I attended the Cole County Republican caucus. I expected a democratic, fairly-run event where people, some attending a caucus for the first time, could actually vote for their candidates. We had been told that our votes in the primary didn't count, but that we would have the opportunity to share in the process of determining the Republican presidential candidate at the caucus.
Ron Paul supporters were there, fresh-faced and eagerly engaging those in line to register. Virtually every person in charge wore a Romney sticker. At such a voting forum, it was unthinkable that a Republican leadership would take such a biased approach prior to the selection process.
I guess I was too naive to believe that we citizens would have an opportunity to vote for our candidates and select the candidate-specific representatives to vote for us at ensuing meetings.
The slate was predetermined. It was only after voices, raised in disbelief, anger and frustration, were able to garner a vote, that non-Romney supporters received 15 minutes to secure 70 names for an alternate proposed slate. But the Romney-controlled county committee pushed through its preordained slate of district and state delegates, most notably Cole County Republican bigwigs.
The Santorum and Paul delegates, even if their numbers were close to half of those in attendance, secured no delegates.
I lived through Mayor Daley's heavy-handed control of Chicago's politics; I would never have believed that Cole County Republicans would have sunk so low, and at what cost? Patriots not being allowed to vote? Watching an elitist core of party faithful manipulate the rules?
Romney's supporters were organized; they knew the rules and the tricks of the trade. We newbies just showed up, trusting that we would be treated with respect and given a fair chance. The hierarchy spoke, voted and left. The rest of us were left dismayed, wondering why freedom, openness, and opportunity to express our concerns and support our candidates had been subjugated to the three-hour rental agreement on the school and the overriding imperative that Romney get it all, no matter what.
We all want Obama gone, but there is a right way and a wrong way of working with people. Everyone needs to be heard. Compromises can be made. Hopes can be kept alive. People can still feel empowered no matter the outcome. You guys failed big time. This is not how you win an election.
This is how Obama gets re-elected.