Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Marion County GOP Chairman Tom John Throws Fit Over McAtee Candidacy, Insists Insiders Should Pick GOP Candidates

The act is getting old. First, Tom John apparently tried to rig the result of the at-large vacancy election by only giving one candidate the precinct committeemen list. Now he has this reaction to Bart McAtee's announcement that he intends to run in the primary against the slated candidate Dennis Fishburn:
“I am disappointed in Bart McAtee’s decision to disregard the votes of his fellow Republican activists at our slating convention and remain in the race for Marion County Sheriff. It is a selfish decision, but one that fits perfectly with the culture of cronyism and nepotism that has plagued the Sheriff’s department for years.

“I am sure that Dennis Fishburn will prevail in the primary because he represents a culture of achievement and integrity that stands in direct opposition to the political entanglements and back room dealings that are represented by Mr. McAtee. Dennis Fishburn feels that he owes the citizens of Marion County, not that Marion County owes him. We are 100% behind Dennis Fishburn.”
The notion that Tom John is standing up for the average Marion County Republican worker is quite amusiing. The bottom line is that John does not want the Republican party workers or the GOP electorate picking nominees. He wants those candidates selected by Republican insiders like himself and Hamilton County resident David Brooks, who inexplicably is still part of the Marion County GOP leadership despite his move out of the county a few years ago. The way insiders control the nomination process is through slating which gives the appearance party workers are exercising their informed choice when in reality, most of the people voting at the slating conventions are appointees of Chairman John, many of whom are "mummy dummies," people appointed for the sole purpose of attending slatings and voting the "right" way, i.e. the way the insiders want them to vote. In short, those "mummy dummy" PCs and ward chairmen are simply there to offset the votes of the regular PCs who do the grunt work in the party.

There is a reason why "slating" is not used virtually anywhere else in the United States. It undermines the nomination process by often eliminating a stronger campaigner and better general election candidate in favor of those who can better curry insider favor.

On paper, slating has merit. The idea is that actual party workers make an informed choice on who they want to support going into the May primary. The heavy-handed, leadership- dominated way slating is practiced though differs greatly from slating as it is sold to the Republican workers.

Is there a way slating can be fixed? Possibly. The county party could eliminate the ward chairman vote (who are all appointed by the county chairman) and adopt a rule that only elected PCs or those who have been appointed and have served a year in office and have worked an election, have the right to vote at slatings. That would virtually eliminate the mummy-dummy PCs that county chairmen employ to try to offset the vote of actual PCs who don't want the chairman's vote.

Would GOP Chairman Tom John support an elimination of the mummy-dummy PCs he and other insiders use to try to control slatings? Would the Chairman allow this common sense rule change that would strengthen the power of Republican grass roots workers in the organization at the expense of the insiders who seek to rig slating results? Let's just say, I won't hold my breath.


patriot paul said...

It doesn't surprise me that a handpicked select few are predisposed to handpick their predetermined favorite. This symptomatic problem carries the attitude that a party caucus inherently knows a shortcut without cluttering up the works with healthy competition. Shameful. And that is why citizens are outraged at the behavior of both parties. I can't stop laughing at the GOP's self-righteous response of calling themselves "activists".
As an aside, I also have it on good authority that the local GOP is terrified of the tea party. No wonder!

Blog Admin said...


I respect any citizen who gets actively involved in politics at any level in any way. But I've yet to see a noticeable, if any, presence of the Tea Party movement on city-county local issues.

Indiana had it's own Tea Party on state wide issues a few years back, but that seems to have more or less dissolved and absorbed into the national movement.

That isn't to say the Tea Party can't have an impact on city and county issues. But I haven't noticed any effort to do so, yet.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Paul, I'm not a big fan of slating but both candidates decided to put themselves through that process. If McAtee didn't want to accept that outcome, then he should have simply bypassed slating. Fishburn agreed he would not run if he wasn't slated. We have had candidates in the past simply skip slating and run directly in the primary. McAtee knew what the rules were going in, and now he's acting like a spoiled child refusing to play by them.

Paul K. Ogden said...


I agree McAtee should have skipped slating. I don't quite agree that the "rules" of slating is that you can't run in the primary if you're not slated. Slating is simply an endorsement process, and a flawed one at that.

Unknown said...

The term "slating" may not be used virtually anywere else in the United states, but county central committee endorsements are a fairly common practice in medium to large size counties across the midwest and the country. The extent to which those parties work to support their endorsed candidates may vary, but candidate endorsement policies similar to Marion's are more the rule than the exception in populated counties.

Bill said...

I’m thinking that Tom John is getting his Valium perscription refilled this morning. He knows that the childish statement he made is the beginning of the end for him and his little Carmel buddy David Brooks and his mentor Carl Brizzi.

We all have to remember the caucus process represents less than .007% of the Republicans in Marion County. Most people in Marion County have no idea of who Tom John is or what a caucus is. They will view the Flyers, TV commercials, read the newspaper and then vote.

The person man will win the race for what ever position. The insiders at the party simply cannot deal with someone who does not walk in lock step to their Carl Brizzi Mantra. They don't know what to do with people like Aaron Williams either.

Power is the most addicting thing in the world and it seems that Tom John is into his addiction in full force. The problem with addiction is that it always comes back to bite you in the end somehow and it is nasty.When your an addict the only thing that you can think about is where your going to get that next fix. Looks like his next fix is not going to be that easy to get from his dealer.

I’m afraid that Tom John is about to go through 2 1/2 months of rehab.

Withdrawl from power can be very painful.

Marycatherine Barton said...

And McAtee is willing to relinquish the thousands of dollars he paid the Republicans as a slating fee, and still give the voters a choice on the primary ballot in May. That is what elections are supposed to be about, even primaries, voter choice.

Bill said...

I have no idea what McAtee is going to do. All I know is that the CCC race inside party is a mess and John is swigging his malox.

If anyone other than Angel gets selected on Monday they will carry Tom John and his little CARMEL buddy David Brooks out on a gurney.