Tuesday, July 22, 2014

To Accomplish Replacement . . . And Why

 

And no, I'm not talking about Randy Richardville, though I agree that he needs to go, too.  Nope, I'm referring to a different scoundrel here.

Last Sunday, on the Dump Saul Anuzis facebook page, I wrote:

 

"While all of this various and sundry political talk is very fascinating, let's please keep our primary objective in mind . . . that of dumping Saul Anuzis as Michigan's RNC National Committeeman. We do need to start recruiting a potential challenger, and develop a delegate strategy (using the 2010 pool) to accumulate the votes necessary to dump him."

The conversation threads, both on the page and in the group, were starting to get a tad afield of the original purpose, which is to focus the efforts to replace Saulius Anuzis as Michigan's Republican National Committeeman.  Best to stay focused here, as we only have about seven weeks left to work with.  Grab a pot of coffee, and let's go below the fold.

 

 

Saul Anuzis (Michigan's current Republican National Committeeman) and Holly Hughes (Michigan's current Republican National Committeewoman) both must stand for reelection at the May 19th MIGOP State Convention.  Also required to stand for election are the nominees for Michigan's at-large delegates to the Republican National Convention (August 27th - 30th).  The offices of the NCM and NCW are typically held for four-year terms (from closing gavel of one national convention to the closing gavel of the national convention four years later).

Keith Butler had been elected as Michigan's Republican NCM at the February 2008 state convention, but resigned his position in April of 2010.  In a May 2010 MIGOP State Committee meeting, Anuzis beat out Scott Greenlee (his only opponent) to win the NCM seat for the remainder of Butler's term.  Unlike then, when Saul had just over two weeks to thoroughly demagogue Greenlee, we have some time . . . though we must use it wisely.

The Mechanics of Removal

The May 18th & 19th, 2012, Michigan Republican State Convention will be held this year at Detroit's Cobo Center(this was done by Chairman Schostak's request), with the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center serving as the host hotel.  The convention delegation will be drawn from the 2010 precinct delegate pool, though as always there are ways for the average activist who isn't a precinct delegate to get elected to the convention delegate list at his local county convention.  According to Saul Anuzis' Weekly Musing from this past Sunday (which was also mass e-mailed the following morning), he does intend to stand for re-election at the May convention.  My take is that those intending to position themselves to cast a vote on the matter at convention probably ought to keep their powder dry.

The process for filing for convention races within the Michigan Republican Party was put in place back when Betsy DeVos was the chair, applies to state convention races only, and was intended to weed out candidates who might cause the state party embarrassment once elected.  (The Lieutenant Governor nominee is exempt from this process, in keeping with the traditional deference to the gubernatorial prerogative for choosing his running mate.)  The full MIGOP Rules For 2012 County, State, and National Conventions (as approved 13 Aug 2011), are what we'll be referencing for the rest of the discussion on this point.

According to MIGOP convention rule 21(a):

 

"... any person seeking election at the State Convention to any office shall first file an Affidavit of Candidacy with the State Party Chair [not later than] Friday, May 4, 2012, at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time. ... Any person who does not properly file an Affidavit of Candidacy may not seek election at the State Convention."

According to MIGOP convention rule 21(b):

 

"... after properly filing an Affidavit of Candidacy, any person seeking election at the State Convention to any office shall next seek the approval of the Policy Committee of the Michigan Republican State Committee at any regular or special meeting of the Policy Committee.  Approval ... shall be granted if, and only if, a candidate demonstrates the written support of a minimum of five (5) congressional district chairs elected and serving. ..."

According to MIGOP convention rule 21(c):

 

"... if, for any reason, a person seeking election at State Convention does not obtain the approval of the Policy Committee pursuant to this rule, a person seeking election must then:

(1) obtain the written approval of at least eight (8) congressional district chairs elected and serving;or

(2) obtain the written approval of any three (3) regular members (or their proxies) of the Michigan Republican State Committee from at least eight (8) separate congressional districts, before such person's name may be placed in nomination at the State Convention."

According to MIGOP convention rule 21(d):

 

"... approval by the Policy Committee, any congressional district chair, or any regular member (or their proxy) of the Michigan Republican State Committee to seek election to any office pursuant to this rule, shall not constitute an endorsement, nor shall ... be bound to vote at the State Convention for that candidate; rather, approval pursuant to this rule is merely a prerequisite to seek election at the State Convention."

