What really happened in OklahomaSubmitted by Al Gerhart on Mon, 10/01/2012 - 01:22
Q and a few of her buddies have been raising quite a stink about how the Oklahoma campaign was ran and in the process all sorts of outright lies have been told that need to be set straight. Here is exactly how things developed in Oklahoma.
Sometimes around the ninth of January I got a phone call from the guy in charge of recruiting RP state coordinators asking me who I thought would be a good state coordinator. As the C4L state coordinator I was the logical one to ask as National had already gone over the list of candidates with Kirk Shelly. Understand that Kirk is extremely well respected in the Ron Paul organization, works for them, is their top fund raiser I understand, and is one of their top trainers.
So we go through the list of candidates for the state coordinator slot. Each one had a major problem, wasn’t trained, no political courage (no balls), unstable personality, zero political experience, legal problems, or had no financial means to accomplish the task. Remember that presidential campaign laws are strict, you can’t go raise money to do this from supporters, it has to come out of YOUR pocket till weeks or even months later when you get reimbursed. You can’t “bundle” funds for this task and National isn’t going to hand you a credit card or a check book.
At the end there were several that were the lesser of evils but the problem is that neither had the financial resources and both were way too much of a political… and excuse me for saying this… pussy to last a week in this meat grinder. Understand that at its core politics is a fist fight, leaders need to be tough enough to take hits and stay focused on the task. These political pussies would fold the second one of their own turned on them and we knew that was going to happen no matter who we picked for the slot. It happened to Kirk in 2008, a lot of the local Ron Paul people hated him afterward. Oh the joys of leading libertarians into battle. There is a reason no one has ever fielded a libertarian army I guess.
At the end of the discussion, the state coordinator recruiter kinda sucked in his breath and asked if I would take the job. I was floored, never had I ever considered even remotely that I would be asked as I had been focused on C4L and the Tea Party. Now a lot of the leaders in the Oklahoma Ron Paul movement had been working with or were members of the Sooner Tea Party from the beginning so I was well versed in Ron Paul info and his positions. Then the C4L training and C4L leadership had me working with a lot of Ron Paul activists on liberty issues, but I just hadn’t ever considered running a campaign for Ron Paul. We were focused on changing the leadership at the House of Representatives in Oklahoma, removing the roadblock that prevented my anti TSA bill from getting heard in committee in 2011 after we had helped elect a state rep specifically for filing the bill.
When asked I was stunned and started telling the guy the reasons I couldn’t take the slot. I was the C4L state leader, I would have to resign and someone else would have to be recruited. We were near the end of the fight for the House leadership (which we actually won, not that we got the guy tossed out, but he dropped all opposition to our goals and enabled us to kill the Obama Care Health Insurance Exchanges), and I had the Sooner Tea Party to think about. I did agree to talk to Kirk Shelly who was my boss in C4L and get his advice before doing anything and leaving C4L. The recruiter told me that Kirk had predicted that I wouldn’t take the job as we were kicking butt at the state capitol and there was no way that I would stop doing that.
But I talked to Kirk, told him my reservations, telling him I didn’t want to leave Oklahoma C4L in a lurch, and asked for his advice. Kirk told me the same thing that the recruiter had said, that he was pleasantly surprised that I had even considered taking the slot with all that was going on at the state level. I told Kirk that I figured that the House leadership battle was already decided, and it was, and that stepping out for a few months would totally throw the RINOs off balance, especially if they thought I might come back with an army of Ron Paul activists to add to the ones that we were already working with. We talked about my reputation as a hardnosed political attack pit bull and the battles we had already fought with the state GOP, including calling for the removal of the state GOP chairman Gary Jones and seeing that very thing happen a few months later. Kirk thought that my reputation and my contacts with state government and the GOP would be invaluable and said that with the Ron Paul campaign going on that C4L wouldn’t be doing much as most of the volunteers would resign from C4L so they could work for the Ron Paul campaign.
Kirk did suggest that I call a few of the better known Ron Paul leaders in the state, who I already knew well and had been working with, and give them a heads up and a chance to offer their input.
And I did just that. Some like Lukus Collins were a bit shaken up at the news, probably from disappointment of not being chosen, and like Lukus some asked if my political pit bull reputation might get in the way. I told them that they needed to remember all the stories that they told me about how they were treated by the GOP in 2008, could it be any worse or any better this time, and would we be more likely treated fairly if they feared or respected the man in charge of the campaign.
One of the first people I ever met in the Tea Party was Kaye Beach, a diehard Ron Paul supporter, and she always tells people the story of the first time she met me at the first Tea Party meeting. A GOP shill had tried to take over the meeting, a former GOP County Chairman of that county, and I ripped him a new……, told him to sit his butt down, that we were in the place we were because of the Republicans as well as the Democrats.
Kaye told people that she didn’t know what to think but that she knew that she wanted me at the next state convention to keep them from getting run over. Understand that that meeting where Kaye met me was called after I got involved, right after our local Tea Party had canceled the July 4th rally because of infighting, I found a forum where they were talking about having a picnic to keep everyone together or they were going to one of the July 4th events to hand out flyers, but I joined the forum and posted. “Hell no, we are going to the Capitol no matter what it takes.” A local 912 leader offered to let us take over his upcoming meeting to plan and off we went. The 912 leader got injured on the job that day, went to the hospital, and that was how the GOP shill managed to get a shot at co opting the Tea Party.
At the meeting it was chaos, few knew the others, and everyone was talking in small groups. We knew that someone had pulled a permit for the day after we tried to pull a permit but no one knew who had the permit. Suddenly one small lady managed to get her voice heard “I’ve got the permit!”. I pointed to her and said “There is our leader.” And everyone supported her. Anyone with that much initiative needed to be the leader. I didn’t want to lead, I knew that it would be a lightning rod job, but we had to organize and get behind a single plan. I wound up being the straw boss for the physical side while the permit holder, Patty McAlister and a group of what turned out to be Ron Paul and GOP conservatives took care of the speakers lists. In less than three weeks we raised enough money for a professional sound system and put together a rally for thousands of people.
But later on, Kaye Beach turned on me for doing exactly what she immediately realized that I would be invaluable for; standing up to the GOP when they tried to screw the Ron Paul campaign over. Kaye is a good person, don’t get me wrong, but she just didn’t have the stomach to watch what had to be done to preserve our rights.
One of the things that Ron Paul taughtthrough C4L is that your leaders and legislative sponsors have to be tough as nails because the heat is going to be applied when you start making a difference and your worst nightmare is to see a leader or a bill sponsor fold under the pressure. I already knew this about Kaye, she didn’t have the stomach for a fight, that along with her court battle with the state over her drivers license were two of the reasons we didn’t pick her as the state coordinator. Her court battle is a great thing, I’ve given money toward it and recruited more for her legal expenses, but the average voter wouldn’t be ready to accept the reasons for the battle.
So I called the recruiter back and accepted the job on the condition that Oklahoma was well supplied with campaign resources. I emailed C4L and resigned as state coordinator for C4L. So on January the 13th, Friday the 13th no less, National sent out the word to the campaign that I had been appointed as state coordinator for Oklahoma. That day I was at an anti terrorism conference that the Tea Party had been helping to promote, had a legislative dinner set up late that afternoon, as well as having to take a few minutes off to take care of my business to keep earning a living. But I still took the time that day to call the Tulsa and Oklahoma City area Ron Paul leaders to arrange a first meeting. At that point I had zero info from National on what I could do and couldn’t do but I was going to hit the ground running and not waste a single hour of the few short weeks I had to organize a state wide campaign.
The crap started immediately. The initial email I sent out to the Ron Paul list was given to the main RINO/State Chamber of Commerce blogger in the state, Mike McCarville. Then the same people that leaked it called national trying to get me fired for speaking to the press! There were two main suspects, Porter Davis and Richard Engle. Only those two had the political experience, the lack of ethics, and the ambition to try a stunt like that. At the same time a long time Ron Paul supporter named Sandra Crosnoe was on the phone for hours and hours screaming at National for appointing me.
Sandra hated my guts for kicking her out of the Sooner Tea Party. Sandra is wheelchair bound, doesn’t get out, and had basically stolen the Sooner Tea Party name and started a facebook page on the group in an effort to control things. We all just shrugged and ignored it, went about doing what needed to be done. About a year later Sandra finally joins the Sooner Tea Party meetup group, claiming to be one of the original founders which was news to everyone, and promptly gets kicked off a few weeks later after refusing to do any productive work. We had a rule, you did research, donated money, walked precincts, or did something to further the cause or you would be removed from the meetup site.
The opposition was spying on us through the meetup and we had to make sure we got something from everyone as someone contributing time or effort wasn’t likely to be a spy. And there was real sabotage that occurred both before and afterward, including a case where the House Floor Leader who was running for State Treasurer was caught spying on our group through the meetup. We learned not to discuss sensitive plans and eventually learned to use the spies to spread counter intel. I asked Sandy to do an hours work on research so I could say I was fairly enforcing the rule. She refused.
But Sandra Crosnoe spent hours screaming at National Ron Paul staff about me, and I was told she even threatened to file an FEC complaint against Dr. Paul if they hired me. She had no basis, she knew that and so did the staff, but she hated me so much that she would threaten harm to Dr. Paul to get at me. Eventually she was banned from communicating with the National campaign as she was a leader of a group making independent expenditures and it would be a violation of FEC rules to allow her to influence, control, or cooperate with the campaign.
Porter Davis was also spending a lot of time trashing me with National between the time he found out I was considering the slot and I was appointed. Kaye Beach had advised me to contact Porter, we knew he was raising a fuss even before I was appointed and was considering the slot, but she thought he could be bought off by bringing him into the campaign. Her idea was to do a weekly newsletter for the Oklahoma campaign using her and Porter as the editors. That would make them the public face of the campaign which I didn’t have a problem with, I could work quietly in the background doing what I do best. So I called Porter on a Sunday afternoon while driving down to a gun show to support some of the local grassroots volunteers that had a Ron Paul table set up. I was thinking a ten minute call but Porter kept me on the phone for an hour while he tried to first get me to come out in support of this stupid program he called “Oklahoma the Gold State” or some stupid name. The idea was that Porter wanted to set up a group to make Oklahoma the “Gold Standard” for liberty or some pie in the sky nonsense. When he would call me and harp about no one supporting it, I would tell him that it was his idea and his idea to sell to people, no one was going to do his work for him on his pet project unless they though it had merit and if the idea promoter wouldn’t work on it….
So the deal was that I either supported his pet project or Porter would work against the National campaign. Porter even demanded the entire Ron Paul email list for Oklahoma! I told him that even if I had the list, and I didn’t at the time, it wasn’t mine to give away. In fact the agreement I signed specifically stated that the list was given out on a need to know basis and in limited sections AFTER each person signed a non disclosure statement and agreed to protect the list. Note that Q freely admitted she broke her word to Dr. Paul on that.
I countered with an offer to send out an email at the end of the campaign listing the groups that had supported the Ron Paul campaign with info about the groups and contact info. During the six or seven weeks of the campaign, I couldn’t see distracting anyone with what Porter had in mind. Porter out right threatened to sabotage me at the end but as I wasn’t breaking my word to Dr. Paul and I already knew that the turd was trying to sabotage the campaign, I refused to back down. I still offered the editor slot to him as a way to include him in the campaign and he said he would talk to Kaye about the idea.
So one of the things I did that busy Friday while also doing my part at the anti terrorism conference was reserve a car at the car rental place. I knew I was going to be doing some serious driving across Oklahoma and that my old ford truck that burned gas at ten miles to the gallon wouldn’t work. If I recall correctly, I parked my truck at the car rental place and picked up the car on Friday night. Later that night I drove down to Norman to meet the Ron Paul HQ people at their regularly scheduled event.
I believe it was Saturday when I drove up to Tulsa, about two hours away to meet with the Tulsa folks. The Tulsa meetup organizers were great, going so far as to make me a co organizer in their meetup so I could post meetups to alert them I would be coming to town. I was uncomfortable with that, it was their group, they had leaders, and I needed to work through them, but I accepted the honor and might have used it once if at all.
