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    Romney's "RNC Power Grab": What Really Happened

    The Romney campaign and Republican party leaders have pulled off an audacious coup that could greatly reduce the influence of grassroots conservatives and libertarians within the party in 2016 and beyond. 

    Boehner with gavel

    Yesterday, the Republican National Committee in Tampa adopted some changes to the rules of the national Republican Party that shift power from the state parties and the grassroots to the RNC and the GOP presidential nominee. Former Governor John Sununu of New Hampshire touted the new rules as providing “a strong governing framework” for the party over the next four years. But in fact the new rules should be very troubling and disappointing to conservative grassroots activists, because they move the national Republican Party away from being a party that is decentralized and bottom-up toward becoming one that is centralized and top-down.

    The Romney rules effectively disenfranchise grassroots delegates, and will thus tend to weaken and splinter the party over time. They specifically represent a blow to the Tea Party and the Ron Paul insurgency -- movements that have sprung up precisely because Washington insiders (of both parties) have abandoned the traditional bedrock principles of the Republican party, namely, economic freedom, fiscal common sense, and smaller, constitutionally limited government. Indeed, these vibrant new movements (which have attracted many young people, politically active citizens, and non-Republicans) represent what could fairly be characterized as "the Republican wing of the Republican party." They want a real voice in the Grand Old Party. They've played by the rules. But the power brokers have now changed the rules, in order to shut them out. This unexpected hostility forces grassroots conservatives to reconsider their future within the GOP. 

    Party sage and long-time RNC member (and conservative activist) Morton Blackwell led a last-minute effort to stop the changes -- an effort FreedomWorks strongly supported, together with such prominent conservatives as Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, and Phyllis Schlafly. RNC for Life jumped into the fray, concerned to protect the grassroots' ability to have a voice in writing the Republican platform. Meanwhile, in the blogosphere, Michelle Malkin, Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh, and others helped sound the alarm. 

    But alas, the Romney camp and RNC insiders won the day, successfully imposing their will with the help of their control of the gavels, superior knowledge of the process, and perhaps some dirty tricks. The conservative “rebels” won the moral victory, however, taking their fight to the Rules Committee and the full Convention floor and arguably winning the voice vote there to stop the rules, only to be gaveled down by Speaker John Boehner [view video from 1:08 minutes]. 

    The noes have it - RNC 2012

    Yesterday’s fight offers a sobering glimpse of what life will be like for conservatives in a Romney Administration. It proves once again that sometimes we have to beat the Republicans before we can beat the Democrats.

    In Terms of Substance

    Last Friday, August 24th, at a meeting the Convention Rules Committee, longtime GOP lawyer and Romney advisor Ben Ginsberg surprised Rules Committee members by proposing some rules changes that, on reflection, were almost certainly intended to consolidate control of the party in Washington and head off a conservative challenge to President Romney in 2016.

    In the words of Morton Blackwell:

    The changes he [Ginsberg] proposed shared a common theme: to concentrate and centralize more power at the top of the party and to shut off opportunities for power in the party to flow from the bottom up.

    None of Mr. Ginsberg’s power grabs would in any way help us elect Mitt Romney and defeat President Barack Obama. . . . But his efforts predictably enraged conservative Republicans who treasure the protections long incorporated in our national party rules.  The record will show that during the Conventions Rules Committee meeting,  as a member of that committee from Virginia, I repeatedly warned Mr. Ginsberg that his power grabs would hurt the Romney campaign by outraging grassroots conservative and libertarian activists whom we want to support our candidates this year.

    The proposed changes would alter the party's rules, adopted in 2008, do two main things:

    1. Amend existing Rule 12 to hand members of the Republican National Committee, for the first time, the power to change the party's rules on the fly between national conventions. (National conventions only take place during presidential election years.) The RNC may not amend Rule 12, however; that privilege remains reserved to a national convention. Three-fourths of RNC members must approve a proposed rules change for it to take effect. 

    Comment: This is unprecedented. It would give RNC members a new power to circumvent rules adopted by a national convention. And it actually bars the RNC from devolving this new power back to the states. One can easily see how campaigns would take advantage of this power to shape and control the presidential delegate-selection process, and how special interests would use it to shape the national platform to benefit themselves.

    2. Amend existing Rule 15 to allow the presumptive presidential nominee to “disavow” duly elected delegates and force state parties to hold new elections to replace any delegate or alternate deemed unacceptable by the presumptive presidential nominee. (Note: The proposal also contained a provision altering the method of allocating delegates, in order to front-load and shorten the presidential primary calendar.)

    Comment: One can imagine the influence this change would give a presumptive nominee over any delegate that doesn’t toe the line. He could, in effect, choose the people who are to choose him. It’s not hard to imagine the temptation a campaign would feel to use this power to intimidate delegates and to reward friends, supporters, and campaign contributors.

    Unfortunately, the proposed change to Rule 12 passed. Thankfully, the proposed changes to Rule 15 were stopped. But a version of the “disavowal” provision did pass, touted by the insiders as a "compromise." 

    Ben Ginsberg

    Under this “compromise,” a new Rule 16 was added to stop an alleged “faithless elector” problem -- delegates who run claiming to support one candidate but then vote for another at the Convention. The new Rule 16 requires that a delegate who attempts to violate his binding pledge to a candidate under state law or state party rules shall be deemed to have resigned and the Secretary of the Convention must record the improper vote as it should have been cast based on state law or party rule. This compromise was supported by conservative stalwart James Bopp, as well as Ron Kaufman and Governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi. Blackwell opposed the compromise because it retained the Rule 12 change. 

    As long as the RNC can change the rules between conventions, the proposed changes to Rule 15 that we managed to stop could easily be revived at any time, without a vote at a National Convention. Since the RNC usually follows the lead of its Chairman, and the Chairman has powerful incentives to go along with an incumbent Republican President, it should be easy for Team Romney to change the party rules pretty much any time at their pleasure. This should trouble every Republican.

