GOP Establishment Shuts Down Missouri Caucus to Avoid Paul Victory
Written by Thomas R. Eddlem
18 March 2012
Establishment GOP leaders in St. Charles County, Missouri, shut down a caucus and had Ron Paul supporters arrested in order to avoid enthusiastic Ron Paul supporters from taking over the caucus March 17.
“It definitely got wild,” Eugene Dokes, the county Republican chairman, told the Associated Press after the aborted caucus, claiming that: “I had to tell a number of people not to approach me, not to come from behind me and not to scream at me. I think there was the possibility of someone trying to inflict personal injury or harm to me.” There’s no evidence Dokes was threatened in the more than dozen videos of the caucus that appeared on YouTube after the caucus.
The posted video recordings were banned at the caucus and provided the nominal reason for one arrest and the loud protests. The videos showed the crowd remaining in their seats and orderly while shouting extremely loudly at perceived rule violations by Dokes through Matt Ehlen, whom Dokes had elected caucus chairman after a controversial vote where Ehlen was the only candidate. Local television stations reported that Paul supporters had become “verbally aggressive,” a characterization imperceptibly different from a crowd enthusiastically supporting their candidates.
GOP officials nominally shut down Missouri’s ongoing presidential caucuses in St. Charles County after Ron Paul and Mitt Romney supporters protested enforcement of an outdated caucus rule that bans videotaping of caucus proceedings. The futility of enforcing such an antiquated rule in the 21st century became apparent within hours of the close of the convention, as dozens of surreptitious mobile phone recordings of the caucus proceedings appeared on YouTube.com. In an era when virtually all mobile phones also double as high definition video recorders, such a rule has become impossible to enforce.