Driving back from Tulsa I was calling the OKC people to verify the meeting that was to happen that night. Two of the locals, Lukus Collins and Hugh Smith had turned down an offer to go up to Tulsa with me to make plans during the drive time. I get back in town around five pm and had the following email exchange with a Ron Paul supporter who had also been working with the Sooner Tea Party:
Date: Sunday, January 15, 2012, 5:54 PM
I've got a lot of thoughts about the welcome letter, if you still want my advice after tomorrow's meeting! :)
Upfront, I'll admit to you that I don't like the idea of you in the state coordinator position. I'm very concerned about the public relations aspect of the newsletters. You do what you do very effectively, but I'm not sure that kind of politics is the right "face" of Ron Paul in Oklahoma. I'm also concerned that you aren't necessarily a Ron Paul supporter? 100% sold? I may be wrong here, but I'm going on memory from things I've heard you say.
Looking forward to talking face to face about this. You know me, I don't like behind the back stuff. Don't like it and not good at it. I could never be a politician! Straight up, I don't think you are the right person for this position. I'm open to what you have to say. See you tomorrow. –
Al Gerhart wrote:
Thanks for speaking your mind.
This is a rapid mobilization of forces where an effective organizer is needed, someone that the leaders in the national Ron Paul campaign know and trust. It is quite simple, get people to the precinct meeting and signed up as delegates to the County convention, then elected as one of the delegates that elects the Oklahoma national delegates. Also it is a primary election where signage distribution, literature drops, phone banks, etc, are needed. Who has a voter list for Oklahoma? Does Ron Paul meetup have one? But Sooner Tea Party has one and we are willing to share, we have prepared, they have not. But the leaders of the Ron Paul members have generally, with one or two exceptions including one that we were missing that particular precinct, have generally rejected the idea of a professional precinct working effort.
The enemy of the Tea Party and Ron Paul is the establishment. The Sooner Tea Party has been fighting for Ron Paul issues since day one and no one does it better. We built the infrastructure, learned how to fight, and didn't shrink from the fight. Even better we fought using Campaign for Liberty training and tactics, set up by Ron Paul's handpicked men.
So one of our enemies, the GOP establishment, doesn't like me? I ask you if you are going to allow the enemy to choose your leader? Or are you going to go with a local person as head guy, which will piss of the Tulsa people, and few people other than Hugh Smith have really been active with actual work. Those few people, including Hugh, haven't had the training. They rejected C4L training the last four years and now the Ron Paul campaign is paying the price by being seven or eight weeks away from the primary with very little done.
Yeah, I got some intel today. Supposedly I refused to meet with the Tulsa people or something I was told. About 24 hours I was appointed, I drove up and met with them. On the way back I confirmed that I could meet with the OKC/Norman leaders at 8:00 pm after being asked to do so. I told them to let me get on the road from Tulsa before I confirmed, can't be in two places at once. I was told that they couldn't meet with me on Saturday night or Sunday, so I said Okay, when can you meet with me. Tuesday was the answer. Not happy with the answer but I should respect the group leaders, right?
Lots of people are pissed that they offered me the slot. I didn't ask for it but I accepted the challenge and you know I will serve and work harder than anyone to set an example. If people want to settle old scores with me based on the past, I really can't do anything but plug ahead.
Ron Paul supporter? Have you been reading the newsletter every week? I've plugged him just about every week I think. On Thursday afternoon, I was talking to Pastor Vineyard and Blair at the anti CAIR conference and Vineyard mentioned he was doing a sermon on the presidential candidates on Sunday. I asked about his views on Ron Paul. Oh, he won't defend Israel, I was told. I straightened both pastors out on that and the other issues that evangelicals generally spout about Paul. Friday afternoon I was standing outside Pastor Blair’s office waiting for him to finish talking with a couple. He couldn't see me, I didn't want to rush him, but I overheard him telling the couple that he was looking at Ron Paul in a new light.
I was waiting outside Blair’s office because I was the guy that set up the legislative dinner after General Boykin had spoken and I was telling Blair that I was going ahead to make sure everything was okay. I managed to get six state representatives and one state senator there to meet with General Boykin, the promoter, and the three pastors he brought along. Can any of the Ron Paul leaders do this? Do they have the respect of the pastors? Does the GOP fear crossing them?
Ron Paul has one chance xxxxx, just one. Am I the perfect leader? No, but I am the one that was asked and stepped up. Anyone that bitches had the chance to step into C4L and work his or her way up. They chose not to. I did because it was good for what we were doing.
And here is your choice. You guys dump me and bring down public ridicule on the Ron Paul organization for making a mistake. My reputation is harmed, not because of anything I did or didn't do, but because a few jealous people choose to stir up things. No, I am not talking about you, ever!
Now put yourself in my place. I was asked to take on an unpaid, responsibility heavy job knowing that no one would satisfy the locals in Okc or Tulsa. In return I might get tossed out, damaging what we have fought for two years to accomplish, with us weeks away from forcing a showdown over the actual leadership of the House of Representatives. If the Ron Paul people screw me over, they damage the Speaker election battle and me personally and strengthen our enemies. Am I going to be a happy camper? I am going to be supportive of people who would do that?
But we fight for freedom. You guys do as you see fit. You have been with us for a long time, you know me. If you've read the newsletters you know how we are forcing the GOP leadership to fight our fight, to respond to our charges, and they are crapping their drawers that we will have been the catalyst that brings down the RINO House leadership. You can have me on your side in the convention battles or you can get run over.
Me? I'm going to keep doing what I do best and continue organizing till someone screws things up. Then I'll keep right on working on taking down as many RINOs as I can with or without the Ron Paul people.
Thanks for bringing this up. I am not angry, I am grateful you took the time to tell me how you feel.
Date: Sunday, January 15, 2012, 7:12 PM
I was upfront with you because I want anything negative or divisive dealt with and out of the way. It doesn't advance our cause. I don't want what little time, money and resources we have, to be wasted on a battle in our own ranks! That would be a disaster and totally unnecessary.
Also, I didn't know what you expected from tomorrow's meeting and thought it unfair for you to be ambushed. I consider us friends and know that we are both fighting for the same things. Lot to think about here in your e-mail. I can't say I'm not still concerned, but hearing what you had to say has helped. Thanks for taking the time. –XXXXXXX
Al Gerhart wrote:
I know that XXXXXXXX, we are friends and you have my trust. But the battle within the ranks isn't about me more than it is about resistance to following the professional leadership from national Ron Paul. A battle here in Oklahoma is going to cost us support from national, they aren't feeding resources into an unruly mob that kills off their own officers. : )
Unfortunately someone from Tulsa has already raised a stink, claiming that I refused to meet with them so national is going to be watching this very carefully, and watching you guys, not me! Remember that I drove up there a day after I was appointed!
In the end the rank and file Ron Paul members will get what they deserve in leadership. If they put up with this crap and see run me off they will have no resources from national or far less resources from national than a group that is focused on winning rather than infighting. At the least they will waste more weeks finding someone willing to step into a meat grinder.
But if you want to point fingers at who is the most responsible if we lose, ask yourself why the precincts are not organized, ask yourself why nearly 24 hours after I asked for precinct numbers so I can start sharing precinct lists no precinct numbers have been sent by a single leader. This crap has got to stop and we need to start focusing on getting people to the precinct meeting and that won't happen till we identify the Ron Paul supporters and recruit them by the hundreds. To do that we need lists distributed, to do that we need precinct numbers.
Thanks for the warning though. I do need you to trust me and to trust in the people that asked me to serve. I need you to trust that Ron Paul has enough good judgment to have picked competent staff because if he didn't, how did he finish so strongly in two primaries and how will he pick good people to staff the federal government?
Date: Sunday, January 15, 2012, 9:25 PM
We are still very loosely organized which is what I found most compelling in your first e-mail. What leaders did you ask about precinct numbers? I personally don't know of a point person that would have those in one spot and I don't remember sending mine to anyone but you. That was quite awhile ago. At that time I don't think you could help me. Are you referring to something else?
Al Gerhart wrote:
Well, I have plenty of people telling me that they are the leaders of these groups. I'd start with the list of organizers of the meetup. If there wasn't a point person why not and shouldn't someone volunteer? Or if there isn't anyone, wouldn't that clear the way for them to send their precinct number to me?
You did send yours and it was one of a handful that we didn't have. Now the Republican that was hosting our files on his server yanked the access because he isn't a Ron Paul fan. But we have all the precinct info that we had phone numbers for, more numbers than ten times your volunteers could call by March 6th. And our new system is in the works so use what we have till we have something better.
Ah, well. It will sort itself out tomorrow night.
Date: Sunday, January 15, 2012, 10:22 PM
I can only speak about the OKC group. We have some such as Lukus and Hugh who are out front, but as a group have decided (by default) not to have anyone official. It did come up that maybe we should have something more formal. I know because I was the one who brought it up. The idea was not well received. We have by default gone to a system where anyone choosing to lead up a project takes the initiative and makes it happen. Basically as true a form of grassroots as you can get. In some ways, it's amazingly effective. Problem is sometimes people step up to do important things and then don't follow through. We don't have a mechanism to deal with that. Some of those that were supposedly doing things about the time you came and visited the HQ disappeared soon after, taking everything they knew with them. It took us a long time to figure out that they had fallen off the map. Having more structure will definitely solve some problems.
I've never been concerned about your ability to pull this thing together ONLY that your reputation would be unnecessary baggage. If you're the man, then I'll do anything I can to help make you successful. Your success is our success.
Al Gerhart wrote:
Sounds like you tried to pull things together. Well, they have a chance to get national help or remain pure libertarians.
Kirk Shelly thought that my reputation would be our biggest asset in the fight. I had people telling me that the Ron Paul people are using you! If both sides are pissed, I must be getting close to doing something right.
So the meeting with the OKC area Ron Paul leaders was set for Lukus Collin’s home on Tuesday night. In the mean time one of the local Ron Paul leaders was working overtime trying to round up a lynching party. Around noon on Monday Richard Engle posted an email where he recounted a talk with Kirk Shelly. Here are some of the quotes from the email and the list of Ron Paul insiders it was sent to:
From: ENGLE [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Monday, January 16, 2012 11:52 AM
To: Bobby Kessler; Porter Davis
Cc: Tina Kelly; Brady Wright; Jennifer Senn; Toby Pedford; Charles Key; Laura Clarbour; Larry Kelly; Dale Phillips; Hugh Smith; James Lane; David Brooke; Thomas Keine; Shawn Coffey; firstname.lastname@example.org; Kaye; Lukus Collins; Kirk Shelley
“Kirk expressed that he was somewhat surprised that Al was chosen.”
“I expressed my aghast at Al's public pronouncements thus far in the newly minted position.
Kirk knew nothing of Al's comments as reported by McCarville or KTOK.”
“Kirk said that others (younger supporters of Paul) would go easy when it comes to the Pct meetings and conventions and that Al would not. I believe there are several more capable than Al to secure that we strategically out maneuver the establishment. More importantly, I said that any good Al can do as an organizer will be more than outdone with Al as a public leader if he makes any kind of public statement. I was clear that any public statement by Al in this position is made to become the voice of Cong. Paul. Any time the press or the establishment of the party gets a hold of anything he says they will use it to diminish our candidate. I said that if Al remains in the position and delivers any kind of statement that can leak to the press or the party then our efforts will be harmed by them.
Kirk agreed that Al can't make public statements. I followed up to reiterate that any email, any statement to anyone can have the same effect. He agreed. I said that he would need to take a leave of absence from the Sooner Tea Party and its newsletter. He agreed. I said that Al would need to defer any request for comment to someone else - perhaps Kirk himself for the time being. He agreed.
I told Kirk that I don't know how Al could be effective in the role without being able to communicate with volunteers, voters, etc. He did not respond directly.”
“I must tell you that I took no notes during the conversation and that I am relating the conversation as a general recollection. I am not quoting Kirk explicitally except for the one reference with quotes. I had about a half hour after our talk in which I had other pressing work before I could draft this note to you.
