“As Maine goes, so goes the nation! As Maine goes, so goes the nation!”
That was the battle cry heard tonight when scores of Ron Paul delegates and supporters walked out of the Republican National Convention after the “tribute” to Ron Paul and a speech by his son, Rand Paul.
The phrase that was chanted, “As Maine goes…”, was in wide use in politics in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Maine was considered a bellwether state; the election of their governor often predicted the party outcome of the national election.
Maine was stripped of most of their delegates, after a challenge that was completely off-base. The Committee on Contests broke their own rules and gave the challengers a second chance to come up with “evidence” as to why the convention was not conducted properly. In a farcical hearing, they ruled against Maine, leaving them with only five of their elected delegates. Rather than those five choosing the rest, as per Republican National Committee rules, the RNC chose their own. Governor Le Page of Maine, even though he is a Romney supporter, stood by his delegates and refused to attend the convention unless they were seated.
Paul was nominated by six states from the floor at the convention last night, and the GOP ignored it. The convention secretary, Iowa’s Lieutenant Governor, Kim Reynolds, received the nomination papers over an hour before they were due. She claims she gave them to the RNC chairman, Reince Preibus.
The nomination was never announced.
A Virginia delegate, James Martin, told TPM in Tampa, “We got railroaded by a freight train of hypocrisy. We’re trying to raise the integrity of the Republican party, and if they won’t do it from the top down, well do it from the bottom up.”
Another Virginia delegate, Jon Melendez, had told me personally that the Virginia Paul delegation had planned to leave, but not necessarily stage a walk out after Rand’s speech.
He called back a few minutes later.
“We changed our minds about the walk out,” said Melendez. “It’s game on!”
Virginia suffered at the hands of the RNC yesterday when their bus was over an hour late and kept frustrated delegates circling outside of the convention center.