Author Topic: Floor fight: Grass-roots activists battle attempt to rig GOP convention delegate rules Updated  (Read 1169 times)

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Offline Rapunzel

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Floor fight: Grass-roots activists battle attempt to rig GOP convention delegate rules Updated
By Michelle Malkin  •  August 27, 2012 03:04 PM

Drew McKissick is a longtime conservative activist and blogger who is in attendance at the Republican National Convention’s Rules Committee meetings. He and others on the ground are sounding the alarm over rules changes that he and many other attendees believe will hurt grass-roots movement conservatives. The battle is being cast by some observers as a narrow fight between Ron Paul advocates and the rest of the party. Drew says that’s not true. And many other state delegations who oppose top-down delegate choices are chiming in.

First, here’s Drew’s call to arms (my emphasis added in bold):

Fellow conservatives,

Those who are in Tampa working to maintain the influence of grassroots conservatives in the Republican Party need your help!

This past Friday, the RNC’s Convention Rules Committee voted – after several contentous votes – to change the party’s rules to allow future presidential candidates to have veto power over who can be delegates from any state – in other words, take power away from the grassroots and their ability to elect fellow conservatives as delegates.

This represents a brazen move by several Washington Beltway consultants and party insiders to diminish the power and influence of conservatives over the party.

At least 29 members of this committee are filing Minority Reports to the full convention to try and make sure that these changes are NOT adopted into the final changes the full convention will approve on Tuesday. But we need your help to spread the word. 28 members are required to issue a minority report for the convention to even consider…and you can be sure others are working behind the scenes to peel some of them off before the meeting…so we need to create pressure for others to join!

Let me stop here and say that this is NOT…REPEAT NOT a move by a bunch of disgruntled Ron Paul supporters. This is a group of long-time conservative activists, even “party regulars” and lots of Romney supporters, many who go back to the Goldwater days.

We need to generate enough PUBLIC PRESSURE from grassroots conservatives that they will back off before Tusday’s meeting and withdraw their changes so that we can avoid the need for a minority report and floor fight [altogether].

Here’s what we need before Tuesday’s session of the convention:

1) We need all conservative Republican grassroots supporters to contact their state GOP and let them know that they OPPOSE the rules change that will give future presidential campaigns control over who gets to be a delegate (current RULE 15, but is being renumbered to 16)…and OPPOSE the new RULE 12 which allows the RNC to change the rules at any time between conventions.

2) We need them to contact any DELEGATES to the convention they may know and tell them they OPPOSE the rules change and want them to support a move on the floor to amend this change via the MINORITY REPORTS – and support a demand for a ROLL CALL VOTE if necessary.

3) We need them to contact the CONVENTION RULES COMMITTEE members for their state (each state has two) and tell them they want them to SIGN THE MINORITY REPORTS before Tuesday’s session at 2:00PM. You can find a copy of the list here.

4) Finally, we would like them to help us spread the word that this is an insider power grab by a bunch of DC Beltway types who want consultants to be able to pick who the delegates are from their respective states in the future – AS WELL AS FUTURE PLATFORM COMMITTEE MEMBERS. Post a link to this page on Facebook and Twitter…spread the word on the media…COMPLAIN. Let everyone know this is wrong, and that it is ANTI-GRASSROOTS!

Here’s a piece on the Texas GOP delegation revolting against the proposed changes:

    Texas prides itself on being a state party whose members choose who will go the national convention. It’s a grassroots — versus top-town — approach, said James Dickey, an at-large alternate from Bee Cave.

    Dickey said the result of the change, if it is approved, could be drastic.

    “It would dampen enthusiasm a lot,” Dickey said. “It would dampen excitement about running to be a delegate.”

    With the support of Texas’ delegates, Munisteri said he’s ready to take the fight to the floor of the convention.

    In a letter to the national rules committee, the Texas delegation said: “The only way a floor fight can be avoided is if the rule is stricken.”

    An email to the party was not returned, but Munisteri said the thinking behind the proposal was to ensure delegates vote for the candidate they are supposed to support in the nomination process.

    The national party has been trying to dissuade states from objecting to what some people see as a power-grab by the national party, Munisteri said.

    He added that it is ironic that a party that is supposed to be opposed to heavy-handed oversight would try to employ such a tactic.

