I wrote about this back in May titled Embarassing black eye. We were caught looking.
Caught looking. It's a baseball term I use. In politics, I use it when someone gets lackadaisical, and gets defeated because the other side outworks them. The person isn't paying attention to the tactics of the other team or the situation and watches strike three go past them, getting a bad out. "Caught napping" is another term often used. If you hear me say that we were "caught looking," this is what I'm referring to, right here.
I'm going to be hearing about this post from some unhappy people, most of whom I consider friends, but the facts speak for themselves here. I hope those people are unhappy reading this, and I'm unhappy about writing this. It's a swift kick in our collective asses, and it is needed. The first two words in our local Livingston County Republican Party/Committee are "Livingston County." Those are the two most important words in the name. It is where we live.
The biggest fubar was in Howell Township. Four trustee candidates have filed. Two in each party. In addition, we KNEW there would be openings there as Carolyn Henry is running for prosecutor, and gave us plenty of notice. We knew democrats would be running. They filed, long before Tuesday. In a 57% McCain and 65% Bush municipality, we're giving two seats to the dems. They are tripling their representation in this county, before we even have the general election.
We couldn't get people to run in those areas? One of their residents is running against an incumbent at a higher office, but not the two democrats taking over his township. I wasn't too happy about that.
I'm still mad about that. LCGOP leadership (for the record, I'm not on LCGOP EC, but 8th District) should not have allowed that to happen. Because this did happen, we lost these two seats before any contest began. In Howell Township, John Doe could win as an R with just a name on the ballot.
The Argus has this in today's paper
The Howell Township Board of Trustees has Democratic Party members for the first time in more than five decades — a sign the party has a growing influence in Livingston County, said Judy Daubenmier, county Democratic Party chairwoman.
On Nov. 6, township voters elected Democrats Lois Kanniainen and Mike Tipton as two of the board's four trustees.
The Democrats' victories were inevitable — four people ran for the four trustee seats — but were a step toward dispelling "some of the mystique" of county Democrats, Daubenmier said.
Again, this happened because our local party allowed it to happen. 1958. To give an idea how long ago that is, it is the year after the Detroit Lions were NFL Champions. This is basic organization 101.
"I think it will give us some people that we can highlight and talk about, and people can see what they do," Daubenmier said.
"We're just really, really pleased that Lois and Mike stepped forward. They were willing to step forward, and it's a township that faces some difficult problems right now, and they're ready to lead," she added.
Judy Daubenmier has every reason to gloat. While our local party dropped the ball, the dems took advantage of the opening. They won 1420 to 0 and 1327 to 0. It was a shutout. Now we have to hope they don't disguise their leftism enough to become viable candidates for higher office.
This can not happen again. Party leadership will be chosen soon. While there is lots of talk about who is the "constitutionalist" conservative or is the "true" conservative, the first two words in Livingston County Republican Party are "Livingston County." We need to make sure our local races are not neglected and that the big picture is seen. There are three people running for chair. One's the current party secretary and was a liaison to most factions and has been active locally since 06 (was active in Washtenaw previously), one's a relative newcomer (active since 09) likely backed by the outgoing chair, and I am the other. I may win. I may lose. I can see it going either way. I personally get along with the other two running, and am running on the issues. I've worked well with the current secretary as a district member, and IMO the Howell Township candidate recruitment troubles was not on him. The newcomer has been active, along with the secretary and myself at the groundwork events needed this last campaign.
Believe it or not, some factions are trying to right-flank me. That's hard to believe for some, but it's not that surprising these days. That's partly because I've been involved in the party for 11 years and don't talk about how I'm the true conservative all the time like I did in the old days. Talk is cheap. All the readers here know where I stand and that's not going to change. I'm hardly a liberal. I was on the Mike Pence for President bandwagon since 2006 with my fiscal views. Still am. I can't hide my views if I tried.
While I, along with the rest of the people running, consider ourselves to be a "true conservative", the job of Chair and EC members isn't to be the "true conservative." That in and of itself doesn't qualify any of us three for anything at all. Our job is to be able to get Republicans of all views including (not excluding) the "true conservatives" elected in the general election at all levels of government. That is how to advance the conservative movement. Conservatives don't magically win elections. It takes organization, campaign experience, data reading, hard work, planning, execution, tactics, time management, volunteer's time management, good staffing, messaging (watch the mouth), and money. That's just what we can control. It also takes what we can't control. Votes. Organization, execution, tactics, and time management was lacking last election (and pre-election). That needs to change.
