During the Republican National Convention, the liberty segment of the Minnesota Delegation—33 of the 40 delegates cast their votes for Ron Paul—issued a number of press releases dealing with rules proposed by party leaders and the Romney campaign that gave sweeping new powers to the RNC. This controversy is more than an interparty inside baseball scuffle. It could have a significant impact on Republican Party politics and consequently on the outcome of the 2012 presidential election. In case you missed them, pasted below are copies of the releases in chronological order.
Minnesota Delegation Reacts to RNC Stripping State Parties’ Authority to Choose Convention Delegates
“Even non-Ron Paul Delegates see move as a ‘power grab’” says Delegation Chair Marianne Stebbins
In response to the Republican National Convention Rules Committee action on Friday, Aug. 24, granting the Republican National Committee — and Mitt Romney — sweeping new powers to amend the governing document of the GOP and allocate and bind state party delegates to presidential candidates based on state straw polls and give presidential campaigns final approval of delegate selections, Minnesota Delegation Chair Marianne Stebbins issued these statements.
“Gov. Romney’s campaign counsel Ben Ginsberg in today’s Rules Committee meeting adopted an attitude toward Liberty Republicans that if you can’t beat them, then beat them with a stick,” said RNC Minnesota delegation chair Marianne Stebbins, who lives in Excelsior and sits on the Rules Committee. “Mr. Ginsberg and the interests he represents made it clear today that Liberty Republicans and Tea Party Republicans are unwelcome guests at this party.”
The rules changes came as, at the same time in a room down the hall, the Credentials Committee was unseating the Ron Paul delegation elected at the Maine state convention.
Stebbins noted that during the Rules Committee meeting Mr. Ginsburg made numerous proposals from raising thresholds to nominate a candidate from the floor to requiring binding of state delegates and even approval of state delegates by national presidential campaigns. Mr. Ginsburg argued that his rules, effectively gutting grassroots and state party authority to choose delegates to national conventions, were necessary to provide the RNC and Romney campaign “flexibility” to adapt to changing political conditions.
“The ‘flexibility’ Mr. Ginsberg wants is centralizing party power in the party establishment in order to prevent the discussion of issues important to Americans but that might challenge party candidates,” saidStebbins.
“Loyalty to the party or a candidate is having the courage to tell them they are wrong when they propose policy that is contrary to small “r” republican principles and bad for the country. That’s best for party and country. Apparently, Mr. Ginsberg and the Romney camp do not want that annoyance. They would prefer to put tape over the Check Engine Light rather than heed its warning.”
“Even non-Ron Paul delegates and MNGOP party officials recognize the significance of the RNC actions goes beyond its direct effect on Liberty Republicans. It’s pure and simple a power grab by Romney forces,” Stebbins added.
Craig Westover, a former MNGOP communications director and a Ron Paul delegate to the RNC noted, “The Rules Committee action is why many Liberty Republicans don’t salivate when someone rings the unity bell and why we can’t give unequivocal support to Gov. Romney. If Gov. Romney can condone a power grab by the RNC, what’s to say he won’t initiate an Obama-like power grab by the federal government when he is President?”
“The real ‘battle for the soul of America’ is taking place within the Republican Party,” Westover noted. “Is the Republican Party going to be, like the Democratic Party, a power grab party or are we going to be a party that stands for what it says it stands for – individual liberty and constitutional government. When the Rules Committee essentially and arbitraily invalidates the Republican Party Constitution doesn’t bode well for liberty and constitutional government.”
“Liberty Republicans believe that Americans live better when they live free,” said Stebbins. “And when political parties live free they are stronger parties. I can’t fathom a Republican candidate for President that would support Mr. Ginsberg’s obvious contrary belief.”
Republican Party Establishment Offers Compromise to Rules Proposal Stripping State Parties’ Authority to Choose Convention Delegates
Minnesota Delegation Chair Marianne Stebbins calls compromise proposal a “Heads we win, tails you lose” offer to grassroots activists.
(Tampa) – In response to compromise position offered late Monday, August 27, in which the Romney campaign and GOP leaders ostensibly backed down from proposed rule changes effectively eliminating a state’s authority to select delegates to national Republican conventions, Minnesota Delegation Chair Marianne Stebbins noted that what is being played as a compromise is simply more slight-of-hand politics that betrays republican principles.
The proposed rule change pushed in the pre-convention Rules Committee meeting, August 24, by Romney campaign counsel Ben Ginsberg would grant the Republican National Committee — and Mitt Romney — sweeping new powers to amend the governing document of the GOP and allocate and bind state party delegates to presidential candidates based on state straw polls and give presidential campaigns final approval of delegate selections.
