A few months ago, the East Valley Tea Party group did not exist. On Saturday, January 30, 2010, they held a "Superbowl of Conservative Candidates" at a high school in Mesa, Arizona from noon to 8 p.m. Any candidate for elective office professing to be a conservative was given the opportunity to spend the day in a class room fielding questions from interested citizens. Many, many candidates were there, including former Rep. J.D. Hayworth, who is running to unseat John McCain in the primary. There were hundreds of citizens there. Lots of campaign signs were posted around the parking lot. Volunteers helped direct attendees to available parking spots. It was a well-run affair.
I only had a short amount of time to mingle, but I did see a lot of candidates for the state legislative positions, for Congress, and for state executive offices. I had been invited to speak for an hour about the need for conservative Republicans and independents to take the next step: to become politically relevant by fulfilling their civic duty to engage in the actual ball game of politics -- party politics -- at the grass roots level as a precinct committeeman and beyond.
About 75 folks attended my little talk. I told them about my little blog, ThePrecinctProject.
I told them that they, the grass roots conservatives in the “Tea Party Movement,” can TAKE OVER the Arizona Republican Party if they UNITE within the Party. I explained how the grass roots conservatives did this in Nevada. And how some of us are making it happen in Arizona.
I explained at the beginning of my pitch that if they had to choose only ONE thing to do to help change the outcome of the elections, they needed to become a Republican Party precinct committeeman. And that if they didn’t have two hours of time a month to save their country, they should just leave the room because what I was about to tell them would be worthless. No one left. And I explained how their participation in the Party -- immediately -- as an appointed precinct committeeman would send a signal to the incumbents in Washington and in the state legislature.
I explained how the Party will not discuss this. How even the conservative Republican incumbents will not. (Well, a very few will — we have a few elected conservative Republicans in Arizona who DO discuss this with conservative audiences -- for example, Arizona conservative state senators Russell Pearce and Carl Seel.) I explained that even most conservative incumbents won't ask conservative registered Republicans to become precinct committeemen because they know that about half the PC slots nationwide, on average, are vacant and they are TERRIFIED that Tea Partiers/9.12-ers/WeSurroundThem-ers/etc. will figure this out and INVADE and TAKE AWAY the reins of power from the existing "leaders." And that they are terrified that more conservatives in the PC ranks would threaten their re-election chances, because most of the "conservative" Republicans have compromised their principles by trading their votes, to "go along to get along" in the swamp of DC politics, and that most have earmark problems. And they know that in this anti-incumbent era, even they could lose to a "newbie" candidate running against "business as usual" as they've played it in DC oh-so-many years.
I asked them if they'd ever received a mailer from the Republican National Committee asking them, instead of for money, to consider becoming a voting member of the Party. I explained how the RNC cleverly sends out requests for money for which, in return, one receives a plastic wallet card showing how they are a "Sustaining Member" of the RNC or some such other title. The card goes in one's wallet and the donor feels as though they are a "member" of the Party. Wrong. They are just donors. The REAL members of the Party are the voting members -- the precinct committeemen.
I explained that if they want to become politically relevant they need to get into the real ball game of politics — party politics — as precinct committeemen so they can vote for the leadership of the Party and vote to endorse candidates in the primary elections (assuming they create a “conservative PC caucus.”) I explained how when a vacancy in the state legislature happens, as had just happened in Legislative District 6, if the LD has 30 or more PCs (as does LD 6), the PCs get to nominate 3 candidates to fill the empty seat, and that the County Board of Supervisors has to select the replacement from those 3 candidates. Thus, if a majority of the PCs are conservative, then they can nominate 3 conservatives -- the PCs, not the registered voters nor the Board of Supervisors, decide who becomes the "new incumbent." That is political power. And I explained how they’ll meet all the candidates at their local GOP meetings and how the primary candidates will suck up to them because they know that the PCs will influence other voters. I told them how John McCain's campaign staff had asked for my endorsement back in September of 2009 -- because I'm a precinct committeeman.
I explained that, in my humble opinion, there was no need for them to call/fax/e-mail/write to the post-modernist, Constitution-ignoring congresscritters UNLESS they could truthfully say one of the following:
“I am a conservative Republican Party precinct committeeman and I am recruiting every conservative I can to come into the Party with me as a precinct committeeman for the sole purpose of making sure you and all like you who do not uphold your oath of office will not be returned to office in the next election” or
“I am a conservative Republican and I am taking steps to become a precinct committeeman and I am recruiting every conservative I can to come into the Party with me as a precinct committeeman for the sole purpose of making sure you and all like you who do not uphold your oath of office will not be returned to office in the next election.”
