Some regular readers of this blog have shared a great video with me from the recently-completed national Republican Convention in Tampa. There was some controversy that arose during the convention — some party rules changes were being pushed that would centralize power and influence in the hands of RNC officials and basically shut out Tea Party and Ron Paul supporters, as well as other grassroots activists. The rules got changed — despite a furious protest by grassroots activists — by a rather dubious voice vote.
The video these readers made available to me offers a peek behind-the-scenes at some of the wheeling-and-dealing in Tampa. According to one of these readers, who attended the convention:
“The North Carolina delegation to the RNC had a breakfast meeting in which the RNC-proposed amendment to rule 15, which became 16, was brought up by North Carolina’s Republican Committeewoman Ada Fisher. At the time, Fisher voiced that she was opposed to the RNC rule change, which would give presidential candidates veto-authority over RNC delegates elected by the people of individual states. North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis also spoke against the rule changes.
Fisher announced that she wanted to conduct another meeting in which the issue could be further discussed. The meeting was scheduled for 3:45 pm the same day. At the breakfast meeting, it appeared that North Carolina’s elected officials and the state’s convention delegates were in support of the Minority Report, a proposed measure to counter the rule changes, and opposed to the RNC rule changes. By 3:45, the tone had drastically changed among the elected officials.”
If you view the recording of the 3:45 meeting made by this reader, you see and hear NCGOP chairman Robin Hayes lecturing the delegates about how important it is to support the rules changes and ignore this Minority Report:
” […] If you don’t remember anything else, remember this: Always support your leadership. If you think I’m being heavy-handed, I am. […]”
Wow. So, now we know who ol’ Robin put first when he was in the state House and US House. I worked for the late Senator Jesse Helms. I NEVER heard anything like that come out of his mouth. NEVER. What about the interests of your state, the people back home ? My reader continues with their story:
We showed up to the 3:45 meeting to find that Fisher had not even bothered to come to her own meeting. Thom Tillis was present, but remained quiet and certainly didn’t voice an opinion on the rule changes one way or another. NCGOP Chairman Robin Hayes immediately opened the meeting by telling the delegation that he was OPPOSED to the Minority Report, and wanted all of the delegation to support the rule changes, telling them that their “leaders” wanted the rule changes, and that they needed to “support their leaders.”
It sounds like some arm-twisting of folks who hold elected positions — like Tillis and Fisher — went down during the break. Read on:
I began filming because I was startled by this drastic change in tone. When the video starts, Hayes is discussing the fact that Morton Blackwell, member of the Virginia delegation, author of the minority report, and senior member of the RNC rules committee, was present to give a presentation in support of the Minority Report. Hayes stated that HE did NOT invite Blackwell to our meeting, that someone else had done that. Hayes asked two NC members of the RNC rules committee to come in and discuss the rule changes (both of whom had voted to PASS the RNC rule change). Hayes was irritated by Blackwell’s presence there, and later in the video he let it be known.
After Blackwell gave an explanation as to why the rule change was an expansive power-grab which intrudes upon states’ rights and impedes upon the ability to conduct fair elections, Chairman Hayes asks him to leave the room. After Blackwell leaves, Hayes begins to discredit Blackwell, saying that his presentation was simply an opinion, and discusses the fact that he is unhappy with someone inviting Blackwell without consulting with him first. Had it not been for Blackwell being there, there would have been no scheduled Minority Report proponent speakers present to give a counter argument to the speakers that Hayes asked to be present.
The rudeness and disrespect displayed in the video toward Blackwell is shocking. Morton Blackwell is a legendary conservative activist who is best known for his work with the DC-based Leadership Institute and National Right to Work Committee. Read on:
Over the course of the video, the fact that I have a camera in the room is brought up a few different times. Each time, the hostility over the camera is escalated. Chairman Hayes makes the insinuation that I could be an infiltrator who would doctor the video or take it out of context, and leak it to liberal media to make the RNC look bad. During these insinuations (as well as one threat to sic Chris Christie on me), most of the NC delegation is applauding and cheering him in his bullying. There was a lot of pressure on me to turn the camera off.
If you’re not doing anything wrong, why care if you’re being recorded? Read on:
After Hayes began to assess the level of support and opposition for his position, he takes a poll of who in the room is a delegate, who is an alternate, and who is a guest. There was stronger support for the minority report among the alternates and guests than among the delegates. He later holds a vote on the position that NC delegation will stand in support of the rule changes, and says that only the delegates may participate in the vote. He then tells them that Mitt Romney wants them to support the rule changes, he asks them in a confusing manner how they vote on the matter, points them out individually and asks if they support their chairman, tells those who DO NOT support their chairman to raise their hands, a few very brave folks raise their hands, and he then says that all of the rest of our entire group of registered DELEGATES (MANY OF OUR DELEGATES TO THE CONVENTION WERE NOT EVEN PRESENT FOR THE MEETING) were in SUPPORT of the rule changes.
You’ve got to LOVE this quote in the video from Hayes:
“It is my intention as your elected chairman to vote this delegation with the leadership against the minority report. If there are a majority of you who are opposed to doing that, raise your hand. Mitt Romney does not want that to happen. You’re for Robin, or you’re against Robin. If you’re against Robin, raise your hand.”
I’m against Robin. *raising my hand*