THAT's IT... BLAME THE MESSENGER!
More thoughts on why the GOP National Convention
will end up only frustrating "stealth delegates"
Monday, May 7, 2012
by Richard E. Berg-Andersson
Well, well, well...
seems my 29 April Commentary about "stealth delegates" among those ostensibly bound/pledged to Mitt Romney in Presidential Primaries already held rubbed more than a few people very much the wrong way, for I received a fair amount of criticism of that piece via e-mail this past week: some of it diplomatic and tactful, to be sure; but much of it was angry where not just plain nasty (with all the tact and diplomacy of the middle school bully who feels at liberty to knock other kids into lockers and kick their books down the hall in order to separate them from their own lunch money ["take no prisoners", indeed!])...
and all I did- at base- was to merely note the veritable "no-brainer" that the organizers of the Republican National Convention in Tampa this coming Summer were going to, if necessary, use whatever tactics at hand they might have to in order to ensure that former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney would not be kept from that Party's presidential nomination this time round-- not that I expect such heavy-handed ones to even be at all necessary!
Despite some of my more vociferous critics opining that I was merely spouting, as one of them put it, establishment propaganda, the fact is that my Commentaries are- as they have always been- an alternative to that posited by the so-called Establishment (whatever that means [for one of the lessons of History is that the anti-Establishment merely becomes the new Establishment: "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss"]!): at the same time, however, my pieces are also alternatives to all those alternatives to the Establishment which have just as high a probability of being as full of crap as the very Establishment said alternatives themselves decry (which is just about the same probability that what I myself write for this website might also be full of crap-- that is to say: every source of information- print, broadcast or Internet; blog or mainstream media- is as capable of being 14-carat wrong as any other [including me!]-- but, nevertheless, I plod on [it's a burden that, in any event, I am ever so willing to bear]).
Yet, within at least some of the more venal criticism directed at me, there was such an innate air of superiority- where not even a direct questioning of my own education and intelligence- that I feel I have to now "advance the story", so to speak, with a further Commentary on the subject in which I will attempt to back up my contentions (vainly, I fear [for, in all too many cases, those who criticized me seemed more bent on continuing to believe that which they most wished to believe than in having any interest whatsoever in why I might have taken the position I happened to have taken: either that or taking rather cheap shots at- where not also attempting outright intimidation of- one who posts in cyberspace must, in the main, be more satisfying than having one's Letter to the Editor end up in a lonely dustbin deep within the offices of, say, the New York Times).
One e-mailer (one of the better, more reasonable, critiques of my 29 April piece, I would have to fairly say) wrote me that if the open “Anyone But Romney” (ABR) supporters plus the stealth supporters = 50%+1 of the convention assembly, they can not only block rules changes, but can do the exact opposite [that is, the opposite of that which I put forth as a 'worst case scenario' in that piece: REB-A] back against the Romney supporters, and the Romney supporters will have no recourse. To quote a famous blogger, “nice try though!”.
Except that the 'ABR' (to use this e-mailer's terminology here)+"stealth" forces won't be 50%+1 of the 2012 Republican National Convention when the same convenes in Tampa late this coming August because here's the real deal:
pro-Romney forces will have already organized and, thereby, will be in control of that Convention once it actually meets.
And the only way that the above boldfaced statement will be at all wrong is if all (not just any, but all!) of the following numbered and boldfaced scenarios still come to pass:
1. a significant anti-Romney vote emerges in the remaining Presidential Primaries:
what do I mean by "significant"? Well-- let's do a little math here, shall we?:
As of this typing, Governor Romney has 727 National Convention delegates "hard count"ed for him on our website (if you don't happen to like our numbers, too bad! We not only think they're fine but we also "show our work" [indeed, throughout the four Presidential Election cycles The Green Papers has now been online, being one of the few Internet political/electoral websites to so "show our work" is what has made our own reputation])-- although I will grant that some of these are those so-called "stealth delegates" about which I wrote back on 29 April (and I'll come back to said "stealth delegates" later).
On Tuesday 8 May, Indiana and North Carolina will bind/pledge a total of 79 National Convention delegates via their respective Presidential Primaries (we'll put aside West Virginia for now because the Mountaineer State is holding a direct Delegate Selection Primary and, as was the case with Pennsylvania's 'Loophole' Primary back on 24 April, anything can happen therein)... then, on Tuesday 15 May, Oregon is binding/pledging 25 delegates in its Presidential Primary (we'll also put aside Nebraska's Presidential Primary the same day, as it is merely Advisory [a so-called "beauty contest"])... a week later (that is: Tuesday 22 May), Arkansas and Kentucky bind/pledge a combined 75 delegates via their respective Presidential Primaries... next, on Tuesday 29 May, comes the long-delayed Texas Presidential Primary which binds/pledges 152 delegates.
