GOP rule changes: Grassroots vs. Establishment?
Much ado has been made concerning rule changes which occurred to the Republican National Committee rules Tuesday at the convention in Tampa. Some of the issues can be mind-numbingly boring but I will try to break it all down here for those interested.
Report from CNN:
The days-long fight reached climax just hours after the Tuesday RNC session began, with supporters of the rules cheering their adoption and opponents booing against them. Moments before, some delegates even laid out angry – yet unsubstantiated – claims of meddling to keep a delegates away from a committee vote.
At issue: two rules dubbed Rule 16 and Rule 12.
The first is a compromise of an earlier proposal, named Rule 15, that was vehemently opposed by many grassroots activists, including many Ron Paul supporters. It addresses delegate selection in future Republican presidential primaries – instituting stronger enforcement mechanisms to compel delegates to vote as they are bound by their states. In the original proposal, future presidential candidates would have had veto power over who could become a delegate.
The second rule concerns the RNC’s ability to change its rules in between its conventions.
Both rules were adopted on the convention floor by a voice vote. Former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu, chairman of the Rules Committee and a top surrogate for Romney, presented the rules. House Speaker John Boehner held the audible floor vote to adopt them.
Though the voices “for” and “against” sounded about the same, Boehner declared: “The ayes have it.”
That caused opponents on the floor to erupt in a chorus of boos.
At issue is the voice vote presided over by Speaker John Boehner which appears to show, at minimum, an equal split between the Ayes and Nos and, at worst, shows the Nos sounding a little bit louder. Listening to the clip below, it sounded to me that the Nos did squeak out a decibel or two above the Ayes.
As expected, the grassroots GOP leaders expressed displeasure:
Sarah Palin reacted to the original measure on her Facebook page Monday night.
Calling it a “controversial rule change” that is “so very disappointing,” Palin added: “It’s a direct attack on grassroots activists by the GOP establishment, and it must be rejected.”
Some delegates reacted angrily to the committee passage of Rule 16.
“This takes us away from state sovereignty,” said Colorado delegate Florence Sebern. “It takes us away from local control in our states. And it moves us towards, as a Republican Party, central control and top-down decisions. That’s what this is.”
“Are we the Republican Party?” she added.
However, as you heard in the video clip, there was a lot of support for the rule changes as well:
A delegate from Utah, who supported the rule, also reacted.
“Rule 16 preserves the rights of the states to determine the way they select their delegates to the national convention,” Bruce Hough said. “It gives the complete sovereignty to the states – as it has now – to make those determinations.”
Whether these changes will truly result in drastic changes come 2016 remains to be seen. For now, at least, the changes mean nothing for the 2012 cycle.
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