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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Carney: Republican leaders trample their grass roots in Tampa

August 29, 2012 | 6:00 pm

Timothy CarneyTAMPA, Fla. -- The Republican establishment still doesn't get it.

At the Republican National Convention, party officials flouted the rules and railroaded longtime conservative activists, Tea Party newcomers and Ron Paul delegates.

You might think a party whose power in Washington is due to bottom-up, decentralized grassroots passion would not resort to top-down, centralized control.

Establishment arrogance first flared up in two of the convention's standing committees.

In the Rules Committee, D.C. delegate Ben Ginsburg, an attorney working with the Romney campaign, passed two rule changes that conservatives immediately blasted as "power grabs." First, Ginsburg stripped power from delegates by giving the Republican National Committee -- that is, the 50 state committeemen and 50 committeewomen -- the power to amend party rules between conventions. (This was a change to Rule 12, which governs amendments to the platform.)

Second, he stripped power from state parties by giving candidates the ability to replace any of their own delegates. Conservative delegates and activists reacted so negatively to this one that party leaders backtracked. They crafted a compromise on Monday night that leaves state parties with the power to elect delegates, but imposes new rules on delegate selection.

Meanwhile, the Credentials Committee voted to unseat half of Ron Paul's delegates from Maine. Party officials contended -- on flimsy evidence -- that Paul backers had broken the rules in the state party's convention, where they won 21 of Maine's 24 delegate seats.

These power grabs, while unseemly and directed at consolidating power, at least passed according to party rules. That is, a majority of delegates in each committee voted for them. But on Tuesday afternoon, in order to prevent any fight over the power grabs, party leaders simply flouted the rules.

Read the article in The Examiner...

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