Home / The Righteous Fist Rides Into the Sunset: Final Notes on the Texas GOP Convention

The Righteous Fist Rides Into the Sunset: Final Notes on the Texas GOP Convention

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Saturday, 10:45am – Breakfast is Over

After spending $16 for a hotel breakfast which exactly matched what I’d have gotten at Denny’s for $4.25 I dined frugally at MacDonald’s today on my way to the convention. It was filling and tasty and made me feel like a real American, by gum!

This is the final day of the Texas State Republican Convention and it’s only a half day. I’m here for about 2 hours and hope to sit in on a couple of interviews and pursue my main goal for the day which is to get hold of a copy of the newly passed party platform and see if it’s really the monstrosity which rumor and the article I cited previously from the Dallas Morning News would lead me to believe. I went to the ultimate source of information – a 16 year old page – and they haven’t heard anything about copies being distributed, so I may have to be more resourceful. The rumors I’ve heard out of the convention elite are that officials outside of the platform committee are actively distancing themselves from the platform and trying to dismiss it as irrelevant, and that can’t be a good sign. Dubiously thought it may be regarded, to outsiders the platform speaks for and represents the party, and if it is as awful as rumors suggest, the party will suffer.

Saturday, 11:57am – An Altered Reality

I spent some time talking to some Ron Paul supporters today and determined that some of them are living in an entirely delusional universe. The line of discussion spreading widely through their camp today is that despite the definitive statement on his campaign website, he has not actually dropped out of the presidential campaign. How you could put an alternative interpretation on the statement “I have decided to end my campaign for the Presidency of the United States” is beyond my comprehension. Not accepting that message is characteristic of the delusional mindset which has drawn so many of these folks into the dark subculture of the John Birch Society. It’s possible for minds to be too open. To survive and function you need to have some sort of rational capacity to filter out fantasy from reality, even when that fantasy appeals strongly to your hopes and dreams.

12:20pm – Local Candidates Interviewed

Kirby Hollingsworth and Bryan Walker who are running for state legislature positions against incumbent Democrats stopped by for a joint interview with the various bloggers. They answered questions about the Trans Texas Corridor (which they are vehemently against) and about education where they have genuine concerns, but no solutions which impressed me that much. Unlike incumbents, challengers are often pretty free with their opinions and willing to say some interesting and honest things you might not see from a more seasoned politician. They became pretty outspoken on tax reform – switching away from property taxes to consumption taxes – and on government reform (easy for someone not yet in government to be outspoken on. It’s also nice that they tend to make themselves much more available to the media, including bloggers, than established political figures. Both candidates seem honest and well-intentioned and deserving of a chance to represent their constituencies.

Saturday, 1:05pm – Who Was Blogging the Con

Before I’m done I ought to recognize some of the bloggers featured at the convention. It was a diverse and surprisingly interesting group, including Greg Aydt, Chris Catrone, Kevin Price, Ken Emmanuel, Thomas Umstattd, someone from Jawa Report and several bloggers from Lonestar Times. Others whose info I didn’t catch also stopped by, including Steve Walker, a Democrat photoblogger who blogged on the Democratic Party convention last week.

Saturday, 1:25pm – A Blogging Pol?

Next up for interviews was west Texas Congressman Mike Conaway, who has only been in Congress for one term, but has established a record as about the most hardline conservative you can possibly imagine on almost every issue. On some issues – like the budget – that’s an unqualified good. But on civil rights issues his record is just abyssmal. He’s just about paving the way for a future police state. He does have a blog, which is an interesting sign of the times.

Saturday, 1:45pm – State Representative Carl Isett

We got a visit in the interview zone from State Representative Carl Isett who represents Lubbock. He’s chair of the very important Sunset Committee which plays a big role in limiting the size of government. It’s one of the best ideas in Texas government. He also sponsored a peculiar bill against hunting from public roadways, but he had to leave quickly so we didn’t get to ask much about that. He may be back later.

