The RNC Rules Battle: The Ayes Have It? Romney’s Rules Met with Boos



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**See updates below**

It would seem the Romney camp had bit off more than they could chew.  There has been a settlement with the Romney campaign who initially proposed a rule that would allow candidates to disavow delegates selected by state convention.  The original rule passed out of the Convention on the Rules committee Friday read:

For any manner of binding or allocating delegates permitted by these rules, no delegate or alternate delegate who is bound or allocated to a particular presidential candidate may be certified under rule 19 unless the presidential candidate to whom the delegate or alternate delegate is bound or allocated has pre-certified or approved the delegate or alternate delegate.

The new language (yet to be voted on) reads this way:

For any manner of binding or allocating delegates under these Rules, if a delegate

(i) casts a vote for a presidential candidate at the National Convention inconsistent with the delegate’s obligation under state law or state party rule,

(ii) nominates or demonstrates support under Rule 40 for a presidential candidate other than the one to whom the delegate is bound or allocated under state law or state party rule, or

(iii) fails in some other way to carry out the delegate’s affirmative duty under state law or state party rule to cast a vote at the National Convention for a particular presidential candidate,

the delegate shall be deemed to have concurrently resigned as a delegate and the delegate’s improper vote or nomination shall be null and void. Thereafter the Secretary of the Convention shall record the delegate’s vote or nomination in accordance with the delegate’s obligation under state law or state party rule. This subsection does not apply to delegates who are bound to a candidate who has withdrawn his or her candidacy, suspended or terminated his or her campaign, or publicly released his or her delegates.

The new rule that will now bind a delegate to the results of that state’s caucus or primary has not changed.  The state parties will determine whether that is a winner-take-all or if delegates will be allocated proportionally.  This is a good change and one that has needed to take place for years.

This is not yet set in stone.  I spoke with Kim Lehman, Iowa’s outgoing National Committeewoman who said that the rules committee will meet this morning.  She heard that Ben Ginsburg, Romney’s legal advisor, could still introduce new amendments.  After the rules committee meets and votes they would only have an hour to file a minority report in order to fight the changes.

Update: Erick Erickson at RedState reports this could be distraction from what they want to try to accomplish this afternoon.

several people I’ve spoken to this morning make clear that Team Romney and the RNC establishment are using that compromise as a red herring to distract from two major rules change proposals that would decimate Republican grassroots and prevent upstart political campaigns.

Reports that the floor fight threat is over might be designed to calm the grassroots and get them to ignore what is coming at 2 o’clock.

The first rule to be proposed is one that would give the Republican National Committee the power to change rules between conventions with a three-quarters vote of the RNC. One source tells me, “With a Republican President, of course this is doable. Everybody will roll over if a President Romney asks them too. They’ll be able to get Ben Ginsberg’s proposal next year.”

In other words, if Team Romney prevails in this rules change, they don’t have to worry about Ben Ginsberg not getting his way today on the delegate changes. They’ll be able to do it later when the press and grassroots are not watching.

The second rules change would front load winner takes all primaries. Grassroots conservatives point to both Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum as reasons to stop this rule. Had there been front loaded winner takes all primaries, neither the Gingrich nor the Santorum campaigns would have been able to get any traction.

I mentioned the first rule change in my original post.  I was under the impression that this rule was already decided last week.  I haven’t heard of a minority report being filed on it.  I’m trying to find out what is being done to battle that particular rule change.  I don’t quite agree with Erickson on how front loading caucuses/primaries would diminish lesser known candidates.  We had three different winners in the first three contests.  Was Florida winner-take-all?  I don’t remember.  Anyway, that isn’t as much of a concern to me as the RNC being able to change the rules in between conventions.

2nd Update: Sarah Palin weighs in:

We have to remember that this election is not just about replacing the party in power. It’s about who and what we replace it with. Grassroots conservatives know this. Without the energy and wisdom of the grassroots, the GOP would not have had the historic 2010 electoral victories. That’s why the controversial rule change being debated at the RNC convention right now is so very disappointing. It’s a direct attack on grassroots activists by the GOP establishment, and it must be rejected.

The settlement on Rule 15 (now 16) means nothing if Rule 12 remains in place that would allow the RNC to change the rules later on without a convention.

Michelle Malkin Tweets:

From the FreedomWorks report that Malkin mentions:

I just got off the phone with a concerned Florida activist, Laura Noble, who informed me that both of Florida’s Rules Committee members, Peter Feaman and Kathleen King, have been removed from the Rules committee and replaced with Romney-appointed delegates.

Clearly anticipating a grassroots backlash against the "compromise" on Rule 15 and the changes on Rule 12 has caused the Romney camp to preemptively replace delegates to ensure they have support on the Rules Committee.

It’s enough to make your blood boil. Please call your state’s Rules Committee delegates hereand ask that they oppose the "compromise" on Rule 15, oppose the changes to Rule 12, and support the full Minority Reports on the Rules.

UPDATE: Delegations we should be focusing on include the following states: North Carolina, Oregon, Indiana, Ohio, Nebraska, Kansas, Arkansas, Tennessee, and West Virginia.

Then there’s this:

HT: Michelle Malkin

Rush Limbaugh on this radio program this afternoon says that any rule that takes power away from the state is the establishment’s misguided attempt to away with all right-wing influence in the party and help the party’s image.

Mainly Romney and establishment to grassroots: “Shut up and go away.”

3rd Update:  Iowa GOP Chair A.J. Spiker just tweeted that he was denied access to the rules committee.

Last update: Speaker John Boehner, who was the permanent convention chair, declared the rules passed after a voice vote.  The Blaze described the scene.

Permanent convention Chairman John Boehner called for a voice vote on the rules. Those voting “Aye” screamed their approval. Boehner called for those opposing to yell. The response was arguably indistinguishable from that of the supporters. Nevertheless, Boehner ruled that “The Ayes have it” and all the rules went through. Despite early reports that minority reports had been sent to the Chair that would have offered an alternate vision of the rules, no minority reports were voted on. It was as though no opposition had ever existed.

ABC News’ Rick Klein also reported that it seemed to him that the “nos” had it:

The frustrations came to a head when Republican House Speaker John Boehner introduced the new rules. There was a voice vote and to some on the convention floor it sounded like the “nos” were louder than the “ayes.” Boehner said the ayes had it. And then the Republican House speaker was booed on the floor of the Republican National Convention.

I was told later that lacked enough signatures for a minority report on rule 12 by five votes.

Here is the live stream of the RNC.  Go to 2:39:00 when the rules were brought up for a voice vote.

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  • Kevin Subra

    I’m sure you are aware that there is more than one issue being fought over, all of which are critical to the grassroots: http://t.co/vVoIjL1v

    • http://shanevanderhart.com/ Shane Vander Hart

      I updated this post with that link. I brought up that rule change in the original post.  I was under the impression that it had already passed out of the rules committee last week.  I am trying to find out whether or not there is a minority report filed on this change as well.