Republican National Committee
Just days after the Republican National Committee (RNC) rejected most proposed rules changes that would undo the power grab from last year’s convention, a number of grassroots activists stopped by to express their disappointment with party leaders and let them know that they would not give up the fight.
Shortly after 10am, around 50 activists (pictured above) showed up at RNC headquarters in Washington, DC to present a representative from the party with a open letter to Chairman Reince Priebus that hit at the heart of grassroots’ frustration with the party.
“As grassroots fiscally conservative activists from states across the country, we are stopping by the RNC Headquarters in Washington today to express our disappointment in the Party’s continuing marginalization of the individuals who are driving the only credible ground game to combat the progressive liberal political machine,” read the activist-signed letter to Priebus. “After reading the 100-page Growth and Opportunity Project, we had a glimmer of hope that the Republican Party was going to make a sincere effort to make the Party process more bottom-up and transparent in structure.”
“The opportunity to repeal the ‘Tampa Power Grab’ last week was your first big shot at beginning to mend the relationship between the Party and the principled, small-government grassroots activists that you’ve disenfranchised,” the letter continued. “And you blew it.”
This week, the Republican National Committee (RNC) will hold its spring meeting in Los Angeles in what could be a defining moment for the party. Many committee members are looking to overturn rules that were adopted at last year’s Republican National Convention which disenfranchised many grassroots delegates.
Back in August, Dean Clancy of FreedomWorks explained the rule changes at length, noting the profound affect they have on the process by “shift[ing] power from the state parties and the grassroots to the RNC and the GOP presidential nominee.”
There were two specific changes — Rule 12 and Rule 16 — pushed by Ben Ginsberg at the behest of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign.
Rule 12 allowed the RNC to change its rules at any time or any place in between party conventions. Clancy called this move “unprecedented,” and explained that the change gives the RNC the ability to completely ignore the convention on a whim, if it so chooses.
Rule 16 is also problematic because it targets delegates who vote their conscience in convention. For example, if somone ran as a delegate and pledged to vote for Mitt Romney, but then finds out something unsavory about him and they switched to another candidate; they would have been stripped of their delegate status.
While there may be states that require delegates to vote a certain way, they’re typically not bound to a particular presidential candidate. This rule change was clearly aimed at Ron Paul supporters and conservative activists skeptical of Romney’s record — forcing them to choose party over principle — and it help gives GOP insiders more leverage at picking the nominee.
In the opening sequence of the musical 1776, John Adams, played by William Daniel, laments the worthlessness of the Continential Congress. McNair, the custodian of the Congress, fetches Adams, telling him that his colleagues are about to decide an important issue — “whether or not the Rhode Island militia be required to wear matching uniforms.” Adams replies, “Oh, good God.”
Upset by the lack of a will to pass a declaration of independency from England, he walks into chambers at Independence Hall in Philiadelphia, saying, “I have come to the conclusion that one useless man is called a disgrace; that two are called a law firm, and that three or more become a Congress!”
That’s pretty much how I feel about the Republican National Committee after reading this story from Politico about the RNC’s newly launched review committee, which is supposed to determine what exactly went wrong in 2012:
The Republican National Committee is rolling out a plan to review what worked and what didn’t for the party in the 2012 cycle, appointing five people at the top of a committee that will make recommendations on things like demographics, messaging and fundraising.
The Growth and Opportunity Project is going to be chaired by RNC committee member Henry Barbour, longtime Jeb Bush adviser and political operative Sally Bradshaw, former George W. Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer, Puerto Rico RNC committee member Zori Fonalledas, and South Carolina RNC member Glenn McCall. Priebus, who is running for a second term, is holding a call with committee members to roll out the plan this afternoon.
With the presidential election finally over and analysts still guessing what went wrong for Mitt Romney, Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, announced on Friday that he will seek a second term in that post:
Mr. Priebus, who took over the RNC in 2011, announced his intentions in an email to party leaders, a majority of whom have already pledged to support the chairman, according to a letter first reported by Politico.
The Wisconsin Republican’s track record at the RNC is mixed. On the one hand, Mr. Priebus took over the RNC when it was some $22 million in debt with a nearly empty bank account. As of Oct. 17, the party carried $9.9 million in debt and had $67.6 million to spend. On the other, Mitt Romney lost the presidential race and several GOP Senate candidates lost their races, too.
Mr. Priebus is not expected to face any serious opposition and no one else has announced a campaign for the post.
While Priebus doesn’t have a challenger, his role in shutting down grassroots activists at the Republican National Convention hasn’t been forgotten. The rule changes pushed through by establishment Republicans were intended to disenfranchise. While scrolling Twitter, I caught this from Richard Viguerie, a still influential figure in the conservative movement:
Julianne Thompson, one of the founders of Georgia Tea Party Patriots and a convention delegate, has written an open letter to Republican National Committee on rule changes made that would allow the party’s presidential nominee to revoke delegates. You can read the letter in its entirety below:
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 throug 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.
If you’e heading down to the Republican National Convention next week in Tampa, you may run into Vice President Joe Biden. That’s right, folks, the Obama campaign’s worst spokesman, just two weeks after saying that the Romney-Ryan ticket would allow Wall Street to put African-Americans “back in chains,” is going to be in a city crowded with Republicans:
Vice President Joe Biden has plans to be in Tampa during the Republican National Convention next week, the Obama campaign said Tuesday. Biden has events in Tampa and in other cities next Monday and Tuesday, the campaign said.
