How to rig a convention, relegate your party to permanent irrelevance, and maybe kill your country
by Charles R Lewis
It’s April 27, 2008, and America’s faint flicker of hope is walking a tightrope over an abyss of one world totalitarian socialism. Beneath one side of the chord lies the in-your-face, virtually identical Marxist, oppressive policies of the three-headed HillabaMcCain, a hazard by now identifiable, ironically, to just about anybody outside the government-schooled American majority.
The other side appears at first glance more inviting to the rest of us, but it’s a disguise, the work of the RonPaul/AlexJones axis, which gets our confidence by informing us of a large body of urgent facts unavailable in the mainstream media or even the conservative talk circuit, then betrays that confidence by
(1) converting us into hypocrites who blind ourselves to the alarmingly un-Christian policies of that faction’s central figure (see http://lewislyspeaking.blogspot.com/2008/04/ron-paul-and-chuck-baldwin-matter.html),
(2) coaxing us into giving great power to the far left via our chanting of the most agonizingly illogical, most distant from the truth traditional mantras of the communists about our country and her military and weapons industry that are just about the only institutions that have kept us free lo these many decades,
(3) brainwashing us into swallowing whole the group’s fatal foreign policy, which amounts to feeding our friends (such that remain) to our enemies, and
(4) upending the candidacies of the few genuine visionary patriots (Tom Tancredo. Alan Keyes) in the race.
If you doubt any of the above (especially the last point), I wish you had been with me (along with several other SaveAmericaSummit – SAS – members) in Kansas City this week at the Ron Paul Cult Lovefest referred to euphemistically as the Constitution Party (CP) National Convention.. The pertinent speeches consisted essentially of the message that the party had wanted to nominate Libertarian Populist Ron Paul, but that he’d turned them down, and that therefore they chose to nominate Paul’s hand-picked surrogate, even though that individual had next to zero credentials.no name recognition or following, and no chance of mustering any significant endorsements, and figured to just maybe get as much as 1% of the popular vote in this year when America has everything to lose and no candidate for conservatives to support.
…Which might make sense on some level if the party didn’t have the brilliant, solidly constitutionalist, and fabulously eloquent Dr Alan Keyes (whom the CP itself had wooed to leave the GOP specifically to seek the party’s presidential nomination) on hand, ready and willing. Keyes is noted for being excluded from the Republican debates the three times he’s run for that party’s nod – for the simple reason he tends to win them all hands down, according to most observers (and because he’s a genuine patriotic Christian conservative, and the GOP simply can’t have that).
Keyes is a national conservative icon (he had won the party’s online poll – among rank and file members – by a landslide). Major wags (with names like Farah, Coulter, Boortz, Limbaugh, Schlafly, Levin, Dobson) who’ve burned their bridges with John McCain, pretty much all know and revere Alan Keyes and would at some point have had to endorse him, if only to maintain their credibility. And behind them would almost certainly have followed masses of disaffected and disenfranchized conservatives, and a new major party just might have emerged.
But instead, the CP chose Pastor Chuck Baldwin, whose claim to fame is having garnered all of 150,000 votes nationwide as the party’s vice presidential nominee in ’04, and whose presidential aspirations can be best characterized as a wish to become the Neville Chamberlain of the War Against Islamic Terrorists And Their Bolshevik And Globalist Sponsors (WAITATBAGS, if you will).
The handwriting was on the wall from the start this week for Alan, witness his icy reception at the platform committee meetings, where the Keyes people tried in good faith to reconcile his minor differences to the satisfaction of both sides. As Keyes recounted it, not only was the committee unwilling to change one jot or tittle, it wasn’t even willing to discuss any of them. I’ll give you one example:
SAS had asked its reps on the committee to try to insert the concept of “oil” (ever heard of that?) into the energy plank, from which it was missing. A delegate from Alaska (the one state that was to give all of its votes to Keyes) beat them to it, and our Greg Thompson emerged satisfied that the “unintended omission” (as CP National Chairman Jim Clymer had described it in an on-air chat with me a couple weeks earlier) would be remedied. The document, however, was later distributed with the same flaw.
