RNC Rules Fight - After action report
good, bad, ugly...
First let me say thank-you, thank-you to conservatives everywhere who spoke up and started a national firestorm over this issue. If you're like me, you know just how important it is to the future of the conservative movement.
With the Rules meeting itself, the first problem was attendance. Many, many of our supporters simply didn't make it there do to buses that were up to an hour late to pick them up, (Morton Blackwell of Virginia had this problem). Many of them who didn'tmake it would have been additional signatures to our petition. But they started the meeting anyway, introducing a motion to ratify the final report of last Friday with the exception of the rule 16 compromise language taking out candidate veto power over delegates. This final motion passed.
As the meeting was going on, we were circulating our minority report petition. At one point, the male delegate from Massachusetts snatched it out of the hands ot the lady from North Dakota, refusing to give it back after repeated demands, resulting in a shoving match when the delegate from Colorado came to her defense.
After the final vote was over, according to party rules, we had one hour to file our minority reports, and, according to Rules, they have to be filed with either the committee chair, secretary, or convention secretary. Of course, after the meeting, they were no where to be found.
We continued to pick up signatures after the meeting, getting up to 24 our our Rule 12 minority report...but 4 shy of what would have been needed. Again, many people simply weren't there. Others had their arms twisted. And others, as I learned, were simply "replaced" on the committee by their delegations.
On the Rule 16 issue, we had enough - IF we could have submitted something on paper - but again, no one there...or to be found. So our only option was to re-submit, via email, the pdf of what we submitted last Friday. We emailed this to Sununu and the convention secretary. The problem however would have been that it had 29 signatures, but since Friday, 2 members asked to have their names removed, so it would have been a no-go.
After the vote on the convention floor, it occurred to me that we probably should have just told everyone to "vote no" on the rules entirely...and yell "division" to force a head count...if the rules failed, a new motion substituting the old rules may have been in order...but hindsight is 20-20.
The upside is that as a result of shining a light on what was going on and alerting everyone to it, we were able to force a compromise to get the worst part of the proposed changes removed, (the change that would let campaigns have veto power over delegates).
The downside is that all of the rest of the garbage went through, (i.e. letting the RNC change the rules between conventions, removing a March proportionality rule that will result in a massive front-loaded national primary in 4 or 8 years, forcing some caucus/convention states to bind delegates against their own rules and state law, etc..).
Worst yet, due to the RNC's new power to change the rules, the gennie is out of the bottle and, who knows, a proposal for candidates to have delegate veto power may yet be in our future.
This whole debacle verifies what I call "Drew McKissick's unified theory of political power" - Those who get involved and stay involved have the power. Even idiots eventually get promoted up the chain to their level of incompotence if for no other reason that there is so much apathy that "somebody" has to fill xyz position and "hey, this guy always shows up, give it to him". And there you go.
The takeaway for conservatives is this: GET INVOLVED - AND STAY INVOLVED. Yes, those boring old precinct meetings matter. Going to county party meetings matters. Running for delegate matters. Who your delegates pick for Platform and Rules Committees REALLY MATTERS. Show up...support good people who can't be bullied.
Right now we have a campaign - or many campaigns - to win this November. And conservatives should do everything they can to win. But after Election Day remember, the candidates represent the party, not the other way around.
Keep the heat on, and keep them honest. This shook people up. Keep them that way.
Thanks again for all of the support. You have no idea how much it meant.