On the first real day of the Republican National Convention it sounds like there may be a good old fashioned floor fight between the establishment wing of the Republican party and the grass roots members who deserve most of the credit for the gains of the last three years. Mitt Romney and his legal team have over reacted to the Ron Paul phenomenon and proposed rule changes that Virginian conservative stalwart and former Reagan aid, Morton Blackwell called “the worst-ever changes in this Rules Committee’s Report” and “could fundamentally change our Republican Party — and not for the better.”
Blackwell, a longtime RNC member and founder of a conservative training academy called the Leadership Institute went on to say, “If the Rules Committee Report were to pass without adoption of the Minority Reports, it would amount to a power grab by Washington, D.C. party insiders and consultants designed to silence the voice of state party activists and Republican grassroots by:
*** Handing national party officials the power to change national party rules adopted by state and grassroots leaders at the Republican National Convention. For generations, the prohibition of manipulated changes in the national Rules of the Republican Party between national conventions has served as one of the crown jewels of our party. It’s a power grab which opens the door to many future power grabs.
*** Stripping state parties in all states with binding primaries of the power of choosing who will represent their states as national delegates and alternate delegates.
This outrageous change would empower presidential campaigns to disapprove and remove delegates and alternate delegates selected by rules adopted by state Republican parties. Rather than grassroots activists who won delegate and alternate delegate slots by following state party rules, a large majority of positions would be handed to top donors of the winning campaign.
*** Gutting the great and successful reform adopted in the current election cycle to stop the dangerous trend to front-load the selection of national convention delegates. Our party would move again toward a national primary which would deny grassroots Republicans the opportunity to vet presidential candidates in a nomination contest of reasonable length. This reform must not be abandoned.”
You can read the letter Blackwell sent to the delegates here.
The Houston Chronicle is reporting that a deal has been struck on rule 15
Republican leaders moved Monday to quell an uprising by Texans and Ron Paul supporters that threatened to steal the spotlight from GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and expose rifts in the party right as its nominating convention got under way.
Under a compromise reached late Monday, Romney supporters and GOP leaders agreed to back down from a proposed rule change that effectively would have allowed presidential nominees to choose what delegates represent them at national conventions.
…Under the deal, delegates who are bound to a presidential candidate that hasn’t bowed out of the race or released them to vote for another contender are barred from casting a vote for a different person. During this convention, the change effectively would mean a delegate bound to Mitt Romney could not instead opt to throw his or her support behind Ron Paul, who has not freed his delegates.
Any vote for another candidate would be voided and the delegate would lose his or her position.
But under the compromise, states would still able to select individual delegates under their own laws and party rules. GOP leaders agreed to remove the rule change provision that would have allowed state-party-selected delegates to be disavowed.
Spokesmen for the Romney campaign and the Republican National Committee did not respond to requests for comment.
More on the late night negotiated deal here from Texas on The Potomac