Friday, December 30, 2011

NEWSFLASH: Organization Forms To Recruit Delegates For a Brokered Convention

Anthony Martin of the Conservative Examiner breaks big brokered convention news, headlined: "Ron Paul defectors create group to train grassroots delegates to GOP convention."

The nascent organization is called Republicans Elect, and lives online at

It is founded by two Ron Paul campaign "defectors" who say they "don't believe Ron Paul can win," they "want another choice" and vaguely pledge to "teach" other Republicans "how to become national delegates."

Martin reports, also vaguely, that their overarching goal is "strengthening the voices of conservatives who adhere to Constitutional principles."

Presumably, that means they want to organize people to become delegates who are nominally pledged to one of the announced candidates, but who will quickly abandon them after an initial convention floor ballot, and then will forge a bloc to back a hereby unannounced candidate who tracks closely to Paul's brand of libertarian conservatism.

Follow their efforts at Republicans Elect.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Two Blog Bigs Split Over Going Broke

Joe Pollak, editor-in-chief of the Andrew Breitbart online empire, not only gets behind a brokered convention, but ranks the top 10 candidates he'd like to see get nominated in a brokered convention. The headline: "Americans Deserve The Best." Here's the top 10:

10. Rep. Eric Cantor
9. Sen. Jim DeMint
8. Gov. Bobby Jindal
7. Rep. Mike Pence
6. Gov. Mitch Daniels
5. Sen. Marco Rubio
4. Gov. Chris Christie
3. Rep. Paul Ryan
2. Gov. Sarah Palin
1. Gov. Scott Walker

Meanwhile, Hot Air's Ed Morrissey counsels conservatives to stop waiting for "white knights":

...a brokered convention would favor candidates with closer ties to the “establishment” of the party, not to the grassroots of movement conservatives. The term “brokering” is a big, huge hint in that direction; we wouldn’t know who the “brokers” are specifically, but I can pretty much assure you that it won’t be your local Tea Party organizer. Anti-establishment conservatives should be praying for anything but a brokered convention, and recall that the primary process was one way to keep the party from choosing its nominees in the proverbial smoke-filled back rooms.


Even if a candidate were to jump in at this late date, it would have to be one who could reliably raise money fast, organize effectively, have good name recognition, be well prepared on policy, and survive the kind of intense vetting that has derailed Cain, Rick Perry, Bachmann, and has deflated Gingrich’s bubble. That’s a recipe for an establishment candidate, not an outsider. We should stop fantasizing about white knights riding to the rescue and focus on the choices we have in front of us now.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

"Meet The Press" Roundtable Muses

Tom Brokaw speculates on Chris Christie going for broke on today's edition of NBC's Meet The Press:

TOM BROKAW: ...if this gets downstream in the current mode, there are a lot of old establishment Republicans who are going to be going to the Statehouse in New Jersey and saying to Governor Christie, you've got to get in on this. They've got to find somebody else who can be a player in it. Or, I think, outside of that, you're going to look at a lot of possibilities of third party candidates jumping into it.

TOM FRIEDMAN: What's interesting, though, is whether it will be brokered on Twitter or on a smoke-filled room.

Black Broke Boost Bestirs Conservative Blogosphere

After conservative media mogul Conrad Black penned his "Letter from a Miami Jail" encouraging a brokered convention, reaction spread among several prominent conservative bloggers.

"Smitty" from "The Other McCain" paradoxically criticized Black's seeming approval of Jeb Bush as sufficiently conservative to be a brokered nominee, while chiding conservatives for insisting on perfection for any nominee:

What black [sic] is missing here is that if the conservative hoi polloi are so daft as to allow the Ruling Class to insert Huntsman, then the sleight-of-hand necessary to anoint Mitt would be trivial.

But Jeb Bush? Really? Other than saving Gaia by permitting the recycling of all the Democrat “No More Bush” signs, I can’t see much advantage to nominating Jeb. Which is not to say he’s less than a talented executive. Rather, if we’re so hard up in a population of 330 million for leadership that Jeb is it, we’re totally lost and might as well cling to Barack.

Some may see a brokered convention as a bad thing. It’s only bad if people continue bickering and arguing over ‘oo stabbed ‘oo. Remember, it’s politics. Keep the grieving short. Once there is a nominee, if everyone forms up behind that nominee, there is ample room for confidence. If conservatives play Barack’s game, and the fanatic followers of a certain candidate support a third-party run, there is much risk. So, as more candidates get the Herman Cain treatment, remember: there is a time to argue the fine tactical points of just how grossly unfair a lynching it was (or not), and there are times to write down some notes, set them aside, and focus on the larger picture of what must be done to restore the country, even if it’s not with your preferred candidate. Tough toenails.

The above seems to encapsulate the difficulty conservatives are having trying to square ideological goals with coalition building.

Daily Pundit's Bill Quick is not as sanguine as "Smitty" regarding the outcome of any brokered convention. Responding to Smitty's remark that, "It’s only bad if people continue bickering and arguing over ‘oo stabbed ‘oo," Quick said:

That’s a gigantic freaking “if,” Smitty.

