August 30th, 2012

When Hawaii’s delegate count was announced on the floor of the Republican National Convention, the count was 17 for Mitt Romney, the eventual nominee, and three for Ron Paul, the congressman from Texas.

Based on the results of the state GOP’s presidential caucus in March, Hawaii’s delegates were shared between Romney, Paul and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum. While Santorum’s supporters ultimately backed Romney, Paul’s backers stood firm.

It was indicative of a larger rift between Paul supporters and the RNC, which instituted a rule change on the eve of the convention that led to half of Paul’s delegates from Maine not being seated — and a walkout on Wednesday by some of those same supporters.

Hawaii State Party Chairman David Chang, said he believes the delegation ultimately came around to supporting Romney as the best candidate to defeat President Barack Obama.

Said Chang on Thursday night:

Even on Monday night, when we starting to get ready, the Santorum people were excited about Mitt Romney, even the Ron Paulers – they were really happy with Ron Paul, but in the end they said, ‘You know what, our primary goal is defeating Braack Obama. Mitt Romney is the best candidate to be our Republican nominee and we need to rally behind him.’

That may be true, but at least one Paul supporter said he remains undecided about who will get his vote in November.

Joe Kent, a delegate from Maui and one of the Paul supporters, said he may abstain from voting, he may write in Paul or he might vote for Obama or Romney.

Asked Thursday whether he could support the ticket, Kent, in a phone interview, said:

Not currently. They’re pro-war. They’re against social issues that we’re for. You could say we agree with half of the things he says but the other half of the things we disagree with. And is that really a decent reason to vote for any candidate? We don’t want to lower our standards to support a candidate. We want to raise the standard of candidates around us because nobody gets our vote for free.

A lot of people, I ask them, can you sell Romney to me? And the first thing they do is start bashing Obama. But if I ask them, can you sell Romney to me without bashing Obama, they’re speechless. They have nothing to say. So to me it just seems like a big television show.

Kent said he, like the Paul supporters at the RNC, felt “disenfranchised and ignored” by the national party and the rule changes, adding:

We’re pretty upset about them pulling out half of Maine’s delegation and there were many other states who were treated unfairly as well. … All we want it to be is fair and square. It’s one thing to lose, but it’s another thing to lose illegitimately. Because if it’s illegitimate, then the small guy will never have a chance in the future.

13 Responses to “Undecided”

  1. Dan Douglass:

    B.J. Reyes: Thanks for the in depth coverage.

  2. Kolea:

    It makes sense the Santorum supporters would shift over to the Romney-Ryan ticket. They are getting virtually everything they want. If not the exact personality. Paul Ryan’s views are pretty much identical on the issues Santorum campaign on. And Romney has demonstrated throughout his career, as well as in the past few weeks, he is EXTREMELY “flexible” when it comes to principles. Whatever it takes to solve the problem in front of him now, e.g., “getting elected,” he will do.

    But Ron Paul’s views are in much greater conflict with the dominant GOP. For all their talk about “deficits” and “small government,” most Republicans are hardline “statists.” Recent history shows the federal government and the deficit has expanded more under Republican presidents than under Democrats.

    I expect most Paul supporters will capitulate and support Romney. After all, they have adopted a longterm strategy of working within the Republican Party, not the Libertarian. But for a principled Paul activist, I imagine they are very uncomfortable right now. And the heavy-handed decision to change the rules in order to suppress the candidacies of non-establishment candidates in future presidential races, has to call into question the wisdom of using a presidential campaign, at least one within the Republican Party, for advancing their philosophy and building their influence.

  3. Paul Ron:

    Paul supporters are just progressives trying to do to the GOP what they have long ago done to the Dems.

  4. Goober:

    Assumptions and Approximations make relatively no cents and therefore is a theory.

    Being a governor of one state versus being a president of 50 and plus territories of America is totally different. romney should campaign in China since many jobs are located there. His thinking of making jobs is to have people from Hawaii move to the mainland and work as immigrants. He thinks Hawaii is “offshore”.

    Voting for romney would be in bain. romney opposes Civil Unions, so does santorum. ron paul is neutral. He too, cannot make a decision that one in his office cannot make without the public’s vote.

    Every issue is brought to present to show the past can come back to haunt.

  5. Dan Douglass:

    Kolea: you make many spot on assesments.

    The most purist (the biggest block I am familiar with) of Ron Paul’s supporters will vote third party or leave it blank if Paul does not endorse anyone, jeopardizing Romney’s bid in battleground states. Some, but not significantly in numbers, will spitefully vote for Obama. And some (who were more recently involved) will follow Rand Paul’s lead and reluctantly support Romney.

