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Archive for January 2015

Ironic

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It’s election season in the Oregon Republican Party. At the end of February, the state Central Committee will elect new officers, as they do every other year shortly after the General Election. In this case, there are two dominant slates, one of which proposed and endorsed by current party Chair, Dr. Art Robinson.

Last Monday, Dr. Ames Curtright, self-styled “Fundraising” and “Ethics” Committees Chair (despite having been rejected for the former by the Executive Committee after he tried to bribe them with a $20,000 donation if his political opponent, National Committeeman Solomon Yue, would resign and having been thrown under the bus by Chair Robinson regarding the latter) sent out a slick email flyer supporting Chair Robinson’s endorsees. As is common with such screeds, all the problems of the past are implied to be the fault of the other team while “new leadership” can save the day.

What’s ironic in this case is who’s been doing what over the past couple of years….

Ames flyer

“Party Infighting” is a fact of life within the Republican Party. Until recently, however, any differences we may have over policy or procedure were “one and done” situations; we’d present our best efforts at the county, state or even national level, let the votes determine the outcome and, if it didn’t go our way, wait for the next opportunity to do it again. In the meantime, we’d stand shoulder to shoulder with those we’d just debated against to accomplish a common goal or support Republican candidates – even if we didn’t agree with them on all points. In recent years, however, a few “Occupy GOP” activists have joined with long-term malcontents to ostracize and eliminate anyone who disagrees with them – or is just in a position of authority within the Party. In other words, Dr. Curtright and others who have sought to undercut or overthrow those they consider political adversaries.

Yes, there is a certain degree of “In-group Maneuvering”, but it’s interesting that those who fostered the “false flag” campaign in 2014 are making the charge. You remember that; several Ron Paul supporters ran as Delegates for other Republican candidates for positions at the Republican National Convention in 2014. It became obvious both before and during the Convention the intent was to have the Convention nominate Dr. Paul rather than the person selected on a state-by-state basis. They were out-maneuvered in their efforts to subvert the will of the people and the process and have never forgiven the ORP or RNC for doing so.

The irony goes even deeper.   In mid-December, Chair Robinson announced the dissolution of the Rules and Bylaws Committee. Although within his authority as Chair, it was an unusual move for a retiring Chair to make just 2½ months before his replacement would be elected. Then, last Tuesday – the day after Dr. Curtright’s email – he announced the leadership and membership of these re-formed committees (made up primarily of Occupy GOP folks and those with a grudge against Solomon Yue). He told the Central Committee they’d approved the Rules for the upcoming election, even though the Chairs had not been reviewed by the Executive Committee as required by ORP Bylaws. On Thursday, he announced the Bylaws Committee had reviewed proposed Bylaws amendments, and ruled that – despite the Central Committee having overruled a similar interpretation advanced by an Occupy GOP delegate in 2014 – Executive Committee members would be disenfranchised during the election of State Party officers. These were just the latest in a series of unilateral actions by the Chair and his allies in party leadership, all in conflict with ORP Bylaws; who’s doing the “in-group maneuvering” again?

It’s difficult to determine what Dr. Curtright has in mind when he says “Wasteful Spending”; under Chair Robinson, the ORP has been strapped to meet operating obligations, much less have any funds to waste. This ties in with the next bullet point, “Lost Financial Support”. When embattled Allen Alley left the stage in 2014, the ORP was in the best financial health it had been in at least a decade. He’d paid off outstanding debts, built relationships with donors and had the party on track to be a force to reckon with in upcoming contests. Even after the departure of Suzanne Gallagher under a cloud, the party was in the black. Eighteen months later, Chair Robinson is the party’s greatest creditor, the Executive Director hasn’t been paid in months and the party can barely meet rent and utility bills. The chief reason – Chair Robinson’s insistence on using a single source of fundraising, direct mail, for which he paid out of pocket. Gone are the relationships with donors; exhausted are the reserves built by the former administration. Add to this Dr. Curtright’s insistence that he is the ORP’s “Fundraising” Chair; how credible are his claims regarding the ability of this new leadership to be better?

Finally, we come to the perennial attack on current leadership, “Lost Elections”. The Republican waves of recent years have stopped east of the Cascades, and Oregon remains a Democrat stronghold. In the opinion of this author, however, blame for that failure falls not on the party but despite the party. Following counsel from “political experts”, candidates ignore the party, ignore its principles and values and run as if they were “Democrat Light”. The ORP repeatedly advises candidates to disregard the “common knowledge” counsel as it consistently results in a loss for Republicans; if people want Democrat policies, they’ll vote for the real thing. Instead, like Ronald Reagan, Republicans should point, without apology, to the conservative values that made our country great. That practice works in eastern Oregon and elsewhere in the country nearly every time it’s tried; not following that counsel results in resounding loss just as predictably.

More to the point, however, is to ask for the track record of these erstwhile candidates for leadership. What is their win-loss ratio? How many successful candidates have they run, or how well have they done in repeated elections? To be fair, there is some success there, but it’s no greater than what you’ll find on the other team.

The point of this article isn’t to denigrate these candidates; while a couple of them are largely unknown, particularly within the ORP, in this writer’s opinion the others make a credible case for their election. It’s more to expose the reality behind the implied problems of electing a slate made up largely of current leadership. The other team has been working under the guidance of a Chair who has been secretive, manipulative, even duplicitous and, rather than throw them out because of the Chair’s action, it may be more appropriate to give them a chance to do what they were prepared to do two years ago but have been blocked from accomplishing.

 

Written by Jeffrey S. Smith

31 January 2015 at 2:14 pm

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