Parliamentary chaos was the order of the day at the Lafayette County Courthouse in Lexington, MO this morning.
It was fairly quiet, and the courtroom where the meeting was being held looked like it was going to be about 3/4 full until just before the caucus was to begin at 10:00 on a Saturday morning. It quickly turned into standing room only, which seemed like a good thing. The assembled were led in a prayer and the pledge of allegiance. I actually wondered to myself if anyone was offended by the prayer, which mentioned Jesus by name.
The first order of business was to elect the caucus chairman, or chairwoman in this case. The chairman of the caucus really just runs the meeting. The party chair of the county Republicans, Kay Hoflander, seemed the obvious choice. A handful of people in the packed room decided not so fast. That was when things spun completely out of control.
This particular group happened to mostly be sitting in generally the same area of the room, around the individual they wanted to be the chairman, a guy by the name of Howard Cozart (note among the the favorite websites listed – infowars), who also happens to be the mayor of Lake Layette, MO, population 367. After the rabble rousers effectively ousted Hoflander, Cozart assumed the position but it was immediately clear that he was woefully unprepared. Confusion reigned. Mr. Cozart had neither an agenda nor an understanding of the parliamentary procedures required to conduct the meeting. After another 10-15 minutes of head scratching, one woman volunteered to act as the parliamentarian to help move the meeting along.
The proceedings finally got to the point of selecting the rules committee, meant to essentially adopt the rules for the rest of the meeting and for how the delegates were to conduct themselves. Chaos. Mr. Cozart and his crew had come with their own set of rules, which now had to be merged with the rules developed by the county GOP board. Behind closed doors, that process took roughly an hour while the rest of the room stood around, some chatting, some consulting with each other.
Once the rules committee returned with their findings, more confusion about delegates bound or unbound. More questions from people who were understandably wondering what the heck was going on, and some questions, “points of order” from folks who seemed intent on disrupting the proceedings, or at least dragging them out. By the time it was all over, a least a few of the county committee members had apparently left, ostensibly because they were late for other commitments.
Not one for following the rules apparently, Mrs. Laura Cozart video taped almost the entire proceeding. She stood up several times to object to various procedures and to suggest certain paths, which seemed pre-planned. The kicker came at the end when Mrs. Cozart objected to the slate of delegates. She repeatedly stated that she believed the entire process was conducted in an “unethical” fashion. I believe she used the word “unethical” 6 or 7 times in about 5 sentences. Circling back around to cite the disruption she and her band of merry attendees caused at the beginning of the meeting, she made it clear that she wanted the “establishment” delegates thrown out – or at least a re-vote taken – because of the “unethical” way they were selected, and the “unethical” way the meeting had been started. With several of the county committee folks having already left, had she been able to get a vote, she may have been able to overturn, and stack, the delegate slate.
In the end, I have no idea who won the caucus. The only indication that anything was accomplished after 3 hours was that we were told the delegates selected were split roughly even between the “establishment” and the disruptors.
Brent Teichman who was at the caucus as a voter had this to say:
It’s annoying to me to hear people talk about wanting to change the path we’re on when this organization walks, phone banks and organizes for Conservatives, and every one of the “take overs” have never been seen before. I like much of their ideas, but I have a fear that if Ron Paul is not the nominee – and mark my words, he won’t be — will they be there helping us? Because I think I know only a handful that will. I consider [some Paul supporters] friends, but saving this Republic requires naysayers to do work, not just pull shenanigans.
Apparently, this type of nonsense was not isolated to Lexington.
@rsmcain: “Missouri Gone Wild: Caucuses Disrupted by Ron Paul supporters“. I find it extremely interesting, and oddly familiar, that “…the shouting quickly escalated when it came time to appoint a chair of the caucus.”
@chrisloesch: “So evidently the Ron Paul people have shut down the St. Charles, MO Republican caucus with bad behavior. Thanks (ed.) for wasting those delegates!”
I’m sure there will be more on this in the days to come as we start to find out who the Howard and Laura Cozarts of the various caucuses really are.
Laura Cozart has responded in the comments section below.
More from Big Government on the St Charles caucus: Caucuses Gone Wild: Chaos In Missouri