Today on the House floor, Republican Rep. Steve LaTourette of Ohio condensed the congressional healthcare “debate” to its essence and, in so doing, suggested, without naming, a strategy for defeating the bills — let the left and the far left factions in the Democrat Party destroy these bills, and their party, without any help from the Republicans.
Today at a townhall in Mesa, AZ, a constituent suggested the same strategy to Sen. John McCain.
I also got to put a question to Sen. McCain, which went something like this:
“Sen. McCain, I’m going to ask the same question that a woman asked you back in August at a town hall meeting broadcast nationally on Fox News. She implored you, over, and over, and over, ‘Sen. McCain, what can we DO to make an impact on the Congress NOW? Please, tell us what to DO!’ Your response was, ‘Just keep doing what you’re doing.’ You were in front of an audience of people, just like today, who want to DO SOMETHING to save this country but don’t know what to do. They go to Tea Parties and town halls and protests, but they’re not sure what else they can do that is effective. You know that in Maricopa County, and in Arizona generally, over two-thirds of the precinct committeemen slots in the Republican Party are empty. And that nationally about half the precinct committeemen slots are empty. Our Party is at half-strength where it matters. You know that the precinct committeemen are the ‘boots on the ground, rubber meets the road’ folks who help get out the vote. So, my question is, why didn’t you tell her and the national audience that if they really wanted to ‘do something’ they should come into the party as precinct committeemen? And, will you tell this audience today to do so and will you start telling your audiences to get involved in the political process as precinct committeemen?”
His response was typically “political” and McCain-ish. I was disappointed. He said that he agreed people should get involved as precinct committeemen (indeed, back in November, 2005, he said as much on Larry King Live when he was seeking the nomination (http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0511/03/lkl.01.html)), but he said he had to be careful how he raised the issue at town halls, because he was seeking input from all people of all parties. I did not want to hog the spotlight or time as there were hundreds of people in attendance and many, many with their hands up to ask questions, so I let it go. But my follow up would have been along the lines of, “Well, golly gee whiz, our nation is in a precarious spot, as you’ve mentioned, and you’re worried about offending someone because of their political persuasion? Couldn’t you have said something along the lines of, ‘Yes, my friends, there is something you can do — if you are concerned about the direction of the country, immediately get in touch with the party of your choice and join its ranks as a precinct committeemen, because then you can vote for the leadership of the party, vote to endorse the best candidates in the primary elections, and help get out the vote for the candidates of your choice.”
American first, conservative second and Republican precinct committeeman by necessity.
“Elections have consequences, my friends.” — John McCain