In less than a half hour Kirk responded and blew the socks off Richard Engle. I won’t post Kirk’s response out of respect for Kirk but in it he stated that he had told Richard that he wasn’t surprised that they had offered me the job, he was pleasantly surprised that I took it, said that I was one of the best organizers he had seen, said I had shown remarkable courage to maintain my positions even when threatened, my property stolen, my business burglarized, had devoted countless hours to the cause of liberty, and that no one had ever questioned my integrity or commitment to the cause. Then Kirk blasted Richard for spinning the conversation that they had.
And what were the public comments that left Richard Engle “aghast”?
The welcome to the campaign email that I sent out the second day on the job:
Welcome To the Oklahoma Ron Paul 2012 Campaign
If you are getting this email that means that the Ron Paul 2012 National Campaign forwarded your email address to us in order to get you connected with other Ron Paul activists. My name is Al Gerhart and I am the State Coordinator for the Ron Paul 2012 campaign. Allow me to tell you a little bit about me and how I came to lead the Oklahoma Ron Paul effort.
I was politically asleep in early 2009 when the Washington D.C. madness really started hitting hard. I saw the majority of my middle class customers disappear from my cabinet/countertop shop as a result of the consumer confidence evaporating. This I blame on both Obama and George Bush. When the Tea Party started up in Oklahoma City I started attending the events and put a lot of faith in the movement. When the main group splintered and became ineffective I and others founded the Sooner Tea Party.
From there I started a group called the OCA, Oklahoma Constitutional Alliance, an umbrella group of the 35 largest grassroots groups in the state and in 2010 we helped force four bills to the Governor's desk:
Open Carry, Opt Out of Obama Care, the Montana Firearms Freedom bill (10th Amendment test case), and the Anti RFID Chip in the Drivers License bill.
Although all four bills passed initially with veto proof margins, five or six Tulsa area Republicans switched their votes on the veto override battles and all four bills were killed at Governor Brad Henry's desk. Later progressive Republicans managed to tear the OCA apart by making promises to a few greedy groups, promises that were never fulfilled in the 2011 legislative session. Our group, the Sooner Tea Party, partnered with Campaign for Liberty and spent 2011 beating on progressive Republican House members. Our list of opponents went from 56 on opening day of the 2011 legislative session, down to 32 opponents after the October 26th Speaker Designate Election, then down to 30 opponents by the end of 2011.
To say we were successful in gaining the respect of the legislature is an understatement. Campaign for Liberty, started by Ron Paul after the 2008 election, was crucial in providing training and tactics for our Oklahoma victories. I took over the State Coordinator position for Oklahoma Campaign for Liberty in December 2010.
It was in that capacity that the Ron Paul Campaign noticed me and asked me to serve as the campaign coordinator. As the Campaign for Liberty organization was started by Ron Paul to train the grassroots in political reality for the fight for liberty, I suppose it was no surprise they reached out to C4L members across the country.
For some background on what we did in 2011 please browse our archived newsletters. We follow C4L training and tactics and remember that this is politics, so we are rough on those that stand against the Constitution and those that refuse to serve the public good and instead serve special interests. If some of our tactics are a bit shocking and rude, remember that Dr. Paul showed us how to fight effectively.
Approximately 5,000 newsletters go out between 10 and 12 pm on Sunday night. Legislators wait up to read them, and by 3 A.M around 15% of the Representatives and Senators have opened up their copy. By 8 A.M Monday morning, 80% of the legislators have read their copy. One good example of our work was exposing the Oklahoma County District Attorney for campaign finance and reporting violations, potential felonies. Three days later we learned that the Oklahoma Attorney General turned the OSBI loose on D.A. Prater. That investigation is outlined in the newsletter archives and sources say that the case has been referred to a multi county grand jury. We push anti corruption and Constitutional issues constantly, wrote the Anti TSA Agent bill in 2011, and generally supported Ron Paul's issues at the state legislature.
Why do they wait up to read our newsletter? Because they never know who or what we are exposing. We have sources deep inside the legislature, many state and local agencies, even inside County courthouses. Almost all of the lobbyists in the state forward our newsletter to their clients, a tracking pixel tells us how often the newsletter is opened by the original recipient so when you see them opening it 50 times you know it is being forwarded, just not to whom. We use the newsletter to push the legislature to where we want them to go, educating them on the issues while they comb the ten to twenty pages for tidbits of inside information. Pretty sneaky, huh?
Link to Newsletter archives
Our group, the Sooner Tea Party, lead the 2009 Oklahoma contingent for the March on D.C., sending a charter bus to join those that drove or flew in to join the other 1.5 million Americans in September of 2009. CNN interviewed me on that Saturday afternoon and I had the pleasure to correct a CNN anchor on national T.V. on his view of our political system. Afterward the Ron Paul organization claimed me as one of their own but it was a slow evolution that turned me into a solid Ron Paul supporter. Here is a link to the video, a poor quality copy but the Youtube video disappeared shortly after it was put up. Imagine that...
Here are two of the larger Ron Paul meetup groups in Oklahoma. Pick one, click on the blue link, and join. Or if you are not in the area, consider leading a new group for the movement. We have many individuals scattered across the state and will get you in touch in the next few days so the potential leaders can step forward.
Oklahoma City Ron Paul Group
Tulsa Ron Paul Group
Above all else, don't wait to be asked to lead or get involved! Step up and be loud till someone puts you to work or till you find out what needs done so you can start a project. I was installed as State Coordinator on Friday January 13th and we are just now getting the forwarded emails that you sent to the national Ron Paul 2012 campaign so please forgive the wait while we got organized.
Contact me at email@example.com anytime you have questions that you can't get answered through the two groups. Put out the word on the nearest meetup group that you want to form a local group and they will help you find more local members.
Finally I could use some help if you are interested in working on the coordination of the efforts across the state. Dr. Paul has made clear that he wants to see a sustainable statewide organization that will remain in place after the primary and after the general election whether we win or lose. He believes it is crucial that he have the grassroots in place to help him bulldoze a path for his legislation by applying pressure on state and federal elected officials. And if God forbid we fail, Dr. Paul wants us to continue reforming the Republican Party and clearing the way for Rand Paul in 2016.
So get involved, take the precinct training programs and the delegate training programs. As the State Coordinator, I'll be making the rounds providing training on precinct organizing, raising funds, and trying to get resources to the groups so please stop me and introduce yourself if you see me. But first we need to capture those delegate slots, then drive the voters to the primary election on March 6th.
Thank you so much for getting involved. Of all the candidates, only Ron Paul stands for the exact same values as the Oklahoma Republican Party Platform. The Oklahoma GOP isn't perfect, but it is our only vehicle forward and in 2011 we came within 150 votes at the State Convention from putting Constitutional Republicans in control of the party. If we get all the Ron Paul supporters to the February 6th precinct meetings for a few hours, then to the County conventions in March for about 3/4 of a day, then to the State convention in May for a full day, we will ensure that Ron Paul's issues are implemented in Oklahoma and maybe we will send Obama packing by replacing him with Dr. Paul.
Rally for the Republic,
Oklahoma State Coordinator, Ron Paul 2012 Campaign
Co Founder, Sooner Tea Party
Can someone tell me what made Richard “aghast”?
Someone forwarded me the email exchange that Richard Engle had started along with the following comment:
I only hope that you did not get discouraged. The sad thing is that I feel the main people that stirred up all this drama - do not actually do much of anything for the RP Oklahoma CAMPAIGN - They sit at there computer screen and preach to the choir - only try to stop efforts of ones that are actually doing something !
Please continue to help us .. we are in need of people like you.”
And what was I doing all this time? Read this email that I had posted on both of the Ron Paul meetup groups early Monday morning, the fourth day on the “job”.
From: Al Gerhart
Sent: Monday, January 16, 2012 7:41 AM
Subject: [ronpaul-110] How to get Ron Paul Elected
Forgive me if I don't understand how you guys communicate but after reading all the email list postings for both groups for Saturday and Sunday I found only one reference to precinct organizing from Ryan Underwood. That email laid out an excellent case for the need to get involved in GOP politics at the precinct level in order to control the delegate votes and ensure that Ron Paul receives any delegates votes that he wins. Thank you Ryan!
Other than that all I hear is crickets chirping and talk about the New World Order and who will be vice president under Ron Paul.
There won't be any vice president under Ron Paul if we don't get organized now.
We need Ron Paul supporters at the precinct meetings and they each need two or three neighbors from their own precinct there to ensure they get voted in as precinct chairman.
To do that, we need to find the Ron Paul supporters in your precincts.
To do that we must start calling all the registered Republicans in your precinct to ask them one question "Who are you leaning toward for the presidential election?"
Once you have a list of who is voting for Ron Paul, you call them back (or someone does) and gets them involved in the campaign, ask them to attend the precinct meetings, or you ask them for money to help the campaign.
But it all starts with one thing that I asked the leaders to do and told everyone that it was needed in that newsletter email, start collecting precinct numbers so I can get you what information we have on the precincts back to the members.
If there are no leaders, someone had better stand up and act as a leader for this project. We have less than 50 days before the election. Very little time, but enough if we start now.
There is a lot of competition for resources and staff time coming from other states. National would be nuts to spend either on Oklahoma unless the local supporters are willing to do their part. I know that lots of you guys are calling other states but what I don't know is why I am not overrun with people asking for their precinct informaiton?
Help! Give me something to work with here?! : )
Oklahoma State Coordinator, Ron Paul 2012
Around the same time the leak of the first email I sent out had been forwarded by Porter Davis to the National campaign and they were outraged when told I had spoken to the press. But I hadn’t spoken to the press, either Porter or Richard had leaked it. Remember that Richard had commented that he was “aghast” at my statements to the “press”. The email that I had sent out went to the RON PAUL activists, not the press. I knew not to speak to the press.
Later that afternoon Richard Engle in a round about way apologized to the group for getting caught lying, well he couldn’t bring himself to admit anything other than “misunderstanding”.
From: ENGLE [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Monday, January 16, 2012 5:22 PM
To: 'Bobby Kessler'; 'Porter Davis'; Kirk Shelley
Cc: 'Tina Kelly'; 'Brady Wright'; 'Jennifer Senn'; 'Toby Pedford'; 'Charles Key'; 'Laura Clarbour'; 'Larry Kelly'; 'Dale Phillips'; 'Hugh Smith'; 'James Lane'; 'David Brooke'; 'Thomas Keine'; 'Shawn Coffey'; email@example.com; 'Kaye'; 'Lukus Collins'
Subject: RE: A conversation with Kirk Shelly
I didn't plan on telling anyone else or I would have taken notes. I am sorry for the offense you took and none was intended. After a time of working on other matters and saw an email from Porter I decided to let this small group know the results of this conversation.
I have no qualms about how you are specifying your position or your reaction. I will accept that I misunderstood the cause for your surprise. I think I represented your limits in influence much as you are so I would suggest that clarification is not needed. Nonetheless, if you think it is then we should accept your take on it.
As to the legal and ethical, I expressed that the note from me was only my impression of the conversation and not a quote in any manner (one word excepted).
Again, I'm sorry you are offended. It was not an interview and you were not quoted. Unless I am asked to keep something in confidence I don't ever feel an obligation to do so. I think it is highly impractical to expect every conversation to be secret unless one party asks it to be.
As you have asked now, I will honor the request and speak of this only among those who are already party to it.
But this wasn’t the first time Richard had been caught lying. Back in late 2009 I had formed a statewide umbrella group of the largest 35 conservative and liberty groups in the state. We kicked butt in 2010, got four bills to the governor’s desk that year although the Democrat vetoed them. Engle was on the board of the umbrella group but resigned in disgrace after getting caught lying to a fellow board member. The board member switched allegiance as a result of the lie and gave control to some of the older groups like the John Birch Society and a religious right group, they were about to throw me out of the group I had founded. Luckily I called the guy, had Kaye Beach call him to expose the lie that had been told, he switched back to the Tea Party/912 camp and we maintained control.
And to show just how depraved and bold Richard was in his lies, he was telling the email group above that I was an atheist!