For instance, I’ve already said I won’t vote for Romney, Ron Paul, or Yet Another Bush under any circumstances. I’m pretty sure others feel the same way – even if the Gentry GOP hacks and flacks seem to think we don’t really mean it. Just like they did back in 2008, and that worked out so well for them, didn’t it?

And M. Joseph Sheppard sees Sarah Palin as the woman who fits Black's criteria for a brokered nominee:

[T]he fact is that she has not endorsed any of the current candidates, nor has she entirely ruled out being a candidate ("it would take an earthquake" is not "no").

It may be that, as I wrote recently, Palin will turn out to be a genius for having avoided this embarrassing GOP candidates circus.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Letter from a Miami Jail: Conrad Black Goes Broke From Behind Bars

Conservative media mogul Conrad Black, convicted of fraud and obstruction of justice and currently in Miami Federal prison, finds the time to talk up the prospects of a brokered convention in the National Review:

Newt is not the nominee; he’s the negation of Mitt, and the nomination will be deferred to the timely decision of the none-of-the-above majority.


Either Newt, too weighed down by darts, buckshot, and self-detonated combustion, will start to fade before the caucuses and primaries are too advanced, and one more declared non-Mitt, possibly Jon Huntsman, will arise; or the absence of a contender with a commanding lead will prevail until it is so close to the convention, or even at the convention, that there will be a draft of one of the non-runners, probably Jeb Bush. There will not be endless balloting until the deadlock is broken by selection of a dark horse, as with Warren Harding in 1920, or John W. Davis by the Democrats in 1924. But the process that has produced a nominee easily for both parties at every convention since 1952 now looks likely not to work this year; there is no bandwagon, and there could be the first real draft since the Democrats chose Adlai Stevenson in 1952, and, on the Republican side, since Wendell Willkie in 1940.

The genius of the American system produces a serious leader when the country has to have one, and substitutes an improvised selection process when the normal procedures don’t work.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

National Review Maps Out Path To BrokeTown

National Review's Brian Bolduc crunches some numbers to show how its possible no one can win the first ballot on the convention floor:

Here’s a not-impossible outcome: Mitt Romney wins 1,131 delegates, Newt Gingrich gets 954, and Ron Paul wins 181....

...Paul wins the Iowa caucuses with 25 percent of the vote. Romney places second with 20 percent and Gingrich third with 15 percent...

...Romney wins New Hampshire, but with only 30 percent of the vote, as a newly invigorated Paul and a slowly rising Jon Huntsman grab 25 and 15 percent of the vote respectively...

...Gingrich triumphs in South Carolina with 50 percent of the vote as the anti-Romney forces coalesce around him [and] follows up that victory with a 55 percent win in Florida...

... the race comes down to Romney, Gingrich, and Paul. Romney and Gingrich are the main contenders, but Paul wins about 10 percent of the vote in the primaries and 20 percent in the caucuses, where his dedicated followers are especially effective...

...Romney wins northern states, such as Vermont, and Gingrich wins southern states, such as Tennessee...

...After April 1, when the winner-take-all primaries begin, Romney cleans up: He wins all the votes of big blue states such as New York, California, and New Jersey. But Gingrich holds his own, scoring strong wins in Pennsylvania and Ohio. When the delegates assemble in Tampa, no candidate has a majority.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Paul Backer Slams Prospect Of Brokered Convention

David Franke, who regularly promotes Ron Paul on the self-described "anarcho-capitalist" site, criticized the possibility of a brokered convention as anti-democratic at Richard Viguerie's Conservative HQ blog:

Yes, debates are messy. So are primaries and democracy. But running for president is a tough game, and they help the party weed out the weak and find its voice for the coming campaign against a well-financed incumbency. There’s no guarantee that the best man or woman will win, and there’s no guarantee that the party’s eventual message will deserve to win. But there’s a better chance with debates and primaries than there would be in an establishment-dominated insider-brokered convention.

A moderately successful Paul campaign would likely be a main reason why no candidate would secure a majority of delegates and force a brokered convention.

However, it is highly unlikely Paul would emerge the winner on the convention floor.

However again, such a scenario might put Paul in the uncomfortable position of being the ultimate inside broker.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Fox News Tries To Tamp Down Brokered Boom's Chris Stirewalt notes that competing Republican factions are pining for a brokered convention, and seeks to warn them from heading down that path:

It is no doubt appealing for unhappy Republicans and the political press to fantasize about making history with either a late-arriving shoo-in or the first Republican convention to produce a surprise nominee since 1940.

But here, the problem is something like Newt’s transgressions: everybody sees something different. While Bill Kristol may be imagining Paul Ryan or Mitch Daniels, someone else is imagining Sarah Palin appearing in South Carolina...

...a new candidate could still emerge, but he or she would not be able to seriously vie for delegates until late March and would still miss out on some big prizes, like Ohio.

