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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Connecticut Convention Hell - Republicans should hang their heads low

The Republican Party boasts of being the party of principle and open process. Yet on Friday night at the 2010 Connecticut Republican Party Convention, I and many others witnessed behavior that brought shame on the party, its officials, and its Chairman - Chris Healy. The Linda McMahon campaign along side of State Central officials worked endlessly to threaten, intimidate, and force delegates to switch sides and support Linda McMahon over Rob Simmons. Many of these delegates switched from Peter Schiff to Linda McMahon after it was clear that Schiff was unable to barely get to a quarter of the support needed for a win.

Moreover, the behavior of the hack convention security team under direction from State Central Operatives were hawks about throwing Simmons election team members off the floor or impeding their ability to talk to delegates, meanwhile Linda McMahon herself and her army crawled all over the convention floor as convention security simply looked the other way. I watched one of the Simmons team members being harassed by the Chris Healy, pro-McMahon forces, and out of frustration he turned to the hack, pointed to the three McMahon team members standing behind the hack, and said, "*uck You, you're letting those [McMahon] guys run the floor and sending the Simmons team off. Your showing your biased support for McMahon's team! What the hell is this?"

Watching it all up front and close, I watched several people upset about being threatened that they would lose their seat on their town committee, and I saw one guy being told that if he switched his vote to Simmons that "he'd never be involved in politics again, and he'd live to regret it." If I hadn't had my wits about me, I would probably exploded and would've grabbed the guy threatening the delegate by the neck and thrown him against the wall. The reek of Stalinism, the smell of corruption, and the image of Chicago-style bullying filled the convention air. It was nauseating. Simply putrid!

As I watched people turn their votes over to McMahon's team, I also couldn't help notice the clear support and shrill of excitment in the voice of the announcer at the microphone. One delegate turned and said, "My God, they are cheering Linda on from the Podium. I've never seen anything like it." Yeah, well me either. The bias was clear - the crack security team pushing Simmons team members off the floor, at the podium with the wild cheerleading of switches to Linda, and in the itimidation by State Central stormtroopers. This is Republicanism?

As most readers know, I'm not a fan of Linda McMahon, and do not intend to support her even if she were to ever win the Republican Primary. During most elections, I support candidates who's positions either mirrors my own views, or supports a particular hot button position that I think outweighs the rest of the issues that may be on the table. Party hacks (and these people are on both sides of the aisle) believe that regardless of the outcome, we are simply supposed to fall in line with the Republican candidate at the end of the cycle and blindly support them in order to make sure that the opposition party doesn't take the seat. But does such an act of blind loyalty mean anything if the manner in which the Republican candidate violated the basic principles of Republicanism or fair play?

Connecticut Republicans are most known for being referred to as RINOs (Republicans in Name Only) by the majority of Republicans in other states. Today, most of Connecticut's Republicans arrogantly believe that Conservatism - even common sense Reagan Conservatism is reactionary or out of touch with modern American despite the fact that its principles are built on common sense positions. I raise this because its was clear at this year's convention that the Republican Machine supported moderate and liberal Republicans over their conservative counterparts (trying to push Janet Peckenpaugh over Daria Novak is a perfect example). Many of these candidates don't even have a Republican record, or have a clear record of funneling money and support to Democrats in the past. And some, like Janet Peckenpaugh, who made the claim to not even remember who she supported in 2008. These are people that CT State Central pushes in our faces - unprincipled, convictionless, money windbags. Ideology means nothing to these Healy-types.

Linda McMahon, for example, gave thousands to Democrats over the years to defeat Republicans, including giving money to Joe Courtney to successfully defeat Rob Simmons last time around. Given this paradox, how on Earth could a Republican delegate even consider giving Linda McMahon their support? It's said that people have short memories, but I think they just lack principle.

Getting back to the results - I suppose some of it was the big checks Linda wrote to RTCs in need, and some of it was just people getting caught up in the frenzy of wanting to put a unknown entity who runs a wrestling business and promises "something different" in play as their nominee. But its the threats and intimidation that I can't go for. Now how much of each element comprised the nomination, we don't know right now. But any of the latter is shameful, and I witnessed enough of it to make me want to either work for Rob Simmons in a primary setting, or vote third party in the General. (something I've actually never done before).

There is a reason only thirteen states use this rediculous forum for nominating their politicians. Last nights jury-riging event is the reason why this concept should be stopped. It's time to go to the primary system and leave all the decisions to the general public; not a handful of grimy people pulling strings in the back.

Lastly, I do want to discuss the Simmons campaign. I'm sure I might get a few angry messages after this posting but as they say - it is what it is. I have to say that I agree with many delegate's criticism of the Simmons camp for its lack of organization and overall lack of activity on the floor of the convention. My own personal experience left me with a bit of a sour taste. On the day of the convention, I called and volunteered to come down and help out. I was told they would be happy to have me help in a variety of ways, just to come down. After arriving in the afternoon, it took hours to finally connect with people who were running all over the place trying to get organized. I spoke with several campaign folks who weren't able to find me ANYTHING to do. Then I was told to come back at six o'clock to help with the "running". Even during the chaos of the convention, when Rob Simmons needed his staff doing their part, they didn't find any work to do for a large number of us to do. There we were, about seven of us wearing Simmons t-shirts, standing against the back wall, and given absolutely nothing to do.

On the basis of pure organization, it probably would have been more unbelieveable if Rob Simmons had actually won. That would have meant that the Simmons camp had done their homework in advance of the convention, and the delegates were locked up. Well, I guess that wasn't the case. My thinking is that they were as disorganized on Friday as they have been all along. How much Rob Simmons knows about this the lack of eptitude and the overall mess is unknown to me. But an honest Simmons campaign staff can only point inward at itself for creating such a mess, and allowing Linda McMahon to run a veteran candidate into the ground on a night that based on experience and ability, should have been his victory to savor.

As for where Rob was during all of this. I'm not sure. If he was on the convention floor (like Linda McMahon was) I sure didn't see him. Sort of disappointing.

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