Greer's RNC pitch
As it looks uncertain whether Michigan will hold a Jan. 15 primary and join Florida in the penalty box for violating the national parties' primary schedules, Florida GOP Chairman Jim Greer is lobbying RNC members to reconsider stripping Florida of half its delegates as punishment for the Jan. 29 primary:
"...Together, we must announce proudly, loudly and without reservation that no state and no voter of our party will be penalized in any manner and that all states will be permitted to seat their full delegation at the convention. The immediate benefit will be victory in the presidential election of 2008. The long-term benefit to our party will be invaluable, and it will ensure that the Democrats will not recover from our actions for many years to come. To do otherwise would be a disservice to the Republican Party and to the holders of the highest office of the land, the citizens..." The full letter is below.
Dear Fellow RNC Colleagues,
As the Chairman of the Republican Party in the State of Florida, a state which faces the potential penalty related to our delegates, I write to you asking that you consider several important issues relating not only to our upcoming convention, but to the future of our party and its successes.
First, the narrow issue before the Committee is whether the 50% delegate reduction penalty in Rule 16 applies to a state such as Florida that will select its delegates after February 5, 2008. It is a core Republican principle that rules should be enforced as they are written. Under the plain language of Rule 16, the 50% penalty applies only to states that choose to SELECT DELEGATES prior to February 5th, and without question Florida will not select its delegates until after that date.
In March, Chairman Duncan provided the Committee with RNC counsel’s memorandum on the primary and delegate selection process. The memorandum advised that if a state legislature schedules its Presidential primary for a date prior to February 5th, the state Republican Party should adopt rules for the selection of delegates on a date after February 5th in order to avoid the 50% penalty. The Republican Party of Florida followed the RNC counsel’s advice to the letter.
The inapplicability of the Rule 16 penalty to Florida should be given thoughtful consideration. Some would have this Committee follow the approach of liberal activist judges who ignore the express terms of written rules and instead “interpret” the law to their liking in order to achieve a particular outcome. The Committee should resist this temptation and remain faithful to Republican principles. Not only is it the right thing to do, it will help ensure that Florida’s critical 27 electoral votes will go to the Republican nominee in 2008. Although Florida’s position is technical in nature and may not be credible in the eyes of some, this position is factual and requires thoughtful consideration.
Furthermore, as Chairman Anuzis of Michigan has accurately conveyed, the appropriate step from an organizational and representational standpoint would be for each state to vote during the committee on the call meeting to permit any penalized state to submit a full list of delegates to the convention, in order to prevent a disruption from occurring at the convention, if ultimately the penalized states are permitted to seat their full list of delegates. In addition, the point was properly raised that the arbitrator of any disputes relating to the eligibility of delegates falls within the jurisdiction of the convention credentials committee and ultimately final authority rests with the convention itself.
Imposing a penalty which would require a state to submit a reduced number of delegates to the convention and then informing the state that it may seat its full delegation regardless of reason would place a state with the inability to respond to such final disposition. This is why the committee’s upcoming action should be to allow all states to submit their full list of delegates so that each state may arrive at the convention prepared for whatever decision may be made by the convention itself.
My fellow Republicans, I would like to also take a moment to address this matter from the perspective of our party’s victory in 2008 and the potential long term benefit that would be derived from seating all delegates from all states regardless of rule violations. For years the Republican Party has listened to the false rhetoric of the Democrats, who continue to tell the voters of this nation that our party seeks to disenfranchise voters and withhold our most cherished act of democracy, the right to vote. The Democrat National Committee and its presidential candidates have slapped the face of their party’s voters by becoming a “prisoner to a political party’s rule,” which will have significant consequences for all Democrats on election day in 2008 and for years to come.
The Republican Party has an opportunity that we may never have again—an opportunity to demonstrate our commitment that “every vote counts.” We must put our party first and resolve our primary scheduling process through other means. Together, we must announce proudly, loudly and without reservation that no state and no voter of our party will be penalized in any manner and that all states will be permitted to seat their full delegation at the convention. The immediate benefit will be victory in the presidential election of 2008. The long-term benefit to our party will be invaluable, and it will ensure that the Democrats will not recover from our actions for many years to come. To do otherwise would be a disservice to the Republican Party and to the holders of the highest office of the land, the citizens.
Thank you for your thoughtful consideration of this matter.
James A. Greer