Who’s running Maine’s Republican Party?

Ethan: What’s up with Maine Republicans? You vote for presidential contender Mitt Romney in the primary. Then you reject the vote and give all your delegates to Ron Paul. Then your Party Chairman Charlie Webster tries to create a compromise so Maine isn’t shut out of the convention. And now the leader of your party, Gov. Paul LePage, rejects any compromise and says he won’t go to the convention unless the Paul delegates are seated. At the same time, he fully supports Romney as the nominee. Please explain.

Phil: You’ve been known to give me advice on political party therapy, so allow me to return the favor. When your challengers are in the middle of a mud wrestling match, don’t suit up and jump in with them.

Ethan: Are you kidding! I am fully suited up in my finest Republican wing tips, diamond-encrusted elephant cufflinks and gold-emblazoned pocket handkerchief. There is nothing I enjoy more than piling on when my opponent is stuck in the mud.

Phil: And you call Republicans mean-spirited. Here is the background. The Republican State Convention was fertile ground for the Paul supporters to pull together sufficient attendees to vote in delegates to the Republican National Convention in Tampa later this month. Their objective was to secure a primetime speaking opportunity for Paul to allow his campaign thesis to be heard far and wide. Allegedly, they broke so many procedural and parliamentary rules that the election of delegates is invalid.

Ethan: You know, for a party so obsessed about phantom voter fraud, you guys really should be looking in the mirror. The question now is why LePage is siding with lawbreakers and Webster is negotiating with terrorists.

Phil: You are having way too much fun at my expense. On one hand, some think what transpired is history and won’t change a thing regarding the Romney nomination. Others, namely Republicans Peter Cianchette and Jan Staples, understandably believe that the rules of decision-making should be the root of fairness. Imagine how you would feel if you were still a senator and someone took your seat in the Maine Senate and then voted? Well, among other procedural missteps, that’s what happened in one instance.

Ethan: It sounds to me like you are siding with the folks who feel that the Paul delegates won their seats through inappropriate means. Does that mean you think they should not be seated at the convention?

Phil: Don’t wipe the mud you just jumped into on my sleeves. I’m simply offering analysis to your giddiness. Even you would agree that protecting the rights of the minority is at the heart of public decision making and why we use rules and parliamentary procedure. If these basic procedures are cast aside because enough people show up and declare themselves in charge, then we have tyranny.

Ethan: Indeed. That’s why I assume you think Paul and the Paulites should be sent home without supper, no?

Phil: After reading the documentation, I agree that so many procedural rules were violated that the results should be voided. Now comes the politics. Romney doesn’t need the Maine delegates for his nomination, so why cause a distraction? The national committee may just decide to accept the report and challenge the state committee to acknowledge that violations occurred and that future actions will be scrutinized.

Ethan: But then Paul must be given 15 minutes of prime time. You sure Romney wants a guy speaking on his behalf who thinks Social Security is unconstitutional, that the separation of church and state is a myth and that people should be allowed to purchase fully automatic machine guns at will?

Phil: Contrary to the labels your party tries to affix to us, Republicans welcome and respect other points of view. Paul has earned the right to be heard. From his military, medical and public service to America, he connects with America’s youth and is rightly concerned about what this generation of politicians has done to diminish our freedoms and shackle them to a mountain of debt.

Ethan: So let me get this straight. Your position is that the delegates were illegally elected, but your party should give them their seats and allow the man who your party rejected for president a chance to speak? Well, if that’s your definition of a big tent…

Phil: Are you done making assumptions on what I think? You asked me to explain what is going on with the delegates. I did my best based on what I know from talking with those directly involved. Meanwhile you just make fun. I guess that is the price I pay for standing up for how democracy is supposed to work. Just think, next week you can fire away at the Republican National Committee, which is reviewing this case as we write.

Ethan: Can’t wait!