In addition, “a strong bench” of surrogates will be in the Tampa area as well.
While visiting a Minneapolis high school Tuesday afternoon, Biden seemed to embrace his role in Tampa turning to reporters traveling with him, “Who’s going to Florida with me? Any of you going to be in Florida?
“Well I’m the speaker at the convention,” he continued to laughs. “I’m going to be down there.”
What could go wrong?
As noted earlier this week, American Crossroads launched a rather snarky ad endorsing Biden for Vice President, as opposed to someone else on the Democratic Party ticket, because of his proclivity for gaffes:
There have been some worries in Republican circles about delegates aligned with Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX). During the GOP presidential primaries and caucuses, Paul’s supporters managed to win enough delegates in a handful of states to raise eyebrows. It seemed that some of his delegates would not be sat, but news broke last night that Republican leaders want to avoid any embarassment and decided to make a deal with Paul:
Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul will enter the GOP convention next week with more delegates after a deal was reached avoiding a potentially embarrassing standoff with Mitt Romney.
The compromise settled a dispute over delegates from Louisiana.
“Paul will be awarded 17 of the state’s 46 delegates in the compromise,” Paul campaign chairman Jesse Benton told ABC News in an email. “The rest of the state’s delegates are expected to support Mitt Romney, the party’s presumptive nominee.”
In addition, the RNC will seat an additional Paul delegate from Massachusetts.
Supporters of Paul and Romney clashed at the Louisiana party convention in June and ended up holding dueling conventions, with each group submitting lists of delegates.
So there is some good news for Paul’s delegates, but as Brian Doherty explains, “Early word from the more hardcore and rootin-tootin Paul forces on the ‘Net is that such compromises won’t necessarily keep them pacified on the floor, and certainly won’t mean they’ll become good soldier Romney voters.”
Ahead of delegates gathering in Tampa next week for the Republican National Convention, some GOP delegates are busy this week putting together the party’s platform. To many this process can be uninteresting, but many Tea Party activists saw it as an opportunity to make the Republican Party more friendly to its ideas. And, according to Kristina Ribali of FreedomWorks notes, it looks like they were successful.
FreedomWorks put together 12 economic/limited government issues to be considered for the GOP platform, ranging from repealing ObamaCare and preventing tax hikes to energy independence, opposition to cap-and-trade, and auditing the Federal Reserve. Dean Clancy, Vice President of Health Policy at FreedomWorks, explained (via Ribali) that the only the plank calling for the elimination of the Department of Education was rejected:
We did not secure approval for ‘Eliminate the Department of Education’ – which, to be honest, was always the plank we regarded as most difficult to achieve. But the document’s education section does contain good language on the need for local control and a very strong endorsement of school choice, including vouchers. So we rate this section as a partial victory.
Ribali also notes that the plank calling for a “flat tax” wasn’t fully achieved, though the Republican platform will call for a “flatter tax.” That’s an opportunity missed, unfortunately, since the need for tax reform is so great.
With the Republican National Convention just three weeks away, we’re getting closer to Mitt Romney naming his running mate in 2012. Romney’s campaign has launched a smartphone app that will tip supporters off to his pick before anyone else knows, at least in theory.
Awaiting the pick is sort of like looking at top prospects for a Major League Baseball team or analyzing draft picks before the NFL Draft. Last week, The Hill reported that Beth Myers, the head of Romney’s VP search team, was on hand for a rally with Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell — much like a scout at a game looking at a potential target’s stuff.
Back in April, I looked at some of the frequently mentioned names in the conversation as Romney was beginning his search for a running back. But speculation has been rampant in recent days and announcement could come literally any day now, here is look at the five most likely picks for Romney.
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell: Much like Ohio, the Commonwealth of Virginia is a “must-win” for Romney. While Portman is relatively unknown in his home state, McDonnell has a 55% approval rating in Virginia. Unemployment is at 5.6%, which easily bests the national rate of 8.3%.
While many of his supporters are packing state conventions hoping that they can secure enough delegate spots to cause chaos at the Republican National Convention; Ron Paul admitted yesterday that, while he’ll certainly have a sizable number of supporters in Tampa, it will not be enough to win the nomination:
GOP presidential hopeful Rep. Ron Paul (Texas) on Wednesday acknowledged to supporters that he lacked enough delegates to capture the party’s nomination.
In a statement, Paul said the campaign would “send 200 bound delegates” to the Republican National Convention to be held in Tampa, Fla., in August. “This number shatters the predictions of the pundits and talking heads and shows the seriousness of our movement,” he added.
The Texas lawmaker, however, admitted to his backers that tally was “not enough to win the nomination.”
Paul predicted that overall he would have about 500 supporters at the convention, including many Romney-bound delegates whom he said agreed with his policy positions.
Paul thanked his supporters for their “hard work and diligence,” saying the delegate total “puts us in a tremendous position to grow our movement and shape the future of the GOP.”
This was driven home even further last night when Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Ron Paul’s son, endorsed Mitt Romney on Hannity: