The delegate rules revolt: Conservatives are already holding Romney's feet to the fire

A broad coalition of conservative activists ended up joining McKissick in opposing the rule change, including Paul, radio host Mark Levin, author Michelle Malkin, FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe, Leadership Institute founder Morton Blackwell, Indiana Republican National Committeeman James Bopp, Eagle Forum’s Phyllis Schlafly and Sarah Palin.

Facing an ugly fight on the convention floor, the Romney campaign relented Monday night and agreed to a compromise rule that maintains local control of delegate selection. The new rule also obligates all delegates to vote for the candidate they are bound to on the first ballot, addressing the insiders’ original concern. But some conservatives, upset about a separate rule change that empowers the Republican National Committee chairman to alter party rules between conventions with a three-fourths vote, forced a floor vote. Party leaders faced an awkward moment as they steamrolled this small rebellion with a quick voice vote.

Romney had no business springing such enormous, last-minute rule changes on the conservative movement that built his party. Party unity is a virtue, but fights like these are good and necessary, and conservatives were right to push back. As they learned in the Bush era with the Supreme Court nomination of Harriet Miers, conservatives often achieve better results by holding a Republican president’s feet to the fire. In the event of a Romney administration, conservatives must learn from this small fight and keep up their efforts. We hope Romney learns from it, too.