the whitestick papers

looking at politics from a different perspective


with 3 comments

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

3 Responses

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  1. Well, we now have an example of “Wasteful Spending” – and the irony continues…

    Over the weekend, Chair candidate Wally Hicks sent out a slick, full-color, cardstock, oversized and folded version of the flyer emailed by Dr. Curtright. Anyone who has done professional printing, which would have been needed to produce it, knows a piece like this is quite costly, particularly in lots not numbering in the thousands. Since there are less than 150 members of the Central Committee – including the Executive Committee, which Chair Robinson has banned from voting for these officers and who, nonetheless, received the flyer – there are either going to be an awful lot of unused copies or the price per piece was outrageous.

    Jeffrey S. Smith

    2 February 2015 at 8:33 am

    • Mr. Smith WASTEFUL SPENDING????

      I fail to understand how Wally Hicks spending his OWN MONEY to campaign is relevant to the vast sum the executive committee have spent of DONOR DOLLARS on bookkeeping & accounting????

      Mr. Smith; Chair Robinson has banned Executive officers from voting???

      What you should mean to say is he will oppose them from unlawfully electing themselves, right?

      Our State laws & By Laws rightfully state ONLY county delegates decide our party leadership & not they themselves?? Precedence has been set where past leadership have broken these laws but precedence does not Usurp our laws.

      “Facts are stubborn things” Benjamin Franklin

      Jo Jumalon

      15 February 2015 at 10:32 am

      • The good thing about ignorance is that it’s curable. Clearly, no one can know what they don’t know. Allow me to provide some facts about which you are obviously unaware.

        The reporting costs are not the fault of the Executive Committee or the Treasurer. During Vance Day’s administration, the ORP made a number of reporting errors. During Bob Tiernan’s administration, that resulted in fines and legal requirements. Among those is the software we are required to use. He, Chair Alley and Chair Gallagher signed the contracts binding us to that software. Per ORP Bylaws, the Executive Committee, the Central Committee or the Treasurer cannot make or break contracts; only the Chair can. If Chair Robinson believes this is an invalid expense, all he has to do is break the contract. Of course, the ORP would incur substantial penalties, so it would be unwise to do, something which he has admitted. Do you really want to place the mantle of “wasteful spending” on Chair Robinson’s shoulders?

        For forty years, the ORP assumed the elected members of the Executive Committee – the Officers, CD1 Chairs and Vice Chairs and the National Committeeman and Committeewoman – are full members of the Central Committee and therefore allowed to vote in the election of the four party Officers. Two years ago, a challenge to that interpretation was raised and Chair Alley ruled the Bylaws language is consistent enough to disenfranchise the Executive Committee in the Officer election. All agreed – including the challenger – the Bylaws are equally clear the Executive Committee members are full members in all other aspects and may participate and vote on all other business. The Central Committee, exercising its authority as the final arbiter of all issues, overturned the ruling and allowed the Executive Committee to vote. That should have been the end of it, but Chair Robinson has unilaterally decided to ignore the Central Committee’s decision on the issue and re-enact the ban.

        Along those lines, in what setting is a candidate banned from voting in his own election? By your logic, ANY candidate for Officer should not be allowed to vote on their own election. I believe at least two of the candidates on the Hicks slate are Central Committee members; should they be similarly banned from being elected by they themselves? It should also be noted there are only four Officers; the ruling disenfranchises all sixteen members of the Executive Committee. How is that being elected by “they themselves”?

        Ben was right. Facts are stubborn things…

        Jeffrey S. Smith

        16 February 2015 at 8:58 am

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