    “Somebody needs to wake up, and it’s not Texas,” said Butch Davis, a Texas representative to the national rules committee.

Matt Kibbe of FreedomWorks is on the scene. Many Romney supporters are now coming forward to disavow the Romney campaign-led effort:

    “We’re asking activists to talk to every state party leader. The worry here is that you’re flipping the whole process on its head. It used to be that the grassroots chose the delegates, and the delegates choose the candidates. They’re essentially creating a rule where the candidate can disavow any delegate that doesn’t toe the line,” Kibbe said.

    “If you disenfranchise the delegates, you create a real threat of splintering the party,” he said. “Presumably the goal of the Romney camp is to prevent any sort of dissent going into 2016.” But Kibbe added that there would be a higher likelihood of disaffected grassroots and perhaps even the creation of a third party.

    The measure was one of several adopted last Friday by the convention’s rules committee. Secretary of State Brian Kemp said he opposed the change in dispute, which would negate laws currently in place in several states that bind delegates to a specific candidate.

    However, Kemp said he didn’t sign the minority report that protested the change, and which tea partyers will attempt to bring to the full convention for a floor vote. (The minority report also makes changes to the election calendar that could boost Georgia’s influence in the next primary, which Kemp supports.)

    Kemp told delegates that he anticipates a floor fight tomorrow.

    Six state delegations must insist on bringing the measure forward before it becomes eligible for a roll call vote. However, the chances are slim that convention delegates would reject the entire GOP platform if it is put forward in a single piece.

    “I will not pretend that the deck is not stacked against us,” Morton Blackwell, a longtime conservative leader and Virginia delegate, wrote in an email that’s rapidly making its way around Tampa.

    The object of the rule change is to prevent state delegation takeovers in states like Massachusetts and Nevada, where Romney delegates were nearly erased by Paul enthusiasts.

    “We know what it’s aimed at, but you don’t cut off your nose to spite your face,” said Georgia delegate Debbie Dooley, a tea party activist.

Julianne Thompson of Georgia’s GOP delegation — a Romney delegate — weighs in.


    By: Julianne Thompson – National Delegate, Georgia

    Chairman Reince Preibus, members of the Rules Committee, and the entire voting delegation of the 2012 Republican National Convention:

    As a National Delegate to the 2012 RNC, I am extremely disappointed that a rule would be passed through committee that essentially strips the grassroots of all of it’s representative power by ridding State Parties of their ability to choose whom they will send as delegates and alternates to represent their State to the Republican National Convention. The rules change would allow the Presidential nominee sweeping new power to override that process and choose their own National Delegates. The rule also allows the RNC (with only a 3/4 vote) the power to amend the party’s rules without a vote by the full Republican National Convention.

    The GOP is the political Party of the grassroots. Our national delegates are the boots-on-the-ground that get Republicans elected. We are there for County meetings, State Conventions, National Conventions, and most importantly we spend our time and money canvassing our neighborhoods, going door to door, making phone calls, writing personal endorsement letters, and getting-out-the-vote for Republicans. We are the worker bees, and we are the heart and soul of the Republican Party.

    We have always believed that our Party is the one who best represents what it means to be an American…freedom! With your current attempt at this rules change, you are essentially striking the first blow that chips away at that freedom, and you disenfranchise the very people that turned the tide for the GOP in 2010 by returning power in the U.S. House of Representatives to Republicans.

    I would like to hope that our nominee is unaware of the skullduggery that occurred with regard to this attempt at shutting out the people that have unified to help him win in November. The audacity of creating a firestorm when there is an opportunity for unity and peace that is needed to win back the Senate and take back the White House is irresponsible and I seriously question the motives of those behind this attempt.

    Why the change in rules? That is the million-dollar question, and it is fairly easy to answer. There are still those in place in the GOP and on campaigns that would like to use the delegate and alternate seats as rewards for donating large checks to campaigns and the RNC.

    If your desire is to win elections, then I strongly suggest that you engage the grassroots and show respect to those who help put you in power.

    During a time that should ring of unity, you have put the GOP at a crossroads. Do you want to win this election and future elections? Now is your opportunity to prove it. Either take it to the floor and let us vote it down, and better yet, pull this insulting attempt to disenfranchise the heart and soul of our Republican Party!


