I attended this Convention as a delegate. I learned more in half day or so that this convention lasted about the political process than from any other source. This state seems to have two levels. The county level, where conventions are run rather fair, and the State level, where conventions are run according to who is in power at national. Other participants of this convention will relay with much more insight of what happened, but I will mention the stand point of the convention:
There was a “vote” to approve the slate of five electors(who will go onto the Electoral College should John McCain win the state). After the vote of ayes, the motion was passed. There was no vote for the nays. One delegate stood up and shouted point of order. He was shouted down by Chairman Weh who told the delegate “he was out of order.” Another delegate repeated the exercise, and Chairman Weh told him, he was also out of order. The delegates then pointed out that according to Robert’s Rules of order, they had the floor. At that point, Chairman Weh shouted back that we were not using Robert’s Rules of order. Someone else asked what Rules we were using but no reply was given. This exchange ended with Chairman Weh sending one of the Sergeant-at-Arms after one of the delegate, who was then kicked out of the convention (thus losing his right to vote).
This exchange clearly showed the true colors of the State Party. The delegates who I sat with, many who were NOT Ron Paul supporters, were clearly put off by the exchange. I heard from a few delegates that they felt that the Electors where “appointed” not elected. This being the case, many delegates at the county level clearly see the problems. These problems are not just aimed at Ron Paul supporters, but at anyone dissenting from the national party line.
Despite a deliberate attempt to railroad Ron Paul supporters from being elected to the National Convention in Minneapolis(everything from the “Unity Slate” that was handed out to all attendees, to increasing the maximum people allowed to be voted on from 20 to 40), we managed to get one delegate and seven alternates elected.
I met a lot of great people, and really had a damn good time. This was a great experience, and I will do it again. Special shout out to the delegate who was kicked out the convention. The result meant he lost his vote, but many other delegates were appalled that he was kicked out. Especially since he was in the right. These non Ron Paul delegates were able to see abuse of power first hand, and they did not like the sight one bit. Hopefully we can use these experiences to push through changes in the system to allow for fairness and transparency. So in the end, a negative may end up turning into a positive in the long run. If the process is made fair, and debate allowed, then everyone wins.
Update: I found out what Rules the convention was operating under. Something called “Rule of the Gavel.” This system means that the whoever has the gavel, in this case Chairman Weh, decides the rules as he or she sees fit. As a result, any dissenters are removed from the process. I’m surprised that we here in New Mexico operate our conventions under such rules. The rule of the gavel would be better used in a totalitarian regime then a so called democracy in my opinion.
Update 2: There is an article in the Las Cruces Sun-News regarding the convention.