Sea Change or Hurricane?
We are once again seeing politicians, statesmen/women, and various wonks telling the Republican Party and other conservatives how to act and run their campaigns – yes, it is CPAC time!
While some speeches and commentary may stand out – it is unlikely a sea-change will take place within the rank and file.
Before we consider why a change to the Republican Party is unlikely, let’s consider a few speeches that may create some commotion.
Always a crowd pleaser, Sarah Palin stepped up to the mark once again. Her rah-rah rhetoric, filled with caustic barbs, always garners ovations and applause. She spoke to issues ranging from President Barack Obama being more a politician than a statesman to problems within the Republican Party due to an overdependence upon insiders like the “architect” (an obvious reference to Karl Rove and his dislike of the Tea Party). Although there was little tactical advice, (short of knowing one’s own core values and speaking to them) Mrs. Palin’s speech was an energizing force.
A new voice, Dr. Ben Carson, was also given an opportunity to address the crowd. He will be remembered for his keynote address at the National Prayer Breakfast in which he directly admonished President Obama for the poor outline and planning of Obamacare.
What differentiated Dr. Carson was not only his courage to speak directly to the president, but he also outlined a real and viable alternative to Obamacare. An obviously brilliant and thoughtful man, his speech at CPAC focused upon using common sense over status quo. (He also noted he would be retiring soon, which opens a door to a possible run for office)
Finally, one of the more important speeches was given by Democratic Strategist Pat Caddell. He noted that "the Republican consultant class is taking the party down the tubes, that they're making filthy amounts of money – $150 million a campaign – whether the candidate wins or loses." These consultants have no real alliance to an ideology, yet they are not only taking obscene amounts of donations, but they are controlling the candidates! Unless the Republican Party makes a concerted effort to diminish this influence, (something in which the “insiders” have a vested interest) the status quo of weak leadership will continue.
So, what is the likelihood of such a sea-change occurring within the Republican Party?
Remember what occurred during the last Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida – a major rule change took place with a less than honest vote. As noted by FreedomWorks, this power grab took place within two rules:
Amend existing Rule 12 to hand members of the Republican National Committee, for the first time, the power to change the party's rules on the fly between national conventions. (National conventions only take place during presidential election years.) The RNC may not amend Rule 12, however; that privilege remains reserved to a national convention. Three-fourths of RNC members must approve a proposed rules change for it to take effect.
Amend existing Rule 15 to allow the presumptive presidential nominee to “disavow” duly elected delegates and force state parties to hold new elections to replace any delegate or alternate deemed unacceptable by the presumptive presidential nominee. (Note: The proposal also contained a provision altering the method of allocating delegates, in order to front-load and shorten the presidential primary calendar.)
This stunning set of last minute rule changes vests all the power in the National Party by usurping the authority from the states – juxtapose this with the ideology the GOP presents about federal authority usurping power away from the states and the people.
These rule changes had nothing to do with forwarding the election of Mitt Romney – they were put in place specifically to imbue the “insiders” with more power and strip power from grassroots organizations and the people! “It’s not hard to imagine the temptation a campaign would feel to use this power to intimidate delegates and to reward friends, supporters, and campaign contributors.” (Least we forget, the Tea Party brought the Republican landslide of 2010 and many “insiders” and longtime elected Representatives do not care for these conservatives)
CPAC is a good opportunity to vent and present new and important ideas – but the real issues still lay within the powerbrokers and “insiders.” If the Republican Party does not step up and recognize their real constituency is people with conservative values and return their power back to that constituency, they will be leaving us even as they perceive we are leaving them.