A Power Grab in the GOP

A terrible erosion of liberty happened in our country today, but a lot of people weren’t paying attention.

A few days ago, Drew McKissick broke the story about an impending RNC rule change, and Michelle Malkin has been frequently updating the story over the last two days. You should also check out this letter from GOP delegate Morton Blackwell, who is a member of the RNC’s Standing Committee on Rules. He knows what he’s talking about.

Here’s the short version: The RNC Rules Committee proposed a rule change that would allow future presidential campaigns to have veto power over delegates elected to the convention. In other words, the party is trying to centralize the nomination process at the expense of grassroots voters.

While much of the banter has focused on Ron Paul supporters, the outrage about this move comes from a much wider swath of conservative voters who respect the principles of republican government enough to not want to see any voters disenfranchised. For heavens sake, even Sarah Palin and Mark Levin took up this fight! It’s not terribly often I find myself agreeing with either of them, but I respect them both for taking a stand on this.

Ben Swann breaks down the issues involving the stripping of delegates for this year’s convention (which effectively prevented Ron Paul from getting a speaking slot at the Convention) and the proposed rule changes in these two videos:

What was the result of all this? Early this afternoon, the rules changes were brought to the floor for a vote. House Speaker John Boehner presided over the vote. Now, parliamentary procedure allows the chair to determine whether a consensus has been reached, but if it is unclear from the votes voiced from the floor that a consensus exists, there is supposed to be debate. Look at the following clip from today’s proceedings; is it clearly evident that the “ayes” outnumber the “nays”?

To my ears, the vote seemed pretty well evenly split… or at least close enough to allow for some debate and to take a more precise tally. Yet notice that Boehner eliminates even the possibility of debate by unilaterally determining that “the ayes have it”, even going so far as to say “without objection, a motion to reconsider is on the table”, which precludes the making of a future motion and makes the vote final (see here for an in-depth look at how Parliamentary Procedure works in the U.S. Congress).

As Dean Clancy tweeted:

If @SpeakerBoehner had been wielding the Speaker’s gavel instead of the GOP convention gavel, he wouldn’t have gotten away with that trick.

This was a complete travesty, and the RNC should be ashamed of itself. Many delegates were ashamed, and expressed that shame by walking out of the convention. Again, note that the objections (of which there were many, regardless of what Boehner said) came from many who were not Ron Paul supporters, though most of the media coverage of the dissent has focused on Paul delegates.

I’ll probably write more on this later, including how as a Ron Paul supporter I plan to move forward. For now, though, I just want to let today’s rule changes sink in.

If you’re a Republican, ask yourself this question:

Do the actions of the RNC and the Romney Campaign match in any way the rhetoric of “limited government” and “grass-roots” we’ve been hearing about, or does this remind you more of the centralization of power we’ve seen escalating in the last few decades, and especially in the last four years? Does this give you any hope of real “change”?

5 comments on “A Power Grab in the GOP

  1. hguly says:

    Today, I am ashamed to be associated with a party that makes a shambles of the republican way of conducting a convention. It shows a chink the the armor of a party that is supposed to reflect moral conscience.

    The party gave itself a black eye at the convention.

    As an election judge, I pay so much attention to each vote – being sure it is counted properly, that each ballot is guarded like a million dollars, that each voter has access to the polls… this convention makes it all seem so futile, like a waste of my time.

  2. Jeff Wright says:

    I’m really surprised by this development. I say that not because I expect the GOP to operate with integrity or to actually reflect the values of those who self-identify with it. I’m surprised because this appears to be a case where the GOP has cut itself off from the most vigorous and youthful element it contains. Doesn’t this appear to spell doom for the GOP? The thing is, I’m sure the senior leadership has some kind of gameplan going forward. Is it simply to enjoy undiluted power for the years they have left and the actually part can rot afterwards? Or do they anticipate some other way to keep the GOP alive longterm after they alienate a huge block of their supporters? I can’t see this as anything other than suicide for that party and would love to hear why/if they don’t.

    • John Gardner says:

      Strategically, it’s a baffling move. At the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist, this only makes sense if indeed the political elite from both sides of the aisle are working toward the common purpose of removing power from the people.

      But the very fact that there IS a vigorous and youthful group of conservative political activists gives me hope for the future. We haven’t seen the rise of a new major political party since Lincoln, but I think that could very well be one of the results of this. Granted, I’d rather there not be parties at all, but that’s just not realistic.

    • hguly says:

      Ron Paul supporters tend to be against interventionist policy and the war on drugs, both are policies that earn certain people a lot of money.

  3. […] an update to the story I posted Tuesday, check out the latest report by Ben […]

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