Stone County Massacre (GOP County Committee Purge)
In the intervening time, the state GOP raised the filing fee for a State Senate race from $4000 to an eye-popping $7,500. That ought to keep out the Tea Party trash, right folks? Plus, candidates who play ball with the establishment wind up getting their filing fee back and then some. Candidates who lack the required, shall we say "moral flexibility" to play ball can wind up eating the filing fee.
According to their testimonies, these (now) former Republican Committee members were contacted by Stone County Chairman Bill Smith and asked to sign a statement to rescind their signatures on the petition to place White on the ballot as an independent. White read them a letter from 1st District Chairman Benny Speaks said that anyone who signed the petition for White could be removed from the Committee. Smith later cited a rule which former member Donna Lancaster described as saying "anyone who did not back the Republican nominee that had been chosen by the Republican Party would have their names removed from the membership." Insulted, the members resigned rather than sign the letter or wait for Smith to kick them off of the county Republican Committee.
I remember when I was a Republican, we used to look down on the Democrats' practice of having their people sign a "loyalty oath" to back every Democrat. Now the Republicans have done them one better. Although no one else has filed against her for the Republican nomination (who would given the history) technically she is not even officially the nominee until after May 23rd.
But that of course is just a technicality. The people who resigned seemed to support White over Irwin, but signing the petition to place someone on the ballot in itself is not the same thing as saying that you will vote for them. It just means you want some competition. These days I find that the real disloyalty comes from the other direction. It comes from the upper echelons of the Republican party towards its base who want smaller, less intrusive government. Their disloyalty to the base is making some of the base restless. That's why some of them want to see independent conservatives on the ballot as an option. The root cause is that the party at the highest levels is not representing the things it claims to represent. That's the root problem here, not the actions of these folks who are getting fed up.
It's called blowback. And trying to tamp down on dissent by taking a Soviet-Era position that anyone who does anything to allow anyone else on the ballot is a traitor who will be expelled from the party is only going to produce more blowback - such as the kind now occurring in Stone County. I think you can still be for your party without taking the position that if it was up to you no one else would even be on the ballot! Again, it reminds me of Soviet-Era elections where the Communists were the only party on the ballot but they would go through with the pretense of an election just to show the world how beloved the party was. How did that work out for them?
But the shock does not end there. During a facebook discussion of the issue, Rep. David Meeks revealed that he favored the party position for committee officers and, depending on what the rule said, rank and file members as well! "As for signing the petition, If they are an officer of the committee, I would have to side with the party. If they were just a regular committee member, not sure. I would need to look at the rule they used." Meeks said.
Wow. Depending on the rule, Meeks feels that regular committee members should be expelled from the party? Remember this is not for endorsing another candidate, but just signing a petition saying "sure put them on the ballot." So it seems. But if that is not bad enough, he goes on to say something that truly astounded me, "I don't think it is asking too much to support the party candidate. In most cases if you don't like the job the incumbent is doing, you run against them in the Primary. I agree that there is an issue with the filing fees. This would be like if you worked for a natural gas company and they asked you not to sign the petition supporting the severance tax increase." Meeks wrote.
Great guacamole! Never mind how they rig the primaries and constantly tilt the field toward their favorites (how is Mitt Romney winning this thing?). I don't think that analogy with the gas company could be more backwards. The Party is not the "boss" of their members. At least they should not be. They don't pay the party members. It is really the other way around. The party should work for the members.
The analogy with the gas company would be better if some company sends their CUSTOMERS a demand. And I don't mean a demand they not sign a petition for a severance tax increase, I mean a demand that the customer not sign a petition that would permit other people to sell gas in the state, even if that customer has no intention of switching companies, they just want to be sure that everyone (even their company) is kept honest by free market competition.