It's a tense issue that has been brewing for months. Establishment GOP operatives have been working to replace delegates, nullify entire state delegations and worse to keep grass-roots Republicans from influencing the party platform and nomination process. When it was only affecting the Ron Paul wing of the party people were willing to turn a blind eye, but now, led by the Romney campaign, they may have finally taken one step too many for tea party and conservative activists.
In a series of proposed rules changes, the Romney campaign is pushing for rules that would allow future nominees to veto delegates duly elected by their state party and for the RNC to be able to change convention rules at anytime. Currently, rules state convention rules can only be changed every for years at the convention when delegates are convened.
After heavy weights like Sarah Palin and FreedomWorks began attacking the plan the Romney campaign backed down on their calls for a rule that would allow the nominee to select his own delegates. However, they are not backing down on proposed rule 12, which would still allow the RNC to change the rules at anytime. This effectively makes the delegate rule moot because it can be inserted at will at a later date.
Michelle Malkin has been blogging the story as it unfolds. The vote that has the potential to derail the entire convention is scheduled for later today.
UPDATE 3:30 pm: "Well, that was…something else. First, Maine delegates were replaced with Romney people. Then, rules chairman John Sununu and GOP Speaker of the House John Boehner stood on stage at the RNC to rule on the compromise rules report. No minority report was mentioned. When asked for yeas and nays on the report, the room seemed equally divided. Boehner forged ahead and approved the report over loud boos and calls of “point of order” from activists on the floor.
No vote on the minority report.
FW’s Dean Clancy observes: “If @SpeakerBoehner had been wielding the Speaker’s gavel instead of the GOP convention gavel, he wouldn’t have gotten away with that trick.”And the show went on…GOP Rep. Marsha Blackburn just declared that “this has been a great exercise in grass-roots” and that GOP stands for “Great Opportunity Party.”"
UPDATE: 2:30 pm: "Dissidents have until 3:47pm Eastern to gather enough signatures to force the floor vote, according to right-leaning Examiner’s Tim Carney, who is on scene. Left-leaning BuzzFeed’s Zeke Miller, also on scene, says it appears dissidents have gathered enough signatures for minority report on Rule 12, but not yet on Rule 15(16)."
UPDATE 1:50 pm: "The Rules Committee just voted 78-14 to accept the Romney-approved deal on Rules 15(16) and 12. There is now an effort to gather enough signatures to force a floor vote on the minority report. 25 percent of committee members are needed."
UPDATE 11:35 am: Now Romney has taken to replace delegate members of the rules committee to push through changes to rule 12.