This past Saturday's meeting of the Hawaii GOP's state committee, the first since statewide district caucus elections, state chairwoman Pat Saiki and Honolulu county chairman Fritz Rohlfing Jr., disappointingly, did not unveil any bold or extremely ambitious two-year plan to transform Hawaii's shrinking and routinely defeated Republican Party into the majority political party in Hawaii. Here's what took place instead:
After announcing a personnel change at the position of Vice Chair for Coalitions, Saiki revealed that the recent Lincoln Day Dinner [LDD] netted approximately $67K. Well, we will have to assume so, since they did not show us numbers; gross and expenses. Also, Marcia Klompus urged committee members to look at the federal and state reportings they are required to make, and we did. For January and February 2015 at $19k/month, LDD's profits are only 3 months of operating costs and still no political work to unseat Democrats or fight their legislative agenda. What is there to cheer about?
We also learned, after a question raised by a committee member, that the party's executive director was given a nice pay raise. Is that what the party donors want done with their scarce funds? Holding on to a large, expensive office space that sits empty, idle, and dark most of the time and giving pay raises?!?
Further assessment shows that the 2015 LDD fell well short of past LDD fundraising dinners -- hundreds of thousands of dollars LESS in fact. The LDD of 1998 (like 2015, a year where Hawaii Republicans held no federal offices) netted $250k; 2015 came in at ~27% of that.
Next, and hopefully you are sitting down. Under the guise of loyalty and unity, Saiki and Rohlfing took turns explaining that the only work that the party needs to do to become relevant, influential and victorious is to silence any internal dissent, specifically from the conservatives at the Hawaii Republican Assembly [HIRA].
Read the material here:
This is not only a violation of the rules (several state committee members attempted to shelve this for deferment to the rules committee and a subsequent vote at the state convention...all of which were either ignored or stepped over by the chair), a purposeful misinterpretation of what a resolution can do (resolutions are opinions; rules provide sanctions), it is a gross violation of the fabric of free speech. A state committee member, during open discussion, said, "this is a document the Chinese Politburo would be proud of." He continued by adding that how can you be in the business of politics and not be able to take criticism. Unfortunately, all of this fell on the ears of those who already had their minds made up.
So, rather than use its one and only gathering for three months to figure out a way to go after Democrats, the state committee had to put all its effort into fighting fellow Republicans through the establishment of a potentially capricious and arbitrary program that keeps party members from saying or writing anything contrary to the sensibilities of the state executive committee.
The new "Party Member Compliance Plan" comes with a serious multi-tiered list of severe punishments which will help them to purge the party officer structure of vocal conservatives regardless of the fact that they were elected by their district constituency. This is a program which currently has no process on how it is going to discipline "errant" members regarding violations against articles that use vague and subjective terms and adjectives. This is a definite slippery slope that sets a disgusting and dangerous precedent.
Perhaps this model can be submitted to Boehner so he can use their reso to throw conservatives out of Congress, or Obama can use it to throw Rs out of America.
Then, to continue the travesty, all present at party headquarters were required to vote on a "memorandum of understanding" that states a requirement that members give monetary donations "to the best of my ability." What does that mean? Who gets to decide what "best of my ability" quantifies to? Will people get purged for not giving? See link HERE:
In the end, it was the chair's heavy handedness, downright spitefulness, and sardonic comments (when someone asked if the neighbor island members received the "resolution", Saiki questioned whether the person could read and was in the sixth grade) that squashed the debate and moved right to a vote silencing the dissent.
For the "Party Member Compliance Plan", the final vote tally was 36 Aye's to 14 No's. Under the veil of "loyalty", "unity", and "conflict of interests", Pat Saiki, her Executive Committee, and the others (some of which voted 'yes' because they were told to) chose to silence conservatives, violating the 1st Amendment and the right to free speech. Even the RNC doesn't tell it's members they cannot speak out against the party or demand their loyalty like good comrades!
With the exception of the GOP data center, party leaders didn't even bother talking about why we keep losing or what else we can do to start winning; with no talk whatsoever about what Republicans in Hawaii should stand for or how to affect legislation, policies, laws, etc. These are all fair expectations.
However, the RPH obviously feels that the squelching of dissent, monitoring of party opponents, elimination of criticism, disregarding transparency, and the punishment and purging of critics would be a winning strategy for Hawaii's beleaguered Republicans in 2016.
It is a sad day.
But, there is an alternative . . . and we actively oppose the Democrat agenda, day in and day out, because we KNOW what we stand for: