Report from the Constitution Party National Convention

by Mike Ferguson

I’m here covering the event for the Kansas City Metro Voice, for Third Party Watch and for my online TV show, “Missouri Viewpoints”.

There are about 250 delegates here in Kansas City. I’m guessing there are probably around 100 other attendees as well – there’s a great deal of people moving around during and between speeches, so it’s a little hard to tell. There may be a little more than that.

Today (Friday) is my first day of covering the event that actually started Wednesday. The mood is upbeat although there is a pending internal conflict brewing (more on that later).

I enjoy political conventions – especially third party conventions. The passion and hope displayed by people who often travel hundreds of miles to support a party that will certainly lose this November. Given the fact that the CP expects to be on the ballot in 38 to 40 or so states, some people are here working for their chosen party even though they won’t actually be able to check their ballot for the CP nominee.

Even if I don’t agree with them on everything politically, I admire that dedication and effort. I see that in many people in the Libertarian Party as well.

After some committee reports this morning, including a short speech by CP Communication’s Director Mary Starrett and an address by Missouri CP Chair Donna Ionavich, party founder Howard Phillips took the stage after lunch and a musical performance. He delivered a convention speech and turned into a pro-chuck Baldwin and anti-Alan Keyes speech.

Phillips came out swinging at Alan Keyes – a former US Ambassador, former Assistant Secretary of State, conservative and newly minted Constitution Party candidate for President.

Phillips pulled no punches – his speech turned into a verbal assault on Keyes. He hit often. He hit hard. He hit Keyes, calling him a “neo con”, on his opinions on the War in Iraq, the United Nations, aid to other nations and demonizing him as an “enemy to Ron Paul”. Phillips spoke explicitly in favor of the nomination of Rev. Chuck Baldwin.

Even though he threw in a few “I respect Alan Keyes” here and there – his attack got personal, saying Keyes is worse than the Republican Party and driven by his ego.

Phillips praised Ron Paul (big applause) and even complemented Bob Barr, but claimed that Paul won’t endorse him (Barr) because he’s more likely to help Baldwin.

You could see the blood pressure rising among the Keyes supporters – many of whom left after several minutes of the assault.

More than one Baldwin supporter and Phillips fan admitted to me that they were caught off guard by the level of hostility in Phillips’ speech.

Party Chairman Jim Clymer returned to the stage at the conclusion of Phillips’ speech and explained that he disagreed with what had just taken place and encouraged everyone to not attack fellow party members.

Operation Rescue’s Troy Newman gave a speech on his organization’s efforts to stop abortions over the years.

He called out “preachers, politicians and pro-life leaders” who, he said have sold out the pro-life movement. Despite the lack of support he says the pro-life movement is seeing from groups that should be part of the effort, Newman stated that he feels the pro-life side of the debate is winning, saying the “…abortion industry is losing the battle for the hearts and minds of Americans.”

Prior to the speeches by the Presidential candidates, the convention organizers and candidates agreed that Keyes would get five more minutes than the other candidates in order to have the opportunity to respond to (defend himself from) Phillips’ attacks.

What follows are my paraphrases and highlights (or, in a few cases, lowlights) of the candidates speeches and my observations. The order of the candidates was determined by drawing numbers out of a hat. My observations are in Italics.

Chuck Baldwin (FL):

Baldwin gave a strong speech – he received several standing ovations from his supporters. It appeared that he was winning over more and more people throughout his speech.

Paraphrases and quotes:

“We must go into this election united…with a full assurance that whoever the nominee is… [is supported by a unified party].”

  • It’s about principles. Two major parties have negated and abandoned the principles that built America.
  • The New World Order is Satan’s work.
  • Invoked Ron Paul often – saying he most clearly saw the battle for US sovereignty and personal freedom. Echoed Paul’s non-interventionist foreign policy as empire-building.
  • “ We have more to fear from Washington, DC than we have from Baghdad or Tehran.”

In an interesting attack on the Patriot Act, Baldwin pointed to the recent downfall of former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer.