    Julianne Thompson, National Delegate for Mitt Romney – Georgia

There’s a storm brewing in Florida…and it’s not Isaac. Smells like a healthy pot of Tea Party pushback. Stay tuned…


More delegate e-mail and petition info/action alert here.


The Republican Liberty Caucus e-mails:

It’s the biggest story of the convention and the major media outlets are missing it as they focus on weather reports and fluff pieces on Romney.

For the first time in years you’re likely to see a real floor fight tomorrow over proposed changes to the party rules. The rules committee produced a proposal which takes away the autonomy of state parties and massively increases the power of the central committee and the states are fighting back with a minority report and a wave of protest which is sweeping through the party rank and file. This confrontation transcends ideological lines and is about whether the Republican Party will remain a party run by its members or merely become a tool of special interests.

The first state to split from the establishment plan and speak up against proposed changes was Texas but it has now been joined by a number of other state delegations including Iowa, Nevada, Nebraska, Minnesota, Virginia, South Carolina, Indiana and probably more by the time you receive this. Opposition is snowballing because Republicans don’t want to see their party traditions tossed aside by big government insiders.

In addition, many grassroots activist groups and prominent leaders have come on board opposing the changes. The Republican Liberty Caucus was one of the first, but we’ve been joined by Eagle Forum, FreedomWorks and many Tea Party Groups. These are goups we’re often at odds with ideologically, but we all agree that the integrity of [the] party and standing by republican principles is of the highest importance.

Morton Blackwell’s statement here.

Eagle Forum’s Phyllis Schlafly weighs in here.

FreedomWorks has phone contact info:

Please locate the phone number of your State Republican Party Headquarters below, call them immediately, and tell them to oppose Romney’s new rules that strip grassroots activists of the ability to participate in the Republican platform process:

numbers at the link
“The time is now near at hand which must probably determine, whether Americans are to be, Freemen, or Slaves.” G Washington July 2, 1776

Offline Rapunzel

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everyone is ignoring this, but it is why Sarah Palin hinted over the weekend at a third party (not this year) because if the GOP is going to bascially kick the Tea Party and conservative to the curb they have no reason to stay with the GOP.
“The time is now near at hand which must probably determine, whether Americans are to be, Freemen, or Slaves.” G Washington July 2, 1776

Offline AbaraXas

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Let me stop here and say that this is NOT…REPEAT NOT a move by a bunch of disgruntled Ron Paul supporters

Bull, they even filed a lawsuit and represent themselves as 'lawyers for Ron Paul'
Never delude yourself into thinking you're "influencing" or making a difference on the internet. It is an ephemeral pleasure.

Offline R4 TrumPence

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Bull, they even filed a lawsuit and represent themselves as 'lawyers for Ron Paul'

So are the rule changes because of the Ron Paul people's hijacking of the primary process or is there more to it?

I am Repub4Bush on FR '02

Offline Rapunzel

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So are the rule changes because of the Ron Paul people's hijacking of the primary process or is there more to it?

Well, if it was Ron Paul the Tea Party groups would not be so upset about this and look at the list of states who are going to push a floor fight -- one of them is Texas...
“The time is now near at hand which must probably determine, whether Americans are to be, Freemen, or Slaves.” G Washington July 2, 1776

Offline AbaraXas

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So are the rule changes because of the Ron Paul people's hijacking of the primary process or is there more to it?

I bet it is to preempt it. They were projecting to cause a lot of havoc and had a lot of delegates misrepresenting who they supported in other camps.
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Offline Rapunzel

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A Letter from Morton Blackwell to RNC Delegates
By Dave Nalle - August 26, 2012 at 11:44 PM

Dear Fellow Delegate,

On Tuesday of this week, as Republican National Convention delegates, you and I will be voting on rules changes that could fundamentally change our Republican Party — and not for the better.

Over the years, I’ve served on the Louisiana and Virginia GOP Rules Committees. I currently serve on both the Republican National Committee’s Standing Committee on Rules and on the National Convention’s Committee on Rules and Order of Business.