If Mitt Romney is held to one less than half of the National Convention delegates bound/pledged via the popular vote in the Presidential Primaries already cited, he would end the month of May with a "hard count" of 890 (I'm here giving him- for sake of this particular argument- 39 on 8 May [again: without at all considering West Virginia's direct delegate selection]; 12 on 15 May; 37 on 22 May; and 75 on 29 May [again, and in each case: 1 less than half of the delegates on each date cited]).
Now we go on into June.
On Tuesday 5 June, New Mexico binds/pledges 20 delegates and South Dakota binds/pledges 25 delegates- each doing so proportionally (1 less than half the total delegates up for grabs in these two States is 22, bringing Romney up to 909 in this hypothetical "hard count")... on that same date, New Jersey binds/pledges 50 delegates to the winner of the Garden State's Presidential Primary (I happen to live in New Jersey and I can tell you that- as was already the case with neighboring Delaware- my State is 'Romney-friendly' and, thereby, he will gain these 50, bringing him up to 959 in this hypothetical "hard count")... that leaves- last but certainly not least come 5 June!- California which binds/pledges 169 National Convention delegates: giving Romney 1 less than half of same (84) here brings Romney up to 1046 (just within 100 of the "magic number" of 1144 he needs to 'clinch' the presidential nomination) and we still have not even considered Utah's 40 delegates bound/pledged to the Statewide winner of the Beehive State's Presidential Primary on Tuesday 26 June.
But, of course, all I have posited above is based on Romney gaining the pledges of only just under half of the National Convention delegates week after week after week after week, etc. as we head towards the end of this Primary "season" for, if Romney gains more than half the delegates up for grabs each week left in the Presidential Primary "season"... that is: if, instead of gaining just 39 delegates out of Indiana and North Carolina this coming Tuesday, Romney gains, say, 50- or 55- or even 60 plus... if, instead of gaining a mere 12, instead Romney gains 15- or 18- or even 20 or more out of Oregon a week after that... if, instead of only getting 37 out of both Arkansas and Kentucky a week after that, Romney picks up, perhaps, 45- or 50- or 55 to 60 or even more from just those two States... then, in such cases, all of what I have already hypothetically calculated for Governor Romney above (that is: keeping him to a mere 1043 in our site's "hard count" after the 5 June Primaries) is, thereby, concomitantly increased (putting him that much closer, if not even over, the "magic" 1144 immediately after 5 June)-- and, again, I haven't even factored in what Romney might also get out of West Virginia (or Utah) here!
Thus, where I wrote a significant anti-Romney vote as but the first premise herein above, I meant a popular vote week after week in the Presidential Primaries to come that would keep Mitt Romney well under half the bound or pledged Republican National Convention delegates yet to so be bound/pledged... for even getting just half of the remaining National Convention delegates already would put the former Massachusetts Governor very close to 'clinching' the presidential nomination in any event, even in our website's "hard count"!
"OK, Rich," the skeptic (Ron Paul supporter or no) might now say, "but what if- all the above notwithstanding- he's still just short of 1144 after 5 June?"
This brings me to premise # 2 which would also (in addition to my first premise) have to come to pass in order for my notion that the Republican National Convention in Tampa will, in fact, be organized and controlled by pro-Romney forces to prove incorrect:
2. Mitt Romney fails to get the support of many, if not most, of the Uncommitted National Convention delegates:
As of this typing, there are 300 'Uncommitted' delegates in our site's "hard count": these are delegates who will be going to the Convention officially "Unpledged" (but they will, of course, have the right to vote for someone on Roll Call of the States re: Presidential Nomination come the Convention itself)... and here put aside the fact that even more 'Uncommitted' delegates will be so "hard count"ed in future (as, for example [as is the case in Indiana], at-large National Convention delegates are chosen after the Presidential Primary in a State and remain officially "Unpledged")!
As I've said in at least one previous, recent Commentary of mine: it would be altogether foolish think that Governor Romney (the leading GOP presidential contender in the current delegate count, after all!) will get but few, if any, of these delegates on Roll Call of the States at the Convention.
Just how many will Romney get of these? I have no idea!...
but, then again, neither does anyone else...
yet it will be some (by which *I* would mean no little number of same-- certainly no less than 50 to 75, perhaps as many as some 200 in the end [if not even more!]) and the better Romney does in the remaining Presidential Primaries, the more likely a majority- if not a supermajority- of Uncommitted delegates at the Convention will end up casting their lot with the former Massachusetts Governor. In any event, Romney will be able to use whatever 'Uncommitted' delegates come around to support him to "pad" whatever numbers he gets re: my premise # 1 above and this will surely put him well over the 1144 needed to 'clinch' the nomination at the Convention itself.
