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|Chet's 2012 Republican Party Convention Recap|
|Written by Chet|
I left town while all 1,700 of North Dakota's Fox News watchers showed up in Bismarck on Friday for the Republicon Party's biennial convention, with the theme "Drown America In A Bathtub" theme. I was in counseling and group therapy because of the depression I suffered after being denied media credentials for the NDGOP convention. But I'm back now.
So let's talk about what they did at the Continental Resources/North Dakota Republicon convention:
(1) The Union of Soviet Socialist Republican Party's elitist 1% picked the 25 delegates they want to send to the national Republican convention. North Dakota's Republican's overwhelmingly chose Rick Santorum as their preferred presidential candidate at the Republican Party caucuses. Santorum came in first with 39.7%, then Ron Paul with 28.1% and then Romney with 23.7%. But in the North Dakota Republican Party's upper eschelons, they prefer to ignore the will of the people and just push through Romney delegates... "because we can." According to an Associated Press story, former North Dakota Republican Party Chairman Gary Emineth called it a "railroad job."
"This is a railroad job, and you've been making it about Ron Paul , and it's not," Emineth told Stein in a brief speech from the convention floor. "What's wrong with putting all (of the suggested delegates) ... on the ballot, and letting all of the delegates vote for their (national convention) delegate of choice? That is all we're asking."\
Emineth acknowledged the process had been "hijacked" by the oppressive party elite. Frankly, I think Emineth's statement is an insult to railroads and hijackers. But it's also fitting that the party of the oppressive 1% would reflexively impose their will on the huddled masses.
Another delegate added a poignant comment:
"I don't want to live in the Soviet Union, where we get things done quickly that are unfair," [Williston resident Palmer] Reising continued, a remark that drew hoots, boos and some applause from delegates.
Stan Stein shouted down people who wanted to try to inject some fairness in the process:
Frustrated Paul supporters tried to reignite the debate at the close of the Republican convention Sunday, but NDGOP Chairman Stan Stein would not allow it.
District 47 delegate Karen Erickstad attempted to make a motion on the convention floor, but her microphone was turned off as she sought to speak.
The crowd shouted, attempting to get Stein’s attention, but he continued with a motion to close the convention over the protests.
The oppressive management of the GOP convention on issues like this brought out some interesting "Tweets" from Republicans. Things like this:
... and a description of what it was all about from the mainstream media...
I think it's pretty fitting that the Republican Party is oppressive internally. It's not just Democrats and Independents they crap on. They crap on their own, too.
(2) Sand v. Cramer -- During the convention, the Republican Party leaders selectively snubbed candidates who are electing to challenge Party-endorsed candidates in the June primary. Specifically, Duane Sand tried to get in to a convention event and was kicked out. Sand, you may know, is planning to challenge the party's unpopular slum-lord candidate for the U.S. Senate, Rick Berg, in June. Sand brought Herman Caine to a convention event. Sand was kicked out; Caine was invited to stay. Berg is supported by the GOP elite in North Dakota, so any challenger to his candidacy is despised by Party leadership.
At about 9 p.m. Friday, Fargo legislator and state House Majority Leader Al Carlson told Sand he was not welcome and asked him to leave the social gathering meant for the party’s candidates and delegates.
“He’s the one who was very critical of the system and chose not to participate,” Carlson told The Forum on Saturday morning. “So if you’re not going to participate, then don’t show up and parade around.”
Sand’s campaign manager, Joe Meyer, said, “The attitude presented by House Majority Leader Carlson is an example of the animosity within the party that led us to make the decision to forgo the convention.”
Quite a contrast is Kevin Cramer, a candidate for the U.S. House who is challenging the GOP's endorsed U.S. House candidate Brian Kalk. Kalk, who previously tried to run for office as Democrat, is not supported by the GOP Elite because their candidate -- the official John Hoeven candidate -- was Shane Goettle, and Goettle was clobbered by Kalk supporters -- and Cramer supporters (who want Cramer to go against a weaker endorsed candidate in the primary) -- at the convention. Cramer was coddled at the GOP convention while Sand was thrown out.
(3) The Incompetent Incumbent State Treasurer -- I've been asked by a number of Republican friends what I think about the fact nobody challenged Kelly Schmidt for the GOP's endorsement for State Treasurer. They say to me, "Republicans hate her. They know her record of incompetence. They know she can't balance a checkbook. Why do they keep running her for the office of State Treasurer?" I think that's kind of complicated. She's an incumbent. There's a lot of respect for incumbents, because of their fund-raising opportunities, etc. Other than that, I can't think of any reason why Republicans continue to endorse Schmidt. She's lied to veterans about money she promised to make available to them and has lost a lot of money for the Veteran's Post-war Trust Fund. She screwed up the Dickinson State University library funding situation. She's spent tax dollars on her personal bills. She's moved state money from low-fee investment vehicles into high-risk, high-fee scams. She's been horribly ineffective on pretty much every board she serves on including, especially, the State Investment Board. I don't know why Republicans re-endorsed her. Maybe they just trust the media to keep ignoring her incompetence and scandals. And it's possible they're right.
