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Floor fight: Grass-roots activists battle attempt to rig GOP convention delegate rules


Drew McKissick is a longtime conservative activist and blogger who is in attendance at the RNC Convention. 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:

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 alltogether.

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.

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

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

Michelle Malkin
Michelle Malkin

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