Tropical Storm Isaac isn’t the only thing on the minds of many conservatives who made the trip to Tampa for the Republican National Convention. There is also some concern over what is being viewed as a power grab to give unprecedented influence to estasblishment Republicans over the platform and rules beginning in 2016:
The Republican National Convention Rules Committee voted 63-38 to approve a new rule allowing granting the Republican National Committee — and Mitt Romney — sweeping new powers to amend the governing document of the GOP.
The move came at the encouragement of Mitt Romney supporters on the committee, including Romney’s top lawyer Ben Ginsberg, who stressed that it would grant “flexibility” to Romney and the committee to adapt to changing political environments. The rule allows the RNC to amend the party’s rules without a vote by the full Republican National Convention. And it offers the Republican Establishment a new tool to keep at by Tea Party initiatives that threaten to embarrass or contradict party leadership and stray from a planned message.
Romney, as his party’s nominee, exerts significant influence over the RNC, which is made up of elected party officials from all 50 states, while the larger Convention Rules Committee is larger and has a more grassroots membership.
“This is necessary for the world in which we find ourselves in,” Ginsberg told the committee, adding that it is “important for the political survival of the party in the electoral context,” for the committee to be able to change the rules as it sees fit in the intervening four years between conventions.
Well…it’s all but official now. Ron Paul will not be on the ballot in Tampa, nor will he be able to speak. Dr. Ron Paul and the forces of Freedom worked very, very hard to get the good doctor a plurality of delegates in 8 states. Although he easily passed the threshold of 5 states needed to be able to nominate Dr. Paul from the convention floor and give him the automatic speaking time earned, the GOP and the Romney camp has spent the last several months fighting and lawyering its way to silence the Paul forces. Things have really heated up this week in Tampa as various convention committees have broken its own rules multiple times to make sure that the Republican National Convention is a smooth, scripted infomercial for Mitt Romney and the Grand Old Party.
But. At what cost? Will the majority of Paul supporters be content with a Rand Paul prime-time speech on Monday night and several platform planks that, honestly, really don’t matter. I don’t think so. I think the GOP has really mucked this one up. Rather than letting things play in a natural way where the 500 or so Paul delegates and alternates—and the thousands and thousands of supporters across the country—would have felt validated and respected, the Republicans have basically said that it is more important to maintain a facade of loyalty and unity, rules and principles be damned.
My take on all this? I think Gary Johnson will be seeing a surge of support in the next few weeks.
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.
According to Politico, it appears that Donald Trump, the billionaire real estate mogul who flirted with a presidential bid last year, will be included in the opening day events at the Republican National Convention next week in Tampa, Florida:
Convention organizers won’t say what he’ll be doing in Tampa or whether he’ll address the delegates there. But they promise the controversial billionaire and prominent anti-President Barack Obama provocateur will be part of their opening day schedule.
Mitt Romney has embraced Trump this campaign season, including attending a Las Vegas fundraiser in May thrown by the reality TV star.
Trump has generated some buzz with recent posts on Twitter saying he was planning a “big surprise” at the convention next week. But for the first time sources are confirming Republicans will indeed enlist Trump to be part of their opening day act.
Trump’s appearance will come on a day with a theme titled, “We Can Do Better,” which appears likely to amount to a coordinated attack on Obama’s time in office.
“We are going after Obama,” said Kyle Downey, a convention spokesman. “If he doesn’t want to talk about his failed record, we will. The American people expect and deserve better.”
The Republican National Committee has announced the first list of speakers for its national convention set to take place at the end of the month in Tampa, Florida. There are a couple of familar faces in GOP circles, including Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), the party’s 2008 presidential nominee, and Condoleezza Rice, who served as National Security Adviser and Secretary of State under President George W. Bush.
The list also has some relatively new faces, including Florida Gov. Rick Scott, New Mexico Gov. Susanna Martinez, and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley. Some conservatives, such as Seth Mandel at Commentary Magazine, are saying that this list is a “mix of rising stars” that has an advantage over what Democrats are offering at their national convention, which will be held next month in Charlotte, North Carolina:
This is a mix of rising stars (Martinez, Haley), popular party figures (Rice, McCain, Kasich), and the obvious home-stater (Scott). These are not the names conservatives are lining up to hear, though Huckabee should be considered an exception. The former Arkansas governor’s great talent has always been communication–just contrast the tone of coverage Huckabee tends to receive from the notoriously socially liberal press with that of Rick Santorum. As important as evangelicals are to GOP get-out-the-vote efforts, Huckabee could be an important campaign surrogate for a candidate many social conservatives are still unsure about.
As the Republican National Convention approaches, Mitt Romney is indicating that he may be just days away from annoucing his running mate. Many conservatives hope that Team Romney chooses a credible conservative, one that could excite the base. This is a dilemma for the campaign since, as a new WaPo/ABC News poll indicates, Romney’s supporters are more motivated to vote against President Barack Obama than for him:
Nearly six in 10 of those siding with Mitt Romney in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll say their vote is primarily “against” President Obama not in favor of the former Massachusetts governor, a testament to how much of Romney’s support is built on opposition to the current occupant of the White House.
By contrast, about three-quarters of Obama’s supporters are voting affirmatively “for” the president.