    At a minimum, the effect of the new rules will be to empower insiders over the broad party electorate and to discourage grassroots activists from taking part in the process. The new rules will thus have a chilling effect on intra-party debate, including debate over the National Platform and, of course, on future rules changes. The “Inner Circle” has scored quite a coup. 

    In Terms of Process

    After Ginsberg’s proposed changes were presented in the RNC Rules Committee, Blackwell circulated a letter denouncing them and vowing to resist them by means of “minority reports,” which can be offered for votes on the Convention floor and, if adopted, would have the effect of defeating the proposed changes.

    Morton Blackwell

    Over the next four days, we worked feverishly to kill the rule changes, sending out a national call to action and urging our activists to lobby the party chairs and Rules Committee members from their state about the issue. We lit up Facebook and Twitter (using the hashtag #RNCpowergrab) and burned up phone lines with hundreds of calls. We filled up people’s voicemail inboxes. We caused an avalanche of emails. We irritated the heck out of some people. But the pressure had a decisive effect. Negotiations began on the so-called “insiders’ compromise.” 

    We knew we were fighting an uphill battle. Blackwell laid the groundwork for a floor fight by obtaining more than the requisite number of signers on each of the two minority reports. (Twenty-eight signatures are required.) 

    As the Rules Committee meeting neared, Team Romney went into high gear, working hard to peel signers off the minority reports. 

    When the committee finally met, Blackwell was absent, and we have conflicting reports about whether he still had the requisite number of co-signers. One report suggests he did, but that the committee basically disregarded the minority reports because he was not there to defend them. 

    Why was Blackwell absent? This was out of character for the veteran, battle-scarred activist. Did the insiders pull a Nixonian trick to make sure the leader of the opposition wasn’t present during the crucial meeting? Here’s how CNN explained his absence:

    … [S]ome [rules] committee members suggested meddling was at play. A bus full of Virginia delegates arrived at the committee meeting -- after it had adjourned.

    “The bus that was supposed to pick up the Virginia delegation arrived an hour later than it was supposed to,” explained Virginia delegate Morton Blackwell, a prime opponent of Rule 16 [a.k.a. the insiders’ compromise on delegate “disavowal”].

    Blackwell continued: “And then when we went downtown, we went around the same series of blocks repeatedly -– twice. And then the bus took out away from downtown, went about a mile and a half, and then did a u-turn and came back. And did another circuit, of the same place where we had been before.” 

    And at that point, the Virginia delegates demanded, “‘Stop the bus. And we're going to walk.' And we did.”

    Mike Rothfeld, a Virginia delegate also on the bus, went further. 

    “They pushed us around for 45 minutes and then we missed the meeting,” Rothfeld said. “We were in the security perimeter, they pushed us out of it three separate times. They moved us around until the meeting was adjourned.”

    [Colorado delegate Florence] Sebern claimed the snafu was “deliberate.”

    No one, however, has offered any proof that the delay was intentional. And Morton Blackwell has said, "I never for a minute believed our bus had been deliberately delayed.  One should not attribute to conspiracy what can adequately be explained by incompetence." 

    Tampa Bay Times Forum

    Fair enough. But there are a number of other examples of possible dirty tricks that deserve to be recorded for posterity: 

    1. Florida activist Laura Noble informed us that both of Florida's Rules Committee members, Peter Feaman and Kathleen King, were removed from the Rules Committee and replaced with Romney-appointed delegates. 

    2. Some Rules Committee members were physically barred from entering the room, despite having proper credentials.

    3. Some delegates were told that Blackwell was trying to use the situation as an excuse to reopen a settled debate that he had lost four years ago regarding Rule 12. Not true.

    4. Some delegates were told Romney personally knew nothing of the matter and it was just his overly aggressive lawyers acting beyond their authority and there was nothing to worry about, he would put a stop to it once he found out what was happening. This seems highly implausible, given the final outcome.

    5. Some delegates seem to have believed that the rules fight was merely a side-fight in the larger and (to their minds, more urgent) battle being waged between the Mitt Romney and Ron Paul camps over who would represent certain states on the convention floor. This mistaken assumption may have discouraged some Rules Committee members from supporting the minority reports. If so, it's tragic, because, while they did coincide and reinforce each other, the two fights were distinct. 

    Governor Sununu chaired the meeting. Governor Barbour strongly urged “unity” and the need for everyone to set aside “differences” to “defeat Barack Obama.” 

    The rules package, containing the insider’s compromise, passed by a decisive vote of 78 to 14. Unfortunately, the Rule 12 change (permitting the RNC to change the rules between conventions) remained in the package, unaltered. Which, of course, means that other rules changes can be imposed later, without a vote -- including the Rule 15 change (giving the presumptive nominee the ability to hire and fire delegates based on their perceived loyalty).

    Sununu Boehner RNC 2012

    The package then went immediately to the full Convention for approval. On the convention floor, Governor Sununu offered it as a “strong governing framework” for the party over the next four years, and with no debate or even mention of the controversy over Rule 12, Speaker Boehner then called for the ayes and noes. The crowd roared loudly, on both sides of the question. Despite the “noes” being (in this hearer’s estimate) louder than the “ayes,” Boehner hastily gaveled the matter closed, declaring: "In the opinion of the Chair, the 'ayes' have it, and the resolution is adopted."

    Apparently, someone at RNC was able to predict the future, because this sentence had been helpfully written out for him in advance, and included in his teleprompter script:

    Scripted Victory

    Boehner's scripted announcement provoked cries from the crowd of "No!", "Boo!", "Roll call!" and "Division of the house!" [view video starting at 1:08 minutes]. But the microphones had been turned off. Boehner pretended not to hear.

