Morton Blackwell Responds to Louis Pope Allegations
Dear Maryland Republican,
As a member of the Maryland Republican Central Committee, you have a very important decision to make on April 20, 2013– whom to select as your Chairman.
Maryland National Committeeman Louis Pope sent out a false letter to Maryland Republicans relating to your April 20 selection. In that letter Louis alleged that I negotiated a business deal with your then-State Chairman Alex Mooney relating to the election of Maryland’s representative on the RNC Standing Committee on Rules.
Louis’ charge is not only false, it is despicable. It is the type of tactic one would expect from an unprincipled political hack prepared to say or do anything to grab or keep power.
I am a conservative who has served as Virginia’s representative on the RNC’s Standing Committee on Rules since 1988.
Now that Louis has chosen, for whatever reason, to claim falsely that Alex and I had some corrupt business deal regarding Maryland Republican politics, I feel obliged to communicate to you.
Perhaps some background will help you understand what is going on.
At the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Louis Pope, acting as Vice Chair of the Convention Rules Committee, whipped the required votes to ramrod power-grab rule changes through the rules committee.
Diana Waterman, acting as a Maryland delegate to the national convention, served on the rules committee with Pope. She voted to approve these power-grab changes.
To this day, Waterman and Pope refuse to condemn those destructive changes.
And now, in the midst of a spirited race for your Maryland state party chairmanship, Louis chose to try to divert attention from real issues by raising a preposterous claim that Alex and I had some corrupt business deal to affect Alex’s vote on who shall represent Maryland for the next four years on the RNC’s Standing Committee on Rules.
Louis knows that Alex and I are old friends. As a young man, Alex worked for me just before he won his first election as a Maryland state senator. For many years, Alex has served as a volunteer lecturer at my training schools for conservative activists.
To anyone who knows either Alex or me, a disgusting claim that I would buy or that Alex would sell his support for anything can be understood only as an act of political desperation by Louis.
The RNC’s Standing Committee on Rules (one member per state and territory) regularly convenes between national conventions to consider possible changes to The Rules of the Republican Party.
At its meeting in Tampa in August 2012, that RNC Standing Committee, one third of all RNC members, worked diligently, carefully debated every proposed amendment, reviewed its years of work, and adopted a report to send to the whole RNC for its consideration.
Louis and I both served on that committee, usually voting on different sides when it came to conservative principles.
The deliberations of the Standing Committee were productive. Recommended changes included provisions that would open additional channels by which power in the RNC could flow more easily from the bottom up.
The majority of the Standing Committee generally agreed that it’s a good idea to increase the influence of the grassroots.
The report of the Standing Committee on Rules was presented to the full RNC, which in past election cycles frequently exercised its right to amend its Standing Committee’s report before sending it on to the Convention Rules Committee for consideration.
The RNC unanimously approved our Standing Committee’s recommendations.
But the next day, in the Convention Rules Committee, Ben Ginsberg, a Convention Rules Committee member from D.C., representing the Romney campaign, began to propose amendments to the report from the RNC.
First, Ben Ginsberg systematically submitted amendments to reverse the few and useful changes adopted by the Standing Committee and the full RNC to open up the flow of power from the bottom up in the RNC.
Then Ginsberg supported a number of brand new amendments to increase the centralization of power in the RNC.
Your National Committeeman, Louis Pope, was the Vice Chair of this Convention Rules Committee. Loius actively helped to push through these rules changes.
Your interim Chair, Diana Waterman, joined with Pope to pass the Ginsberg changes.
Although some members of the Convention Rules Committee, including me, strongly objected to Ben Ginsberg’s obviously centralizing power grabs, most members of that committee went along with everything Ginsberg wanted.
After all, he was presumed to be speaking for the candidate we were about to nominate for President.
You will recall, however, the immense, immediate outrage at the convention and from the grassroots against the Ginsberg power grabs.
The national convention’s consideration of the Convention Rules Committee report was a uniquely ugly scene.
What Ben Ginsberg did was particularly foolish because none of the changes he pushed would in any way help us win the coming presidential election.
All he accomplished regarding the 2012 election was to make grassroots conservatives fiercely angry at the Romney campaign.
Of course, if Mitt Romney had been elected in November, there was no chance at all that he would have trouble with the Republican National Committee.
In sum, the power grabs were a stupid move, and our Party is still suffering the consequences.
Grassroots conservatives use many social media networks. They can communicate instantly and for free. Since the national convention and to this day, there is vigorous condemnation of our national Party for Ginsberg’s power grabs, which eliminated non-controversial reforms and deliberately (and unnecessarily) centralized our Party even more.
Instead of further centralizing the Republican Party, we should welcome newcomers and treat them fairly, politely, and cordially.
Our Party must attract more newcomers and build a superior grassroots election organization to win in 2014 and beyond.
What good is it to centralize power . . .
. . . if doing so prevents us from recruiting new grassroots activists to our Party and building a majority in future elections?
You may know that I train thousands of conservative newcomers every year for success in politics.
I know that, if we “de-Ginsberg” our party rules, newcomers will join our party enthusiastically in our efforts to stop the damage President Obama and his leftist allies are wreaking on our country.
The support of the Maryland Rules Committee appointee would help conservatives like me to accomplish our goals.
Mr. Pope and Mrs. Waterman have made clear that they support the radical, destructive power-grabs that occurred at the national convention.
You would be well-served to elect a principled Chairman who works in the interest of the conservative grassroots.
Don’t you want a Chairman who will work to make the Republican Party about the grassroots ultimately telling the RNC how to operate, instead of the other way around?
Virginia Republican National Committeeman