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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
    Robert Mahoney
    08/29/2012

    I am not understanding what happened here. Is the RNC trying to split the Republican vote? If so, we will have either a heavy third party vote or a lot of disgruntled Republicans who will not vote at all.
    Does the RNC not understand disenfranchising so many will give Obama back the White house? .. When that happens, thanks to the RNC, we are all down the drain, people, country and all.
    This is the stupidest stunt I have ever heard a political party or its people make.

    Phil Stanley
    09/03/2012

    Romney had the Rules changes put in place jusy in case he loses in t2012 so that in 2016, there will be less chance of being beat in the primaries.

    Raven (in Wisconsin)
    09/01/2012

    Robert, look on the bright side. Even if Obama gets re-elected, he's limited to four more years, and then not eligible to run again for President. If by then the whole country agrees he's terrible, his party would probably lose the 2016 election, putting the Republican candidate in office. And if Romney loses 2012 ignominiously, it'll probably be a different GOP candidate in 2016. So then no more Obama, and no Romney *ever*. And may it be a long long time before any candidate of either party tries this sort of manipulation again, seeing that outcome.

    Andrew Nappi
    08/29/2012

    A vote for Gary Johnson is a vote for Gary Johnson, not anyone else. Voting for Gary Johnson will no more elect Obama than Perot did Clinton. It is amazing how many people continue to parrot mythology. When Perot dropped out in the summer of 92, Bush' numbers did not move. Clinton's did. Exit polls showed a fairly even split as to whom was the number two choice of Perot voters. If all those who had Bush second had voted for him, he still would have lost. Now for you people who are so afraid of Obama, why are you not afraid of the Republicans who overwhelmingly gave him illegal power over the Bill of Rights to use the military to arrest and indefinitely detain US citizens under the National Defense Authorization Act. A bill by the way Romney said he too would sign, and Paul Ryan did vote yes to,twice. Your Paul Ryan voted for bailouts, the patriot act and HR347 which places restrictions on the right to assemble and protest. This is your party's voting record on civil liberties. You fear four more years of Obama when your own tea party favorites are giving him usurpation authority over the constitution. In fact, NDAA also repudiates THREE grievances in the Declaration of Independence. Yes, Gary Johnson 2012. Vote for either of the two the Goldman Sachs candidates at your own peril. There is seriously no hope for some of you.

    John Morris
    08/29/2012

    If the GOP doesn't stop trying to marginalize the Tea Party and true grass-roots conservatism, THEY will be the ones marginalized when REAL conservatives take back the party. Conservatism does not need to be apologized for, or compromised with, it needs passionate champions to articulate conservative ideals, and to hell with the liberal press. They will NEVER give equal treatment to conservative candidates.

    Les Legato
    08/29/2012

    As bad as Romney is he will not be making the far-left, jihad-appeeasing appointees to SCOTUS that Obama will.

    And if you Paulists vote 3rd Party, OBAMA WINS.

    We need to get Obama out of there, AND further increase Conservative control over the House and Senate and simply stymie Romney's rino mode for 4 years.

    If we can't pull Romney to the Right in 2-3 years, we get him out in 4.

    If we can't get Obama out NOW, we will be stuck with TWENTY YEARS of an islamo-marxist SCOTUS.

    Halie Selassie
    09/02/2012

    There is no difference between Obama and Romney. Mitt's history shows that he believes in the same policies as Obama. Like Obama he cannot be swayed, only bought by the same people that got us into this mess. Besides, independents will not vote for a Mormon.... and if they don't like Obama they will simply not vote.

    It's time to take back the Republican party - stay Republican and get involved locally - protest by voting Gary Johnson or no one at all.

    Mike Grew
    08/31/2012

    No.. Romney won't be making the far left happy... but he will also not decrease spending, stop the wars, or anything else to better this country or support freedom. He will not help us at all.

    kay2the2nd
    08/29/2012

    they sure been lernin from the Dems

    Denise Smith
    08/29/2012

    I would have thought the 'Upshot' portion was already part of the package. Welcome to our Missouri world of Todd Akin. THEY DISLIKE HIM not for his misstep, but for his conservatism. Akin has never been one of the 'good old boys'. While I consider myself very conservative....I have never believed Ron Paul walks on water either. So, it would seem to me that there are at least 3 factions in the (not-so)Grand Old Party. One wonders if, indeed, we have become 'ungovernable'.