(4) Department of Public Instruction -- Republicans chose to support the pretty young lady from Mandan over the seasoned, experienced education expert who likes hemp. I'm guessing she got the support she got because none of the GOP delegates thought about looking through Baesler's divorce file at the Courthouse. I could be wrong.
(5) Public Service Commission -- They're gonna try to swap in oil company schills for other oil company schills. Hopefully independents and moderate Republicans who are sick of the way the GOP has been taken over by big oil will take a good look at Brad Crabtree, who is very smart, excessively qualified and relatively moderate.
(6) State Auditor -- Republicans continue to support Randy Peterson for State Auditor, despite the fact his office occasionally refuses to help the party hide Republican elected officials' corruption and mismanagement.
(7) U.S. Senate -- Of course, the Party endorsed the Fargo slumlord. It's mildly interesting that the slumlord doesn't even acknowledge the fact he's got a contested race in June. I suppose that also shouldn't surprise anybody. I wonder whether the slumlord will come out from under his desk and debate his primary challenger, Duane Sand. Sand obviously got the shaft from the party elite when he tried to show up with Herman Caine at convention events. I look forward to seeing Berg waste a lot of time and money fighting off the challenge from Sand, the perenial election loser.
(8) U.S. House of Representatives -- Probably the most important thing about the outcome of this race is this: Former socialist banking president and Dem-NPL member John Hoeven annointed Shane Goettle to get the GOP endorsement. Goettle's loss is obviously a repudiation of Hoeven and his attempt to impose his will on Republicans. The outcome also, likely, is a result of Cramer supporters at the convention getting behind Kalk, whom they view as being a much weaker candidate against Cramer in the June primary.
Also, I've been thinking about doing a poll, asking people this: Just by looking at the guy, what's your guess as to how many college sororities Kalk has broken into:
(e) none of the above
What's your guess?
(9) You Don't Know Jack -- I really wonder how many delegates know Darlymple's true life story. How many know he was born and raised a Minneapolis blue-blood? Born in a Twin-Cities hospital. Elite private Minnesota prep schools and boarding schools. Ivy League colleges. How would they know? He claims he was "born and raised" on the family farm in North Dakota. That's like me saying I was raised on a farm in Dunn County. Sure, I went to Dunn County farms as a kid. Sure I rode a horse once or twice. Sure I did a few chores here and there. But neither Jack nor I was actually raised on a farm. At least Sorum tells the truth about his background. And I also wonder whether delegates know their lieutenant governor candidate almost blew one of North Dakota's biggest, most important recent federal death penalty cases.
(10) Republican Party Platform -- Democrats actually spent time at their convention discussing and debating policy. Not enough time, some would argue, but there was actually a discussion. Republicans, on the other hand, either (a) didn't adopt a platform, or (b) rubber stamped a platform without any discussion. I'm not sure which. (Do they even bother putting it online?) Without a platform or a discussion about platform, the Republican Party kind of comes across as a vapid, hollow, empty non-party. They could just change the name of their party to "8-second sound-bites 'R' Us". It's kind of appropriate considering some of their candidates.
(11) Republican Media -- It's interesting to consider the coverage given the Republican convention as compared to the coverage given the Democratic-NPL convention. It would be interesting to see someone take the time to count the column inches the Tribune and Forum Comm newspapers gave to each party's convention. I'd bet over the past four or five days the Tribune has given somewhere between four and five times more space to the Republican convention than it gave the Dem convention. I'm guessing the comparison would be similar for Forum papers. I get that they'd probably get defensive about that and say things like, "Well they had contested races!" or "It was in Bismarck!" or whatever. But this raises the question of whether it is all the news time spent on Republicans that makes it newsworthy, or whether it is the newsworthiness of the stories. In other words, "Which came first? The chicken or the egg?" I don't much care. I just wish they'd pretend to focus equal attention on both or all political parties, and not just on the party that's favored by their publisher(s).
(12) Denial of My Request for Credentials -- I'm over it, but -- big picture -- it's still kind of surprising that a political party in 2012 is afraid to give media credentials to a blogger just because he/I won't spew the party's prattle. If a political party's convention can't withstand the exposure and/or scrutiny of a blogger or two, is it really worthy of legitimacy? Maybe.
(13) Keynote Speaker -- I've heard from Republicans that they were really disappointed with their keynote speaker, Kristi Noem. Her uninspired speach didn't help the fact she's a no-name in the Republican Party. You'd think North Dakota's Republican Party could have done a little better. And that's not just me talking; Republicans agree. You'd think they could have gotten a presidential candidate or other national Republican Party leader. But no. Serious let-down for everyone.
(14) Sine Die -- I like that the convention ended with people wanting to talk, and the Republican Party chairman shouting them down. A fitting ending to an oppressive, undemocratic convention. Nice work, Stan.