Romney’s “RNC Power Grab”: What Really Happened

By Dean Clancy on August 29, 2012

Determined to neuter the grassroots and head off future insurgencies like those of Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan, and Ron Paul, Republican party bosses have pulled off an audacious coup, high-handedly turning the Grand Old Party into a much more top-down, centralized party.

Yesterday, the Republican National Committee in Tampa adopted some rules changes that shift power from the state parties and the grassroots to the RNC and the GOP presidential nominee. Former Governor John Sununu of New Hampshire touted the new rules as providing “a strong governing framework” for the party over the next four years. But in fact the new rules should be very troubling and disappointing to conservative grassroots activists, because they move the national Republican Party away from being a decentralized, bottom-up party toward becoming a centralized, top-down party.

The Romney rules effectively disenfranchise grassroots delegates, and will thus tend to weaken and splinter the party over time. They specifically represent a blow to the Tea Party and the Ron Paul insurgency — to “the Republican wing of the Republican party” — to citizens who are strongly committed to economic freedom, fiscal common sense, and smaller, constitutionally limited government — and who want to have a voice in the Grand Old Party. The new rules force these grassroots conservatives to reconsider their future within the GOP.

Party sage and long-time RNC member (and conservative activist) Morton Blackwell led a last-minute effort to stop the changes — an effort FreedomWorks strongly supported, together with Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann. Phyllis Schlafly and RNC for Life also got involved, while Michelle Malkin, Mark Levin, and Rush Limbaugh helped sound the alarm.

Read more at FreedomWorks