    Raven (in Wisconsin)
    09/01/2012

    Denise, I for one never noticed Todd Akin one way or the other, until he made that amazing claim that rape can't cause pregnancy. Then I learned he wasn't the first politician to make that claim -- that it's been circulating in Right-to-Life channels for *decades*, and is one justification given for making no exception for rape in anti-abortion laws. It's a bit unnerving to discover that the medical equivalent of Flat-Earthers have been getting elected and re-elected to Congress. And Akin is on the House Committee for *Science*?

    Michael Morarie
    08/29/2012

    If the stakes weren't so enormous I'd get a kick out of people always trying to be "the last one who believes in freedom"...too many voted for Obama/"Uncle Remus" to prove they weren't the racists they are. Now you are saying let's all vote libertarian and ensure another term for the Ayatolah of Michigan/B. Hussain. You turn up your nose because you don't like the alternative and water down the vote to get us totally lost as a nation under the dreams of a Kenyan! Idealism never matches up to reality...never has, never will since the Garden of Eden. Think it through and stop trying to win kudos for being a proud, dreaming idiot!

    Brandon Lytle
    08/30/2012

    To those who espouse the "wasted" vote fallacy: I would rather see Obama in office than Romney. Yes, I said it. I do not know how those who saw Romney's campaign and the GOP running roughshod over the entire RNC process could suggest to Ron Paul supporters with a straight face that he (Romney) must get our votes, in order to get Obama out of office. To Hell with Romney, and I mean that quite literally: to quote a popular film, "The deepest circle of hell is reserved for betrayers and mutineers". I give my vote gladly to Gary Johnson, and whether he is elected, or Obama, I can take pleasure in a Pyrrhic victory over Romney, who, unless his corporate masters purchase his way to victory, will never be the President of these United States.

    Thomas Collins
    08/29/2012

    Ignore the dem trolls who say they are voting for Johnson. He just joins the list of would-be spoilers, Huntsman, No Labels (remember them?) America Elects(remember them?), groups formed for the sole purpose of attempting to blunt the force of the TEA Party.

    West Coast Patriot
    09/06/2012

    Thomas, you spout what you know nothing about. I have been a Freedom Works Tea Party member for a long time, a Republican for all my life and I was born in the fifties. I am a Vietnam Era Veteran and I am voting for Johnson. If you want to stay blind to the elite force of arm against our liberties, then be my guest, but I will no longer give in to party just because they are my party. I am an American first, not a Republican first and I suggest you research and search your soul to find the truth.

    gk4dy's picture
    Glenda Kitchel
    08/29/2012

    We must beat Obama and then take out the rinos and demcrats! The fight isn't over gang it is just beginning! WE MUST NEVER SIT DOWN AGAIN! NOT FOR OUR SAKES OR YOUR KIDS SAKE!

    Gavin Stroud
    08/29/2012

    I am voting for Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate. I know that many of you will say "it's a vote for Obama", but that is complete and total bull. I will now tell you why.
    1) Supply and Demand economics effects every part of our daily lives. To the politicians, they have a demand for votes, and each of us is given no more than one of those. This means, that to a politician we are worth very little and to us, our vote is priceless. I will not sully that price upon the ballot of a man such as Romney.
    2) A vote for Obama is a Vote for Obama, let's quit with this BS about a vote for not romney is a vote for Obama. You are assuming that Libertarians would just vote for Romney if there were no Libertarian candidate. This is just entirely untrue. Libertarians aren't just some off-sect of Republicans. That are a party built towards the ideals of liberty, not neo-conism.
    3) If Romney is the same as Obama (and I am convinced that is not entirely untrue... I cite the above as reference), then a vote for Romney would be a vote for Obama. I'm not arguing it is, i'm just making the observation.
    4) The republican party could have earned my vote, by deferring more to grass-roots organizations and making some headway with the Tea Party and Ron Paul delegates, they have taken an entirely different direction. I will not stand for a party that consolidates power because they assume we have Obama enough to just vote for them like sheep.

