From the June 2008 Idaho Observer:

Three weekends, two conventions—lifelong lessons

The conditions sparking the Ron Paul Revolution (RPR)—failing economy, perpetual wars abroad, social tension at home, escalating taxes and a burgeoning police state—are mere symptoms of a national malaise that beings in the hearts and minds of Americans, spreads to their communities and poisons the political process at its source: The precinct. While we can see the corruption of the legislatures, the state houses, the Congress and the White House; while we find comfort in blaming them for the direction our country has taken, support for their activities begins with you and me. The RPR, from its conceptualization a year ago, to the nationwide efforts of mobilizing the installment of precinct committee people to electing delegates and preparing for state conventions and then surviving them, one immutable fact remains: We must first change ourselves, our neighborhoods and our counties before we can change our state and national governments. After witnessing how Ron Paul supporters affected the party faithful at two conventions, it is obvious that we are on the right track for reinventing government as a reflection of our better selves.

2008 Washington State Republican Convention, Spokane, Washington, May 29-31

Pictured is the tail end of a spontaneous eruption of emotion after the 2008 Washington State Republican Convention adjourned. Twenty minutes earlier, this crowd of 500 sign-holding Ron Paul supporters, who had just left the convention floor after coming within moments of stealing the whole show, began chanting, "Ron Paul Revolution, legalize the Constitution." The noise was just booming and lasted for about 15 minutes. The Republican leadership had reportedly asked the press to leave so this amazing demonstration was not broadcast. In search of the press, the chanting crowd marched en masse to the Doubletree hotel two blocks away. Unable to find media (which was probably hiding) they marched back to the RP Revolution HQ across the street from the convention center (pictured). We were gathered here for almost 90 minutes talking and waving signs to largely supportive passing traffic.

By Jeff Whiteside

It wasn’t all that long ago that I found myself in the improbable position of being a key coordinator for Ron Paul’s national delegate effort at the Washington State Republican Convention. I was on the inside, amongst the most trusted, dedicated and capable Ron Paul supporters in the state of Washington. This group was amazing. Like me, they were willing to deny themselves sleep, spend months of man-hours and do whatever it took to give Ron Paul a fighting chance of getting national delegates at the Washington State Republican Convention.

Together, we had planned out almost every possible scenario, locked down hundreds of details and pushed this State Convention well beyond where any had been before. We had a strong delegation – nearly 40%, or about 450 people. We owned the perimeter with a decked out Ron Paul RV command center, a glow-in-the-dark Ron Paul van and hundreds of Ron Paul signs deployed in the surrounding area. We even had our very own Ron Paul bottled water and an awe-inspiring Ron Paul display directly across the street from the convention center. It was a masterpiece of the grassroots. We were ready.

So were they. During an executive session a few days before the convention the Washington State Republican Party (WSRP) illegally passed an executive rule, ultimately ratified by the Washington State Republican delegation, that essentially controlled the ballots and prevented legal voters from fairly electing a large number of national delegate positions.

Undeterred, we hit the convention floor running – we were prepared to challenge the rules, the credentials report, and the order of business – essentially, we intended to lay down an intellectual fight at every level. It was clear early on that this would be no easy battle…and in hindsight, what we wanted never would have happened. The deck was stacked and the other side was willing to break laws to maintain its position.

Despite being outright denied any semblance of fair representative elections, our delegates were able to win 10 national delegate and alternate positions for Ron Paul. But then something unexpected began happening: At the cost of adopting by acclimation a so-called Soviet style "Unity Slate," the tide began to change. We were then able to utilize core conservative values to break up McCain leadership’s stronghold and methodically cause their delegates to vote against their conservative conscience in the process of Resolutions and Platform. This caused a crisis in the ranks of the party faithful. Leadership had led them to vote against things like right to life and 2nd Amendment rights just to oppose Ron Paul supporters. If we could claim one major victory during this convention, it would be this: Members of the party who believe in the system discovered that it is a closed system, that your voice will be heard and your vote counted only if they are in agreement with leadership.

As we broke for lunch, there was a definite shift in the attitude among many McCain supporters. It was as if we were no longer the enemy. McCain campaign strategists on the floor were sensing the shift and made a deal with us. They agreed to make no attempt to block our resolutions so long as we did not resolve to withdraw from Iraq. They warned that they would leave the convention and deny us a quorum if we brought up our war resolutions.

Just two hours before the end of the convention, the John McCain leadership began instructing their delegates to leave the convention floor when we resolved to oppose Real ID. Delegation chairmen and McCain leaders, like sheep in the fold, followed orders and began evacuating their willing delegates. Hundreds upon hundreds of delegates sheepishly stepped out of the room. Their plan was to deny the Ron Paul delegates a quorum (a majority) and consequently end the convention right there.

What the McCain camp hadn’t anticipated was that our previous methods had worked. Those who remained, all 700+ of them, established a quorum…we had won over the hearts and minds of the majority. What time we had was only able to be used for passing a resolution that requires the WSRP to officially observe the Constitution when declaring war, thereby requiring an official declaration by Congress. We were about five minutes away from approving a motion to extend the convention until all business had been completed when the McCain people started filing back in and diluted our 2/3 majority. Nonetheless, we had accomplished our goal all along – to cause McCain delegates to question their leadership, realize their hypocrisy and rethink everything they had been told about Ron Paul and his supporters.

In conclusion, the most important thing we accomplished was a political education for hundreds of new people in the state of Washington. I can only pray that these individuals, further resolved by their treatment at the convention, realize the imminent need to further the Ron Paul Revolution, with or without Ron Paul. This is the only hope we have for regaining control over our country and avoiding tyrannical big brother government, bent on keeping us in a prison without bars.

2008 Idaho State Republican Convention,

Sandpoint, Idaho, June 12-14

By Don Harkins

In the weeks leading up to the Idaho State Republican Convention in Sandpoint, we witnessed state Republican leadership, fully aware of what happened in Reno (The IO, May, 2008) and Spokane, violating its own rules in an effort to shut the Ron Paul (RP) supporters down. But, we secured a booth inside the convention and north Idaho’s meetups prepared to host nearly 100 RP delegates coming into the area (RP delegates were approximately 25 percent of the total).

As we were setting up the booth June 11, we could feel the animosity the party faithful had for us and our Ron Paul regalia.

On Thursday, it was known that Ron Paul was going to announce the suspension of his campaign—during the meeting we had planned to discuss parliamentary strategy for the convention. It felt to us like there could not have been a worse time to find out that we did not have a candidate. But, it turned out to be the best time.

When Friday morning arrived and we were all ready to go, you could tell some of the party faithful were gloating. But some were curious and asked, "Why are you guys here—you don’t even have a candidate?"

Our response was, "The principles we stand for, most of which are part of the state and national party platforms, have not gone away. We are here as the conscience of the Republican Party."

From that point on, the tension just left. We had the busiest booth at the convention: People asked us questions, took our literature and drank our water (12-ounce bottles of "Clear Choice" with a custom "Ron Paul" label). We scored big in the win friends/influence people department and gained a lot of respect for the movement.

The capstone came when a platform position to disband the Federal Reserve and go back to the gold standard, drafted by Tom Dillin of Sandpoint, passed by a 2/3 majority.

Because Ron Paul received 24 percent of the popular primary vote in Idaho, we will send six Ron Paul delegates and six alternates to the national convention in September.