    With Ron Paul’s retirement from both Congress and running for president as a Republican, we shall within the following months see how he will direct the movement. If the focus of the movement continues to be in bulk within the Republican Party I don’t see how it will energize the supporters in Democratic Party dominated states like our’s, especially after RNC drastically capped significant grassroots capability within the party’s presidential process. I expect this to have some influence on the direction.

  6. Goober:

    @Paul Ron:
    Seems like a RINO (republican in name only) wanting to joust with a GOP.
    Define your meaning of GOP (grand old party). Republicans now have
    so many wannabee members that are not of the GOP.
    “Speak softly and carry a big stick”. Should a party matter
    if the people benefit from either side?

  7. Chicken Grease:

    Paul supporters simply better wake the #3ll up. Pretty soon, there are gonna only be three things that come out of Texas[!].

    Were, uh, Paul supporters out of the room when Paul’s son Rand made his speech (and very, very pro-Romney at that)? Rhetorical question; Texas delegation was very much there while Rand was yapping. Don’t you think Rand’s appearance should’ve resulted in “booos” from the Paul supporters after all that yelping and also booing when Boehner was on stage with the rules and all? It’s absence kinda’ reminds me of the born-agains totally ignoring the concept of baptism and all.

    Wake up, Paul supporters. Tell grampa to enjoy his golden years already, why work the #3ll so hard, can almost see this guy getting a heartattack in office, can’t risk it, wouldn’t be prudent.

  8. Kolea:

    @Paul Ron,

    I know the word “progressive” means different things to different audiences. To Glenn Beck fans, for example, it has come to mean some sort of fascist. But as a self-described “progressive” myself, I don’t think it is useful to call the Ron Paul supporters “progressives.” They would undoubtedly reject the label and we progressives would also disagree.

    Where progressives and Paul supporters tend to agree is on the need for citizens to become actively engaged in ownership of our society instead of leaving it to the “professionals” and the entire ideological/political machine which tries to deaden the creativity–and participation–of ordinary citizens. Indeed, is designed to transform us from CITIZENS to CONSUMERS.

    We also both oppose the heavyhanded used of military force, both against the people of other nations and against our own people, particularly on matters of personal choice where the individual cannot be shown to be harming others through their private behavior.

    Because of these similarities, both of the establishment, corporate-dominated political parties distrust these rprincipled tendencies within their ranks, alternating between humoring us, bullying us or uneasily co-existing with us on those occasion when our ideas are convenient for their ends. Which is why I am sympathetic to the feelings of the Paul supporters at this time and appreciate the conflicts they must feel. I find myself agreeing with former RNC chair Michael Steele who said yesterday in an interview with Jon Stewart on the Daily Show,

    “What the Republican National Committee did to Ron Paul was the height of rudeness and stupidity….Because they’re afraid of that which they cannot control. And to the extent to which they feel they cannot control him, in those moments, the whole idea of freedom of speech, it’s like, ‘Well, it’s a good idea, but.’ ”

    People interested can find the video online by Googling “Jon Stewart” “Michael Steele” and “Extended Interview.”

  9. Joe Kent:

    I’m Joe Kent, that Ron Paul delegate. This article quoted me very well! I wish they had added when I said that I was proud of our local party for announcing Ron Paul’s name, and our three votes, fair and square. Big props to Erin Kealoha Fale for doing that. I also said that I want to stay in the party because of people like her, and her commitment to honesty in the process.

  10. Goober:

    The RNC should say, Are we any better off since twelve years ago?

    romney is one who gets served and does not serve.
    KFC comes out of Kentucky not Michigan. mitt drives a Ford car
    and not a GM.

    Labor Day, mitt went sailing on his boat to let the “Media” come out of
    a day off to see him sail. paul ryan ran almost an hour slower
    than palin in a race. Can’t refudiate that. ryan wee wee’d.

  11. Chixken Grease:

    September 4th, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    . . . romney is one who gets served and does not serve.

    Service . . .

  12. Chicken Grease:

    Hillsdale College gives probably THE best ‘splanation of what “progressivism” and what a “progressive” is here (free education, just sign up):



    Also . . . don’t hate on the above just because of the Conservative leanings here; here IS the BEST most locatable explanation of progressivism.

  13. Goober:

    Chixken Grease:
    Wants Soylent Green Crackers. Right Polly?
    Serve yourself.

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