  • Spitzer case is an example of government using the Patriot Act. to spy on Americans when we were promised that it would only be used to combat terrorists, because aspects of the law were used to spy on Spitzer.

His point: although he has no sympathy for Spitzer personally or politically, he sees the case as proof that the federal government is not using it only to combat terrorism, as was promised at the time it was being promoted.

  • Wants people of all religions to join the fight for national sovereignty and liberty..
  • Will represent the party, the platform and the principles of the CP.

Baldwin received a large standing ovation. He did not attack Keyes and made many Biblical references.

Jay Russell (MI):

  • Took a pitchfork on stage. Started off with a lispy mini sermon that made no sense.
  • Missionary’s son, born in Peru – which makes him ineligible to serve as President.
  • Brags about being able to speak Spanish….yeah, I’m sure THAT went over well with a party that supports the Minutemen.
  • Pointed out that he’s a Baptist, like Chuck Baldwin.

Went back to another nonsensical mini sermon. Then asked everyone to support Chuck Baldwin.

Col. “Mad” Max Riekse (MI):

  • Voted for George Wallace in ’68 – was in Vietnam and voted by absentee ballot.
  • Has been in “the third party movement” for three decades.
  • Tried to position himself as a VP candidate – not gonna happen….
  • Guess what? He’s a Baptist, too!

Both the last two oddballs are proud of the fact that they are Baptist….sheesh…I’m Baptist and now I feel weird by association.

  • Hearts Ron Paul.
  • He goes by “Mad Max”…says that will win votes!
  • Says Baldwin rocks. McCain sucks.

Star Locke – TX:

  • Dressed in some pseudo military apparel. It looked like a Union Civil War uniform.
  • KC has big buildings…his neck hurts from looking at them – he lives on a ranch that is near the US/Mexico border. Gave a couple stories about illegals crossing the border on and near his property.
  • Something about being impressed with his waitress here at the Mariott.
  • Prayed to God for wisdom…apparently, God said “no”
  • Wants to be Commander in Chief…US is at war. We need a soldier.
  • He likes black people. He would feel comfortable speaking to churches in Atlanta’s inner city.

I’d make another smart-arse comment…but I couldn’t follow him enough to know what to make fun of.

Susan Ducey (KS):

  • Knows that no one knows her. She’s an RN, a home school mom. She watches a lot of C-SPAN
  • Hates NAFTA and CAFTA, abortion, eminent domain,
  • Business card says “Independent” candidate.
  • Public schools hate Jesus and make want to have sex.
  • She cries at movies…but is a tough woman, like Margaret Thatcher…not like Barbara Boxer.

    Actually, her speech had a few decent moments – although, after the two guys before her, just about anything would have sounded coherent.

Alan Keyes:

Keyes was under pressure here, after the Phillips’ speech. There was some nervousness in the audience, as they were expecting him to hit back at Phillips. He did not. He delivered a very strong speech – possibly the best-delivered speech I have seen.

  • US is in crisis because we’re abandoning our principles and the Constitution.
  • The race for the nomination is not about egos or ambition – it’s about responsibility to God and country.
  • Principles that are being neglected – start with all are created equal. This is the most important (the first) principle. Must think of God when thinking of principles. Freedoms and rights are derived from God. Crises happen when the nation turns our back on God.
  • US is rejecting God’s authority – abortion is an example.
  • Real threat to the US liberty, sovereignty is internal – it’s cultural and deficit of faith.
  • That leads to other problems – family collapse – education collapse – economic collapse – governmental collapse.
  • US, as a society must address moral issues – must address personal sovereignty. Courts have become abusive of rights. Courts cannot be allowed to make law.
  • Constitution is not being respected – it’s willfully disregarded by too many in all branches of government.
  • Americans need to be more courageous and stand up to defend our rights.
  • We should stop being ashamed of God and of our rights.
  • If you don’t know where your borders are, you don’t know where your nation is.
  • Immigration – good. Illegal immigration – bad. It lets big corporations cheat and neglects US security.
  • US is strong enough to solve our problems, including border, the question is do we have the will? We don’t have the will because our leaders have failed us. Democrats and Republicans have failed us…continue to fail us.
  • John McCain has betrayed the US. We must reject both parties.
  • Millions of other voters want to reject them, too. “I want to say what you need to hear, not just what you want to hear.”

