I’ve been having an email dialog with John Ryder, one of the Convention Rules Committee Members from Tennessee, about Rule 12.
Here is his response:
Rule 12 is important to the future of the party. We just saw with Rule 15 how heavy the hand of the presidential campaign can be in a convention. It is important that there be some ability to change rules outside the convention—where the party’s interests, not those of the campaign, will be paramount.
The ability to change rules is severely limited—it takes a 75% vote of the entire RNC to change and no change can be made after Sept of 2014. I support rule 12.
My concern with this rule was of course that if they could make changes to the rules between conventions without consulting the grassroots or states, they could conceivably roll back the Rule 15 compromise and do who-knows-what, and we would be powerless to stop them.
However, a 75% threshold seems to be high enough to prevent an elite few from ramming things through.
Furthermore, Mr. Ryder seems to be defending Rule 12 as a safeguard to help keep what we saw with Rule 15 from happening again.
So, barbarians, is this enough?
UPDATE: Answer: No it is not. Erik Erickson at RedState.com is sounding the alarm over Rule 12 and another rule I was not even aware of:
At 2:00 p.m. today in Tampa, the Republican National Committee, led by Team Romney, is moving to shut down conservative grassroots activists. I’ve been on the phone with several individuals involved in the fight who tell me that the fight is not over, it is only just starting.
Specifically, the media is reporting that the rules fight is over because Team Romney is abandoning Ben Ginsberg’s effort to allow candidates to control delegates. Under an initial proposal, delegates would, in effect, be chosen by the presumed nominee’s campaign and not based on votes in the states and delegate selection processes in the states.
That issue appears resolved, but several people I’ve spoken to make clear that Team Romney and the RNC establishment are using that compromise as a red herring to distract from two major rules change proposals that would decimate Republican grassroots and prevent upstart political campaigns.
The first rule to be proposed is one that would give the Republican National Committee the power to change rules between conventions with a three-quarters vote of the RNC. One source tells me, “With a Republican President, of course this is doable. Everybody will roll over if a President Romney asks them too. They’ll be able to get Ben Ginsberg’s proposal next year.”
In other words, if Team Romney prevails in this rules change, they don’t have to worry about Ben Ginsberg not getting his way today on the delegate changes. They’ll be able to do it later when the press and grassroots are not watching.
The second rules change would front load winner takes all primaries. Grassroots conservatives point to both Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum as reasons to stop this rule. Had there been front loaded winner takes all primaries, neither the Gingrich nor the Santorum campaigns would have been able to get any traction.
“This is going to be a fight on the floor if they don’t back down. They have too much pride to back down and we’re going to humble them,” said one delegate to the convention.
Another tells me, “They’ve gotten social conservatives comfortable with the platform and now that they’re placated [Team Romney] is going to undercut them with this change.”
The Rules Committee will meet at 2:00 p.m. today in Tampa to consider the rules changes. If they make it through the committee, delegates are telling me they promise a huge floor fight and there’s no guarantee Team Romney will get its way given the current make up of the delegates in Tampa.