"I'm Taking My Ball And Going Home!"
Yesterday many political observers commented on the comments of Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin, both of whom briefly remarked that if the Republican Party did not reflect the will of the "tea party" voters, it risked being replaced by a new, third party.
You can watch and listen to Rush's and Sarah's comments here. Hat tip to HotAir, TheRightScoop, et al.
This development then lead to all sorts of comments by people here at Redstate, and on other conservative sites, along the lines of, "If the Republican Party doesn't shape up and fix things after this election, and if they compromise with the Democrats, I am done with the Republican Party."
And every comment like that is a red flag to me, signifying that the person has never actually been "in" the Republican Party. "Done with the Republican Party?" They never started WITH IT in the first place.
Getting Off The Sidelines and into The Real Ball Game -- Lots of Empty Team Jerseys
Standing outside the Republican Party and shouting at it will not change it. If you want to change it, you have to get INSIDE it. What does getting inside it mean? It means becoming a "card carrying member" of the Party with full voting rights INSIDE it. The real ball game of politics is played INSIDE the political parties at the committee meetings -- the local, county, state and national committee meetings.
The BEST way to put pressure on incumbent Republicans is to demonstrate to them that CONSERVATIVES are "taking back" the Republican Party. And the BEST way to "take back" the Party is to actually take it back. How do we conservatives do that? By filling up all of the vacant precinct committeemen slots. Why is it so important? Ask Danny Tarkanian and Sue Lowden in Nevada -- its because conservative precinct committeemen are in the BEST position to get out the vote in the all-important, traditionally-very-low-turnout primary elections. Ask Utah Sen. Bob Bennett -- the grass roots conservatives in Utah figured out the caucus rules of the Republican Party, showed up for the Republican caucus meetings, elected conservatives to serve as delegates to the Utah Republican Party nominating convention, and tossed Bennett out on the first vote.
The Gauge that Matters: The Percentage of Filled Precinct Committeemen Slots
As long as the incumbent Republicans see that the percentage of filled precinct committeemen slots in the Party is not increasing dramatically, they will continue to believe that the REAL status quo that matters, the relative strength of the Party back in their district (or, for senators, their state) has not really changed, and they won't have a real threat in the primary. But, if they see that the percentage of filled precinct committeeman slots has jumped dramatically, they will realize that "something's up."
Learn the Rules, and You Can RULE
Anyone can register as a Republican. Anyone can send $50 to the RNC and receive back in the mail and embossed "Sustaining Member" card (or whatever they give you these days for fifty bucks). But neither of those things gets you "inside" the Party. Where it matters. As a member of a local Republican Party committee where you get to vote for the leadership of the party and you can vote to endorse candidates in the primary elections (assuming your committee's bylaws allow for that and you can get the majority of votes of the committee members -- "party endorsed" candidates tend to win the primary elections).
So how does all this "precinct committeemen stuff" work, exactly? Well, here are some examples (this is how it works in Arizona -- every state has its own rules). (Also, I explain it all in 13 minutes worth of video, and in print, here -- scroll down when you get there for the videos.)
On Nov. 16, for example, I'm going to get to cast votes at the leadership election meeting for my local Republican Party Legislative District committee. We've got 112 elected precinct committeemen. We could have 262, our statutory allotment (basically, each recognized political party gets one precinct committeemen per 125 registered voters of that party per precinct; my precinct has eight allotted slots and all eight have been filled). We've grown from about 70 in 2008. Most of the new PCs have been recruited from the tea parties, so they are fiscal conservatives. We'll also elect delegates to the state GOP annual meeting; each legislative district is authorized to be represented by one elected state committeeman for every three elected precinct committeemen, so we can send up to 37.
On January 8, all the elected precinct committeemen in the county can attend the county committee meeting, where they can vote to elect county officers.
Following the county meetings, the state committeemen will meet at a state republican committee meeting to elect the state officers, including the state chairman (who serves as a member of the Republican National Committee) and two RNC "at large" delegates (per RNC rules, each state gets three delegates).
