Many of us remember the incident during the RNC in Tampa in which John Boehner announced that “the ayes have it” while chairing over the vote of the Rules Committee Report, which contained several controversial rule changes. To those in the audience and those who later watched the video, it was clear that the vote was too close to call, yet Boehner proceeded and ignored shouts from the delegation to bring the vote to an official count, effectively passing a set of rules illegitimately. It was later seen that the vote had been scripted on the teleprompter prior to the vote itself being taken.
There are now two different efforts underway to address the 2012 power-grab rule changes. One is an effort led by the delegation out of Maine and it entails reverting back to 2008 rules entirely, addressing the foundational issue that the entire set of 2012 rules was passed illegitimately in the first place with John Boehner’s teleprompter chairmanship. The other is an effort led by Morton Blackwell, Senior Standing Rules Committee Member, in which the new rule 12 is invoked (rule 12 allows the RNC Rules Committee to make changes throughout the course of time in between the 4-year meeting of delegates, at least until Sept. 30, 2014) in order to cause many of the 2012 rules to revert back to their 2008 form. The latter effort will be brought to a vote in April.
Here is what the proposed amendment to be heard in April entails:
“Pursuant to Rule 12, Rules 1-11 and 13-25 of the Republican National Committee are hereby amended to be the Rules adopted by the 2008 Republican National Convention, as subsequently amended by the Republican National Committee pursuant to Rule 10(d), and further as unanimously recommended on August 23, 2012 by the Republican National Committee, that Rules 1-11 and 13-25 be changed.”
What the proposed amendment to be brought to a vote in April does not address are rules 12 & 40. The reason is that the proposed rule amendment is unable to address rules 12 & 40, as the new rule 12 specifically provides that the RNC may not amend any but specific numbered rules, which exempts rules 12 & 40.
Even if the amendment to be heard in April passes, and the grassroots within the RNC gets some good things out of the amendment, what is to say that the RNC rules committee won’t gradually change those amended rules right back at the subsequent meetings of the RNC, if rule 12 is still in effect, and would allow them to do so? By passing the proposed rule amendment and working within the structure of the 2012 RNC rules, the RNC will be formally accepting the concept that the 2012 rules are legitimate, and accepting the concept that rule changes must be made within the framework of the 2012 rules, as well as dashing any hopes of taking measures to reverse rules 12 & 40 anytime in the near future.
“The Maine delegation, in accordance with their standing resolution passed in early 2013, will continue to call for the 2012 rules to be considered null and void.” stated Maine National Committeeman, Mark Willis, “They will request that the 2008 rules be considered in full effect. To do otherwise would legitimize these improperly passed rules and cut the grassroots out of the 2016 election completely, even if rules 12 and 16 are removed as rule 40 cannot be changed until the next convention. Rule 40 requires an 8 state majority to be placed on the ballot at the convention, a nearly impossible task for any grassroots candidate.”
What you can do: Reince Priebus states that he is rushing up the process of selecting the Rules Committee members so that they can meet in April. States have until April 1 to determine their pick for the RNC Rules Committee from among the state’s RNC Committee Members (Chairman, Committeeman, Committeewoman). Now is the time to petition your RNC Committee Members and State GOP to elect an individual who is truly a representative of the grassroots & will advocate reverting back to 2008 rules on the grounds that all of the rules were passed illegitimately when John Boehner gavelled down on “the ayes have it.”