3:17 pm in Editorials, election 2012, establishment Republicans, Featured, grassroots delegates, John Boehner, mitt romney, Morton Blackwell, republican convention, Ron Paul delegates, Ronald Reagan, Rule 16 by mrcurmudgeon
By Mr. Curmudgeon:
Many reading this column are no doubt familiar with the shocking, embarrassing, and very public fight that occurred on the floor of the Charlotte Convention Center when President Obama called for a hasty re-inclusion of God and Jerusalem into the Democratic Party platform. When convention chair, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, put the president’s motion before the delegates for a voice vote, those shouting “No!” carried the day. Villaraigosa disingenuously ruled that, in his “opinion,” the “ayes” won and the president’s motion was carried.
Critics charged that overriding the delegate’s wishes was a cynical attempt by Democratic Party elites to keep their coalition of left-wing crazies looking as “mainstream” as humanly possible – heading into a tough presidential election.
Less well known is that a similar event occurred at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida. The controversy centered on the adoption of rule changes, in particular “Rule 16,” which included the following:
- Any statewide presidential preference vote … for the Republican nomination for President … in a primary, caucuses, or a state convention must be used to allocate and bind the state’s delegation to the national convention in either a proportional or winner-take-all manner …
- … No delegate or alternate delegate who is bound or allocated to a particular presidential candidate may be certified … if the presidential candidate to whom the delegate or alternate delegate is bound or allocated has, in consultation with the state party, disavowed the delegate or alternate delegate.”
Your first reaction will no doubt be, “Huh?”
Freedomworks, the group that toiled with Tea Party organizers to make the midterm elections of 2010 a “shellacking” for Nancy Pelosi’s House Democrats, put the rule change into simple English as allowing “the presumptive presidential nominee to ‘disavow’ duly elected delegates and force state [Republican] parties to hold new elections to replace any delegate or alternate deemed unacceptable by the presumptive presidential nominee.”
In short, establishment Republican Party leaders love the Tea Party when it works to unseat Democrats … not so much when they employ their organizational skills and might to unseat establishment (read RINO) Republicans.
We saw that battle during the Republican Party primaries. Gov. Mitt Romney, viewed with suspicion by many Tea Party conservatives because his health-care mandate provided a template for ObamaCare, suffered political bruising in rough-and-tumble scrapes with his fiscal and socially conservative primary rivals. And then there were the messy state convention fights led by fanatically loyal Ron Paul delegates.
The last thing GOP leaders wanted was for the intramural war waging within the Party of Lincoln to threaten a potential victory for their party’s presidential nominee. “Faithless elector” delegates, therefore, would no longer be tolerated. And various rule changes were crafted.
However, there were those in Tampa who intended to fight the changes, notably Morton Blackwell, member of the Republican rules committee and a delegate from Virginia. In an open letter, Blackwell explained that Romney-camp spokesman Ben Ginsberg offered the rule revisions for consideration. “When I asked him [Ginsberg] why he did this, he replied to me, ‘It wasn’t our idea. We did it as a favor for some friends,’” said Blackwell.
That morning in Tampa, when the rule changes were to be put before the Republican delegates, Blackwell intended to put up a spirited and principled fight. But something strange occurred to block his efforts.
As Fox 19, the Fox News affiliate in Washington, D.C., reported, “On Tuesday morning, delegates from Virginia and Rhode Island were on their way to lead that fight when their bus driver refused to stop at the convention, three times, circling the building, then leaving the area all together. And when they returned to the convention center, well, the delegates had already missed their chance to vote on this issue,” reported Fox’s Ben Swann.
Swann showed video footage that was eerily similar to what Democratic delegates would witness in Charlotte one week later. GOP House Speaker John Boehner, Republican National Convention chairman, introduced the rule changes to the delegates and asked for the ayes and nays. The nays carried the day. In a video captured by a delegate on his smart phone, Boehner is seen reading from a teleprompter with the clearly scripted words, “In the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. The resolution is adopted. Without objection, the motion to reconsider is laid on the table.” And with that, the hall erupted in boos.
Boehner’s teleprompter orders proved that the rule changes were a done-deal long before the delegate vote was taken.
Morton saw the move as antagonizing “grassroots conservative and libertarian activists whom we want to support our candidates this year,” adding, “The way to treat newcomers to our party is fairly, politely, and even cordially … That’s how to build and sustain a majority party.”
Before I begin pushing nouns against verbs to blow up something, I should clear the air. “Politics” they say, “is the art of the possible.” I intend to vote for Mitt Romney because he represents the only possible chance Americans have to dethrone the self-proclaimed king currently sitting in the White House. However, and I make no apologies for saying so, I will hold my nose while casting my vote.
Establishment leaders in both parties are determined to save bipartisan Progressivism. Many rank-and-file Republicans don’t like hearing about the symbiotic relationship between the two parties that stretches back one hundred years. That’s because they don’t know their country’s history, are lazy and are comfortable with spoon-fed fairy tales imparted by conservative talk-radio personalities who insist the Republican Party is “conservative,” Reaganesque even.
Progressivism began in the early 20th century’s Republican Party under the presidency of Rough Rider Theodore Roosevelt. That tradition was continued and magnified during the 12-year reign of his Democratic cousin Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Progressive Republicans eventually became known as the “Nelson Rockefeller wing” when Northeastern Republicans ruled the GOP. Today, they are simply called “RINOs.”
The Progressive project in America continued uninterrupted, even when Reagan served as president (he was, after all, one man standing against an entrenched Progressive bureaucratic state).
The Federal Reserve, that pumped easy money into the economy, inflating the housing bubble, was a Progressive Era invention. Unsustainable New Deal and Great Society programs, coupled with the Community Reinvestment acts that created subprime lending, were also progressive achievements.
Progressive subprime eventually popped the Progressive housing bubble. The economic crisis that followed, frightened Americans out of the arms of Progressive Republicans that refuse to oppose all the above. Americans then voted for the Democrat whose Progressive solutions now threaten to destabilize and topple the nation.
Tea Party and libertarian activists seek to break the Roosevelt-Roosevelt Progressive stranglehold on the country and return the nation to a constitutionally sound footing under a limited government.
Republican leaders, Tea Partiers should keep in mind, are not our friends. Boehner’s move in Tampa was meant to prevent the kind of delegate fight that earned Ronald Reagan a spot on the speaker’s roster at the 1976 Republican convention, which catapulted him into the national spotlight and, four years later, into the presidency.
That means grassroots conservative activists, who pushed Reagan into national prominence, are equally responsible for the great economic boom that followed and with defeating the Soviet “evil empire.”
Had Boehner had his way back then, Reagan’s delegates would have been replaced with Gerald Ford toadies and the Gipper would have retired to his California ranch … and into obscurity.
The grassroots movement called the Tea Party must continue to fight the entrenched Progressive Republican establishment because, as Reagan once said, “To sit back hoping that someday, some way, someone will make things right is to go on feeding the crocodile, hoping he will eat you last – but eat you he will.”
And that Progressive crocodile continues to feed.