    This incident was unprecedented, according to Morton Blackwell:

    I was the youngest elected Goldwater delegate at the 1964 national convention.  I have attended every national convention since, and I’ve represented Virginia on the RNC since 1988.  Nothing like this has happened before in living memory at a Republican National Convention.

    The Fix Was In

    The will of the delegates did not matter. The "Inner Circle" had decided. 

    Had we been able to force a roll-call vote, it would have delayed the day’s proceedings by several hours, which would have created an embarrassing logistical foul-up for Team Romney on the Convention’s first night. With the prime-time coverage and big evening speeches scheduled to begin fairly soon, our leverage would have been significant. Team Romney would have been forced to commence immediate negotiations right there on the convention floor, desperate to get their show back on track.  But having foreseen the possibility of dissent, they planned to be, at the critical moment, conveniently deaf.

    Soon after the disappointing outcome, FreedomWorks released the following statement from Matt Kibbe:

    I believe that the Republican party has made a huge mistake by effectively disenfranchising grassroots activists who want to be a part of the party process. If the party sincerely wants the support of citizens, shutting them out of the process is not the way to do it. Sooner rather than later the Republican establishment needs to come to terms with the decentralized nature of grassroots organization circa 2012. The terms of engagement can no longer be dictated from the top-down.

    Morton Blackwell agreed, writing:

    What happened regarding the party rules in Tampa was a totally unnecessary but largely successful attempt to concentrate and centralize more power at the top of the party and restrict or shut off opportunities for power in the party to flow from the bottom up. ...

    It’s little short of tragic that some of his [Romney's] operatives blundered by setting up an entirely unnecessary, major controversy with grassroots Republicans at our national convention.

    The new rules strongly suggest the insiders don’t think they need the grassroots to win in 2012 -- an astounding assumption, given the critical role grassroots voters played in the historic 2010 wave election.

    Despite this setback, we’re proud to have come so close to victory on such short notice and while operating under such severe disadvantages, relative to the insiders. This episode confirms just how powerful grassroots action can be in today’s world -- and we hope the party insiders are taking note of this fact. 

    We expect Democrats to be top-down and high-handed -- centralization of power is their governing principle, after all. But coming from Republicans, high-handedness is deeply disappointing. Republican rhetoric has always emphasized decentralization and local control -- making policy from the bottom up. And until yesterday, the GOP was in fact a mostly bottom-up party. No longer.

    This isn't merely "inside baseball." If the new RNC rules had been in place forty years ago, the establishment might have been able to shut down the Reagan insurgency in 1976. Reagan might not have been able to secure the nomination in 1980. 

    Perhaps we should not be surprised by this turn of events? Perhaps the centralization of power in the political parties is simply a logical development in the present era -- a “progressive” era, when all institutions, under the pressure of an unlimited, centralized government, tend over time to reflect and become servants of that government?

    Perhaps. But whenever an "Inner Circle" exploits its constituents' trust to entrench itself in power, we believe the appropriate recourse is always the same: expose the treachery and keep fighting. Find ways to break down the castle walls. Drive the despots out. 

    This develoment confirms our thesis that the reclaiming of Washington, D.C., by the American people requires siege warfare -- or, in the corporate parlance of our time, a “hostile takeover." The failed, entrenched "managers" of our nation -- including the powerful insiders who run the political parties -- do not want to change and will not let themselves be replaced without a fight.

    So be it. This aggression will not stand.

    The Upshot

    What does the RNC power grab mean for the future? 

    1) Beginning today, the GOP will be much less representative of state parties and voters -- and much more representative of whichever interests are smart and powerful enough to dominate the RNC. 

    2) The conservative grassroots will now have to add “Monitoring the RNC” to their “eternal vigilance” list.

    What should our next steps be?

    1) Between now and November 6th, our main focus should be the elections. We must fire Barack Obama and elect a new wave of true fiscal and constitutional conservatives to the U.S. Senate to reinforce allies like Jim DeMint, Rand Paul, and Mike Lee.

    2) But starting today, we must also work to ensure the RNC doesn't actually use its new power to change the rules on the fly. 

    3) In four years, we must amend the rules at the national convention to decentralize power and restore the status quo ante.

    Let's take the Republican party out of the hands of insiders and centralizers, and make it a bottom-up party again. That means doing the hard work of getting elected to local and state committees, adopting resolutions, buttonholing RNC members, etc.

    All that said, let's face it. This is a slap in the face to the countless Americans who are trying to effect change from the bottom up. We must decide whether and to what extent we want to remain engaged in a Republican Party whose establishment clearly does not want our input. My own personal opinion is we should exhaust all our options to reverse the power grab before we even think of "walking out."

    The RNC power grab has succeeded, for now. We’ll be back.

    Welcome to the “Hostile Takeover.”

    Hostile Takeover book cover

    Dean Clancy is FreedomWorks' Legislative Counsel and Vice President, Health Care Policy

    MORE INFORMATION

    FreedomWorks Responds to RNC Vote on Reversing Power Grab (2013-04-12)

    The Fight Continues Against the RNC Power Grab (2013-04-11)

    Florence Sebern: Rules Changes with Comparison (2012-09-07)

    Morton Blackwell: My views on the 2012 GOP rules controversy (2012-09-02)

    Michael Duncan: The RNC Planned to Silence Grassroots Opposition (2012-08-31)

    Michelle Malkin: RNC power grab: the aftermath (2012-08-29)

    FL: Critics say Boehner used RNC rules committee to quash internal dissent (2012-08-29)

    Timothy P. Carney: GOP leaders trample on the grassroots in Tampa (2012-08-29)

    Dean Clancy: Romney's "RNC Power Grab": What Really Happened (2012-08-29)

    Delegate: RNC Rule Change Would Have Silenced Reagan in '76 (2012-08-28)

    Michael Duncan: Romney Camp Removing Rules Committee Members (2012-08-28)

    2012 Platform of the Republican Party (2012-08-28)

    Washington Times: GOP officials accuse Romney of 'power grab' (2012-08-26)

    BuzzFeed: Grassroots Backlash Against Romney Campaign's Rules Changes (2012-08-24)

    RULES OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY (AS ADOPTED AT THE 2012 NATIONAL CONVENTION) (2012-08-28)

    RULES OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY (AS ADOPTED AT THE 2008 NATIONAL CONVENTION) (2008-09-01)

    [See links below for documents related to this issue.]

