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A “brokered convention” for the GOP? Yes. Ryan-Rubio! February 24, 2012

Posted by vsap in 2008 Presidential Election, Blogroll, Uncategorized, US Politics.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Let’s start at the beginning. What is a brokered convention? A “good enough” answer is found on Wikipedia:

“A brokered convention is a situation in United States politics in which there are not enough delegates ‘won’ during the presidential primary and caucus elections for a single candidate to have a pre-existing majority, during the first official vote for a political party’s presidential candidate at its nominating convention.”

You don’t have to believe me but I urge you to believe the facts. In Gwinnett County, GA, arguably the most conservative bastion of the GOP in the state located in an urban/suburban setting, Ron Paul won the straw vote among precinct captains and their legions, some 400 in attendance last week. That is total nonsense. Even if you want to believe that is a haven for the Neal Boortz/John Linder/Rob Woodall brand of Fair Tax, it is also a birthplace of the Tea Party that helped sweep the GOP to a majority in Congress in 2010. And, US Rep Woodall is no Libertarian…and neither is Boortz, really, but that’s an argument or another time.

The point is this: Gwinnett County Republicans do not want Ron Paul as their presidential nominee. They, like most others in the US, don’t know what they want. Or, more to the point, they haven’t seen what they want yet.

Here’s my short takes on the short list:

Mitt Romney – Centrist who likely can’t “out-center” President Obama. As with the two George Bushes, this guy is no conservative, even if you like his business and political cred.

Rick Santorum – Couldn’t get re-elected as Senator in PA. That should be enough said, but Tea Partiers and social conservatives still want a “dog in the hunt”. Well, they have a smelly one in Rick.

Newt – Smartest guy in the room. The guy you want to debate a know-nothing like Obama and show him for what he is. But, he is either too smarmy, esoteric or academic to have the warmth of either Romney or Paul. For all his attributes: unelectable.

Ron Paul – The Dennis Kucinich of the GOP. The “crazy uncle” in the room that you enjoy for entertainment value and, sometimes, keeping the others honest. Isolationism is an old Libertarian idea that isn’t worthy any comment today…along with the majority of what Paul says.

From this perspective, what alternative is there to a brokered convention? Karl Rove argues that the GOP simply won’t have one. Someone, possibly someone not in the race this very day, will emerge and the there will be sufficient support to sweep that candidate to victory…with ALL of us on the bus. After all, the goal is to defeat Obama, not beat each other up. This is supposed to be our “Reagan vs. Carter moment”…we can’t possibly lose. Right?

Unfortunately, we have no Ronald Reagan at this moment to be the obvious choice against an inept president and administration. I was hoping that someone would emerge, quickly, after the 2010 election, be the “900-pound gorilla” that would incessantly beat up on the sitting president so that when 2012 rolled around, the debates would be minimal, the squabbles petty, and the victory assured well before the convention and a foregone conclusion by November. No such fortune has befallen the GOP.

Here’s Rove’s take:

“A brokered convention would see a new candidate — someone other than Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum — enter the remaining primaries or parachute in during the convention (if no existing candidate has secured a majority of delegates). In backroom deals, either based partly on the strength of his late primary performances or only on the discretion of party leaders, he would become the nominee.

A contested convention, on the other hand, would see no dark horse enter but none of the existing candidates arrive in Tampa with a 1,144 majority of delegates. Lots of wheeling and dealing would ensue, and after several ballots a nominee would emerge from the four current candidates.

Is either scenario likely? Let’s put it this way: The odds are greater that there’s life on Pluto than that the GOP has a brokered convention. And while there’s a better chance of a contested convention, it’s still highly unlikely.”

The upshot? Rove concludes:

If a new candidate gets all the winner-takes-all delegates (unlikely since 222 in California and New Jersey are awarded by congressional district, not statewide), plus half those awarded proportionally, he still would have just 378 delegates of the 1,144 needed for nomination. At least two current candidates are likely to have far more. Why would they step aside for a newcomer?”

It is hard to argue with Karl Rove’s math. And you almost hope he’s right when you read Dave Boyer in the Washington Times:

“New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is the top choice of Republicans if the party nominates its presidential candidate at a “brokered” convention this summer, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll released Wednesday.

Mr. Christie is favored by 32 percent of Republicans, followed by former Govs. Sarah Palin of Alaska and Jeb Bush of Florida with 20 percent each, the poll found. Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels is fourth at 15 percent.”

