Conservative activists face “a toss up” in November, either voting for Republican nominee Mitt Romney or voting for a more conservative candidate, a top Ron Paul supporter said today.
Carl Bunce, speaking from the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., cast doubt over how unified the Republican Party would really be coming out of the convention, saying Nevada Republicans especially haven’t been shown the respect that party leaders are demanding from them.
“They’re always talking about it [party unity] but they’ve never followed the process to create it,” Bunce said. “They demand respect but give none.”
Bunce said some members of Nevada’s delegation were bound and determined to vote for Paul, even though party rules compelled them to give the majority of Nevada’s votes to Romney. They were reacting to the infamous 2008 incident in which state party leaders shut down the Nevada convention rather than let a slate of Paul delegates be elected. Others were upset at rules changes proposed this week that would have given more control over who may serve as a delegate to party leaders rather than grassroots elections.
“We’re activists. We’re rebellious in a way,” Bunce said.
Bunce said conservatives were pleased with the party’s platform, but want to see signs that Romney will actually carry it out. (You can read the entire Republican platform for yourself here: 2012 Republican platform.)
Otherwise, Bunce said, conservatives will be searching for the right “protest vehicle,” to show their support for ideals embraced by Paul, including a radical downsizing of the federal government, a full audit of the Federal Reserve system, bringing home troops in undeclared foreign wars and committing troops in the future only after Congress has declared war. On those issues, and on others, there’s not much difference between Romney and President Barack Obama.
Asked about comments by top Romney aide Ed Gillespie, who said conservative and establishment Republicans would come together when faced with the choice between Romney and Obama, Bunce said some conservatives might opt out entirely. “It’s a toss up for some people.” he said.
UPDATE: Bunce is hardly the only upset conservative, either. Here’s an excellent piece from Mark Warren on Esquire‘s politics blog.