    114 comments
    ainthurtinnobody
    09/13/2012

    To me this just verifies my long standing belief that both major parties are big government supporters. They just fight it out over who gets to control the purse strings.
    Their only differences are which parts of government they want to expand. I'm not a fatalist just a realist. Government: A necessary evil that must be watched like a hawk. Don't expect a group of bought off politicians to save you or your country. Save yourself, your family and your community. Then we can move on to higher levels. Putting your faith and trust in liars, thieves and prostitutes will get you nowhere.The corporations and elites have written the laws in their favor so put your energies where they will be most effective. Don't be sheep led to slaughter. Every body's got one and that's mine.

    Joe Vilsack
    09/11/2012

    Even though I am less than thrilled with the choice, I would like to see all conservatives focus on getting Romney elected. Then immediately after the election completely focus on consolidating the power of the Tea Party and all conservatives to take back control of the Republican Party or form a Third Party. I don't realistically believe that the old guard will ever relinquish their power. So I propose we leave them with full control of a ship going nowhere.

    steve taylor
    09/11/2012

    I appreciate your position. As of today, those who are against a second term of Obama are certain +/- a few. Some believe this "few" may make the difference.
    While a number of these "few" are not waivering because of Obama, but because of Romney. For the most part, those of us who want Obama out are up to date and will continue to be so thru the election. I suggest giving us(conservative, tea party, libertarian, 3rd party, and yes a number of democrats) another option. I believe "WE" have more numbers than what is "broadcast". Pushing now for more Romney voters is futile. Those who we may awaken in trying to do so would/will be very very few of the "few" who have not already chosen to be against Obama. BUT, in pushing now for Johnson, WE do two things: We get a chance to see how many are truly desiring what is needed NOW versus waiting until after the election. And inso doing may attract many BEFORE the election.
    WE are not stupid. WE are mighty enough to also do our own polling of our numbers, tho I have not yet seen that done(HELLO !!!). WE have the "net" to do so, now before someone pulls the plug. Secondly, because we need to be united to prevent Obama from a second term, IF WE do this correctly, WE will result in obtaining either of the following; Johnson's numbers soar, Paul gives his endorsement to Johnson, some other RINOS will jump on board, and OUR polling shows Johnson stronger than Romney. Or, this does not occur and Romneys numbers remain the stronger. If we bring onboard Johnson and Paul and some of the other RINOS(Palin,Bachman,Gingrich,Perry,Santorum,Cain,Dick Army,Huntsman,Rove?,other establishment repubs....it could happen) ALL united in defeating Obama......what a contingency! This can only happen if WE get Johnson and Paul and the others to agree that if OUR numbers are not sufficient to defeat Obama with Johnson, the ALL will at the last minute before the election vote Romney. So, can WE get Johnson and Paul first to agree to this strategy? Neither of them want to see a second term Obama. Those of us who want neither of the DEMS of REPUBS can be shown/given credence by the "we" who hear our desires. If I have to vote Romney to prevent Obama, I WILL ! But, I truly desire we find our strength now, not after the election. WE will move mountains. The mountains are Obama and Romney! WE have another option in how it can be done. Please pass this on if it is"ringing" with anyone else who reads this. WE have time, a short time yes,but it is simple and costs(in dollars) nothing. No donations are needed, just spread the WORD that there is a solution on the way.
    And in the event that Romney not Johnson is elected, Romney will be forced to walk a very narrow path for us. All of this can only help, not hurt our goal. If Johnson is elected, then we truly have OUR first grassroots agent in the white house, who will listen to what WE have chosen. First to honor the constitution. Secondly to sit in OUR seat. And third, execute on our behalf.(no special interests, corporate puppetstrings, wall street, or central bank influences) Our next non-obama president will have a very difficult task which WE have placed on him. He will need to place OUR agenda before his own. To secure OUR nation, finances, common welfare, and future. If he is successful depends on US.
    Willing to work together to form a more perfect union. If WE can do this, we also will secure the world, from itself. Each of us will continue to be tested, tried, and then learn from this process. It will be US working out our differences in the freedom to do so. All of the current unseen power people in control of OUR lives will be severed. For WE have taken back OUR country. WE are a very diverse people. Perhaps Dr. Deming' ideas can be examined/utilized(MacArthur did so with japan). WE have many resources available to us, in many ways. There is a long term solution. It is continual improvement..Just what OUR forefathers said.
    Simply agreeing to disagree is not the long term answer, merely a short term pause while seeking what is better, and then best. WE could and will be doing so much better if we just work on it! WE must do this, or it will not get done.

    Jack Gannon
    09/10/2012

    Vote for Good! Vote for the Best Candidate! Vote for the Libertarian Party to Grow! Vote for Political Censorship to Die! Vote for Fiscal Responsibility! Vote for Social Tolerance! Vote for the Constitution! Vote for Job Creation! Vote for More Political Choice! Vote for a Strong Economy! Vote for Ending the Military Wars! Vote for Balancing the Budget! Vote for Ending the War on Drugs! Vote for Reducing the Deficit! Vote for Ending Government Involvement in Marriage! Vote for Civil Rights! Vote for Reducing Government! Vote for Ending the Income Tax! Vote for a Fresh Political Party to Run Government! Vote for Leadership!

    These are "20 causes" that I will be supporting by voting for Gary Johnson for U.S. President! And, he doesn't "even have to win" the election!!!

