed and analyzed. Even if there weren’t any changes made, we all needed to understand the risks, the pitfalls and the advantages of these Resolutions.

    It’s inexcusable that we wasted so much time because the Rules for Delegates were so slanted and biased. That alone could have saved us hours. And, yes, it’s inexcusable that the “Ron Paul People” pulled the stunt of trying to vote on each individual Nominee. Even though that only took maybe 15 minutes of time, the true damage was from the impression that it created. I strongly feel that is when people ran out of patience. We certainly played into the stereotype of trying to “kidnap the Convention” at that point. Guilty as charged in that one instance. However, people were free to leave. If they really didn’t truly care about the Resolutions and just wanted to go home, they should have. Delegates had been selected. What else was there to care about if the Platform wasn’t of interest to you? Why keep the rest of us from discussing it and voting on it?

    Legacy was angry and spiteful and malicious. And they attempted to turn a great group of Republicans into outcasts. Legacy likes to label us as angry. Well, Legacy, wouldn’t you be angry if you were treated the way that you treated us? I certainly think we have the right to. Any chance we can work together and work as individuals, instead of “going along for the Good of the Party”, as Pojman and Overbee keep saying?

    Sorry for being so long-winded, Dave and… everyone. I just feel everything I had to say was pertinent.

  20. George,

    I saw the Liberty Maven thing about GOP conspiracy theorists and got a good laugh out of that.

    Anyway, thanks for your insight. I have to agree with your assessment.

  21. Ok, Mark. Did you read those definitions? They don’t say one word about Neoconservatives being radical pro-life christians. That’s who the Legacy folks are. As your own definitions make quite clear, that doesn’t make them Neocons. The Neocons are for the most part relatively liberal on social issues while being in favor of an expansionist foreign policy. The Legacy people are conservative on social issues and probably break down into two groups on foreign policy. One group probably supports the war because they think it will help bring about armageddon. The other group probably opposes the war under the ‘just war’ theory which a lot of christians subscribe to.

    After googling “Mccain supports reald id,” the result was the following: Results 1 – 10 of about 303,000 for mccain supports real id. (0.26 seconds.
    Don’t take my word for it – Try it for yourself.

    I got 999,000 hits for McCain Likes Child Rape – does that make him a pedophile? People just saying that McCain supports Real ID doesn’t make it so. Based on actual evidence and things he’s said himself and votes he’s made there’s no basis to determine if he does or does not support it.

    And do you really need me to point out to you that the enforcement of legislation does not, and should never be the enforcement of a religious or idealogical belief.

    Of course not. And that’s a fair accusation to level at the Legacy people, but it doesn’t make them Neocons.

    That’s kinda why we left England, you see.

    Actually, it’s kind of the opposeite of why we left England. Those who left for religious reasons actually came here because they wanted a theocratic society. Read up on puritanism and pilgrim society sometime.

    And as far as I can tell, the Legacy seeks to push (and shove) their extreme and religious ideas down the sheeps’ throats via the creation and enforcement of legislation. That means? you guessed it! More governance over our lives! ! !
    And that to me, by definition, is in NO WAY CONSERVATIVE. YOU PUKE

    Actually, conservatism has nothing to do with whether you support or oppose strong government. Conservatism and a strong state are entirely compatible. Like the socialists who have taken to calling themselves ‘liberal’ you’ve fallen into the terminology trap of calling yourself ‘conservative’ not because you’re conservative, but because the beliefs you hold are often associated with conservatism in the context of the GOP. But the truth is that libertarian beliefs are only conservative in the sense that they are traditional in America, not in the larger sense of conservatism as a social or political movement.


  22. I also don’t think it’s fair to say that we were less intelligent or poor mannered. For most of us it was the first time to participate in this process.

    I know I didn’t say this. My observation was that the Renegades were naive and perhaps carried away by enthusiasm. Not always a negative.

    Also, I think that as an American you would fit in just fine, Sam. We would welcome you with open arms. Sadly, we did not feel real welcomed by the Republican Party. I personally got lots of dirty looks from folks and could tell who was not on our side very easily.

    As I’ve said before, just remember that the party is diverse and there are many who do welcome you, even if some don’t.

    Of course, you’d get more welcome if you didn’t come charging in trying to take over. A less aggressive approach would scare people less and lead to less hostility.

    Dave, I hope we are out of Iraq before 2010 and hope that we are not in Iran.

    From my study of the situation I don’t think it’s possible for any president to keep us in Iraq for much longer except as a nominal presence, and there’s no way we’re going into Iran with an invasion, ever.

    I don’t believe that anyone except for Ron Paul has promised to bring an end to this war.

