Did a main street deplorable disrupt some Biddle Marsh big club backroom quid pro quo shenanigans?
Roughly three weeks out from a state convention, and ordinarily I’d be armpit-deep in some to-do list, but I’ve spent most of the past nine weeks considerably preoccupied. (If you really want to know why, then the obituary is here, and the funeral is here.) However, about four weeks ago, I had reason to have a rather lengthy and interesting conversation with one of the candidates for Michigan Republican State Committee Chair (the actual full title). I gotta tell you, it’s kinda nice to see that certain things really don’t change.
Did the Michigan Republican Party pull another fast one with RNC delegate allocation?
Those of us who’ve been hanging around RightMichigan since prior to 2014 likely remember well the Michigan Dele-Gate Fiasco of 2012. As a quick refresher, on Tuesday, February 28th of that year, Mitt Romney defeated Rick Santorum in the statewide popular vote, 41.10% to 37.87%. However, because 28 of Michigan’s 30 post-penalty delegates were awarded on a district-by-district basis (Romney and Santorum splitting the state at 7 districts each), and because the statewide vote totals were so close (requiring the two at-large delegates to be split one each), the resulting 15-15 delegate tie didn’t exactly square with the RNC/GOPe’s preferred media narrative that Romney won his native state. Thus, in the telephonic equivalent of a late-night, backroom deal, the MIGOP Credentials Committee (then consisting of Bobby Schostak, Sharon Wise, Saul Anuzis, Holly Hughes, Bill Runco, Mike Cox, and Eric Doster) voted 4-2 – Hughes was not present at the meeting – to creatively interpret State Party Rule 19C, and award both at-large delegates to Romney. The resulting backlash fueled an eleven-week effort that culminated in a two-day Showdown in Motown, with the end result being the ballot box blowout ouster of the national committeeman regarded as the chief engineer of the ex post facto railroad job.
It’s probably not going to draw much attention (likely because damn near no one noticed), but the potential for a Grand Theft Delegate con job similar to the Michigan Dele-Gate Fiasco of 2012 was averted, largely due to one person explaining a key state party rule in a way that eliminated the possibility of applying that rule by political discretion, and instead imposed a resolution rubric according to plain mathematics.
Do we really want a third term for a Vice Chair who appears to be more interested in pandering than in outreach?
Since early 2014, there have been ever-escalating smear attacks against our national committeeman, Dave Agema, that have been as predictable as the calendar, in that they’ve occurred, if my memory serves me correctly, during the runup to every national or state committee meeting last year, as well as during the weeks immediately preceding the “fall” state convention (and are now occurring concurrent to the weeks preceding the “spring” state convention four weeks from now). The pattern is also predictable, in that either Ken Braun or Dennis Lennox (occasionally Kathy Hoekstra just for the sake of variety) will get wind (via one of their trolls) of a social media post on Agema’s Facebook page, will then cherry-pick some alleged “money quote” from the source article (or an article buried up to three links deep from that source) and then report that “money quote” as though Agema originally said it . . . and never-you-mind that they can’t be bothered to accurately report what he actually said with regard to why he found something post-worthy. The next step, again ridiculously predictable, is that the three amigos will then use their press credentials to publish opinion pieces, which allegedly-more-credible reporters will then use as source material for front-page “news” stories, which the usual suspects will then use to fuel a smear campaign of manufactured outrage, which the party’s useful idiots and low-information voter bloc will dutifully echo as an ever-increasing crescendo of calls for Agema to step down “for the good of the party.”
Fully detailing this pattern and the miscreants perpetuating it – which I intend to do – is a topic for another day soon. My purpose in mentioning it here is to merely highlight the hypocrisy of selective outrage within the party leadership, specifically in regard to a certain vice chair whose own conduct has been perhaps more offensive than that of the national committeeman for whose resignation she has recently called.
Young man, the plain language of the law is the plain language of the law, even when it works against you.
Regulars on either this site or the old one likely are sure to recall the Michigan Dele-Gate Fiasco. The quick synopsis, for the Johnny-come-latelies, is that, on the final night of February in 2012, the MIGOP Credentials Committee (at that time consisting of Bobby Schostak, Sharon Wise, Saul Anuzis, Holly Hughes, Eric Doster, Bill Runco, and Mike Cox) had the high-tech equivalent of a middle-of-the-night, smoke-filled-back-room meeting, and decided, by a 4-2 vote – Hughes didn’t get word of the meeting until after its conclusion – that the published and promulgated delegate allocation rules would be overridden, ex post facto, for no other purpose than to preserve the narrative of a “favorite son” presidential primary win. The resultant grassroots backlash culminated in the Showdown In Motown, where the alleged chief engineer of the fiasco, one Saul Anuzis, was convincingly replaced with Dave Agema (to the ongoing agony of Michigan Republican Progressives).
However, with now mere days before the MIGOP Policy Committee meets to rule on the affidavits of candidacy for the various 2015 State Convention candidates, we see a similar scenario playing out . . . with at least one familiar player in the mix.
Is the handwriting on the wall for the tea party movement in Michigan?
The saying “the handwriting is on the wall” has as its source an incident in 539 BC, recorded for posterity in Daniel 5, in which King Belshazzar of Babylon is plainly told that he has been weighed in the divine balance and found wanting, that the days of both his kingdom and his life have been numbered and brought to an end, and that his empire will be divided between the Medes and Persians then advancing on the city. The concept survives in modern English idiomology to imply that circumstances are such for a person or organization that it is now clear that their ultimate failure is to be expected, or at best will be effectively impossible to avert.
Given the thorough pasting that the constitutionalist insurgency endured in Michigan last month, as a statewide aggregate, it wasn’t exactly a leap for reporters and pundits (likely working from a coordinated set of talking points courtesy of the Michigan Republican Party old guard) to insert dramatic prophecies of impending doom for the tea party movement into their headlines and opinion pieces. David’s missive and Jason’s observation notwithstanding, I don’t think it unreasonable to ask the question: Given the significant events of last August, let alone the past 5-1/2 years, is the tea party movement on the verge of becoming just another footnote in Michigan political history?
March 15th, 2016 appears to be the likely date of the Michigan Republican presidential primary in the next election. The Michigan Republican Party’s Policy Committee approved the date, which is the earliest a primary can be held without losing delegates to the Republican National Convention.
If a candidate wins over 50-percent of the statewide vote, he or she will be awarded all of Michigan’s delegates. If the winner has less than that threshold, the delegates will be split up based on the vote.
Which, initially, left me a bit at a loss for words. Apparently, someone was praying that this wasn’t going to get noticed. Of course, that raised the question of “why” . . . and a cursory review of the details provides us with a quite predictable answer.
When it comes to campaign finance, the tea party movement just doesn’t get it
“You can’t save the world if you can’t pay the rent.” – Morton Blackwell
It’s always an interesting academic exercise to attempt to calculate what Judas Iscariot’s 30 pieces of silver would have been worth in contemporary American currency. Depending upon whose calculations you use (and what assumptions they started with), estimates have varied from a few “benjamins” to a quarter-million “eisenhowers.” Almost all of the speculation, however, misses the point. And if you’re wondering how Judas’ epic infamy is connected to Mr. Blackwell’s wisdom, well, we’ll discuss that after the break.