Romney’s support numbers are similar to those of Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry (D) in 2004 and Obama’s support numbers mirror those of President George W. Bush in his bid for a second term. The 2004 contest was close, but ultimately the “Bush protest” vote was not enough to put Kerry on top.
While Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) may have endorsed Mitt Romney, his father, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) yesterday told CNN’s Wolf Biltzer that he is “not ready” to endorse the GOP nominee; noting instead that his supporters are looking to significantly influence the party’s platform in August at the Republican National Convention:
Rep. Paul conceded last month that he didn’t have nearly enough delegates to win the nomination, expecting some 500 supporters to show up in Tampa. That, however, hasn’t stopped many of his delegates from filing a lawsuit against the RNC that would allow binding delegates to vote for the candidate of their choice from the convention floor in August. The RNC calls it a “frivolous” lawsuit.
I doubt that courts are going to do much to stop political parties from implementing their own nominating rules, so it seems rather pointless. The Ron Paul Revolution was able to gain much more traction this time around than four years ago. Many of his supporters were able to gain a lot of goodwill with Republicans. Unfortunately, a loud minority seem ready to squander it.
Politics is a nasty business. A Really dirty business in which a select few are qualified to engage. Even fewer can do this and retain their own integrity and principles.
Those who watch from the outside tend to romanticise the process. This is probably because those who write about history and current events rarely give the general public a peek into the sordid affairs of politicians that does not involve naked women or bribes. Parliamentary procedures and party rules aren’t that exciting.
A prime example of how the media has, from time immemorial, missed the entire point, can be found in the Republican nomination process. You know, the one where Willard “Mitt” Romney has been named the presumed nominee months before the nominating convention has even been assembled.
But before examining this recent example, let us examine the process of a rag-tag band of colonists who were attempting to shrug off what they considered bonds too tight to bear; bonds which by today’s standards would be laughably inadequate to justify a bloody revolution.
In 1776, Thomas Jefferson, as a result of parliamentary procedure and reputation, was commissioned to write a draft list of grievances to be presented King George III; a literary gauntlet to be thrown down in response to a growing, oppressive government which considered its subjects chattel for its own hegemonic designs and even mere protestations, acts of open rebellion.
The draft was to be reviewed and revised by a small body of men who had tenuous grasp on power and credibility as representatives of the 13 colonies’ citizens. A Continental Congress sent to Philadelphia to try reason with the Crown after many trips across the ocean to petition the people’s representatives in London had netted nothing but scoffs, more taxes and bullets for the effort.
Politics is a nasty business.
On Tuesday voters in three more states went to the polls to vote in the presidential primary race. The presidential race took a back seat to the Senate election in Indiana and the marriage vote in North Carolina, but despite what news outlets may tell you, the presidential race still isn’t over.
Last night Mitt Romney picked up the win in all three of these states. The Ron Paul campaign, not even fazed by the results, carries on with its quest of picking up delegates in the various GOP state conventions. Some may be starting to see what’s happening; others still remain clueless.
Take, for example, this map showing the winner of the majority of delegates to the national convention. That’s pretty significant, assuming all of those counts are correct. (The actual delegate count is still a bit of a mystery.)
Some people have told me this doesn’t matter since many of the delegates will have to vote for Romney on the first round of voting at the national convention (because they’re bound to vote according to the official distribution from their state party). If, after the first round, nobody has 1,144 votes, additional rounds of voting will take place, and delegates are free to vote for the candidate of their choice.
On the issue of bound delegates, however, there is some interesting information in this Reality Check segment from Ben Swann. There’s some question as to whether or not the delegates can or will be bound in that first round of voting. Honestly, the whole issue of amending convention rules and changing things like that goes way over my head pretty quickly.
Over the weekend, some friends asked my opinion possibilities of an alliance between Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, so I thought I’d take the time to detail my thoughts on that idea.
First, it’s not Paul’s goal to help Mitt Romney. His plan is to win the nomination at a brokered convention in Tampa by having the most delegates on the floor of the convention. Any rumored alliance of Paul to Romney assumes Paul doesn’t win the nomination at convention or that Romney wins the nomination outright before convention. Maybe this won’t matter in the end, but it’s worth mentioning that Paul’s goal is not to be Romney’s sidekick.
The next thought I have about this possible alliance is that Paul would have to concede too much, and he’s not much for compromises. Paul’s message, save his stance on foreign policy, resonates well with most Republican voters. Lower taxes, reduce spending, balance the budget…these are all items that will be on Romney’s checklist anyway, so Romney shouldn’t have to concede too much on those points. He would have to get very specific about his plan; vague promises won’t sit well with Dr. Paul.
My bet is that Paul would have to give in on foreign policy – or, at the very least, agree to keep quiet about it. Maybe he can do that as long as the movement to war comes from the legislature instead of the executive branch (like it’s supposed to). That might be enough for Romney, but, like I said, Paul isn’t known for his willingness to compromise.
(The interesting piece to that thought is that if we have a sound fiscal policy, continuing our current foreign policy would be all but impossible. How many people do you know that would support a huge tax hike to fund ongoing war efforts?)
Why would Paul, who is nothing if he’s not consistent, agree to some sort of alliance with Romney if Romney wins the nomination? Here are a few possibilities: