Saturday, May 31, 2008
More Reasons to Love Alaska
Guest Post by Fred James from the Washington State GOP Convention:
During both the Alaska Republican Party and Democratic Party Conventions, there was no problem getting journalists from all newspapers, TV, radio, alternative media, web news sources and blogs accredited on or before the conventions. We were allowed to sign up, come in and tell the story of whatever we saw, any way we wanted to call it.
All of us who were at both conventions have agreed, talking about it afterward, that we were treated with courtesy and, if we needed help, we got it. My wife was in charge of the team welcoming all to the Democratic Party Convention last week, and I have to say that just as her team did their job, so did the welcoming team at the GOP event late last winter.
My longtime friend and co-blogger at the Vic Kohring vs. USA blog is a Ron Paul advocate. He put in over a hundred hours helping to organize the Ron Paul machine in Whatcom County, Washington, over the winter and spring. He has been at the Spokane Convention Center this past weekend, both trying to get more support for Ron Paul, and to blog about the convention. It ended a couple of hours ago. Here's the part of Fred's post from this morning that shows the big differences between media treatment in Alaska, and at the Washington State GOP convention:
a) The Bosses would not allow physical counting of the ballots.
b) Ballots were observed thrown in wastebaskets and on the floor.
c) Speakers chosen by the Bosses spoke of "their candidate" McCain as the only candidate in the race, as if Ron Paul did not exist. Demands for equal time were denied. Early in the morning one Boss-supplied speaker began to prattle about how "our Republican candidate John McCain, the presumptive winner, etc... would do so and so when he got into the White House..." an immediate, very loud set of Booing began which turned into a now familiar chant, "Ron Paul, Ron Paul, Ron Paul!!"
d) Printed ballots with no opposition candidates allowed! Straight out of Stalin's play book. I acquired a copy of one such ballot. When people began to write in Mickey Mouse and Josef Stalin as opposition they were told that no matter whom they wrote in, it would still count as a vote for the pre-printed candidate.
e) All of the delegates were told in very plain terms that if they did not turn off their personal video cameras, the cameras would be confiscated! And if people made a fuss over their cameras being stolen they would be forcefully ejected from the Convention Center.
f) The chairman who ran the proceedings from the podium constantly conferred with a Robert's Rules of Order guru. The chairman's power to override objections, rule statements inadmissible, to literally control who said what to a maximum extent assured the Bosses that no fundamental Paul rules or momentum would be allowed.
g) I was denied press credentials. I e-mailed my press application to the Republican Party office in Bellevue, WA on time. The next day I was sent an e-mail telling me that "Your organization does not meet our criteria."
My organizations were two, a Web based magazine which hosts news and commentary from all sectors called "Nolan Chart LLC" and The Whatcom Independent, not exactly known as a radical rag. I sent an e-mail back asking where I could read "the criteria" but of course got no response. Later after coming to Spokane standing on the Convention floor the first day I complained to Jeremy Doitch, an RP sub boss that there was no moral reason to exclude me from the Convention. He told me rather coldly, "This matter is closed. You are to leave this Convention Hall, the entire building which the RP has rented. If you don't leave immediately a police officer will escort you." Then these warm humans representing the RP turned on their heels and walked away.
Within this totalitarian atmosphere Ron Paul backers managed to still get delegates elected to go to Minneapolis for the RP National Convention. As of the end of Saturday the regions that had huge Paul majorities elected Paul delegates. Whatcom County which sent 31 out of 39 County pro Paul delegates to this Spokane convention is in Congressional District Two. There was a major allegation of cheating to get McCain backers in as delegates from Skagit County. Despite a fistful of evidence demonstrating fraud in that county, the Bosses refused to hear the complaints and a slate of McCain delegates was added into the mix and virtually NO Paul delegates were elected from CD Two.
Summed up, the Ron Paul backers had a mixed bag of complaints and claims of small victories, depending on which CD they were in. Paul backers from Spokane and Clark counties did well so they were claiming victories. Bellingham Paul backers were very unhappy.