    Brandon Lytle
    08/30/2012

    Then you will be pleased to know that we do not expect you to debate yourself, fool.

    Michael Morarie
    08/29/2012

    I will not "sully" myself in debating a fool. Ron Paul is a foot in the grave spoiler who has one or two good ideas...and several lunatic ones.

    Brad Lytle
    08/29/2012

    This is all about Ron Paul and his devotees, not the Tea Party. As president of a local tea party and sponsor of a Tax Day Rally, I have first-hand experience with the RP supporters and the manipulation they employ to make their point. RP supporters have tried to take over the Tea Party, but it hasn't worked for them. RP did not win the party's nomination. RP was offered an olive branch, no several, but he declined. We in the Republican Party and the Tea Party would have supported RP, had he won, but he didn't. Many RP supporters, on the other hand, never had any intention of supporting the Republican Party's nominee, unless it was RP. I call that bad faith.

    West Coast Patriot
    09/04/2012

    David Raineri, Why don't you go buy the book, "Ron Paul: Father of the Tea Party" by, Jason Rink the Executive Director of the Foundation for a Free Society. He is the producer and director of Nullification: The Rightful Remedy.

    Rick Santelli is called by some the father of the 2009 Tea Party which was the takeover of what Ron Paul started. The Tea Party's official launch was on Dec. 16th, 2007 when grassroots activists all over the country got together, boarded boats and took to the bays and rivers and threw tea boxes overboard with slogans like: Limited Government, End The FED, Lower Taxes, End the Wars, etc... Ron Paul was hosting a 'Tea Party Fundraiser' aboard a shrimp boat near Galveston.
    Now I know many Tea Party activists today are not really aware of that, and that is a shame as the reason is the establishment has always marginalized Dr. Pauls efforts as he would end the status quo and they are afraid of that. The media, which is in the pocket of the establishment including Fox News, have kept him blacked out and only show what they want of him. Research, that is the best advice I can give to anyone, do not take my word for it, do your own homework just as Glenn Beck says.

    One problem is that 60 percent of Tea Party Republicans said the best way to ensure peace was through "military strength" -- compared to 47 percent of Republicans and 31 percent of voters over all, the Pew Research Center found. The survey found that 81 percent of Tea Party Republicans want military spending to stay the same or increase.

    I am not sure why Tea Party activists feel this way when one of our main concerns is the debt and spending. Ron Paul has always said he is for a strong National Defense, but says we can cut the military budget without cutting defense spending, such as stop buildig one billion dollar embassies overseas!

    Unless we start wising up to the military industrial complex and their war efforts to line their own pockets, we will never crawl out of our hole.

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

    Mike Grew- PROVE IT. At Newsbusters, we have a saying:"Link or slink." If anything, RICK SANTELLI is the Godfather of the Tea Party!

    Mike Grew
    08/31/2012

    Ok mr tea party... the Ron Paul supporters started the tea party... it was then hijacked by anyone who wanted attention... so don't get all high and mighty... tea party is now a blanket term used by many to describe people who are descending against the establishment.

    Jason Stucky
    08/30/2012

    Why should someone be forced to support someone just because they are the nominee? Romney is evil and has done everything possible to ensure he was the nominee. The guy has nothing in common with conservatives. He has the same values as obama.
    His goal has always been to become president at any cost and if that meant paying off others, changing rules whatever was needed he does it.

    This is stupid to say that we wont support anyone but RP. Well why would we? the only man who believes in the Constitution, freedom and free choice and actually could change things and fix all that is wrong with this country was being pushed aside by every media outlet in the country and made to be some bad guy because HE did not agree with the other GOp on the stage with him.

    Brandon Lytle
    08/30/2012

    You dare talk of manipulation, in the face of the reprehensible actions perpetrated by the Romney campaign, as well as the GOP itself against Ron Paul and his supporters? The Tea Party was co-opted long ago by the Neo-Cons and their corporate masters: it is a shadow of its former self, and can be relegated by the newly adopted rules changes to the corner where it belongs.

