Writes Warren Woodward:
What a disgrace! What an embarrassment! I attended the Arizona state Republican convention in Phoenix on Saturday, May 12, 2012. What a disgrace! What an embarrassment! Has the state Republican leadership never run a meeting before? It certainly seemed so. A few observations:
As a Precinct Committeeman from Sedona, I had been previously elected as an alternate delegate. Once at the convention, since many previously elected delegates did not show up, I and others were moved up to delegate status. What should have been a simple matter of checking names and issuing credentials and handled immediately while getting seated on the convention floor, turned into an interminable bureaucratic process of the sort most real, "old school" Republicans rail against when performed by government.
We were marched off the floor to another room where a few people mistakenly placed in charge barked commands while trying to act "official". A huge performance was made out of a procedure which ultimately amounted to scribbling "delegate" in red ink on our paper convention badges.
The convention, off to a late start, was now off to a bad start. And it was pretty much downhill from there.
By the way, I have been a delegate before in another state so I have experienced how an efficiently smooth convention can be run when those in charge know what they are doing and are respectful of others.
There was a convention schedule but as the day wore on it reminded me more of Greek train timetable, serving as just an indication of things that might happen at some point during the day.
While credentials and number of delegates were checked and counted, speeches by various Republicans were made. Will someone please make a gift of elocution lessons to Governor Brewer? Reading words one at a time can have the effect of adding emphasis when done occasionally. When done throughout the whole speech it makes for a bizarre, halting cadence that calls IQ into question.
Some son of Romney gave a folksy speech about his folksy dad -- real regular "family man" that Romney. Indeed, that, the fact that he once ran the Utah winter Olympics and was not Obama was about the most his supporters could claim for him during day. Somehow no one bragged about Romney's support for socialized medicine, TARP and other bailouts, the Patriot Act, Federal Reserve funny money or the horrific NDAA.
Today the Arizona Republic newspaper reported that Romney's son was booed off the stage. In typical mainstream media fashion the story was picked up and repeated elsewhere as truth. The story is not true. The son was booed when he called for endorsement of Romney's slate of delegates, but he wasnot booed off the stage, and he continued his speech to its end.
Instead of the scheduled lunch break, we left the convention floor and broke up into various caucuses to accomplish some of the real business of the day, electing delegates to the national Republican convention. I was elected as a delegate. This was surprising since no one, not even me, voted for me.
Another person was also elected for whom no one voted. Leadership was reluctant to do anything about this anomaly at first but enough people yelled. I heard something about how the Republican leadership had cheaped out on the voting tabulating equipment. I don't know if that's true but in any case the ballots had been misread and in both cases the election really went to the person below the "winner". So from there on everything had to be hand counted which took forever and was not performed in plain view.
When the process was finally over, everyone reassembled on the convention floor for more voting. This time again for more delegates and alternate delegates to the national Republican convention as well as for representatives to the Republican National Committee.
An interesting side note was that all candidates were in alphabetical order except Romney's slate which always appeared at the top on all ballots. (All are equal but some are more equal than others. ~ George Orwell, Animal Farm) Clearly, Romney's supporters were in need of this mental aid and simplification.
State Republican "leadership" showed their true selves -- their disdain for the discipline of Roberts Rules, their disrespect of Republican membership, their lack of integrity -- at the end of the meeting.
Due to their overall ineptitude at running and organizing the meeting, we ran hours over the scheduled closing time. So quite arbitrarily the Chairman announced that tabulating votes would take place at a later date, and that any run-off elections, if needed, would be held by mail. This announcement was met with screams of disapproval from the floor. This is not "how you do it". Once a meeting is convened the meeting's business is done there and then.
A major argument ensued. At stake was the counting of ballots for who would be the National Republican Committeeman and Committeewoman. It was finally decided the ballots would be counted. But that took forever. It looked as if Republican "leadership" was either poor at math, had not delegated enough people to the task, or needed time to get their stories straight -- or all three.
After what seemed like another hour, the Chairman returned with the results. The Committeeman position had been won outright but a run-off would be needed for the Committeewoman. In what was obviously a per-arranged collaboration, immediately after the Chairman made his announcement, one of his buddies made a motion from the floor for adjournment. Without waiting for a seconding motion or vote, the Chairman then announced the meeting was adjourned, banged his gavel, did an about-face and walked very rapidly out of the hall.
Pandemonium broke out. The Chairman's illegitimate and totally disrespectful action provoked the attendees who insisted the meeting could not be ended this way and so they attempted to continue the meeting by electing a new Chairman. Of course they were right in doing so since the first Chairman had essentially abandoned his own meeting. Of course in practice nothing will change this way, and the first Chairman will remain in his undeserved position.
Meetings belong to those who show up. Additionally, it is generally understood that people who leave early do not get to vote on matters that come up after they're gone -- because they're gone!
Due to the nature of who left and who stayed, the person who tallied the most votes for Committeewoman would have likely won the run-off had the run-off been held when it was supposed to have been held which was during yesterday's meeting. But this person and her supporters are not the establishment leadership's choice. Having the run-off election by mail, whereby those who left early will get another chance to vote, is liable to produce an outcome more to the establishment's liking. This is a major injustice which would not have occurred with a Republican leadership respectful of Roberts Rules and their membership.
Overall, the convention was a pathetic spectacle capped by a move of desperation characteristic of a dying, out-of-touch establishment clinging to power.