Tom Crawford tells us why Ga.’s GOP ruling class is getting a little nervous about Nov., and maybe became a little more so with Bob Barr's nomination.
When Georgia Republicans hold their annual state convention, it’s usually a festive occasion where delegates take verbal shots at the opposition party and get enthusiastic about the big victories coming in November. At the GOP convention in Columbus last week, the bashing of Democrats was in full force, with Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine remarking that “the single greatest threat to America” aside from Osama bin Laden was the prospect of Barack Obama being elected president.
The enthusiasm about November, on the other hand, wasn’t as intense as in past years. Among the party leadership especially, you can detect some concern, even some anxiety, about the party’s fate in the fall election.
That uncertainty stems from the candidacy of Arizona Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee for president.
Georgia Republicans also have a “Ron Paul problem” to deal with. Paul, the Texas congressman and former Libertarian, mounted a quixotic presidential campaign this year that didn’t attract overwhelming numbers of supporters. Those who do support Paul, however, do so with the ferocity of jungle animals.
There was a Paul contingent at the state convention - probably about 10 percent of the crowd - who wanted to be part of the slate of delegates sent to the national convention in September. They also wanted to have their say about some of the resolutions brought before the convention for a vote.
Party officials would have none of that.
Convention attendees also elected a slate of national delegates put together by party bigwigs that did not include a single Paul backer [even though at the Feb. 5 presidential primary] . . . Paul received nearly three times more votes than Giuliani and Thompson combined.
Georgia Republicans thus have alienated a host of Ron Paul supporters who are angry at the way they were treated at the convention and may have someone besides McCain to vote for in November. Former Georgia congressman Bob Barr is campaigning to be the Libertarian candidate for president, and if Barr is on the ballot, he’ll get the vote of just about every Paul supporter.
Subtract the thousands of Paul supporters who normally would vote Republican, add the thousands of black voters who will be drawn to the polls by an Obama candidacy, and throw in a lethargic Republican base. You can see why Georgia’s GOP ruling class is getting a little nervous about November.
UPDATE: Sunday afternoon, Bob Barr, the former four-term congressman, became the 2008 Libertarian Party's presidential nominee, and announced that his headquarters will be in Atlanta.
According to the AJC, Barr anticipates qualifying for the national presidential debates this fall.
The former congressman has had to overcome the objections of many Libertarians who view him as an interloper and who question his commitment to Libertarian ideals.
Some Libertarians say he has not embraced fully the Libertarian message on key party issues, such as the legalization of all drugs or the ending of all federal taxation. Thank goodness!!