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Hawaii Republican Convention Was Lowest Point in Party's Recent History
By Daniel Brackins, 5/19/2008 6:18:13 AM
This weekend’s state convention was possibly the lowest point of the Hawaii Republican Party. I have attended many conventions in the past but this was the first time I have ever witnessed such large scales of impropriety and malfeasance on the part of the party leadership. While the party leaders continued to espouse “unity” throughout the convention weekend, there was none to be found.
It was also the first time I have seen delegates weep in regards to the conduct of the party leadership. Many of these delegates were there to have a wonderful time and enjoy the convention process. The guerilla tactics used by the McCain campaign and the GOP leadership represent reprehensible behavior.
Among the tactics employed were blocking the microphone from speakers, changing rules to allow a predetermined McCain slate to be simply dropped into the ballot box, and not allowing Ron Paul observers to watch the actual tally being entered into the computer. The actual tally of votes has also been deemed secret, and will not be released to the public. The 2006 platform was also readopted without any debate being allowed on the subject. This is a slap in the face of all the platform committee members who volunteered much of their time to work on the 2008 platform.
The pinnacle of unethical behavior was the revelation of a confidential script that was used by the McCain campaign in conjunction with party leadership to influence the outcome of the convention. After reviewing a copy of this script, I was appalled that the entire event was scripted. The script even included elected representatives such as Gene Ward.
Another appalling fact was that the chair, Sam Aiona, also had his rulings scripted. The chair is supposed to be fair during the proceedings, but this demonstrates that he was not. All the delegates in attendance witnessed a staged act of which the outcome was already predetermined. This was a waste of money and cost honest delegates a great deal of money, especially those who flew in from neighboring islands.
After the convention, several delegates apologized to the Ron Paul delegation for what had just occurred during the proceedings. This shows that the GOP leadership only further divided the Hawaii Republican Party. It also demonstrates that many honest Republicans believe that the Ron Paul supporters were not the “extremists” the GOP leadership and McCain camp claimed. The Ron Paul campaign simply wanted a fair election process.
The outcome of this convention clearly demonstrates that a change in party leadership must take place at the next convention in 2009. We cannot allow these types of acts to continue within our local party. It has already been shown by many honest conservative Republicans that the Hawaii GOP has failed to market itself to the state in order to defeat the Democratic majority. One such group is the Reform Republican Victory Caucus (RRVC) that has been recently established.
The RRVC has asked me to co-chair their committee and I have accepted. As such I am withdrawing as the Republican candidate for Congressional District 1. The party leadership has refused to support candidates such as myself for elected office, and has done them a great injustice in their failure to create a strong Republican message. My time and the money of my supporters will be better spent to reform the current party. I will make it my personal goal to affect such change.
We must change party leadership before we can run successful candidates for elected office. Beginning a local political campaign five months before November without a Republican message will only fail to elect members of our party. A strong GOP message must be delivered in advance, before candidates run for office. The official Hawaii GOP Web site doesn’t even list the principles that our party believes in. I have seen high school clubs advertise better than our party. Because of this I predict that the GOP will suffer serious losses during the November elections.
I challenge all members of the Hawaii Republican Party to take a principled stance so that we may avoid future impropriety such as those that occurred at the state convention. We must stand together to elect party leaders with such principles that will work to create a strong message that will be delivered to the citizens of Hawaii.
Daniel Brackins is co-chair of the Reform Republican Victory Caucus and Hawaii Assistant State Coordinator for Ron Paul 2008 PCC. Brackins has a B.A. in Political Science from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA and is currently finishing up his M.B.A. at Hawaii Pacific University. He has presented his economic research throughout the United States and Japan, and has been a political consultant for various political candidates. For more information visit http://www.danielbrackins2008.com or send email to: mailto:email@example.com
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