When approached a few days ago by Bryan Daugherty of Bangor, Maine who is closely tied to the Republican grassroots and social media teams, such as the team who built www.stepdownnow.com this past week, I had a hard time believing that not one candidate had yet stepped forward to challenge the current RNC Chairman. However, upon further research, I discovered that it was in fact true – no other candidate had stepped up or emerged at this time.
Let me begin by saying that I am honored to find my name on the short list as a potential candidate next to two great statesmen, Congressman Ron Paul and Senator Jim DeMint. As we all know, these two men have fought the good fight for years on Capitol Hill – lower taxes, less spending, and an overall decentralized Federal Government that would actually abide by the Constitution. Sadly, they seem to be two outgoing voices in the wilderness of an out of control Federal Government with few replacements on the horizon. Men perhaps of a different age – principled leaders are hard to come by these days.
Therefore, after much deliberation and discussion with my wife Violet, I let Bryan know that due to the fact that no one has stepped up to the plate, I would in fact run for Chairman of the RNC, provided I would receive, in writing, the support of at least 2 RNC members in 3 states (minimum of 6 persons) in order to satisfy the RNC nomination requirements. The election takes place on Friday, January 25th, 2013 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
If this requirement is satisfied by the time of the election, then ladies and gentlemen, we have an election to win. However, let me be clear that I would not be running for RNC Chair out of malice but at the behest of the grassroots of the Republican Party.
The grassroots are the lifeblood of the Republican Party – always have been and always will be. For the grassroots man the phones at the Victory centers, go door to door with candidates, organize fundraisers as well as attend speeches and events. Without the grassroots support, candidates would be standing at a podium, speaking to an empty auditorium with a few Party members off to the side and the rear.
Without the grassroots the Republican Party is an empty passenger ship at sea without a rudder, captained by a few in the bridge who never took the time to go down below deck in order to realize all the cabins were empty. The Republican Party has turned its back on the grassroots one too many times and we desperately need them to stay involved.
For example, as one of the duly elected Maine delegates that was unseated in Tampa I know the impact such heavy-handed decisions can have not just on the delegation, but the morale of the grassroots back home. In the case of Maine, we came home heroes due to the fact that we never gave in as a delegation and even though half of our duly elected delegation was unseated, we refused to take the deals that were offered. We stood up for what was right and never wavered.
Furthermore, those of us who were at the Tampa Convention were outraged at the “gavel up, gavel down” approach with regards to the rules that were adopted as well. Many states, such as New Hampshire, Nevada, Texas, Minnesota, and North Carolina have passed resolutions condemning these rules for if they are not changed, the grassroots will be completely cut out of the 2016 Presidential election process.
Regarding these new rules, many of you know that Rule 12 gives unprecedented power to the RNC to change party rules without the input and/or approval of state parties and their members while Rule 16 removes the rights of states to choose their own delegates by forcing all state parties to allocate and bind the state’s delegation to the National Convention through Presidential Preference Polls.
Furthermore, Rule 16 also allows the presumptive Presidential candidate to disavow (“veto”) any bound and/or allocated delegate and alternate delegate before the national convention for any reason whatsoever and Rule 40 now requires an eight (8) state majority to nominate an individual for President and/or Vice President where it previously required a five (5) state plurality.
Therefore, based upon these new rules and the behavior of our Chairman in Tampa, I present the following roadmap for your consideration, a more formal plan to be presented in the near future:
1. Repeal the new RNC rules adopted in Tampa, replace them with the former 2008 rules, apologize to the GOP grassroots for being overzealous and promise that such behavior will never happen again.
2. Re-evaluate the RNC’s relationship with the GOP grassroots – the key being adopting ideas from the bottom up instead of a top down, RNC knows best approach.
3. Return as much autonomy to state parties as possible. If we believe in a decentralized Federal Government, then the RNC needs to walk the talk.
4. Attract more Independent and disillusioned Democrats the way Ronald Reagan did: with a firm grasp of the issues and facts while at the same time, explaining and educating those new members about the cause of Liberty and Conservatism.
5. Go on the offensive against the Democrats. For far too long, we as Republicans tend to sit back and play defense. It is time we step up and present this Party as one of clear contrast to the Democrats.
6. Apply pressure to our Federally elected officials that behavior such as Speaker Boehner purging conservatives and libertarians from committee assignments will not be tolerated.
In conclusion, I say, if we are truly the party of liberty, equality and favoritism for none, then let’s start acting like it by embracing the grassroots once and for all! Welcome them, don’t push them away, discourage them and then expect their vote in November. Let us build a stronger political body that can defeat the Democrats, election after election. For if we do not, such behavior only ensures our impending demise.
Mark D. Willis
National Committeeman Maine Republican Party
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