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‘Hitting a fly with a sledgehammer’: Author of pro-life plank fights GOP takeover attempt

James Bopp says the party's moderates are trying to grasp ahold of the reins of power.
Tue Aug 28, 2012 - 4:29 pm EST

TAMPA, August 28, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) –  A host of pro-life conservatives, including the man who wrote the Republican Party’s pro-life plank in 1980, say a proposed “power grab” from the Romney campaign could threaten the party’s conservative, pro-life base.

It’s “overkill – like killing a fly with a sledgehammer,” wrote James Bopp of Indiana, who currently serves as the Vice Chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Under rules proposed by the Romney campaign, the presidential candidate who wins a state primary would get to select all state delegates to the convention and “disavow” anyone who meets his disapproval.

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Conservatives fear that liberal Republicans could use that to exclude pro-life delegates from having a hand in writing the party platform.

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“Once this proposed change goes into effect in 2016, a more socially liberal nominee tied to the GOP establishment (which is most of them) could shut out delegates with conservative views,” noted the Family Research Council. “Left unchallenged, this could jeopardize the entire GOP platform which would have significant ramifications on core principles like life, marriage, and religious liberty.”

The proposal would also allow for the party to change rules between conventions.

Social conservatives also worry the rules change would alter the delicate balance of the Grand Old Party. “It would make the Republican Party a top down, not bottom up party,” Bopp wrote in a letter outlining his opposition. It would also hurt state parties…A presidential candidate will have his own agenda for delegate selection.” 

The Washington Times reports the rules changes come from Romney attorney Ben Ginsberg, who represented George W. Bush during the 2000 recount.

Bopp and other conservatives are circulating a Minority Report to oppose the rules changes, which has met stiff opposition from the Romney campaign.

Morton Blackwell, who heads the Leadership Institute, said, “I will not pretend that the deck is not stacked against us.”

The proposed change aims to freeze out supporters of Ron Paul, who elected a disproportionate number of delegates by concentrating on a state-by-state strategy within the party structure. Opponents say the problem – if it is one – could be handled by changing state regulations.

Carolyn McClarty, chairwoman of the Oklahoma delegation, warned that following Ginsberg’s suggestion would undo “the two years of good work Reince [Priebus] has done in opening up this party to the grass roots.” 

Blackwell, whose institute has trained thousands of activists, asked, “Why would we want to discourage activism?” 

Richard Viguerie of ConservativeHQ.com has written such a change must be stopped. “Call your Republican National Convention delegates, blog about, email it to your friends and contacts, post it on your Facebook page and social media sites and call your local and national conservative talk radio programs,” he wrote.


  ben ginsberg, james bopp, republicans, ron paul

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