At that meeting that night the trouble makers were there but they kept their heads down. Lukus Collins kept going on about why I was chosen, kept repeating the same question after I had answered it, so I finally started stepping on him, cutting him off when he tried to talk. Finally he sobbed “Why do you keep cutting me off!”. The point I was making to the group was that Lukus didn’t have the balls to stand up to a guest in his own home in front of his wife and would never have the balls to go toe to toe with GOP officials at the convention. Rude, I know, but I wanted to test the boy to see if my instincts were correct. Had he had the balls to stand up for himself I would have asked National to install him in the state coordinator slot immediately.
All this time Richard Engle was pacing the floor, livid that I hadn’t been fired by National. Charles Key kept saying, “Al, I don’t understand why you are here?” as Charles had also been part of the resistance. I made the point with Charles that National wanted me bad enough to disregard what you, Richard Engle, Sandy Crosnoe, and Porter Davis have to say. They knew something that he didn’t.
Eventually the meeting calmed down, I asked who the elected leaders were of the 400 plus meetup site and they said they didn’t have any. They asked what my plans were and I laid out the plan, organize as many county coordinators as possible, absorb as many existing Ron Paul activists as would work with us, distribute precinct voter info to volunteers to organize the precincts before the Feb 6th precinct meetings in about two weeks, dominate the precinct meetings, work on calling voters to find the undecided so we could deliver Ron Paul literature, dominate the County conventions to make sure the rules were favorable to our side, and dominate the district and state convention with Ron Paul delegates. And they threw a fit! I wasn’t allowed to put on a campaign for Ron Paul!
They kept asking what they could do and I kept telling them that they could join the National campaign in their existing capacities if they wanted and they would be more than welcome to continue their projects with National assistance on campaign supplies. They asked if they could do things on their own and I replied that I wasn’t allowed to interfere in their groups and had no interest in doing so as my plate was full as it was. That gave them the idea to form the official Oklahoma Ron Paul Campaign. They elected Lukus Collins as the head, Kaye Beache as the VP, and started making plans. I just sat there because I couldn’t interfere but I was thinking that these people are nuts!
The next day this new group does a press release, which causes the state chamber shill Mike McCarville to blast me personally because I wasn’t included in the group, basically calling me a liar for saying that I had been appointed state coordinator. I couldn’t say a word otherwise as National had basically put a gag on me after the lie about me speaking to the press was used. I couldn’t send out a mass email to the volunteers, couldn’t post anything on the meetups, nada….
The instructions given to the new state coordinators at that time were rudimentary at best, basically don’t talk to the press and don’t blog about anything. Nothing was said about not working with grassroots Ron Paul folks but I knew enough about the legalities to know that we couldn’t directly coordinate or control what they did, they had to be kept separate. A few days later National got a handbook out for state coordinators and I learned that we had to maintain strict separation, no contact, no email, nothing of any sort for any group that had made or was going to make independent expenditures. What we could do is post plans and info in a public place like a website, newsletter, or meetup site where anyone could see it. That was the only way allowed to pass info along between the groups! We could use the same volunteers, we just couldn’t coordinate or communicate.
So there I was, I had to drop out of the meetup groups to make National happy, couldn’t email out of fear that some jerk would leak it to the press, all I could do was call volunteers and recruit county coordinators. After a week of this I told National that I was going to resume sending out emails, they could fire me if they wished, but I couldn’t do my job muzzled. By this time National had figured out that a dozen or two of the locals were out to knock me off by any means possible so they calmed down when the crazies called or emailed.
So for the next two weeks the new county coordinators, eventually there were over 40 counties of the 77 counties organized, worked on distributing the voter lists that I had. I also had a list of Republican voters statewide, numbers only, but we could sort them out by prefix into towns. Those working with the National campaign had plenty of phone numbers to call. The counties that organized calling programs and returned call data received campaign supplies as they came in. I drove thousands of miles in that rented car. I had to; my truck had been stolen from the rental car parking lot the night of the meeting with the OKC Ron Paul people. I bought a sixteen passenger van after the precinct meetings to help out with delivering supplies and moving people around. I’m still driving that monster…
We had some good precinct meetings, lots of turnout. I attended as many as I could get to to stiffen up the county coordinators. I found that a lot of our people were non confrontational, that was a problem, they were getting walked on. One particular case was a couple of counties south of OKC. I was talking to the county coordinator before the meeting when Richard Engle came up passing out literature for his race for National Committee Man for Oklahoma. I greeted him nicely but refused to take his literature. Old Richard kind of froze because I had his opponent’s literature in my hand. Richard asked why I took his opponent’s literature and not his, I replied “I know you well Richard. I don’t know your opponent.” Later Richard came over and started trying to make his case, I stopped him and asked him if he had ever made any… “mistakes”… Richard is sharp on the uptake, started to deny, then swallowed and admitted that he had made mistakes. I smiled, said that was a great start at making amends, that we would talk later.
So the precinct meeting starts and the county GOP chairman goes through some stuff and on into the county convention. All the time I’m prodding my county coordinator trying to get him to stop the proceeding as they were supposed to have the precinct meetings to elect delegates before they do the county convention. Smaller counties (less Republicans and less organized) have both precinct meeting and county convention at once. My county coordinator isn’t standing up for his group, he is in over his head, so I thought what the hell…. I was a guest and didn’t have a leg to stand on if they challenged my right to speak but by golly I was also a state coordinator for a national campaign so I spoke up. I challenged the chairman on not having the precinct meetings, he wasn’t liking it, they had redistricted the year before and no one knew what their new precinct number was, so it was a mess. In the meantime Richard Engle was whispering in the GOP chairman’s ear. Next thing I know the chairman is telling people to break up into precincts and hold the elections. Here is a newspaper account that backs up the facts
That was when I knew I had Richard Engle by the you know what. His effort to get me fired failed and he knew that he couldn’t win the National Committee Man slot without my backing or at least without him convincing me into not attacking him. And I put that to good use at several meetings to help the local Ron Paul people keep their rights at GOP meetings. Yeah, it is ugly, welcome to politics; I was going to use everything at my disposal to keep Richard Engle honest and looking out for Ron Paul interests. If you deal with snakes, you’d better learn how to handle them without being bit.
In the meantime the handful of grassroots leaders that continued to oppose me kept the pressure up. Volunteers were asking me to request a Ron Paul visit to Oklahoma and I enquired but was told that it wasn’t going to happen, we weren’t a battle ground state, it would be a poor use of time and resources. The pressure kept building against our plan for calling voters to indentify undecided voters and Ron Paul supporters. Some counties were doing great, some called every Republican in their county but Tulsa and Oklahoma City were flat our refusing to call voters. They were going to depend on electing delegates. I kept making the point that we had to win at least 15% of the popular vote to get a single delegate vote, it was useless to win the district and state convention delegate votes unless we had Ron Paul delegate votes to cast, otherwise we would send our people to Florida at their expense to vote for Romney or whoever won.
Finally I called the lady in charge of setting Dr. Paul’s schedule and told her in no uncertain terms that I needed Dr. Paul to come to Oklahoma to quiet the rebellion of the grassroots. I was hoping that if the rank and file Ron Paul activists saw that I could do that then they would come around and join the national campaign and start calling voters and distributing literature. To my surprise she said maybe, then a week later confirmed a date and time.
When we had a maybe I put out the word that IF Dr. Paul came, we would host a special meeting between those that had called 500 voters and returned the calling data. That goosed some of the counties into action, they got busy. OKC and Tulsa still refused to call voters for the most part. But when we confirmed the Dr. Paul visit, oh the wailing and gnashing of teeth! They couldn’t call 500 voters in one week they said. Uh, it was one hard day’s work and by the way they should have been doing it all along.
Plenty of activists were calling other states using Dr. Paul’s online system but they refused to call Oklahoma voters???
The confirmation of the Dr Paul visit finally forced the grassroots to fold their “Official Oklahoma Ron Paul” campaign. Believe it or not it was Richard Engle that made it happen after one of the other supporters and I had a talk about Richard’s character and his run for National Committee Man. I didn’t ask for anything or make any deals but his supporter got it and offered to use Richard to kill off the grassroots group they had formed the night we met to oppose the National campaign, which by the way they did absolutely nothing since doing the press release. Sure enough Richard sent out the following email to the very same group that he was rabble rousing a month before and calling me an atheist:
Re: Ron Paul OK
Tuesday, February 21, 2012 1:22 AM
This sender is DomainKeys verified
View contact details
"Bob Donohoo" , "Porter Davis"
"Brady Wright" , "firstname.lastname@example.org" , "email@example.com" , "Charles Key" , "firstname.lastname@example.org" , "David Brooke" , "email@example.com" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "email@example.com" , "firstname.lastname@example.org" , "email@example.com" , "Toby Pedford" , "firstname.lastname@example.org" , "Bobby Kessler" , "Scott Esk" , "email@example.com" , "Laura Clarbour" , "firstname.lastname@example.org" , "email@example.com" , "Thomas & Betty Kiene" , "firstname.lastname@example.org" ... more
What is RonPaulOK? A PAC, a campaign, a local organizing committee, a competitor with the national organization, and/or a group of like minded people?
It is not really a PAC as it has not raised or spent any money. By telling the world that we no longer exist as a separate entity we back up our candidate and the way he wants to run his campaign.
It can't be a campaign if the candidate does not want it to exist. When we met at Lukus' house we were told that the national campaign wanted us to organize ourselves. At that point there was no reason to believe the campaign would come to OK. Campaigns have to be fluid. It changed and they don't want us to do what they did want. We simply cannot be a campaign. Dr Paul has a campaign and we can love it or leave it. It is his campaign and he gets to organize it as he wishes. I trust him and he trusts the people he has in place. So what if we don't get to decide for him anymore how it is to operate. This is not an unusual situation. It really happens with every Presidential campaign in any state that goes from being non-competitive to competitive. Dr. Paul and his team need to know that we will be good soldiers for a common cause. The time for second guessing is long over. If Ron Paul makes a fatal mistake and destroys his ability to win the Presidency then it is his mistake to make. I think he will do just fine. We need to remember that he has just a bit more at stake than any of us does.
Is it a competitor with the national campaign? Dear God, I pray we were never that. To any degree that we were I am very sorry. I thought we intended to do in OK what the national did not wish to do. A house divided will not stand.
Are we a group of like minded people who want to work together now and after the campaign. Of course. This means that our ability to communicate in the interim and after the campaign (I think that is in November) is fine and not a matter of concern.
I have no reason to believe that the national campaign is at all concerned about us having a meet-up or such. What we can't do is speak to the press as an organization, speak to groups on behalf of the campaign, or make any other decisions that a candidate would ordinarily make. We really have no ongoing right to use his name as doing so is no longer his wish. This may be a tough transition but that is the reality we live with. We should close the meet up to any new persons - in my opinion.
That being said, I was asked a long time ago to speak at the Carter Co convention on my support for Ron Paul. That is tomorrow. I hope this email gets to the campaign and that they quickly communicate if they wish for me to go ahead and do so or if they want me to bow out.
I don't know to what degree the campaign will want my experience, or talents. I have a lot to offer and so do each of us. If the campaign wants my help it will be available, if not then I will do something else. I will not take it as rejection or in any way personally. The campaign just needs to make its own decisions. My vote, my vote at the County, District and State Conventions will be in line with what benifits my candidate. My vote as a "Super Delegate" should I be that fortunate, will also be for him, even if his campaign wants nothing else from me.
Now don’t think for a second that this snake was doing anything other than selling out his friends to protect his viability as the National Committee Man. And they were not told to “organize themselves” at that meeting, they were told that I would be leading a National campaign to organize precincts to win the precinct elections, then we would focus on the popular vote and getting Ron Paul supporters to the polls, then we would focus on the county conventions and the district conventions to get as many delegates elected from our camp as possible. This email was sent four days before Dr. Paul’s visit and Richard Engle was frantically selling his soul to be on the winning side. The others had realized that Al had all the toys and that they needed to join the Dr. Paul’s campaign if they wanted to be a part of the election.