Say what? That’s a handful of non-starters that make Ron Paul look credible.

It’s worth noting the history lesson provided by Don Gizzi on Human Events recently:

“The last time a brokered convention happened for Republicans was in 1940.  At that time there were a dozen primaries, compared to the thirty-plus of 2012. Most of them were held closer to the convention rather than “front-loaded” by states in January or February.  The bulk of delegates were picked in caucuses or conventions run by state party organizations and more of them came to the convention in Philadelphia uncommitted to any candidate than committed.

The easy winner in most of the primaries was Thomas E. Dewey, 38-year-old district attorney of Manhattan and a true “celebrity crimebuster” in the mold of Elliot Ness and Rudy Giuliani.  He rolled up nearly 49.9 percent of the votes cast in primaries over three heavyweight opponents: Ohio Sen. Robert Taft, the conservative favorite and son of a President; Michigan Sen. Arthur Vandenburg, the GOP’s top point man on foreign policy; and Wendell Willkie, New York “superlawyer” who had neither held nor sought elective office and had until recently been a Democrat (and freely admitted he had voted for President Franklin D. Roosevelt).

On May 8, one poll showed Dewey supported by 67 percent of likely Republican voters and 3 percent favoring Willkie (who never won a single primary and in fact got only a miniscule 21,170 votes in the primaries).  But many party leaders and influential business and opinion leaders (notably Time-Life publisher Henry Luce) felt that Dewey’s youth would be a detriment to the GOP as war continued in Europe and Asia.  Moreover, as the lone internationalist in the race, Willkie stood out from the other three, all of whom were non-interventionists in the growing World War.

“Back then, conventions actually chose candidates instead of ratifying the verdict of primaries,” Charles Peters wrote in his epic account of the convention Five Days in Philadelphia. “Modern conventions are shorter because their results have been pre-determined by primaries.”  He also pointed out that “[i]n 1940, security was lax to the point of non-existence and no one has figured out how many standing room tickets were distributed by Willkie’s man, [convention chairman] Sam Pryor.”  So with people such as 26-year-old Gerald Ford in the galleries cheering “We Want Willkie!,” radio listeners and delegates had the sensation of a groundswell of support.

It took six ballots but Wendell Willkie became the Republican nominee.  The rules of the time had been tailor-made for political powers to snatch nomination from a candidate who had competed in and won primaries and give it to someone who had not won a single primary.

Today, they are not.  And, with so many new factions in the Republican Party—from cultural conservatives to the “Tea Party”– one has to wonder just who would do the “brokering” at a brokered convention?

Willkie lost to FDR in his historic third term bid that fall.

When I tweeted the fact that Willkie was the last Republican nominee who had never won a primary, my friend and colleague Philippa Thomas of the BBC responded most poignantly:  “A warning not to ignore the grass-roots, you think?”

Again, hard to disagree with the cold, hard facts BUT I still believe that delegates will arrive in Tampa without a consensus…except to defeat Obama.

The question remains: Where is the Tom Dewey or Ronald Reagan for 2012? I certainly don’t see one and, according to the Gwinnett County, GA, GOP, they don’t have one, either. The almost tongue-in-cheek straw pole demonstrates the divide that needs to be bridged in order for the entire GOP to get behind their nominee full-force. We will not win with the lukewarm effort placed against a lukewarm candidate in 2008.

Here is who could take a brokered convention:

Paul Ryan (WI), for president and Marco Rubio (FL) for vice-president.

Setting aside the fact that neither have shown interest, they will if their party calls. A combination of youth, enthusiasm and smarts that could bring out the center and young to rally and sweep the GOP into the White House. Plus, they have the conservative cred to make the Tea party and social conservatives comfortable as well as the more moderate business elite. If handsome means anything, then you will get the attention of women voters. And, you may net a few more Hispanics in the deal. I realize it sounds too simple to be achieved, but sometimes you have to strip the complexity away to get to reach the objective.

To release Obama-Biden to the college and book-signing tours, elect Ryan-Rubio!



1. Teri - February 28, 2012

Not to rain on your parade, but Rubio is not constitutionally eligible to be POTUS therefore, he could not be VP either. His parents were not US citizens at the time of his birth

vsap - February 28, 2012

Thanks Teri, I figured if it worked for PresBO, why not Rubio? (-:

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