The build-up to the GOP convention certainly seemed to be a dream come true for those who may have fretted that party unity, badly frazzled by a bloody primary, would have all the strength of wet toilet paper by the time November 6 rolled around. With the exception of the remarkably persistent and dependably obstreperous followers of the one-and-only Dr. Ron Paul, the vast majority of the GOP conservative base – including the Tea Party movement – gulped hard, held their noses and closed ranks behind the presumptive nominee, Mitt Romney.
Heartened somewhat by Der Mittmeister’s choice of Rep. Paul Ryan as his Veep, the collective grassroots zeitgeist shifted from a shoulder-shrugging “MEH” to a very audible “AMEN!” and the ranks closed even more tightly than before; on the eve of the Republican National Convention the overall mood, while not exactly “all for one and one for all,” at least managed to maintain a steady focus on the defeat of Barack Obama.
Then along came a spider in the person of Ben Ginsburg, a power-player attorney extraordinaire and darling of the Beltway GOP Elite, who spearheaded a cadre of Romney lackeys in a bald-faced power-grab that very nearly resulted in a floor fight – the last thing anyone wants at a convention dedicated to a singular unity of purpose. Of all the reports I’ve read today, the one filed by John Fund at NRO sums it up perfectly:
But the specific rules change that stuck in the craw of conservative delegates the most was the one that, effectively, would allow presidential campaigns to dump any elected delegates they didn’t like.
Soon conservatives were weighing in against the rules changes from all over. Rush Limbaugh used his radio show to call them an attack by the Republican establishment against conservatives. “This move clearly shows how detached the party leaders are from their own party, let alone the Tea Party,” Tom Zawistowski, president of the grassroots Ohio Liberty Coalition, told me. He told GOP leaders in writing that passage of the new rules would “severely damage the efforts that our members will make to help win Ohio for the Republican ticket. In fact, I will go as far as to say that it will immediately cost you 5,000 volunteers for your Election Day Task Force project. The party keeps betting that we will support you know matter what you do to us. You lost that bet in 2008.”
And Team Romney appears to have heard the warning sirens from the grassroots: Late Monday, GOP officials stitched together a compromise proposal that will apparently avoid a floor battle. In an e-mail to Republican National Committee (RNC) members, [Jim] Bopp hailed the agreement as a sign that “the Romney for President campaign has heard the concerns of the conservative grassroots voices in our party.”
The compromise gives both sides the opportunity to save face. Starting in 2016, a presidential delegate who is bound by state law or party rules to support a particular candidate must vote for that candidate. But the actual selection of delegates is left up to the states rather than giving presidential candidates the right to veto delegates selected from the states.
All good and well that an acceptable compromise was reached, but the proverbial cat got out of the bag and now the ulterior motive of the GOP elite has been laid bare for the world to see. Rush Limbaugh was right and I for one doubt that the Paulistas were the real target of this power play: the sound and fury of their collective effort was belied by the paucity of their actual numbers and despite their victories in Iowa, Minnesota and Nevada, the fact remains that once Dr. Paul ambles off into retirement at the end of his final term in Congress, the movement he spawned will largely dissipate for lack of a charismatic leader.
No, my friends, the crosshairs of the RINO rifle scope weren’t ever really focused on the Paulistas…rather, they were focused on the Conservative Base in general and the Tea Party movement in particular. No small wonder: since 2009, the Tea Party movement in every state of the Union has made itself a thorn in the side of the Republican Establishment by goading, prodding and on numerous occasions, even challenging it in primary races to return to the conservative path trod by Ronald Reagan decades ago.
Nothing would delight the RINO Brahmins more than the complete marginalization of the Tea Party movement – and the Ginsburg Gambit came dangerously close to accomplishing just that. No surprise there…I predicted as much a few months ago:
…although most Tea Party organizations share the same basic ideology of limited government, lower taxes, less spending and greater liberty, they exist as localized entities whose effective reach does not go very far beyond the county in which they are headquartered. In this divided state of existence, each can be isolated and marginalized by an Establishment all too eager to see them become extinct. They are also a tempting target for cynical, pseudo-conservative opportunists anxious to build a power base.
The time has come for those Tea Party organizations throughout the Garden State that have no intention of bending their knee to a power-hungry Cabal or its Establishment puppet masters to take the next step in the evolution of the Tea Party movement: unite.
And unite they have: to date, 16 Tea Party groups and 10 conservative organizations have joined forces as members of the American Tea Party Congress. I’m pleased to say that since they voted unanimously to join forces as sovereign equals on July 14, they have come together every two weeks to iron out the details of the infrastructure of the organization as well as commence a plan of action to help ensure the defeat of Barack Obama on November 6.
But much remains to be done: there are other Tea Party groups and conservative organizations in the Garden State that are not sure about joining the ATPC or, perhaps, that believe their individual efforts on behalf of local or regional issues are of greater importance or value than a shared effort on state or federal issues.
To these groups I say: Can ANY local issue truly outweigh the threat to our republic posed by another term of office for Barack Obama or the death spiral in which New Jersey finds itself thanks to an indolent and palsied GOP Establishment? Do you truly believe your solitary efforts can effect a more powerful impact on the status quo than that of a unified effort? Are you sure that a lone local organization stands a greater or equal chance of escaping marginalization at the hands of a Republican Establishment that has unmasked itself as inimical to all for which the Tea Party movement represents and fights?
Let us make the cautiously optimistic assumption that the Romney/Ryan ticket prevails on November 6. Do you believe you can kick back and relax on November 7 or do you believe (as I and many other do) that the battle for the soul of America will begin again in earnest – only this time against an adversary on our own side of the political divide?
Consider for just a moment the power and influence a fully united Tea Party movement in New Jersey can wield on the state and even the federal level and then multiply it by a factor of 50: the leverage a national Tea Party Congress could exert on the federal level would be extraordinary and the fear of marginalization would ultimately shift from the Tea Party movement to the Establishment and the ruling elites.
I urge those Tea Party groups and conservative organizations who have not yet committed themselves to the unification effort to reassess their present situation in light of the recent power play on the part of the RINO Establishment and consider the old Roman adage: Unitas potentiae et in potentia victoria (In unity there is power and in power there is victory.)