Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Texans Joining Mutiny Against RNC Rule

Republicans from Texas are leading a mutiny at their national nominating convention in Tampa and fighting proposed rule changes that they say amount to a power grab by entrenched GOP operatives at the expense of grassroots activism.
The issue could explode in a floor fight Tuesday, just after Republican leaders open the first full day of the convention and turn to consider party rules. Although the process is usually a quiet one, the dispute over the new delegate selection process proposal advanced by Mitt Romney supporters threatens to shine a spotlight on the schism.
The proposed change, which is aimed at muting the power of insurgent candidates like Tea Party favorite Ron Paul, would effectively allow presidential nominees to disavow and decide delegates bound to them at the nominating convention and selected under state rules. Delegates who are allocated to a presidential candidate would only be certified if they had been pre-certified or approved by the presidential candidate for whom they are bound to vote.
Texans, who select their delegates through a voting process that often elevates grassroots activists, say the change is an affront to the Lone Star State.
"We believe in Texas as a principle that no presidential candidate nor the RNC should be able to tell Texas who can or cannot be a delegate to the national convention," said Butch Davis, one of two Texans on the RNC rules committee. "It's not a plain vanilla political fight. It's a fundamental principle that we're arguing for."
Davis said the battle is one over fundamental freedoms and voting rights.
"This isn't a vanilla political fight, this isn't Reagan versus Ford, Goldwater versus Rockefeller," Davis said. "This is George Washington versus King George."

"We won't allow this control by Republican candidate to take place,"
Davis added.
Texas has been joined by representatives from Iowa, Louisiana, Virginia and other states in trying to fend off the rules. They have advanced a "minority report" that would strip out the delegate disavowal provision, but it only can come to a vote if at least 25 percent of the rules committee members - or 29 people - support it.
Although there were enough supporters over the weekend, representatives who want the rule change, including Mississippi's Henry Barbour and others who are worried about the prospect of a damaging, public battle have been trying to peel off backers. An e-mail sent to rules committee members Sunday night implored Texans, Virginians and other minority report advocates to stand down.
But that won't happen, vowed Melinda Fredericks.
"This just goes against everything Texas stands for, so we have to fight it," said Fredericks, a rules committee member. Fredericks said she didn't want a public battle but said the stakes were too high to back down.
In a letter to rules committee members Sunday night, Fredericks said Texas would stand its ground:
"The Texas delegation considers the new rule an unacceptable infringement on our right to freely choose our delegates to the national convention. Our delegates are in shock that such an amendment would even be presented before the rules committee, much less passed. … We realize not every state selects its delegates in the same manner we do, and perhaps you find it hard to understand what has us so worked up. Frankly, we find it hard to understand how your delegations would be willing to give away their rights. The Texas delegation does not want a floor fight, but please know that…the only way a floor fight can be avoided is for this rule to be stricken."
Bruce Bond, an alternate delegate from Sugar Land, Texas, who now backs Romney, said he was "really concerned about this takeover of the rules."
"We're Texans. We want liberty," he said. "This is changing the rules after the fact."
Bond said the plan could backfire. "It concerns me that (some rules committee members are) just falling in line with what Romney wants," he added. "We ought to stand on our base principles. What he's doing is forcing those of us who are for him to vote with the Ron Paul people."

Delegate Letter
Dear Fellow Delegate,

You have heard the growing controversy regarding a number of new power grabs in the Rules of the Republican Party as proposed for adoption in the report of the Convention Committee on Rules and Order of Business.

That committee report will be considered by the convention at today's afternoon session.

Do not be fooled into believing that a good "compromise" has been reached which is even near acceptable.

The Minority Reports are alive and well. Although ferocious efforts have been made to get Rules Committee members to withdraw their names from the Minority Reports, grassroots outrage actually persuaded additional Rules Committee members to sign onto the Minority Reports since the Rules Committee meeting last Friday.

The Rule 15 "compromise" affects only one of the three most damaging changes which the Minority Reports would correct. That is the proposal that presidential candidates would be given the power to disallow and remove delegates elected under state party rules or state law.

Unchanged in the "compromise" are the gutting of the currently-in-effect reforms which succeeded this year in stopping the trend toward a national presidential primary and the very worst change proposed in the national rules, the proposed new Rule 12, permitting the Republican National Committee to regularly amend the national party rules between the national conventions.

The Minority Reports would solve both problems.

Proponents of the "compromise" ignore the enormously destructive problem of the proposed Rule 12. Rule 12 would enable 75 of the Republican National Committee later to eliminate their "compromise" and to destroy or make drastic changes in dozens of other rules which have served our party well over the years.

In practice, Rule 12 would enable an RNC chairman to enact almost any rules change he or she desired, because an RNC chairman already has so much power and influence that he or she can almost always can get 75 or more of the RNC members to vote for or against anything. A chairman already has the enormous "power of the purse," and should not have also the power to change party rules at will.

There is already quite enough power flow from the top down in our party. Instead of approving more power grabs, we should be looking for ways for more power to flow from the bottom up. That's how to attract more participants into our party.
The media's picked up on this series of last-minute manipulations by D.C insiders and consultants, and I'm sure you've been bombarded with contacts from both sides.

The truth is, this isn’t a compromise. It’s far from it.

This is insider establishment politics at its worst – and they’re dealing furiously against grassroots conservatives like you and me.

And no change to Rule 15 will mean anything if a party chairman decides to use the powers given under a new Rule 12 that allows the RNC to change the Rules of the Republican Party between national conventions.
So I’m asking you to support the full Minority Reports on the Rules – and to not be fooled by any so-called “compromise.” I especially ask you to take a stand in your delegation for a roll call vote on the Minority Reports.


Morton Blackwell
National Committeeman, Virginia

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