    You speak in bad faith, since the Republican Party never intended to allow Ron Paul to victory, in any way, shape or form. They pulled out all of the stops in order to silence, trivialize and in every way deter the Ron Paul campaign from gaining any traction. They have made their bed, and now they can sleep in it: WHEN (not if) Obama is re-elected, we can safely say that the entirety of the blame lies with the GOP/Republican/Tea Party. Pat yourselves on the back, and congratulate yourselves on a job well done.

    Michael Hale
    08/29/2012

    We need to send a loud and resounding message to both major parties! We must congeal around one candidate to do so. If we can ALL get behind this goal, we CAN WIN! Gary Johnson is the only other VIABLE candidate, being he is the only other candidate on the ballot in all 50 states. He can win, but we need to rally, and fast. Time is short. Most people in America do not know who he is, therefor we must get his name out. I would urge Freedom Works to start immediately endorsing Gary Johnson and put all of their resources behind him. Those of us who can spare some cash need to donate to his campaign. Please, if you love our country, you must help with this. Romney has finally shown his true colors to the whole world (We Dr. Paul supporters already knw and tried to tell you.) If he is breaking all the rules to be the Rep nominee, how can you expect him to follow the Constitution if he became president. We all know we must get rid of Obama, but to replace him with Romney would be just as bad, if not worse. LIVE FREE!

    warriorspirit
    08/29/2012

    The two party system in this Country is now a pathetic joke on the American people. No longer can we believe that change will happen from within either side. The elite establishment doesn't care which side you vote for; because they win no matter what. For all the Democrats that are sick of Obama breaking promise after promise and instead pushing his own agenda I ask you just one time DON'T VOTE DEMOCRAT. For all the Republicans who don't really like Romney but just want "anyone but Obama" I ask you just one time DON'T VOTE REPUBLICAN. For the independents who are sick of the whole system I ask you just one time DON'T VOTE FOR EITHER SIDE. Let us all send a true message to our corrupt Government by voting 3rd party just one time; one time is all we need. Gary Johnson is the only 3rd party candidate that will be on all 50 State ballots this election. You may not like all his positions on the issues but he is the best chance we have now of restoring our great Nation.

    West Coast Patriot
    08/29/2012

    Romney is for the Patriot Act, NDAA and has professed that in debates. The NDAA is in full swing now and a good example is Brandon Raub, google his name. Go to Ben Swann Reality Check, a Fox affiliate anchor and watch his reports on everything that has transpired over the election. Here is a link to one on Romney's budget: http://www.fox19.com/story/17096680/reality-check-fact-checking-mitt-rom... Please start researching what Romney has proposed. Check out Gary Johnson's plan at garyjohnson2012.com as he could help do for America, what he did for New Mexico. If we as Tea Party members, who believe in small government and fiscal responsibility, turn a blind eye to what Romney and the RNC are doing to grow government control, and unsound fiscal responsibility, we will be turning OUR backs on our own principles.

    Becky Mortensen
    08/29/2012

    This is the last time I will EVER vote Republican.

    Jonelle Capitano
    08/29/2012

    And you want Romney as President? Someone who heads a party that takes away the rights of the grass-roots... the people? Just imagine the rights he will try to take away from all Americans should he be elected!!

    George Ertel
    08/29/2012

    This is disappointing.

    I am reminded of the 1960 convention, when the party marginalized Goldwater. Many of his supporters wanted to bolt, but Barry said: Stay and organize, and be ready in four years. They did, and they were. Goldwater was thrown under the bus even so, but he set the course that got Reagan elected.

    So I'd say that tea partiers should vote for Romney now and be ready (readier!) in 2016/2020.

    West Coast Patriot
    08/29/2012

    George, that is poppycock. They have now put in place rules that will stop any grassroots candidate they want. Now is the time for all good men/women to come to the aid of their country. Romney has participated in "Chicago Style Politics" in a way that would make Obama proud as they are basically the same. Romney leans so far left that I am surprised he has not fallen over. The RNC under the leadership of Reince Priebus, is to blame also. I say it is time to interject a third party and show both the Democrats and the GOP that they need to change the way they do politics. "We The People" are supposed to be in charge, and if we do not take charge this year, we will lose our position for all elections to come.

    michelle jacobus
    08/29/2012

    There is still no information as to what happened to the two Florida delegates who were replaced by Romney delegates. I called the FL Republican Party, and they claim that they knew nothing about it, but that they had spoken to Freedom Works this morning -- FW said that they don't know either. Have you (FW) investigated why these two were removed? Coincidently I just rec'd a call asking who I would vote for if election was today. It was from a republican group ... I told them that after what Romney pulled yesterday with the delegate pull and votes, I would not answer that question. I'm still so angry about this, I feel strongly that we will be voting for yet another RINO...when will WE get to choose our candidate ????

