Lists, lists, lists....
All this chatter on the State GOP Convention Delegate lists, with SD/County Convention nominations committee members boasting power to put you on a "list" (a list which is never publicly released, and later claimed doesn't even exist), followed by accusations against others that "THEY took you off the list", is the same bad old movie I saw 10 years ago in Travis County. Same old, same old. Like many, I believed the characters in that movie the first time I saw it, but I think the rational among us now understand how that movie-game power play is done.
The all powerful nomination committee member can say, "I have the power to make you a Delegate, and you're on my 'list'". Since there is no definitive list, nor any kind of rational scoring or ranking of delegates after interviews, but only personal note-taking lists among the chair and different committee members, the committee member can repeat this false promise as many times as he wants - many dozens or even hundreds, if that many people can be reached. These persons who received these nomination promises don't realize there is no definitive "list", that no "list" will be printed or actually committed to until the Convention sees (or only hears) a list, or that each member may have a LIMITED number of appointments to that final presented list, etc. (I myself was a State Delegate Nominations Committee member in SD-14 in 2008). You are encouraged to simply believe, on faith, that the powerful nominations committee member is actually committed to, and actually has the power to, make you a State Delegate.
In 2002, the first year I was eligible to be a Delegate from Travis County (after having been State Delegate from Harris County in '96, '98, '00), I went through the Nominations Committee interview process and was told repeatedly by several committee members I was "on the list"; I kept asking specific questions about this list, about how delegates could be prioritized if there were more people than available positions, and kept asking for copies of any preliminary list that I had been added to. There were no rational answers to these questions, and no list was ever produced. In fact, the first "list" anyone saw was a list presented on paper at the Saturday Convention, minutes before the vote was to be called. With the exception of having NO PAPER LIST, Saturday's ending in the garage looked remarkable similar to the 2002 one -- same old bad movie. Of course, I was NOT on the that actual "list" in 2002, in spite of being a Precinct Chair, active in electoral campaigns, a large donor to GOP candidates, a newly elected Utility District President, a veteran of 3 prior State Conventions, and so on.
So - as for this 2012 movie sequel, when the "list" is finally "presented" to Delegates (say, at 10:30 PM, read through a weak bullhorn in a parking garage), *surprise!* people are "dropped" from the presented list, and let the recriminations begin! These recriminations are useful for creating artificial division and building up power of some characters, at the expense of others. Again, the power guy is free to make all kinds of unsubstantiated claims about the mythical "list", and falsely (or truely?) claim that other guy is to blame for you being "dropped" from "the list". The process is designed such that the truth is difficult, if not impossible, to be known, and there is disincentive for the power players involved to actually seek out the truth.
To review, if you were promised a position on the "list", and you were not on the "final" Delegate list (days after the SD-14 Convention voted on the "list" - we still didn't know exactly what's on the "list"), then you were dropped from the "list" by someone who should be the target of your divisive, emotional anger or frustration.
However, if you ask for proof of that "list" which showed you were in fact on a list, or proof that you weren't on another list or proof of who was responsible for your removal, then the "list" doesn't exist, can't be found or printed out or released, etc.
In this 2012 bad movie sequel, the Precinct Caucus Rule, passed overwhelmingly against the sophistry of the incumbent controlling leadership, has been blamed for people being "dropped from the list", but when asked for proof of any list which they were dropped from, nothing is offered. Another excuse is the Nominations Committee had no plan for dealing with Precinct Caucus nominations, as they had to do in '06, '08, '10. This could well be true, but it's inexcusable since the Committee (and practical everyone else paying attention) knew there would be a credible effort to restore the Precinct Caucus Rule; if you assume responsibility for a task, you should prepare for reasonable alternate scenarios, such as, the way it was done the last 3 Conventions. Yet another excuse is that the 2012 Precinct Caucus Rule is defective because it "disenfrancises" small precincts, or doesn't allow small precincts to Caucus. Two notes on that - first, it should be argued that small Democrat precincts with very small Republican vote are not "enfrachised" in the first place to demand delegate representation, and second, the people making this criticism are the same ones who REJECTED a Rule amendment in 2008 which would have granted ability of small precincts to combine their vote and nominate a delegate. We're incredulous at hearing criticism for omitting a Rule they stand in firm opposition to. How can the critics who want ALL precinct caucusing eliminated claim the rule is defective because MORE precinct caucusing isn't done? If that was a true concern, we would have very gladly amended the rule for MORE precinct caucusing, but since opponents already rejected the rule 4 years ago, we would be open to "rule change" accusations, and valid arguments that the convention rejected it in 2008, if we had included it. Another excuse to eliminate Precinct Caucusing was that it was "too complicated" because Travis was split in 4 SDs, and further split by 5 CDs. However, Harris County was split into 7 SDs, split further in 9 CDs, yet they didn't attempt to eliminate Precinct Caucusing with the excuse of complexity.
SO FINALLY, please understand this is the same old political power manipulation that has been going on for a decade and more, and it's why I wrote a message to Mr. Crocker REJECTING his request for me to send my "list" (yes, yet another "list") -- a request he made by phone call on a Sunday afternoon (the day before the Nominations Committee was to start interviews) See open letter blog. Still another "list" is said to have been generated in the parking garage in the late evening on Apr. 21st -- I did not lead or promote any such last minute "whitelist" in the parking garage, for the obvious reasons I've described here. Nor did I personally attempt to work a last minute outcome by demanding another "list" be approved as a condition for passage of the Committee list as read; these are tactics the opposition uses, and tactics I detest.
Now a question for all of you - why not destroy this ridiculous bad old movie by giving ALL nomination power to the Precinct Delegations? We would be done in under 30 minutes, as you saw last Saturday; in fact, Precinct Caucuses have always had a time limit in Travis County of 30 minutes or less, and they have complied. Why not move all the nominating power to the Precinct Delegations -- and put an end to the miserable sequels of the same bad movie, and end the divisive power plays of the current nominations process? Is the preservation of control in the hands of the old establishment power brokers really worth all this ridiculous contention and arbitrary division? Let's say NO!
SREC SD-14 Committeeman