Thursday, January 13, 2011

Has Marion County Republican County Chairman Kyle Walker Failed His First Test of Leadership?

Tomorrow will be Kyle Walker's one month anniversary of being elected Marion County Republican Chairman. Although I had a low opinion of former chairman Tom John, I did have a flicker of hope when it came to Walker. His comment about the need for the party organization to revert back to a township structure led me to believe that possibly he understood the need to restore the power of the grass roots workers in the Marion County GOP organization. Under John, precinct committeemen and ward chairmen were treated as doormats, people to be walked over by party leaders on the way to getting what they wanted.

If the Republicans are going to have a revival in the county, it will have start by strengthening the power of the grass roots. Those Republicans who work in the trenches are vital to the success of the party. For those individuals, it is not government contracts and favors that motivate, but conservative philosophy and issues. If there is no difference between what Republicans and Democrats stand for, the troops aren't going to be motivated.

Kyle Walker has before him a golden opportunity to strike a blow for the rank and file Marion County Republican Party workers. One of the area chairman is David Brooks, a long-time Marion County activists who has resided in Hamilton County for the past several years. I've known Brooks for probably 20 years, including a period when he lived in Pike Township and was a township chairman there. Brooks couldn't care less about conservative philosophy or the issues. His involvement in party politics is solely about power and influence.

Throughout his career in Marion County GOP politics Brooks has been nothing more than a two-bit hatchet man, someone who is there not to build the grass roots of the party but to twist arms and threaten party workers who fail to do whatever the chairman dictates should be done. Brooks is the one who by email "fired" (even though as only an area chairman he had no authority to do so), Liz Karlson from the party organization. Liz is a very talented, energetic person but Brooks was outraged because as ward chair she supported Scott Schneider over leadership's preference Councilor Ryan Vaughn for state senate.

Of course, Karlson wasn't the only party worker who supported Schneider. Another ward chairman who supported Schneider got the axe. Despite the heavy-handed tactics of people like Tom John and David Brooks on behalf of Councilor Ryan Vaughn, Schneider won the state senate position in a lopsided victory. That victory by Schneider speaks volumes about the gap between Marion County GOP leadership and Republican rank and file party workers.

Walker has had an easy opportunity to send a message to Marion County Republican party workers that a new day has dawned. All he has to do is fire David Brooks. A month after Walker's election though, Hamilton County resident David Brooks is still in his position presiding over Marion County GOP party workers. In a month or so we'll be in slating and once again Brooks will be carrying out threats and twisting arms in an attempt to rig slating so that the leadership candidates are endorsed.

Hopefully Walker will prove me wrong and strike a blow for GOP party workers by firing Brooks. If he doesn't that will strongly suggest his term will be no different than Tom John's, and that the county party organization will continue to sink deeply into minority status.


Indy Student said...

It's worth adding that Elizabeth Karlson later left the Republican Party and is now working within the Libertarian Party.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Good point, IS. The party leadership has driven so many people out of the county organization, it's sad.

Cato said...

Will they fire Walker if he fails to get an incumbent Mayor reelected and decide they need John again?

Ben said...

Everyone kows that it has been Dave "I beat drums naked in the woods" Brooks runing the show for a long time.

He told TOJO to jump and TOJO said how high?

I assume that the same thing will happen with Kyle. Kyle is nothing more than a front man for Dave Brooks. He will hold little power if any.

I also had some faith in Kyle,he is a good guy,but he will not be allowed to have any original thoughts on his own.

Dave Brooks runs and owns this party in Marion county. He hand picked the potential CCC at large candidates for slating for the MCRCC.