That would set the stage for a brokered convention in which the various tribes of the Republican Party would battle for primacy. The libertarians, the evangelicals, the defense hawks and the moderates would do battle with someone, probably Mitt Romney, surviving to grasp the nomination with bloodied fingers.

Michael Medved Goes Broke: "More Fascinating Than Frustrating"

In a Daily Beast column, conservative talk show host Michael Medved tweaks the "establishment" for resisting a brokered convention:

This outcome appeals to all media outlets (which would relish the high drama and corresponding high ratings) as well as party organizers who would welcome the engagement of the grass roots in a fiercely competitive race and a visibly open convention.


Playing out the possible scenarios can energize political junkies as well as conservative activists and help sustain the keen public interest in the GOP primary process (where televised debates have already set ratings records). Some members of the party establishment may feel infuriated by the flawed and fractured field, but for many of us as spectators and foot soldiers, the prospect of deadlock and dark horses counts as more fascinating than frustrating.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Brokered Convention: A Bush Plot?

Be John Galt frets:

With the GOP field in a state of disarray, ghost[s] from the Bush dynasty are starting to rise from the graveyard. It started with David Brooks talking about what a great President Jeb would make and other establishment Republicans are starting to mention his name. Coincidentally – or perhaps not so coincidentally – he has an op-ed piece in today’s Wall Street Journal...

There is nothing that establishment Republicans – the Karl Roves and Ed Gillespies of the world – would like more than a brokered convention in which a “Bushie” is on the 2012 ticket.

Could we be witnessing the perfect storm – a brokered convention controlled by establishment Republicans in which Jeb Bush or a promanent [sic] member of the Bush Team is on the ticket? Anything in possible with the Republican Party and most of it is aimed against conservatives.

FreedomWorks Casting About For A Brokered Candidate?

In today's New York Times, a FreedomWorks spokesperson sends up a flare, looking for a conservative savior for whom to broker:

Some Tea Party conservatives have even begun talking of a brokered Republican convention in August to push for a candidate they feel is more conservative.

“What is amazing is how many people feel this way,” said Adam Brandon, a spokesman for FreedomWorks, a group affiliated with the Tea Party movement. “If you had a concerted effort, someone could force a brokered convention. The hard part is finding the right person.”

Conservative Oregon Blogger Makes Brokered Convention Proposal

In an Oregon Catalyst post titled "Time For a Brokered Convention?" Chana Cox proposes a "favorite son" strategy, and offers up Rep. Greg Walden.

One way of making certain there is no clear majority is to have primary voters in each state elect a “favored son” candidate – some Republican who the people in his or her state trust to make a good judgment working with the state’s delegates at the convention.


While there are dangers in brokered conventions, there is always a chance that a good viable candidate will emerge. At the moment no such candidate is emerging out of the primaries. They have all been fatally weakened by the process and the press. The actual presidential campaign would be short, but these candidates are already well known. In recent years the conventions have all become pro forma. This convention would be a cliff hanger. What have we got to lose?

We have become accustomed to voting for the lesser of two evils but neither the Democrats nor the Republicans currently have a candidate that a majority of the people even in their own parties will vote for with anything like real enthusiasm. If I were a Democrat, I would be proposing the same strategy.

We should not ask the favored son or daughter to stand for election in the primary. In many cases that would be tantamount to political suicide. Instead, we should use the social media to organize a write-in candidate.

I propose that here in Oregon, Republicans vote for Greg Waldon [sic] as our presidential candidate.

Christie-SuperFan Kristol Dreams Of Brokered Convention

Bill Kristol is touting the prospect of a brokered convention as healthy for the Republican Party in the latest issue of the Weekly Standard:

... a deadlocked convention, which then became a deliberative convention, could be a good thing, because most sentient Republicans, and most conscientious conservatives, suspect we can do better than the current field ... a rush to judgment by political elites and premature closure of the nominating process hasn’t served Republicans, or conservatives, particularly well in the last several election cycles. It’s a new political era. Perhaps that era will feature once again a real, deliberative convention—where the delegates, with the ghosts of Lincoln and FDR looking on, choose, on a second or third or fourth ballot, a compelling nominee and a consequential president.

In late September, Kristol described his reaction to the current field as "Yikes," and publicly pressured NJ Gov. Chris Christie to enter the race as his patriotic duty.

Welcome To Brokered Convention News

A brokered convention is one in which no candidate secures a majority of delegates from the political party's primary and caucus process, requiring the delegates to "broker" a deal on the floor of the convention to select the party's nominee for president. The possibility of a brokered Republican convention in 2012 is as high as it has been since the last one occurred in 1976, thanks to new party rules regarding delegate selection, the low levels of support for the current front runners and the prospect of the Ron Paul campaign collecting enough delegates to prevent anyone else from securing a majority.

A brokered convention could lead to a deal allowing one of the currently announced candidates to become the nominee, or entice a brand new candidate to enter the race and convince a majority of delegates to switch allegiances.

This blog will track all developments related to the possibility of such an event. Stay tuned!