“Character is doing the right thing even when it costs more than you want to pay.”
“I was asked to resign, so I resigned.”
That is what Melinda Wadsley, former elector for the Republican Party of Iowa, said when asked about stepping down from her position last week, when the Washington Post reported that she was considering casting her electoral vote for Ron Paul, rather than Mitt Romney.
“I wasn’t so sure that I could support someone who was so anti-Republican.”
Melinda, who calls herself a “straight-ticket Republican”, was initially prepared to vote for the eventual Republican nominee. However, events at the Republican National Convention forced her to consider different options.
“I think what happened at the convention was atrocious,” Melinda told me, when I spoke with her on Facebook.” I was at home watching it on C-Span. Basically, I am six months pregnant, and I was furious! They unseated delegates, the voice vote wasn’t recognized, and the teleprompter scripted the results.”
“Mitt Romney had a valuable opportunity to unite the party and he chose not to,” she told Jan Mickelson, in an interview with WHO radio. “I am disappointed that he chose instead to attack grassroots conservatism and state’s rights. I find that appalling.”
Romney and his lawyer, Ben Ginsberg, spearheaded rules changes that disenfranchise grassroots activists and pretty much takes delegates out of the equation. “I started to question whether Mitt Romney really represents the Republican party,” Melinda said. “Basically, these rules changes just handed control from the hands of the people into the hands of Washington attorneys.”
Melinda has been involved in caucusing for the Republican party since the Bush years. This was the first year that she was a delegate and an elector, and she says that she has learned a lot about the process. “As an elector, I was expected and obligated to vote for the Republican nominee. There is conflict there. A lot of the people I talked to after the district reconvene wanted me to write in Ron Paul. I didn’t know that I had that option.”
She spoke with the state chairman of the Iowa Republican Party, A.J. Spiker, shortly after the convention. He wanted to talk to her about her responsibilities as an elector. “I said, some of the people are saying that I can write in Ron Paul, should I do that? Was that what I was elected to do?” Spiker told her that he felt that she should resign if she was not prepared to vote for Mitt Romney if he was the Republican nominee. “At that point, I said okay.”
The events at the convention were the clincher. Melinda spoke to the reporter from the A.P. (Post), who broke the story about her not wanting to vote for Romney, while she was watching the convention at home. “For the record, I never told the reporter that I planned to do anything. I told him I was considering my options,” she said.
She did consider Ron Paul, especially after the railroading of the delegates at the national convention. “I did consider writing in a candidate who better represented the Republican party,” she said. She was criticized during a radio interview with Simon Conway (WHO) for that view. Conway asked Melinda if she thought it would be okay for someone who got 1% of the vote to get all of the delegates if they were very organized, rather than giving those delegates to a campaign that wasn’t as coordinated. Paul came in third at the Iowa caucus, not far behind Mitt Romney.
Melinda asked Conway, “Are you saying that we should instead award mediocrity?”
Melinda observed, “If I had to do Simon’s show again this is what I would say: “Simon, I did not come on your show to defend the Ron Paul campaign. However, let me say this: the primary season is a test run for the general election. A strongly organized campaign during the primary season is indicative of a strongly organized campaign leading up to the general election. Tell me, now, how are we going to compete with Obama’s strong grassroots campaign in Iowa?”
Romney’s campaign didn’t really step up the game here in Iowa until recently. Even the Iowa Republican, who are normally anti-Paul and pro-Romney, criticized the campaign for not spending enough time speaking with Iowans and focusing too much on Des Moines. Melinda believes that the campaign has an uphill battle.(I agree…the Romney supporters that I have met in this cycle here in Iowa have been “lukewarm”; a lot of them caucused for someone else initially.) Obama has a large grassroots campaign in Iowa, and it will be tough to counter.
“So, do strongly organized campaigns deserve to win? You bet they do! Will Romney win in November? I doubt it.”
Most of us in the Liberty movement would agree. The GOP shot themselves in the foot at the national convention, treating delegates badly and making a power grab. It will be tough to bring some of those people back into the fold. Melinda echoes that sentiment. “I don’t understand all the Republicans who keep insisting on alienating the Ron Paul supporters. Do they really think they can win without the support of Ron Paul Republicans?”
After the Washington Post story was released, Spiker and Melinda spoke again. “I was under pressure to resign, sure, ” she said. “I was on my way to the Liberty Political Action Conference in Virginia when he called me.” Spiker, in light of the story on the A.P., asked her to step down. Out of respect for him and the Republican Party of Iowa, she agreed to do so.
She felt that she could not support Mitt Romney after the convention. “If Mitt Romney wants to stand up and denounce Ben Ginsberg’s actions, and if he will say that he is going to work to reverse what happened at the Republican National Convention, I will stand with him on that..an effort to unite the party,” Melinda said. “What he and Ginsberg did with the Rules committee is a slap in the face to me, as a grassroots conservative and a lifelong Republican. I feel very strongly about that.”
She had the opportunity to speak with Ron Paul at the conference in Virginia. “He said to me, ‘Melinda, I’m glad that you did what you thought was right,'” (referencing her resignation.) “That was very reassuring.”
I have to commend Melinda on her strength of character and her integrity. It took a lot of courage and some soul-searching on her part in order to make the decision to resign. When she spoke with the Washington Post, she was very emotional. “I was fired up. Let that be a lesson: don’t talk to reporters when you’re fired up!”
Melinda is the Director of Development at Liberty Iowa PAC, which is hosting an event this weekend in Hampton, IA. There will be a free concert with Jordan Page on Saturday, as well as a “Get Out the Vote” training session. She is very dedicated to promoting the cause of liberty, and will be happy to get the chance to meet with other like-minded people.
“I’m really excited about the liberty movement,” she said. “I believe we can turn things around and restore the Republican party.”
“I’m hoping that we (the liberty movement) will band together and keep fighting right here in Iowa.”
As an Iowan, I am behind her every step of the way.
“In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved.” Franklin D. Roosevelt