I was Barry Goldwater’s youngest elected delegate in 1964, I was honored to serve on President Ronald Reagan’s White House Staff from 1981-1984, and I have attended every Republican National Convention Rules Committee meeting since 1972. My wife and I have contributed major donations to the Romney-Ryan campaign.

These rule changes are the most awful I’ve ever seen come before any National Convention.

I’m writing you today to urge you to join the growing effort to stop the worst-ever changes in this Rules Committee’s Report and to vote in favor of amendments to Rules 12 and 15. The Minority Reports will restore important rights and protections which state parties and grassroots Republicans would lose under the Rules Committee Report as written.

These amendments to Rules 12 and 15 are contained in Minority Reports supported by at least 25% of the members of this convention’s Committee on Rules and Order of Business.

It’s rare for Minority Reports to come before our national convention, but the issues involved here are vital to the future of our party.

I must tell you there is tremendous arm-twisting now to peel signers off of the Minority Reports.

Finally, whether on Minority Reports or on voting down the Rules, it will require at least six states’ delegations to insist upon a roll call vote.

I will not pretend that the deck is not stacked against us.

But many state leaders, liberty-minded activists, and grass-roots conservatives are up-in-arms as word of this power grab spreads.

Our convention will make this important decision Tuesday as some of our first work. Many folks skip these procedural sessions thinking nothing of importance occurs.

This year, that is far from the truth.

If the Rules Committee Report were to pass without adoption of the Minority Reports, it would amount to a power grab by Washington, D.C. party insiders and consultants designed to silence the voice of state party activists and Republican grassroots by:

*** Handing national party officials the power to change national party rules adopted by state and grassroots leaders at the Republican National Convention. For generations, the prohibition of manipulated changes in the national Rules of the Republican Party between national conventions has served as one of the crown jewels of our party. It’s a power grab which opens the door to many future power grabs.

*** Stripping state parties in all states with binding primaries of the power of choosing who will represent their states as national delegates and alternate delegates.

This outrageous change would empower presidential campaigns to disapprove and remove delegates and alternate delegates selected by rules adopted by state Republican parties. Rather than grassroots activists who won delegate and alternate delegate slots by following state party rules, a large majority of positions would be handed to top donors of the winning campaign.

*** Gutting the great and successful reform adopted in the current election cycle to stop the dangerous trend to front-load the selection of national convention delegates. Our party would move again toward a national primary which would deny grassroots Republicans the opportunity to vet presidential candidates in a nomination contest of reasonable length. This reform must not be abandoned.

Like most of us delegates to this convention, I’ve spent years gladly battling in the trenches for our Republican Party.

And as the President of the Leadership Institute — which specializes in training thousands of conservative activists, students, and leaders to fight for our country’s future –I can’t tell you how disheartened I am to see these rules changes even considered.

These rule changes would give good folks like you less of a say over our Republican Party in favor of insiders and consultants in Washington, D.C.

At a time when Tea Party activists have re-invigorated our Republican Party — leading to massive gains in the U.S. House, the Senate, and many state legislatures in the 2010 elections — why would we want to discourage activism?

Thanks to their efforts, you and I have a new generation of exciting conservative leaders in Washington, D.C., who — in many instances –were elected despite the opposition of establishment-backed opponents.

Certainly this is not to say GOP leaders are always wrong.

But history shows that our Republican Party grows when we welcome newly active participants and treat them fairly.

Our Republican Party is strongest when we listen to the wishes of grassroots conservatives.

Instead of strengthening our party, these insider power grabs will weaken it.

For these reasons, I urge you to join the growing effort to adopt the Minority Reports when the Rules Committee Report comes up for consideration by the convention.

Morton Blackwell

P.S. Some of the most important work of the convention will take place on Tuesday where you and I will be voting on rules that could fundamentally change our Republican Party for the worse.

New rules will be voted on that have been designed to silence state Republican parties and Republican grassroots in favor of party insiders and Washington, D.C.-based consultants.

The vote will take place at Tuesday’s convention session, and I’m counting on you join the growing effort to defeat these new rules.

Please vote to adopt the Minority Reports on Rules and urge your delegation to call for a roll call vote on all Rules-related votes.

This fight is too important for us not to make a stand.
“The time is now near at hand which must probably determine, whether Americans are to be, Freemen, or Slaves.” G Washington July 2, 1776

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