Many grassroots Republicans were outraged by events at the Republican National Convention in Tampa last month. They feel that control of the party has been seized by a small group of elite leaders who railroaded the convention and rewrote the rules to reduce the influence of the grassroots in the presidential nomination process and the management of the party. Led by the Republican Liberty Caucus they are proposing a resolution to challenge what they believe is a powergrab by the leadership against the party membership.
The national media gave very little coverage to events behind the scenes in Tampa, but there was a pattern of abuse of process, fraud and violation of party rules from the start of the committee meetings to the final gavel. It became very clear that control of the party had been taken away from the body of members and the delegates representing them at the convention and seized by a small cadre acting on behalf of the Romney campaign and powerful special interests. They sacrificed the best interests of the party and the rights of party members to take control of the convention and restructure the party rulesto reduce the influence of the grassroots and of state parties in the future.
Legally elected delegates were unseated, rules were violated or changed retroactively, delegates were literally held hostage and votes and motions on the floor of the convention were ignored. If you didn’t follow the story or wanted to know what was behind some of the protests you may have heard about, the best way to catch up on what went on is to read the archive of first-hand reports or view the outstanding video reports from Ben Swann on WXIX in Cincinnati.
The result of these events is that a convention which should have been designed to build unity behind the presidential nominee instead helped to unify grassroots Republicans against the small group of opportunists who seem to have taken over the party. The events at the convention finally made many average Republicans realize that what was going on was not an attempt to stop Ron Paul supporters from being disruptive, but a much larger powergrab directed against all of the traditional constituencies of the party except for a small group of insiders. Republicans are starting to realize that after Tampa it is no longer their party, but one controlled buy powerbrokers who plan to use the party and use us for their own ends.
The proposed response is that the base of the party reassert itself and demand a return to bottom-up organization where authority derives from the members through their county and state parties and is not imposed from above by the dictates of a small elite. The proposed first step in doing that is to assert clearly that party members do not accept what happened in Tampa, to condemn the methods used and to reject the rule changes which resulted.
Precinct Chairs nationwide are being asked to take a resolution to their county parties condemning the abuses at the convention and making very clear their rejection of the new rules and new structure of the party. A working group of Delegates and Precinct Chairs drafted the proposed resolution, and hope that it or something like it will be passed by as many County Executive Committees as possible, sent on and passed by State Republican Executive Committees and ultimately make its way to the Republican National Committee before it meets in January.
Here is the text of the proposed resolution. If you are active in your local Republican Party and are not happy with the results of the Tampa convention, take it to your Count Executive Committee or your Precinct Chair and urge them to pass it and act on it.
Whereas, the management of the Republican National Convention in Tampa displayed a blatant disregard for the rules under which the convention committees and convention’s general business session were supposed to be conducted;
Whereas, national party leaders and agents of the Romney campaign worked to disenfranchise legitimately elected delegates, silence dissent and disregard legitimate motions and the results of votes during the national convention;
Whereas, fraud and coercion were used to pass new rules which reduce the power and autonomy of state and local party organizations, allow future rule changes without proper oversight by the body of the party and impose a top-down structure of governance in place of the party’s traditional bottom-up structure;
Whereas, most of the factional problems at the convention could have been resolved through reasonable negotiation in ways which promoted unity and cooperation, but were instead dealt with by a heavy handed incompetence which has led to greater divisions, a weakening of the party and loss of support for the presidential nominee;
Whereas, responsibility for the mismanagement and abuse of process at the national convention ultimately rests with the national Chairman;
Whereas, it is to the benefit of the party to protect the rights and interests of party members and preserve the traditional and unique practices of the state parties;
Therefore be it resolved that:
We call for the immediate resignation of Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus;
We reject the validity of all of the revisions to the party rules passed at the Tampa convention and consider the 2008 rules to remain in effect;
We assert the primacy of the state parties in determining policy for conducting party elections, nomination of candidates and apportionment of delegates within their states without the interference of the national committee or any campaign or outside entities.
We urge our State Republican Executive Committee, our State Chairman and our Republican National Committee representatives to act on this resolution and vote to return control of the party to the state parties and the body of party members.
If we allow our political parties to come under the control of special interests instead of grassroots members then the parties become instruments of oppression rather than vehicles for the will of the people.