It seems like every time Governor Mitt Romney gets conservatives looking his way, his ham handed advisors and staff do something to weaken conservative support for his candidacy and drive away conservative leaders who could be rallying the troops for the fall election.
The latest unforced error on the part of the Romney organization involves an attempt by Washington election lawyer Ben Ginsberg, operating allegedly on behalf of the Romney campaign, to change the Republican Party rules. Ginsberg's changes would, among other things, allow the presidential campaigns to “fire” duly elected delegates to the National Convention.
This unprecedented power grab by the Washington-based insiders and consultants of the Romney campaign provoked outrage from state GOP leaders and activists across the country and threatened to upend Governor Romney’s carefully choreographed nomination in Tampa this week.
The controversy about this and other proposed rules changes -- including allowing Party bureaucrats to change the Republican Party Rules between Conventions, without a vote of delegates elected by the grassroots of the Party; and a plan to un-do the rules regarding the primary calendar that were designed to stop the trend toward front-loading the primary season and preserve the opportunity for grassroots Republicans across the country to have a say in who their presidential candidate would be -- prompted Virginia’s principled conservative Republican National Committeeman Morton Blackwell to organize a floor fight over the Rules changes.
Blackwell, a Romney delegate and substantial donor to the Romney campaign, said in a letter to fellow delegates, these are “rules changes that could fundamentally change our Republican Party -- and not for the better.”
Blackwell should know; he’s been a delegate to the Republican National Convention since the 1960s and is a member of the Republican National Committee’s Standing Committee on Rules and on the National Convention's Committee on Rules and Order of Business.
In a political party of millions of members, you can’t get every vote. Competing candidates and issues are what makes a party strong and brings new voters into the party as candidates and issues vie for support. This is something Team Romney has apparently never understood, as their half-hearted attempts to heal the Party after the hard-fought primary demonstrate.
We hope this kind of contempt for the grassroots of the Republican Party isn’t what Governor Romney really thinks of the millions of local GOP activists who are supposed to be out working for him this fall.
More to the point, if these undemocratic rules changes truly originated with Governor Romney, they speak very poorly of the character of a man seeking to lead the free world.
A president must lead, and presidential leadership -- particularly in matters of foreign affairs and dealing with the separate branches of our federal system of government -- involves persuasion, example and moral courage, not bullying.
If this is truly Governor Romney’s personal response to a few catcalls from the peanut gallery at the Republican National Convention, we wonder what he will do if Luxemburg and the Netherlands refuse to go along with some foreign policy of his, change the rules of NATO?