Libertarians join conservatives in LA GOP nominee madness
There's a budget still unresolved, a potential constitutional clash over school funding, and what am I writing about? The silliness that has overcome Louisiana Republicans, especially among its libertarian cohort, on display earlier today in Shreveport at the party's statewide convention.
During the nomination season for the state GOP, the popular vote in the primary phase gave a big victory to former Sen. Rick Santorum, and a smaller win to presumptive nominee (by party rules) former Gov. Mitt Romney. But party activists during the caucus phase gave a majority to Rep. Ron Paul. As noted, any whining by the conservatives in the party was unwarranted by the fact they had the chance to follow the rules as did the libertarians.
Yet with the shoe on the other foot, now it's the libertarians who complain about the rules of the process. Statements from their leaders moan about unfairness with rules promulgated only days before the convention was to meet by the Louisiana Republican State Central Committee that would allow the convention to meet with only a third present (Paul forces had 62 percent of the delegates), which is not unusual (I have served on bodies where that proportion served as a quorum) and others in order to maximize the chances that only genuinely-committed delegates for candidates other than Paul are selected for those candidates.
But the fact is, just as Paul opponents had to like it or not when Paul supporters took advantage of the caucus rules, the state party rules (Article XV) permit the RSCC to regulate in this fashion so Paul supporters just have to like it or lump it. And legal issues aside, at a moral level, Paul supporters kvetch about how these regulations violate some kind of spirit of the process, yet if they pursued plans to install as delegates for other candidates secret Paul supporters (which they deny they would), that most definitely violates the spirit of voter intentions.
The convention ended up splitting, with the minority empowered to run things. While the Paul forces boycotted, the remainder apportioned delegates, even leaving some blank to be filled later presumably by Paul supporters. And, yes, there was at least one arrest.
Making this all entirely banal is it means nothing at the national level. Even if Paul supporters hijacked delegates, at the national convention the Credentials Committee likely would overrule that, as it will be controlled by Romney forces (committees reflect the overall candidate proportions in composition). And even if they managed to get bogus delegates seated, it won't matter -- the rule binding delegates bound to a candidate in the first ballot ensures a Romney win, and they would be marginalized from any committee participation.
However, the destructive element comes in what it does to the state party relative to its ability to assist in elecitons. While those running for statewide and federal offices really don't need state party help, others, particularly for the Legislature, can use it at certain strategic times. It does the state's majority party no good in winning elections to have such pettifoggery emanating from it.
First it was the conservative faction, now it's the libertarian faction making mountains out of molehills to an insane degree. Throw in the state's Democrats doubling down on making themselves a permanent minority and in surveying this scene one can't help responding like Clipton at the very end of The Bridge Over the River Kwai over the state's political parties.
Posted by Jeff Sadow at 20:50