Cottage Grove GOP activist Dippel leaves RNC unhappy with party leaders, ready to continue grassroots movementTom Dippel went to Tampa to support his presidential candidate and grassroots Republican activism but left frustrated by his party’s leadership and unsure whether he will even vote for GOP nominee Mitt Romney.
By: Scott Wente, South Washington County Bulletin
Tom Dippel went to Tampa to support his presidential candidate and grassroots Republican activism but left frustrated by his party’s leadership and unsure whether he will even vote for GOP nominee Mitt Romney.
Dippel, a Cottage Grove Republican activist, was among Minnesota delegates to the Republican National Convention last week in Florida who were supporting Texas Congressman Ron Paul, the libertarian-aligned presidential hopeful whose fiery but failed candidacy divided party activists.
Dippel, 30, who for years has been involved in south Washington County GOP efforts, said after the convention that he was bothered by the party leadership’s snubbing of grassroots GOP activists like himself. Paul supporters were blocked from attempting to put the congressman’s name in for nomination and watched as GOP leaders squelched their efforts to retain party rules that would make it easier for grassroots-backed candidates to have viable campaigns in the future, Dippel said.
“I’m really frustrated and I’ve been trying to deal with this rationally and logically,” Dippel said. “The key in that though is that first of all, are we running a convention here or are we running a coronation? Second of all, debate is good. New ideas are good…”
As he prepared to leave Florida after listening to Romney’s acceptance speech that closed the three-day convention, Dippel said party leaders had committed “immoral shenanigans” as they blocked procedural efforts by the Paul supporters. The leadership’s “horrific power grab” occurred even as Paul supporters played by the GOP’s rules, he said.
While six Minnesota delegates backed Romney, there were 33 Ron Paul delegates in the delegation. Dippel said while Romney had a majority of support among all delegates, the strong Paul presence was stifled by convention organizers. (Paul was not granted a speaking spot during the convention, though his son, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, did address delegates.)
“The impression is we don’t care about you guys,” Dippel said of party leadership. “You just work like little peasants and then we’ll go in the back room and figure out what we want to do.”
While Dippel returns to Cottage Grove lacking enthusiasm and perhaps support for the GOP presidential ticket, he said the efforts of Paul grassroots supports will continue. He said the movement is about more than just supporting Paul.
“It’s about liberty, it’s about the Constitution, it’s about living free,” he said. “We’re serious about this.”
Dippel said the grassroots movement will continue to grow, including in south Washington County. Like-minded activists are running for office at all levels—from city council races to the Legislature. It’s happening across Minnesota, he said, and in Cottage Grove.
“Almost every single (Republican) person running for office locally has hints of Ron Paul,” he said.