The made-for-TV event that is the Republican National Convention was proceeding smoothly until a crowd in the peanut gallery behind the Kentucky and Rhode Island delegations started making noise. Lots of it.
The camera didn’t waver from the face of Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus even as he was repeatedly drowned out gaveling in the voice votes giving delegates official status. The “no's” were as loud as the “ayes.”
The protesters were Ron Paul delegates from Maine, who lost their seats last week when the national committee selected a group that would ensure that Maine cast its votes for Mitt Romney instead of Paul. The RNC says that Maine broke party rules at its state convention. The majority of the originally elected delegates were pledged to Paul.
The Paul supporters did not go quietly. Several wore clothes pins on their noses. “Pew! It stinks in here,” yelled one protester as he walked out of the convention arena. They crowded the entrance to the floor, created a fire emergency, and were on the verge of being ushered out by security officers when they marched out chanting, “Remember the Maine!” and “This could happen to your state next.”
“This is about crushing dissent,” said Eric Brakey, an original Ron Paul delegate. “They didn’t respect the Maine delegation. They stomped all over it.”
But it wasn’t all negative. “How are you doing?” one of the ousted delegates asked a reporter from National Journal. “Having fun? Thanks for coming.”