Like a river swollen by a heavy spring run off after a particularly frigid winter the Ron Paul movement overflowed its banks yesterday in Augusta. I want to share some observations this morning.
I joined the Ron Paul Revolution at the Augusta Civic Center yesterday. I was provided with a ride at 6 a.m. Paulie had our only vehicle. She was leading a women's retreat in Freeport.
I stood in the cool, moist and cloudy air outside the Civic Center for over an hour with hundreds of Ron Paul supporters waiting to enter the building. The "Paulinistas" as they are not-so-affectionately named by folks rightfully afraid of the anarchistic impulse in the movement were determined, low-key and polite. I stayed until the bitter end of voting after 7 p.m. Saturday night. The entire time I had the feeling that the Convention had been visited by a determined majority.
I was convinced going into the convention that the establishment would prevail. Oh ye of little faith. All the phone work and organizing of Eric Brakey, Paul Madore and the team paid off. Charlie Cragin, the perfect symbol of establishment Republicanism, was rejected as Chair, and the Ron Paulers installed a young newcomer from York County in his place.
The Republican establishment was not at all prepared for the possibility of a Ron Paul victory in the selection of a Convention Chairman and Secretary. It seemed to me that they were not only ill-prepared to serve whoever was selected Chair, they may have allowed themselves to descend into pettiness upon their loss.
To their credit, however, the machine did manage to click along with apparent support from establishment Republicans who were forced to lick their wounds while performing their duties. Thankfully, voting on delegates to the national convention did take place before the end of the day Saturday.
I'm going to be surprised if the slate of Ron Paul delegates isn't approved by a majority. That announcement should come today. If this is the result then the entire delegation from Maine to the national convention in Tampa, Florida later this year could end up being declared Ron Paul supporters.
That will be a stunning rebuke to the Republican establishment in Maine. It is a sure sign that the Party has drifted further from it's base of support than many imagined.
The future of the GOP in Maine has just become much more interesting. So interesting in fact, that I am tempted to change my mind about unenrolling after the Ron Paul effort later this year.
It would be a mistake, obviously, for me to conclude from this that the body politic has shifted Christianity's way on sexual morality. It may be shifting, however, in the direction of a much less threatening practice of liberty than what has developed under the leadership of establishment forces in both the Republican and Democratic political parties.
A robust enforcement of constitutional liberties can only help Christianity going forward. Increasing control from the top, the current trend of institutional America (including the Church), will only serve to further stifle the free exchange of ideas both within, and outside of, the Church.
The Ron Paul movement doesn't want the debate over homosexuality, and while Ron Paul is pro life and an obstetrician, I don't sense a passionate commitment to the pro life cause within the movement either. As the Ron Paul movement continues to draw Christians who see the constitution of the founding generation as a point around which effective political organizing can happen, the movement may continue to gain power.
I've been part of the "Revolution" for less than a year. While I was impressed that the movement had the capacity to elevate old war horses in the pro family movement like Paul Madore and me during this cycle, sadly, I have to admit that it used us to drag the artillery rather than charge the enemy.
This coalition is, like all worthwhile political coalitions, a powder keg.
My prayers are with all the leaders willing to sit atop it.