Capitalism, yes; competition, not so much 

Melissa Griffin - S.F. EXAMINER FILE PHOTO
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  • Melissa Griffin

Cody Morgan could barely vote when he was chosen by members of Maine’s Republican Party to be a member of the electoral college. At his age, I was just starting to study politics in college, but Morgan is getting an education that is as distinguished as it is depressing.

You see, Morgan is a Ron Paul supporter, and he was chosen as an alternate to come to Tampa, Fla., and vote for Ron Paul for president.

Paul supporters aren’t crazy. They don’t believe Paul has the votes to secure the nomination. But being nominated entitles a person to 15 minutes to speak at the convention. In the case of Paul, who refused to be a scheduled speaker because he did not want to let the committee review and edit his remarks, 15 minutes to say what’s on his mind at this final hurrah would undoubtedly be fascinating and controversial.

But like anything else that could be interesting, the committee quickly went to work to prevent it.

In Morgan’s home state of Maine, Ron Paul supporters won 20 of 24 delegates. Romney supporters challenged the results.

After all, Romney had won a caucus straw poll. The RNC conducted an investigation and found a number of procedural problems. Paul supporters deny those allegations, citing the fact that well-known parliamentarian Thomas Balch was present for the proceedings.

The result was that the committee replaced 10 of the 20 Paul delegates with  Romney supporters, leaving the total at 14 for Romney and 10 for Paul. Once Paul supporters no longer had a plurality, Maine couldn’t be counted as one official state in favor of Paul. Five states in total are needed to allow Paul to be nominated and speak.

Tuesday at the convention, delegates from Maine tried to have the vote by Maine’s citizens reinstated. They won the voice vote, but lost anyway, and some walked out.

Then the party changed its rules so that in the future eight states (instead of five) and a majority (instead of a plurality) will be needed before any person can be officially nominated for president.

In another charmless and despicable move later when counting the votes from each state, the women who were announcing the totals refused to even acknowledge votes for Ron Paul or Rick Santorum that were indisputably cast in legitimate elections in Alaska, Nevada, South Dakota and a host of other states. Here’s how it sounded:

Vermont representative: “Four votes for Ron Paul and 13 for Mitt Romney.”
Announcer: “Vermont, 13 for Romney.”

So the party that nominated an Ayn Rand acolyte for vice president while quashing the will of voters was on display. The party that worships at the altar of capitalism showed an unwillingness to allow competition in the marketplace of ideas. The party whose new slogan is “We did build it” will have made it almost impossible for any grass-roots candidate to make that claim.
And at the tender age of 19, there is one more cynic among us.

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Melissa Griffin

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