Jeff Greenspan, Ron Paul's paid out-of-state political operative who helped engineer last weekend's fiasco at the Nevada Republican Party convention in Reno, is tying himself in knots trying to spin his way out of responsibility for the embarrassment he caused.
The story line that the Paul people desperately want to believe - as it fuels the already abundant level of paranoia that flows uncontrolled through their ranks - is that the Nevada GOP had been conspiring behind closed doors to block any Paul supporters from going to the Republican National Convention in Minnesota later this summer. In their conspiracy-addled minds, the Republican Party ranks right up there with the Council on Foreign Relations.
What many of them have been crushed to discover since Saturday, however, is that Greenspan had been working hand-in-glove with the party all along. Contrary to the fashionable notion that the party was doing everything in its power to disenfranchise the Paul delegates, the party had actually been negotiating with Greenspan to include them.
What the whole brouhaha is about is how to divvy up the limited 31 delegate slots to attend the GOP national convention among some 1,500 Nevada Republican convention attendees. The agreement the party leadership and Greenspan reached was to allot slots based on the percentage of the vote each presidential candidate received at the Jan.19 caucus. Mitt Romney received more than 50 percent of the caucus vote, so his supporters would be allotted about half of the delegates. Paul came in second with less than 14 percent of the vote, so his supporters would get four slots. And so on.
Reasonable. Fair. So let it be written; so let it be done. Only ...
As it turns out, Greenspan didn't have the authority to make this deal. "Neither I nor probably any other delegate was aware of (Greenspan's) alleged back room deal," writes delegate Harold J. Reynard of Pahrump. "Mr. Greenspan has no authority to require that delegates obey his wishes in this setting."
Authority or not, according to Greenspan he broke the deal and threw the convention into chaos because he somehow came to believe on Saturday morning "that the nominations committee, or certain parties on it, had no intention on holding up their end of the bargain." Because of this, Greenspan claims, he unleashed what he describes as his "contingency plan" to scrap the deal he made with the party and instead back efforts to open the convention to nominations from the floor, thereby turning the entire convention into a circus.
Let's be clear here: Greenspan is accusing the nominations committee, or unnamed "certain parties" on the nominations committee, of conspiring at the last minute to strip the four Paul delegates (hand-picked by Greenspan, by the way) who would appear on the official slate of candidates the nominations committee was preparing to submit to the convention. That's a pretty serious accusation.
But Greenspan has yet to offer any reason why the party, after negotiating with him (as well as the McCain folks) directly and in good faith for months, would suddenly change its mind. Furthermore, Greenspan gives no evidence to back up his claim that "certain parties" on the nominations committee had no intention of holding up their end of the bargain, nor does he name the "certain parties" on the nominations committee whom he accuses of welching on the deal.
If Greenspan, of Arizona, is going to make a serious charge that brings into question the honesty and integrity of longtime and highly respected Nevada Republican leaders, he better produce some proof. The burden is on Greenspan to tell everyone why he broke the deal - which, as it turns out and unbeknownst to the GOP, he had no authority to make - since he's the one making the accusation.
Greenspan, if you have evidence that any party leaders reneged on their deal with you, put up ... or shut up.
• Chuck Muth, of Carson City, is president and CEO of Citizen Outreach and a political blogger. Read his views Fridays on the Appeal Opinion page or visit www.muthstruths.com. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.