A Crucial Message to the Grassroots


The following is an email sent out by Morton Blackwell of the Leadership Institute to all of the delegates at the Republican National Committee prior to the start of the convention.

Dear Fellow Delegate,

On Tuesday of this week, as Republican National Convention delegates, you and I will be voting on rules changes that could fundamentally change our Republican Party — and not for the better.

Over the years, I’ve served on the Louisiana and Virginia GOP Rules Committees.  I currently serve on both the Republican National Committee’s Standing Committee on Rules and on the National Convention’s Committee on Rules and Order of Business.

I was Barry Goldwater’s youngest elected delegate in 1964, I was honored toserve on President Ronald Reagan’s White House Staff from 1981-1984, and I have attended every Republican National Convention Rules Committee meeting since 1972.  My wife and I have contributed major donations to the Romney-Ryan campaign.

These rule changes are the most awful I’ve ever seen come before any National Convention.

I’m writing you today to urge you to join the growing effort to stop the worst-ever changes in this Rules Committee’s Report and to vote in favor of amendments to Rules 12 and 15.  The Minority Reports will restore important rights and protections which state parties and grassroots Republicans would lose under the Rules Committee Report as written.

These amendments to Rules 12 and 15 are contained in Minority Reports supported by at least 25% of the members of this convention’s Committee on Rules and Order of Business.

It’s rare for Minority Reports to come before our national convention, but the issues involved here are vital to the future of our party.

I must tell you there is tremendous arm-twisting now to peel signers off of the Minority Reports.

Finally, whether on Minority Reports or on voting down the Rules, it will require at least six states’ delegations to insist upon a roll call vote.

I will not pretend that the deck is not stacked against us.

But many state leaders, liberty-minded activists, and grass-roots conservatives are up-in-arms as word of this power grab spreads.

Our convention will make this important decision Tuesday as some of our first work.  Many folks skip these procedural sessions thinking nothing of importance occurs.

This year, that is far from the truth.

If the Rules Committee Report were to pass without adoption of the Minority Reports, it would amount to a power grab by Washington, D.C. party insiders and consultants designed to silence the voice of state party activists and Republican grassroots by:

***    Handing national party officials the power to change national party rules adopted by state and grassroots leaders at the Republican National Convention.  For generations, the prohibition of manipulated changes in the national Rules of the Republican Party between national conventions has served as one of the crown jewels of our party.  It’s a power grab which opens the door to many future power grabs.

*** Stripping state parties in all states with binding primaries of the power of choosing who will represent their states as national delegates and alternate delegates.

This outrageous change would empower presidential campaigns to disapprove and remove delegates and alternate delegates selected by rules adopted by state Republican parties.  Rather than grassroots activists who won delegate and alternate delegate slots by following state party rules, a large majority of positions would be handed to top donors of the winning campaign.

***  Gutting the great and successful reform adopted in the current election cycle to stop the dangerous trend to front-load the selection of national convention delegates.  Our party would move again toward a national primary which would deny grassroots Republicans the opportunity to vet presidential candidates in a nomination contest of reasonable length.  This reform must not be abandoned.

Like most of us delegates to this convention, I’ve spent years gladly battling in the trenches for our Republican Party.

And as the President of the Leadership Institute — which specializes in training thousands of conservative activists, students, and leaders to fight for our country’s future — I can’t tell you how disheartened I am to see these rules changes even considered.

These rule changes would give good folks like you less of a say over our Republican Party in favor of insiders and consultants in Washington, D.C.

At a time when Tea Party activists have re-invigorated our Republican Party — leading to massive gains in the U.S. House, the Senate, and many state legislatures in the 2010 elections — why would we want to discourage activism?

Thanks to their efforts, you and I have a new generation of exciting conservative leaders in Washington, D.C., who — in many instances — were elected despite the opposition of establishment-backed opponents.

Certainly this is not to say GOP leaders are always wrong.

But history shows that our Republican Party grows when we welcome newly active participants and treat them fairly.

Our Republican Party is strongest when we listen to the wishes of grassroots conservatives.

Instead of strengthening our party, these insider power grabs will weaken it.

For these reasons, I urge you to join the growing effort to adopt the Minority Reports when the Rules Committee Report comes for consideration by the convention.


Morton Blackwell
National Committeeman, Virginia

P.S. Some of the most important work of the convention will take place on Tuesday where you and I will be voting on rules that could fundamentally change our Republican Party for the worse.

New rules will be votedon that have been designed to silence state Republican parties and Republican grassroots in favor of party insiders and Washington, D.C.-based consultants.

The vote will take place at Tuesday’s convention session, and I’m counting on you join the growing effort to defeat these new rules.

Please vote to adopt the Minority Reports on Rules and urge your delegation to call for a roll call vote on all Rules-related votes.

This fight is too important for us not to make a stand.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003334633536 Chris Downey

    Just sayin’

    Scott’s candidacy showed that the Whigs could no longer exist as a national party. This election would be the party’s last. The collapse of the party meant that some new entity would need to take a clear an unambiguous stance against slavery.”
    from RCP article: Demise of Whigs Foreshadows Civil War, by Patrick Spero http://www.realclearhistory.com/articles/2012/08/27/the_demise_of_the_whigs_32.html

  • Gary Mason
  • Kevin Orson

    That Obama, we better do something about him or the grassroots conservative movement is FINISHED!

    Wait, this isn’t Obama doing this. In fact Obama CAN’T do this to conservatives. Because of course he has absolute no control over what happens internally within the Republican Party.

    I know you have been hesitant to make this argument this time around, but Romney is the GREATER of two evils PRECISELY for the reason you are seeing now.

