"The stage lay set in a perfectly diabolical manner. All the pieces were in place.
The pesky media stood docilely outside - locked out by having the event in a church. A similar tactic worked well when the mafia needed to meet away from the prying eyes of law enforcement - using their doctors' and lawyers' offices to gain a certain freedom to conduct business. If a tactic like that worked for them, why not for a political party convention?
The plan for the new rules change had been kept secret and hidden like an assassin's poison ready to do it's ugly work. The snake-oil salesmen rehearsed their pitches well to ensure it was taken in by the audience with ease - ready to spin anyone brave enough to try and talk some sense into the crowd.
A sense of F.E.A.R. - False Evidence Appearing Real - permeated the room."
Channeling Hunter S Thompson and picturing a large, free-flowing vat of electric cool-aid provides the best way to make sense of what happened last Saturday at the MeckGOP convention after reading this piece by Christian Hine over at PunditHouse.com.
Rule 19(a) as passed by the latest MeckGOP convention effectively eliminates issue-based resolutions at the county convention. This comes on the heals of the unanimous issue based resolution against HOT lanes at last year's convention. The rule will likely become a divisive lightning rod in future conventions as one can picture grassroots activists repeatedly trying (and failing) to get a supermajority to override the rule and pass resolutions on the hottest issues of the day. It's hard to fathom why local GOP leaders truly thought this rule was a good idea. It will do nothing but drive a deeper wedge between establishment and tea party type grassroots activists.
The only answer that makes any sense is F.E.A.R. The local GOP establishment seems to have fallen into the trap laid by fear - believing in the falsehoods that conflict equates to weakness, that anything but total unanimity of opinion leads to failure. The reality will be just the opposite.
After what happened on Saturday, how do establishment Republicans expect to say with a straight face that all factions should support the eventual nominee for US Senate - their assumption of course being that the nominee will be Speaker Thom Tillis. This rule change effectively says "we do not want to hear your opinion." Passing it in the way it was done - without significant early notice - says "dirty pool" is Ok.
With Mecklenburg having the 2nd largest number of Republicans in the state, this was a terribly risky maneuver by the MeckGOP to achieve effectively nothing of value. This rule plays right into the problem outlined in this piece nearly a year ago - making it much harder to repair any damage after the primary season is over. If Republicans lose the US Senate race, regardless of who the nominee turns out to be, it will be actions like this that are to blame as much as anything else.
By comparison, at Monday night's WakeGOP convention leaders seemed more inclined to do the right thing in the face of a possibly less than favorable outcome for the establishment. Wake is the largest GOP county in the state. They did a straw poll (something the MeckGOP also avoided) and they let the chips fall where they may.
Here are the results: Brannon 45%, Tillis 33%, Harris 20%, all others 2%.
They were not overcome by F.E.A.R.