Thursday, June 5, 2008

Texas GOP convention: Let's get ready to rummmmble

The Democrats may be trying to come together as a party (we'll see if that happens later this weekend), but never-fear, we can always count on Texas Republicans to produce some good political theater. Every presidential year, a handful of delegates stage a fight over the rules and procedures of the Texas GOP. They question whether the leadership is playing fair and stage a fight on the convention floor.

It is clear that there will likely be a floor fight at the GOP convention over the election of a permanent chairman. The permanent chairman interprets the rules from the podium and has a variety of procedural powers, including the all-important decision of whom to recognize to speak.

This cycle, the courts are getting involved. Gary Polland, a solid conservative and former chairman of the Harris County GOP, is representing a group of concerned GOP delegates and has succeeded in procuring a temporary restraining order directing the GOP to follow state law (which the party argues it always does anyway) requiring election of the permanent chairman before transacting any business. The Houston Chronicle even wrote a story on the court case.

Some interpret this as a fight between the Ron Paul faction of the party and the leadership. While some of the upset Republicans are, in fact, Ron Paul-backers, this fight goes beyond that issue, and has occurred at past conventions. Long-time party activist Robert X. Johnson has frequently taken the party brass to task in the past over the technicalities of party rules. Those critical of the party leadership have even set up a website to express their concerns. Should be fun to watch.

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