Richard Viguerie and Bobby Jindal have both referred to the Republican Party as the “Party of Stupid” and they’re correct. There are times the GOP can’t get out of its own way when it comes to alienating voters or just being plain petty towards dissent. House Speaker John Boehner has wrongly kicked conservative and libertarian Republican Congressmen from committees, while Jason Chaffetz briefly removed Mark Meadows from a committee in June. The American Conservative Union wouldn’t allow the Log Cabin Republicans into CPAC this year, until inviting LCR Executive Director Gregory Angelo to be on a panel.
This isn’t just happening in Washington, DC, but also in states. The Texas Republican Executive Committee voted last week to exclude the Log Cabin Republicans of Texas from next year’s convention. It’s the second year in a row this has happened, even though the LCRT is in favor of almost everything the Texas GOP stands for. It caused Dallas County Precinct 1117 Chair Rudy Oeftering, who happens to be gay, to send an open letter to Texas GOP Chair Tom Mechler on the issue.
The program of work executed by Metroplex Republicans and Log Cabin Republicans have clearly earned them a booth at the convention. We have worked equally hard or harder than most any other Republican clubs in the state. It would be difficult to justify denying a group that regularly hits the streets and and mans the phones to help elect Republicans.
Let’s be plain, many active Republicans don’t like homosexuals. Just a few years ago many were outraged by the court decision overturning laws that made homosexuality illegal. But if this dislike results in a policy that excludes Republican clubs whose members happen to be mostly gay and lesbian, such would be hopelessly out of step with an electorate clearly ready to move on.
Oeftering is right it is time to move on. Fighting over social issues like this won’t do anything and can only hurt the Texas GOP if they’re hoping to attract younger conservatives, conservatarians, and libertarians who want to get involved. The Libertarian Party is unfortunately too disorganized to be a viable alternative for “freedom and liberty” Texans. The Texas GOP’s moves could also end up pushing college students, who may be fiscally conservative and socially libertarian, into the hands of Battleground Texas which is promising to play the long game to turn Texas from red to purple to blue. The Texas GOP can’t keep going this way to survive.
But it isn’t just on social issues where state Republican parties go completely sideways. The Newton County Republican Party in Georgia is planning on kicking out a group of conservative activists (and two libertarians) due to “actions detrimental to the party.” This includes Jason Pye, who has been writing at PeachPundit.com on some of the county party’s actions, including not allowing members to participate in the local county convention.
Many of the disqualified delegates showed up at the county convention on Saturday, designated as “guests” by the credentials committee and told to sit in a designated area behind a strip of yellow tape. A motion was made, per Robert’s Rules of Order, and seconded to amend the list, at which point the chair, Delia Fleming, went into recess without a motion or second. Upon coming back into the room, she called the meeting back to order, ignoring the motion to amend.
Because the county convention was being run in a way that’s inconsistent with the Georgia Republican Party’s rules and Robert’s Rules of Order, delegates left after the credentials report was accepted. Though the Call for the convention clearly states that the public is welcome to observe, one “guest,” Stan Edwards, an elected Republican school board member in Newton County, left the room after a delegate motioned to him in a way that suggested that he needed to leave the room in which the county convention was being held.
This is absolutely reprehensible for a county party to act, especially if it claims to want to win elections (which they haven’t been doing). The county party is now booting people out for simply espousing their opinion and trying to make sure the rules are followed. Fred Wheeler and Andy Allen summed it up pretty well (emphasis mine).
Wheeler agreed, but added that another problem is the political atmosphere in Washington. “People feel like they can’t change things there, and they give up,” he explained. “It took something on the local level – something the people who showed up last month and today feel like they can change – to get involved.”
“We were turned away. That’s wrong,” Allen said. “That’s not how we grow our party.”
It certainly isn’t how to grow the party and it’s extremely frustrating to see things like this happen. But it shouldn’t be surprising because it’s what the Republican Party does. The Republican National Convention changed the rules during the 2012 convention in what FreedomWorks called something which “effectively disenfranchises [sic] grassroots delegates,” and will probably hurt the party long-term. It’s not just “Paulbots” the GOP is cracking down on, but people who support Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and other Tea Party-backed candidates. The GOP has to stop being the “Party of Stupid” and realize it needs to grow. This means accepting new members who may or may not hold the views the party traditionally espouses. It doesn’t mean the new members are leftists, but they may be more libertarian or conservatarian on social issues and/or financial policy issues, like the Export-Import Bank. The Republican Party is going to have to accept that things are changing and their viewpoints on certain issues aren’t mainstream anymore. There are ways to capitalize on this without “selling one’s soul” and becoming more like the Democrats. Suggesting the government get out of gay marriage isn’t going left, it’s going more towards “freedom and liberty.” Fighting against cronyism isn’t being a Democrat, it’s being someone who thinks fiscally sound policy is better. It’s just unfortunate the national GOP, the Texas GOP, or the Newton County GOP in Georgia aren’t willing to do this. It’ll hurt more than help and prove once again, the GOP is the “Party of Stupid.”