The Problem with National: (CATCH 22 Bylaws)
As I described in Lord of the RLC #6a: A Journey in the Dark (Principles), when Sandra “Sandi” “the Belz” Belzer Brendale, in the summer of 2012, laid the foundation for the Washington State RLC, by little more than the heat, light, and sincerity of her own personality, we listened.
When we looked at the National RLC Statement of Principles and instinctively understood that a grand confrontation between its “classical Libertarians” and the “true conservatives” was inevitable… somewhere on the horizon… we were deeply concerned, but we had faith in Sandi and believed her when she said she had a plan to “fix it,” and we joined.
Sandi Belzer Brendale had begun to call the patriots from the hills to battle to save the nation.
We believed Sandi was going in the right direction and despite the challenges ahead, we were content to go with her. We were content that when the inevitable collision/confrontation happened, Sandi, whether or not she was successful in her “fix,” would be on the right side and, if worse came to worse, we would be in a position to collect, into organizational lifeboats, the refugees (including Sandi) from the tidal wave when the National Secular Hedonists repossessed her RLC State Charter – and the fix failed.
The unanswered question, shortly to become crucial, was how much control of our State did the National RLC have? Sandi said “none.”
Once committed to the organization, I was committed to its perceived goals, just as, when committed to the Ron Paul Presidential Campaign, more than five years ago, I was committed to do everything possible to make him the next President of the United States (unlike his National and many of his State campaign leaders).
The RLCWA State Convention loomed and in many respects it was a virtual replica of a Republican Organization meeting; everything it would do would be based on the foundation laid at that Convention. I knew it would be crucial to set the foundation properly. As potential fissures and cracks appeared (and they did), I did not publicize them, I quietly worked on repairs.
We at the Reagan Wing were in frequent contact with Sandi and conferred with key leaders around the State and attended a King County meeting. It was in listening to the suggested plans of action being tossed around that I realized the RLC had no operational plan that could possibly sustain such an organization. Sandi was attempting to define the goals for her leaders as “growing the RLC” (like every membership-financed organization on the Earth), but “growing membership” is not a goal that inspires anyone to join.
What would they be joining?
According to the long-term vision Matt Dubin had floated at the Kickoff (“Let’s Party!“), the “ultimate goal of RLC membership (once you joined) was to recruit membership in the Republican Party. But anyone who wants to join the Republican Party (for free) need not join the RLC first (for $45).
Would we then be stuffing the GOP with “Liberty people”? No – anybody was welcome to join. Lori Sotelo’s membership in King County, and Dani Bolyard’s chairmanship of the Grant County RLC were each a perfect case in point. Both had been significant contributors to GOP cheating for Romney in 2012 and happily welcomed to regular membership in the RLC in 2013.
And to accomplish this we would, perhaps, distribute RLC T-shirts and operate booths at county fairs:
“Join the RLC (for only $45) to then join the GOP (at no charge) to lick stamps, make coffee, set up chairs and elect Republicans.”
And I knew then that the organization was headed for entropy. Whatever was left of a Ron Paul movement in the state of Washington would be gone when the RLC was done with it. They were used to a Ron Paul campaign setting the principles and establishing an objective to be accomplished for them and just following along (in some cases, riding the train for their own benefit). They expected the appeal that derived from Ron Paul’s public positions and the sense of purpose that derived from Ron Paul’s Presidential campaign to somehow continue to operate without either.
It couldn’t possibly happen.
To succeed the RLC would have to do more. It would be more difficult, now, but the organization would have to become credible on issues itself and it would have to establish political campaigns to be relevant in the context of the Republican Party. I looked around and almost no one in RLC leadership had faced this situation before. Certainly no one was fashioning any answers now.
So I began to do just that – planning an organizational structure – to do political grass roots campaigning. The Washington State GOP has never done this and so there would be no rivals in Washington. It would be a tremendous advantage… but it wasn’t going to just “happen.” It required extensive and complex planning… that I knew how to do.
That’s when the bylaws became crucial. The upcoming RLC Convention was to establish the RLCWA’s first bylaws. We got to write our own, right, Sandi? “Yes.”
Will you send us the Bylaws you intend to propose? “Yes.”
When Sandi’s bylaws arrived, there were the typical problems all newly-drafted bylaws have… and half the text was in italics.
We were told that the italics were things the State Charter were required by the National Organization to include . . .
and there was (and is) a fatal flaw.
Several in fact.
Article VII, Section 3 requires that all State Positions conform to the National RLC’s extreme neoconservative social positions.
Rule 4 prevents the State RLC from endorsing or even making a public proposal to endorse any significant candidate without previous permission from the National RLC.
Let me put that another way. For what offices is the State RLC prevented, by the bylaws, from running campaigns?
- President & Vice President of the United States
- U. S. Senator
- U. S. Congressman
- Washington Governor
- Washington Attorney General
- Washington Secretary of State
- Washington Lands Commissioner
- Washington Lieutenant Governor
- Washington State Treasurer
- Washington State Auditor
- Washington Superintendent of Public Instruction
- Washington Insurance Commissioner
We couldn’t even support the confirmation of a Supreme Court nominee without the prior permission of the National RLC! And they have to convene a national board meeting, discuss it and vote… for all the candidates for all 50 States.
IT IS TOTALLY UNWORKABLE. No wonder the RLC is more than 20 years old and has accomplished nothing.
Sandi needed some endgame, some escape strategy to save the RLCWA from the self-destructive structure of the National Principles AND the National Bylaws.
And I came up with one.