‘Challenging’ Activist PCOs

Posted: July 25, 2012 in Uncategorized

A recent email blast was sent by one Marla Riley to every PCO candidate in Clark County, including yours truly. In it, she levels a charge against the members of the PCO Liberty Alliance and others whom the alliance names as ‘preferred’ candidates, that they are engaging in a “veiled attempt by Ron Paul’s supporters to take over the Clark County
GOP”. She cites the work done by the current board to elect Republicans in Clark County, and says that the PCO Liberty Alliance is ‘actively opposing’ these excellent volunteers and several elected officials by running against them in PCO races. She closes by urging everyone to “stop this civil war and work to defeat the liberal Democrats”.

A few observations:

1. Every would-be political activist has the right to run for Precinct Officer in their own neighborhoods. Ultimately the people are the ones who decide elections, and up to now, these positions have had little in the way of choice for voters. Any effort to provide a choice ought to be viewed favorably by anyone who claims to be in touch with the voting public. The difficult part to understand in Ms. Riley’s comments is that if the volunteers she wants to protect have been doing so much work among the folks in their precincts, why do so many feel vulnerable in having to face those same voters in an election? The reality is that their work has been overstated in Ms. Riley’s email, and most people in Clark County have never met their PCO, or even know what a PCO is. One of the major objectives of the PCO Liberty Alliance is to change this.

2. There are currently exactly zero Ron Paul supporters on the CCRP Executive Board, and this was the case even before Brandon Vick stepped down as chairman. The county caucus straw poll which Ms. Riley cites did yield a Romney plurality at 37%. However, 28.5% voted for Paul, and 22.5% voted for Santorum, with 10.1% going to Gingrich. I do not believe, as Ms. Riley does, that the board should conform to representation based upon a strict adherence to the caucus straw poll, but if they did, the Romney supporters would be in the minority in the face of a Paul/Santorum coalition, as opposed to the current situation, with the board being comprised almost entirely of Romney supporters. Actually, I fully expect the central committee and the executive board after December to more closely represent the straw poll than they currently do. This is the great irony in Ms. Riley’s accusations. The ideal she espouses, to keep the current board completely intact, is far less representative of caucus voters than anything that I or any of my friends have in mind.

3. In her email, Ms. Riley completely ignores the unmitigated failure of the current batch of volunteers and elected officials to run a workable caucus or convention. It can’t be stressed enough that this debacle, along with the lies that were spread in selling the Unity Slate, was a key element in the formation of the PCO Liberty Alliance in the first place. The people she mentions that we are ‘actively opposing’ were largely the ones who were in control of the proceedings, and almost all hawking the Unity Slate at the convention, trying to expel Paul supporters from the process as a matter of course. It is not surprising, then, that so many would rise up and seek change in the party leadership. In fact, it is to be expected, and supported by anyone with a sense of fair play and fair representation.

4. Does one need to be a PCO in order to be active in the party? The implication in the email is that if Marla’s friends are not elected, their ability to continue volunteering will be somehow impaired, to the detriment of the party. I have the opposite view. I believe that not only can non-PCOs be VERY involved in the party, but that after a few terms, every PCO should actively seek a replacement as a means to get more people involved and knowledgeable about the way the system works. I have never been a PCO, and the current PCO in my precinct bowed out so that I could gain that experience. I intend to do the same for the next guy in line within four years, and I will continue to volunteer for candidates that I support. There is absolutely no reason why one has to be on the Central Committee in order to help candidates, particularly if we all have relationships with the people who replace us so that we can stay informed.

I do agree with Marla on one point: that this election is about control. One group seeks to maintain it, and one group seeks to open it up. Thankfully, the people get to decide which group succeeds, and I look forward to August 7th.

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