I met with Tom Garrett, Frank Ruff, and Scott Garrett, as well as others in Richmond, VA today. They all strangely said the same thing about SB507 and HB194: “would you want to disenfranchise our serving military men and women”?
This is something we see often when hearing the sales pitch from Democrats but not Republicans. Something STINKS!!! And it’s these two bills. Read it here for yourself: http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?141+ful+SB507+hil
This is a solution in search of a problem. In the last few years as I’ve gotten involved in conventions I never knew there were so many service people wanting to participate in our nomination process(sarcasm). I know that when my cousin was getting blown up in Iraq(true story – and he survived) that he wasn’t missing his wife and kids, but instead he was lamenting the fact that he couldn’t work to get Bishop Jackson as our LT Governor candidate(No that is not true, he lives in Colorado).
In all seriousness, This bill is an insult to our intelligence.
Rick Boyer today put it like this:
I understand the bills are being marketed as “pro-military” measures. I don’t know of any more faulty reasoning, when both parties have for more than a century selected their nominees for Commander-in-Chief of the military by convention. Roberts Rules of Order has for years offered rules on proper organization for conventions and mass meetings. They are longtime fixtures in American political life, through most of our great wars, and not until the last couple of years has anyone argued that they somehow discriminate against the military. Having personally attended scores of conventions and mass meetings, I can attest to the vast numbers of active and retired military people and military spouses in attendance. Our military is perhaps “overrepresented” at these functions, not the reverse.
On the negative side, these bills have several features that arouse my fervent opposition:
1. They destroy the party’s First Amendment Freedom of Association. Both U.S. Supreme Court and 4th Circuit precedent make clear that political parties are PRIVATE organizations, not entities of the state. As such, we have the right to control our membership, choose our own leaders, and determine whom we nominate for office, and how we nominate. In Virginia, the General Assembly has declined to allow party registration. This forces the parties to allow sworn enemies from the other party to help choose our nominees! The General Assembly would hardly dare to require that one church allow members of another to help elect its pastor, let alone require that members of the local atheists club have a vote. The latter is the practical effect of the open primary. It is true that everyone has a right to vote for the candidate of his/her choice, or to be a candidate if the parties don’t offer one he/she can support. But folks who are sworn enemies of a party should NOT have a voice in that party’s nomination process.
2. They represent a massive transfer of power and influence away from individual citizens, and to Richmond. Influence over how candidates are selected is one of the few significant ways an individual voter can affect our system. One lone activist’s vote in a general or primary election is generally swept away in a blizzard of less-informed votes motivated mostly by which candidate has been able to buy the most 30-second attack soundbites. That same activist, as chairman of a local party committee, can by contrast hold a great deal of influence in selecting candidates for local and state office. When parties control their own private systems, they are able to more effectively ensure that candidates they offer to the public actually represent the party’s stated values (see the above “open primary” discussion). To transfer total control over that system to Richmond leaves virtually the entire electoral process, not a question of who cares the most and is most committed to the party’s values, but a referendum on TV dollars. It cannot fail to leave citizens all the more alienated, disaffected, and convinced (correctly) that they have no effective voice.
3. They destroy the important voices of the parties and their grassroots activists. The basic function of political parties is to develop a platform of ideals, nominate candidates for public office who subscribe to those ideals, and try to elect those candidates. That is why membership in a party committee, leadership roles in that committee, and participation as a mass meeting attendee or convention delegate is such an important role for concerned citizens to play. This bill renders Virginia effectively the California of the East Coast. In California, the parties are in effect wholly-owned subsidiaries of the legislature, with intricately drawn rules as to how the parties function in every detail; e.g., how they constitute local committees, elect those committees, nominate candidates, etc. In California, the parties are largely ineffective – organizations in name only with no influence. This bill removes from party committees and activists one of basically their two important roles – influence over the selection of candidates. It leaves them essentially beasts of burden to help re-elect whomever the mass of people (including sworn enemies of the party) have nominated. It reduces grassroots activists to political serfdom.
4. Finally, it is a fact that NO rule of the Virginia Republican Party prohibits a military member from participation in a convention; any such rule is a Defense Department restriction. By contrast, participation in the General Assembly IS prohibited by law to active duty military, since absentee voting in the legislature is not allowed!
These bills effectively destroy everything for which I have worked as a loyal GOP party volunteer (without pay) for 20-plus years. If they pass, I will have no reason to continue to be involved with the Republican Party. My entire reason for involvement is to fight for values in which I believe; if my only value is as a water-carrier at election time for folks chosen in part by sworn enemies of my party, I would honestly rather spend my time with my four small children.
I respectfully request that you vote NO to taking away my rights and those of my party. Please know that this issue is an absolute litmus test for me; I will recruit and support challengers to any legislator who votes to take such basic constitutional rights. It is my only recourse to have an effective voice in the process, should this bill pass. I believe, and pray, that I speak for many other folks who feel the same way.
Please vote NO to SB 507 and HB 194. Thank you.
Because free association is a right,
Rick Boyer, Esq.
What this bill is really about is removing the grass roots from the equation. WE THE PEOPLE took over the Republican Party in VA. WE THE PEOPLE actually like the Republican Creed. The Powers that be do not. And they don’t want us having a say in the process. This has largely been accomplished at the national level with the latest scripted and rigged rules changes at the last convention. Incidentally this is why I officially left the GOP.
Supporters of this bill are being used as pawns. They should wise up and drop their support. The threats being sent around by Rick Boyer, Jamie Radtke, And MANY more are not idle. They will abandon the party, and once they are gone it’s unlikely they will return.
IF this perceived military exclusion from conventions is a problem, and I don’t believe it is, then it is one that can easily be dealt with by the party and NOT at the mandate of the state.
CALL YOUR SENATORS AND DELEGATES TODAY!!!!
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