Saturday, August 23, 2008

Ron Paul

The National Republican Credential Committee will be hearing both sides debate the issues starting next Thursday. Pam Pollard and Bobby Cleveland were elected to represent Oklahoma to the National Republican Credentials Committee.

GOP Fight in Nevada Could Cause McCain Trouble
Delegation Split May Prompt Votes For Libertarians
By BRAD HAYNESAugust 23, 2008; Page A4

PAHRUMP, NEV. -- Two Nevada delegations are packing their bags for the Republican National Convention Sept. 1, and if the latest party ruling stands, neither of them will be seated.
A fiasco at the state convention spawned the dueling delegations -- one for John McCain and one for Ron Paul -- and their continued wrangling has exposed a split in the party that may spell trouble in a key state for the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.
Associated Press
Former presidential candidate Ron Paul speaks to the crowd as he is welcomed at the Nevada Republican Convention on April 26.
Running a strident libertarian campaign in the primaries, Texas Rep. Ron Paul tapped a seam of Republican frustration across the country, railing against the Bush administration's impact on civil liberties, foreign policy and the growing federal government. Mr. Paul's message resonated particularly in Nevada, a state where frontier spirit and personal freedom runs deep, and he captured second place in the January state caucuses, ahead of Sen. McCain.
Mr. Paul has suspended his campaign, but his libertarian loyalists have not. Their lingering discontentment and underlying philosophical differences may prove fertile territory for the Libertarian Party's presidential nominee, Bob Barr, and dangerous ground for Sen. McCain if even a portion of the Republican base is too disgruntled to vote. Nevada is shaping up as a key battleground in the presidential race; President Bush won the state by roughly 20,000 votes in each of the last two elections, and Democrats are contesting it strongly this year. Republican hopes in Nevada have also been hampered by the scandal-plagued GOP governor, Jim Gibbons, whose approval ratings have tanked as he has dealt with a messy divorce and a federal corruption investigation.
In April, riding high on a second-place showing in the Silver State, the grass-roots Paul supporters were well represented and well organized at the Republican state convention. Winning a key rule change, the Paul delegation began electing a majority slate for its candidate, when party officials dropped the gavel, turned out the lights and adjourned the convention indefinitely.
The state party leadership went on to appoint a slate of McCain delegates to the national convention by private conference call. Meanwhile, the spurned Paul faction gathered for its own "reconvention" to produce a competing delegation. In a decision Aug. 5, the national party's contest committee recommended against seating either slate, citing flaws in the selection process. The fate of Nevada's 34 seats at the Republican National Convention may not be decided until the final days before it begins.
At least one of the delegations will have alternative plans in St. Paul if they can't get past the door of the convention. Mr. Paul will be hosting his Rally for the Republic across town just as the Republican Party is assembling for its moment of unity.
The Texas congressman has not taken a position on Nevada's delegation dispute, but his campaign spokesman said he won't be pushing his supporters in Minnesota toward Sen. McCain. "There are some really good candidates running third-party campaigns," said spokesman Jesse Benton. "If the GOP happens to lose because they've abandoned their principles and traditions, maybe that will be a signal for the future."
More than the distraction in Minnesota, Sen. McCain may have to worry what discontented Ron Paul voters are doing back in Nevada, where longtime Republicans with a libertarian streak are already discussing alternatives to the party establishment.
In the city of Pahrump, 60 nearly barren miles west of Las Vegas, in a windowless tavern called Irene's Casino, a group of friends gathered to pass around a bottle of Ron Paul Revolution Cola and discuss how the Republican Party had wronged them.
This is a place where people move to be left alone, where mobile homes are sold as Freedom Homes and where Mr. Paul won the local Republican caucus, as his campaign signs along the highway still attest. He owed his victory to spontaneous gatherings like this one, where supporters fed up with the size of government, the Iraq war and the incursions on their civil liberties organized their own grassroots campaign.
"Out here folks draw water from their own well," said compatriot Kenny Bent, a former rancher, miner and lumberjack with long gray hair and mustache past his lower lip. "They have their own sewage system. They don't need the government and they don't want its intrusion."
Across the state, lifelong Republicans like Mr. Bent who now identify more closely with Mr. Paul's cause than with the party establishment say they won't vote for Sen. McCain.
The McCain campaign maintains that Nevada is a natural fit for the candidate. "He's a Western senator. He understands the issues, from water to public lands, that affect Westerners," said spokesman Rick Gorka. "And he's independent. He's a maverick. That has tremendous appeal in Nevada."
But the hard-line libertarian voters see Sen. McCain as the embodiment of a Republican Party they no longer trust to protect their freedoms. Citing the campaign finance rules and ban on college sports betting that he championed, many conservatives are rejecting the presumptive Republican nominee along with the party establishment.
Recent history shows Nevada's frustrated conservatives can swing an election. The last Texan presidential candidate preaching small government, Ross Perot, took 10% of the vote here in 1992 and 27% in 1996, helping Democrat Bill Clinton to carry the state both times. A Libertarian Senate candidate in 1998 tipped a close race to Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Mr. Barr's running mate, Wayne Allyn Root, a sports-betting entrepreneur and resident of greater Las Vegas, says their campaign is perfectly suited for his home state, citing Nevada's low taxes, frontier spirit and premium on personal freedom.
"We're all about turning America into a great big Nevada," Mr. Root said. "Nevada proves the model works."
Write to Brad Haynes at

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