As I just said, our job is to be able to get Republicans of all views including (not excluding) the "true conservatives" elected in the general election at all levels of government. That includes those who aren't necessarily my favorite. The job is for Republican leadership to have a strong enough showing in Livingston County to win statewide. We can not neglect our nominees, whether they be from the tea party wing, establishment win, moderate wing, old style conservative wing, or libertarian wing. I don't like it when our nominees are abandoned and hung out to dry. That includes conservatives like Tim Walberg and Jack Hoogendyk, center-right candidates like Pete Hoekstra and Mike Bouchard, moderates like John McCain (he DID win the primary in 08) and all points in-between. I can promise that I won't use the chair's power for buddy politics or smashing views which may be critical of some of the people within the party. I will smash coronation (or takeover) attempts (whether I am Chair or not). We have primaries for a reason to vet candidates and to nominate the best candidate on a number of areas (ideology, competence, campaign ability, etc). I understand the critics. I've been a critic myself at times long before the rise of the Tea Party, and much of that is found in my greatest hits here.
However, what has been neglected the most at the county level in the push for ideology and flash is our meat and potatoes organizational abilities. I don't want to see 1420 and 1327 to 0 again. Proper time management and organization would have prevented that. The August Primary filing deadline isn't a secret. It's in May every two years. Township elections are every four years. We needed to be ready. That wouldn't happen on my watch. While I can't control what a candidate would do, we'd be prepared for abandonment (ie McCain, Rove's mouth until he changed his mind) as well with our own infrastructure if I have any say in the matter.
Livingston County has an advantage that a lot of other counties do not have. While the famous billboards with the "Keep Livingston Republican" slogan due to "Low taxes, highest bond rating" is well known, this is also a safe community to live with good people. That's not an accident. While there are some township exceptions, most of the county is reasonably well run at that level, and very well run at the county level. Our party doesn't brag enough about that to the newcomers here. You want Wayne County to be spread here, vote dem. You want Livingston County to still be well run, support us. It's Republicans which got Livingston County to this point. That's not an accident. That doesn't just happen. As the talk radio saying goes, conservatism works when it is tried. However, repeating that doesn't work. Pointing how how and where it does with real world examples does work.
It's up to precinct delegates and county elected officials to elect the EC. Whether I am deemed worthy to make a comeback to county after my stint at district committee isn't up to me. I'm running the different scenarios and can see a path to win and a path to narrowly lose. The county elected officials all know me and at least one of the other people running. I know many, but not all of the precinct delegates. I do hope that precinct delegates reading this think carefully about the people selected and consider past performance, organizational ability, tactics, planning, competence, and execution, as well as the obvious of ideology. Our goals aren't to get our buddies the important titles, but to pick the best Republican leadership so Livingston County can sweep the county, and also carry the rest of the state past the finish line. I don't need the title for glory sake or to be the supposed big fish (ain't that big) in a small pond. I have a good party title already with district that I'm probably assured of keeping. A lot of the big names already know me. After 11 1/2 years, that tends to happen. I'm also well aware that those who believe their own press clipping tend to fall from grace rather quickly. I've seen it happen more times than I can count and was on the receiving end of that in another group in 02. The guy who was the big power that went against us is now practically a nobody as well these days. We aren't that big. The smart ones understand that.
Party leadership is an important decision, and one with two years of ramifications. We need to make 18 wise decisions for executive committee and then the executive committee needs to make wise decisions for party officers including chair. The decisions we need to decide isn't who is the most 'true conservative' but who can help get the Republicans - including true conservatives - elected in a difficult general election campaign statewide (or 8th District if Mike runs for Senate). Livingston County will need to carry extra weight due to some of the other counties.
It's our party. Here's our chance. We need to make sure locally that what happened in Howell Township doesn't happen again. We need to make sure that Michigan is a swing state in statewide elections again and do our part both locally, district wide, and statewide.