The RNC kicked off last night with a vote on the highly controversial rules committee report in which a small committee of GOP establishment favorites tweaked the rules to allow the national convention to override and block delegates from state and local conventions if they don’t personally approve of those delegates. The move has been attacked nationwide as a top-down takeover of grass-roots and TEA party politics by the GOP elite at the national level. As such, delegations from several states were prepared to fight the measure when it came to a vote.
They did, but the top-down GOP apparatus was already in full swing, and prepared . . . to ignore them totally. And it did.
C-SPAN, which captured the video in the link below, posted this short description: “Delegates being denied a point of order and not recognizing a clearly close vote on the rules of the RNC. Which apparently don’t matter.”
Indeed, it didn’t seem from this that the Republican Party which so often touts “rule of law” actually gives a rip about rules or law. Classic GOP moderate John Boehner introduced John Sununu, who then announced the motion for the adoption of the new rules, no discussion. Both spoke deliberately as a clear chorus of shouts for “point of order” rang repeatedly in the background without being recognized as the rules of procedure require—the irony being that the GOP leaders were ignoring the current rules in order to impose new rules.
After ignoring the multiple calls points of order, Boehner called for a voice vote. The audio from the clip clearly reveals an even division between ayes and nos, which by rule requires a re-vote using a more particular method. Boehner ignored this without hesitation and said, “The ayes have it,” when it was clear that they did not.
The move was immediately met with denunciations on social media, referring to “gestapo” tactics and saying “the GOP just died” as the selection of future candidates was essentially taken from local conventions and handed over to the choice of a small ruling elite within the party.
In light of the party leaders’ blatant disregard for rules and lust for more power, several delegates walked out of the convention. It is unclear whether they will return to the convention later or even to the party.
While some Romney supporters will call these grass roots, TEA party champions “quitters” for leaving the party at this point, quoting the old adage “quitters never win,” the faithful are more certain of two other adages as well:
1) Cheaters never prosper.
2) Only a fool plays against a stacked deck.
One widely circulated criticism of this GOP convention move can be summarized as follows: If the GOP is willing to use strong-arm tactics and rule-breaking in order to ramrod its favored unpopular candidate into the seat of power, what makes you think they will be any different once in office?
For the record, these were not just Ron Paul supporters. Brietbart.com reports that Sarah Palin, other grass roots supporters, and even neocon Michelle Malkin called for a rejection of this top-down takeover. Palin had some wise words for those who think the only object is to replace Obama:
“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.”