This Week's Meeting:
|Kootenai County Reagan Republicans Noon Meeting|
No meeting this week! Hope you all had a Happy New Year's Celebration!
|The Ends Do Not Justify the Means
by Jeff Ward, KCRR President
Happy New Year Reagan Republicans. We have had an amazing 2011, advancing the conservative cause with real electoral victories and building an organization that will bring our effective Republican activism across the state.
Political success can bring with it dangerous opportunities to compromise principle and that is what I want to talk about in this column. We consistently stand against liberals and Democrats when they use government to advance their political agenda. Our current occupant of the White House never forgoes a chance to use our money and our government to prop up the Democrat party by increasing their voter base (immigration), expand their organization (public employees unions) or fatten the wallets of campaign contributors (government contracts). What is disturbing is when conservatives do the same thing by opposing conservative policies merely to advance or maintain the standing of their own special interests. We see this kind of shameful display by some "conservatives" any time there is a decision to cut cost by elimination of government facilities or military bases. There is a outcry of "not in my state, not in my district" and "conservative" politicians sacrifice their principles on the altar of self-interest.
Recently the Kootenai County Commissioner's charged the County Clerk to draw up new precinct maps with a focus on cutting costs. With the state required election consolidation, during most elections the relatively low turnouts have paid pollworkers spending most of the day doing nothing, wasting taxpayer money. This occurs in polling locations with multiple precincts because each precinct must have a full staff of election workers. Clerk Hayes created a conservative map with a reduced number of precincts that significantly reduces costs to the taxpayers without impacting voters' ability to go to the polls. This process was free of the partisan political wrangling we saw on the state level redistricting.
Although the designation of precincts is a state statute-mandated duty of the County Commissioners, that should be made solely for election purposes, it also, as a byproduct, creates the boundaries served by party Precinct Chairs. It was because of this effect on partisan organization that leaders in both parties have created a mountain out of a molehill. Some incumbent precinct committee chairs would now have to run against other incumbents in the May Primary.
Part of the controversy comes from a lack of understanding of the role of Precinct Committee chairs (PCs.) Despite selection in the Republican primary, PCs are not public officials and the Central Committees have no legislative duties (thus there is no requirement for equal population districts.) PCs are party officials (not state) and are responsible for promoting their party's candidates in their precincts. They are selected in the primary the same way party nominees are and have the same standing: they represent the party, not the people. There is no general election for PCs. Because they are not "representatives" I have never heard, in all the Central Committee meetings I have attended, a single PC say they asked, inquired, spoke with, or polled people in their precincts about any issue, resolution or platform plank.
Many Republican PCs are hardworking and highly effective campaigners but there are others that I have never met or seen at any Republican event or campaign, even the Central Committee meetings. If these folks were no longer on the Central Committee due to a reduced size, no one would even notice. And in Kootenai County (and the Reagan Republicans) there are far more hardworking Republican activists who are not PCs than are PCs. A reduced number of precincts would have no effect on the level of Republican activism and campaign activity.
So why all the outcry about reducing the number of PCs? Simply special interest politics. A recent email from Bob Pederson called "Important Call to Action" instructs his acolytes to lobby the County Commissioners against the conservative precinct policy. Two years ago Bob Peterson founded Rally Right and used the organization and its members to purge anyone he personally disliked (regardless of their conservatism) from the Republican Party. Over the past year he has tried to maintain his tenuous unilateral control by purging insubordinate members from Rally Right and from the Central Committee. A conservative policy to change the number of Precinct Committee Chairs is a threat to his dictatorial control of the Kootenai County Republican Party. This special interest for political reasons is trying to kill a conservative policy initiative.
Republicans who abandon conservative principals to achieve special interest political objectives place themselves into the same league as the liberal Democrats who believe the ends justify the means. I will not be a party to an attack on a conservative policy because some people who claim conservatism wish to kill it to maintain their political advantage. I will not be attending tonight's special meeting of the Central Committee whose only objective is to attack a rational conservative initiative. I hope you too will boycott this kangaroo court.
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