At the Republican Convention, John Boehner presided over 2 incredibly contentious rule changes which will harm grass roots people wishing to influence the Republican Party for years to come. As reported by Political Tracker:
“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.”
And what a contentious vote it was. John Boehner presided over the vote, and the truly bizarre part is that there was very notable and audible opposition to the rule which was proposed, yet Boehner said as he presided over the vote, “in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it.” Really? No objections? No further debate? No counting of specific votes given the level of vocal contention? Nothing?
Think I’m exaggerating that Boehner ignored the opposing votes – check out the video for yourself:
And the GOP can do this, because they know – you’ll take it.
Here’s what the Political Tracker article had from RNC Press Secretary Kirsten Kukowski on the new rule.
“What we’re doing is we’re implementing a penalty phase so that you can do what you’ve always done, as far as putting delegates…in chairs. But if those people do not vote the way they’re bound to do, then essentially it’s all null and void. They’re no longer delegates.”
What does all this mean? In a report from The Blaze on the new rule changes: “…both the original, expansionist policy and the new, more modest one do achieve what was likely the original goal – namely, to stop the kind of back door “revolution” that the Ron Paul campaign attempted to wage this year…”
The National GOP now has greater power in what delegates from states are required to do, regardless of the state’s rules. Because, as we saw this year – even seating delegates is at their discretion. They just gave themselves by-laws to back up their decisions, rather than using shady tactics like they were reduced to this year. This episode is less about the rule itself, and very much about the intent. They want to stamp out grass roots uprisings at all costs.
It’s kind of like when the federal government does whatever it wants in spite of the state’s desire. Same basic concept. And many are celebrating this “compromise” on the rule change as a victory. Really? The RNC goes for a huge power grab, and only gets a partial power grab, and your happy? You just lost ground, and you are happy about it. Seriously?
And the GOP can do this, because they know – you’ll take it. In fact, it seems many already have.
If you are late to the party on this one, boy – you are missing a lot. The Ron Paul supporters who followed the rules in each state’s delegate process to earn delegates to the convention have been met with threats, lies, coercion and everything else imaginable in their journey. This story, now on a larger scale at the national convention, is nothing new to these Ron Paul delegates who have been battling the establishment machine at every turn in a great number of states.
Just check out the story of the Ron Paul delegates from Maine, who the RNC refused to even seat at the convention. From Cincinnati’s Fox 19, Ben Swann tells the story of how Romney clobbered the Maine delegates:
And this is where things get really interesting. These tactics have been employed in a variety of states throughout the election by establishment lawyers and the Romney campaign. This is how they have been doing business. This is their standard.
Yet, it takes until a few days before this major vote to permanently weaken the grass roots influence in the Republican Party for all the “conservative” talking heads (Limbaugh, Levin, Palin, Malkin, etc) to notice – wow, these people are really trying to consolidate power. Gee – I guess that’s not right.
The GOP did this, because they knew – you’d take it.
Folks – WAKE UP!! This has been the story all along. It’s not new. If you were turning a blind eye to it before because you just didn’t like Ron Paul – well, wake up now because you are being used.
This is the Romney campaign. This is the modern Republican Party. This is how politics works. It is about the consolidation of power- nothing more and nothing less. As one former Ohio rep once jokingly told me, “Policy is just something we discussed between leadership votes.”
By the way – John Boehner is doing exactly the same thing – consolidating power. As the August 27th Dayton Daily News reports, “Boehner, R-West Chester Twp., ended this month having raised $4 million for Republican U.S. House candidates and logging more than 9,000 miles by traveling to 47 events.”
“In all, his political fundraising committees have taken in nearly $84 million this cycle…”
Throwing around this kind of money to members of the house, he is making them both dependent and loyal to him for the next couple years. This is exactly how leadership at state and federal levels keep members of the House of Representatives and the Ohio legislature in line. They get them dependent on leadership for all kinds of things, and then use the carrot as often as needed or break out the whip when the carrot won’t work. The ruling class deals in the one drug almost every politician shares an addiction to: self-preservation.
This is the history of politics, and the funny part to me is that grass roots people keep thinking they can somehow work with this system, that these people are their friends. THEY AREN’T YOUR FRIENDS!
And then I hear from people who say, well – we’re going to work with them one more time and then we’ll hold them accountable because we’ll receive increased access and influence to them as a reward for the hard work and dedication we showed to them. After this election, then they’ll listen to us. NO THEY WON’T! Why? Because you fell in line when they asked you to fall in line, and they know you’ll do it again.
Just look at Ohio. Look at the GOP party battles and bickering that resulted in further consolidation of power, and therefore increased difficulty in influencing legislators outside of that power base. There is no accountability of any kind. Hell, it’s just the opposite. More “tea party” people, the alleged accountability factor, are turning a blind eye than ever. I am watching this happen right now with people actually defending Kasich policies they would have hated if Strickland advanced them. Apparently they thought the battle was over when the “R” got into office. But it wasn’t.