Because the written support doesn't constitute an endorsement or bound vote, written support is not exclusive.  In other words, district chairs and state committee members are free to support as many candidates as they please.  Based on what I've learned, the sitting district chairs in congressional districts ONE and EIGHT won't sign support letters for anyone but Saul Anuzis (because they both happen to be on the MIGOP payroll).  As for the remaining thirteen, it's a matter of tracking them down, making the candidate's case, and getting the letter under their nose to sign.

Now, because this convention will be happening in May, thus before this year's statewide primary elections, the convention delegates will be drawn from the 2010 precinct delegate pool.  That doesn't mean that non-PDs can't be elected as convention delegates, but it does mean that non-PDs will have to get the support of the precinct delegates in their county (check your county's rules for specifics) in order to be elected as a voting delegate to the district and state conventions.  Those of us who are actively planning Saul's ouster will want to pack as many anti-Anuzis activists into the delegation as possible, so we need to get the process started . . . yesterday.

Making the Case for Ouster

Initially, I was thinking that this would be something along the lines of why we should be opposing Romney in the presidential primary in that if I need to provide you with the talking points, then you haven't been paying attention.  (Given that there are plenty of good ones over at "That's All Saul," I shouldn't have to elaborate too much.)  However, given that Mr. Anuzis already boasts an impressive list of endorsees over on his website, perhaps not enough people are aware of why this loser needs to be replaced . . . pronto.

(Brief sidebar:  I know that some of these endorsers of Anuzis' reelection bid are doing so for no reason other than that he's currently unopposed.  My recommendation is that you actively contact all whom you have direct connection to and ask them to keep their powder dry.)

No current discussion of why Anuzis should be replaced can leave out the ongoing he's-hoping-we-forget-about-it Michigan "Dele-Gate" Fiasco.  Worse is that we now know Saul Anuzis is one of Romney's four RNC whips, charged with peeling off every available delegate into the Romney column.  Apparently, that also seems to involve ex post facto delegate theft.  Nor could such a discussion leave out Saul's continuing activity as a paid lobbyist on behalf of the National Popular Vote (something else that he's probably praying we've forgotten about,especially when it comes to forging RNC letterhead).  Because continuing to push something that the entire RNC voted "no" on (damn near unanimously), just screams, "I'm here to undermine the Constitution," that cannot be tolerated in the party which by its very name advocates for rule of law.

But wait . . . there's more!  And quite frankly, I'm not entirely sure where to begin.

There are multiple horror stories of Saul Anuzis' abject failure as state party chair over the course of two election cycles (2006 and 2008), all of which are consistent with overarching sloppy leadership (being out-of-step with Reagan conservatism, no actual major electoral accomplishments, blown campaign opportunities, and lopsided defeats), but three from the 2008 campaign stick firmly in my mind:

 

  • Back in 2005, when Anuzis took over as Michigan Republican State Chair, the party had $1,000,000 in cash-on-hand, and zero debt burden.  However, various GOP activists learned during the 2008 campaign that the party only had $860,000 cash-on-hand to assist the state's federal candidates (after the McCain-Palin withdrawal from Michigan), and that Saul had led the party into at least $250,000 of debt.  How bad the finances really were will never be known, because in 2009, Ron Weiser had the state party's finances audited as part of the turnover process.  According to several state committee members that I've spoken with, the results of that audit were so bad that Chairman Weiser spiked it, and then solved the problem by successfully engineering the largest single-term fundraising operation ever seen in this state's Republican Party politics.

     

  • The weekend before the McCain campaign withdrew from Michigan, some state party volunteers learned that about 300,000 McCain-Palin literature pieces were sitting at the campaign's state office in Farmington Hills.  A phone call to the M-P regional director confirmed that MIGOP was sitting on the literature and refusing to release it to the county distribution points.  These volunteers quickly "phone-treed" other party volunteers throughout the state, and the entire group descended on the campaign office (complete with a rented delivery van) to pick up the literature and deliver it where it needed to go.  However, as the load-up was in progress, the volunteers were met by state party staffers who threatened the volunteers with all manner of legal and political consequences if they didn't cease and desist immediately.  I have no idea if that literature ever got to where it was supposed to go.