    Gary Johnson Campaign Video Ad...
    The Vote For Freedom Is Never Wasted
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izCXJZAIXMI

    steve taylor
    09/09/2012

    The only current solution is no different than what many of us saw long ago, both of the two major parties are so corrupt, that only a 3rd party from the grass roots in the white house will have a chance of truly "fixing" the problems. My first vote was for nixon, enough said, and then as a young republican I helped to elect Lugar, enough said. Since then I have voted 3rd party in all presidential elections. There were always those who told me I had wasted my vote. After perot, I started believing them. But, now more than ever have I realized not one of my votes was ever wasted. There are enough of us who can be the "WE" now. The current debates would not even be in the forefront had it not been us 3rd partiers, and yes what is now the tea party. I am a tea partier!
    Attended the dallas freepac and restoring love and have my ticket for cinncy. BUT, my same "gut" that would not let me vote for either of the major party presidential candidates, is now "kicking in again". NOW is the time for all the grassroots to come together and put Gary Johnson in the white house. He will be OUR agent. I believe if we can get enough movement, that Ron Paul will endorse Gary. WE are gaining strength in numbers, lets not thow this cycle for the lesser of two evils..Can we do it?
    Anything is possible if WE choose. What if WE fail this cycle and Obama is elected?
    I believe that OUR numbers will grow so fast that WE will still be the victor. So, the solution remains the same. It is not IF, but WHEN!!!!!!..........no better time than now to push for it, and keep pushing as needed.

    steve taylor
    09/09/2012

    P.S: keep voting for the truth, it is lonely at first, but it will encourage others to do the same..........after time the numbers will be there.....and all will be awakened. My vote is only wasted when I give it to someone I can not trust. WE did not awake enough in the republican party to effect change in this cycle, as we had tried to do. But, WE can help to get Gary in the debates. WE can make a statement that others will hear. NOW. ......news alert(cnn,fox,msnbc,etc);"polls are showing that Romney is falling rapidly in the polls while Obama's are staying the same, says wolf"........even the media will question and find that there are a lot of frustrated voters who now say they will not vote for either major party presidential candidate......."they say they are fed up" ......"not going to waste their vote any longer"........(about a week later)...."polls are now showing that both Romney and Obama numbers are falling"......"people,of all ages, and notably the younger vote are supporting the libertarian principles in candidate Johnson".....
    "they say because Johnson was not allowed in the debate, that is even more reason to support him"........"the game is rigged"............"wow wolf", say the pundant, "this guy is rising in the polls and is not spending even 1% of the others"..."only in america and access to a "freespeech internet" could this be happening"......."they are truly making there voices heard"....(Romney and Obama try, but find it too late, in appealing to the those they once "had")....."wolf, it appears that "they" are standing together against the corporate and wall street puppetmasters of not only the 3 branches of federal government, but their local govt's as well", says the pundant...........(and when asked on the street, one of "US" responds; "WE are the US. The US is us. We are US.".........."WE are letting all of you go".........."WE will fix it, you have not"..........(when asked how); "WE have a good constitution, WE were born with it. WE are just gonna follow it."..."its been a while, thankyou".......................................................................dream on little dreamer.

    Lexie
    09/09/2012

    What happened here is a bunch of crap. However, let's not throw the baby out with the bath water. Maybe Gary Johnson should have ran a better campaign and he could have been the nominee. He didn't. He did not do well in the debates and now you want to elect him as president. Romney was not ready in 2008 but he is this time around. Perhaps we should be more concerned about making sure Obama is not relected. If Romney screws up then start early on with Gary Johnson. He will be in a far better place in 2016 than he is now. I understand all this 3rd party talk but Gary Johnson is NOT going to win. So you all send your message and vote Gary and enjoy the next 4 years under Obama. Then good luck in 2016 when all Obama's changes are deeply rooted into the government. Do you think you actually know all the changes he already has in place? Do you really think everyone isn't as frustrated as you? I am very afraid that history is once again going to repeat itself.

    John Carnal
    09/07/2012

    Speaker of the House Boehner's participation in this imitation of the Soviet Union's legislative procedures clearly disqualifies him to continue as our leader in the House of Representatives. He has no credibility left to lead the purest manifestation of representative democracy found in our form of federal government. Priority one has to be his replacement with a 2010 vintage conservative. He has no backbone. He has no character.

    Susan Lange
    09/05/2012

    With this new rules decision, it is just one more step of the GOP to become more like the Democrats with each passing day. The GOP PTB have dismissed conservative values.

    Joe Vilsack
    09/03/2012

    The action of the GOP is not a surprise. The old guard RINO's are desperately clinging to power and they will continue as long as we let them. I believe that the best plan is to do everything we can to defeat Obama in November, then begin working to develop a third party. One of two things will happen in the process. Either that leverage will force the GOP to make the necessary concessions and if not, we will be better off with a third party. Let the games begin.

    Phil Stanley
    09/03/2012

    This is one lifelong Republican who will not be a part of this corrupt party anymore. I value my integrity above all else. The RNC just handed Obama 4 more years. I am joining the Libertarian Party and voting for Gary Johnson.

    vinny.raineri's picture
    David Raineri
    09/03/2012

    If you ADMIT your vote is wasted, WHY vote for Gary?! WHY vote at all?!

    Robert Terrell
    09/03/2012

    I have said this before, but here goes: There is only ONE Democrat Party! Al of the othe votes are divided up between umpteen dozen splinter parties, none of which has more than, maybe, 30% of the total votes. ALL of the votes, together, equals 100%. If you decide to put your vote on a small 3rd party splinter group, how can you possibly think you will win? If EVERYONE who doesn't want to vote for Obama votes for just ONE party candidate, they may win. If everyone votes for their flavor of the day candidate, NO ONE wins, or Obama wins. It's as simple as that! There is no magic formula! ANY 3rd party will need a huge majority to even think about winning. The only way the Republicans can win is if THEY have a huge majority. Voters are fickle and often change their minds once inside the voting booth, so there is no guarantee who is going to be victorious. The only constant truth here is that a vote for a 3rd party is a vote FOR Obama. Obama or America: you can't have both.