Because the ONLY thing that might motivate and strike fear in the minds of these unprincipled, lacking-in-virtue post-modernists is a REAL, CREDIBLE threat to their re-election chances. And the BEST way to create that threat is by becoming a precinct committeeman.
I gave away copies of The Citizens Rulebook (there's a link to it on my blog), candidate “Pre-Oath of Office” forms, primary candidate vetting questionnaires, and other stuff I’ve written about the Constitution. After I spoke, one of the people who came up to me introduced himself as a fellow West Pointer, Class of 1971. Said he never knew any of this stuff. (It’s all just basic civics -- I learned it growing up by watching my dad, a city councilman and county board member, in 7th grade in Civics, and by attending Boy's State.) After I spoke, little old ladies lined up with the others to pick up a PC appointment form and the other materials. It warmed my heart, but I thought, they shouldn't have to be doing this -- but I'm glad they are. One lady called me afterward and started crying because she was so thankful she now knew what to DO and felt she now had a fighting chance to stop our slide into socialism and destruction.
I explained that they need to read the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution (both contained in the pocket-sized Citizens Rule Book) and study them. Over and over. So they know that Article I, Sec. 8 of the Constitution sets forth certain limited, enumerated powers. So they can demand their congresscritters obey the Constitution. [Like this guy did:]
I told them we conservatives need to connect — UNITE — in ONE organization -- the Republican Party -- as well as in the separate groups. I told them my suggested strategy is to UNITE as many conservatives as possible in a way that makes them politically relevant — and that means uniting in the Republican Party as precinct committeemen.
With half the PC slots, nationwide, empty on Election Day, 2008, if we can get all those open slots filled with conservative Tea Partiers/Resistnet-ers/9.12-ers/WeSurroundThem-ers/etc., guess what? We’d OWN the Republican Party at the grass roots level and, along with the existing conservatives in the precinct committeemen ranks, we’d be able to elect good, conservative, competent folks to the Party leadership positions and get good conservatives winning all the primary elections. We should focus on getting control of the Republican Party at the grass roots, precinct level. Then, once we’re in control, we’ll have REAL political power at the ballot box because we’d be controlling who would be winning the all-important, traditionally-very-low-turnout primary elections. Plus, instead of the Republican Party being, as it was in the last election cycle, at half-strength and divided, it would be at full-strength with a solid conservative majority and message — and with Ronald Reagan conservatives on the general election ballots, making good, common sense Reagan arguments (cut tax rates, cut spending, roll back regulation, defeat the terrorists, defend the country, etc.) we’d sweep the 2010 elections.
I explained that the grass roots conservative groups have the necessary numbers to take control of the Republican Party, but that they just don't seem to have the know-how. So I try to provide them with the information.
I explained that in Maricopa County, on Election Day, 2008, only 31 per cent of the 6,231 PC slots (for the approximately 694,000 registered voters in the county) were filled. And that one year later, we’ve now got 53 per cent of the slots filled. So we’ve made a lot of progress. On Jan. 16, 2010, at the Maricopa County Republican Party annual meeting, the precinct committeemen elected five conservative PCs, running on a “Conservative Slate,” to fill all five of the “at large” positions on the Executive Guidance Committee. Those five conservatives received over 82 per cent of the ballots cast. So our recruiting efforts have paid off. We’ve added five solid conservatives directly from the precinct committeemen ranks to the Executive Guidance Council. And the one McCain moderate who ran for one of those five slots got less than 6 per cent of the vote. I explained how most of the new PCs have come from the Tea Party/9.12/etc. grass roots organizations and many from online sites such as ResistNet.com where I also recruit (www.resistnet.com/group/invadethegop).
I'm also happy to report that within the last week two enterprising conservative Republicans, one in Alaska and one in Florida, have created "PrecinctProject" sites for their states, which I've linked to on my blog. Here are the direct links in case you want to take a look:
I also have linked at my blog another effort to recruit conservatives into the Republican Party precinct committeemen ranks: www.nationalprecinctalliance.org.
If you aren't already in the ball game, I hope you'll become a ball player -- at your local GOP meeting as a precinct committeeman. We need you on the team.
No More Scozzafavas!
American first, conservative second, Republican precinct committeeman BY NECESSITY!
ThePrecinctProject, so you can say, “I became a precinct committeeman before it was cool.”
“[Primary e]lections have consequences, my friends.” — John McCain