On Monday, Republicans from across the country descend on Tampa, where the Republican National Convention is set to begin after a long and bruising primary system, to nominate former Massachussetts Governor Mitt Romney as the Republican nominee to run against Barack Obama in 2012.
I will be reporting on the evening scheduled speakers and events throughout the week and featuring live, up to the minute coverage of what should be a historic event. Republicans have been chomping at the bit to have a chance to go head-to-head against President Obama, and Tampa will undoubtedly be fired up in anticipation and excitement.
I have covered the Ron Paul campaign and many libertarian issues for PolicyMic, and the RNC will be no different. One of the most interesting and exciting things to look for will be how the GOP responds to the hundreds of Paul delegates, whether Paul will be speaking, how the platform will be affected, what the Republican message will be, and the obvious hostility that exists between the mainstream GOP establishment and the growing Paulian, libertarian wing of the party.
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Before the RNC starts tomorrow, I thought I'd share a few noteworthy pieces of news from over the weekend.
From Raw Story: "Ron Paul Declines to Endorse Romney, Spurns Convention Speaking Slot." Unsurprisingly sticking to his principles, Paul reiterated his opposition to Governor Romney's philosophy and positions. Paul was asked to speak at the Convention only if the Romney campaign and the RNC approved his speech and if Paul also endorsed Romney. Paul wasn't having any of it. "Paul claims that convention organizers told him he could deliver a speech on two conditions. First, the Romney campaign would get to vet his speech, and second, he would have to give a full-blown endorsement of the GOP nominee. Paul balked at both requirements. 'It wouldn’t be my speech,' Paul told the Times. 'That would undo everything I’ve done in the last 30 years. I don’t fully endorse him for president.'"
RNC Posts Platform on Website? According to Politico, "The Republican National Committee quickly pulled down a draft copy of its 2012 platform Friday afternoon after POLITICO discovered it hidden on the committee’s web site.The RNC has kept the document tightly held, refusing to share earlier drafts with reporters. An apparent staff error led to its posting." Although the Republican party has hinted at including positions in its platform that might appease Paul and his supporters, the GOP platform is really of very little political significance. Does anyone think that they would follow up on anything of principle?
Highlights from P.A.U.L. Festival: Over the weekend, the P.A.U.L Festival in Tampa drew over ten thousand people. Here are some great videos of some of the speakers: Lew Rockwell, Thomas Woods, and here is Ron Paul's full speech at the We Are the Future Rally on Sunday. Also, Reason.Tv has a great short video interviewing Paul supporters at the festival and why they won't be supporting Romney or Obama. "I want to make sure that when the Republican Party loses, terribly to, in my opinion, the worst president in history, I want [them to know] it's because they systematically shut out the most intelligent, most youthful and active voting bloc in American history," said Ron Paul voter Mike Timoney.
Thanks to Hurricane Isaac, the RNC was delayed a day. As Chris Miles reported earlier today, they are reshuffling speakers and now have a revised speaking schedule for the next few days.
Meanwhile, the Ron Paul delegates are getting nosebleed seets at the RNC. This should come as no surprise, as the GOP has spent an extraordinary amount of time muscling out any libertarian, constitutionalist, or Paulian principled influence on their party. And as Chris Miles points out in his coverage, even the social conservatives are feeling shunned by the GOP. The Republican Party is in a mess; they are betting it all on a liberal Massachussetts Republican plastic man to be the answer to President Obama, a conservative Democrat that resembles Bush more than George McGovern.
The GOP may loathe Ron Paul and his supporters, but his message is the only that can rival and beat Obama's with a bipartisan appeal and and with character unheard of in politics. Putting Paul's delegates in the nosebleed seats - as the establishment Republicans rubber-stamp Romney, slap each other on the back and hand you the bill - is just another reminder of where their loyalties lie.
Tomorrow should be interesting. A full day of speakers, including Rick Santorum, John Boehner, Ann Romney, and Chris Christie which should be fun. Tune in tomorrow night for more.
A Floor Fight at the Convention Today? Taking advantage of the delay in the Convention thanks to Hurricane Isaac, Ron Paul delegates took every opporutunity they could to have their voice heard and vent their justified frustrations with how the GOP has treated them. Will this cause a floor flight today? I sure hope so.
Paul Ryan Loves Ron Paul? Perhaps the GOP is listening to Paul and his delegates after all. Yesterday, Paul Ryan said that Paul supporters "should be very comfortable" with him and Romney. "Ron is a friend of mine. I''ve known him a long time in Congress," Ryan added.
The GOP knows that they can not win without the growing percentage of Republicans that are libertarians or lean towards Paul's more traditional conservatism, all of whom will have a very difficult time voting for Romney or accepting Ryan's olive branches. Paul Ryan's record and history show that he is little more than a political opportunist that uses catchphrases, rhetoric, and talking points to push an aggressive foreign policy, the expansion of the police state, and big government both at home and abroad.
Ron Paul supporters know this, but Ryan's gesture is interesting. The fact that he would even take the time attempting to cozy up to Paul supporters is an encouraging sign for us.
But ultimately, the only thing Ron Paul and Paul Ryan share in common is a name. When it comes to a knowledge of history, economics, the Constitution, and the real principles behind a free society, they are polar opposites.
Ron Paul Delegate Count: Although New Jersey put Romney over the top and officially gave him the Republican nomination, the Paul delegates did not go down without a fight. Paul did great in Maine, New Hampshire, Nevada, and nearly took the entire state of Minnesota (!). What’s interesting to note is that during the announcement of the delegates, every time Paul’s numbers were supposed to be called they were drowned out by bad mics, crowd noise, or by simply not calling them out. Romney and the rest of the Republican cabal wanted as smooth as path as possible to the nomination and no “division” within the party (God forbid!), and he got his wish.
Rand Paul’s Speech: Out of all of the speakers scheduled at the RNC, Rand was the only I was really looking forward to hearing. Not necessarily because I am a supporter of his (see my PolicyMic article a few months back after Rand went on FOX News and endorsed Romney), but because as the son of Ron, I wanted to see how the GOP would react to him.
Can Romney-Ryan Woo Libertarian Voters? Nick Gillepsie at Reason argues that the Republican ticket must do three things if they can even think about winning libertarians over to their side.