The Republican presidential candidates held a struggle session in Florida last night before a gathering of the Tea Party Express. The object, from the evidence presented after the fact, was for the contenders to denounce each other for their various deviations from the correct ideological line, with Gov. Perry, as the most popular man of the moment, coming in for the most criticism. His deviations ranged from allowing undocumented immigrants to attend state colleges to requiring teenage girls to be inoculated against HPV -- a requirement Rep. Bachmann traced to a donation from the vaccine manufacturer. Perry scoffed at the notion that he could be bought for as little as $5,000 when he has had more than $30,000,000 in donations to deal with. Presiding over the struggle session was Amy Kremer, a co-chairwoman of the Tea Party Express, who opened the games by declaring: "We are here because we, the people, are going to choose the next Republican nominee for President, not the Republican party!" [Stormy applause]
The Republican nominee for President will be chosen by delegates elected by state primaries and caucuses next year, who will assemble at the Republican National Convention. Who chooses the delegates? In most cases, registered Republicans and no one else. In fact, it was my impression that most Tea Partiers desired that the Republican nominee be chosen that way. After the 2008 presidential election, I heard many an unhappy reactionary blame the McCain-Palin ticket's poor showing on open primaries in crucial states that allowed liberal saboteurs and misguided others to dilute Republican ideological purity by favoring the allegedly moderate (or neoconservative) Arizonan. In other words, those unhappy reactionaries claimed that the "we, the people," and not the Republican party, had nominated Sen. McCain for President -- and were wrong to do so. But now, Kremer promises us, "we, the people" will make a better choice. Is this because she or the Express now demands open primaries everywhere? If so, I'm not aware of it. Unless someone tells me otherwise, I assume their preference to be that Republicans, and not the unreliable remainder of "we, the people," choose the GOP candidate. Her declaration of last night sounds good as mere sound, but leaves something to be desired on paper...unless I've missed the point. Could that point be that not all Republicans are "we, the people?" I'm sure many Republicans will want to know the answer.