"Unity" and the Republican Party
December 26, 2010

If you're a newcomer to the ranks of Republican Party Precinct Committeemen you may or may not have picked up yet on some of the political undercurrents within the Party. For certain you will be hearing a lot about "Unity" as the County and State Party elections approach. The question to ask is: "Unify behind what, or whom?"

America was born as a government "of the People, by the People and for the People". The founding generation regarded themselves as self-governing citizens. Many sacrificed their lives fighting a revolution to reject the idea, otherwise universal at the time, that the common people were subjects to be ruled by a class of elites or royals.

The American Idea is a precious but tiny spark of light along the long, mostly dark, line of human history. It is always in imminent danger of extinguishment. Our leaders, whom we elect to represent us, are under constant pressure to assume the role of the elites that we rejected in 1776. As citizens we must counter that pressure by always reminding our leaders that they work for us. Otherwise they just naturally drift into the attitude that they can "rule" us.

No doubt you have heard the saying that debate and argument are evidence of a healthy democracy. You will be happy to know that we are indeed very healthy here in Arizona. It wasn't always so. For a long time the folks we sent to D.C. to represent us were in control of the Republican Party in Arizona. We had something called "Unity" in the Party as opposed to argument and debate. If debate is healthy we were very, very sick.

That began to change about 6 years ago when folks at the grass roots, that's us, decided the Party should be more responsive to the people than to the Delegation and set about taking over leadership of the Party. Perhaps the peak of our argument and debate came with the response to the Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill in 2007. If it had been 2004 there would have been not a peep from Arizona because the party structure would have been dispatched to quell any disquiet. But it was 2007 and the grass roots were running the party and they passed along the disagreement felt by the citizens of Arizona. In fact, together we all but burned down the phone lines to DC and the bill went down to defeat.

Senators John McCain and Jon Kyl were livid over the defeat of Comprehensive Immigration Reform and have since sought to undermine the State Republican Party organization in Arizona. Speakers, invited to talk at fundraisers have cancelled, some at the last minute. Wealthy donors who had previously been generous to the Republican Party have disappeared. Our State Party Chairman has been criticized for doing a poor job of raising funds. Prior Chairmen who had the support of the Delegation were showered with money raised or encouraged by our Senators. Our current Chairman has kept the Party in the black by his own efforts, not only in the absence of help from the Delegation but in spite of all the efforts of the Delegation and others to deny funds to the Party.

The effort to put down our little uprising began with the narrow defeat of LD11 Chairman Rob Haney in 2008. Rob turned defeat into victory by winning election as Chairman of the Maricopa County Republican Committee where he has continued to advance our conservative cause. In District 11 however, many of the conservative PCs he had recruited left and their offices were re-filled with people recruited by the folks working for "Unity", i.e. the Delegation. This November due to PC recruitment by the "Unity" group, the State Chairman, Randy Pullen who is a PC in LD11, was not nominated for State Committeeman, a prerequisite if he is to run again for State Chair. The Delegation is trying to take control of the Republican Party in Arizona again.

Those of us in the conservative grass roots do not believe this is a healthy development. We also believe many of the Precinct Committeemen recruited by the Delegation's "Unity" surrogates would not support their goals if they were made aware of the larger picture and the part they are playing in it. We believe that as Precinct Committeemen elected by the people in our precincts it is the people to whom we should be responsive first, not our Senators and Representatives.

After promising to fix the illegal immigration problem with an amnesty and a border fence Congress granted the amnesty but never built the fence. Now the people are rightly skeptical of a Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill. As Precinct Committeemen, elected by the same people that elected Congress, do we tell the people to shut up and listen to Congress or do we tell Congress to shut up and listen to the people? The Delegation would advise us to do the former. Here's what Jon Kyl has said in an interview regarding the role of the Precinct Committeeman:

"I always have the view that the role of the state party is to elect Republicans to office. Period. The role of elected officials is to take positions on issues and to represent the people of the whole state. The political parties are more to represent the people within the party in a political context. What that means is, they need to register voters. They need to raise money for the candidates. They need to get-out-the-vote on Election Day. Those are the main things a political party does."

You know by their response, withholding support from the Party, etc. that we have gotten the attention of our Delegation. They have made it quite evident that they don't like being told they work for us, the citizens, not we for them.

Since Ronald Reagan left office and the Republican Party drifted toward more spending and more regulation, a lot of folks have concluded, in disgust, that there isn't much difference between the two Parties. We believe our purpose as the foundational level in the Party is to convince our Republican elected officials to follow the Constitution and to work for smaller, less expensive and less intrusive government. Not everyone in the Party is with us in that effort.

As Precinct Committeemen you have a very important say this January in the future direction of the Republican Party in Arizona. Please take the time to become informed about what you are being asked to do. If you are being asked to vote against the current leadership of the Maricopa County Republican Committee or the Republican Party in Arizona, find out who is asking, who they work for and why they don't like the current leadership. If you are attending the County Statutory meeting by proxy make very sure the person to whom you give your proxy will vote it as you wish. If you don't trust that person for any reason don't give him your proxy.

Finally, if you agree with us, regardless of who recruited you as a PC and want to support our continued efforts, get in touch with Rob or Tom, his Executive Director, by using the feedback form on the main page of this site, (the envelope icon at the top right of the page). Let's make the Republican Party a home again for people who love the traditional American Idea of limited government and individual freedom and responsiblity.