    Robert Terrell
    09/03/2012

    PS. At this moment everyone has made up their minds about who they will be voting for. All the ballyhoo and hoopla isn't going to change many minds. If we can make people see how bad things are then, maybe, they will want to change things for the better. Aside from that, just get everyone you know to get up off their duffs and go vote.

    Halie Selassie
    09/02/2012

    It's amazing to me that people actually think that there is a difference between Obama and Romney! Except for a few lame talking point slogans, their associated past represent the same failed policies that got us into this mess. Socialist ideals are contained in both candidates; global government, provided healthcare, world policeman, gun control etc, etc... Fellow Republicans, do you actually think that America will vote for a Mormon?! Really!? I'm all for religious freedom but that does not mean I would select a Mormon as "leader of the free world".

    I'm voting for Gary Johnson or I will not vote.

    Ray Wade
    08/31/2012

    The Democratic and Republican Party are now broken beyond repair. So now what do we do. We vote Gary Johnson. Will he win? Probably not but it will cost Romney the election. Then we just take on Obama head on for the next four years. He will finish screwing things up so bad that we can walk a third party candidate into the WH in 2016. If we do not do that and let Romney get in then we will have to endure him until 2020 and there will be no third party. It is time for America to get some sense slapped into its head. Reelecting Obama will do it.

    Howard Tinsley
    08/31/2012

    Romney & Obama both support bailing out their banker bosses.
    Both support the patriot act , NDAA , SR347 , a police state.
    both support the U.N. and both want to destroy the constitution.
    I will not support either party, they are corrupt just like the media.
    Welcome to AmeriKa folks...

    Halie Selassie
    09/02/2012

    Yes, Gary Johnson or nobody.

    Ray Wade
    08/31/2012

    Howard we get it.

    Brian Richard Allen
    08/31/2012

    .... We must fire Barack Obama. We must show up on election day 2012 ....

    We, The (Sovereign American) People, do not "run FROM;"

    Not even from such loathesome and fearsome mobbed-up Mussolini-modeled modified-Marxist murtadd-muslim manifestations of evil as that presently pretending to what he passes as our "presidency." (Americans didn't run even from the hapless recidivist treasonous co-serial-rapist Billy-Bubbah Blythes)

    We only ever run TO.

    In my lifetime the only Real Republican who got that was the Great Ronald Wilson Reagan and the first elitist-establishment dick that differed from him followed him into office and was soon out of it -- and run out of town on a rail!

    And after the treatment President Elect Palin and we T.E.A-party-movement Republicans and the rest of our grassroots have gotten this week? I for one as sure as God made little green apples am staying the Hell away from the polls come November 6.

    West Coast Patriot
    09/01/2012

    Brian, It is funny that you mention Ronald Reagan as if the rule changes they just put in place, had been in place in 1976 when Reagan went up against Gerald Ford, he would have never risen to the level in order to become President in 1980. If these rules were in place then, we would have never had Ronald Reagan as President. Everyone should think about that and do some soul searching as we are heading into the dark ages.

    Ray Wade
    08/31/2012

    Brian
    Let me tell you what we are running from. You are like many other Americans, you mean well. But what you want to do is add another patch to a worn out tire and you will do that by electing Romney. You can only patch a tire so many times before it blows and we are about half of a patch away from blowing. Sooner or later you have to replace the tire. I think that right now is the time to replace the tire. Stop worrying about Romney getting elected. We can replace the tire in 2016 if Obama stays in. What more can he do without starting an all out civil war? People will be more than glad to except a third party in 2016. We can no longer expect to fix this mess through the Democratic or Republican Party. They are broken and the only difference between them are name only.

    Ray Wade
    08/30/2012

    This is for all the people who say we must replace Obama at any cost. Let me ask one question. If this is so true then where were all of you when the Ron Paul supporters were being robbed? Where were you when the State GOP's were throwing out fairly elected Delegates? Where were you when the GOP in Tampa was making sure that no activist group would have any say so in the GOP process? I can tell you where I was. I was in Tampa as and Alternate Delegate. I got so disgusted I left and come home. Now let me spring some real truth on you folks who want Obama out at any cost. If we had got a fair shake, and yes I was a RP supporter, and if one single one of you Romney supporters had taken the time to complain about the way the RP supporters were treated and RP himself I would have voted Romney even though I am not at all fond of the man. But no not one single word from any Romney supporters or the ones who just want Obama gone. If you had treated me right and been honest then you would be good to go. Sorry but since you condone such actions by the GOP then I am forced to vote for Gary Johnson. Next time you may want to stick up for what is right. Wrong is wrong and a crook is a crook no matter how you cut it.

    Taylor Dalton
    08/30/2012

    I will be giving a vote for Liberty! Gary Johnson has my vote. Everyone says its a vote for Obama.. What is the difference between Obama and Romney? The letters next to their names? Romney is one of the most corrupt politicians out there, we're voting for another Bush. He wants to bomb Iran, he has 17/24 of the same foreign policy advisers George W. Bush had. If Romney wins, it will just ruin any chance we have in 2016 just like Bush ruined it for the republicans in 2008. His Mormon god-like complex is going to bomb Iran, destroy our countries economy even more, and most likely start a nuclear war or WW3. Is this what you want? As soon as Obama is in the presidential debate with Romney, he's going to look the cameras in the eye and tell the nation: "Romney.. your known has a hypocrite, you flip flop on a multitude of issues.. how can the nation even trust you.. how can you sit here and lie to America and say your against socialized health care when you are the one who created it and implemented it in your state." Its going to be hard enough for a good republican to win against Obama, let a lone a worthless one who isn't going to get any Ron Paul voters, any libertarians, any principled republicans, and the anti-war democrat voters. Give me a break. Obama already won, so you might as well let the media know the Libertarian party is gaining huge momentum and strength and will be a huge "threat" in 2016 by voting Gary Johnson. End of story

    Phil Stanley
    09/03/2012

    /agree

    Alan Horton
    08/30/2012

    All you naive sheeple still in Romney's court. Sounds to me like you are the group that screwed me by voting in O-blame-o in '08 and now have buyers remorse. And, you are scared to death that I am voting my conscience and YOUR chosen dictator (Romney) won't get crowned king. Really? I am tired of your stupidity putting idiots in the whitehouse that now you want me to help you remove!

