Thursday, May 29, 2014

Why Nothing Has Changed for the GOP

  When I wrote the  book SWINDLED, I made the case that the GOP wasn't the party of freedom that it claimed to be , but rather a loose coalition of power brokers and money movers that, although ostensibly committed to slightly less government, where so terrified by the  candidacy of Ron Paul that they committed a whole slew of atrocities to  block his nomination. These  atrocities included voter fraud, financial shenanigans, and  the skirting of federal election laws.  Over and over again in primary after primary I showed that a handful of people flipped switches and pulled levers in an attempt to derail the  most serious liberty  element the Republican Party has seen in decades from  establishing any  real presence under the tent. One such individual is a man named Reince Priebus.
 Once upon a time, Priebus, but the general counsel for the national Republican Party, but Priebus's real skill seems to be  fund raising. In December of 2010, he stepped down as general counsel for the RNC so he could run for chariman.  In a letter to the delegates he said "I will keep expenses low. I will put in strong and serious controls. We will raise the necessary funds to make sure we are successful. We will work to regain the confidence of our donor base and I will personally call our major donors to ask them to rejoin our efforts at the RNC."  Having secured the job, Priebus was true to his goal, cutting the  party debt by almost half, raising over $50 million dollars. He brought some high level donors on board,  was praised by Ed Gillispie as being "on message" and having done "a great job at raising money, which is the principal  role of the RNC chairman."
  Deep pocket donors  give money to political campaigns for one of three  reasons.  One reason is  protection money, which is why  large corporations routinely finance both sides of the aisle.  No matter which  stooge wins, he's  less likely to bite the hand that has been feeding him. The other two reasons are closely related; access and influence. You pay a candidate so that when he wins, he will take your phone calls and then listen to you.  As  Louisiana governor Earl K. Long famously said " I don't buy senators, I rent them. It's cheaper." Very rarely are deep pocket donors  motivated by  principal or  genuine excitement  over a cause.  Men like Priebus understand this, and court these tendencies. The last thing  Priebus needs is an actual grassroots  movement that  is spontaneous, and can't be either controlled, steered, or tapped for large donations.  Enter the Ron Paul Revolution.


  As the  preparations began for the 2012 election,  Priebus is the individual who  pushed for Nevada to move their caucus date  from  January to February. Nevada has always been a  place sympathetic to the liberty message, and even with a large Nevada Mormon population that  would tend to tilt towards Romney, Ron Paul campaign organizers had reason to  expect great things.  But the GOP  machinery, headed by  Priebus engaged in all sorts of monkey business, including changing the times the polls were open and announcing a Romney victory when only 5% of the vote had been counted and several counties ( including Paul stronghold Clark County) still hadn't reported in. The state GOP chairperson  resigned in the middle of the night while the vote was still going on. The hour-by-hour account makes for compelling reading. Despite all this Paul wound up finishing  2nd behind Romney, and later  snagged the majority of delegates at the state convention, effectively winning the state.
  Oh, but dear friends, the last chapter had not been written yet, because Mr. Priebus ,being the money man that he is,  formed a thing called 'Team Nevada'. Priebus even  wrote their press release saying "
“Nevada is a critical state in the upcoming elections, and that is why the Republican Party is expanding our voter contact and volunteer programs across the state,” The purported purpose of Team Nevada was to expand  RNC outreach in the state.  The real reason  was to funnel money away from the Nevada Republican Party, with its Paulian sympathies, into the coffers of the Romney campaign.  Paul might have won the state, but the money  was going to Romney.
  Rolling into the Tampa convention, the national party was  struggling with impromptu and  possibly illegal rule changes that   finally managed to successfully block Paul's nomination.  One of the men most opposed to the  procedural  malfeasance going on was  Morton Blackwell. Blackwell was actually a Romney supporter, but felt that the rule changed behind closed doors the night before the convention at the behest of Romney s lawyer were  sinister and  'un-Republcian'. He was blocked, delayed, and stuck on a bus for 3 hours while John Sununu went  into hiding, lest anyone present him with a minority report challenging these new rules.  The end result was the nomination of Mitt "I am not a robot" Romney , who was  easily trounced by Barack Obama.
 
  The reason I  go briefly through all this history is this; 2016 will soon be here, and like the battering husband that swears he'll never hit you again, the GOP will  try to convince you they have changed.  They have not . In fact, they have changed so little that  Priebus and  Blackwell are facing off over yet another round of rule changes. Priebus has been making the talk-show rounds denouncing  convenient GOP boogey-man ( boogey-woman?) Hilary Clinton for everything  that could possibly be wrong with the world in an attempt to pre-empt her political ambitions.  This is  vastly more pragamtic than focusing on  the 'nar-a-dimes-worth-of-difference' between the two parties.  He is  flipping switches and pulling levers as  we speak, and those  GOP 2016 hopefuls  who want access to the war chest of funds have to court him, and have to say the right things. They will have to  either endorse the  warfare state or soften their opposition to it.  They will have to agree to long-standing  state pillaging programs like Social Security, and be willing to  blur the  numbers on issues like immigration.  The staus quo will not be challenged, only nibbled at the edges with  convoluted solutions that only merely shift inappropriate state power from  one pocket to another.  They will do all this while men like Priebus try to convince you that there is an Islamicist under every bush and only a robot with an 'R' after his name can  save you.  They will claim tea party roots while they pocket  vast rivers of money from  corporate donors who then will expect sympathy at best, and corporate welfare at worst.
  The same people are still in charge of the GOP machinery as were in charge of the machinery in 2012.  Don't be fooled.
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