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The Dawn Patrol Richard Falknor on 19 Apr 2013 05:57 am

MD GOP’s Choice: A Truly Conservative Party? Or “RMS Titanic”?

Yes, the Louis PopeDiana Waterman team  may muscle their way to victory at the state GOP convention tonight and tomorow. 

That is, with Mr. Pope’s help, Mrs. Waterman may well be elected in her own right as Maryland’s next GOP chairman.

Consequently Mr. Pope will then remain on the key Rules Committee of the Republican National Committee. There he had been complicit in serious political mischief last August by helping ram through the Romney rules changes (click here and go to 2:27:54 on the CNN tape to hear John Sunnunu praise Pope’s role) in Tampa during the Republican National Convention. (See Glynis Kazanjian’s Maryland Reporter account of Pope’s incendiary reappointment to the Rules Committee here.)

We don’t pretend to have a crystal ball telling us this weekend’s outcome.

But we don’t need one to know that the cost of a Pope-Waterman victory could be an even more irrelevant state GOP.

And winning the loyalty and releasing the energy of the grass roots is not the strongest suit of these two Maryland figures.

But let’s look at this state election as part of the larger national context.

The goal of Establishment Republicans at all levels: keep control of the party “apparatus” at all costs — and avoid sharing power with Tea Partiers and other distasteful outsiders. 

The serial capitulations to the Obama Administration of the current House GOP leadership after the historic Tea Party victory of November 2010 are no secret. And the wiles of Mr. Boehner’s circle to keep power among House Republicans are a case study in how to maintain GOP Establishment control (and, of course, big-donor primacy) even after a national electoral victory in the House that would have been impossible without the populist grass roots.

As Angelo Codevilla wrote last January in a Forbes article (click here) –

“By repeatedly passing bills that contradict the identity of Republican voters and of the majority of Republican elected representatives, the Republican leadership has made political orphans of millions of Americans. In short, at the outset of 2013 a substantial portion of America finds itself un-represented, while Republican leaders increasingly represent only themselves.” (Italics in original; highlighting Forum’s.)

Bloggers Begone!

Michael Dresser (BaltSun) put it very well Thursday when he declared in his post “Maryland GOP lays down the law on bloggers” (click here) –

It seems curious that an organization that struggles to get media attention in a Democratic-dominated state would try to limit coverage in any way, but, hey, those bloggers are in some cases renegade Republicans who have the temerity to think the party could be run a bit better. Anyway, here’s the memo.” (Highlighting Forum’s)

Read the entire post to see the Maryland GOP memorandum in question.

Savvy GOP operatives, on the other hand, would instead be reaching out to conservative and libertarian bloggers with ‘special blogger briefings’ – not shunning them – especially if these GOP apparatchiks wanted to market their differing point of view.

What Happened in Tampa Didn’t Stay in Tampa

Last August 29, we wrote in our “Tampa: Couldn’t They Wait Until 11/7 To Trample The Grass Roots?” about the Republican National Convention (click here) –

Freedom Works Dean Clancy in his “Romney’s ‘RNC Power Grab’: What Really Happened” concludes “The noes clearly had it, but the party bosses gaveled the dissenters down anyway.”
Here are a few excerpts from analyst Clancy’s post
  • “Yesterday, the Republican National Committee in Tampa adopted some rules changes that shift power from the state parties and the grassroots to the RNC and the GOP presidential nominee. Former Governor John Sununu of New Hampshire touted the new rules as providing ‘a strong governing framework’ for the party over the next four years. But in fact the the new rules should be very troubling and disappointing to conservative grassroots activists, because they move the national Republican Party away from being a decentralized, bottom-up party toward becoming a centralized, top-down party.”  (Underscoring Forum’s.)
  • “The Romney rules effectively disenfranchise grassroots delegates, and will thus tend to weaken and splinter the party over time. They specifically represent a blow to the Tea Party and the Ron Paul movement, and force grassroots conservatives of all stripes to contemplate their future within the GOP.”
  • Party sage and long-time RNC member (and conservative activist) Morton Blackwell led a last-minute effort to stop the changes — an effort the FreedomWorks For America strongly supported, together with Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann. Phyllis Schlafly and RNC for Life also got involved, while Michelle Malkin, Mark Levin, and Rush Limbaugh helped sound the alarm.  But the Romney camp and RNC insiders won the day, successfully imposing their will with the help of their control of the gavels and superior knowledge of the process, and perhaps some dirty tricks.” (Today we have added the highlighting.)

But let’s bring this lamentable account up to the present.

Last Monday veteran Virginia National Committeeman Morton Blackwell wrote members of the Maryland Republican Central Committee

“Mr. Pope and Mrs. Waterman have made clear that they support the radical, destructive power-grabs that occurred at the national convention.  
You would be well-served to elect a principled Chairman who works in the interest of the conservative grassroots.  
Don’t you want a Chairman who will work to make the Republican Party about the grassroots ultimately telling the RNC how to operate, instead of the other way around?” (Underscoring in original.)

Readers should consider the entire Blackwell letter here.

We don’t mean to point to Mr. Pope and Mrs. Waterman as the sole authors of the Maryland GOP’s disarray. Other Party notables also bear significant responsibility for the catastrophic (in our view) failure of the Maryland GOP to secure, then spend significant resources to defeat the same-sex marriage law and the so-called Dream Act which were referred to the ballot — through extraordinary effort — last November. A major push to kill these two measures would have brought many independents and conservative Democrats into the Republican fold. (Here is our chart showing how much better the statewide opposition to these measures did — even with barely visible state Party support — than Mitt Romney.) Former governor Bob Ehrlich’s discomfort (to put it charitably) with conservatives and with smaller government (click here and here) hardly helped advance the Maryland GOP. And the bizarre support given to the 2009 Senate confirmation of the now-besieged Thomas Perez for assistant attorney general by the current House of Delegates GOP leader (click here) and by Mr. Ehrlich’s state chairman (click here) further muddied the Maryland GOP waters.

A visiting Martian anthropologist could reasonably ask exactly what this alien Republican tribe stands for?

As GOP state central committee members gather today and tomorrow to shape their Party’s future, they would do well to consider Angelo Codevilla’s counsel (click here) about the need for conservatives — what he calls the ‘country class’ — to fashion a party of  “disparate elements acting all [for] one and one for all.”

“There will be no alternative to all the country class’ various components acting jointly on measures dear to each. For example: since the connection between government and finance, the principle that large institutions are ‘too big to fail,’ are dear to America’s best-connected people who can be counted on to threaten ‘systemic collapse,’ breaking it will require the support of sectors of the country class for which ‘corporate welfare’ is less of a concern than the welfare effects of the Social Security system’s component that funds fake disability and drug addiction – something about which macroeconomists mostly care little – and vice versa. Similarly the entire country class has as much interest in asserting the right of armed self-defense as does any gun owner, because the principle of constitutional right is indivisible. Nothing will require greater unity against greater resistance than ending government promotion of abortion and homosexuality. Yet those whose main concerns are with financial probity cannot afford continuing to neglect that capitalist economics presupposes a morally upright people. All this illustrates the need for, and the meaning of, a political party: disparate elements acting all [for] one and one for all.” (Highlighting Forum’s.)

Stay tuned.

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(Via Wikipaedia)

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