Members of the Republican National Committee gathering in Arizona were invited to meet with Mitt Romney in private Friday and have their pictures taken with the presumptive GOP nominee, but there was a price of admission: loyalty. RNC members and state GOP chairmen were welcomed into the private reception only after signing a form pledging to support Romney as a delegate to the national convention in Tampa. All 168 members of the committee have a vote at the convention as “superdelegates” – and one of Romney’s supporters on the RNC estimated that over 100 members signed the form. The Romney “delegate pledge form” asked members to sign their name and “pledge to vote for Mitt Romney at the 2012 Republican National Convention on all ballots until Mitt Romney has been nominated.”
Romney spoke only briefly and spent roughly 20 minutes shaking hands and posing with members in a photo line.
“This is where all the power is, huh?” Romney joked as he entered the room to applause. “Thank you for all your work. Thank you for your help.”
Not everyone was allowed to join in the fun. All three members of Iowa’s conservative RNC delegation – party chairman A.J. Spiker and committee members Steve Scheffler and Kim Lehman – attempted to enter the reception but were rebuffed after refusing to sign the delegate pledge.
The dispute became heated in the hallway outside, with the Iowans demanding to know why they had to sign a form to get their picture taken with the former Massachusetts governor. Several of Romney’s deputies on the committee assured the trio that they could keep their support a secret by checking the appropriate box, but they refused to do so.
“They don’t trust us,” a frustrated Scheffler said after the argument. “I have said I will support the nominee when we have a nominee, no ifs, ands or buts.” The Iowa delegates were later given the opportunity to pose for a photo with Romney at a luncheon for RNC members, after the private event for supporters.
These are superdelegates, so the comparison is not an exact fit, but I was an Obama delegate in 2008 and the Romney and Obama approaches seem very different. Once the primary was over, the Obama campaign set up a series of conference calls with pledged Obama delegates and pledged Clinton delegates where we could talk to each other and make some attempt at unity going into the convention. Everyone understood we needed both camps. No orders were issued, no loyalty demands were made, it was all persuasion. Maybe the situation was different for Clinton superdelegates, and they were ordered to sign loyalty oaths prior to the end of the primary season, but that was absolutely not the approach with ordinary, elected delegates in Ohio.
“This is where all the power is, huh?” Romney joked as he entered the room to applause.
This is an example of what I’m starting to think is a classic Mitt Romney put-down poorly disguised as a joke. Having buried his incredibly weak opponents in tons of money, he’s there to remind them who has the real power: Mitt Romney.
In an interview with ABC News in Scottsdale, Ariz., RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said that “Tuesday is going to be very important” as the committee moves to “further accelerate the communication between the RNC and Governor Romney’s campaign.” While Priebus said the RNC would continue to “show respect” for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Rep. Ron Paul, Tuesday’s primaries will pave the way toward a “complete and total merger between the RNC and the presumptive nominee.”
It’s a merger. I wonder if the Republican Party rank and file are starting to feel like these employees who were thrown on the scrap heap after Mitt Romney’s Bain came to town:
His specialty was flipping companies—or what he often calls “creative destruction.” His formula was simple: Bain would purchase a firm with little money down, then begin extracting huge management fees and paying Romney and his investors enormous dividends.
The result was that previously profitable companies were now burdened with debt. But much like the Enron boys, Romney’s battery of MBAs fancied themselves the smartest guys in the room. It didn’t matter if a company manufactured bicycles or contact lenses; they were certain they could run it better than anyone else.
Bain would slash costs, jettison workers, reposition product lines, and merge its new companies with other firms. With luck, they’d be able to dump the firm in a few years for millions more than they’d paid for it. But the beauty of Romney’s thesis was that it really didn’t matter if the company succeeded. Because he was yanking out cash early and often, he would profit even if his targets collapsed.