With the Wisconsin recall election in the news, it is only fitting that we take a trip down memory lane. Anyone remember those Democratic senators fleeing the state to prevent a quorum so the Senate couldn't pass Gov. Scott Walker's reforms? Looks like the old guard in the Alaska GOP stole a page from their playbook.
With outgoing Chair Randy Ruedrich and other members of leadership publicly calling for delegates not to show up to today's re-convening of the 2012 Alaska Republican Convention, I'm left wondering if the demons Scott Walker just drove out of Wisconsin haven't taken up residence in Alaska. Seems Ruedrich's designs are eerily similar to the ill-fated Wisconsin Democrats. He hopes to prevent a quorum so the convention is unable to take up consideration of the rules changes put forward by the Convention Rules Committee, one of which just happens to be the "legacy rule" that would relieve Ruedrich of his duties effective immediately. No self-serving there.
Also at issue is a whole roster of resolutions passed by the various committees at the April convention, everything from censuring Sen. Lisa Murkowski for her "dishonesty, duplicity . . . and extraordinary disloyalty" to a resolution urging Congress not to ratify the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, and a resolution calling for the full repeal of Obamacare.
What is perhaps most egregious is the fact that the old guard is citing rumors of nefarious intent on behalf of Ron Paul supporters as a pretext, claiming that there is a move under way to suspend the rules and change out all the previously-elected national delegates. Supporters of Dr. Paul deny the claim. That notwithstanding, how credible can the rumors be when less than half of the elected state delegates are Paul supporters, and it takes a two-thirds vote to suspend the rules?
I must admit the whole specter is somewhat embarrassing. But this isn't the first time I've been ashamed of my party leadership. A troubling pattern is emerging. If some leaders don't emerge who are willing to call out the bad players, the Republican Party is in big trouble. We cannot afford to let a small group of elitists tarnish the party brand any further.
When the sitting party chair and members of the Central Committee are openly attacking duly elected leaders in the press; when sitting members of the Central Committee are vowing to "burn down" the party; when opposition research is being conducted and deployed by upstanding "Republicans" against the chair-elect; when rules are being ignored; it's time to say enough is enough.
From the outset of my involvement in Alaska politics, I've watched the elites refuse to accept the election of Sarah Palin; refuse to accept Joe Miller's election as the party's nominee for U.S. Senate, despite a record turnout and ten thousand more votes than Lisa Murkowski received in 2004; and now refuse to respect the will of their party's process yet again.
It took the same folks a year-and-a-half to even acknowledge Gov. Palin on the party website. They subsequently joined forces with the liberal Democrats to viciously attack the governor after the 2008 Presidential race, and helped to drive her from office. They publicly engaged in malicious personal attacks on Joe Miller in 2010. And now they seek to do the same to Chair-elect Russ Millette.
Palin, Miller and Millette committed only one crime: winning a Republican election.
It is time for Alaska Republicans to show the voting public that we don't condone the rogue behavior of the ruling class. We don't run when things get tough. Leave that to those other folks from Wisconsin.
Real Republicans take responsibility, finish what they start, and don't shy away from hard decisions. I'll be joining the real Republicans at the Anchorage Baptist Temple at 9 o'clock this morning.
If you're a delegate, I hope to see you there.
Matt Johnson is a delegate to the Republican State Convention from District 11.