At the platform’s presentation for general approval, I went to the microphone to address this. I told the assemblage that I wasn’t asking for specific mention of ANWR (or the rest of Alaska, with its vast reserves and willing populace), or the Caribbean (which Cuba and China are currently depleting), or the North Pole (rightfully ours, but which President Bush is busy trying to cede to Russia, via the Law of the Seas Treaty), or our failure to approve the building of a new refinery in over thirty years…Or even, given the fact that Dr Jerome Corsi – who’d helped discover that petroleum is not an exhaustible “fossil fuel,” but a virtually infinitely available substance from the earth’s mantel – was to speak the next day, that the currently accepted premise is a lie concocted apparently to restrict our movements in the coming police state…
No, I was just asking that the word “oil” be added to the platform’s list (consisting of just about every other form of energy). of energy forms which the platform stipulated should be free from government prohibition of the exploitation. I did, though, pose the question as to how high gas prices had to get before the party decided it was time to allow us to drill for our own soil instead of ransoming it from the terrorists and communists. A voice rang out from across the ballroom (which an unconfirmed report later told me was that of CP founder Howard Phillips – more on him later) to the effect that I should not be allowed to speak, as I was not an official delegate (more on that state of affairs later, as well). The matter died there.
As the issue had been raised and rejected in committee, we have nothing to conclude but that the Constitution Party is firmly against domestic oil production. Its overall position on energy is approximately that of John McCain.
A platform thoroughly hostile to Keyes (whose views on the issues match those of SAS better than do those of any other candidate of any party this election year) having emerged, it was time for the presidential nominating process to begin. Phillips, who had been scheduled to address the convention on general topics, also wished to give the nominating speech for Baldwin. He was told he could combine the two speeches, in opening the nominating process.
Phillips proceeded to launch into a lengthy diatribe that amounted to a vicious, capricious character assassination of Dr. Keyes. He accused Keyes of being everything from a neocon to a carpetbagger from the Republican Party who just wanted to exploit the CP for his own ends (conveniently forgetting that it was the party that had invited Alan). And the fact that Alan didn’t want to simply hand over Iraq to the terrorists – well, that went totally against what the party was all about, you see.
The venomous tirade was so over the top that Clymer (a respect-worthy, gentlemanly individual) actually took time to apologize for Phillips’ “denigration of an honorable man.” But seeds had been planted.
Phillips’ soliloquy had taken up so much time – and there were so many frivolous candidates who had filed (the only two serious ones were Keyes and Baldwin, but it seemed that at this ad hoc affair all comers got equal time) that an extremely streamlined process had to be contrived to keep the program on schedule. The 9 or 10 candidates met with Clymer, and it was decided that each would get 15 minutes combined for nominations (if desired) and their own presentations, with Keyes given an additional five minutes, to compensate for the Phillips calumny. Each of the candidates chose to dispense with the nominating speeches and do all of the talking for himself.
Baldwin got his “15 minutes of fame” first, and no less than 4 of the other “candidates” used some of theirs to essentially present seconding speeches for Chuck (and lobby, in some cases, for the slot as his running mate). This meant Chuck got approximately 2 hours of favorable speeches.
Then it came time for Keyes to speak. (By my watch, he was denied the full 20 minutes promised, and seemed to have been given only fifteen.) One can only imagine the pressure this man may have felt, at having to cram so much into so little time, and under such duress, at that.
As usual, this superior orator of our time spoke without notes. He resisted being put on the defensive, answered none of the Phillips inventions and quarter truths directly, and simply gave his speech. He presented his incredibly well thought out positions on the issues, and let that speak for itself. He didn’t sugar coat anything, and took on areas where he diverged somewhat from the CP line, explained the constitutional basis for his stances, and always emerged sounding sensible. His words put the lie to the Phillips contentions that he was not in line with the Constitution or the party’s principles that derive from that document.
