Maybe when past and present leaders of the Montgomery County Republican Party (MCRC: Montgomery County, PA) look back over the past few years, they can pinpoint the moment when – and reasons why – things went bad. Maybe they can dissect the personalities, grudges, and internal issues that caused the slide down the slippery slope. Maybe they will have an understanding of what went wrong and why. And maybe they have an idea of how to get it all back on track.
I’m not all that confident. The County Party looks like the hapless Family Robinson from “Lost in Space” (the original TV series 1965-1968, not the movie). Not sure exactly who is playing of Doctor Smith, but there are several candidates. Like castaways in an immense expanse of universe, there’s a feeling of hopelessness.
Admitting you have a problem – a REAL problem – is always the first step in Recovery. And Recovery is certainly what we need!
I do not consider myself a Committee insider. I do not pretend to know the reasons or – more importantly – The Answers. Maybe I should know. Maybe if more of us in grassroots positions were more deeply involved, we might know.
Maybe that would have made a difference. Maybe …
But I doubt it.
As a Committee Representative since 2006, I have attended some MCRC functions, though admittedly not enough of them. Fact is, as your typical run-of-the-mill foot soldier, you are like a pawn on the chessboard … eyes forward and taking the heat. You do the grunt work because it’s important to you and to your Community.
The politics of the politics? We let the politicians weed that garden. We allow them to make the sensitive political decisions in the belief they have The Big Picture.
Maybe there’s a good reason for that … party unity, less distraction from the goals of developing the best candidates and winning elections, the appearance of stability and reliability to present to fund-raisers and contributors …
But how’s that been working out for you on Election Day?
The problem with that mindset is that we – the Party’s ground game – lose sight of where the boat is being driven or worse the direction the boat is drifting. Somehow that has to stop.
My personal MCRC experience can be summed up in the following vignettes:
- Pride and excitement in the election of Bruce Castor and Jim Matthews to the County Board of Commissioners in 2007 even though Democrats grabbed five row-office positions.
- Hair-pulling aggravation as the Castor-Matthews relationship imploded into a farcical mess that – hindsight will show – sent the Party spinning out of control.
Pride and excitement at the election of State Representative Mike Vereb as MCRC chairman after the unconscionable behavior of a person who shall remain nameless. I even wrote a glowing review of Mike’s fantastic acceptance speech a scant two years ago.
- Confusion and frustration in witnessing – from afar – the infighting between The Committee and Joe Gale, the un-endorsed winner of a spot on the 2015 GOP ticket and the ONLY Republican – aside from Risa Vetri Fermin – to win their general election vote.
- Disbelief that Republicans did not win a single row office in November 2015.
My own personal, foot-soldier/committee representative/Republican voter view is that the GOP in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania can’t seem get out of its own way. What was a troubling anomaly in the Castor-Matthews imbroglio became a trend in the MCRC-Gale falling out.
I do not pretend to know all the reasons, the personal issues, ill-will, prideful stances, or nasty accusations that led to a voter-endorsed candidate being ostracized from our own Election Day GOP Party recommendations. I just have the impressions that the episode was a case of cutting one’s nose off to spite their face; indicative that the MCRC had gotten even worse – not better – since Castor and Matthews had their schoolyard tiff; and instead of working towards Party unity, was trapped in a distrustful downward spiral.
Not that we could possibly get much lower than the dazed, bloodied, and laying flat-out on the floor position we find ourselves in today.
So this Tuesday, we will vote for the next chapter in MCRC history. This time around we have a wealth of candidates looking to become County Party Leader. Some I know, some I don’t.
I’ll be looking for someone who gets what’s important. Not The How we got to the lowly place we find ourselves, what’s most important is how do we get back where we were … back where we deserve to be!
With that in mind, I will be sending a link to this blog post to all of the candidates with the opportunity to respond here with their views on getting the CLIMATE of the MontCo GOP right for a Future unclouded by internecine feuds. I do not want to hear about training committee representatives, improved communications, or changing the Party structure. In my humble opinion, our problems are BIGGER than that!
Keep an eye here, if you wish. Maybe we’ll get some answers …
I intend to go to Tuesday’s election meeting out of an obligation to contribute what little I can to making sure the Party is in the best position to recover from this not-so-special episode of “Lost in Space”.
Montgomery County and the Republican ideals we value deserve a much better effort!