The Republican Liberty Caucus Kicked Off in Middle Washington the same weekend that the Roanoke Conference was washed up on our Left Coast. The two conferences were held on opposite ends of the philosophical spectrum within the Republican Party and incorporated within them every possible immediate future of the Republican Party.
We know you know the Roanoke half of the story. The Reagan Wing, in four articles…
…covered the primary thrust of that conference.
Roanoke was a recapitulation of the same old “vision” that has dominated the Washington State Republican Party since the rise of Jennifer Dunn in 1980. Jennifer pledged to “take the message of Ronald Reagan to every corner of the State of Washington” but dedicated her twelve-year career as State Chair instead to systematically liberalizing the platform, assuring control of significant nominations for public office to liberal political insiders and expanding the power of the State Office at the expense of the County Parties’ power… by any means necessary.
The true Dunn legacy, and that of her successors (Ben Bettridge, Ken Eikenberry, Dale Foreman, Don Benton, Chris Vance, Diane Tebelius, Luke Esser, and Kirby Wilbur) is a Party that dutifully repeats the stock code phrases of Republican jargon but makes no stand for any of its principles. It is a party that continually nominates Democrat Lite candidates for higher office – because each is “the one who can win” – but who then (with what is now a more than 80% consistency) – lose to real Democrats. Roanoke was one of countless events held over the decades to herald the future success of that approach if we only keep using it.
By contrast, I believe the RLC Kickoff represented a real opportunity – that does not often present itself – to reform and rejuvenate the Republican Party, the rejuvenation being a result of the reform. It would be a necessary first step to save the American Republic at a time when it appears to many of us that whatever the chances remaining for Constitutional government in our nation, they have become remote.
The RLC is not the first attempt.
From the middle 1970s into the 21st century conservatives have been in the majority among Republican grass roots, and usually dominated the platform and won the National Delegate positions at the State Conventions in Presidential years without ever changing the leftward bent of the Party hierarchy as epitomized by “Mainstream Republicans of Washington.”
But Mainstream leveraged the liberal media to drive the John Birch Society out of Party offices.
The Conservative coalition, including Pat Robertson supporters, beat Bush in ’88.
But Mainstream and their media allies made “Religious Right” and “Fundamentalist” epithets comparable to “nigger,” cowing the Robertson forces into submission.
A Washington life coalition force (without a candidate) beat Bush again in ‘92
But the vengeance of Mainstream was a media feeding frenzy of anti-Christian hate speech that spilled into the loss of virtually every election that year.
But once again left intact the mechanisms of the Party establishment that handed a second term to Bill and Hillary.
How come? Why has the majority ideology – Constitutionally limited government; Life, Liberty and Property – never ruled the Washington State Republican Party?
In 1988 the “Conservative Agenda,” that coalition of non-Bush Presidential campaigns that dominated the State Convention and controlled all its outcomes, did NOT win the Party Chairmanship and return the GOP to the conservative mission that should have followed because it was directly subverted by Washington State Pat Robertson leadership.
After ‘88 the Christian Coalition, a Pat Robertson-generated group, emerged and literally held the power for about ten years, had they chosen to use it, to reform the GOP for the conservative cause, but were directly subverted from their purpose by their own national leadership.
In 2004, following widespread awareness of State Party Corruption (in Chris Vance’s use of raw censorship) to control the US Senate nomination that year, the Reagan Wing formed and attempted to organize the victim candidate’s forces state-wide for reform… but faced an overwhelming tide of slander and was unable to muster county chapters before diverting all efforts into the Ron Paul campaign in 2007.
Between 2008 and 2011, the group that became the Campaign for Liberty, like the Christian Coalition before them, had all the resources, talent, and technology necessary, with many thousands of identified supporters from every Washington county. Had they chosen to use them, they could have reformed the GOP for the conservative cause.
But things were getting worse instead of better.
Paul supporters were very specifically and intentionally subverted by national and Washington State “Ron Paul” leaders. Their direct intervention not only prevented the reform of the GOP/Left establishment, it resulted, for virtually the first time in a half century, in the loss of the National Delegates for a grassroots conservative candidate. We will tell the story and name the names.
Having lived through the history, my perspective is that the RLC Kickoff event represent[ed] a crucial crossroads for the “Liberty Movement.” Ron Paul’s organization in Washington State, the Campaign for Liberty, has been taken out of the hands of those national and state leaders who subverted it, but retains some of their fundamental errors. It remains “non-partisan,” not focused on Republican reform.
Can the RLC succeed where those that preceded them have failed?
[Editor's note: The content of this article, like its predecessor, was written within days of the RLC January Kickoff in Yakima. But Something held us back from publishing it as a contrast to our Roanoke series...]