This next part of his speech was particularly gutsy – it was a response to Phillips’ assertions that Keyes is pro-UN, pro-foreign aid, etc.

  • The party that leads must step up and embrace the real challenges and reach realistic goals. Making promises we can’t keep is irresponsible.
  • Agrees with the overall goals of the CP – but we can’t reach them all right now. Must do it Constitutionally. To say otherwise is dishonest.

Example: doesn’t like the UN – but it’s ridiculous to say we’ll be out by act of declaration of the President on day one of his administration.

  • Barak talks about hope – his talk is empty. Hope of past patriots and current Americans of like mind, of like principles, is real.

Keyes received a sincere standing ovation from the majority of those in attendance, even some Baldwin supporters.

Some guy I’ve never heard of and whose name I didn’t catch:

  • Says he knows some people in the party will be embarrassed by him. How does he know? Some have already told him he embarrasses them…
  • “I’ll give you $300,000 if you can prove I’m wrong about this: you don’t have to file a tax return. I haven’t done so since 1995.”

I don’t know what else he said for the next few minutes – I had more important things to do, like go visit the bathroom.

I’m back from the men’s room:

  • 9/11 – the gubmint did it.

Daniel Imperato (Mars):

The man who claims to be “America’s Leading Libertarian Candidate” in his LP News ads and whose FEC filings, campaign website and campaign materials show he’s an Independent candidate is in town, asking for the CP’s nomination (you’ll recall that the Green Party decided to pass on him.)

  • Thanks for letting me speak here. Pray before you vote.
  • Who is more credentialed to be President? Who has more ability to be President? Who has the real track record needed to be President?
  • Who can really win the White House?
  • Me! Me!
  • I know you’re probably not going to support me – but God might make a miracle to make it happen.
  • I’m a noble man of the world of honor and humanitarian…political leader.

(people walking out…)

  • I understand other peoples. I’m a Knight of Borneo (or something like that). I’m a Papal Knight. I’m a big deal.
  • Libertarians don’t like me because they are atheists and they don’t like my Judeo-Christian values.
  • God is talking to me. I’m a big deal in business all over the world. God said I’m going to win the White House…in accordance to Judeo Christian values.
  • I’m a big deal. I’m famous…even though you’ve never heard of me.
  • We’re at war with Jacob and Esau. (no, I’m not kidding…)
  • No other third party candidates can win the White House this year – I can get 40-million votes, but I will need Alan Keyes to support me and I need Chuck Baldwin to pray for me.
  • I’m a serious and honorable man.
  • In Jesus’ name….

27 Responses to “Report from the Constitution Party National Convention”

  1. Jared Says:

    Thanks for the report.

  2. Cathy Says:

    Yes, thanks indeed for the report. It was very enlightening.

  3. Glenn Brown Says:

    One thing the Constitution Party members seem to forget is that without ballot qualification you have no party. In 2004 (34 states) with an unknow candidate we lost ballot position in many states. One thing a Third Party needs to do is to stay on the ballot in enough states as to not require large amounts of money and time to get on the ballot every 4 years. Keyes is our man and without him we will lose many ballot qualified states again.

  4. disinter Says:

    Imperato is almost as perfect for the CP as Keynes is. He sounds exactly like a televangelist.

  5. NewFederalist Says:

    Wow! It looks like Baldwin since Phillips seems so intent that Keyes is bad that he attacks him. Daniel Imperato… what a wacko! Is Roy Moore even in attendance?

  6. Roger Lee Says:

    I wish there was video of the convention I want to hear the speeches.

  7. disinter Says:

    They didn’t invite this one?
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1970687689847458127

  8. Mike Ferguson Says:

    Hi everyone,

    I cleaned this up a little more, corrected a few things along the way (minor stuff, mostly grammatical) and added some additional comments.