(And- mark my words!- support Romney many, if not most of these Uncommitted delegates will... for many of these officially "Unpledged" well represent the "invisible hand" of the leadership cadre of the Republican Party US, most of which has wanted Governor Romney- above all other contenders- to be the Party's 2012 presidential nominee all along [after all, "it's his turn"! ;-)]... the Republican Party, as an institution, has already begun working on the presumptive nominee's behalf [for example: the Grand Old Party recently warning Nevada that their delegation to the Republican National Convention risked not even being seated had too many Ron Paul supporters not intending to support Romney occupied delegate slots that- per the results of the already held first-tier Delegate Selection event- should be bound/pledged to Romney--- the first salvos in what one of the nastier e-mailers to me this week called 'THE BATTLE OF TAMPA' (said e-mailer's own capitalization here) may have already been fired pre-emptively (and I told you- in my 29 April piece- that there were sanctions available to the pro-Romney side!)])
That is: What will Gingrich do?... or, for that matter, what will Santorum do?:
Both Speaker Gingrich and Senator Santorum have suspended their campaigns (Gingrich this past Wednesday [2 May]; Santorum back on Tuesday 10 April) which, above all else, means they have not yet released their own delegates already "hard count"ed for each of them (and both these erstwhile presidential contenders will, likely, still get some bound/pledged National Convention delegates in the remaining Presidential Primaries [and the anti-Romney forces, Ron Paul supporters or not, had better hope Gingrich and Santorum still get such delegates-- lots of 'em-- in order for the already slim-to-none chances that ABR=50%+1 of the votes on the floor the Convention to remain 'slim' instead of becoming 'none'!])... but release them each of these candidates eventually will!
Gingrich and Santorum are merely doing what the near-rivals of a presumptive presidential nominee (Romney, in this case, of course) generally do- and, indeed, have almost always done- once they are no longer actively in opposition to that presumptive nominee: they have each (however reluctantly, where not also begrudgingly) acknowledged that Mitt Romney will be the standard-bearer of their Party come the Fall-- put another way: the proverbial "handwriting on the wall" already clearly suggests that they are not endorsing Congressman Paul!
For, in the end, Ron Paul offers them nothing of real political value. Clearly, Gingrich and Santorum each want to have a say in what goes into the Republican Party Platform and will, almost certainly, each be given a key prime-time speaking slot at the Convention (something Congressman Paul is rather unlikely to himself gain [and the "firing on Fort Sumter" that is the warning to Nevada I have already noted above well indicates that- so long as Ron Paul, his campaign and its supporters remain "beyond the pale" in the eyes of the Grand Old Party hierarchy with their "stealth delegate" strategy- that scenario becomes ever more unlikely!]): to gain such influence (that is: to have the proverbial "seat at the table" come the Convention itself), Gingrich and Santorum (along with many, if not most, of their respective supporters) are far better off working with- as well as for- Mitt Romney than "getting into bed" with Congressman Paul and his campaign!
Indeed, people recently attached to both the Gingrich and Santorum campaigns are already working on Romney's behalf...
heck, even Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann- darling of at least some of the "tea party"ers- and rocker Ted Nugent have both endorsed Governor Romney, fergawdsake!-- if nothing else is a sure sign as to where this is all headed come the GOP Convention, these alone should suffice!
so, premise # 3 (of the premises I am herein opining need to be true if the ABR- Anybody But Romney- forces are to at all prevail in Tampa) is really: Most of the National Convention delegates bound/pledged to Gingrich and Santorum fail to vote for Mitt Romney on Roll Call of the States re: Presidential Nomination.
Our site currently has a total of 352 National Convention delegates bound/pledged to either Gingrich or Santorum in our "hard count": give Romney just half of these (176) and add it to what I have already given Romney in my discussion under premises 1 and 2 and Romney is up to some 1300-plus, pushing 1400 at minimum (that is: if just under half of each of the groups of National Convention delegates I have just one through in each section of this piece vote for Governor Romney on the Convention floor)... this brings us to the next, and final, premise which would need to be true come the GOP Convention in Tampa in order for the 'ABR'-ers to actually prevail:
4. The "stealth delegates" need to outnumber whatever 'cushion' Romney might otherwise have over and above the number necessary to win the presidential nomination:
To here review: the basic idea behind the "stealth delegate" strategy is that delegate slots formally bound/pledged to Mitt Romney in Presidential Primaries already held are gained by anti-Romney persons (primarily, although not necessarily exclusively, supporters of Ron Paul) who will- besides not supporting Romney's wishes on procedural and other non-nomination-related votes on the floor of the Convention- abstain on Roll Call of the States re: Presidential Nomination: if the number of such "stealth delegates" so abstaining is higher than the total number of delegates bound/pledged to Romney- and/or gained by Romney from other sources (the ranks of the Uncommitted or released Gingrich and/or Santorum delegates)- Romney will still be kept below the "magic number" of 1144 and, thereby, fail to win the nomination outright on the First Ballot.