That week was the hardest week of my life. They said that during my remarks at the rally I said I was working 20 hours a week putting on the rally. I was that tired, I meant to say I had been working 20 hours a day and hadn’t done anything at my shop for that week. I carry two cell phones and the batteries on both would run down before the end of the day. The requirements for a presidential candidate visit are immense and every single detail had to be approved by a team at National. And I do mean every single detail. Each detail might involve ten to fifteen emails and phone calls before a decision was made.
But I was an old hand at putting on rallies at the Capitol thanks to the Tea Party and knew all the government workers and state troopers. I could and did call on state senators and state representatives that I knew to bulldoze a path for us as the short notice and chance of bad weather forecast kept things in flux.
Security was a major problem, you don’t walk a presidential candidate through a crowd and the Capitol only had one door open on Saturday. In the end they brought in additional staff and opened up a side door for Dr. Paul and a few staff.
In that week there was peace between National and the grassroots, thank God. People finally started calling voters, made their 500 calls, and we got around 30 people into the private meeting with Dr. Paul. The grassroots leaders that had been fighting me tooth and nail cooperated as national volunteers and put together the speaking stand, sound system, and helped staff the positions needed. There was some fuss about following the rules, they wanted to debate a lot of the details and I wasn’t putting up with any of that. Every change would be a nightmare to get re approved by National. Something as simple as bringing in pizza for the volunteers would have require food permits from the Capitol and lord knows what else so I told them if it happened I didn’t want to know about it. And the most disgusting thing about planning that visit was being inundated by requests for special treatment by Ron Paul supporters. The man was going to be on the ground for less than two hours with thirty minutes needed to drive to the airport and back, there had to be a press conference, a meeting with the state representatives and state senators that I got to endorse Dr. Paul (that is tough to do in an election year, if a politician endorsed Dr. Paul he angered every Romney, Santorum, and Gingrich voter in his district and the filing period for their race hadn’t happened yet), and a private meeting for the calling volunteers. But the outright selfishness of so many wanting special favors was sickening. Don’t people understand that this isn’t about them? It should be about winning an election.
But we got Dr. Paul in and out on schedule and the event was a success. There were some glitches.
The wind picked up and nearly blew the speaker platform over; I had tried to explain to the grassroots how tough it was to keep a sign and almost anything upright in the wind on that plaza. Some of the Ron Paul activists did a hero’s job of holding everything upright as human counterweights.
And remember Porter Davis, they guy that was the most likely source of the leak of the newsletter to the McCarville Report? That snake had sent an email asking for him and his wife to present flowers to Dr. Paul’s wife and daughter, and I call him a snake not for asking to do that but for having the gall to spread lies about me then ask me for a favor. Then one of the few requests that I felt was justified came in, a hard core Ron Paul supporting family had lost a child the year before in a tragic drunk driver crash, with the drunk hitting the family car. The wife was pregnant at the time and when the child was born they named him Ron Paul. These were just damned good people and I thought that I could work a deal that would allow their five year old daughter to present the flowers to the Paul women. Much better than having a creepy 65 year old ex politician present the flowers. National loved it as a photo opp and I got it approved.
Well Porter Davis threw a fit that he and his wife didn’t get to present the flowers but I told him to take it or leave it. He calmed down and agreed to provide two small flower bouquets that the five year old could present. I put the mother of the five year old and Porter together at the event so they could work out the details. Of course it was absolute madness that morning trying to get everything to work on schedule and deal with problems but I was certain that Porter was going to screw this little girl out of her chance to present the flowers so I found the time to make sure the girl and her mom were in place. Nope, they were out in the crowd past the rope line. I went over to Porter and asked why and Porter said “Oh, Al, that little girl just wouldn’t work with me!” I chewed his butt out on the spot and told him in no uncertain terms that if he screwed that kid over he would regret it and asked for his word that it would go off as arranged. Porter just stared at me for a second then agreed to help the five year old. I even went and found her father who was helping with the sound system and warned him to stay close and make sure it happened.
Did it? Did the five year old girl get to present the flowers? Of course not. I was up on stage to introduce Dr. Paul as he came onto the plaza and old Porter flat out cheated that little five year old girl out of her chance to present the flowers. There was plenty of time to do it, Mrs. Paul and her daughter would be standing there for twenty minutes while Dr. Paul spoke. But the second that the Paul women got close Porter and his wife dumped the flowers in their arms without a second thought to what they had agreed to do.
And we had two party crashers at the private meeting between Dr. Paul and the voter calling volunteers. Charles Key had asked if Lukus Collins and his wife could stand behind the rope line and accompany him to the endorsing elected official meeting with Dr. Paul. Sure, the others were bringing a wife, one more wouldn’t hurt and it would help smooth things over with Lukus . Later Key asked if he could bring in a couple of maxed out donors to the private meet and greet and I reluctantly said yes, only because Key had done so much for the Ron Paul movement and was running for court clerk as he was term limited out that year so endorsing Dr. Paul was quite a risk for him. But other than those two exceptions, you called 500 voters to get into that Dr. Paul private meeting and that applied to the elected officials as well. I was that hard nosed about it because I wanted it to be fair.
So I had a lady at the door of the VIP room, checking names of a list of calling volunteers as they came in. Understand that the VIP meeting and the private meeting was right after Dr. Paul had spoken so there was a mad rush to get him, the VIPs, and the calling volunteers through the East door where they had opened up for a few minutes and for a limited number of people. Think the last chopper out of the U. S. Embassy during the fall of Saigon…. We got the VIPs through first while trying to keep a mob of hundreds of people from keeping the calling volunteers from getting to the door. I was standing in the doorway pulling calling volunteers in as I saw their badges, with this enormous black state state trooper standing guard to make sure no one got into the Capitol that wasn’t part of the group. This dude was huge, maybe six foot eight, three hundred pounds, barrel chested, not an ounce of fat on him. I point this out because his eyes were the size of dinner plates, he was near panic, he was freaking out at the intensity of the crowd. I had warned them that Dr. Paul’s people were intense but they didn’t have a clue.
So we get upstairs to the VIP room about the time the private meeting was over for the VIPs and we do the private meeting with the calling volunteers. Lukus and his wife had stayed on even though they had both refused to make phone calls for Dr. Paul. I let it go so as to not cause a scene. We got to chat for a few minutes, Dr. Paul finally got to meet me and figure out that I was his state coordinator, I had introduced him, did the hand shake as he took the podium, but other than that I hadn’t gotten to actually talk to him. Like I said, it was about the campaign, not individuals. We took a group photo, he talked to us for a few minutes, then it was time to clear the room for the media interviews.
Now I don’t need to tell you that the media interviews were the most important part of the visit, our chance to get Dr. Paul in the news and unfiltered. Dr. Paul had brought an advance staff along with him and they tried to clear the room of calling volunteers so the media could come in. People weren’t budging, so Dr. Paul’s body man asked me to clear the room. Everyone has seen it done, you stretch out your hands, and start herding people while talking politely but firmly saying clear the room please! No problem, people started heading toward the door except for one exception, Lukus Collin’s wife. She tried to go around, I stopped her and told her she needed to leave, she refused, and I told her to leave “now” or I would have a trooper take her out.
She wasn’t supposed to be there, neither her or her husband had earned the right, so to make a fuss and demand more time with Dr. Paul at the expense of the media and at the expense of the campaign was just wrong. The woman screeched something very, very, rude, made a scene but finally left. I apologized to Dr. Paul’s advance team but they said I handled it as well as possible.
So the media comes in and everything is going well when this state trooper skids to a stop besides me freaking out over the crowd outside the Capitol West entrance where we had to take Dr. Paul out to his vehicle. There was a mob he said and they were worried about the safety of our candidate… I’m not joking, this wasn’t a wet behind the ears private, this was a captain in the State Police freaking out. They had never seen a crowd so anxious to get close to a candidate and they were scared.
Prior to the event I had visited twice with Capitol security and they knew me well. I kept stressing that sometimes Ron Paul supporters were not the usual political crowd and that they loved their candidate and could be intense. The state police commanders just chuckled and said they had seen it all and could handle anything that occurred. Well, they learned about the Ron Paul movement that day.
So this trooper asks that we form a moving wall of our volunteers to shield Dr. Paul as he left the Capitol. I had my doubts that there was a mob that would cause any danger but I hadn’t seen the situation so the best thing was to do as asked so I went out into the hallway where our small staff of volunteers and the calling volunteers were waiting to get another glimpse of Dr. Paul as he left. I told them what we had been asked to do and told them that if they were wearing a volunteer sticker that they needed to help one more time by escorting our candidate out. Time was short, Dr. Paul’s advance team was anxious to leave to stay on schedule and nipping at our heels, so there was no time to discuss the matter, if you had a sticker, follow me and form a line.
To complicate matters the troopers guarding the staircases weren’t in the loop on what had been requested so they didn’t let us go down the nearest stairway but I knew the Capitol well enough to take a side stairway and we got in place. No problems, the trooper commander was just over reacting to the crowd. We get Dr. Paul into his vehicle and out the drive with no incident. The advance team stuffs a manila envelope in my hands, the papers that Dr. Paul had to sign to be on the ballot in Arkansas and could I please see that they got to Arkansas… No pressure there….just kill yourself if anything happens as the entire state of Arkansas is depending on you.
So we are catching our breath standing right outside the only open door to the Capitol. Up rushes two grassroots leaders, Hugh Smith and Lukus Collins, and they start yelling at me while the media and the crowd passes out of the Capitol. Hugh was boiling mad about my talk to the crowd and the plan for the next week before the primary and that I had “stolen” the state coordinator job. Lukus was screaming about me being rude to his wife when asking her to leave after the private meeting so the press could meet with Dr. Paul. And all of this in plain sight of the media….completely irresponsible and unthinking about the negative impact it might have on the media reports of the rally. Luckily the outburst was ignored. Do you get an idea of why both were passed over?
So out front I go to recover the donation buckets and to secure the sign up sheets. I had delegated one of my county coordinators, Q Fish herself, to collect donations for Dr. Paul’s campaign and a Ron Paul supporter named Laura Clarbour whom I had known for several years to watch over the sign up sheets. Now understand that Dr. Paul teaches that signup sheets are gold, never ever loan out lists and protect them at all costs. Not to mention the privacy concerns, those people had furnished their info for Dr. Paul and he spent tens of thousands of dollars to come to Oklahoma, those names belonged to the National campaign and to him personally. I made this perfectly clear to Laura on what was expected.
Well, both the lists and Laura were gone when I got back outside. Now this might have been fifteen to twenty minutes so it isn’t like she waited for a long time. She just left and took the lists with her. No biggy I thought, I’d call her on the way out and meet her in Norman and get the lists. So I asked Q and a few others to come inside and count the donation money so I could account for it and send it to National. Pretty funny explaining to the trooper at the metal detector that you needed to bring in a five gallon pail of cash to count in the snack bar because the wind made it impossible outside. Q and her helpers double counted, wrote down how much of what denomination bills, sealed the manila envelopes and signed them. The idea was that I would get a cashiers check and mail it to National. Nope, doesn’t work that way, they would have to explain a $3,000 donation, they wanted the cash mailed… Fed Ex screamed about that, said it might be illegal and that only drug dealers sent cash like that. I knew the manager, had an account there, so he looked the other way and we insured the shipment in full. I used Fed Ex for the Arkansas papers too, over the objections of the National staffer that I was coordinating with. Seems Dr. Paul is super tight with campaign expenses, I liked that, but they didn’t realize that Oklahoma post offices close at noon on Saturday I guess and I wanted that cash and those papers out of my hands before something got lost.
And I’m calling Laura to retrieve Dr. Paul’s sign up sheets. She isn’t answering…very unusual, I’ve known her and her father in law for about three years at that point. Oh well, probably a dead cell phone battery, I’ll go by and pick them up on Sunday when I return the sound system to Norman. Nope, she isn’t answering her phone on Sunday morning either so I know something stinks. I drop by the Norman Ron Paul HQ that Laura runs as I know several of the staff that have been working with the National campaign. They come outside, the campaign still has a week to run and I can’t go inside as they are an independent expenditure operation. Yup, Laura took the lists but she gave them to…. Lukus Collins… several of the volunteers that refused to work with National are acting weird, don’t want to answer questions about the lists. Something stinks big time. So I start calling Lukus, and call and call…..
