I didn’t know what to expect today when I went to my first caucus, but what I witnessed was a hot mess.
The event started under the leadership of Kevin Rosenbohm, the chair of the Missouri GOP Committee in Nodaway County. It started with an invocation and the Pledge of Allegiance.
Then, the revolution began.
In selecting the caucus leadership, Rosenbohm was replaced as Convention Chairman by Mark Galbraith. Considering Rosenbohm’s position with the GOP and his standing in the community, this was a surprising upset and raised the hackles on a few of the old order of Republicans there.
Then a vote was called for Convention Secretary. Two women were nominated. Following the vote, it was discovered that there were two more people voting than were signed up. One woman, the treasurer for the Women’s GOP, had not signed in, an oversight since she had actually been signing everyone else up.
I’m not sure if she was upset that Rosenbohm was not running the caucus, or just angry in general, but before it could even be voted on to let her sign up after the caucus began, she was gathering her things and preparing to storm out. The caucus members decided to let her sign in after all.
The other person who forgot to sign up was Kevin Rosenbohm. There was some amusement when that was discovered. (And for the record, Rosenbohm showed no ill feeling in defeat. He was a professional throughout. Others in attendance could take a lesson from him.)
Galbraith then appointed his Parliamentarian, replacing the temp Rosembohm had appointed. I think Galbraith’s appointee was named Chris Reeves. His shirt read, “Veterans for Ron Paul.”
You could hear more hackles raising around the room. The intensity was picking up.
Some of the establishment types around the room began muttering to others nearby. The sniping was really quite disgusting. But it would get much worse.
As the new leadership of the caucus tried to muddle their way through the event, I was reminded why I resigned from the local elected government. People can be downright ugly when they are not getting their way.
When it finally came time to propose a slate, only one slate was completed. Two were turned in, but one was only partially done. A debate began on whether a partially completed slate could be finished at the caucus and what the definition of “considered” was. Did it mean considered for a vote or did considered mean when you actually voted on it?
In the end, it was decided that only slates turned in completed would be considered, and since most had not completed a slate prior to the caucus, the most organized group and the only one with a slate won out.
It’s no surprise they were mainly Ron Paul supporters, however, they had also included Romney and Santorum delegates in the mix.
At this point, the establishment GOP types in the room were aghast. Who were these people? Who do they support? One woman said, “I’ve never seen them before and I’ve lived here for 50 years!”
There was one point that I agreed with, regarding the visible irritation of the establishment. One of the members of the county GOP committee said to me that some of these people had been working and organizing and planning with the GOP for years and had never seen the people who were dictating the terms of the caucus. They were upset because they saw the fruits of their labor being taken away from them and used for an agenda they didn’t agree with.
I’m sure that was true, but that’s the process. There’s no call for the ugliness I witnessed.
Let me give you the most disgusting example of what I am talking about. As the delegates were giving their unnecessary biographical history and voting preferences, a young man in the back spoke up. He was sitting in a wheelchair. He said he was from the town, supported Ron Paul and was a veteran who was injured in combat.
He said America didn’t need to have troops overseas anymore.
From the front, one of the older women who had been mumbling nasty things to her sisters-in-arms said, “Well, I guess someone forgot that freedom isn’t free.”
I couldn’t hear it from where I was standing, in the back near the wounded veteran, but my wife was sitting near her when she said it, and I take her at her word.
I’m glad the veteran, nor I, heard the woman say what she said. I had joked a bit before that to a woman standing near me that if things got any more intense, the caucus would start to look like a South Korean Parliament, with members throwing blows at one another. Had I heard her, it might have been the verbal equivalent.
In the end, I don’t know who the delegates are going to vote for, or what the heck even happened. I voted, but for what? My choice was a bunch of folks who will go vote for whomever they want, or no representation at all. And believe it or not, a lot of the establishment GOP voted to go unrepresented rather than have what they saw as the Ron Paul Revolutionary Guard casting ballots in their name.
I do know that there was ugliness and bitterness on full display, showing division between the establishment and grassroots on a microscopic level. I hope that those who showed their worst side today think about how they treated fellow Republicans today, but I don’t believe they will.
I left feeling amazed, and saddened by the ugly side of freedom.