I have already weighed in on some of the attempts by the RNC to change the rules mid-stream for the 2012 nominating process. I am equally concerned about some of the future rules changes that have been proposed. I side with the Ron Paul supporters on most of these rule changes, believing them to be unfair in the short run and harmful in the long run. (I have yet to weigh in on binding delegates.) I think that many of the proposals will negatively impact Iowa and other caucus states.
As I have said before, I believe that Ron Paul’s supporters took over the Republican Party of Iowa fair and square. They followed the rules. Even though many of us who were not a part of the revolution felt cheated, but, we could have worked and we could have organized and we would be in the drivers seat today. Good for them. I just wish Paul’s supporters had been gracious winners. At least when the Christian Right was in the driver’s seat, our St. Paul delegation showed some diversity. The voting members of our delegation included supporters of McCain, Romney, Huckabee and yes, even Ron Paul. The Paul strategy was definitely scorched earth, win everything and give no ground.
So it should not be a surprise to anyone that the RNC has decided to come down hard on Paul’s supporters and by association the Iowa GOP. The attempt to change the threshold for nomination was completely legal within the rules. The power grab, giving the campaigns and the RNC more control over the rules and the nomination process, is being carried out within the rules. I hope the convention votes these proposals down, but if they do not, they will have brought about this takeover, within the rules.
Throughout this process, the Paul people have told the rest of us to: do our homework, know the rules, and organize. After all that’s all they did, if we failed to step up to the plate, it’s not their fault. So, the Romney camp did thier homework, they knew the rules and they organized. And now the Paul folks are crying foul.
It may be karma but I didn’t like it in either case.
Let’s face it, this election cycle, Ron Paul’s supporters have effectively taken over the Republican Party of Iowa. While they may not be a majority on the SCC, they are largest block and managed to elect one of their own, A.J. Spiker to the party chairmanship. In all four congressional districts, they dominated the district conventions and were able to control all of the key committees for the state convention. The state party is largely staffed with former Paul staffers and the Iowa delegation to the Republican National convention consists of 28 delegates, 23 of whom (according to TheIowaRepublican.com) are Paul supporters.
While I did not publicly endorse a candidate in the caucus, it is no secret that I was not a part of the Ron Paul revolution. I nominated Bill Schickel as RPI chair, I ran against the slated Ron Paul candidates for 1st district SCC at the district convention (I won) and ran against the incumbent National Committeeman from the Ron Paul slate at the state convention (I lost). As I have said before on these pages, the Paul supporters played by the rules. When the other campaigns (who had beaten Paul in the caucus straw poll) pulled up stakes and moved on, Paul’s people stayed engaged. They kept staff on the ground throughout the caucus to convention process, They organized and they got their people to show up at conventions and they prevailed. They played by the rules and they won fair and square.
Now I would argue that after the caucus, the Romney and Santorum campaigns moved on because they both were actually trying to win the nomination. They used their resources to run a 50 state campaign, while the Paul team focused on caucus states like Iowa.
Even so, I am bothered by the attempts by the RNC to further control the process from the national level. I was glad to see that they turned back a motion to increase the threshold for nomination at the convention from 5 states to 10. I find it outrageous that they would try to do such a thing in at the last minute. I am pleased to see that our three RNC members, Scheffler, Lehman and Spiker have been consistent in opposing these shenanigans. The proposal to bind delegates and further require them to have the approval of the national campaign is even worse. It remains to be seen what impact it would have but it could cost Iowa our First-in-the-Nation Caucus.
I believe that the grassroots should choose the delegates and the delegates should choose the nominee, not the other way around.
It wasn’t too long ago, that I can recall being a Christian at the Gate. Looking at the Republican establishment from the outside, fighting to add and then strengthen the prolife position within our platform and among our leaders. We Christian evangelicals reached the height of our influence in 2008 when Steve Scheffler and Kim Lehman were elected to the RNC.
One of the best things about Iowa GOP politics is that the direction of the party is controlled by the grassroots. It is easy to get involved and a group of like-minded people working together can make a difference inthe direction of this party. As Iowa Republicans, even if we are not happy with the direction of the current leadership (or previous leadership, or future leadership) we should vigoursly fight to keep the system in place that allows the grassroots to drive the process.
This is turning out to be an interesting term on the Republican State Central Committee. We’ve only had one meeting but as with any election year things have gotten interesting. One of the issues that has come up on a couple of occasions is the use of the RPI name.
The first issue to come up had to do with the house majority fund. The house majority fund consists of money raised by the Republican caucus in the Iowa House and used to support their campaigns. The money is part of RPI’s general fund but since it is raised by the house, for the house the house GOP leadership has always determined how that money was to be spent. This year the house leadership sent mailings to support incumbents in some GOP primaries. This is not the first time that these funds have been used in primaries. However, since this money comes from RPI funds, the mailing said:
Paid for by the Republican Party of Iowa …
A number of challengers cried foul and asked why the party was spending ad dollars to campaign against them. At our first meeting, the SCC re-affirmed our support for the legislative leadership and their ability top raise and spend money as they see fit (through the House and Senate Majority Funds). But we also made it clear that those funds that carry the imprimatur of the state party could not be used in contested primaries. While the House and Senate caucuses can choose sides in primaries, the SCC has chosen to remain neutral in such contests.
The second controversy about using the RPI name has to do with Chairman Spiker’s press release calling for Iowans to vote no on retaining Justice Wiggins. While I support a no vote, my purpose here is not to discuss the merits of voting yes, or no. What I want to do is point out as I did when questioned in the days after the press release, that Spiker did informally poll the SCC before making the statement. So, whether you agree or disagree with the statement, A.J. was on pretty firm footing to say:
The Republican Party of Iowa believes …
But tonight, I believe that the good name of our party has been used inappropriately. I saw on the Party’s Facebook page:
Whoever posted this message suggests that The Republican Party of Iowa (aka Iowa GOP) is planning on responding to this rumor by donating guest passes to contested Ron Paul delegates. As a disclaimer, I have not been following the Maine situation closely. If individual delegates, or our National Convention delegation as a whole desire to give their guest passes to Ron Paul delegates from Maine, I don’t have any problem with that. The issue I have is that this makes it sound like an official action of the Republican Party of Iowa. As a member of the RPI State Central Committee (essentially the board of directors) I have a huge problem with the use of our good name in this context. There is absolutely nothing to be gained by RPI officially interfering in the delegate selection process in Maine.
In addition to the statement, this post contains a fund-raising appeal. Readers are asked to help the Iowa GOP defend liberty. I’ll give the author the benefit of the doubt and assume that the Iowa GOP will defend liberty by electing Republicans. Even so, I had to read it a couple of times. The first time I read it, it looked like we were being asked to donate to the Iowa GOP to defend liberty by insuring that contested Ron Paul delegates from other state were able to attend the convention. I am sure that’s not what the author meant.