As the speech went on, Keyes’ passion built to a crescendo. It was pitifully little time to present even a fraction of what he needed to say, and one would have thought that at least the unexpected subtraction of about five minutes might have thrown him. Not Alan. The thing went off like clockwork and ended with a dazzling display of thoroughly substantive and totally cogent verbal pyrotechnics.
He got a standing ovation (from about half the crowd). Given the circumstances, it was the most moving speech I ever heard. (Mine were far from the only eyes there that could not remain dry.)
After this segment came a “question and answer” period, with all of the questions coming from Mary Starrett, from whose writings I have derived the knowledge that she is very much in the “Pauldwin” camp. Predictably, she lobbed slow-pitch softballs to Baldwin and reserved the tough ones for Alan.
She asked the latter about his “dream” cabinet, and he did not cop out, providing a “someone like so-and-so” list. He mentioned first Chief Justice Roy Moore, which drew applause, although his (very reasonable, in my view) reference to Duncan Hunter in terms of DOD met with surprising silence (another harbinger, as Hunter, while in tune with CP on nearly all issues. is not a surrender monger.
Baldwin’s reply to a question on his non-negotiable positions included, predictably, an allusion to immediate pullouts in both Iraq and Afghanistan (who needs Barack?). He also advanced his customary commie-style accusations of an “American empire mentality” (a grating theme he harped on practically every time he opened his mouth at the convention).
Keyes handled Starrett’s curve ball on foreign aid (which the CP has traditionally opposed under any circumstances) adroitly, saying as charity, never (not a function of coercive obtained taxpayer funds, but rather of the church), for the advancement of America’s strategic interests, yes. His thorough knowledge of the Constitution once again showed, as national security is clearly a valid function of the feds.
Once again predictably, it was Baldwin (among all the candidates) who got the honors of fielding the last question, a veritable tee-ball that he obliging hit out of the park.
Then it was a few minutes of scheduled “mingling” time for the candidates and delegates. This process displayed Alan Keyes at his most remarkable. Varying crowds of a dozen or more stayed around the man for something like 5-7 hours, hanging on his every word. He answered every question – including some hostile ones I heard from people wearing Baldwin buttons – with class and polish, and invariably seemed to disarm all doubters with his incredible on-his-feet reasoning and the obvious care with which he’d constructed each of his positions beforehand.
The performance conjured images of a Michael Jordan with his in-flight improvised moves, or a master jazz musician, able to think 16 bars ahead in the construction of a solo. I held out hope that this genius of statesmanship had turned things around.
The next morning came the presidential polling of the various state delegations. Phillips’ speech had originally been scheduled for this hour before this tallying; he was replaced by a John Birch Society official, who delivered what amounted to yet another Baldwin endorsement. Only worse. It was what the Phillips attack would have been if he’d done it more shrewdly. The Bircher’s talk consisted mostly of listing various ills the CP wished to correct. Fair enough. But within each list, the one he emphasized by far the most heavily was inevitably the one where there was a shade of difference between the CP stance and that of Keyes.
This happened consistently enough that it could not have been by accident. And this was the taste left in the delegates’ mouths going into the individual state caucuses leading into the balloting. And this balloting produced an approximately 3-1 Baldwin win. And with that disappeared the Constitution Party’s one chance of becoming anything but a distant also-ran. And along with that – apparently at least – disappeared America’s final chance at saving herself electorally. Sad.
Oh, and for those of you unaware of why I wasn’t a delegate, I was not eligible because I’d been kicked out of the state party by the chairman of the South Carolina CP, ostensibly (according to the similarly incoherent southern region director, whose Florida delegation, like South Carolina’s was to go 100% for Baldwin) because he (the SC chair) determined that I had gotten myself elected Secretary of the Greenville County CP (unanimously, by the way) illegally (since the chairman didn’t approve it – he couldn’t have, as he wasn’t present to approve them either, meaning theoretically the other three officials elected at the same meeting should have been booted, as well, except they weren’t). (Never mind that I submitted the completed, perfect minutes of that meeting in record time – if you’re totally confused by now, you know how I felt.)
