Monday, March 12, 2012

Kentucky's official GOP stumbles over Bob Leeper

Tea Party Republicans in Kentucky attempting to make their voices heard within the GOP have experienced a different kind of March Madness this year. Republican officials across the state trying to slam the door shut on tea partiers seem to expect that a movement built on ideas neglected by the party and fueled energy and creativity absent in too many of its campaigns and officials is now populated by people who can't read.

At issue is the Republican Party of Kentucky's preamble, which states that party officials must exhibit "devotion to our party's principles and loyalty to its candidates."

Arbitrary application of the term "loyalty" inspired the Campbell County Republican Party to disenfranchise former Campbell County Tea Party president Erik Hermes on March 3. He has filed an appeal to RPK Chairman Steve Robertson.

If the Republican Party of Kentucky doesn't overturn this "loyalty pledge" nonsense on appeal it will be their Bill Clinton moment. Any active Republican who remembers the Clinton years remembers well his claim that it "depends on what your definition of 'is' is." Now the establishment GOP is playing the same game with the word loyalty. In 2010 the entire Kentucky GOP state Executive Committee voted not to support the Republican nominee in the state Senate's 2nd district. Is that not breaking their pretended "loyalty pledge?" And if not, why not? Did Senate President David Williams and U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell break the pretended "loyalty pledge in 1999 when they supported Democratic Gov. Paul Patton's re-election? How about in 2007 when they opposed Republican Gov. Ernie Fletcher's re-election bid? The ball is in their court. The GOP establishment should explain exactly why this bogus restriction applies only now and excludes people so arbitrarily.

The Republican Party of Kentucky's actions have amounted to an attempt to delegitimize itself and has already created a chilling effect for conservative Republicans who would like to make their voices heard within their own party. Damage has already been done and the time to start reversing that damage is now.
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