Saturday, 2:05pm – State Agriculture

Isset was suddenly replaced by Texas State Agriculture Commission Chairman Todd Staples. Someone else actually beat me to it and asked him one of my biodiesel questions and he gave a good answer, and I then followed up with my other biodiesel question about the TCEQ ruling taking biodiesel off the regular commercial market in Texas and I was pleasantly surprised to discover he not only knew what I was talking about in a general way, but was on top of the specifics and seemed to share my concerns. It’s reassuring to see someone running something who actually knows what he’s talking about.

Saturday, 2:15pm – More With Isset

Rep. Isset came back after the brief visit from the Ag Commissioner. He’s been one of the most accomodating interviewees we’ve had, and I got to ask him a question about his bill opposing the REAL ID, which currently has Texas’ compliance with the federal program on hold at least until the issue of REAL ID being an unfunded mandate is resolved. Seems like a nice guy. Rabidly pro-life, but that’s virtually impossible to get away from with any elected Republican in Texas.

Saturday, 2:30pm – Congressional Candidate Pete Olson

Pete Olson is running to try to fill what used to be Tom Delay’s seat in Congress. He seems like a cookie-cutter GOP Congressman. He’s articulate and has endorsements from prominent figures like Phil Gramm, but he seems too generic and didn’t inspire me, though at this point I may be a bit burnt out on these interviews.

Wrap-Up Reports

Ok, I’m, heading out from the convention. I’ve left the hall and I’m in the car and before I start driving I’m going to report on a couple of things, because a lot of important news came in at the last minute.

Ron Paul Delegates: After asking about a billion people from the Ron Paul camp, who mostly seemed only to know about their own congressional districts, I think I have a decent idea how many delegates were won by the Paul/Liberty faction. If you didn’t know, each congressional district elects a delegate to the national convention. It looks like the Paul/Liberty faction won 3 delegate seats and between 2 and 5 alternate slots. That’s about a 10% representation, which is more than double the percentage which Paul got in the popular vote, but substantially less than the percentage of the total state delegates who supported Paul. Most of them are looking at this result as disappointing, but I think that winning that many delegates the first time out with the deck stacked against them is a remarkable success. Apparently at least 2 of the Paul/Liberty delegates ran ‘stealth’ campaigns where almost no one knew they were part of the Paul faction, and that seems to have paid off.

The 2008 Texas GOP Platform: Someone found a delegate with a copy of the final platform and I got a chance to look at it, but I didn’t get to keep a copy to critique in detail. My first impression is that it’s the longest damned platform I’ve ever seen in my life. It’s just ridiculously detailed. It even has foreign policy suggestions broken down by country. Some of the really silly stuff apparently got blocked, but most of the homophobic language was preserved along with a bunch of eqully troubling socially conservative stuff. Very little of what the Paul and JBS folks were pushing made it in, which is a bit of a relief. I can’t discuss the platform in any more detail because it’s so long and I only got a glimpse at it, but look for an article on it somewhere down the line.

Thanks and howdy to all the blog readers who stopped by and said hi during the convention. And Liberty supporters – don’t give up on the GOP. I bet we’ll get more and better things done at the next convention.

Oh, by the way…the bellicose Ron Paul supporter mentioned early in this series never showed up to punch me in the nads as promised.

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About Dave Nalle

Dave Nalle is Executive Director of the Texas Liberty Foundation, Chairman of the Center for Foreign and Defense Policy, South Central Regional Director for the Republican Liberty Caucus and an advisory board member at the Coalition to Reduce Spending. He was Texas State Director for the Gary Johnson Presidential campaign, an adviser to the Ted Cruz senatorial campaign, Communications Director for the Travis County Republican Party and National Chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus. He has also consulted on many political campaigns, specializing in messaging. Before focusing on political activism, he owned or was a partner in several businesses in the publishing industry and taught college-level history for 20 years.
  • spinnikerca

    I think you are a bit unfair to the RP supporters considering they were looking for a definitive statement as to whether he was dropping out in the speech they had attended the day before, and didn’t get it there. Query whether they checked in at his web page before going to convention.

    They know by now, though.

    So I guess now the hard work starts, for those willing to roll up their sleeves and get to it.

  • Actually, I asked them and many of them had seen the website and still didn’t believe it. It may just be a short term shock effect, or something.

