The Houston Chronicle reports that an uprising by the Texas delegation to the Republican National Convention, backed by Ron Paul supporters, have caused the Romney campaign to back away, at least a little, from some controversial rule changes.
The Romney rule changes
The rule change that has caused discontent among the Texas delegation, among others, is an attempt to allow presidential candidates to vet their own delegates to the convention, according to Buzzfeed. This would have the effect of diluting the power of state parties to select their own delegates. The idea, along with a less controversial rule change to require state delegations to adhere to the will of the voters in which candidate to vote for, is designed to head off insurgent candidates such as Ron Paul.
The Texas delegation rebels
When the rule change was first proposed, the Texas delegation rebelled, according to the Houston Chronicle.The problem is that the Texas Republican Party has a voting process that will often elevate grassroots activists (read: tea party protestors) to the national delegation. Texas Republicans are naturally irate at the idea that a presidential campaign or the Republican National Committee would usurp that process and hand pick state delegations instead. Texas was joined by Iowa, Louisiana, Virginia and other states in opposing the new rules.
Sarah Palin weighs in
Sarah Palin, campaigning for candidates in Arizona, weighed in on a post on her Facebook page, suggested that the proposed rule change was an attempt to crush the power of the grassroots in the Republican Party by the establishment. She went on to suggest that the power of the party derives from its grassroots and that an attempt to constrain the grassroots would in turn weaken the Republican Party.
A compromise reached, perhaps
The Houston Chronicle suggested that the Romney people have backed off of the rule changes. The compromise would compel a delegate who is bound to a particular candidate to vote for that candidate. This would have the effect of preventing a Romney delegate from voting for another candidate, say Ron Paul. But the proposal to have the state delegations hand-picked by the presidential campaigns is, by all reports, scrapped.
Fight may still be on
Red State reports, though, that the Romney people may be attempting to get what they want with two more rule changes. One would allow rule changes between party conventions with a three-fourths vote of the Republican National Committee. Conservatives believe that it would give a President Romney, who would have a tremendous amount of influence on the RNC, too much power to influence party rule-making. The second rule would front-load winner-take-all primaries, thus weakening the ability of insurgent campaigns to gain delegates. So as of this writing, a floor fight may be on after all.
Texas resident Mark Whittington writes about state issues for the Yahoo! Contributor Network.