Kasich is spending more money than his predecessor and any governor before him, proposing and backing tax increases, signing liberty killing legislation all over the place, using taxpayers’ dollars to fund corporate welfare and inhibit a free market, and opposing major free market reforms like workplace freedom. Yet, how many people are trying to hold him accountable for these actions?
I keep being told its ok to support Romney, because we’ll hold him accountable later, but this hasn’t worked in the past. It’s not working in the present with Kasich or the US Congress, and I see no indicator that it will work in the future.
The simple truth is that the vast majority of the population still does not drill into the principles of policy or politicians and have not given themselves objective measurements for success from any given politician. They still outsource their minds to parties. This situation has continued, and not enough people have opened their minds.
So yet again, the GOP can do this, because they know – you’ll take it. In fact, they see you taking it right now.
One last example lies in the new “tea party Congress.” Few people on the “right” seem to care about the absolute insanity that has come through the current Republican congress which was supposed to do so many wonderful things after 2010 (they told me so themselves!). This congress is horrible – increasing spending, raising debt ceilings, avoiding all the tough decisions, passing the buck. And when they did advance legislation that Obama actually signed – it was horrible liberty killing legislation like the National Defense Authorization Act which allows for arrest and indefinite detainment of US citizens without a trial or the Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act which prohibits protests against the President and others who have secret service.
I love that a few incumbents in the House and Senate were challenged and beaten this year- even Ohio’s very own Jean Schmidt (OH-2). This is proof that accountability is possible, and must be done on a much grander scale. Clermont County Tea Party rocks for pushing that envelope! But, in an overwhelming number of other instances where a complete lack of principled leadership should have been challenged or at least questioned…crickets.
Tom Zawistowski, President of the Ohio Liberty Coalition sent an impassioned e-mail to the OLC mail list saying how horrible these new RNC rule proposals were, and encouraged OLC supporters to pressure the GOP to stop them. He even enclosed a letter he wrote to Ohio GOP Chair, Bob Bennett in which he said, “The party keeps betting that we will support you know matter what you do to us. You lost that bet in 2008.”
Unfortunately, he’s wrong. They didn’t lose that bet. In fact, their bet is paying off in huge ways. Countless numbers of “tea party” groups have fallen in lock step with the Romney campaign, even though many have said that he – “wasn’t their first choice.”
It’s just proof that the GOP can do these things, because they know – you’ll continue to take it.
“Tea party” groups across Ohio and across the country are allowing themselves to be used and their precious resources squandered – all in the name of defeating Obama.
And, now I just get sad because what those “tea party” groups choosing to work for Romney don’t realize is that by capitulating to work with them instead of being independent, they are not building their own groups, not strengthening their own resources, not building their own tools and therefore crushing all possibility of holding these people accountable in the future.
Who holds the data? The GOP. Who holds the money? The GOP. Who holds the contacts, volunteer lists, etc, etc – THE GOP!!
The “tea party” groups are arming Romney and the old establishment with the very tools they need to ignore them even more over the next few years, and will have strengthened the idea even more that these “tea party” people will always take the lessor of two evils, so why do we need to give in to them?
It is heart breaking because it’s pretty clear, the GOP can do these things, because you’ll take it, and you won’t alter your behavioral patterns a bit in the process.
In closing – this little rant isn’t about Ron Paul. He had his chance and didn’t get the votes. His run for President is at an end, and so I, like many other Ron Paul supporters, will move on.
However, this story is very much about continuing to put your faith in people, and a system designed and owned by those same people, in which you have no leverage or influence, because you do not possess electoral impact independent of the system – which they control. This is just insanity.
The keys to fixing the Republic lie in working outside the system to build issue specific coalitions to accomplish much needed policy objectives and completely destroying the old system and building a new one its place. See Matt Mayer’s proposals for party and electoral reform in his book Taxpayer’s Don’t Stand a Chance to learn more about a new political system for Ohio and other states facing the same establishment political systems.
I dislike Obama as much as the next guy, but at the end of the day – Romney isn’t the answer. Freedom is the answer. Federalism is the means. States cutting the strings of dependency from the federal government is the only thing that can save the Republic, and only electoral impact strengthened by policy based coalitions and a new political system can facilitate the rise of federalism once again.
Don’t be used by this system. Work for what you believe, but don’t give up your soul in the process. Because if you give it all up in the process – what have you really accomplished?
Don’t take it any longer. Instead – embrace what Thomas Jefferson said, “When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.”
Elected Maine delegates leave after RNC refuses to seat them, chants of “Seat them now” after rules votes ignored them: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1I3cI6D3a6Y&
Additional Video of Contention over rules changes with speaker from stage trying to help lead USA chants to drown out the dissent: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1WBBgcvSmg&