Finally around four p.m. I’ve had it. I call National and explain the situation and explain what I am going to do to get the lists back. Then I call Lukus again and leave the message that if we don’t get Dr. Paul’s sign in sheets back that night that I would file a police report and press charges. That got his attention, Lukus called back and agreed to meet me at a Target store near his home. So I drive thirty miles over to meet him and he gives me… one page of the sign in sheets. How many pages were there? I couldn’t tell you but what are the odds that there would be one page of a few dozen people, one complete page with no unfilled lines, in a rally of 1500 to 2000 people? I called National staff back and let them know, they got it, the list was stolen and there was little we could do about it.
After the rally the grassroots abandoned the National campaign again and started putting a lot of pressure on the 40 county coordinators. I had coordinators calling me and telling me that they were being threatened with blackballing if they didn’t resign and hand over the county email list. The main point of contention at that point was that Dr. Paul’s staff had asked that we take applications for delegates, do a background check on everyone that applied, and put together a slate of delegates for each district and a slate of at large delegates. Dr. Paul wanted a group of team players that would follow a plan at the National GOP Convention and they wanted to make sure that no one got through as a delegate that would embarrass Dr. Paul.
So I put out emails to the entire Ron Paul email list asking people to sign up as volunteers. National wanted the same application filled out that they used for state coordinators, for county coordinators, and the same non disclosure statement filled out and sent in. This wasn’t my idea, it was required. So the county coordinators started recruiting delegates, some filtered in through the National Ron Paul email account I had and I forwarded them to the county coordinators (who else would likely know these people the best?) and about a week before the deadline a small team did background checks to make sure no one embarrassing got through.
That is when Q’s religious cult came on the radar… Holy cow.. how to deal with that? Luckily we had plenty of delegates to fill the slots so I cut both her and her husband off the lists. What other choice did I have?
Also interweaved around this time was the county conventions where the GOP establishment would be hell bent on removing as many Ron Paul delegates as possible. Oklahoma County was one of the first and a week before hand insiders were telling me that there were over 45 Ron Paul delegates targeted for removal. I was calling the Oklahoma County chairman every few days and was eventually assured that the list was below 18 and that anyone that had attended the February precinct meetings was a delegate and could make it through credentials with a Republican voter ID card and photo ID.
I arrange for a table at the Oklahoma County GOP convention and there is the grassroots with their own table set up, once again refusing to deal with National. But there are bigger fish to fry, over 45 of our people are hung up in credentials including the state senator that I had recruited to act as our chairman of the campaign! A bloody state senator, an automatic delegate whether he attended the precinct meeting or not, which he did, was held up in credentials… I am challenging the GOP from the start, tracking down the chairman and vice chair and letting them know that they will have a fight on their hands if they leave a single delegate out.
And what were they using as pretexts for tossing out our delegates? Well, Oklahoma had redistricted the year before and they barely got the thing done before the end of 2011 so they were still mailing out new voter ID cards to those people whose precinct numbers had changed. My card arrived in January and had a January 16th date on it. National took that to mean that I didn’t register as a Republican until Jan 15th of 2012. I kid you not, they were that blatant. Many people didn’t get their new voter ID card until late February, after the precinct meetings. But these people had shown up at the precinct meetings, shown their Republican voter ID card, took pictures of their precinct papers to prove they were there, and many were elected precinct officers and delegates. Then their new voter ID card arrives from the state election commission with a date after the precinct meeting and that believe it or not is used to throw them out as a delegate to the county convention.
One gentleman there had been a Republican for 30 years and was told he had registered as a Republican after the precinct meetings were held. Others had older voter ID cards but they were told that they hadn’t been active enough in GOP politics to attend the county convention as a delegate. Understand that they are usually begging people to attend the county convention because they lose votes at the state convention if the turnout is too low.
For almost five hours this nonsense goes on and to their credit the grassroots did cooperate somewhat at first. They manned the hallway outside the credential room and sent us rejected delegates, we stood guard inside the convention hall were hundreds of Republicans waited for the credential process to be completed (usually an hour or two at most) and politicians droned on to fill the time. We weren’t budging though, no restroom breaks, no lunch because they might sneak that credential report in if we weren’t there to object. The grassroots sent in reports of how many were still kicked out and we lined them up and I had them tell me their story, all clustered in the back isle at the center of the convention hall. We had James Lane’s Truth TV camera crew ready and a crowd of Ron Paul activists to follow me down the aisle when the time came.
When they returned with the credential report and brought it up, down the aisle we went with me calling “point of order”. The RINOS just froze, they didn’t have a clue on what to do. When I got to the speaker I asked her to yield the microphone and to my surprise she handed the microphone to me and I launched into the story of the thirteen duly registered, precinct meeting attending/ precinct officials standing beside me that had been thrown out as delegates. After about two minutes the RINOs had gotten a plan together and they called me out of order but promised to hear our complaints after they gave the numbers. I agreed but told everyone to stand their ground at the front of the room and to keep those Republican voter ID cards held high.
Maybe five minutes later they have the numbers presented and allow our challenge. I launch into the story of exactly why these Republicans were disenfranchised and ask the crowd to allow them to speak to tell their story. That starts a battle over whether they can speak or not as they aren’t delegates. The crowd is with us, I have the floor, until that idiot Steve Dickenson stands up and calls out a motion to allow all registered Republicans attending to be delegates. The crowd erupts in cheers, but the fool has jumped the gun. We needed to prove one or two cases and I was itching to get that 30 year Republican’s story told, the young black guy’s story told, and a young female Iraq veteran’s story told. There were other votes that day besides getting our 12 people in (one was a Santorum supporter that had gotten caught up in the Ron Paul supporter dragnet). I had the floor but there was no choice but to accept the motion as a friendly motion so I hollered over the crowd that only Oklahoma County Republicans could be delegates and Dickson agreed. There were dozens of establishment political hacks attending as visitors, had I not modified Dickson’s motion they would have tipped the balance against the Ron Paul majority.
Now the fight has really begun up front. That is where the deal is struck on what they can get away with. We had friends, our state committee woman is a hard core conservative and she was fighting hard to make sure we won. They were complaining about wasting time (after a five hour credential nightmare) and I told them that we can be here all night and the state committee woman backed me up.
As I had accepted the friendly motion there was chaos while they sorted things out but I stayed up front close to Dickson. A couple of the GOP establishment hacks were conferring with him and one of them told Dickson that they had to approve the credential report before they could modify it! And the idiot agreed! I got in the middle of it and told them that there was no way in hell I would allow that to happen and they backed down. Dickson walked past me mumbling about having to brush up on his parliamentary procedure. He would have lost it all for us had I allowed him to postpone his motion!
So they called the roll call vote, I went up front to look over the numbers when they tabulated them, and we won the vote by a dozen or so votes. The crowd erupted in cheers while the establishment types sat there in shock. Our state committeewoman forced the credentials committee back into the hallway, they found the boxes of stuff they needed to issue the thirteen credentials while National volunteers stood and watched to make sure no one got left behind. Oh the credential committee leaders were pissing and moaning as they were forced to fix their mess!
We lost the later votes by narrow margins. We had some of the moderates at the point where the RINOs were kicking registered Republicans out as delegates but without a full explanation of exactly why they were being kicked out we lost enough votes to lose the slim majority that we held and we lost the rest of the ballots that day. Still there were reports of disheveled establishment types in total shock about the outcome of the first vote; one that came in from a waitress that hadn’t attended the convention was especially funny. Long time conservative Republicans were grinning from ear to ear and dang glad the Ron Paul folks were there to help kick butt. But our failure to do a proper campaign and win 15% of the popular vote cost us that good will later on in the process.
Here is the video that Steve Dickson and the grassroots put out with almost all of the footage of me leading the fight edited out. One scene shows delegates telling the story with the microphone with me in the background sticking my finger into the county GOP chairman’s chest. Note that the video is around five minutes long.
Here is the real video of the event, also edited down but more fairly, that is over 13 minutes long.
The video starts with me confronting the GOP county chairman with the facts and documentation and remember that this is after he and I had talked all week and the number of problem cases had been whittled down to fifteen or sixteen.
Around one minute into the clip is our state senator chairman for the campaign that I recruited, Senator Ralph Shorty explaining that he was also being challenged as a delegate. At around 1:23 into the video is a picture of a young man with a frizzy afro, one of the handful of people that we didn’t force the GOP to accept because he got disgusted and left the convention. I kept telling him to stick to his guns, we were going to fight for him but to no avail. The lesson learned is to never, ever quit. At around 3:50 into the video watch the credentials committee co chair tell Ron Paul GOP precinct chairmen that it isn’t his problem that the state didn’t have them listed in the proper precinct. But they had their voter ID cards in their hands along with picture ID showing where they lived! At 4:14 he informs the vocal activists that the more of an attitude they have the further they are pushed back in the line!
At 4:27 we have one of the rare moments of unity, from the left we have GOP chairman Matt Jackson, Senator Ralph Shorty, me in the RP tee shirt, and Lukus Collins standing behind me. At 5:19 it shows right after I took over the microphone and was talking about the massive corruption, including visitors walking around wearing delegate badges (including one state rep that had not been voted in as a delegate to the convention) while more Ron Paul supporters file up to the front of the room to back me up. This is how Dr. Paul wanted things to be…
At 6:27 me and the credentials committee co chair can be seen on the far right where I am showing him in the GOP state rules where they are breaking the rules. What you don’t see is the turkey taking the rules and disappearing with them. That is okay, I had plenty of copies in my laptop bag. At 6:54 you can hear Dickson putting his motion to accept all Oklahoma Republicans present as delegates. I’m still upfront as I still have the floor while they work out the parliamentary rules on what is going down, and I yell out “Oklahoma County Republicans!” then start hammering on the county chairman to change the motion to include only those Republicans present with Oklahoma County addresses. Around 7:17 I am still at the front because legally I still have the floor as we discuss accepting Dickson’s motion as a friendly motion. I’m trapped at that point thanks to this idiot, we haven’t finished telling the story but I believe I have to accept the motion or lose the crowd.
After that watch with amazement as the credentials committee people with the clipboards take the complaints from those delegates that had been kicked out like they had never heard of the case! They combed over those thirteen cases for hours while we waited in the convention hall trying to make sure they couldn’t be tripped up! Notice at 10:18 I am still up front as legally I still have the floor until I accept the friendly motion. At 11:10 the county chairman and I are right behind the delegate speaking and I have my finger in the face of the GOP chairman as they are trying to limit who can speak and for how long. Dickson is standing behind both of us. At 12:01 it hard not to laugh as the rejected Ron Paul precinct officials and delegates hold up their Republican voter ID cards as the credentials co chair explains that they couldn’t prove they were Republicans at the precinct meetings despite the fact that they were signed in after their voter ID card was checked and were elected precinct officials and as delegates. At 12:44 they are reading the results of the roll call vote, I’m waving my second copy of the rules, and the crowd is cheering our victory. I’m up there doing the job that Dr. Paul hired me for and we kicked butt. I went and sat down in my section to be a delegate as I wasn’t needed after that.
As you watch these two videos doesn’t it strike you that by editing out almost every scene that showed me doing the job that Dr. Paul sent me there for as something that a liberal or facist far right winger would do? The chopping up of that video was a blatant shot at revising what really happened to promote the guy that they gave credit for the victory while ignoring that he nearly cost us the victory on two occasions.
But before we go on I want to tell an interesting story that will shed light on how politics actually works, a story that will reinforce what Dr. Paul taught us in C4L. The vice chairman for Oklahoma County was this old witch named Jay Mandracia who hated me with a passion. Jay also worked for the GOP as a receptionist at the GOP HQ in OKC. Her hatred stemmed from her support for the former state GOP chairman who we helped remove and her friendship with several his corrupt GOP buddies. As an example the Oklahoma County GOP shared the HQ with the state GOP and I was to pick up the 2011 delegate packets for my house district after being accepted as house district chair. The current county GOP chair had sent me down there to pick up the packets for the precinct meetings. I get there and ask Jay for the packets and she ignores me, continues to type on her computer like I wasn’t there. So I call the county chair on my cell phone and explain the situation and he acts disturbed and asks me to hand her the phone. I do, she listens without a single word or sound while continuing to type with one hand, hands the phone back maybe thirty seconds later without a word and goes back to her typing.
