On Saturday, June 2, 2012, the Louisiana Republican Convention convened to select 46 delegates to the national convention. But within 2 and half minutes violence erupted when the police, at the command of the chairman of the LA GOP, Roger Villere, removed Ron Paul Rules Committee Chairman Alex Helwig. After being detained by the Shreveport police, Helwig was released with several broken fingers and was seen walking with a cane. One can only wonder why the police felt the need to use such force on the 42-year-old small business owner, or why later the police ignored the repeated pleas of the Ron Paul convention chariman that he had a "handicap" when they tried to forcibly remove him, which resulted in his hospitalization.
On April 28 Ron Paul overwhelmingly won the LA Caucus with a 2/3 majority. His supporters headed to
with that same 2/3 majority prepared to elect national delegates to the
Republican National Convention in August.
I was part of that elected delegation.
GOP establishment members were outraged at Paul’s caucus victory and one prominent GOP member vowed he would do whatever it took to stop Ron Paul. Obviously this included resorting to lawlessness, tyranny, and violence.
Mere hours before the convention started the LA GOP emailed delegates 16 pages of rules which trumped both the stated rules of the convention and Robert’s Rules of Order. These new rules allowed the LA GOP to appoint a permanent chairman of the convention, to establish a quorum with only 1/3 of the delegates (the exact number of establishment delegates) and to otherwise overturn any decision made by the lawfully and democratically elected delegation.
The LA GOP demonstrated through their thwarting of the results of an election and through illegal appointments that they care nothing for the will of the voters or the rule of law.
The convention began with the LA GOP violating their own illegal rules. (This is not to even mention the unlawful affidavit that the LA GOP tried to strong-arm the delegation into signing before the convention. That story will get its own blog post.) Delegates were handed at the convention a print-out of the new rules. These new rules established a procedure for the seating of guests to the convention, but the Sergeant at Arms refused to seat any guests because he said he feared for the safety of the delegation—that old standby excuse for tyranny.
Self-appointed Chairman, Roger Villere, called the meeting to order and was immediately presented with “requests for information” by the Ron Paul delegation. He responded to one request and announced that 1/3 constituted a quorum. More requests came from the floor but self-appointed chairman Villere refused to acknowledge these delegates.
Controversy ensued when Villere called for a report from the Rules Committee. On Friday the Ron Paul majority had unseated the establishment-appointed chairman and had elected Paul supporter Alex Helwig. Both Helwig, the elected Rules chairman, and the illegally appointed chairman moved forward to give reports.
Helwig repeatedly insisted that he was the lawfully elected chairman. Self-appointed chair Villere then called in the police to remove Helwig who later sustained injuries during his detainment.
Immediately there was a motion on the floor by the Paul majority to remove Villere. The motion was seconded and passed, at which point the entire Ron Paul delegation, making up 2/3 of the total delegates, picked up their chairs, turned them around, and proceeded to have a lawful convention in the same room at the same time.
The Paul majority then elected Henry Herford as the chairman of the convention. He began conducting business. Unseated chair Villere again called for the police who then approached
Herford, who repeatedly asserted that he had a handicap. The police ignored his pleas and he fell to the ground. The police maintain the Mr. Herford fell over a chair. Mr. Herford asserts that his legs were kicked out from under him.
Mr. Herford was later taken to a hospital by ambulance where he was also arrested.
The Paul majority then elected a second chairman, Connie Bernard, who conducted the business of the convention. The lawful and legitimate delegation elected national delegates and accepted reports from the various committees. Efficiently running through the convention agenda, the Paul majority adjourned the convention before 11:30 a.m.
Later the illegal minority convention issued a report falsely stating that the Paul majority had refused to participate in the convention. The Paul delegation never left the room, elected delegates according to Robert’s Rules of Order, and conducted a legal and legitimate convention.
Both conventions will submit delegate slates to the Republican National Convention, who will then determine which slate is the legitimate one.
In the end, the Louisiana GOP establishment may in fact get their way. The RNC may refuse to seat the lawfully elected delegates. But the Paul majority had no other choice.
The LA GOP decided to make up the rules as they went along, giving themselves every advantage and overturning the democratically elected Paul majority.
But the LA GOP are fools—they worked hard to win the battle, but they have lost the war. They may have succeeded in keeping Ron Paul from getting the GOP nomination, but they have also succeeded in making sure that Mitt Romney won’t win the general election.
Romney can’t win without the support of the Ron Paul Revolution. The tyranny, lawlessness, and violence of the LA GOP guarantees that he won’t get that support.
I suspect that Barack Obama raised a glass to Roger Villere and company today.
Update: Eyewitnesses outside of the convention hall report that after police removed Alex Helwig from the room, they threw him onto the ground with great force. Anyone watching this video can see why that kind of treatment was necessary. Mr. Helwig was a public nuisance threatening the safety of the entire convention. I felt much safer once he was removed from the premises. PLEASE DON'T MISS THE SARCASM!