18 Votes and a Vision
On Saturday, March 23rd, 390 people representing 152 precincts gathered to hold the 2013 Oklahoma County Republican Convention. Eight elections were held: Chair, Vice Chair, State Committee, State Committee, 4th Congressional District Committee, 4th Congressional District Committee, 5th Congressional District Committee, and 5th Congressional District Committee. I ran for Chair, in this largest of all counties in the State of Oklahoma.
I lost by 18 votes.
This is an amazing number for several reasons. I am not a long time party activist. Indeed, I took a very long break – from 1995 to 2011 – with almost zero political activity. I spent that time as a “normal person”, getting married, finishing college, having two different careers and starting a third, and creating four children with my wife. I did some things right and some things wrong, but just tried to make my way in the world. I’m a dad, an employee, and a taxpaying citizen of Oklahoma.
The second thing that makes this an amazing number is who and what I have supported since I decided to get off the couch and change the world. Last year, as is pretty widely known locally and statewide, I was very involved in the Ron Paul presidential effort at the grassroots level. This has permanently labeled me “one of those Ron Paul people”. It seems the chief complaint against me has been to label me as a “libertarian”. I find this amusing, since Ronal Reagan himself said this:
If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism. I think conservatism is really a misnomer just as liberalism is a misnomer for the liberals – if we were back in the days of the Revolution, so-called conservatives today would be the Liberals and the liberals would be the Tories. The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is. Reason Magazine, July 1st, 1975.
So, I think I will own that label, considering the company. Just exactly what sort of insult or attack is this supposed to be, being labeled as a libertarian? I have heard people say that “those people” just want to legalize drugs, or they hate Israel, or other things. Well, I would point out that I share the opinion of William F. Buckley and Pat Robertson on the drug war. That means I support medical marijuana, by the way – the government has no business telling you or your doctor what treatment is the right one for you. How about Israel? I quote from the Oklahoma Republican Party Platform my position:
We support Israel’s right as a sovereign nation to govern itself. – Report of the Oklahoma Republican Party Platform Committee 2012, Section IV: Federal, Sub-Section B: Foreign Policy, #2
Since I am one of those crazy dope smoking hippie peaceniks (that’s a joke, by the way), how is it that I came within 18 votes of becoming Chairman of the largest county in the reddest state in the country? Perhaps it is a different vision of what this state should be, and what my county should be, than that presented by the current leadership of my party.
Is it possible the activist base of the Republican Party is seriously at odds with how the party is being run?
Is it possible that we are sick of “electable” candidates who don’t believe in our platform?
I’m just a normal guy who sees the world on fire and decided to start trying to put the fire out. My party controls all of the statewide elected offices, all branches of government, and all federal positions. People like me – and that means more than half the GOP, including all the Liberty Movement and the Tea Party - expect the size of state government to shrink and the impact on our lives to be lessened. We don’t want tinkering around the edges, we want agencies, boards, commissions and departments abolished. We want taxes lowered after that is done. We want our individual rights defended. We don’t want a police state. We don’t want drones. We want freedom, we want the fruits of our labor, and we want a future for our children. We want corruption prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. If you don’t get to work, we will fire you. We are not patient.
Much has been written about the reasons Mitt Romney lost. It is pretty simple – he was a horrible candidate who did not appeal to the base. His history with such issues as supporting gun control, abortion and government run healthcare turned off those who believe in the platform. He actually fought the base at the national convention in Florida, which is the dumbest thing I can imagine him doing. His operatives, or those acting on his behalf, thought they could use big money to win. They forced through rules changes that disenfranchised the “grassroots”, otherwise known as the base. Don’t believe me? Here is Phyllis Schlafly at CPAC this year, and here is Morton Blackwell on the rules fight. Mitt Romney lost because he was a horrible candidate and he had a horrible team running his campaign. A better question to ask is who was fired in the Republican Party as a consequence for their failures in 2012?
Ronald Reagan built the modern day Republican Party around a solid base of support. Economic liberty, social conservatism, and a strong national defense formed the three legs of the stool upon which sat the grand coalition of change. These legs have been divided against themselves by those who seek to profit from the power to tax and regulate, handing out favors to one group at the expense of the rest of us. I call those who seek to profit from such actions corrupt. They have no base beyond donations from special interests. There is an army of people that is waking up to false conservatives, RINO’s, and cronyism within government. This army is the real base of the GOP.
I see a future Oklahoma Republican Party that is controlled by the activist base (the “grassroots”). I see legislators looking to actually cut government and reduce the impact it has on the lives of the average Oklahoman. I see elected officials seeking to defend the rights of the individual, not pass out favors, tax credits, and regulatory deals to special interests who promise “job growth”. I see a world in which all those elected from my state and party believe that governments are “instituted among Men” to “secure these rights” of “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness”. I see an explosion of prosperity if we simply follow the plan that was laid out for us so long ago.
Or I see a lot of elected officials getting fired.
Since I was not elected I am not encumbered by the responsibilities of office. I am free to recruit and organize – just as I have been doing every day for more than a year now. I will find people who share a vision of a state ruled by Constitutional Liberty, teach them what I know of activism within the Republican Party, and continue my personal quest for restoring the Republic, one person and one precinct at a time.