    Steve may repost with the newer version – if not, go to www.myspace.com/missouri_viewpoints to read the updated version.

    (Steve, if you repost with the updated text, feel free to delete this post)

    Thanks,

    Mike

  9. darolew Says:

    “We have more to fear from Washington, DC than we have from Baghdad or Tehran.”

    That’s a good quote.

  10. Daniel Fischer Says:

    Thank You! Outstanding report. Yes I had heard there was a Green Party member also running for Constitution Party nomination.

    For those of us determined to vote Green Party, or Constitution, or Mike Gravel as Libertarian Green fusion with Ron Paul in the mix this is excellent.

    C-SPAN not covering this year

    300 hundred cable channels, at least one should offer live start to finish coverage of the United States 5th largest political party. Constitution, like the Green Party will have their presidential candidate on enough state ballots to be elected in the electoral college.

    Superb report. Please keep them coming.

  11. Sean Scallon Says:

    Thanks for the report. Praise God that Baldwin decided to run because considering those who did want the nomination (and why Imperato was allowed to even speak only the heavans know), Keyes would have won by default.

    I feel for Jim Clymer because he in a tough spot. You want Keyes supporters but you don’t want Keyes. It’s tough to seperate the two because his supporters are passionately devoted to the man. I know many of my friends and associates wanted Phillips to make nut-kicking speech against Keyes and they got it. But would a passionate speech in favor Baldwin and the values of the party have been a better course to take?

    I ask this question as an adamant opponent of Keyes but one who realizes that unless the party grows and draws in more mainstream conservatives, you’re not going to have much to pick from for potential presidential nominees. In a sense, if Baldwin wins tomorrow, CP supporters are lucky he decided to step up.

  12. Mike Theodore Says:

    Imperato is running for the CP nomination as well?! For Pete’s sake! Well, at least ALL third party people know him now. But want to see his boulder head explode. But it’s something.
    HALLELUJAH!

  13. Charles Davidson Says:

    Thanks for the good coverage. It is refreshing change for a news coverage that details information without subliminal messages. I actually thought it was positive for Alan keyes the Howard Phillips tried to blindside him. Alan’s response shows his true nature under stress, versus others like Chuck Baldwin who who hope to float through nomination in flowery beds of ease. If the Republican party has blackballed Mr Keyes he must be doing something right..
    The Constitution party is right in that America is at a threshold, now more than ever vote for someone who embodies your values…

  14. Catholic Trotskyist Says:

    Thank you for this great report which illuminates the types of speeches that happen at this convention. Hopefully, there will either be a Baldwin/Keyes or Paul/Baldwin ticket, to make the strongest conservative anti-Republican ticket to steal votes and help the Obama revolution.

    I also humbly ask again that Constitution Party delegates and Imperato campaign staff, if you are reading this, if you would circulate my Fringe Alliance Strategy program to other delegates. Here it is reposted. I am sorry I was unable to attend this convention, but I will be attending the LP and GP conventions.

    I have developed a strategy based on an alliance between the Green, libertarian
    and constitution parties, the various socialist movements and centrist independents, Kucinich Democrats, Ron Paul Republicans, and other smaller groups such as fascists, feudalists, monarchists and syndicalists, to initiate the following goals.

    1. The electoral college is abolished.
    2. The presidential election uses a national Majority Runoff system. This will change us from a republic to a democracy.
    3. Congress is elected through proportional representation.

    Third parties should spend most of their energies pushing for these constitutional amendments, using graphic protests in public locations. Otherwise, the
    efforts of all of them are doomed to do nothing more than push the major parties slightly in one direction, and ruin the chances of the parties that their
    candidates are most closely aligned with, while gaining such small failing numbers for themselves. The people who visit this site are by definitions on
    the fringes of society. It is important for the fringe to get together. This strategy is gaining the support of many political scientists across the nation,
    and I will continue to post it several times a week here until it is adopted. Fortunately, we have the Obama Revolution to save our country for now.
    The revolution will be televised.
    Please pray for the pope and please pray for Barack Obama. Amen.