    West Coast Patriot
    08/29/2012

    Michelle, I am going to look at Gary Johnson. His stance is on small government, fiscal responsibility and individual freedom. He was a successful two term governor where if you look at the facts, Romney was a failed one term governor and it seems he is no different than Obama in his thuggery style politics. I believe the GOP has overstepped their bounds and do not deserve our vote, but I do not want to see Obama for another four either. If the American people will wake up to this same old establishment game with the establishment picks on both sides, get angry enough, we could stop it all by electing a third party candidate. I believe it CAN be done, but we have to make the commitment. The RNC and Romney campaign have turned their sights to Johnson and are trying to get his name off the ballot in several key states as we speak. The only Liberty minded candidate left needs as much help as he can get right now. Please look at him at garyjohnson2012.com

    Bo Kelleher
    08/29/2012

    The last sentence in this article is a bit confusing, Dean. You say we must show up on election day to fire Barack Obama, but that we also must decide if we want to remain engaged in a corrupt GOP.

    I for one have made my decision. I will show up on election day. I will also dis-engage from the GOP. I will be voting for Gary Johnson.

    As Gary Johnson says... "Be libertarian with me for one election."

    Raven (in Wisconsin)
    09/01/2012

    @Justin Fox: "Mit is not a Christian. Obama is not a Christian." <br /><br />Both are Christians. Not that I'm suggesting that's a reason to vote for either man; the Constitution says "no religious test for office", and I want that provision upheld. <br /><br />Mitt belongs to The Church *of Jesus Christ* of Latter-Day Saints. Obama belongs to the United Church of Christ, though he's attended other denominations' services in DC. Paul Ryan has repeatedly declared his devotion to the philosophy of Ayn Rand (who was an atheist), but he -- like Joe Biden -- belongs to the Catholic Church. <br /><br />None of that should make any difference. Good men and bad men, honest and dishonest, have belonged to each of these denominations. Look at them as individuals, responsible for their own words and deeds, not as generic members of their churches.

    Raven (in Wisconsin)
    09/01/2012

    @Joanne Boenig: If there's a 2-hour Muslim prayer at the Dem convention, or they put shariah law into their platform, I'll agree you're right. If there isn't and they don't, will you agree you're wrong? Or just come up with another story?

    West Coast Patriot
    08/30/2012

    Kenny Wheeler, Are you directing " If you don't know this you are fooling yourself." at me? It isn't really clear, but I am with you all the way. Gary Johnson is now a liberty voter's only choice this election. If we do not gather around him, our vote will not count ever again.

    Kenny Wheeler
    08/30/2012

    West Coast, I am tired of hearing this same old line: "But we have to get Obama out". So my choice is to vote for my enemy or a traitor. The Reprobatelican establishment is counting on sheeple to take a beating then keep following them. They need a wakeup call. We know their agenda is not much different from our current administration - that is why we wanted someone different. If you don't know this you are fooling yourself. I would rather vote for Johnson and lose than support either candidate who will eventually take my second amendment rights and drive my country into bankruptcy because BOTH have demonstrated the willingness to do so.

    Brandon Lytle
    08/30/2012

    To those who espouse the "wasted" vote fallacy: I would rather see Obama in office than Romney. Yes, I said it. I do not know how those who saw Romney's campaign and the GOP running roughshod over the entire RNC process could suggest to Ron Paul supporters with a straight face that he (Romney) must get our votes, in order to get Obama out of office. To Hell with Romney, and I mean that quite literally: to quote a popular film, "The deepest circle of hell is reserved for betrayers and mutineers". I give my vote gladly to Gary Johnson, and whether he is elected, or Obama, I can take pleasure in a Pyrrhic victory over Romney, who, unless his corporate masters purchase his way to victory, will never be the President of these United States.

