You may have thought that the story out of Tampa this week was going to be a celebration of the Romney-Ryan nomination, maybe spiced up with a bit of contention from the liberty wing of the party, but ultimately a celebration of party unity moving forward to defeat Obama in November. That’s what we all expected and that should have been the story.
But for grassroots Republicans the story out of Tampa is becoming something very, very different. The presidential nomination, which was supposed to be the focus, is taking a backseat to a growing controversy over an attempt by a small group of elite party insiders and the Romney campaign to fundamentally change the rules and structure of the party to disenfranchise grassroots Republicans activists and turn the GOP from a party of the people into a party of top-down governance from a select class of professional political organizers.
One of the cornerstones of the Grand Old Party is a belief in republicanism and the idea that power is distributed and limited by checks and balances. Those values are embodied in our Constitution and they were the basis of the Republican Party when it was founded and for most of its history. Historically this has meant that most of the power in the Republican Party has rested with the party members in the states, working as delegates through their local and state caucuses and conventions to generate policy for the party in a unique collaborative process where the voice of the people could be heard strongly.
Now there are those in Tampa who seek to overturn this traditional structure of the party, set restrictions on the free choice of party members and introduce a new and alien process which would minimize the input of the party’s rank and file and put power in the hands of party leaders and wealthy special interests who can buy the loyalty of the mob. They have borrowed the organizing structure of the Democrats and authored rules which would casuse our delegates to be bound by the votes of primary voters who may not be Republcians or share our valeus, and they have further proposed the removal of control over the rule making process from the state parties to a small elite within the national committee of the party who can change the rules under which the party operates at any time. Without fixed rules arrived at by the consent of the rank and file of the party we become pawns rather than participants in the political process..
These proposals which have come out of the Rules Committee in Tampa are contrary to the basic character of the party and they are opposed by many delegates who were not part of the handpicked group of insiders which dominated the committee. Delegates from many states are speaking out in opposition and members of the committee who believe in a bottom-up party structure have issued a minority report to challenge what amounts to a powergrab by elite insiders and the Romney campaign.
I hope that all delegates in Tampa will join me in opposing this coup within the party. If you are a delgate, please join with others in supporting the minority report and opposing these changes which will be voted on from the floor on Monday. If you are watching from home, please realize that the media is not covering this issue and reach out to any delegates you know and encourage them to stand up for the rights of the state parties and the many dedicated Republicans who took part in the grassroots process which makes our party unique and protects the interests of all of its members.
I have attached copies of the proposed rules 12 and 15 which make these changes. Please read them for yourself and see if they represent the kind of party governance you want to be under. If you agree with me that they disenfranchise our party members and empower people who do not have the best interests of the party at heart, please join me in taking action to raise opposition before this issue is raised for a vote on the convention floor in Tampa on Monday.
Travis County Precinct 105 Chairman
Powered by Sidelines
Proposed Rules 12 and 15
“12: The Republican National Committee may, by three fourths (3/4) vote of its entire membership, amend Rules 1-11 and 13-24. Any such amendment shall be considered by the Republican National Committee only if it was passed by by a majority vote of the Standing Committee on Rules after having been submitted in writing at least ten (10) days in advance of its consideration by the Republican National Committee and shall take effect thirty (30) days after adoption. No such amendment shall be adopted after September 30, 2014.”
“15(a)(1) Any statewide presidential preference vote that permits a choice among candidates for the Republican nomination for president of the United States in a primary, caucus, or state convention must be used to allocate and bind the state’s delegation to the National Convention in either a proportional or winner-take-all manner, except for delegates and alternate delegates who appear on a ballot in a statewide election and are elected directly by primary voters.”
“15(a)(2) For any manner of binding or allocating delegates permitted by these Rules, no delegate or alternate who is bound or allocated to a particular presidential candidate may be certified under Rule 19 if the presidential candidate to whom the delegate or alternate delegate is bound or allocated has, in consultation with the State Party, disavowed the delegate or alternate delegate.”
“15(e)(3) The Republican National Committee may grant a waiver to a state Republican Party from the provisions of 15(a) and (b) where compliance is impossible, and the Republican National Committee determines that granting such a waiver is in the best interests of the Republican Party.”
Image credit: US Election 2012 by Petr Kratochvil