This past weekend I went as a delegate to the Missouri state republican convention. After many years of being a proud non-voter, in January I registered to vote only because I wanted to be involved if Ron Paul had a chance of winning. Except for meeting and becoming friends with other liberty lovers in town, I regret my entire involvement. The local caucus, the congressional district convention, and the state convention were all long, stupid pep rallies for republicans to replace their identical twin democrats in office, as if that would make any difference.
For this weekend’s state convention, we had to arrive at 7:30 AM for registration and then wait, squished in, shoulder-to-shoulder for the convention to start (nearly a half hour late) at almost 10. First, we were subjected to a video message from Rick Santorum, urging us to unify behind Romney. That was followed by campaign speeches by the three republicans running for Senate against Claire McCaskill. All of the speeches were of course filled with empty platitudes, (my personal favorite was “the status quo has got to go!”) but nothing about sound money or ending the wars. Next we had to elect officers of the convention including chairman and secretary, and this apparently required three minute speeches in support of each candidate — one person claimed that voting for one person to serve as convention secretary was a vote to revitalize the republican party. Puh-leeze, isn’t this person just going to take the minutes?
The convention agenda called for a recess for lunch from noon until 2:00 but we were so far behind schedule that some time after 1:00 it was motioned that we recess for lunch for one hour. But then when a known Paul delegate suggested that an hour wasn’t long enough for the nearly 2,000 delegates to get lunch and that the recess ought to be at least 90 minutes, the Rom-torum delegates took nearly 45 minutes arguing over the length of lunch and requiring a standing vote (rather than voice vote). This was similar to the Boone county caucus when the rules committee needed a recess to convene for 10 minutes and the crowd debated for over 30 minutes whether or not to allow the recess. It was decided that we would vote on the slates of 25 at-large delegates to Tampa before lunch. One slate had 19 pledged to Romney and 6 to Santorum and the other than 16 for Paul and the other 9 for Santorum. If the Santorum supporters had voted where they earned more delegates, the Paul slate would have won and denied any more delegates to Romney. Alas, Santorum supporters didn’t get that 9 is greater than 6, and the Romney slate won by a narrow margin.
After the vote, the convention broke for a 90 minute lunch with the idea of reconvening for a second session to discuss the Missouri republican platform. The small group with me all agreed that the platform discussion is a waste of time because nobody elected ever sticks to their campaign promises. We ate lunch and left town.
If I could un-register to vote, I would do so immediately. I want nothing to do with any of the whole process ever again. I’d prefer to concentrate instead on enjoying life with my husband and three children, playing my banjo, and taking in the view.
Sandy Klein [send her mail] is Adjunct Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri and Associated Scholar of the Ludwig von Mises Institute.