A Tale of Two Cities
But, that does not mean that there is no difference between the two parties. Because the GOP markets itself to decent God-fearing Americans, it is, in the Bible belt anyway, frequently filled with such people. No matter how awful the hacks in D.C. are, that cannot but help have a purifying effect on its local operations. Salt of the earth people produce that effect in whatever place they find themselves. The bottom line is as much as I complain about the shortcomings of the GOP in this state, the Democratic Party in Arkansas is far worse.
This is a tale of two cities. The Republicans and the Democrats each had conventions recently, and each had to deal with what was, from the establishment's perspective, a "rogue candidate." On the Republican side it was Congressman Ron Paul of Texas and for the Democrats Attorney John Wolfe of Tennessee. Paul is by far the more serious candidate, but he is also the more serious threat to have a significant impact on the convention. Wolfe got triple the vote in the Democratic Primary that Paul got in the Republican one. If just one of the candidates deserved to have their supporters as delegates to the national convention, Wolfe would be that one based solely on level of primary support.
But as it turned out, the Republicans followed their own rules at their district conventions, even though it meant that a number of Paul supporters were selected as delegates. A few groused and schemed and hurled scurrilous accusations, but we saw none of the lawlessness and violence which has characterized other Republican conventions around the nation. Elsewhere Paul supporters were openly cheated out of delegates that they otherwise would have won by following the proscribed rules. In some cases, violence was used to block Paul-backing majorities from winning delegates by the book. Some of the good sportsmanship here may be because the race is all but over, and they lacked the numbers needed to really take over the state party. Still, the bottom line is that the insiders of the Republican party followed their own rules. This is to their credit, especially when compared with the other major name-brand....
The Democrats held a secret convention behind locked doors, despite their rulebook calling for an open convention. Apparently they were so eaten-up with party spirit that they did not want any possibility of anyone showing up as a Wolfe delegate. Really, if you read the account, the way they ran their event was contrary to the high-ideals in their own rulebook in several different ways. The Democrats are not the rule of law party, they are the rule of Man party. No dissent from the boss man of the day is permitted. No error can be admitted. No restraint or contrary viewpoint can be given place. This power-worship, which is the polar opposite of principle and the rule of law, is scary. People who think like that should not be given power. They won't allow discordant feedback from reality when their policies take the nation off the rails.
The Republicans are about to have their state convention. We will see if they have the same sense of fairness and decorum they showed at their district conventions, but so far things look good. Following your own rules is a test of character, and the Democratic Party of Arkansas failed that test in rather overwhelming fashion. When are self-respecting grassroots Democrats going to quit defending this closed club of low and lawless behavior? How can good government come from such an unaccountable political machine? I don't say switch the same blind allegiance to the GOP. Let's see beyond that red-blue thing. I am saying quit being aligned at all, until you find an organization which operates at a level of openness, honesty, and integrity to merit your loyalty.