Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Blogger "Raoul" Defends Rigging of Council At-Large Vacancy Election

Each morning I try to check in with the local apologist for GOP Chairman Tom John's operation of the party, a blogger whose name rhymes somewhat with "Raoul." Raoul is a good buddy of ToJo. Here is, in part, Raoul's take on the vacancy election which culminated Monday night:

"There had been chatter that some candidates for the at-large GOP seat saying they couldn’t get lists or that the establishment had the fix in for Rivera. While party leaders, Rs, Ds and Ls have their preferences there’s nothing written down that says a candidate is entitled to anything. Political parties are not democracies nor open government. It behooves them to keep their processes as transparent as possible, but it’s not mandatory and there are consequences if you stray too far off the reservation.

However, I always tell people, if you don’t like like the system, pull a Brian Williams. Get enough of your people together, get organized run at the precinct committeemen level, hopefully win and expand your power base and then make the change you want. It’s hard, it’s tough, it’s a long shot. It’s politics."

Let me do the translation for you: "Yes it is true that Tom John and (Hamilton County resident) David Brooks tried to manipulate the process to get a certain person elected, but hey that is okay because the rules allow it! If you don't like it, get a bunch of people together and do the same thing!"

Gee, I don't know, maybe we wouldn't want to do what John and Brooks are doing because some of us believe in treating hard-working party workers and candidates with decency, respect and fairness? Maybe because some of us believe in honesty and treating others as we would like to be treated? Raoul's comments are a remarkable concession that ToJo never had any intention of allowing the 10 candidates a fair and open election with the rules applying the same to all candidates. The admission by Raoul also highlights the problem with Chairman John's leadership. He clearly does not grasp that the power in a properly functioning political organization flows from the bottom to the top. (Or possibly he simply doesn't care.) When you strip grass roots party workers of their power, you weaken the foundation of the party.

Weakening the party long-term though is not the concern of people like Tom John and David Brooks. They are about exercising their power now and do not care about the future of the Marion County GOP. Thank you Raoul for looking beyond John's BS about fair elections and respecting the power of precinct committeemen. Thank you for telling the truth about what they are doing to my party.


M Theory said...

God Bless them. I hope they finish off the rape and pillage of the Republican Party so there is nothing left.

Maybe then people will realize the party left the small government people long ago.

The Marion County GOP is a sociopath. You cannot reform a sociopath, no matter how hard you try. You can only leave.

varangianguard said...

While the ideal of a grass roots organization might be nice, I really believe that in practice it is illusory to believe that it has ever been much different anywhere in Indiana than what you see today.

Truly, I think the main difference might only be in the degree of investment in the maintenance of said illusion. And that could most likely be attributed to the individual styles of the personalities involved.

Paul K. Ogden said...
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Paul K. Ogden said...

I disagree. While you might be right that's it's never been a 100% grass roots, power from the bottom organization, if you study the history of the Marion County GOP you will notice a marked decrease between the power PCs used to have and the power they have now.

There is a reason for that. Until the middle 1980s, Indiana law (it used to be by it's goverened mostly by party rules) provided that PC positions were elected every 2 years as was the county chairman. PCs were elected in May and a few weeks later would elect the county chairman. Only elected PCs could vote at the county convention. There were a few instances in the 1900s when the GOP stagnated and a whole slew of elected PCs came in and threw out the county chairman.

In the middle 1980s, our legislature changed that with the Sweezy-forever bills which was sponsored by Marion County legislators. The timing of the elections was changed, ensuring that the county chairman would make a whole slew of PC appointments who could then turn around and vote for him. That's why defeating Tom John at the last county convention was not a realistic option. The vast majority of PCs eligible to vote at that convention were apointed by Tom John. Pretty nice when you can pick your own voters. In the past, county chairmen couldn't do that. There were only elected PCs at the convention which followed immediately after PCs were elected at the primary. (The county chairman and PCs both had 2 year terms back then.)

The result of these changes has been markedly decreased power for PCs and increased power of the county chairman. As the years passed since the middle 1980s, the situation has become increasingly worse. The once proud county GOP organization has become a shell, consisting of socres of "mummy dummy" PCs whose sole purpose is to vote the way the county chairman and others party leaders want.

Was the old way perfect? Nope, but there did exist some realy power in the grass roots that does not exist today. Plus there was a chance of throwing out a bad chairman. Now it's virtually impossible, especially in a large county like Marion.

varangianguard said...

Well, I'll admit that I did not grow up in Maion County, but whether it be PC, WC or County Chair, there was usually an intrinsic power pyramid where the few held sway over the many.

Here in Marion County, that has just been formalized by rules, dropping most of the pretense otherwise.

I'll grant you that you may well be right, but it has never appeared to this outsider to be much different in my experience of looking in from the periphery.

M Theory said...

Varan, I cannot stress enough that you cannot change a sociopath. The only thing you can do is leave and seek out a healthy relationship elsewhere.

Marycatherine Barton said...

Whatever was Raoul on when he or she wrote that drivel?