In my 29 April piece, I opined that this would be nipped in the bud- in a "worst case scenario"- by a motion to Suspend the Rules and Nominate Governor Romney by Acclamation that would be rather quickly gaveled into passage by the Chair. Many of my nicer critics this past week pointed out that there would immediately be people amongst the "stealthy" who would be rising to their feet clamoring for "the divisions" (that is, asking that a formal vote be taken on the matter, as suspension of the rules requires a 2/3 vote of the Convention [again: Parliamentary Procedure 101])... of course, these critics of mine are assuming that the Chair would then either recognize them or not rule them out of order (even though, yes, their request for the divisions would be, in fact, in order), conveniently forgetting that the Chair at a Major Party National Convention ever has great control over the workings of said assemblage (even in situations in which the Chair cannot well control the behavior of the delegates themselves)-- please see the history of past Major Party National Conventions for many an example of same...
the plain, simple fact is that the Republican Party of the United States as an institution (and, after all, it is the Republican National Convention we're talking about here!) is not going to do anything to help the "stealthy" achieve their goal... this is all I was really saying in my 29 April Commentary and- of course (and I fully expected this, by the way)- my e-mail Inbox now contains an entire week's worth of examples of "Blaming the Messenger"!
(If only for the record: despite the expressed belief among many of my critics this week- especially the nastier ones- that I am a Mitt Romney supporter, I am neither a Romney supporter nor a Romney detractor [any more than I am either a Ron Paul supporter or a Ron Paul detractor or, for that matter, a supporter/detractor of anyone else seeking the Presidency in 2012, including President Obama]: I am simply one guy- an ordinary American citizen- who happens to, right now, be writing a lot about the 2012 Republican presidential nominating process- nothing more, but also nothing less!- just as I have written about the presidential nominating process in one or both of the Major Parties [and even some Third Parties] during the three previous Presidential Election cycles this website has been online [a note here to one of my more vociferous critics, by the way: just because you first came across our website today doesn't mean we first went online only yesterday!-- we've been doing this stuff for a long time now].
Don't get me wrong now! I'd love to see a "brokered" Convention- perhaps even an old-fashioned "donnybrook" of a Convention: people being bodily removed from the floor of same, fisticuffs between delegates, the Chair banging the gavel upwards of a quarter of an hour vainly trying to restore order before calling on the sergeant at arms to clear the aisles, etc.-- any and all of this would certainly be far more interesting and surely much more fun to write about than the more usual "Major Party Telethon" the National Conventions have become throughout most of my now-more than a half century long lifetime!...
but my responsibility- my "prime directive", as it were- as Commentator for The Green Papers is to "paint what I see" and not illustrate that which I don't see [or, for that matter, might wish to see]-- it is what I have always tried to do for this website and I'm not going to stop doing so merely because there are those out there who don't think I am even doing so in the first place!)
In the end, though, no such 'worst case scenario' will at all be necessary: for the margin of victory provided by those delegates who will (some of them less than enthusiastically, I am sure, though) be voting for Mitt Romney at the Convention in Tampa will well outnumber the "stealthy" within the ranks of the Romney delegates themselves. As I've said: all 4 of the boldfaced scenarios above would have to unfold-- any one of these not coming to pass dooms the entire "stealth delegate" effort; two or more of these failing to become reality only the more solidifies Mitt Romney's position come Tampa!
Please know that I give the Ron Paul campaign all due credit-- for the Paulites have well taken on the Republican presidential nomination process at its weakest point: the seating of persons as delegates only after said delegate slots have already been assigned (that is: bound/pledged) to presidential contenders and doing so by gaining a major voice, if not outright control, of many a local and State Republican Convention... but the National Convention is not so weak (which was my main point back on 29 April and is, again, my point now!)
If I am, indeed, wrong about what I here honestly think will transpire once this year's Republican National Convention meets, I will- in fact- say so soon thereafter; I have already publicly admitted when I've been wrong in the now more than a dozen years this website has been online, so why would my acknowledging error yet once more really be all that much of a problem? ;-)
However: please know I am not expecting an equivalent apology from those who sent the nastier e-mails to me this past week when I am, indeed, proven right late this coming Summer!