From the Los Angeles Times:
As far as Sen. John McCain is concerned, the Republican presidential nomination is a done deal and he’s working on uniting the party behind him. But thousands of Republicans — particularly supporters of Texas Rep. Ron Paul — aren’t buying that.
In the Pennsylvania primary, more than 215,000 Republicans cast ballots for Paul or former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who quit campaigning weeks ago. Together, they captured 27% of the Republican vote..
That was tame compared with the uproar last weekend at Nevada’s Republican Party Convention. Or before that in Missouri.
About 600 well-organized Paul supporters overwhelmed McCain’s forces […], and engineered a rule change that permitted national convention delegates to be nominated from the floor, wresting the task from party establishment leaders.
That evening, party leaders unexpectedly adjourned the session, saying the proceedings would take too long to finish that night.
But tongues were set wagging about whether the adjournment was a maneuver to save McCain from the embarrassment of being swamped by Paul delegates.
Eric Herzik, a political scientist at the University of Nevada, Reno, said the disruption reflected, among other things, that McCain had “yet to capture the hearts and minds of Nevada Republicans.” Previously, Paul forces had elected about one-third of the delegates to the Missouri state Republcan convention.
The GOP is the party of limited government. It’s the party that touts fiscal responsibility. It claims to be the party of principle. The Minnesota Republican Party puts a premium on loyalty, yet it doesn’t bind national convention delegates to its caucus presidential poll. So why is the state GOP being so hard on Ron Paul supporters with track records of supporting limited government, fiscal conservatism and loyal service to Republican candidates?
After Paul supporters won six of 12 delegate slots to the GOP national convention at Fourth, Fifth and Sixth District conventions in early April, GOP leadership expressed attitudes toward Paul supporters that ranged from dismissal to outright antagonism. But among rank and file conservative GOPers, there is a begrudging respect for the Paulites’ quixotic quest to drag the Republican Party kicking and screaming back to its Goldwater/Reagan principles.
Paul supporters captured two of three national delegate seats and all three alternate spots in the heavily conservative Sixth District. (Rep. Michele Bachmann, who has rock star appeal among conservatives, captured the third delegate spot).
“We knew they [Paul supporters] were coming and they were willing to lie, cheat and steal — maybe not steal, but they were willing to say anything,” Sixth District Vice Chair Andy Aplikowski told the Star Tribune.
“They hijacked the convention,” Jeff Johnson, Minnesota Senate District 15 co-chairman, told WorldNetDaily.
Following Paul’s success at the GOP district conventions, Minnesota Republican Party Chairman Ron Carey said that the delegates’ decision not to unite behind McCain only hurts the Republican Party.
Although the Republican nomination is not in doubt — Arizona Sen. John McCain has more than the requisite number of pledged delegates necessary to secure the GOP nomination — the Minnesota delegate drama threatens to hoist the state GOP on its own petard. Minnesota Republicans have talked the talk of grassroots activism and a bottom-up process. Will they walk the walk when Tweedledown doesn’t agree with Tweedleup?
There are significant differences on campaign issues between Paul and McCain. Many are simply policy differences, not unlike those among the once-crowded GOP field vying for the nomination. Others, however, are nuanced by an appeal to principle rather than the pragmatism of appealing to polls and popular sentiment.
While many in the conservative camp of the state GOP come down on the Paul side of the equation on immigration and fiscal issues, the big point of departure is Paul’s unequivocal opposition to the war in Iraq. Paul was one of six Republicans voting against authorization of use of force in Iraq.
While the GOP leadership takes a dim view at best of pesky Paulites crashing the party, in the more free-wheeling blogosphere Republican faithful, even those disagreeing with some of Paul’s positions, say Paul and his supporters have sent a wake-up call to GOP leadership.