How likely is it that Republican delegates who remain committed to Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) will cause a scene during the Republican National Convention? I can’t say how likely it was before yesterday, but convention officials gave them a new reason for a ruckus. Delegates in five states – Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Nevada and Oklahoma – with “significant Paul followings” are as far from the cool kids’ seats as they could get, and they’re not happy.
The delegates will be seated “on the outer fringe of the convention floor,” in worse positions than the U.S. territories. The Northern Marianas Islands delegation is right next to the Michigan delegation, which those with a basic knowledge of worker abuses on Saipan will snark about. Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), who won’t accept his media-given role as “the next Ron Paul” because Ron Paul is apparently too awesome to have a successor, has called for an audit of the Republican National Committee (RNC) in response to this insult.
It’s obvious what they’re up to. The organizers don’t want any cameras catching grumpy faces or half-hearted applause, or – even worse – signs declaring allegiance to Leader Paul. Not a good visual at all. Of course, headlines exposing a fissure within the party at convention time looks even worse. Unfortunately, withholding the seating chart from the press would have looked even worse than that.
Some of you were probably immediately reminded of the Paulite “Audit the Fed” campaign, although Leader Paul himself would rather blow it to pieces, if his book is any indication. It is entirely possible that we will continue to see threats of audits being used as a political weapon, even internally. Of course, nobody has much faith in party organizations in general, so why would they care how they spend money? This isn’t a very creative move on Amash’s part.
Since there is no hope of the Paulites being the first to yield to the GOP establishment, the reverse must occur, for the sake of expanding the tent. They already have their biggest issue – distaste for big government – in common. To alleviate the appearance of a party split, former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) ought to reach out to the Paulites directly and ask for their help in finding ways to shrink government. Libertarian independents would enjoy that, too.
Nine years ago, a president began fixing the opposite party’s problems with his own tools, and it produced excellent economic results (for the most part). The Republicans shouldn’t let an opportunity to achieve similar internal political results slip away by pissing off the Paulites this way.