The Politics of Fear Inside the Alaska GOP
Fear usually leads to bad decisions, and that principle was confirmed for us all at the Alaska Republican State Convention held this last week. The state convention is the one time every two years that the Republican Party decides on changes to the platforms and rules and elects their state officers. This one was conducted in a presidential election year which added a delegate selection process to the mix. The victories that the progressives achieved in the 2008 election put a lot of pressure into this process, since the complete obliteration of all of our rights and freedoms is on the horizon.
It started out on Thursday night with a meeting of the state central committee, the group of local officers that makes decisions for the body of the party in-between state conventions. An interim rule was introduced that would require all of the national delegates for any one candidate to be approved by a “duly authorized representative of that Qualified Presidential Candidate.” It turns out that a lot of those who supported some of the presidential candidates had a lot of fear that their delegates would be taken. They formed a coalition and brokered a deal to have this rule passed quickly with very little discussion.
The envisioned situation actually couldn’t happen, because in Alaska those delegates are allocated by the Presidential Preference Poll that was conducted in March; so any delegates selected are bound to their specific candidate for two rounds of voting at the National Convention. If our delegation breaks this rule then the entire delegation can be disqualified or penalized. No one on any side would jeopardize the votes they did have for a protest vote.
The real problem with this rule is that there was no language whatsoever on how those campaign representatives were to be chosen. They could have just been taken off of the street by one party official and appointed to be the campaign representatives. The rule had a similar look and feel to the NDAA and the Patriot Act giving godlike powers to specific individuals, who were enabled with veto power over anyone the Nominations committee might choose.
In point of fact, some of the campaigns sent their representatives and they were not allowed to speak to the Nominations committee. The committee ultimately was left the decision on how to pick the representatives, and decided to choose the campaign representatives from their own committee (with the exception of one campaign that had no supporters on the committee). In the end, the result turned out just fine with a fair delegate slate that was unanimously approved.
I talked to all four of the campaign representatives and they were all satisfied with the way the process worked out. It’s good that the results were positive, and I believe that we are sending a great group of folks to Tampa to represent us, but I hope the party never again allows a spirit of fear to dominate, driving them to implement such a shortsighted rule.
Part 2 of this article will be posted tomorrow...