It appears that the reports of playing nice between the Republican National Committee (RNC) and supporters of former Congressman Ron Paul are exaggerated.
Last week, Politico painted a rosy picture of the formerly rocky relationship:
The acrimony between the Republican establishment and Ron Paul supporters who took control of state parties in 2012 has begun to fade as a new period of détente — even cooperation — starts to shape their often-fraught relationship.
And both sides say the togetherness — a behind-the-scenes priority for Republican National Chairman Reince Priebus — could be an important key to GOP success in the midterms and perhaps 2016.
So national party brass are seeking cooperation, even friendship, in most of the states where libertarians made the deepest inroads. They’ve decided that it is easier to win with honey than the hardball tactics of the past.
RNC chief of staff Mike Shields said this is part of a broader strategy to strengthen the party from the bottom up with stronger outreach, better coordination and more field staff.
“Every state party is buying into what we’re doing,” he said. “When you’re working on a plan together, when you’re working on ways to target voters and turn them out … perhaps that bypasses some of the other conversations that have gone on in the past.”
Still smarting from last November’s thumping, both sides have matured and became savvier about working together. The loyalty of the Paul folks has shifted from father to son, and many believe they can be most helpful to Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s likely 2016 presidential campaign if they have a seat at the table.
A seat at the table? Judging from their treatment by the GOP leadership at the 2012 national convention, the only seats the establishment will leave for Paul supporters (Rand or Ron) are those around the kiddie table, passing time while the “grown ups” arrange the party’s affairs.
In 2012, as the Republican National Committee Convention Rules Committee met in Tampa for the party’s quadrennial convention, Ben Ginsberg, at the time Mitt Romney's campaign lawyer, showed up and pressured members to accept radical changes to the party’s rules governing the binding of delegates and the way rules are to be revised in the future.
According to one of the rules as revised by Ginsberg, every state must amend its nominating process to ensure that their delegations are bound to vote in accordance with the winner of the popular vote as cast at state caucuses or primaries.
Ginsberg’s version of another rule empowers the RNC to bend its own rules to suit their needs at any time without submitting the changes to party members gathered at the quadrennial convention. This unprecedented revision places the control of the GOP in the hands of the establishment candidate without suffering the inconvenience of listening to dissenting voices. In the future, the nomination of an incumbent Republican president is guaranteed and upon leaving office, he will be able to name his chosen successor through manipulation of the party rules.
Put simply, the passage of a radical new rulebook rewritten by Ben Ginsberg was predetermined.
The story in the Washington Times reports that the bitter taste left by Ginsberg’s treachery has not left the mouth of many in the GOP.
“Ginsberg’s work has left a bad taste in the mouths of not just newly active Republicans, but in many GOP conservatives who have been fighting these battles for a very long time,” said Carolyn McLarty of Oklahoma, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee's Resolutions Committee.
Virginia RNC member Morton Blackwell, founder of the Conservative Leadership Forum, added that “these Ginsberg power grabs were unprecedented.”
Blackwell, who served in the Reagan White House, personally wrote RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, urging him to dig in at the RNC summer meeting Wednesday through August 17 in Boston. Blackwell and his supporters want the word “shall” restored to rules that mandate states choose their delegates, displacing the word “may” that Ginsberg successfully inserted last year.
“In living memory, no candidate about to become the Republican presidential nominee had ever used his power to generate wholesale changes in the rules of the Republican party at the convention which was about to nominate him,” the veteran Virginia Republican National Committee member wrote in 1,890-word letter to Priebus that was obtained by the Washington Times.
For an establishment Republican such as Mitt Romney, Ginsberg’s machinations guarantee that dissident voices will be forever squelched and thus Ginsberg’s contribution to the party is invaluable.
Regardless of the love-fest version of events published by Politico, activists working to break the establishment’s grip on the GOP tell a different story.
In an e-mail last week, Bryan Daugherty, the founder of LibertyRoll.com provided The New American with a first-person update from the RNC’s Resolution Meeting.
As proxy for Mark Willis, Daugherty presented the Resolution to Restore Our Voice, a proposal declaring “that the Republican National Committee rejects the legitimacy of the method of passage of the 2012 Rules of the Republican Party,” and would require that the RNC “revert to operation under the Rules adopted by the 2008 Republican National Convention.”
Not only was that resolution rejected by GOP leadership, but according to Daugherty’s report, rules were adopted that place the future of the party well outside the influence of any candidate whose positions are not safely within the policy spectrum of the monopolistic political power of the ersatz two-party system. Daugherty reports:
After the Ginsberg power grab and the implementation of Rule 12, the RNC could change the rules through raised amendments from the Rules Committee which is made up of more 50 people, each representing a each state or territory. Those changes which received a majority vote would then be brought before the full 168-member body and would then need the support of 3/4 of that body in order to adopt the changes.
Now with the creation of a 10-member rules subcommittee, the changes brought to the full rules committee will be referred to the subcommittee and then offered back as a slate of changes to the rules committee. This makes it difficult on Rules Committee members as the pressure to make even the smallest beneficial changes will be locked with potentially bad changes.
The subcommittee is scheduled to meet every month in Washington, D.C., and it is the party’s belief that this will help speed up the changes.
Personally, I see this as a further power-grab. The Rules Committee is more than capable of handling these changes, and there is a representative from every state and territory each of whom could provide input from the state he or she represents.
It is also important to note that Rule 12 only offers the opportunity to change the rules up to two years before the National Convention. That means there are only three meetings left. It is important to remember that the RNC is planning to streamline the National Convention to a maximum 60-day period and future tweaks to a number of the rules is needed to make that a possibility.
Following this latest slap to the grassroots and the rank and file, Willis, Daugherty, and five members of the Maine Republican State Committee resigned. In a letter to Maine’s GOP Secretary Chuck Mahaleris, Willis explained the reasons for the group’s departure. A copy of the letter was provided to The New American, in which Willis, Daugherty, and their colleagues write:
There are times in your life when you must choose between two paths.
The first path, if taken, would require us to remain within the Republican Party despite the fact that we know without a doubt that Republican ideas of more freedom and less taxes — while sounding good and repeated by any and all candidates — are in fact, worth no more than the paper that they are written on.
The second path leads to a principled preservation of our individual integrity, helping out our fellow citizens at the local level, and doing our level best for our Creator, our families, and our friends.
We have therefore chosen to follow the path of the latter.
With Senator Rand Paul’s ascendancy and the ever increasing influence of his iconic father, it remains to be seen which path constitutionalists still loyal to the Republican Party will take in 2016.
In Reason, Brian Doherty summarizes the situation, writing, “It feels from the evidence in this Politico story that it's less a case of Paulites becoming a comfortable part of the GOP and more a case of the RNC establishment making a desert and calling it peace.”
The GOP’s leadership’s rewriting of the rules seems to be a case of the RNC establishment acting like a Politburo and calling itself a party.