UPDATED: Another Backroom Deal?
Paul Secures Three Delegates
Ron Paul Comes To WV
“Personal Liberty” and a Few New Ideas
A Completely New Idea in the War on Terror
The scene outside the Charleston Civic Center
Romney, Paul, and a few McCain signs sprouted
In the morning; No Huckabee signs were apparent, however.
Ron Paul brought his campaign to West Virginia this morning to speak to the 1200 delegates of the WV Republican Party convention.
While speaking about personal liberty and limited government, he also unveiled a new idea for fighting the War on Terror.
It had many delegates talking after he spoke.
Held in Charleston, the state capital, this is the first year for the GOP event, which awards the winner 18 of the state’s 30 GOP delegates to the Republican National Convention.
The other 12 delegates go to the winner of the state’s May 5 Republican primary.
Ron Paul did the autograph and pictures with babies thing and before long, it was time to move into the convention hall to address the convention’s 1200 delegates.
The crowd then broke out in loud chants of “Ron Paul Revolution! Give us back our Constitution!”
The Texas Congressman stopped outside the meeting room and delivered a brief 2 minute highlight of what his platform consisted of: cutting back the size of the federal government.
Paul received particularly large cheers for the following.
“We are trying to do too much and it’s hurting our currency and the American people.”
“It’s time we took care of the people here at home and forgot about trying to take care of the rest of the world.”
Ron Paul was the first candidate to address the convention. Mitt Romney would follow and then Mike Huckabee. John McCain did not attend.
It’s doubtful many in the Mountain State were familiar with Dr. Paul, highlighting his campaign’s biggest hurdle since he entered the GOP race: name recognition.
Still, the Paul forces turned out and were easily the most enthusiastic of the delegates at the convention, creating a lot of noise for their candidate and also the impression that they might be the largest delegation (based on noise) in the convention hall.
One mother was juggling a small child and clapping at the same time. Jayme Metzger, was a delegate of Jefferson County, in WV’s eastern panhandle, outside of Washington, DC, was definitely an enthusiastic Paul supporter.
When asked if how long she had been a Paul supporter, she said that when she learned of the Texas Congressman’s stand on abortion (Paul is an ardent foe of abortion), she wanted to become a delegate for him.
“I have four young daughters and they all follow Ron Paul whenever he’s on TV.”
“The oldest is six.”
Most of the delegates had never heard the Texas Congressman speak, so his reception was polite at the beginning–except for his supporters.
But after only about 5 minutes, he not only picked up steam, but also applause from other candidate delegations.
Dr. Paul spoke for approximately 20 minutes and was interrupted many times in his speech for applause. Of course, his supporters were cheering, but it appeared that as he went on, he also picked up loud cheers from the Romney and Huckabee sections.
By the end of his time, his hammering on libertarian and conservative ideals had most of the people in the convention hall clapping and cheering.
This was something that was unexpected.
Of course, he attacked the bloated federal government and the deficit.
“When the federal government runs out of gold and don’t have anymore to spend, the government borrows and when the government can’t borrow, it runs the printing presses, and when they do that, the value of the currency goes down.”
“The founding fathers had it right: they told us to use gold and not paper money.”
“That’s what I believe in.”
“Great countries do not fall because they have a weak military. Great countries fall because they have weak economies and currencies.”
He used the Soviet Union as an example.
“The Soviets didn’t fall because they had a weak military. When they fell, they had over 40000 nuclear warheads. They fell because their economic system was weak and falling apart.”
He said, “You can sum up my program as personal liberty, limited government and following the Constitution.”
“People ask me what do I stand for, and I say I simply stand for a return to the Constitution.”
Paul had several interesting ideas that were new to many of the delegates in the room.
One, in particular, might have drawn his loudest applause of the morning.
“I believe in the sanctity of life. I have sponsored a Sanctity of Life Bill.”
“We can try and appoint judges and amendments, but if my bill passes the Congress, the states can pass their own laws on abortion, without the interference of the court system.”
He addressed the War on Terror, a new Paul topic for some present.
“Some people may believe that I don’t think Al-Qaida is dangerous. That is simply not true.”
“I strongly supported going after Al-Qaida after 911. I supported the money for it, and that’s a rarity for me. (Paul has voted against every tax increase since he came to Congress.)
It was then that he mentioned an idea that had many delegates talking about later. It had to do with a truly unique idea on fighting the War on Terror.
It involved Letters of Marque.
Letters of marque are a document issued by a nation allowing a private citizen to seize citizens or goods of another nation. They can also be a document issued by a nation allowing a private citizen to equip a ship with arms in order to attack enemy ships.
“Letters of Marque have been used at various times in history and it’s one avenue that I’d like to see explored in the War on Terror and stop this wasteful spending overseas.”
One example: the English against the Spanish during the 1500s and 1600s. Letters of marque were granted to Sir Francis Drake, for one, and he terrorizes Spanish shipping, to the benefit of England. Of course, Drake was branded a pirate by the Spanish; to the English, he was a hero.
