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GOP: return of the smoke-filled room



Mitt Romney. Will Hurricane Sandy give him New Jersey, though he didn't even campaign here?

The Republican Party (Grand Old Party, GOP) started its convention today. But before then, “Team Romney” made clear that they want no doubt of the outcome. By doing this they made conservatives and libertarians less likely to trust them, not more. They even changed the rules to leave no doubt of getting the outcomes they want, now and for all time.

Welcome again to the smoke-filled room. New Jersey Activist Dan Haggarty calls this “the last hurrah for the GOP.” After the sordid drama of the rules-change talks these last four days, none can deny this.

The Ron Paul revolt in the GOP

Ron Paul, the last GOP challenger in 2012.

Representative Ron Paul (R-TX-14). Photo: US House of Representatives

The GOP primary season set this drama up. Many GOP primaries are “winner-take-all” primaries. Whoever wins them, gets all the votes on the first ballot from those States. But some primaries allocate delegates in proportion to the popular vote. Still other States hold caucuses, not primaries.

Anyone can “dis-affiliate” from his regular party, show up at the GOP primary, vote, and then “re-dis-affiliate.” But to vote in caucus, he must show his face to fellow Republicans (or Democrats). So one can “cross over” in a primary more easily than in caucus.

During the GOP primary season, Mitt Romney excelled at turning out thousands of voters. But Ron Paul’s people excelled at showing up at State conventions. State conventions pick delegates. Delegates do not run in primaries. (State committee people often run in primaries, but convention delegates do not.)

So many GOP delegates showed up with split loyalties. They favored Ron Paul, but the rules seemed to “bind” them to Mitt Romney. A Ron Paul loyalist filed at least one lawsuit against the national GOP committee, to “unbind” those delegates.


The Empire Strikes Back

Mitt Romney, the GOP nominee for 2012

Former Governor Mitt Romney at a townhall in Sun Lakes, Arizona. Photo: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic License

Mitt Romney wouldn’t take that. So his team tried to replace delegates, State by State. At least one GOP governor (Paul LePage, R-ME) threatened to sit out the GOP convention if the national committee did not seat the Ron Paul delegation.

Obviously Mitt Romney thought better of making such a scene. So his team agreed to seat the delegations. But they then proposed to change the rules for the next GOP convention, four years from now. According to that first rules change, candidates would personally vet delegates from the States. This would strip the State conventions of their authority to pick delegates.

The Texas delegation threatened to walk out over that. The Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, South Carolina, and Virginia delegations swiftly followed suit. Human Events reported that irate calls to the Tennessee delegation offices shut down their phone lines.

Finally, the Romney team backed down. They would not give candidates the right to vet delegates. But the “Bopp Compromise” (named for James Bopp, Jr.) is almost as bad. According to the new rule, all delegates must vote as “bound” or “pledged” on the first ballot. If a delegate breaks that rule, that rule automatically fires him as a delegate. Furthermore, the convention secretary must record that person’s vote as if he cast it as pledged or bound.

The Texas and other delegations accepted this. The only good reason they had to accept this is that if no candidate has 50-percent-plus-one on the first ballot, any delegate may vote however he or she pleases. If candidates ever got the power to vet delegates, that freedom would not matter.

But RoseAnn Salanitri, head of the New Jersey Tea Party Caucus, does not accept this.


Why do we even need delegates? If they can’t vote their consciences, you might as well record their votes ahead of time!


GOP reopens the smoke-filled room

At the time of writing, the Roll Call of the States at the GOP convention is now taking place. But it has already come out as everyone said it would. At 5:41 p.m., the New Jersey delegation cast the votes to put Mitt Romney “over the top.” And now no one may ever doubt how any GOP Roll Call of the States will come out ever again.

As if anyone had any doubt, today the GOP Rules Committee met at 2:00 p.m. They took up two more changes in the rules. Under those changes:

  1. The Republican National Committee, whenever three-fourths of its members shall deem it necessary, may change the rules between conventions. Neither national committee has ever had such power before.
  2. The next GOP primary season will change its schedule drastically. Winner-take-all primaries will take place first.

Ron Paul’s loyalists promise a floor fight. But Mitt Romney already has most of the delegates.

Modern TV sets do not (yet) duplicate smells. But if they did, TV sets across the country at this moment would give off an overwhelming odor of cigar smoke.

Gary DeMar, at Godfather Politics, scathingly tells people not to quit the GOP. He writes:


[Y]ou can[not] change what you consider…wrong if you’re not on the team.

But when the team no longer can vote on its captain, how can anyone, member or non-member, change anything?

Most Tea Party voters will vote for the GOP ticket this fall, only because they want to remove from office the putative President. Mitt Romney probably has Dinesh D’Souza, producer and co-director of 2016: Obama’s America, to thank for that. But four years from now, they will see no reason not to risk “letting the Democrat win.”

UPDATE: Cynthia Kennedy and Tim Brown at Freedom Outpost give further details. Mitt Romney seems to have settled on changing the rules. So settled that his team resorted to replacing one delegation (Maine) completely and holding up another delegation (Virginia) on their bus with a specious security check. John Boehner and John Sununu ran the meeting, and seem to have forged the roll call:

Later on as things were developing and the RNC was pushing through their power grab via the head RINO, Speaker of the House John Boehner and John Sununu, they didn’t even try to differentiate between the yes and no votes. Personally, I think either Boehner had one too many drinks or needed his ears cleaned or both. Because even on C-Span you could hear there was significant dissent.

Boehner and Sununu clearly got all the rules changes they wanted. This includes the power to change the rules between conventions. Delegates on the floor cried “Boo!” Nevada GOP officials called it a “Marxist power grab.” Sarah Palin didn’t like it, either. But all this took place late at night. And this morning, Fox News Channel said not a word about it. ARVE Error: need id and provider
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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

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Fergus Mason

Good article. It worries me that politics is increasingly becoming an activity for a dedicated political class. Britain’s last decent Prime Minister had worked as a research scientist and actually knew what it was like to have to earn a living in the real world; since then the country has been stuck with lawyers and PR men, and similar scumsuckers. Germany’s current Chancellor also worked as a research chemist and has similar experience to Lady Thatcher, and has managed to spare her country the worst of the financial crisis. I doubt that a party Apparatchik could have managed that.

Nathan Bickel

Nice description of what went on.

But, be that as it may; I think that after this election, it is time for America’s TEA Party to begin to nationalize.

The two political party system has become antiquated. A TEA Party national ticket could be successful. It could siphon off enough voters from both political parties; – and, enough to come out on top! If Bill Clinton’s Dem Party can seize the White House with approximately 43% – 45% of the vote in a two party contest with the Ross Perot vote, much, much less; a national TEA Party could reasonably beat out the RINO Republican Party and the Lib Democrat Party.

Pastor emeritus Nathan M. Bickel


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