From the September 2008 Idaho Observer:

The 2008 Republican National Convention: A perfect farce

By Don Harkins

By all accounts, the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis was a party for John McCain and a coming out party for Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. Though Ron Paul amassed nearly 1.5 million votes and significant numbers of Ron Paul delegates from all over the nation made the journey to Minneapolis, their presence was not welcome, their voices were silenced and their non-support of McCain was barely tolerated.

During one incident on Sept. 4, after four days of harassment, Ron Paul Delegates were taking a picture in front of the model White House inside the Convention Center. They were suddenly surrounded by Secret Service agents who proceeded to search the bags of all the delegates. They took any and everything related to Ron Paul including signs, buttons, videos, slim jims, cards, even books.

Alternate Delegate Dennis Rothacker from Florida said, "We were done taking the picture when Secret Service started walking into the room and surrounded us. There were about 30 of them. When they searched my bags they took my Ron Paul sign and turned a deaf ear to my complaints, they just walked away."

Delegate Ron Warner from Fairbanks, Alaska, added that, as he was walking into the convention center with about 15 "Revolution Manifesto" books, 20 DVDs for Delegates, 20 Ron Paul buttons and a handful of other things, he was stopped by security personnel who radioed a superior that directed all the materials to be confiscated. One security agent, a female, said to Warner, "You can’t bring that in here. This is McCain territory"

Department of Homeland Security intelligence had determined weeks in advance that the terror threat level during convention week was high. So millions in federal dollars came into Minneapolis to erect a sophisticated surveillance infrastructure and provide terror training and equipment to local law enforcement—and network the entire system to federal law enforcers.

Pre-convention raids on suspected anti-RNC protestors, according to Avi Steinberg—one of the raiders—were conducted and arrests were made by teams of up to 30 officers in riot gear bursting in with guns drawn.

A pool of 3,500 police from 54 departments nationwide were available during the convention—a large contingent of which were on site at all times.

During the convention, security was very tight, overbearing and Ron Paul supporters were singled out for harsher treatment. Devvy Kidd, who attended the convention as a "visitor," observed that, "Ron Paul delegates were shut out. These delegates were actually followed all over the convention by security personnel. They were physically accosted by security dragoons and all their Ron Paul materials confiscated."

Kidd also explained a scenario described to her by an alternate delegate she had been sitting with and who was being fed a blow by blow account of what was happening on the convention floor. "The delegates from Nevada were physically prevented from contacting their delegation chair to formally inform them of their vote and get to the mic. During the vote, delegates for McCain were declared loudly, while Ron Paul delegates were ignored. In some cases, such as smaller delegations from Oklahoma and Washington, Ron Paul votes were deliberately whispered into the mic so the lady on the stage didn’t hear and didn’t record them. Some of the state chairs on the floor lied outright about votes. In the end, my friend said the best way to describe what went on was organized crime."

Clair Cox, a Ron Paul delegate from Idaho reported that Idaho Lt. Governor and McCain delegate Jim Risch reported that Idaho pledged all its delegates to McCain. "Risch lied on national television to promote an illusion of party unity," said Cox. The votes of Idaho’s six Ron Paul delegates were effectively cancelled by subversion of ranking Idaho Republicans and the RNC.

The official tally credits 2,343 delegates for John McCain, 15 for Ron Paul, two for Mitt Romney and 20 delegates who did not vote.

The Campaign for Liberty counted 215 Ron Paul delegates who voted at the convention. That means at least 200 votes for Ron Paul are missing. While adding the 200 delegates would not change the outcome, it does prove that the RNC is running a "rigged game." In most circumstances, the providers of rigged games are prosecuted as criminals.

An estimated 10,000 people from a variety of organizations, including Veterans for Peace, Code Pink and the Anti-War Committee staged protests. Throughout the four-day event, an estimated 700 people, including 19 journalists, were arrested.

On Sept. 1 and Sept. 2, police dispersed noisy but non-violent protests by firing rubber bullets, pepper spray and tear gas as the mob of about 2,000 approached the convention after leaving a "Rage Against the Machine" concert. An officer announced an order to disperse. "But almost immediately, officers along the exit route opened fire with gas and projectiles. In one instance, a CNN producer said, an officer stepped out of line to hit a young woman with pepper spray as she ran for the exit," CNN reported Sept. 2, 2008.

From weeks before the convention began to weeks after it adjourned, the 2008 Republican National Convention in Minneapolis (and its Democrat equivalent in Denver) were managed affairs and the impressions the armchair public received was as scripted and controlled as a Hollywood production. "The henchmen at the convention made sure the American people saw only the voices of America’s destruction as the vote was taken," Kidd observed.

Fortunately for the Republican party, Hurricane Gustav provided cover for President Bush and vice-President Cheney as they conveniently excused themselves due to the hurricane. McCain, himself, also blaming the storm, did not even attend his own "party."

Gustav’s timing appears providential as it preempted a storm of protest so large that no amount of RNC preparation could have stopped it. Gustav probably also spared the GOP the humiliation of having McCain accept the party’s nomination for president because he has proven himself over and over again to be such a horrible and uninspiring public speaker.