    West Coast Patriot
    08/30/2012

    A vote for Mitt Romney at this point is the vote for Obama. If all of you do not want another four years, you better get on the side of liberty or Obama WILL win, I guarantee it. He cannot win just because Paul supporters ARE NOT going to vote for him. With that said, I see a lot of Freedom Works Tea Party voters going to Johnson and this will mean Mitt Romney will lose as bad as Mondale, a democrat. You people better wake up fast if you want to save this country and if you do not, do not blame anyone but yourselves as you have been given the information, now make an informed decision and look to Gary Johnson.

    Justin Fox
    08/30/2012

    Mit is not a Christian. Obama is not a Christian. Mit is active just like the current administration. My vote is going to Johnson. Maybe there will be a miracle and the republican/nazi party will learn from this huge mistake- there are thousands of us openly stating that we are now against this top-down party, and hundreds of thousands that are going to vote Johnson without stating it.
    Vote Johnson or die like sheep.

    Joanne Boenig
    08/29/2012

    Well if you think the republican convention is eye opening the Democrate convention is going to be scary with a 2 hr Muslim prayer. Open your eyes. These dumb ass democrats are wanting shariah law instead of our constitution. Anyone that doesn't vote for Romney is voting for Obama. To hell with principal, get this terriest Obama out before we don't have anymore freedom and they kill us.

    John Morris
    08/29/2012

    A vote for Johnson not only ensures four more years of Obama, but, with the changes to the federal government he has in place that haven't been fully implemented yet, an irreversible course away from American greatness on the world stage. We are the one and only indispensable country on Earth. The natural course for mankind is tyranny and oppression. We are still, in Reagan's words, "the shining light on the hill", and we are never more than one generation away from slipping back into the darkness that existed before our Founding Fathers. Without us, the world would be a much darker place, and libertarians' isolationist policies are, at best, naive.

    Aaron Zupan
    08/29/2012

    A vote for Mitt at this point is just as bad as a vote for Obama. Johnson 2012!

    West Coast Patriot
    08/29/2012

    Bob & Chris, I am with you. Obama came on the scene and told everyone "Hope and Change" "Change We Can Believe In" made promises he never meant to keep, ruled like a strong arm thug and used what is deemed "Chicago Style Politics." Now enter Romney, who has used those same lines at rallies with a slight twist such as: "Real Change" and the like. He is saying what he is being told people want to hear in order to get their vote. Now he has participated in "Chicago Style Politics" and thuggery to a point Obama would be proud. "If we continue to do what we have always done (vote lesser of two evils), we will continue to get what we've always got (progressive, big government, liberty smashing Presidents). If not this election, when do you think it is proper to look at a third party. Seems to me this may be our last chance. I say Gary Johnson 2012, let us get behind him, get him in the debates and that will give us a clearer picture of who to vote for in November.

    Chris Harder
    08/29/2012

    Wendy & Jeffrey: You are both brainwashed sheep - I don't say that to be mean. I say that in hopes that you'll think about that for a moment and WAKE UP.

    Chris Harder
    08/29/2012

    Any of you who think Romney will be any different than Obama ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM!!!!

    A vote for ROMNEY is a vote for Obama
    A vote for OBAMA is a vote for Obama

    A vote for GARY JOHNSON is a vote for FREEDOM

    So really you people are are going to vote for a dictator (Obama or Romney) over someone who is all about FREEDOM?

    THAT is absurd.

    THAT is insanity.

    THAT is the attitude the establishment loves for people to have.

    THAT is the problem.

    Don't be part of the problem. Vote for Gary Johnson

    Mike Grew
    08/29/2012

    I would almost vote for Obama just to spite the republicans and the sheep like you Wendy... but I won't. I will vote for Johnson to show my support for freedom. A vote for Romney is a vote for Obama is a vote for the republicrats and demicans... A vote for Johnson is a vote for liberty.

    jeffrey clark
    08/29/2012

    I will hold the republicans feet to the fire if I'm going to vote them in, but I need Obama out not to waste my vote on a Gary Johnson who?

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