Posted by Rojas @ 3:11 pm on July 21st 2008

Well, they did ask.

Guest hosting for Andrew Sullivan, Patrick Appel links to an amusing post at Wired/Threat Level. Apparently, the Republican Party decided to engage in a “historic” effort to solicit online suggestions for their party’s platform. You can probably guess at which part of the party base mobilized to answer that question…

When the Republican Party issued a clarion call last week for its grassroots supporters to submit ideas online to build the party’s platform, Republican National Committee officials probably weren’t expecting a concerted push for the dismantling of the Federal Reserve and a return to the gold standard.

But Ron Paul supporters have made themselves at home on the the GOP platform site, sounding many of the themes that turned the Texas congressman’s doomed run for the Republican presidential nod into an internet cause célèbre.

Here’s my question.

If there’s only one part of the party’s base that can even be bothered to respond to suggestions for policy ideas, doesn’t that rather suggest that maybe something ought to be done to bring those people into the fold?

Might the Republican party be able to find SOME use for hundreds of thousands of wildly enthusiastic individuals who are eager to donate their money and their time? Yes, yes, I know, you don’t want to necessarily make them the public face of the party. But is the McCain campaign really so swamped with diehards at the moment that they would seek to actively turn these people away?

Let’s say that tomorrow John McCain, while continuing to move gradually towards an endorsement of phased withdrawl from Iraq, also begins to make friendly noises about the gold standard. Does he, as a consequence of this action, gain, or lose, votes? Campaign donations? Campaign volunteers?


  1. I just came back from my campus for an unrelated appointment, and there’s an FCC meeting going on today on net neutrality. I pass by it, and somebody bumps into me with a petition and asks if I live in Allegheny County.

    I recognize the name on the petition as a local activist I know. The petition was to get him on the ballot for our Congressional race as a Constitution Party candidate.

    I mention “Oh, Wes Thompson” and the guy holding the petition gives me a queer look, and then from behind him come a pair of people I recognize from the Ron Paul days, who squeal with delight upon recognizing me. We chatted; they’re out trying to get 2,000 signatures for this guy, volunteering their time on a 90 degree day, happy as clams.

    Here’s the thing: those people do this stuff all the time. If I go to any large event in my area, I always look for the petition people, and I guarantee I always recognize at least one of them.

    One of those people I brought to New Hampshire in January, and the campaign didn’t really have room to accommodate all the volunteers that showed up, and since she speaks with a Russian accent, they just gave her a big-ass sign and said “here, wave that”. I think more to get rid of her than anything.

    So she trudged through 2 feet of snow in 10 degree weather, found herself the biggest intersection in Manchester, and stood there waving signs and getting cars to honk. From 6 AM to 8 PM for two solid weeks. Never once complained; seemed delighted to do it.

    They are a different breed, and they are the hardest working people in politics right now.

    Comment by Brad — 7/21/2008 @ 4:01 pm

  2. How’s this for supporting evidence?

    Remember the Nevada Republican Convention? So many people showed up that the Republicans in charge shut the whole thing down, because the Paul people has such a huge percentage.

    Now, they’re trying to elect their delegates, but they can’t get a quorum of electors without the Ron Paul folks.

    So they’ve opted to disband their rules of conventioning, and instead will elect delegates via private conference call. Good Lord.

    Citing a lack of interest, the Nevada Republican Party has called off its state convention and will instead pick its delegates to the national convention by private conference call.

    The state party broke up its original convention in April when supporters of Ron Paul hijacked the proceedings and tried to elect delegates for their candidate to the national GOP convention in September. Party officials tried to reconvene on July 26, but they needed a quorum of 675 and received only 300 RSVPs, according to local reports.

    “With so many people concerned about the economy, it simply wouldn’t be fair for us to ask delegates from all over the state to spend money to attend a convention if we know that a quorum won’t be present,” state party Chairwoman Sue Lowden said in a release.

    A quorum won’t be present because you’ve banned over half of the Republican electors from attending.

    Comment by Brad — 7/21/2008 @ 4:58 pm

  3. “Hijacked the proceedings”???

    This in a news article in the Wall Street Journal!

    They attended their state’s party convention; they expressed a preference as to which delegates to seat, which was the convention’s designated purpose, and for this an objective journalistic source declares them hijackers.

    There’s a very good book to be written about the way the power structure in the Republican Party, and in the media more broadly, has reacted to the Paul movement. Everybody talks a good game about political participation and civic engagement, but it’s been incredible to see how they’ve reacted when the “wrong” people decided to take them at their word.

    Comment by Rojas — 7/21/2008 @ 5:06 pm

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