  15. citizen1 Says:

    Ron Paul’s name was alsop polaced in nomination, but he was not present and would not accept it.

  16. Fred C. Says:

    So what happens if the vote comes out 40% Paul, 30% Baldwin and 30% Keyes? Or if Paul got a majority? If the man that won’t accept the nomination gets accidentally drafted by delegates eager to show support, does someone need to have him on the phone to get him to formally accept or refuse?

  17. NewFederalist Says:

    Do party rules allow Dr. Paul to be nominated even if he is not present? If so, this would be an excellent thing to do! Draft Ron Paul for the top of the ticket and put Chuck Baldwin in the VP slot with the intention of moving him up after the GOP convention. It would probably be too late to take Ron Paul’s name off the ballot in some states but what a problem to have! It would be worth a lot of votes AND still nominate someone who is in near total agreement with the principles and platform of the CP. Go Ron, go!

  18. Bill Says:

    Why will Ron Paul be nominated? He shows no interest in running third party, if anything one would think IF he was running third party it would be LP. What would happen to the CP if he gets nominated? He would in all likelhood refuse the nomination; where would that leave the CP?

  19. Teddy Fleck Says:

    Excellant reporting Mr. Ferguson. Congrates CP Imperato left us the LP for greener pastures :)

  20. Clyde Says:

    Alan Keyes has done nothing of significance to promote the conservative cause. !n 1996, his bid for president only accomplished one thing, he kept Pat
    Bunchanan from getting the Republican nomination. Alan Kesyes lacks basic honesty and does not pay his debts.
    As John McCain is about to leave the Republican Party in shambles, Alan Keyes will destroy the Constitution Party. www.alankeyesexposed.info

  21. Spencer Foley Says:

    Sigh. Why cannot we just get a legitimate, strong, savvy, big league, Conservative Third Party effort going which millions upon millions of Americans will come to know about, with a standard bearer known by millions and and end to all this infighting and minor [some clearly mentally disturbed] candidates from Mars and other planets??

    Why cannot we fill a huge convention hall like the old days of George Wallace (American Independent Party) in 1968 with 50,000…100,000, and scores of national reporters and cameramen, and front page news. All we have here is a small hotel salon with a few hundred people, and names the average Joe in America has no concept of. Let us be honest and look outside of the small hotel conference room and into America, 250 million plus, at-large, and take a real reality check.

    Conclusion: How can we take on RINO McCain and Socialist/Appeasers Obama/Clinton in such a shambles as this with such a third rate operation run out of a garage, with terrible, unprofessional PR, with loser candidates nobody knows—who could never step into the Oval Office and govern anymore than a part time, high school supermarket boxboy could take over sales management of 10 regional western states for a huge chain store. It is all very disappointing for 2008 for conservatives. There is truly no place to go now.

  22. Cody Quirk Says:

    It looks like third-party conservatives need to stop looking for a media savy candidate and simply go with the largest and most organized conservative party in America.

    The CP.

    That’s all I can say.

  23. Cody Quirk Says:

    Thank God Imperato didn’t win. But then again, we are not a party of idiots.

  24. Mark Dankof Says:

    I am a former Constitution Party candidate for the US Senate race in Delaware in 2000, and am now on the Republic Broadcasting Network online, Sunday mornings from 7-9 am Central. My own perspective on Alan Keyes may be accessed at my blog for Al Bawaba in Amman, Jordan at http://blogs.albawaba.com/kramfoknad.

  25. kalipay Says:

    if anyone cares, the unnamed speaker above was Don Grundmann of California.

  26. Timothy Yung Says:

    I actually am a fan of Don Grundmann I think he should have been the VP. His site http://www.truthusa.org/ is the bomb.

  27. Timothy Yung Says:

    By the way did anyone record the other speeches so I can see them. I want to hear Daniel Imperato’s speech. I saw a youtube video of him claiming he was the descentant of the Emperor Nero. Which could be the most plausible thing he said hey by now that guy probably has a lot of descendants.

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