England did not pay Drake, per se, but allowed him to keep a large percentage of all he could take from the Spanish treasure ships.
Paul seemed to suggest that the United States could set prices on the heads of various Al Qaida members and let individuals and private groups hunt them down and pay them for their successes.
Also, any assets seized by a US citizen–or group of citizens–holding a letter of marque from the US government would receive a percentage of any assets seized by them from an Al-Qaida member.
This is a novel idea in the War on Terror.
“These terrorists are dangerous. I’d like to see Letters of Marque granted to anyone willing to go after and hunt down Al Qaida.”
“It is one way that we could cut down on our spending.”
Paul ended his time on stage with an appeal for the delegates to consider him and vote for his conservative ideas.
“West Virginia is a small state, but you have a chance to send a large message.”
Ron Paul was born in neighboring Pennsylvania.
One visitor who was applauding the loudest wasn’t a delegate.
In fact, he wasn’t even a Republican.
Rodney Parsons, of Pt. Pleasant, WV is an ex-policeman and life-long Democrat. He was snapping pictures during the entire Paul speech. When asked what he was doing at a Republican convention, he was very frank.
“I don’t think in my 32 years I have ever been surrounded by so many arrogant people in my entire life. I was looking for a few Kodak moments, or in my case Canon moments with the losers of this years Presidential Election.”
“A few things were said today that I found quite odd. The oddest things most likely came out of Ron Paul’s mouth. Odd because I wasn’t expecting the truth. I wasn’t expecting a politician to get in front of his peers and spit the truth no matter if they liked it or not.”
“He makes more sense than any of them.”
When asked about what he thought about the other candidates, Parsons really opened up.
“Whoever the idiot was that introduced Mike HuggieBear said something to the effect that he wants to repeat what the state accomplished in the last presidential election, to put a Republican in the White House.”
“As a Disabled Veteran, I’m here to tell ya brother that probably won’t win over the other 95% of the Population in West Virginia who are looking either at a Black Man or a Woman as the next President of the United States.
“It’s West Virginia… Most people outside of this state have no idea that we even wear suits and ties?
“We are known for hard work, we are known for removing mountain tops and raping the land so the rest of the country can thrive while we get shat upon on a daily basis.”
“We are known for Don Knotts? [NOTE: Don Knotts, who played ‘Barnie Fife’ in the old Andy Griffith Show, was born in Morgantown, WV.] We don’t need a “Big Business” President.. we already have one. We don’t need someone to be our Preacher and tell us how to live our lives… We don’t need to be in Iraq for another 100 years.”
“if Ron Paul was better looking and fighting for the other team he may have a shot…”
Parsons closed with a “win one for the team” sentiment.
“America is fixin to speak. The Donkey is Back my friends.. the donkey is back!”
Parsons was likely the only one holding to that particular idea in the convention hall, outside the NBC cameraman who said that “This is the worst stop on the tour, so far.”
Political party registration is over 60% registered Democrats statewide.
Of course, before the Great Depression, West Virginia was a reliably Republican state; being born as it was, out of the chaos of the Civil War, when it split off from the slave-holding counties of Virginia.
As one person was leaving the hall, Parsons opined that maybe “OPRAH will win this election!”
Ron Paul couldn’t be reached for comment on that remark.
THE RESULTS: During the first round voting, of the 1100-1200 delegates, Ron Paul received about 114 votes. Because he was fourth, he was dropped from consideration for the next round of voting.
Mitt Romney had about 430 votes, Huckabee approximately 320 votes and John McCain had somewhere around 137 votes. There were some uncommitted votes. (These totals are not official and are preliminary amounts.)
During the second round, McCain’s campaign threw their delegates to Huckabee and with a few uncommitted changing, along with a few Paul delegates, the former governor from Arkansas got over the 50% mark.
And got the 18 delegates up for grabs.
But it can be said that Ron Paul’s speech left an impression on many in the hall. He received cheers and applause way beyond the amount of delegates he had in the convention hall.
His themes of personal liberty, limited government, sanctity of life and sound money brought cheers from the delegates already committed to other candidates.
AND, his new idea–that of the US government issuing ‘letters of marque’ against Terror organizations–is one that won’t make the United Nations or the European Union happy.
To go after Al-Qaida like they go after others–in small groups and acting as individuals not a part of a particular country–was one that had delegates talking afterwards.
UPDATE: According to local TV station WSAZ, after Ron Paul was eliminated from the voting after the first round, his delegates threw their support to Huckabee, putting Huckabee over the top and making him the winner.
In return, Ron Paul received 3 delegates to the GOP National Convention, while Huckabee retained 15. The other 12 WV delegates will go to the winner of the May 5 WV Republican primary.
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* This same story at DBKP.com– Ron Paul in WV: Unveils New Idea in War on Terror