Licking their wounds after a 2012 election defeat, Republicans are meeting in California this week to reassess their internal party rules. But infighting erupted on day one between grassroots and establishment forces over proposed party reforms.
An early vote at the Republican National Committee’s annual meeting, held in the unlikely liberal bastion of Hollywood, shot down a party rules provision seeking to make the GOP presidential nominating process more transparent. The GOP’s rules committee voted 31-20 against a requirement that state party caucuses and primaries bind their delegates to support specific presidential candidates at the party’s national convention.
The measure was crafted by party officials largely in response to the 2012 takeover of several state delegations by supporters of Ron Paul. Paul supporters and other grassroots party activists had booed loudly when the change was announced at last summer’s party convention with the backing of top Romney campaign lawyer, Ben Ginsberg. But it is key to the nominating calendar reforms in the party’s official 2012 election autopsy, formally known at the Growth and Opportunity Project.
The repeal of the delegate binding provision is expected to fail in a vote by the full party committee tomorrow. But the narrow issue became a proxy for a larger argument over the Growth and Opportunity Project, and charges from party foot soldiers that the document represents an effort by establishment insiders to centralize control at their expense. Although a Los Angeles Times cartoonist imagined conservatives here tossing rotten eggs at the Hollywood homes of Rob Reiner and Sean Penn, on Wednesday the eggs were flying within the Loews Hollywood hotel.