    Dave

  • Final update done. I’m surprised the Paulistas aren’t here complaining I didn’t give them enough coverage. Or maybe they only show up when I have negative things to say about their movement.

    Dave

  • E. L. Wall

    This was a great series of articles on the Texas Convention. I consider this the most exhaustive analysis I have seen regarding the convention process. As a Ron Paul supporter, I am not a fan of the John Birch Society. I consider myself libertarian conservative but I am not a paranoid racist. That was a major flaw of the campaign along with the Ron Paul Report issue, and the Truther support, and the rest. I did a post-mortem on the campaign for my meetup group in March talking about how a 1/2 libertarian and 1/2 John Birch campaign had no chance to succeed, and I was attacked for it. If it wasn’t for my respect for his honesty and voting record I would have had nothing to do with the campaign.
    I am tired of that guy who always rails against the North American Union in my meetup attacking me for not “speaking out” on the issue and in general being a bully. So much for freedom of speech…
    Anyway, great article and I look forward to more insights into the Ron Paul movement.

  • Thanks, E.L. I had many chats with Paul supporters over the last few days and found them to be a very diverse group, and a lot of them are relatively reasonable – a lot of the libertarians have a practical streak which will serve them well in the long term in politics.

    But it really troubled me when I ran into a girl who couldn’t have been more than 18 who was absolutely fanatical about the NAU and the CFR. To be that young and have a mind so closed is a real shame.

    Dave

  • Tom deSabla

    DN: “Bryan Walker who are running for state legislature positions against incumbent Democrats stopped by for a joint interview with the various bloggers. They answered questions about the Trans Texas Corridor (which they are vehemently against)”

    Although I freely admit I am not sure who “they” is in this paragraph, which someone obviously failed to proofread for you, I notice that you ARE mentioning the Trans-Texas corridor with a straight face:

    There can’t be a Trans Texas corridor Dave. It’s part of the mythical NAU conspiracy theory isn’t it?

    Remember? It’s a figment of Paul’s and Alex Jones’ imaginations.

    “Rep. Isset came back after the brief visit from the Ag Commissioner. He’s been one of the most accomodating interviewees we’ve had, and I got to ask him a question about his bill opposing the REAL ID”

    REAL ID? Aren’t Paul and his tards against REAL ID too? I guess when we oppose it, we’re just being conspiratorial and paranoid; but when some mainstream Republican opposes it, you lap it up.

    DN: “Most of them [Paul supporters] are looking at this result as disappointing, but I think that winning that many delegates the first time out with the deck stacked against them is a remarkable success.”

    The deck was stacked against them? How can that be, Dave? I thought you said that Paul has been treated fairly all along?

    DN: “I’m fully aware of the complaints about it. The evidence to support those complaints is pretty sketchy, especially when it comes to persecution in the MSM. Paul got way more exposure than any of the other also-rans.”

    Still, I applaud your accidental brush with the truth here, Dave. See – it didn’t hurt you a bit!

    DN: “My first impression is that it’s [TX. republican platform] the longest damned platform I’ve ever seen in my life. It’s just widiculously detailed.”

    Like my posts that expose and detail your economic stupidity?< ?a> The ones that you and your suckups/surrogates find so difficult to process?

    DN: “the bellicose Ron Paul supporter mentioned early in this series never showed up to punch me in the nads as promised.”

    Was this a threat that never materialized because the Ron Paul supporter was a chicken? Possibly.

    Or was this a threat that was never real in the first place? Probably.

    There is a third possibility – the Paultard could have realized that there was no point in showing up to punch you in the “nads” because you don’t have any.

    If you did, you would have never turned against Ron Paul to begin with.

    That’s right, just so I’m clear here – anyone who claims to have libertarian values and who didn’t support Ron Paul, has no balls, no heart, and no brains.

    DN: “I’m surprised the Paulistas aren’t here complaining I didn’t give them enough coverage. Or maybe they only show up when I have negative things to say about their movement.”

    Why else would we show up at your blogs Dave? It’s not like we’re going to learn anything from you!