    True, but that just shows that Ron Paul puts ideals ahead of practical considerations, which is admirable but not always sensible.

    This war is unconsitutional and illeagal.

    Often said, but in fact not true. Many people would like to interpret the constitution that way, but the fact is that the constitution leaves open the possibility of military action taken without a formal declaration of war.

    It is fact that there are a lot of monitary interests for groups who are associated with our leaders.

    Of course there are. That includes groups which lobby on behalf of you and I and companies in which we might own stock or for which we might work. Politics and money go hand in hand in America.

    I do not believe that this is really the Will of the people.

    Now that’s a stronger argument. Of course, we do live in a Republic, not a democracy, so the will of the people is several degrees separated from the policy of the government.

    To me the voter turnout for both parties shows that this war has left a bad taste in the mouths of voters.

    I think the war has little to do with it. Public concern over the war has dwindled to almost nothing. Most of the expanded turnout has to do with the emerging struggle of ideologies which is going to trump any single issue like the war.

    People are voting against canidates instead of for canidates. I have heard many people say that they would vote for Obama or Hilary to keep McCain from getting into office

    That seems purely insane to me.

    as well as people voting for McCain to keep Hilary or Obama from getting into office. Sadly, the Democrats had a much larger turnout that us. I think this has to do a lot with the last 8 years. President Bush has endorsed McCain and I don’t think this helps him too much.

    If you put aside the issue of the war, Bush has actually at least tried to do some very positive things. I really despise single-issue voting.

    We will definately fail this next election if we do not find a way to find common ground and work together.

    Which probably means putting aside the war issue, or at least agreeing that we all want the war to end – McCain certainly does, and leaving the issue of how to end it open.

    I also would like to ask that if anyone reading has not looked into Ron Paul that you google or youtube him. Please do not be turned off by us (his supporters). Many of us are brand new to this process and are learning. We do have the best intensions for our country and this party.

    I actually find a lot of Paul’s supporters more appealing than I find Paul. He’s so unappealing and such a terrible public speaker that he doesn’t do much for the cause.


  23. Dave – My apologies for not clarifying. I was not necessarily alleging that the Legacy are neocons based on the definitions, but rather that McCain is. Although, I would strongly argue that any PAC that is adamant about dictating their ideas onto the citizens of this country would have absolutely no qualms about dictating their ideas on citizens or leaders of other countries, hence the definition of a neo-con. I pasted in the definitions of “neo cons” due to the fact that you alleged that McCain does not fall within that scope, when clearly he does for several reasons.
    1. He has been a staunch supporter of Bush’s War on Terror and “World Policemen” foreign policies. (prallel with the definitions).
    2. He has made statements like “bomb, bomb, bomb- bomb, bomb Iran”.
    3. He has made mention of being in Iraq for 100 years would be fine with him.

    Now, I also remembered you saying that that statement doesn’t necessarily mean that our military WOULD be in Iraq for a hundred years, and we may not be, but I can promise you that with Bush’s War on Terror we will definitely be dropping bombs on some country or another to keep the war contractors busy with weapons production as well as the rebuilding of those nations. These same contractors, which have deep ties within an administration that tells us to “support our troops” are screwing over the troops and the taxpayer by charging unconscionable amounts of money for things such as laundry, and supplying our troops with contaminated water.

  24. I actually find a lot of Paul’s supporters more appealing than I find Paul. He’s so unappealing and such a terrible public speaker that he doesn’t do much for the cause.

    WHAT??? I guess in order to be a good public speaker in this dumbed-down country, one needs to speak like an idiot in order to gain any mass appeal. (i.e. George W Bush).

  25. Bush does have a more appealing style than Paul does, idiotic though he sometimes sounds. Paul tends to come off as bitter, condescending and lecturing. It turns people off. Sorry to have to say it, but it’s just true.

    Now, if we could combine Paul’s ideas with Obama’s oratorical skills we’d have someone electable.


  26. Hey, everyone,

    I’d like to add a little clarification, if I could, with regards to the Constitution and war.

    The Constitution specifically points out that we can not tax for a period of more than two years to raise “Armies”. I think we can all agree that has been violated beyond excessively.

    However, the very next provision in the Constitution DOES allow for a standing Navy.

    And there are several provisions regarding the training and arming of an internal militia to protect families, states, the interior of the country, essentially.

    The Constitution essentially provides for 3 types of conflict: foreign invasion, pirates, and rebellion / insurgency.

    That’s it. No War on Drugs or War on Terror which have no clearly or even vaguely defined ending.

    The Constitution has provision after provision espousing the values of being non-interventionist and non-imperialistic.