     

  • The weekend of 31 October - 03 November (GOTV weekend for the general campaign), the state party headquarters was locked up.  You read that right . . . the weekend before a huge election, the state headquarters of the Michigan Republican Party was locked up (as in lights out, phones off, no desks manned).  As you can feature, this resulted in a near-total collapse of coordination in statewide GOTV efforts, as well as made it impossible for republican poll challengers to get their credentials.  If you want to know the straw that broke the elephant's back with regard to losing two congressional seats, nine state house seats, and the sitting Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court, then I think you need look no further.

     

And those are just three examples of four years of unfocused leadership, wasted resources, and poor strategy that resulted in two straight statewide and local electoral drubbings by a better-funded and better-organized Michigan Democrat Party.

Some History and a Final Procedural Item

Back in December of 2008, I wrote an article about the Kent GOP's Project 2010 Kickoff.  In that article I briefly quoted Chuck Yob:

 

Chuck Yob addressed the assembly, beginning by delivering the bad news first.  It turns out that MIGOP was fighting with RNC over how the McCain Campaign should be run within Michigan, and this was the reason that John McCain pulled out of Michigan.  In Mr. Yob's opinion, it is not the responsibility of the party committee - at any level - to get involved in primaries or conventions that they are not themselves responsible for convening, and they absolutely must stay out of intra-party struggles.

Yeah, the Anuzis-led Michigan Republican Party, by insisting on sticking its nose in where it didn't belong, killed any shot we had (however small) of delivering Michigan for the McCain-Palin ticket.  And by so doing, he also cost us a rule-of-law majority on the state supreme court.

I haven't yet mentioned the other time that Saul Anuzis rigged a state party process to favor Mitt Romney, but now seems like a good time to correct that oversight:

The 2008 Michigan Republican State Convention to select the national convention delegates was moved from its normal May date to February.  This was a strategic move by then-chairman Anuzis intended to outmaneuver McCain's campaign team with well-organized pro-Romney forces and take away both the National Committeeman and National Committeewoman seats (which at that time were held by known McCain supporters).  Due to the complete lack of a candidate, the effort to ambush-and-oust Holly Hughes just plain fizzled.  However, Chuck Yob, who at that point had been the Michigan Republican National Committeeman for 20 years, opted to surrender his seat rather than engage in a floor fight (and McCain was all but the nominee at this point, anyway).

Keep in mind that, as I said before, even though we must replace Saul Anuzis at Michigan's Republican National Committeeman, he will still serve as such through the closing gavel at this year's Republican National Convention (so presumably at some point on August 30th).  If we wish to force him to abandon his office immediately, then we need to accomplish a no-confidence vote at convention.  Since such a vote is not already on the business agenda of the convention, there are two ways to leverage it onto the agenda:

 

  • The more unlikely method (which has happened a grand total of twice in Michigan Republican party history) is to call a vote on the convention floor to suspend the rules; this requires a 2/3 supermajority vote of the convention delegates to approve.  Once the rules are suspended, motions for no-confidence and immediate removal of Chairman Schostak, Co-Chair Wise, National Committeeman Anuzis, National Committeewoman Hughes (for that matter, any elected party vice-chair as well) become immediately in order.  What's so scary about this (and why the establishment bluebloods will do whatever it takes to avoid it), is that once the convention rules are suspended, they stay suspended until such time as a motion to restore the rules is made, supported, and passed by a 2/3 supermajority vote of the convention delegates.  This means that anything and everything permitted under Robert's Rules of Order becomes fair game while the convention rules are in suspension.

     

  • Much more easily accomplished is getting the Convention Rules Committee to approve of changes in the business agenda of the convention.  This also requires a 2/3 supermajority in committee.  Under the previous apportionment (15 congressional districts), this was 20 of 30 committee members; under the new apportionment (14 congressional districts) this will be 19 of 28 committee members.  Membership on the Convention Rules Committee is controlled by the congressional district chairs, each appointing two seats on the committee.

     

Because Saul Anuzis ran unopposed in 2007 for reelection as Michigan Republican Party Chairman, he has never once been held accountable for the blatant mismanagement of the state party's finances, election-year failures, and unacceptable deviation from what should be MIGOP's only mission (to effect the election of republicans to every available partisan office, and hold them accountable to sound constitutional principles once elected).  That non-accountability has to stop.

 

Crossposted from RightMichigan.com

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