Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Can't We All Just Get Along?

It depends on what the definition of "rule" is.

Republicans in Texas are in a pickle. Our biennial state convention has begun, and we have so many factions fighting each other that I am wondering if it is safe to set foot inside the George Brown Convention Center. But just who are these factions, and what exactly are their goals? And how can we bring the warring factions together? Some of you out there, the “Really Confused,” don’t spend your spare time reading Roberts’ Rules of Order, the Texas Election Code, and the Republican Party of Texas Rules. You may be puzzled over disagreements which have now erupted into a lawsuit against the party and our chairman. (If you would like to read them, go to http://www.fairconvention.org/.) The lawsuit, as I understand it, concerns Texas Election Code 174.094, which is entitled “Organizing the Convention.” It reads as follows: (a) The state chair is the temporary chair of the biennial state convention. (b) The temporary chair shall call the convention to order. (c) The temporary chair shall prepare a list of the names and residence addresses of the delegates and any alternate delegates to the convention and shall deliver the list to the convention. (d) The convention shall select a convention chair and a convention secretary. The convention may select any other officers considered necessary to conduct the convention's business. § 174.095. CONVENTION BUSINESS. After the convention is organized, the convention shall conduct its business. We all know that in our precinct conventions and our county/senatorial conventions that we elect a permanent chair as the first order of business after the delegates are seated by the temporary chair. The reason for the current litigation is that for the last several state conventions, the temporary chairman has conducted the convention and sent us into our senate district caucuses without first allowing the delegates to elect a permanent chair. There is a simple remedy for this disagreement: Resolve the credentials challenges, seat all of the delegates, and allow the delegates to elect a permanent chair on Thursday afternoon. As I see it, we have the following groups, some of whom overlap: · Ron Paul Republicans (both the reasonable and the radical); some are new to the convention and some are not, and their goal is to participate and to make their viewpoint heard;· Rules-Enforcing Republicans; their goal is simply to ensure that the state party complies with the TEC and the party rules;· Regular Republicans; who include long-time party faithful;· Rebel Republicans; whose goal is to elect new party leadership;· Really Confused Republicans; those who do not care that much about technicalities and just want the convention to be run efficiently. Many delegates are members of more than one group. But members of all the factions should agree that the law and the rules should be followed. And if we want to beat Barack Obama in the fall, we need to give every group a fair shake, and we need to conclude our convention with a common goal for all of the factions.I hope that you will join me in listening to the delegates and trying to make sure that everyone is treated fairly. The future of the Republican Party of Texas is at stake.

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