By Brad Friedman on 8/29/2012, 12:01pm PT  

The insults have been piling up all year, as the establishment GOP has been kicking its own to the curb in primary after primary, caucus after caucus, convention after convention.

From blatant attempts to steal the statewide caucuses in Maine to arrests at the St. Charles, Missouri caucus to a stolen county convention in Clarke County, GA , to arrests and broken bones at the state convention in Louisiana, to the theft of duly elected delegates from Massachusetts, and much much more, the national Republican Party has had one clear message for their members who did not wish to support the establishment's status quo selection for the 2012 nominee for President of the United States: "Fuck off!"

That message, and the push-back against it (for now) culminated finally in a short, but still-embarrassing-to-the-GOP mini-outburst on the floor of the Republican National Convention yesterday afternoon, after the RNC Rules Committee had approved new rules last week (to keep pesky party supporters of non-establishment-approved candidates from gaining any foothold in future election cycles) and after they'd barred most of Ron Paul's delegates from Maine from being seated.

Here is video of the raucus scene on the floor yesterday afternoon in Tampa as the Credentials Committee jammed through it's own establishment-approved slate of delegates and Paul supporters erupted in chants of "Seat them now!" and "Point of order!" against the backlash of "USA! USA! USA!" from Romney supporters...

And here was the scene afterwards, as the Paul supporters from Maine left the floor and took their complaints to the media assembled in the corridors of the Tampa Bay Times Forum...

So that was that. If supporters of Ron Paul hadn't been clear about it all up until now, perhaps now they'll get the message: the Republican Party wants absolutely nothing to do with them --- and they're not crazy about that whole "democratic process" thing either. In fact, they despise it.

It's true that the GOP's rules for selecting delegates to the national convention included some gaping and often contradictory holes which Paul supporters were all to happy to exploit, as supporters at local, county and state conventions and caucuses could ultimately over-rule the will of the people who turned out to vote in statewide primaries. Still, those were the Republican Party's own rules --- rules which they have since shown themselves all too happy to toss out the window, often violently, when they didn't serve the purposes of the establishment.

It's also true that Paul supporters could, eventually, take over the party itself from the inside, by elected themselves to party leadership positions at the local, county and state levels --- as they have been doing in several places around the country --- though it will certainly be a long and hard slog until they are able to wield enough power to overcome the corporate-backed establishment powers that be.

But one point is clear after all of this: If the Republican Party has shown itself gleefully willing to go to such remarkable lengths to shut down huge portions of its own membership, robbing them of their small-"d" democratic voices within the party itself, it should come as little surprise that the same party is more than happy to go far, far further in their attempts to illegitimately shut down the small-"d" democratic voices of those who might dare support the opposition party.

This does not bode well.

Our hope is that Ron Paul folks understand all of that now, and will, themselves, show themselves willing to aggressively fight up for the rights of all people to be heard this November --- even those who may wish to vote for Democrats, but who are actively being removed from the process by insidious, Republican-enacted voter suppression laws across the country. Those new rules, just like the dirty tricks played against their very own members throughout the primary cycle, are meant to do one thing and one thing only: subvert the democratic process.

Your finest hours may still be ahead, Paulites. It's likely to get very ugly this year. We'll hope you are up to the task. Your constitutional democratic republic may depend on it.

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UPDATE 8/30/12: Well, imagine that. The voice votes taken on the floor of the RNC were electronically "rigged" by the GOP at their own convention --- "counted" by TelePrompter. Full details and video evidence now here... 

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