Longtime Oklahoma City conservative activist Porter Davis, a Ron Paul supporter for years who made it clear earlier that he has no use for Paul’s controversial Oklahoma coordinator, Al Gerhart, has revealed that Gerhart wasn’t even a Paul supporter prior to his appointment in the campaign.
Like many, Davis is perplexed by Gerhart’s involvement in the Paul campaign. Gerhart, a registered Independent two years ago known today as “The Great Offender,” is a political novice who has never been involved in local or state campaigns, deepening the mystery over his selection to head the Paul campaign.
Commenting on an earlier story on The McCarville Report, Davis writes, “I might add that Al Gerhart NEVER associated himself with the Ron Paul grassroots prior to his appointment as State Coordinator. He even made it clear in a meeting with some of them in the last year that he was NOT a Ron Paul supporter, at least at that time.
Gerhart’s ‘Scorched earth, autocratic, my-way-or-the-highway’ Style
“We had a big meeting with him shortly after he was appointed. He assured us that his job was just to be a ‘good quartermaster,’ defined as helping us get the materials we needed and other services. We were OK with that. He never said that he would run roughshod over everyone else with his scorched earth, autocratic, my-way-or-the-highway style of ‘leadership.’ He proceeded to bypass most all existing grassroots leaders, setting up in effect a parallel organization headed by himself.
“While Al does a good job at his revealing inconvenient facts legislators would rather not be known, he tried to transplant that same combative attitude into the Ron Paul campaign, an attitude that surely would have been vetoed by Dr. Paul if he had known about it. How ironic for a carpenter-turned-political operative to see every situation as a nail in need of his hammer.”
‘Gerhart was imposed on us’
In a second comment, Davis recaps his reasons Paul did not do well and adds: “The other major error has to to with his campaign staff’s not understanding and capitalizing on the fact that Ron Paul started a movement in 2008. In Oklahoma we have a great number of indigenous leaders and volunteers. Yet we heard reports from a great many states that the national campaign was an actual hindrance, instead of a help, in the organizing process. What we saw in Oklahoma was but an example. The campaign should have chosen leadership in each state from existing leadership, and supported them in any way possible. We had requests through two channels last August asking for a designated contact, with recommendations. Yet, nothing was ever heard until Gerhart was imposed on us in January.
“What puzzles me is that the terrible relations with national could hardly have been worse if intentional sabotage was happening. Maybe it was just sheer incompetence, as old-line operatives didn’t have a clue how to deal with a movement. Maybe other agendas are at work than maximizing Paul’s election outcome.
‘Thank Kirk Shelley For Gerhart’
“Special recognition, though, must go to Oklahoman Kirk Shelley. Shelley was the national coordinator in 2008 and knew all the existing grassroots leaders. Yet, when his buddies in the national campaign asked him at the first of the year who should lead the Oklahoma operation, he went to Al Gerhart for ‘advice.’ When Gerhart chose himself, Shelley went along with it. NONE of the grassroots leaders from the previous effort were even interviewed. Then when the grassroots went bonkers with the selection of Gerhart, we never heard a peep from Shelley.
‘Disastrous effect’ On Paul Campaign
“Both Shelley and Gerhart have been on and off staff with the Campaign for Liberty, where they have access to Ron Paul’s valuable donor lists. When the campaign is over, they will still have lists freshly updated by campaign efforts.
“Shelley is a professional political consultant. He should have known better. A consultant lives on his reputation. So it is imperative to make sure that Kirk Shelley gets full credit for his protege Gerhart’s disastrous effect on the Oklahoma Ron Paul campaign.”
Davis is a former Republican legislator and GOP National Convention delegate who is known for espousal of Liberarian thoughts; he has served as chairman of the Oklahoma Libertarian Party.