Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus says the platform crafted by a committee on which Tea Party–inspired delegates and social conservatives drove the process “is the platform of the Republican Party; it’s not the platform of Mitt Romney.”
Say what? Aren’t the Republican Party and Mitt Romney somewhat connected at this point?
Preparing to accept the nomination for president creates linkages that have traditionally been thought of as definitional.
So what’s Priebus really saying?
That’s easy. What he’s really saying is that Romney intends to play the Tea Party crowd for chumps.
When Romney aide Avik Roy was asked the other day how much influence Tea Party activists would have on the Romney White House, he answered “very little.”
“I think it is a statement of what activists in the party, the consensus among activists in the party believe should be the core of activist conservatism,” replied Roy. “But that is different from what a candidate who is appealing to the center of the country is going to try to do.”
Translation: Thanks for the votes, now go away.
It is no secret that Romney’s team has little taste for the Tea Partisans—a point made abundantly clear when the revised post-Isaac convention schedule was released. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Senator Rick Santorum, both of whom savaged Romney when the primaries were dragging from winter into spring, have speaking slots. But Tea Party favorites Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain are excluded from the stage.
More significantly, the Romney camp is reworking the rules of the party so that Romney will not feel pressure from the Tea Partisans.
Specifically, Romney’s backers used their control of the convention’s rule-making apparatus to develop a new set of rules that would allow him to see off any primary challenge from the right in 2016.
According to conservative critics of the move, the Romney rule changes would:
* allow presidential campaigns to, in essence, “fire” duly elected delegates they don’t like and replace them with individuals of their own choosing;