The world does not revolve around Nebraska. I know that. Nebraska is rarely a difference maker in much of anything (other than football). Actually, we sort of like it that way, I think. But today an old rhyme keeps going through my mind:
Last month, I wrote a rather extended tale of Republican Liberty Caucus-Nebraska’s efforts to gain delegates to our county and then state conventions (and ultimately, to the national convention). In the month or so since I finished that multi-part story, a number of us have given money to Republican candidates (and some of us have given to the Nebraska Party); many of us have been out walking in parades and volunteering for candidates—including the Republican U.S. Senate Candidate here in the state; all of us were looking ahead to the rest of the fall campaign and continuing involvement in the Republican Party.
Last night, the Nebraska Republican Party kicked us in the ass. Sorry, I’m not sure how else to say it.
Back in July, the chair of the Nebraska GOP and myself came to what I thought was an agreement that would last. The GOP called off their plans for “extra security” at our state convention, and we agreed that we wouldn’t engage in “any kind of dilatory or disruptive tactics that could interfere with the mutual goal of an orderly and efficient convention.”
Oh, and we said that we believed in “The Nebraska Way” (defined in our joint statement as: honesty, cordiality, neighborliness, practicing the Golden Rule—and when differences occur “shaking hands and agreeing to disagree in a respectful way”).
And we behaved at the convention. We didn’t engage in any of the practices that the Party had heard about in 49 other states before us, and was fearful that we were going to do. We called for exactly TWO counted votes, which we lost. We didn’t challenge the platform. We let things flow. We elected TWO of our folks out of the 35 total delegates. We were generally pretty subdued, and let chips fall where they would. We got a standing ovation from the convention for our involvement. I’ve even got a handwritten note from the Governor, thanking me for “the manner in which you and your supporters conducted yourselves” at the convention. He said he “looked forward to everyone’s involvement in moving the Republican Party forward.”
Gosh, that seemed o.k. It seemed like the “Nebraska Way.” We all knew that we weren’t going to agree with each other on everything, but surely we had proven that we could treat each other with respect, in spite of our differences, and that we just might be able to show the rest of the country that the liberty movement was welcome in the GOP.
And then last night. The roll call vote. Nebraska, as you’ll recall from a few paragraphs back, had TWO Ron Paul committed delegates. Just TWO of our 35 total. The other 33 were Romney Committed.
We listened to the roll call. States were calling out their total, including those for Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, Michele Bachman. None of those had the necessary states to have their names put into nomination, so the calling of names didn’t represent numbers on the tally—only Romney’s names were formally recorded. But the delegations all seemed to be willing to show a modicum of respect to the supporters of other candidates who showed up, worked the system, and got themselves elected to the National Convention. Awesome!, I thought. There must not be direction from on high to completely shut down any non-Romney delegate. Good will by the winners will get us a long way toward healing some of the divisions.
Michigan. One of Mitt Romney’s home states. His brother, Scott Romney, announced the vote, which included 4 votes for Ron Paul. YES! If Scott Romney can say “Ron Paul”, our folks will at least get their efforts acknowledged, and then we can move on.
Nebraska. The usual Nebraska is the home of ____ stuff, and then: Madame Secretary, Nebraska casts 33 votes for Mitt Romney (not a direct quote). And then the crickets started chirping. And…..? Nothing. TWO Delegates (including Jon, who hasn’t yet had an opportunity to post here) were there, standing on camera, behind the Nebraska Chair, and Nebraska didn’t say that those two delegates abstained, didn’t say that they had cast their vote for Ron Paul…. They just pretended that they didn’t exist.
And then my e-mail and Facebook messages started to light up from my RLC/Paul colleagues. Why didn’t our votes get mentioned? What are we going to do? Can we fix this? I saw Jon there! I can’t believe they did this! Everyone else mentioned their Paul votes, why not us?
I have no answers; I have some suspicions. I don’t believe it was accidental. I believe that someone wanted to make sure that the Nebraska Republican Liberty Caucus folks didn’t get their votes cast.
I sent out a press release last night expressing my disappointment in this, after our earlier agreement about the “Nebraska Way.” And establishment hacks started attacking me on *their* blogs, and Facebook, and Twitter—telling me I should stop whining—we lost. Yep, we did. And then, the comments started in. My favorite: “You Paultards should shut up and just vote for Romney.”
Oh. I missed that lesson in the “How to Win Friends and Influence Enemies” class—call the people whose help you want names, and then make rude demands of them…
For want of two votes, what’s going to happen in Nebraska? I don’t know, but I’ll bet we’ll have some fun things to report in the next few months.