Inept GOP convention insurgents left home without a game plan
As a delegate to this year's Republican State Convention, I viewed with more than passing interest the bungled attempts of the Ron Paul delegates to disrupt the convention ("State Republican Party sets platform, repels insurgents," Star-Bulletin, May 19)
In 1972, I was a part of an attempt to take over the Democratic State Convention. In those long ago years I was a Democrat and president of the Young Democrats of Hawaii. We called ourselves "Coalition '72" and were a coalition of the George McGovern, Tom Gill, Patsy Mink and Frank Fasi factions of the Democratic Party. We were able to elect nearly a third of the delegates that year and were determined to make the John Burns-dominated Democratic Party address our concerns.
As a leader of the Coalition '72 delegates, I understood that one-third isn't a majority and that if we were to move our agenda forward, we would need to be prepared, we would need to know the party rules and we would need to get our ducks in a row - yes, a script was necessary!
We did just that and were able to get some things accomplished, such as doing away with proxy voting, requiring that the delegation to the national convention have real and not token representation by women and young people (1972 was a longer time ago than many realize), and getting Congresswoman Mink elected as a delegate (she had been frozen out by the Burns' faction at the prior national convention). Considering that former House Speaker Elmer Cravalho was chairman of the convention and knew the rules even better than I did, I think we got a lot accomplished.
So, having some idea of what it takes to move a minority agenda at a political convention, I anticipated a spirited debate at the recent Republican State Convention. Instead, I was surprised by the ineptness of the Ron Paul delegates.
If the Ron Paul delegates had an agenda of issues, they didn't convey those issues to the other delegates in the manner required by the rules. They had no prepared resolutions and, except for what I'd read in the media regarding their opposition to the Akaka Bill, I had no idea what issues they wanted to debate. Other issues, such as endorsing a constitutional convention, were properly raised and debated at the convention, so debate was not foreclosed, as some of the dissenters have charged. The problem was that the Ron Paul delegates were ignorant of the rules; their motions or resolutions weren't prepared; they were not organized, and they apparently thought that hollering out "Point of order!" was some magical incantation. It was pathetic. The Ron Paul delegates then resorted to rudeness, and I for one didn't feel obligated to put up with either their incompetence or their boorish behavior.
The majority was prepared and organized and the parliamentarian knew the rules so the feeble efforts of the Ron Paul delegates to raise the issues of interest to them were blocked. Unfortunately, the impression was of the majority killing gnats with sledgehammers. Sorry, we hadn't expected gnats.
Tom Pico Jr., a Republican convention delegate, supports GOP presidential candidate Sen. John McCain of Arizona. Pico lives in Kailua.