I was told in the end that the South Carolina chairman has dictatorial power to do as he pleased with membership status in the state (a little ironic for a party dedicated to the rule of law, something not lost on the national credentials committee chairman, with whom I later spoke). One would have thought that, at worst, I would have been relieved of my county Secretary duties, but, no, I was totally out of the state party, while remaining a member in good standing in the national. It was eventually revealed that my removal had everything to do with my having publicly criticized party icon Ron Paul (himself never a member of the party at any level, by the way). And my non-state-membership status kept there from being any possibility of my being a delegate, meaning I had no voice at the convention, in spite of the hundreds of hours I’d worked trying to build the party toward viability.
This may have some bearing on the explanation as to how Keyes could have won the on-line rank-and-file poll with huge numbers and with Baldwin barely registering, whereas the delegate poll at the convention was complete contrary. I know of no other cases as bizarre as mine, but I have little doubt that in many states (the states set their own rules in terms of delegate selection and even the diverse ways in which their votes are counted at the convention), a “Ron Paul litmus test” was applied is this totally arbitrary process..
A meeting with Keyes in his suite with his supporters produced an extended gem of an analysis by this master of such extemporaneous presentations. Not at all bitter, Alan endeavored – successfully – to bolster our spirits. Mine were lifted in the knowledge that God was still producing greatness among His flock, and the sense of privilege I felt being in the presence of this giant among men.
His reflections on how he always seemed to get so close to the breakthrough he sought, only to be asked to endorse some policy – in this case the CP’s insane appeasement doctrine – that if he accepted it would mean death (in this case for America). I later conveyed to him that my life experiences had been amazingly similar, but that I was not giving up and implored that he not do so either. I thanked him for being an inspiration to me, and expressed the hope that I could in this way return the favor. He thanked me warmly, and a group of us prayed with him before we left.
I understand that Baldwin later approached Keyes about the vice presidential nomination. A Keyes acceptance would have put an end once and for all to even the fantasizing about a way out for this nation (via an instant third party, independent run, or whatever). With Keyes subsumed in the Baldwin campaign and forced to adopt those objectionable policy positions, he’d be useless, and there would be likely nowhere else to turn. And the ticket still would not get the necessary endorsements or mainstream support – not with Baldwin so out of the conservative mainstream, what with his Jane Fonda view of America.
Thankfully (and unsurprisingly), Dr Keyes chose not to prostitute himself. And I can still dream about America’s survival a little while longer.
A couple of closing notes:
Communism and Islamism are – by their inherent nature – about destroying American, western, and Christian civilization, and killing or enslaving us and our progeny. They declared this from the start (both centuries ago and recently), and have since busied themselves 24/7 in pursuing these aims, on every front imaginable. They each have declared all-out war on us, and nothing they have done since has given the impression that either of these declarations is hollow.
Under such conditions, I cannot for the life of me conceive of an action we might take against these enemies that could reasonably be considered “pre-emptive,” “interventionist,” or anything but self defense. (Bush’s Iraq affair, by the way – in which our troops’ hands are utterly tied, in which we court martial them for acts of heroism, and in which we are standing idly by while the millions of Assyrian Christians there are annihilated, does not qualify – for these very reasons and others similar.)
Secondly, if Uncle Sam ever did decide he wanted to colonize the world, I reckon the vast majority of the world would kill to be included in the empire. Or haven’t you noticed that most of that part of Latin America that hasn’t already invaded is lined up at the border to join their compadres that have?
My fear is that within the next couple of years (at the most) our problems will reach a critical mass where the demand for entry will be exceeded by the demand for escape. Pray that some miracle keeps that from happening.