While continuing to thwart Ron Paul supporters’ efforts in order to force them to obey the party rules, the Republican Party is trying to make a show of playing nice with the legions of those faithful to Ron Paul and his campaign for president and for liberty.
The USA Today reports that GOP officialdom is trying to help the libertarian-leaning icon of the freedom movement “organize his troops.”
As unlikely as that seems to those familiar with the ongoing struggle between Ron Paul supporters and the Republican National Committee, there is evidence that the stories of this uneasy alliance are true.
For example, the rally sponsored by Ron Paul to be held at the University of South Florida’s Sun Dome the Sunday before the convention was reportedly facilitated by members of the RNC responsible for organizing the nominating convention.
"We have worked closely with Congressman Paul to secure a location for this event," said Kyle Downey, a spokesman for the GOP convention is quoted as saying in the USA Today.
Those in the Paul campaign are singing the same tune.
"They've just treated us like a friend and like a coalition," said Jesse Benton, a spokesman for the Paul campaign. "They have been honest brokers in working with us and treated us with respect."
Fair enough. Perhaps the leaders of both Republican factions — the Ron Paul 2012 campaign and the RNC — are legitimately working together to ensure a smooth, uneventful convention, but there are those loyal to Ron Paul that are not going gentle into that good night.
A group calling itself “Lawyers for Ron Paul,” is filed suit against the RNC and have accused Benton and others inside the Paul presidential campaign of having “raised the white flag” and “never playing to win” in the first place.
This rejection of the Ron Paul 2012 campaign staff is being described as a “righteous mutiny” with organizers of the coup calling the lawsuit filed in the Ninth Circuit Court the “tip of the spear” of the continuing campaign to get Ron Paul elected president.
The lawsuit, described as “revolt against Romney,” was filed by the law firm of Gilbert & Marlowe in Santa Ana, California, and requests that the court determine:
… whether Plaintiffs are free to vote their conscience on the first and all ballots at the Federal Election known as the Republican National Convention or whether Plaintiffs are bound to vote for a particular candidate as instructed by Defendants' State Party Bylaws, or State Laws, or the preference of political operatives….
Named as defendants in the lawsuit are the chairmen of every state’s Republican Party, as well as the state party itself.
In all a total of over 143 delegates (presumably national delegates, otherwise the federal court would have no jurisdiction) have joined or asked to join as plaintiffs in the suit.
In an interview with Courthouse News, the plaintiffs’ lead attorney Richard Gilbert explained his clients’ motivation:
When nominating someone for a federal office, all delegates must be free to vote their conscience. They don't want to be bound to any candidate, or even be forced to vote for the nominee. To have a real convention, the delegates must have free will so that when they meet, they can persuade each other and then decide who to vote for.
This notion of “binding” delegates to vote for one candidate despite the dictates of their conscience is one of the many bones of contention being fought over by those loyal to Ron Paul and those who accept Mitt Romney as the “presumptive nominee.”
The RNC argues that the winner of the popular vote (Mitt Romney in most cases) should also receive at least a corresponding percentage of that state’s delegates elected at the state conventions, while the plaintiffs in this lawsuit (and the Paul campaign itself) insist that delegates are empowered by RNC Rule 38 to vote their consciences and cannot be forced to vote for the winner of the state primaries.
Promising to “carry on the fight,” the executive committee of the Lawyers for Ron Paul is actively seeking new plaintiffs to add to the lawsuit as they continue to promote the message that the war is not over, and despite the fact (as they see it) that Ron Paul’s national campaign staff has “thrown in the towel,” the grassroots supporters around the country still have the power to get their man into the White House.
There’s more to this internecine struggle than just a battle for control of the campaign or an attempt to deny Mitt Romney the nomination. In fact, even Ron Paul himself is hesitant to jump onto the bandwagon of the party’s “presumptive nominee.” When asked by Fox Business Network’s Liz Claman and David Asman if he will vote for Mitt Romney, assuming he is the Republican nominee, Ron Paul responded, “I have not made a decision.”
Then, when asked his opinion of Romney’s qualifications for president, Paul answered, “Compared to whom? He certainly offers different things than the current president. But the current conditions make it rough for anyone. They are going to have a very tough job.”
According to the official Ron Paul website, the Ron Paul rally will celebrate those delegates committed to voting for his nomination. As Congressman Paul explains, “Our theme for this event will be, ‘We Are the Future — A Rally for the Liberty Delegates’. I’m sure it will not only be a great time, but it will also go a long way to proving you and I are the future of the Republican Party.”
Apart from the official Ron Paul party, another festival is being planned for the weekend of August 24-26.
Organized by Liberty Unleashed, a Ron Paul support group formed for the sole purpose of organizing the event, the Paul Festival will take place at the Florida State Fairgrounds and ill feature several Paul-friendly presentations.
According to the group’s website, speakers will include: Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson, authors Peter Schiff and Lew Rockwell, as well as a number of well-known political activists such as Larry Pratt, Jerry Doyle, Stewart Rhodes, and Gigi Bowman, president and founder of Liberty-Candidates.org.
The atmosphere likely to be found at both events is described by a recent article publicizing the meetings:
Somewhat surprised and disappointed, Paul Festival organizers aren’t walking away from their favorite candidate. Instead, they’re walking toward him, literally. One might think hurt feelings over the snub would cause the candidate and his followers to go their separate ways. But the Ron Paul army has proven time and again that they’re not like other political supporters.