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12/18/2007
THAT WAS A CONVENTION TO REMEMBER

Note: We’re going to play a little counterfactual game today based on the following input: Suppose the primaries end and no GOP candidate has achieved a majority of delegates? In that case, the role of the Republican convention will revert to what such conclaves used to be about; a venue where nominees were actually chosen rather than the idiotic beauty pageants and love fests they’ve become today.

Following are some excerpts from my blog posts from the time I arrived in Minneapolis on August 30, 2008 to the end of the convention.

(I will update this post for the next few days)

***********************************************************

August 31 - 11:00 AM

I’m sitting in Ed Morrissey’s home office trying to get comfortable on the floor. Every available seat has been taken up by one of the 50 or so bloggers Ed graciously agreed to put up during the convention. It’s not as crowded as you might think although internet access is, as you can guess, at a premium. The only really bad thing about it is the bathroom situation. Ed partially fixed the problem by setting up a couple of port-o-potties in his backyard next to the circus tent where a couple of dozen bloggers are sleeping but it hasn’t helped much - at least judging by how quickly the flowers in his garden are wilting as a result of people who just can’t hold their water long enough.

But we’re here anyway -witnesses to what most observers are saying is going to be the most exciting convention in 100 years. Five candidates have arrived with enough delegates to challenge for the Republican nomination for president - the result of an extraordinary primary season that saw no candidate receive the 1191 delegates necessary to claim the nomination.

As a refresher, here’s where we stand:

1. Guiliani - 712 pledged delegates and superdelegates
2. Mitt Romney - 633 pledged delegates and superdelegates
3. Mike Huckabee - 502 pledged delegates and superdelegates
4. Fred Thompson - 278 pledged delegates and superdelegates
5. John McCain - 255 pledged delegates and superdelegates

(About 135 of the superdelegates have made it known that they are committed to their candidate for the first ballot only.)

And to give you an idea of how contested this convention is going to be, even the number of delegates it takes to win is up in the air. That’s because the current number of delegates who are to be seated may change when the rules are discussed at tomorrow’s session.

Back in November 2007, the GOP National Committee decided to punish Florida, New Hampshire, Michigan, South Carolina, and Wyoming by taking away half their delegates because they held their primary or caucus before February 5, thus violating Party Rule 16. That’s an extra 136 delegates that each of the winning candidate in those states would dearly love to add to their total. If the rules challenges are successful, the magic number rises to 1259.

So tomorrow will have a lot of blood on the floor. That’s because in their infinite wisdom, the rules committee, meeting last week, decided to take up the challenges to Rule 16 on a state by state basis rather than en masse. This has assured a bloodbath as individual candidates will seek to deny the others the full fruits of their caucus or primary victories.

(There’s already a rumor that Florida is going to seat its entire delegation regardless of the outcome of the rules vote. The imagination has not been invented that can conjure up a more horrific scenario.)

All the candidates sound confident. Thompson thinks he’s a third or 4th ballot shoe in. Romney is banking on disaffected Guiliani delegates from the northeast to put him within spitting distance of a majority after the second ballot where switches will then be allowed. Rudy has the same strategy only grabbing disaffected Romney delegates. Huckabee says he’s doing a lot of praying. And McCain doesn’t think he has much of a chance but came to Minneapolis to honor the commitment of his supporters.

An ABC delegate canvass that ended yesterday shows that Giuliani has a chance for a second ballot win - if the rule 16 fight goes his way in Florida where he edged Huckabee in late January. But there are so many uncommitted superdelegates that it’s just too hard to be definitive about anything - as ABC points out.

I’ll update this entry later if any news breaks.

UPDATE: 11:00 PM

Got a few minutes before the scramble starts to find a place to sleep. I see where Jon Swift has taken the entire dining room table, the lucky sot. And I can’t be sure but I think Ace deliberately chowed down on raw garlic so he could have the sofa all to himself.

The First Mate is being a good sport about everything except I think I overheard her talking to a lawyer. Something about “extreme cruelty” although I couldn’t be absolutely sure.

At any rate, I just watched a Charlie Gibson interview with Mike Huckabee who seemed imbued with the spirit throughout. As near as I can tell, the Huckster is looking for a compromise on Rule 16 that would guarantee all delegates being seated after the 2nd ballot is over. This would seem to help Giuliani but I think the governor believes the goodwill engendered will buy him some delegates when the Chairman calls for switches following the second ballot. And if he can keep Rudy from going over the top, that third ballot should be the wildest convention scene since the Democrats in Chicago in 1968.

Meanwhile, ABC is also reporting that Mitt Romney met with representatives of Thompson late this evening. No one is saying anything but the speculation has been that if Thompson can’t get any closer to the frontrunners following the second ballot, that he may throw his support to Romney.

And yes, you can bet that the Veep spot will be discussed. It is thought that Rudy’s negative ad campaign against Thompson in Florida, hinting that his health problems may return, soured the Tennessean on Giuliani to the point he would never accept the second spot from him. But Fred has no problems with Mitt although he went after him for flip flopping in South Carolina - one of the 6 states he won. But this is September and the convention where bygones will be bygones - as long as the Veep spot is in play.

One last morsel of info. The National Committee is thinking of putting Haley Barbour in the Chair for the rules fight tomorrow. Haley is an old hand and could probably maintain control as well as anyone.

Off to bed. I wonder if the dog would mind if I slept in his basket…

By: Rick Moran at 1:03 pm
2 Responses to “THAT WAS A CONVENTION TO REMEMBER”
  1. 1
    Blogs for Mitt » Blog Archive » Tuesday News Roundup Pinged With:
    2:04 pm 

    [...] And finally, Rick Moran peers into his crystal ball and writes about what a brokered convention would look like.  Let’s not do this, people.  Let’s settle this by February and train our sights on the real targets.     [...]

  2. 2
    michael reynolds Said:
    8:39 pm 

    A contested convention. It’s pornography for political junkies. If we could get two open conventions our tiny little heads would melt.

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