The chairman is stammering and apologizing, he doesn’t know what has gotten into his employee. I make arrangements to drive back across town on Saturday morning to meet with the chair to pick up the packets.
At the Oklahoma County GOP Convention Jay was one of the officials that we hammered on, having it out right in front of everyone, that if they dared to disenfranchise our Republicans we would fight them all day. Hate was in her eyes that day, they were trapped between cheating by kicking out dozens of our delegates or losing control of the county GOP and as long as we weren’t letting them get away with anything without a fight they knew they would lose.
So fast forward to the GOP Super Tuesday Presidential Primary Watch Party at the Marriott in OKC. I had asked for Ron Paul supporters to show up so we could show our flag and let them know that we were there to deal with. Across the room comes none other than Jay Mandraccia who skids to a stop, smiles big and says “Hi Al! How are you doing?” and walks off. Now a newby to politics or someone that hasn’t taken Dr. Paul’s C4L training would be puzzled but I wasn’t.
Jay Mandraccia’s hate had turned into respect after I kicked their butts at the convention. In politics you are either predator or prey and there is no such thing as a successful predator that emphasizes with its prey. They train soldiers to de humanize their opponents, to make them less than human so that the normal human reluctance to stick a bayonet into another human being and rip their guts out is gone. And understand that there are very, very, few predators that prey on other predators. Why? Because most prey species are usually defenseless and will run away in self defense.
Predators have sharp claws and fangs, maybe even poisonous venom, going after predators as a meal is very risky business. In Jay Mandraccia’s eyes I was now a fellow predator or now she was the prey. So she had to be nice now.
That county GOP convention sent shockwaves through the establishment and the GOP. They saw the power of what Dr. Paul had taught me coupled with the overwhelming strength of Ron Paul numbers at a convention. The next county convention was the next Saturday, in Cleveland County, whose county chairman was the notorious Bobby Cleveland who was famous for screwing over Ron Paul activists in 2008. Like in send everyone to lunch, while the establishment GOP waited outside for ten minutes, then reconvene and elect the delegates. This fraud of a Republican is an Agenda 21 supporter that sits on the ACOG organization in Oklahoma while privately yelling his opposition to Agenda 21.
Now behind the scenes National had a pretty good county organization. The county coordinator sucked, Bobby Cleveland actually sucked the guy into his sphere of influence by setting up a business deal between our county coordinator and Bobby’s wife selling some sort of Emu oil pain relieving gel. I chewed his butt out on that and told him that he was going to be coopted. But we had some other folks doing a good job, two of them pretty much ran the Norman Ron Paul HQ as volunteers. All perfectly legal and proper as they weren’t Dr. Paul “employees” . The Cleveland County GOP had initially promised to cooperate with me as Bobby Cleveland both feared me and owed me a favor after I helped defend his son who had a fight going on as a county commissioner. They had agreed to provide a list of delegates ten days before the county convention as required under GOP rules.
Well they broke their word and Bobby had his vice chairwoman do the dirty deed in a very rude email. I knew the second that they broke their word that they were going to screw over the Ron Paul campaign and had one of the local volunteer go down and photograph the list in the window of the GOP HQ. They put it in a spreadsheet and came up with another list of almost 50 Ron Paul precinct officials and elected delegates that had been removed or delegates were added that hadn’t attended the precinct meetings. In Oklahoma, only the precinct officials can add or remove delegates from their precinct so what the county GOP was doing was flat out illegal. I replied to the GOP county vice chair that they had better hand over the agreed delegate list or we would make her our whipping girl.
Now this woman was part of the plan to disenfranchise Republicans. What she was doing was outright criminal and dishonest. What kind of idiot would find it objectionable when I took her to task? Well, not an idiot, but snakes that will do and say anything to gain personal advantage for themselves even if it hurts the Ron Paul campaign. That is when Kaye Beache freaks out, contacts the McCarville Report along with Steve Dickson, calling for my removal as Ron Paul state coordinator. Why would they go to our worst enemies and help them? In Kaye’s case it was because she has no stomach for a fight and wanted to distance herself from be as we had been close allies. That is something that should never be done, turning on a close ally for no good cause. It is dishonorable and foolish.
So the deck was stacked against us again but the local Cleveland County Ron Paul folks had a pretty good program going setting up for the convention. I was going to attend as a guest, meaning I couldn’t speak but I could advise and provide a threat should Ron Paul delegates get disenfranchised. Some of the staff at the Ron Paul HQ asked me to come down and go over what to expect so I put out the word that I had been invited and showed up to help. I got there early so a half dozen or so of their people and I got to go over the nature of what they were walking into and what to look out for including the possibility of their own leaders selling them out. No one had elected their leaders, they didn’t have any other than the ones that were loudest and pushiest (is that even a word!). Later an email was sent that gave a taste of what had occurred at the meeting:
To: "Al Gerhart"
Date: Saturday, March 10, 2012, 12:00 AM
I don't know exactly what's going on. Ginger says you should be a prophet because
everything you said would happen, has happened. She liked you.
What's going on with Kaye? She seems different.
The convention should be a real humdinger.
Are you going? I hope so.
Later this same person emailed back:
A little slow today. I knew better than to rattle anyone's cage too early, especially Ginger. Yesterday was a real drainer. I just talked to her and she said she would 'make some calls.' My guess is that you were big time set up with Laurie's little temper tantrum. I'm further guessing that she told Bobbie and Bruce and anyone else that would listen about the disruption you caused and how you cussed her out, and that she had to call the police the night before. I know, because Ginger told me, that that is all a fabrication. But the others don't. I think Bruce will believe Ginger. And she can tell him that she was there. I believe her. She's loyal to a fault to her friends, but never been a liar.
And here is the statement that Ginger sent me to forward to National:
Friday night March 9, 2012 I attended a Ron Paul meeting at Ron Paul headquarters in Norman, OK for instructions about the coming Cleveland County Convention the next day, Saturday, March 10. Al Gerhart was there answering questions about procedures. The attendees were sitting at a table in the front of the building talking. They had been meeting for approximately 30 minutes. There were numerous people coming and going and trying to disrupt the meeting.
At one point Laurie Sheen? started yelling from across the room, at the people meeting, Al Gerhart in specific. Complaining about who knows what. In an effort to derail the meeting.
At no time did Al Gerhart say anything disrespectful to her let along cuss her. It didn't happen.
Les White was one of the interrupters.
Hugh Smith arrived and said the attendees had no business at the Ron Paul headquarters, said that Laura didn't want them down there. Then Hugh Smith tried to pick a fight with
Evan who had been a stalwart Ron Paul volunteer, asking him to step outside.
At no time did Al Gerhart raise his voice or curse out anybody.
Yup, that’s right this woman Laurie throws a fit that the man that Dr. Paul appointed state chairman of his campaign had responded to a request to show Ron Paul activists what to expect at the convention. When this lunatic started making a fuss I asked her to sit down and share with us what they had planned so we didn’t do anything to interfere with their plans. She wasn’t having any of it and kept yelling at us. Finally I got up and walked over her direction and from the way she shank back I could tell that this was a woman that had gotten her butt whipped by a man on more than one occasion in her life. I’ve seen the type as friends, in my mind they are as sick as the men that prey on them as long as they keep picking the same type over and over again. So I stopped five or six feet away so she didn’t feel threatened and tried again to get her to join us.
Maybe ten minutes later the phone call rang, Charles Key telling me that he was getting phone calls claiming I had cussed out and threatened this Laurie woman! I asked him to listen for a second, held up the phone and repeated the charges and asked the group if anything remotely like that had occurred. The group roared “NO!” and Charles realized that Laurie and her buddies were lying their butts off.
Then the OKC grassroots leaders started pouring in, Hugh Smith who tried to pick a fight with Evan, Les White who tried to pick a fight with me (barking dogs don’t bite and can be ignored as long as you don’t take your eyes off them, cowards are sure to attack if they can get some sort of advantage but never head on), while one of their number did his best to calm everyone down and have a sit down discussion on what was going on. In the confrontation Les White flat out admitted that they weren’t going to challenge the GOP establishment because many of them were his friends and the played golf with them. I kid you not, and he was one of the Ron Paul leaders…
So one of their guys was still trying to calm their people down to discuss this civilly when Laura Clarbor walks in. Laura signed the check on the building lease, wasn’t the lease holder but when she started yelling that I had to leave (remember that this was after she betrayed Dr. Paul by giving his signup sheets to Lukus Collins).
Lukus and his wife were there as well raising cain. I told their reasonable guy that if Laura wanted me to leave I should leave but he asked me to stay a few minutes while he tried to bring her around. Maybe two minutes later I told the group that this wasn’t getting anything accomplished and I was going to leave. Three or four of us went outside on the public sidewalk (a downtown building) and continued to chat. Then here comes the cops! That’s right, Mrs. Laura Clarbour, one of the leaders of the Ron Paul movement in Norman Oklahoma calls the cops on Dr. Paul’s representative in the state! I didn’t have a clue as to why they were there as we had been outside talking for a long time and the cops never approached me. Wow, what a fighter for liberty! See how human nature is in politics? You can’t trust your own on occasion. Understand that Dr. Paul teaches that over half of the activists will sell out even after taking his C4L training! They trade the power of their groups for private gain, in this case Laura wanted control over the Ron Paul group so she called the cops.
The next morning was the Cleveland County GOP Convention. I paid my $10 as a guest, got my little guest badge and walked around chatting with the Ron Paul delegates that I knew. Les White, the Ron Paul leader/golf buddy of the GOP county officials showed up and started yelling at me “I told you not to come. You aren’t wanted here!” I laughed at him and went on visiting with Ron Paul folks. Maybe five minutes later up walks Cleveland County GOP chair Bobby Cleveland with this Laurie woman (not Laura Clarbor) and two reserve deputy sheriffs and says they have a complaint and that someone doesn’t want me at the convention. I laughed and told him that over half the people at the convention didn’t want the other half there and quoted GOP state rules that would allow me to have him fired as GOP chairman if he threw out a fellow Republican. One of the credentialed delegates I was speaking to spoke up in my defense saying you can’t throw out a presidential candidate state representative out of a GOP meeting so they threw us both out!
We went peacefully but I asked the reserve deputies to call the sheriff as we wanted to document the ejection for legal reasons and he did turn in the request. We waited outside chatting, the deputy was a prepper and a conservative and understood that this was just politics. Maybe ten minutes later Bobby Cleveland shows up and allows the credentialed delegate to go back inside. The delegate didn’t want to go back in without me but the cause was better served with him going in a voting so he agreed. Maybe a half hour later the sheriff deputy shows up and takes the report. Bobby Cleveland comes back outside and decides that I can return “if I don’t cause any trouble.” The deputy says “Mr. Cleveland, was Mr. Gerhart causing any trouble when you asked him to leave?” Bobby cussed and stormed back inside.
So back inside but not for long. That’s right, I get tossed out again. Everyone has been to a GOP convention, one big hall with hundreds of delegates, right? Uh, no… Cleveland County had a big hall for the convention but they also had an “overflow room” that was nothing more than a concentration camp for Ron Paul delegates! Their claim was that the fire marshal wouldn’t allow more than 281 people in the big room, which was guarded by establishment goons and the doors kept closed. The delegates that could go in were telling us that the room was half empty! There were plenty of empty chairs! Far more empty chairs than delegates and guests that were forced to sit in the “overflow room”.
I was chatting with one of the GOP sheriff candidates when a young lady comes up and asks for my help with her delegate status. She was a credentialed delegate but was confined to the “overflow room” where she could listen to the debates and voting while watching on a big screen TV but she couldn’t participate, ask questions, or vote. And she was a credentialed delegate representing her precinct! So once more into the fray, time to earn my keep for Dr. Paul. We ask one of the door guarding goons to summon someone to sort out the young lady’s complaint and their state committee woman named Margie shows up. Everything is fine according to her, the credentialed delegate should be grateful to attend even if she couldn’t vote. I asked one question, why were they treating the young lady as a second class delegate? The state committee woman storms off in a huff.