Why This Is Important, And How We've So Far Blown It
As I've been preaching here for the last 18 months or so, about HALF of these precinct committeemen slots are vacant in the Party. Which WAS a huge opportunity for conservatives -- IF we HAD flocked into the Party during the last 18 months and filled up ALL of the vacant PC slots, WE CONSERVATIVES NOW would be in a position to elect conservative leadership across the board in the upcoming leadership elections. Because in 2008, the precinct committee slots that were filled were split about 50-50 between conservatives and moderates across the county -- the election of Michael Steele as RNC Chairman reflects that ideological split. I'm from Arizona -- we were in worse shape numbers-wise -- we had less than one third of our allotted PC slots filled. And, despite aggressive recruiting by me and other conservative precinct committeemen, we're still not over 50 per cent strength. Not for lack of trying, and not for lack of delivery of the message. As the old saying goes, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink. Too many who receive the message are too damn lazy or "busy" or whatever to get involved. And, it's not like it takes a lot of time to serve as a precinct committeeman. It's just good old-fashioned participation in party politics, requiring at most a couple of hours a month. Sadly, it seems even most conservative Americans have no sense of civic duty or are unable to set their priorities properly. Or, perhaps, they simply don't know how weak the Republican Party is right now.
A Lost Opportunity -- What Could Have Been
So, IF we conservatives had flocked into the Party in droves, right now that 50-50 split would be history. Do the math: if conservatives had filled up the entire 50 per cent of the slots that had been vacant, that 50-50 split would have turned into a 75 per cent majority for conservatives AND the Party would no longer be at half strength, it would be at FULL STRENGTH.
The "Powers That Be" Hope You'll Never Figure This Out and Keep Doing What You're Doing
And, the "powers that be" inside the Party DO NOT WANT YOU to get involved in party politics. Why? Because they KNOW THAT IF ENOUGH OF YOU DO, THEIR REIGN IS OVER.
Challenge: find me video of ANY elected Republican (other than the video I have of Arizona State Sen Russell Pearce on my little blog) IMPLORING conservatives to come into the Party as precinct committeemen. Folks, they won't tell you this because YOU WOULD BE A THREAT TO THEIR REELECTION, potentially.
Will We Lose The Opportunity Again Between Now and the 2012 Primaries?
So, who wants to help me take back the Republican Party and then take back our government?
Ask yourself these questions:
Have I ever read a set of Republican Party committee bylaws?
Have I ever been to a local Republican Party committee meeting?
Have I ever met a Republican Party precinct committeeman?
Do I know the boundaries of my precinct?
Do I know any Republicans in my precinct?
Three years ago, my answers to these questions were a personal embarrassment.
I'm to blame, too.
But no longer.
GOTV Now, but on Nov. 3, Start Seeking Out Your Spot INSIDE the Party
I hope you are doing something to help Get Out The Vote now and will focus on that from now until Nov. 2. Then, beginning on Nov. 3, I hope you'll track down where your local Republican Party committee meets and get to the next meeting and announce that you want to become a full-fledged, voting member of the Party. It's called precinct committeemen in many states, precinct captain in some, ward captain in others. But no matter the name, just make sure you become a "card carrying member" of the Party -- because that's how we'll change it. Together.
I hope you'll join me inside the Party.
I can't guarantee that if we all flock into the Party as I've proposed we'll save our country. But this I believe -- if we don't, we will lose it for sure.
ColdWarrior, PC (that’s “precinct committeeman,” not “political child!”)
Conservatives, UNITE! CHANGE the Republican Party and save the world by UNITING INSIDE the Party as precinct committeemen. NOW! (14 days until Nov. 2 -- what are YOU DOING to help get out the vote in your precinct?)
American first, conservative second, Republican precinct committeeman BY NECESSITY!
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
- Edmund Burke
Please help Get Out The Vote: The Concord Project