    Unlike you, I won’t be worried about that young girl you spoke of unless she had really wacky ideas – like thinking that printing up fiat currency was constitutional borrowing, and even wackier ones about inflation being caused by economic growth.

    YOU are the only “libertarian” I have ever heard saying such ignorant things and worse still – maligning and abusing your fellow libertarians who try to set you straight.

    I don’t care how long you’ve been lurking around this movement sabotoging liberty at every turn. The facts are clear. You are no libertarian, you don’t know libertarianism, you are dishonest, and a total and complete fraud. And I will continue to expose you.

    Have a nice day ; )

  • There can’t be a Trans Texas corridor Dave. It’s part of the mythical NAU conspiracy theory isn’t it?

    The way that conspiracy theories work, since you’ve clearly never applied any critical thought to the subject, is to take something real and then apply a paranoid intepretation to it. There’s no question that the TTC concept exists. No question that some people want to have it go accross the whole country. However, the truth is that it’s never going to happen that way. States bordering Texas have already shut it down and now it’s getting more or less shut down here in Texas. And the totally fictional part is the assumption that the existence of a trans-national highway would have automatically created a multi-national union. A leap of illogic based on zero evidence and the rantings of one fantasizing globalist at the CFR.

    REAL ID? Aren’t Paul and his tards against REAL ID too? I guess when we oppose it, we’re just being conspiratorial and paranoid; but when some mainstream Republican opposes it, you lap it up.

    I oppose REAL ID because it’s unnecessary and a violation of privacy rights. But I don’t think it’s the first step to putting implant chips in people or tattooing barcodes on their foreheads with the number of the beast on them. Anyone sensible would oppose REAL ID, and lots of normal Republicans do. But that doesn’t give any legitimacy to the paranoid claims about it that come from the fringe.

    The deck was stacked against them? How can that be, Dave? I thought you said that Paul has been treated fairly all along?

    Read the articles, all of them. I’ve only said the MSM gave him a relatively fair shake. I’ve reported from the very beginning of my coverage of the Texas primary process that the GOP party insiders have been stacking the deck against Paul’s movement.

    Like my posts that expose and detail your economic stupidity? The ones that you and your suckups/surrogates find so difficult to process?

    As someone else pointed out, you have a fundamentally outdated view of the economy which is so out of sync with reality that it makes one wonder if you might be mildly retarded.

    Was this a threat that never materialized because the Ron Paul supporter was a chicken? Possibly.

    Or was this a threat that was never real in the first place? Probably.

    There were multiple threats and one of them was posted publicly here on BC and plenty of people saw it before the comments editor deleted it.

    If you did, you would have never turned against Ron Paul to begin with.

    IMO Paul betrayed his professed libertarian values.

    That’s right, just so I’m clear here – anyone who claims to have libertarian values and who didn’t support Ron Paul, has no balls, no heart, and no brains.

    Actually, I don’t think Ron Paul is a libertarian anymore, if he ever was. His beliefs diverge too far from fundamental libertarianism and his association with the JBS betrays exactly what his real values are.

    Unlike you, I won’t be worried about that young girl you spoke of unless she had really wacky ideas – like thinking that printing up fiat currency was constitutional borrowing, and even wackier ones about inflation being caused by economic growth.

    I realize that causation is the great unknowable of the conspiracy-minded, but I never said inflation was caused by economic growth, though I may have said that inflation tended to accompany economic growth.

    YOU are the only “libertarian” I have ever heard saying such ignorant things and worse still – maligning and abusing your fellow libertarians who try to set you straight.

    I actually don’t think it’s possible to BE a libertarian and hold the crazed anti-liberty beliefs espoused by the JBS. Libertarianism is a belief system based on REASON and embracing the irrational isn’t compatible with it at all.

    I don’t care how long you’ve been lurking around this movement sabotoging liberty at every turn. The facts are clear. You are no libertarian, you don’t know libertarianism, you are dishonest, and a total and complete fraud. And I will continue to expose you.

    I’d suggest that you’ve already demonstrated a bizarre ignorance of libertarianism, its basic beliefs and even the diversity of the movement. You’re not qualified to judge my libertarianism, having clearly shown you don’t understand libertarianism in the first place.

    Dave