Maybe five minutes pass before the building manager and one of the original reserve deputies comes over and says they have had a complaint for “harassment” and that I had to leave. One of the Ron Paul delegates caught part of the exchange on camera and later saw the reserve deputy whispering to the state committee woman.
Once more outside I asked the reserve deputy to call the sheriff back but he said if he did they would have to arrest me as I had been told to leave the premises including the parking lot. I repeated my need to document the ejection and the guy sighed and said “I know, this is just politics and I’m being used as a tool to commit a crime. I’ll call in the report so that it is on the sheriff log so you can get proof you were throw out.”
What happened to those delegates in the overflow room? Most were allowed into the main room where they suddenly found room to seat them. The GOP establishment had the local GOP Ron Paul leadership eating out of their hand, I was gone, there was less threat. Many of the delegates that had been removed never made it through credentials and into the convention. The local Ron Paul leaders basically sold out their own supporters to cut a deal with the establishment. I understand that these Ron Paul leaders did do a credible job gently, gently nudging some concessions as they had more than enough numbers to control the vote even with the ejected Ron Paul delegates.
Well some might say, that is a better way to go about, after all we have to work with these people in the future. No, the last few weeks we covered the fight in Cleveland County between conservatives and the Bobby Cleveland crooks where they were trying to rig the rules to allow Bobby to single handedly rule the Cleveland County GOP. They tried to put through a rule that allowed the county chairman to decide who next year’s delegates would be, overturning state GOP rules which is illegal. Nothing has changed, the temporary Ron Paul leaders are back to other hobbies or sitting fat and happy among their establishment GOP buddies.
Leading Ginger to comment that what I had predicted had come true. Dr. Paul was sold out by infiltrators running the Cleveland County Ron Paul effort. Later that district did good on electing district delegates because National had recruited a lot of county coordinators to add to the grassroots delegates. But nothing had changed; the GOP is still in RINO hands and will be for the foreseeable future.
So the grassroots continued to hammer Dr. Paul’s county coordinators and knocked the majority of them off one by one. District conventions came and went. We did okay in Oklahoma City at the District Convention. The Convention Chair was Representative Tom Newell and we knew each other well and understood each other. Tom walked up to be before the convention and asked if there was going to be a repeat of the Oklahoma County Convention and I told him only if it was needed. Tom did a decent job of allowing a fair and impartial convention with a couple of minor exceptions and I kid you not, the man looked over at me before he made his ruling.
I sat back in the back with a bunch of RINOs having a ball listening to them talking about the Oklahoma County convention and how it was ruined by the Ron Paul people. I eventually let them in on the secret, that they had the guy responsible sitting with them and cleared up a lot of the misconceptions. The local grassroots had successfully intimidated the National delegates into backing out of running so the only slate was the establishment and the grassroots delegate slates. As the delegate slots, the alternate slots, and the elector slots fell one by one to Ron Paul grassroots delegates I would tell the RINOS sitting around me that, yeah, that one is one of Ron Paul’s delegates. They would look puzzled, after all the delegate looked just like them and sounded like them, and they would go “Huh!”
The next convention date was a few weeks later near El Reno and another convention in Tulsa. I went to the El Reno convention. The grassroots leaders were in full and open revolt despite the fact that our delegate lists had maybe two differences, most of the delegates had signed up with both grassroots and National. Our people were asking what to do and I said to go with the grassroots list to make sure we won. Only two of those on the list weren’t vetted, I could live with that. There was only one delegate rejection, by the county chairwoman who actually overruled the credential committee. This case was one of dozens that I ran interference for during the campaign and after the primary election. We would document the problem, I would call the state GOP chairman on his cell phone and either get it solved or set up a confrontation at the county level. We wound up taking over two counties in that process… appointing Ron Paul county chairman. But Pedro’s case was complicated by a woman county chairman that hated Ron Paul and she wasn’t budging. Pam Pollard, the state GOP vice chairman was helping the credentials committee as an advisor so I dropped this in her lap. Now Pam hates me but she also respects me as she has seen what I can do when they hand me a club to beat them with. She knew that if the issue wasn’t fixed she would be a lead story in our Sunday night newsletter that is the most widely read political newsletter in the state and that we would be hammering her and ridiculing her. The sticking point was that the county chairman was claiming that the county convention minutes would back up her version of the facts. We had an outstanding woman county coordinator in that county so I made the deal that if the minutes of the county convention backed up their story we would not make a fuss but I didn’t want the minutes altered and Pam Pollard agreed that the minutes would be obtained that night or early Sunday morning.
Well guess what? They didn’t take minutes at the county convention it turns out in violation of state GOP rules. Pollard came back over to our group and allowed Pedro to become a delegate as she knew her butt would be blistered on Sunday night before all of her peers throughout the state.
But in Tulsa, Ron Paul activists got their butts kicked and very badly. The worst corruption imaginable and there are reports out there on what went down. Why not? The establishment had successfully split the Ron Paul camp, they no longer feared retaliation from me or the mob that they disrespected. Even the Tulsa County GOP Chairman was up in arms over the corruptions, he is a friend and ally of mine but the fix was in. Now for those idiots that want to claim that I was the cause of anything that we lost, how come we didn’t win in that district? That was Sandy Crosnoe’s own district after all. National didn’t even set up a delegate list for that district.
So Q had one thing right, the Oklahoma Ron Paul campaign had problems but it wasn’t National staff and it wasn’t me causing the problems. A handful of jealous 2008 supporters who had specifically rejected Dr. Paul’s training to prepare for this election wanted to run the show on their own despite Dr. Paul’s wishes. They repeatedly made common cause with Dr. Paul’s enemies and my political enemies (one and the same for the most part here in Oklahoma) regardless of the damage it would do to our chances of winning votes and delegates for Oklahoma. The rare occasions where they reluctantly worked with the National campaign we kicked butt. Where they stood alone the lost half the time and won half the time, at least until the state convention when once the GOP realized that Ron Paul didn’t have enough votes to win, they dropped all pretense and respect and flat out screwed Dr. Paul over.
That would have never happened if the grassroots would have done what Dr. Paul wished. I was put in place to lead the grassroots against the RINO establishment candidates after the conventions in June if we were mistreated. We had already been doing exactly that, hammering on RINO elected officials, exposing their liberal voting records and supporting constitutional conservative candidates, we even had a newspaper in the works, which is now deployed and terrifying the GOP establishment as we can print the real truth and drop it in tens of thousands of voter’s driveways at less than a nickel per voter. And we can deliver thousands and thousands of papers per person per day with the unvarnished truth.
I kept my peace during the campaign and even after the state convention and let people like Q run their mouths. Now Dr. Paul is out of the race and won’t be harmed by the truth coming out on just how bad some of his “supporters” acted. If anything this might cause more Ron Paul activists to take the C4L training so that we will be ready in 2016 to support Rand Paul if he runs. Understand that C4L and political campaigns are totally kept separate but taking the training will prepare an activist to understand the tactics and rules needed to protect their candidate and win the election. But the crazies, the establishment infiltrators and the self serving must be burned out of the movement if we are going to have a shot in 2016.
And what happened to the legislative fight that the Tea Party had been waging? In confrontation, sometimes going quiet is unnerving for your opponent. They don’t know what you are doing or where you will attack from next so their paranoid minds work overtime. I sent out a total of two personal emails to the House and Senate during the campaign. The first was in mid February when the Senate was considering the Obama Care Health Insurance Exchange. I sent them a very short email, only a few sentences, telling them that it would be political suicide to pass this bill and that we would come after anyone that voted for the bill. A few weeks later at the Super Tuesday watch party the president pro tem of the senate walks up and introduces himself. We chatted a bit about other things and I started working him over on the Obama Care bill. He stiffened up said “We aren’t going to pass Obama Care this session in the Senate. Thank you for your email though.” And he walked away.
The very next day the Oklahoma senate announced they were killing the Obama Care bill.
The second email was near the end of April and the campaign was still active. I sent both the House and Senate a personal email telling them that the billions in bond issues that the RINO governor was trying to pass would be on our list that we graded legislators on and that we would go after supporters of the bond issues if they passed. Note that I said “if it passed”, that allows some legislators to actually vote for the bill while privately working against the bill to kill it. That is politics, you don’t have to approve, you just have to understand how it works.
To say the least stepping out for four months was a good thing. I got more done with two emails than I would have gotten done working them over for months. They feared above all else that the Ron Paul supporters would follow me back into the state level fight and they knew they couldn’t stand against us. In the end the State Chamber lobbyists lost most of their battles that year and they were telling the legislators that things were going to change on how they handed out donations next year. Liberty is a bit stronger in Oklahoma as the special interests that enslave us are a little weaker these days.
Now this ends with the grassroots finding 27 people to sign a petition against me, mostly the original bunch that didn’t want me to serve plus some that got mad at me for doing my job. They made their charges, National asked for proof on some items, I was investigated and cleared of wrongdoing as most of the complaints were about me following the rules set by the National campaign. They continued to contact Mrs. Paul and complain, going so far to attack the top leaders in the campaign. That was when I decided it was time to shut the campaign down. The primary was done, the grassroots had destroyed the county coordinator infrastructure we set up, and they were distracting the National staff at a crucial time in the campaign. So I told National that we should shut things down on before May 1st.
One last point, icing on the cake. Remember Les White, the Cleveland County Ron Paul leader that tried to pick a fist fight with me at the HQ? I met Les the year before at the state GOP convention and we hit it off as acquaintances of sorts. Les had big plans but wasn’t taking the training or actually doing anything. I encouraged him where I could and we kept in contact.
Well, the October before the election, late 2011 Hugh Smith had set up a Ron Paul HQ in the building where he lived. I helped clean the trash out of the place and clean it up. Hugh worked with us in the Tea Party for about a year before the presidential race and knew that the Sooner Tea Party would lend help to the presidential race. Hugh had me come down as a Tea Party leader and put on a short training event about the real nature of politics (the main training module that Dr. Paul uses in C4L) and on precinct organizing. I showed them how precinct organizing works, why it works, and why successful campaigns do it. We offered everyone there and as many others as they could find access to their own precinct voter info, we would set them up as Ron Paul’s precinct organizer in their own neighborhood.
They had five months before the presidential primary to find as many Ron Paul supporters as possible and get them to the polls to win their precinct, the Tea Party would help them print signs and literature if they raised the money for the materials needed, we had the equipment to print, make campaign signs en masse with screen printing, and even make banners and large vinyl signs. Only one or two took us up on the offer, one of which it turned out that we didn’t have that particular precinct.
But Les White was also at that meeting and wanted to run the voter calling program. We had all the Republican numbers in the state organized by prefix so we had the phone numbers and Les was going to do the script. We waited, and waited, Les dropped off the face of the earth for months.
Maybe two months later Les showed up at my shop wanting me to build some jewelry show cases for the coin shop/jewelry store he was opening and I asked what had happened. Oh, you know, got busy with business, no time for politics…. Yeah, I turned him down on doing this work.
So in early 2012 Les shows up once again to “lead”? And then attacks me to protect his golfing buddies in the GOP establishment?
Are you getting the picture here?
Join C4L, take the training. I don’t care if you stay involved or not if you are too lazy to stand up for liberty, you might like sitting online preaching to the choir better that actually doing something. But you will be prepared next time around when the infiltrators return. You will understand that the first rule Dr. Paul teaches in politics is when a politician asks you to believe something ask yourself what is in it for him if you do.
And always, always, question your own leaders and make sure that they have your candidate’s best interests at heart and not their own agenda or gain.
* I did edit this entry to make clear that C4L and the all political campaigns are kept totally separate. We have to do this in the Tea Party as well, with a separate PAC set up for the rare occasions when we need to spend money to directly attack a bad politician or support a good one. Educating voters and activists can be done by C4L and the Tea Party as well as training for general use by the activist. Teach a man to fish and all that....
Oh, and I learned that that was Q's dad, not her husband. Sorry, he looks young for his age I guess and I thought Q was much older than she is so I made an assumption.