Under the compromise proposal, which will be voted on by the full GOP Convention on Tuesday, August 28, delegates who are bound by state law to a presidential candidate that hasn’t bowed out of the race or released his/her delegates must honor that commitment. Any vote for another candidate would be voided and the delegate would lose his or her delegate status.
“The compromise proposed by the RNC and Romney campaigns is a heads “Heads we win, tails you lose” offer to grassroots activists,” said Stebbins.
“The establishment/Romney campaign has offered a minimal compromise to the supporters of the Rules Committee Minority Report that leaves in place most of the objectionable power grabs of proposed new rules including the ability for the RNC to change the rules without convention approval (Rule 12). Meanwhile, support for the full Minority Report continues to grow as grassroots activists from across the nation – Ron Paul and non-Paul delegates — flood email inboxes with protests,” said Stebbins . “With Rule 12 in effect, there is nothing stopping the RNC from changing party rules after the convention and away from public scrutiny and effectively rescinding its publicly offered compromise or creating new rules that further reduces the grassroots effectiveness of the party,” said Stebbins.
Rule 12 requires a 75 percent vote of the RNC to make changes to party rules without a vote by delegates to a national convention. While 75 percent might seem like a high threshold, because the national party controls state funding, a little arm-twisting is all it takes for the national party to influence state RNC members.
“In the past the power of the purse has proven a powerful tool party chairmen,” Stebbins added. “In the past, what party chairmen have wanted, party chairmen have gotten irrespective of the opinion of the grassroots.”
“I fail to see the difference between the rules proposed by the party establishment and the process they imply and the criticisms we make of the Democrats and President Obama buying votes by doling out federal benefits,” said Stebbins. “Clearly the party establishment and the Romney campaign’s attempt to strip state Republican parties of their authority to select delegates to national conventions is a violation of republican principles.”
Stebbins noted that minority reports coming out of the Rules Committee will also be presented to convention delegates on Tuesday that address the proposed new process for amending GOP convention rules (Rule 12).
“More states, not just states with a plurality or majority of Ron Paul delegates are seeing this move as the power grab by national party leadership and the Romney campaign that it is,” said Stebbins. “Many if not all members of the Minnesota delegation will reject the new rule and be voting in favor of minority reports that repeal the proposed rules.”
“If we are going to be the party that in the general election that seriously proposes reducing the size and scope of the federal government, then we ought to be running our party consistent with the same principles,” added Stebbins. “Rejecting consolidation of power in our own party makes the GOP a stronger party in the general election.”
Minnesota Delegation to the RNC casts 33 votes for Ron Paul in roll call of states
(Tampa) In the roll call of states at the Republican National Convention this afternoon, Minnesota Delegation Chair, Marianne Stebbins reported, "Minnesota, where we are very proud of our state Republican party, which runs a fair convention with integrity, casts 33 votes for Ron Paul, 1 vote for Senator Santorum and 6 votes for Governor Romney."
Rules Controversy Could Cost Romney Critical Support in General Election
“Defeating President Obama requires enthusiastic support of grassroots activists” says Minnesota Delegation Chair Marianne Stebbins
Following a multi-state press conference at the Republican National Convention protesting RNC rule changes that would bind state delegates to future national conventions and give the RNC unprecedented power to change convention rules without a vote by national delegates, Minnesota Delegation Chair Marianne Stebbins issued the following statement.
“The controversy over the rules is not simply an interparty squabble,” said Stebbins. “It could cost Gov. Romney the election.
There is no campaign without a healthy grassroots. And the grassroots are furious. I’ve received hundreds of emails and phone calls from all over Minnesota, and they are still coming in. Some say they won’t work for Romney; others say they won’t vote him. Losing grassroots support — the volunteers that make a campaign go — could cost critical votes in critical states and ultimately the election.”
Losing grassroots support, losing just 5 percent in a battle ground state in a closely contested race could cost Romney critical electoral votes,” Stebbins explained. When you lose a voter, you just loose a vote, but when you lose a voter and an activist, you lose two votes and a thousand phone calls or a thousand piece of literature dropped – a thousand opportunities for a person-to-person good will endorsement.”
“The rules controversy is a power grab that is at the heart of the debate within the Republican Party. Gov. Romney is campaigning on decentralizing federal power and returning decision-making to the states, while within the Republican Party, the RNC is centralizing power and taking authority from the states. That’s a clear contradiction of the Republican Party’s fundamental principles. The idea that we live better when we live free applies inside the party as much as it does outside the party,” saidStebbins.
“At this point, we feel it is imperative that Gov. Romney use his power as the Republican Party candidate for President to instruct the RNC to use the power granted to it in revised rules and eliminate the controversial binding rule and immediately use the same power to strip itself of the authority to change party rules without approval of national delegates,” said Stebbins.