In the age of Obomba, there is nary a peacenik to be found among the Democrats. They are eagerly following Obama into the dark and odious swamp of “humanitarian” imperialism. So what’s an anti-interventionist (and civil libertarian) to do in this electoral season? Not much choice but to head for the libertarian wing of the Grand Old Party.
And there this antiwarrior found himself last Saturday morning, at the Republican Caucus in Massachusetts Congressional District 5. In Massachusetts, delegates to the Republican National Convention (RNC) are chosen by vote in these District caucuses, three delegates in each CD. The delegates are bound by oath to vote for the winner of the state primary, Mitt Romney this year, but only on the first ballot for President. After the first ballot they are free to vote their conscience. And they are also free to vote as they see fit for the VP, the platform and sundry other matters, great and small. So the caucuses matter; potentially they matter a lot. Any registered Republican can vote, but attendance is usually slender partly because media coverage is slight.
The Paulites were out in force with their slate of delegates, the “Ronald Reagan, Liberty, Unity Slate,” a name which fooled no one. The establishment marshaled its forces for the Mitt Romney slate. It was not hard to tell who was who in the auditorium; the older part of the crowd was with Mitt and those with kids in strollers belonged to Ron Paul. When the votes were tallied, the Liberty slate won by a 2:1 margin! That scenario was repeated again and again in most of the 9 Congressional Districts, with the Liberty slate trouncing the Romney gang and winning 17 of 27 delegates chosen by the caucuses.
There is one glitch. 14 more delegates will be chosen by the party hierarchy, and so the anti-interventionist contingent might not be in the majority of the Mass delegation, although some in the establishment are having second thoughts about the Liberty faction. After delegates were chosen and the Liberty landslide was evident, the alternates were voted on. One Romney alternate arose to aver that, as he thought about it, he agreed with Ron Paul on about 80% of policies! It did him no good. The Romney alternate slate went down by a margin of 2:1 to the Paul slate. But the careerist pols were now paying attention.
In another CD caucus, the irrepressible Rich Aucoin, once upon a time candidate for Lieutenant Governor and now running on the Liberty slate, elicited a defense of Obomba from the Romney camp! Aucoin writes:
“My speech touched on Obama’s declaration that he has the power to assassinate us without trial…and I ended with a semi-joke:
Q: Why isn’t the TSA catching any terrorists? A: Because they’re not screening passengers on Air Force One!
I got a thunderous response. The next establishment candidate took umbrage at this and inserted into his speech a retort to me, saying something to the effect that it is irresponsible to call the POTUS a terrorist without proof! He received dead silence. I would love to give the guy a follow-up slap down for defending Barack Obama at a GOP caucus (!!!)….and will do so once I have his name.”
And so it went. The mainstream media in Mass. has not covered any of this. But Republican establishment bloggers have taken. Thus, one pro-Romney blogger wrote on the day after the caucuses:
“The establishment is understandably shaken by the turn of these events. With big names like Kerry Healey (former GOP gubernatorial candidate!) and Brad Jones not winning (i.e., losing as delegates to the convention!) in their home district caucuses. They shouldn’t be. They should embrace the energy of these “new” people and not turn them away. This wing of the party, if treated with respect, forms a dedicated grassroots army.”
Translation. Let us see if we can coopt them. But there is an interesting kernel of truth here. The GOP has withered significantly in many places, including Massachusetts; and in such places the Ron Paul people may already have the numbers to take it over. They certainly have the commitment.
This scenario has been repeated again and again throughout the US. Here is what Tim Pawlenty (Remember him?) has to say about the future of the GOP:
“We’ve got to be a party that’s about addition and not subtraction. In places like Minnesota, the Northeast, the West Coast, the Mountain States, the Upper Midwest, the Great Lakes, we don’t have a margin of error where we can afford to shrink the party. We want to be growing the party if we’re going to win elections and also have the opportunity to govern and make a difference for the country. So this is about expanding market share, not contracting it.”
Pawlenty has hit upon the crux of the matter here. The GOP, sucked into Christian Fundamentalism and the vilest designs of the neocons and the Israeli lobby, is an endangered species in the 21st Century. Only the young libertarians offer it a chance of survival.
The core of the libertarian activists see their present activity as one step in a long-term effort to take the GOP back to its anti-interventionist roots. Many feel that Ron Paul is unlikely to get the nomination by capturing caucus votes. But they also understand that they are learning an enormous amount in the battle to make at least one major party – the GOP in this case – into a genuine antiwar and pro-civil liberties Party. The Dems (including the pwogwessives whose candidate was and remains Obama) have failed to field an antiwar candidate. It appears, as a wise friend tells me, that for now the road to peace runs through the Right.
John V. Walsh can be reached at [email protected]