    I am still trying to figure out your circular logic in wanting me to vote for someone I really dislike to remove someone YOU really dislike! Now, that is laughable and I have no sypathy for you! I will be voting my conscience, that you sheep have no clue what a conscience is, and I will cast my vote for the only person left in the race that knows how to preserve freedom - Gary Johnson.

    You sheep have spent months telling me that I am going to cost YOU the election because I wanted the only Constitutional candidate in the race, now YOU can eat crow. I will still vote for the only Constitutionalist in the race, Gary Johnson!

    My only hope is that Dr. Ron Paul will join us on the Libertarian ticket! I am a Liberty Rebulican that puts Contry above party. I will not vote for your defacto king, I will vote for preserving the Constitution of these United States of America.

    Mark Daniels
    08/30/2012

    I've been blocked by the spam filter for posting links to articles which show why you should not vote for Obama or Romney and that you should instead Vote for Liberty. Live Free. Vote for Gary Johnson.

    Alan Horton
    08/30/2012

    Hear, hear, brother!

    Sean Emerson
    08/30/2012

    The only way to stop this from happening is to replace your party stalwarts at a local level and rebuild the GOP from the ground up. We have been working to this end in my county since April. Read here about how this impacts us going forward:

    http://www.libertypcos.com/slider/does-the-rnc-rule-12-amendment-impact-...

    Mike Frankenberg
    08/30/2012

    Totally agree with you Sean!! There are to many people out there that don't pay attentioin and would be scared to vote for a third party. We have to do this one state, county, representative, chairman, delegate, at a time. More people have to get involved in politics before this changes, what is it going to take for people to wake up!!!

    Kevin Dewhurst
    08/30/2012

    The Republican leadership and the RNC are a disgrace. They claim to represent freedom and less government - but they lie. They are essentially a dictatorship that that wishes to impose their unique views on everyone by either consent or force.

    Alan Horton
    08/30/2012

    Exactly, Kevin... Why change dirty diapers?

    Maureen McDonnell
    08/30/2012

    Independent from a swing state here. We have one last chance to get rid of Obamacare.

    Four more years of Obama will assure that voters on entitlements will become the voting majority and they will continue to vote to protect those entitlements. In 2016 and thereafter, it will not matter what we think as we will be silenced in the voting booth. It will become the 21st century edition of taxation without representation.

    I typically respect and applaud voting on principle, but not this time with so much at stake. If I have to crawl to the polls to vote for Romney to help defeat Obama, that is precisely what I plan to do.

    Phil Stanley
    09/03/2012

    Obama will be neutered when the Repubs control the House and Senate.
    The problem is, the Repubs are no better at defending our liberties than the Dems are. They all eat off the same K Street Diner plates so it does not matter who is President. It's congress who passes the laws. As far as Obama's Presidential Orders go, they can be repealed if the Repubs get the house and senate. I will be voting for Gary Johnson for President and Tea Party candidates for house and senate.

    Alan Horton
    08/30/2012

    That's sad Maureen, the only reason I'd crawl to the polls is to preserve our founding documents. I will not vote for someone i dislike just to get rid of someone YOU dislike!

    Justin Fox
    08/30/2012

    I was going to vote for romney bc I also wanted to see a step in the right direction. Both my wife and I. But after the way his camp has completely hijaked the party and its rules, I will be giving my vote (my wife as well) to the Libertarian Candidate Johnson. I do not care if it hurts romney bc i want it to. I am going to stand my ground and vote the way I should. romney's actions are indicative of the way he will be as president- worse in my opinion than obama.
    Vote Gary Johnson!!!!!

    West Coast Patriot
    09/06/2012

    Sean, you and others who think like you ARE the problem in America. What ever happened to principles? As long as everyone says it cannot be done, it won't, but when everyone comes together, miraculous things can happen. Stop taking in all the lies and start researching the truth.

    Alan Horton
    08/30/2012

    Sean, I'll move to Russia before I'll vote for either one of the buffoons you mention. I will vote for the only Constitutionalist left in the race, Gary Johnson. You can waste your time and vote changing dirty diapers if you want!

    Sean Emerson
    08/30/2012

    Sorry, I think you're both wrong. I'm no fan of Romney, but he's still miles better than Obama, who is deliberately and systematically dismantling this country. I would rather see the country mismanaged by the president instead of attacked by the president.

    Leon Welch
    08/30/2012

    People please pay attention. I was at the National Convention as an Alternate Delegate from GA. I saw what was happening. I walked out. I would have nothing to do with this. Suddenly it dawned on me that Romney was exactly what I thought he was but did not want to admit. We are in a mess in this country. We have that Muslim Obama on one side and now we have a con artist on the other. I was willing to go with Romney in order to get rid of the Muslim but now I find that Romney is just as bad if not worse than Obama. What a mess we are in. I will now go with Gary Johnson. Looks like we are in for a Civil war. Folks I am asking every American to wake up. We are running out of time. If we do not throw these two con artist out we are not going to have a country. Now I see why people call Romney Obama Lite. If you do not know how to pray you might want to find out and get busy.

    Nancy Hayes
    08/29/2012

    From Peter Feaman's FACEBOOK POST : I am first and foremost, a grass roots activist.