  27. The Constitution specifically points out that we can not tax for a period of more than two years to raise “Armies”. I think we can all agree that has been violated beyond excessively.

    Dead on with that. It’s not the war or the AUMF which is at issue, it’s the funding, though even that isn’t entirely cut and dried, as congress can fund just about anything under the constitution. An argument could also easily be made that the situation in Iraq is not a war and has not been one for 4 years or so.

    However, the very next provision in the Constitution DOES allow for a standing Navy.

    And for non-war use of the military in a variety of contexts.

    The Constitution essentially provides for 3 types of conflict: foreign invasion, pirates, and rebellion / insurgency.

    In the Tripolitan war it was easier, as they were pirates, but piracy could be used as the basis of an argument for justifying military action to defend US economic interests.

    And don’t forget that it does say “To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations.”

    The ‘Law of Nations’ does seem like an open door for going after violators of international law like Saddam.

    That’s it. No War on Drugs or War on Terror which have no clearly or even vaguely defined ending.

    Of course, those things aren’t even really wars, just marketing slogans with the word ‘war’ in them.

    The Constitution has provision after provision espousing the values of being non-interventionist and non-imperialistic.

    Perhaps you can read that interpretation into it somehow, but in fact there’s very little specific and explicit about such issues of foreign policy.


  28. I think you hit the nail right on the head when you said that the term “war” is really just a slogan used to garner support and create fear.

    And I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree on that last one. 😉

  29. I don’t know about the constant accusations that people are trying to generate fear about various issues. It doesn’t make me any more afraid of drugs or terrorism if we make them the target of a supposed war. If anything it ought to make us feel like our government has a solution to those problems, not that it actually does.


  30. I like you, George. You seem to be the only one besides myself who knows what he’s talking about.

    So, Dave, did you think that McCain sounded like he was in key when he sang “Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb bomb Iran”? Hee hee hee!!!Stupidhead!

    And Ron Paul being bitter, condescending, and lecturing? That is, of course, a matter of opinion. However, it seems that more people in this country want nothing more than a good actor, including you. Obama and Hilary both speak of civil rights and the constitution but they both voted FOR the Patriot Act. Actually, Obama just for the extension of the Patriot Act only because he wasn’t in Congress when the original bill passed. That being said, the Patriot Act is a direct violation of our civil rights and liberties….in more ways than I can even count. At least McCain doesn’t even mention civil rights, liberties, or the constitution NEAR as much as the other two candidates and so is at least a little more true to the people and himself in his evil dungeon of politics. I’ll give him that much. I know plenty of people that are proud assholes! I stick to my guns about McCain being a Neocon. The religious right and the neocons are the same thing. Birds of a feather, flock together. The very fact that McCain supports most of Bush’s policies is enough for most of the people in this country to not like him. He shouldn’t even be in this race as far as I’m concerned. What we would have here if he were elected to office is the same administration that we’ve had for the last almost eight years that has done this country NO GOOD.

    Also, the war is being managed on a cost plus system which ensures anything spent in the war is guaranteed a profit. You’re getting screwed over just like me, only you seem to be happy about it….and I am FED UP. This is not the future I want to ensure for my kids, their kids, etc.

    Can you honestly tell me, Dave, that you prefer being told what you can and cannot do by people that do NOT have your best interests at heart? Parents tell their children what to do because they love them. They also tell them what to do because they know more than they do. I don’t believe for one second the federal government specifically cares about MY life and the lives of my children. If we all died together in a car accident tomorrow, would any one in the oval office give my family a call and extend their condolences? And why should the federal government presume to know more than I do about raising my kids? They don’t have to worry about their own children going off to die in a war, or suffering from poverty, or giving up their rights! Hell, they have immunity from most repercussions for crimes….granted to them by the PATRIOT ACT! If you support anyone other than Dr. Ron Paul, then you support the federal government controlling your life. Period. End of discussion. Go back to your idiot box and keep taking in those 2 second sound bytes. Continue to allow yourself to be dumb downed and controlled by the government and government controlled media. You will be remembering these words when we go into a full blown depression and you can hardly feed your family. You will be asking yourself where we went wrong. Let me answer that for you. You voted for people who interpreted the constitution to fit their own agendas and left you in the dust.


  31. Mark, you ought to read up on some of the things I’ve written before you start trotting out all of these assumptions about me and what I believe.

    You’re in full-on fanatic mode, demonizing anything you don’t understand and assuming that anyone who doesn’t repeat the same programmed mantras you do must be your enemy.

    I voted for Ron Paul just like you. The difference is that I thought about it first and did it anyway.


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