    Look, there will always be another Obama. At least until the political climate changes (and Romney isn’t the one to change the political climate). All our fears about what Obama will do in a second term WILL HAPPEN, if not by Obama than by the next Democrat to take office.

    I believe Romney if he did win will be a one term President. He doesn’t have what it is going to take to turn this economy around. PERHAPS he will make things less bad in the economy but without a return to constitutional principles the economy will still be bad, and of course with a Republican in office the media always makes it seem worse than it is.

    But that aside, do you really think the Republicans can hold on to the White House after Romney? No, there will probably be another “Change” year like we say after George H. W. Bush and after George W. Bush. Which means we will be less able to fight Obama’s agenda (adopted by the next Democrat President) than we are now.

    After all we were strong enough to fight Hillarycare in the 1990s but not strong enough to fight Obaromneycare in 2009.

    So that is why I am less worried about Obama’s agenda because the truth is that now will probably be our strongest time to fight it. And that is what we should be concerned about, right, the Agenda, not the man.

    And Obama’s agenda is only going to rile up the conservative base even further. Just like we saw with the first two years of Clinton and the first two years of Obama.

    But Romney can cut off the conservative base at the source like Obama DOESN’T EVEN HAVE THE ABILITY TO. We are seeing this now when he is merely a candidate – WHAT WILL HE BE LIKE AS PRESIDENT.

    Understand four more years of Obama makes me physically ill, and I hate the Republican party elite all the more for them making that, making four more years of this awful man THE LESSER OF TWO EVILS.

    But that is where we are at. If we want to defeat socialism in our country, if we want to be in the position to eventually defeat the Obamas of the world, and there will always be another Obama just like there will always be another Clinton, FIRST we must defeat the Republican establishment.

    There is no other way. Romney has proven my fears to be true. He will destroy the conservative grassroots movement from within and since I think the conservative grassroots movement is the last best chance for America, I must see him defeated even though it will mean another term for Obama.

    Steve, please show me where I am wrong.

    I literally believe that Romney’s goal is to kill the tea party from within.

    That is why I would urge you to advocate for Obama’s re-election. But I understand why you won’t.

    But everything we are afraid of with Obama, why wouldn’t the next Democrat do it in eight years (okay I am guessing really four)? And by that time we might have lost the House again like we did with the first two years Obama.

    So at best we get an eight year reprieve but even that I don’t think will be much of a reprieve. After all it was a REPUBLICAN President George W. Bush who gave us the first bailout in 2008. Remember it took Nixon to go to China.

    But that aside, we are sacrificing the tea party for a mere eight (probably more like four) years? And what are we going to do with that time apart from getting weaker. After all we already had an eight year “reprieve”. It was called the George W. Bush administration. How did that work out for us?

    Now comes those who will accuse me of being an “Obama spy”. But please Steve, show me where my thinking is wrong! Romney has proved me correct in my fears of him chasing the tea partiers out of the Party. And if you as I do think that this movement is essential to saving America then the last thing we want to see is it killed at its source. I hate it, I really do, but indeed Obama is the LESSER of Two Evils.

  • Kevin Orson

    Another thing, as bad as Obama is, I have learned never to underestimate the Democrat’s ability to find someone worse. After all in the 1990s I thought they could never ever again find a man so detestable, so dishonorable than Bill Clinton.

    Remember how much we hated him back then? Not without justification mind you, but remember how much we hated him and all the scandals, starting with Vince Foster and all of that?

    Did Bush bring us much of a reprieve of that? No, in fact many could argue that he brought us Obama.

    Look, I don’t know who the next Democrat President is going to be. I mean in 2001 did any of us even know Obama exist?

    But what I can tell you is that history have shown Democrat Presidents have been getting progressively worse. So as much as I can’t tell you who the next President will be, I can tell you that person will be worse than Obama.

    I know that is beyond imagination. It was beyond imagination for me when we were in the midst of the Clinton Administration for there to ever be a worse President than him. If someone would have told me back then I wouldn’t believe him.

    And we will hate that person just like we hated Clinton, just like we hate Obama, not without justification mind you, but when we focus the hatred on an individual, not that these individuals aren’t detestable, but when we focus our hatred on an individual the Republican establishment uses it to our disadvantage.

    And it’s the Republican establishment we must defeat first before we will even have the ability to go after Obama or the next Obama or the one after that.

    But with Romney, he has made a focused effort to remove tea party from the Republican Party. And that is only going to increase and become stronger if he indeed becomes President.

  • Kurt Layton

    Steve, do you remember United We Stand.

    It started out as the Ross Perot movement but even after Perot they tried for a while to move it into more of an grassroots “bottom up” organization. They were mostly what we would call ‘freedom loving’ people. Yeah there were some mix, as you see with the Ron Paul people, but they were mostly on our side.

    They were critical in 1994 for us to take back the House (after 40 years). And some of them tried to get into the Republican Party (although lots of them mistrusted parties altogether). And of course in 1994 you had renewed activism in the Republican grassroots as well under the name of the “Republican Revolution”.

    But after all of that we still saw an Obama. In fact once elected the Republican establishment did all it could to keep these people down and out of any position of influence.

    That is why I honestly didn’t get too excited about the tea party when it started a few years ago. I had seen it all before, and sadly I knew where it would lead.

    And I am right. Right here we are seeing the beginning of the end to the tea party, and if Romney is elected you can forget it! He will totally kill the tea party.

    Please compare 1994 for 2008. I think we were much stronger back then. Time hasn’t been on our side. Two years after the next year of “Change” (Democrat sweep) we might see another Tea Party but it won’t be as strong. Each go around we become weaker.

    It is hard not to be so negative. Especially when history is proving me right again and again.