- Gentlemen, start your drones: Judge’s ruling opens door for commercial use
- Soldier who hid, bragged about not saluting flag to be punished — in secret
- ‘Maverick’ of the seas: ‘Top Gun’ school for U.S. ship officers to launch
- Putin declares Sochi Paralympics open amid Ukrainian protest
- ‘In Jesus name, we pray’ sparks ire at Ohio council meeting
- Navy’s first laser weapon ready for prime time; drone killer to deploy this summer
- Billionaire backer: Rick Santorum ‘needs to be heard’ in 2016
- Obamacare fallout: 49 percent pessimistic; 45 percent ‘scared’
- DHS accused of holding U.S. citizen at airport, using emails to pry into her sex life
- Seattle socialist: Minimum-wage discussion skewed by ‘right-wing’ GAO analysis
EXCLUSIVE: Inside RNC, a rules fight brews over lawyer’s tactics
For most of the past two decades, Ben Ginsberg has been a brusque, hard-driving lawyer who has won the admiration of some and disdain of others as one of the Republican Party’s behind-the-scenes legal fixers.
He helped lead George W. Bush’s legal team that won the Florida recount battle in 2000, defended the Swift Boat veterans whose 2004 ads attacked John F. Kerry’s Vietnam War record and was among the first to predict that the Supreme Court’s landmark Citizens United ruling would create a campaign finance free-for-all.
Even President Obama grudgingly turned to Mr. Ginsberg this year to serve as co-chairman of a bipartisan effort to protect voting rights — to the alarm of some liberals.
Mr. Ginsberg’s power play inside the Republican National Convention last year, however, rankled many by imposing rules changes that undercut states’ rights to pick their own delegates. In a chaotic pre-convention fight, some initially feared the rule changes opened the door for Mr. Ginsberg’s boss, Mitt Romney, to name his own nominating delegates. But it was soon determined that the rules applied only to 2016 and later.
Nonetheless, the fight became a tipping point for many Republican loyalists, who in years past kept private their distaste for Mr. Gingsberg’s take-no-prisoners style.
Now, days before the Republican National Committee’s annual summer meeting in Boston, some of these loyalists are sounding off publicly as they launch an effort to roll back the rule changes.
“Ginsberg’s work has left a bad taste in the mouths of not just newly active Republicans, but in many GOP conservatives who have been fighting these battles for a very long time,” said Carolyn McLarty of Oklahoma, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee's Resolutions Committee.
Mr. Blackwell, who served in the Reagan White House, personally wrote RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, urging him to dig in at the RNC summer meeting Wednesday through Aug. 17 in Boston. Mr. Blackwell and his supporters want the word “shall” restored to rules that mandate states choose their delegates, displacing the word “may” that Mr. Ginsberg successfully inserted last year.
“In living memory, no candidate about to become the Republican presidential nominee had ever used his power to generate wholesale changes in the rules of the Republican party at the convention which was about to nominate him,” the veteran Virginia Republican National Committee member wrote in 1,890-word letter to Mr. Priebus that was obtained by The Washington Times.
Asked to comment, he replied, “I have nothing to say off the record and therefore you have nothing from me on the record.”
“It’s hard to put into words what Ben Ginsberg means to the Republican Party,” said Rich Beeson, Mr. Romney’s presidential campaign political director. “It’s like asking what Michael Jordan did for basketball.”
Mr. Ginsberg’s critics chafe at his style and say his actions last year warrant a slap.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Chief political writer Ralph Z. Hallow served on the Chicago Tribune, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Washington Times editorial boards, was Ford Foundation Fellow in Urban Journalism at Northwestern University, resident at Columbia University Editorial-Page Editors Seminar and has filed from Berlin, Bonn, London, Paris, Geneva, Vienna, Amman, Beirut, Cairo, Damascus, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Belgrade, Bucharest, Panama and Guatemala.
- DeLay: GOP failing to fight criminalization of politics
- Question for CPAC-goers: Is Congress relevant anymore?
- Rand Paul looking to hedge bet in 2016 election
- CPAC conservatives frustrated by GOP's compromises, lack of leadership
- Big money haul keeps Chris Christie's role at Republican Governors Association safe
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
Taxpayers must pay the freight for over-budget train projects
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Rand Paul wins 2014 CPAC straw poll, Ted Cruz finishes a distant second
- Vietnam says it may have found door of missing Malaysian jet as intel look into stolen passports
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- Bill Clinton cashes in on struggling nonprofit hospital
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- EDITORIAL: Senate rejects Adegbile for Justice post
- Russias Putin nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
- U.S. deploys 12 F-16 fighter jets to Poland as exercise in response to Ukraine situation
- CPAC 2014 straw poll results
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again