Who’s “We Won’t be Fooled Again” lyrics played in my mind a week ago during the Maryland Republican Convention as I watched the MDGOP in its more-than-usual schizophrenic mindset.
The three major speakers who were not elected officials were conservatives. Dan Bongino, noted and always energetic conservative candidate and talk radio pundit. Michael Zak, author of Back to Basics for the Republican Party spoke about Republican history too often forgotten by the right and mistold by the left. And Wayne Dupree, conservative blogger and winner of CPAC’s 2015 Blogger of the Year, who told his story of going from an unaware democrat follower to an enlightened, outspoken conservative Republican. With such a superb trio of conservative speakers so well received, one might think that the MDGOP had finally seen the value in conservative Republican politics….but let’s look behind MDGOP Chair Diana Waterman and her wizard’s curtain to what was going on in the rest of the convention.
This year three sets of three workshops were woven into the convention, nine total. The only workshop offered more than once was “Winning the Millennial Electorate”, or, How to Give up Republican Values to Win, given by the new Millennial Maryland activist group. Here was their ad in the convention packet:
Some in our party believe that we win elections only when we take hard-line
stances on the issues. They consider differences of opinion to be tantamount to
Yet when 78 percent of Americans favor a pathway to legal status for illegal
immigrants; when 52 percent of Republicans and 67 percent of Independents
believe that climate change is real; and when the overwhelming majority of
Americans support same sex marriage; why would we avoid running candidates
who share these views?
We live in an ever more diverse and tolerant country. If we want to be only a
homogenous, regional party, we will be. But if we're willing to take a cue
from the last two presidential elections, maybe it's time we acknowledged that
we win through addition, not subtraction.
Despite the fact that rejection of O’Malley/Brown and Barrack Obama gave Republicans their only victories over the past several years; and the fact that Obama, Hillary Clinton and all things left are in slow self-destruct mode, leave it to the Republicans to think that giving up what little is left of our Republican values could be a winning strategy.
Not only did some workshops highlight the throw-our-principles-out-the-door mindset, but so was the mindset on the convention floor itself. The Resolutions Committee refused to bring any of the following conservative resolutions to the floor to be discussed and voted on:
Resolution in Support of Religious Liberty
Resolution to Acknowledge all the Unsung Republican Heroes of Campaign 2014 (The Grassroots)
Resolution to Protect Citizens of Maryland from the Harmful Effects of Unlawful and Unconstitutional Federal Action Concerning Illegal Immigration
Resolution in Support of an Application by the State of Maryland for a Convention of the States under Article V of the Constitution of the United States
Discuss resolutions? Air differences and ideas? Take a public stance on an important issue? Obviously the MDGOP elite see no value in those pursuits. That might give people an idea of where we stand or be considered as our principles. People who say what they stand for don’t win elections in the Millennial/Waterman world view.
In fact, Waterman had arranged a quick maneuver to have the Resolutions Report given and then a motion to adjourn before any of those resolutions could be brought from the floor. They didn’t want to to discuss any resolutions, but additionally they wanted to protect the MDGOP 2nd Vice Chair and Carroll County’s Vice Chair, Larry Helminiak. There was a waiting floor resolution to sanction him for his part in giving away the Central Committees’ authorities to Governor Hogan and spending $37,000 of donations defending those actions. The Party elite did a masterful job of shutting down all discussion and debate and now the issues will continue to simmer under the surface.
Waterman pulled one last stunt for the day at the convention. Immediately upon adjourning, she broke into a lengthy prepared speech from the podium and gave her account of what had caused her to spend $37,000 of Party money on legal fees. This was the Party’s last ditch effort to skew perceptions and demonize those of us who sought to hold both the Governor and the Party to the language of the Constitution and principled behavior. She did something similar during the Executive Committee meeting for all the Committee Chairs. Nothing like using one’s power to project a set of talking points out of the reach of rebuttal. My understanding is that Larry Helminiak also visited various central committee meetings in other counties to do the same.
Despite O’Malley/Brown-induced electoral gains, the Maryland Republican Party still marches leftward and we have already started down Maryland’s well-worn path toward snatching defeat out of the hands of victory once again by attacking and alienating the conservative base. The Republican Party didn’t learn from the mistakes of one term Gov. Ehrlich.
And so Who sings in the back of my mind, We Won’t Get Fooled Again….
Though I know that the hypnotized never lie
There's nothing in the streets, looks any different to me
And the slogans are replaced, by-the-bye….
Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss……
Kathy Fuller is a member of Carroll County Republican Central Committee