    Each State Party controls their delegate selection process through its own rules.

    I was at the Standing Rules Committee meeting last Wednesday in Tampa. I e reviewed every rule change. There was nothing allowing a “presumptive” nominee to disavow anything.

    However, I was not at the Convention Rules Committee meeting on Friday because I had been replaced on that Committee.

    I saw the proposed Rules changes that came out of the Convention Rules Committee for the first time yesterday afternoon (Tuesday) in printed form on the floor of the convention.

    An hour or so later we received new language to read. The outrage of the grassroots had been heard. The language allowing a presidential candidate to “disavow” a delegate had been completely removed. There is more work to be done, but this is a victory. To then call for a roll call vote would have completely disrupted the convention, when the outcome of the nomination was not in dispute.

    The focus still must be to defeat Obama.

    Rest assured, the grass roots has not been disenfranchised and I will continue the fight to keep the grass roots at the forefront of the party.

    But first things first---defeat Obama!

    Raven (in Wisconsin)
    09/01/2012

    That Rule 15 ("disavowal") was not enacted there at the Convention offers no safety, since Rule 12 now allows the RNC to enact any rule it wants *between* Conventions, with no delegate-votes at all. The RNC can enact "disavowal" at any time, including just before -- or during -- the next election season. <br /><br />Dean Clancy actually makes this point in the article above.

    Alan Horton
    08/30/2012

    No, no, no! First and foremost uphold the Constitution of the United States of America! I'm not buying Rombama's snake oil!

    Aldrin Cave
    08/29/2012

    did Ron Paul/Gary Johnson honestly believe that they can get elected president at this time? As much as I am a Libertarian at heart, I am pragmatic enough to understand that the main Issue right now is defeating OweBumAss - anybody that says otherwise knowingly endangers the liberties that we are trying to defend, I'd rather work with Romney/Ryan who will at least listen and can see eye to eye with some of our ideologies than enable OweBumAss to totally throw our constitution and our freedoms to the garbage shit bin of their Democrat/Socialist party... Ron Paul/Gary Johnson will become relegated in history as bit players that enabled the Democrat/Socialist to destroy America because of their insistence on becoming the alternative and splitting the vote against OweBumAss...

    Alan Horton
    08/30/2012

    Our sentence would be comnmuted from 8 years to 4! I'll take the lesser of two evils now. 4 more years of O-blame-o is better than 8 more years of Rombama.

    Glenn Kluthe
    08/29/2012

    You Third Partyers need to go back and lear your High School civics. We do not directly elect Presidents. We vote for Electors. The Electoral College elects the President. If you want to get a third Party Candidate elected you should have started four years ago. You need to convince a majority of activists to leave either or both Parties. Liberals are not leaving the Democrat Party (yet) and probably never will. They are in lock step with Obama. I"m no fan of Romney, this Cenrtalized Power in the Party = Centralized Power in the White House=Agenda 21=UN Control=Goodbye US Constitution. However you can expect worse from Obama. We need to make the Republican Party the third party. You do this by with holding money from the GOP. Also by telling corporate donors to stop donating or boycott their business. If you starve the Party, change will happen. Also replace Boehner and Mitch McConnel; as leaders.

    Raven (in Wisconsin)
    09/01/2012

    @Glenn Kluthe: "Liberals are not leaving the Democrat Party (yet) and probably never will. They are in lock step with Obama." <br /><br />Your namesake Glenn Greenwald is a popular liberal columnist on Salon ( http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/ ), who has been ripping Obama up one side and down the other for his civil-liberties and human rights violations -- Guantanamo, drone-killings, the kill orders on civilians outside battle zones, etc. <br /><br />I really don't think he's alone in those opinions. The problem is, after George W. Bush's record on the same issues, nobody expects better from the Republicans, or at least not from Romney. (Ron Paul would have been a different matter.) There's been nowhere for liberals to *go*. <br /><br />If Gary Johnson can take on on Ron Paul's mantle as a clear alternative to both Romney and Obama on those issues, and definitely *not* a nutcase like some earlier 3rd-party candidates, I think he might well get defectors from both parties. But voters need to know who he *is* before they can begin to trust him... and that's the big problem: just now most voters have *no idea who he is*.

    West Coast Patriot
    08/30/2012

    I live in a prominently Liberal state, but there are still a lot of Blue Dog Democrats. I am not worried about getting true liberal votes as you cannot even have a decent conversation with them, but I know a lot of Democrats that wrote in Ron Pauls name on their Democrat primary ballot here and that gives me hope. Quit being so one sided with your views, just because they have a D in front of their name, does not mean they are not for liberty my friend.

    John Morris
    08/29/2012

    Gary Johnson has about as good a chance of winning the Presidential election as Yasser Arafat has of coming back to life and becoming the PM of Israel. I am NOT, repeat, NOT comparing Johnson to a terrorist, but if the Libertarian platform is so popular, why is it they never garner more than 5%-10% of the popular vote IN THEIR GOOD YEARS? They have never won even one single vote in the Electoral College. I'd think that the first half of the 20th century would've shown Libertarians what happens when the U.S. ignores what happens in other countries: two World Wars, the rise of communism and massive ethnic genocides. Don't even get me started about the intelligence failures that led to 9/11, thanks in large part to the "kinder, gentler" CIA approach to terrorism under Clinton.

    West Coast Patriot
    08/30/2012

    John Morris, "Gary Johnson has about as good a chance of winning the Presidential election as Yasser Arafat has of coming back to life and becoming the PM of Israel."

    Only because the people like you that have the sandman standing next to you 24/7. If you want to have another criminal in the White House, be my guest and vote fro Romney, a lot of us will stand with Tea Party and Constitutional principles, not thuggery political principles. The RNC along with the Romney campaign have basically taken away our vote for all future elections. If you are OK with that, then welcome to Russia comrade.

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