Here we go again. The local old media and Republican establishment hacks are condemning the decisions of the Clark County precinct committee officers. Why? Because on Saturday, August 27th the majority of Republican precinct committee officers (PCOs) voted to withhold formal endorsements of three Republican candidates in the general election this year.
Many times in recent years the local Republican Party majority has been cast as a bunch of ‘purists’ with fringe, strident and short-sighted opinions. It’s further said that these opinions and subsequent actions put them at odds with most voters who identify as Republicans or could vote for a Republican. According to the small but vocal Clark County legacy Republican establishment – this conservative reset has been a disaster. This small group can depend on the local old media and a well-entrenched group-think friends to keep this propaganda visible to many local citizens.
The truth, however, is another matter. The story of the conservative reset of the local Republican Party has been described in detail here in at ClarkCounty.info. In 2012 a group of Clark County citizens reached their endurance limit for the behavior of local establishment Republicans who were complicit to the national Republican Party’s clear role in the destruction of American’s finances and culture.
So these local citizens got to work, won Republican PCO positions and elected a resolutely conservative local Republican Party board. This transition has led to more Republicans getting elected in Clark County than in the last the thirty years, record fundraising, a complete transformation in technology use, and an increasing emphasis on principles instead of the self-interests of politicians and party operatives. This reality is far different than the propaganda of the establishment Republicans and their old-media and liberal establishment friends.
The endorsement process that occurred on Saturday, August 27th, 2016
The Central committee meeting (meeting of Republican Clark County PCOs) was called early this quarter to allow the various campaigns time to capitalize on the party’s endorsements before the general election.
Longtime political establishment sympathizers Brent Boger (Washougal city councilor) and Sean Guard (Washougal Mayor) attended as guests. From their immediate public statements after the meeting, it appears their purpose was to try to find an action or statement they could spin out of context to cast disrepute on the current party leadership. A behavior for which these two have a long track record. Facts and objectivity are set aside when hacks have political axes to grind.
The small cabal of PCOs who formed the PAC Republicans of Clark County conducted a walkout before the endorsement votes in an attempt to break quorum, which would stop the meeting and embarrass the party. Learning from their mistakes of 2015, this time they left one of their operatives to actually make the quorum call motion under Robert’s rules. This group of less than a dozen establishment outcasts, led by thrice-failed state representative candidate Carolyn Crain, has a long history of backing questionable candidates, trying to disrupt the party by organizing boycotts of fundraising events and forming an unelected shadow party to try to fool the public into thinking the party took positions exactly opposite to those actually taken.
The endorsement part of the meeting was held as an executive session, which required all non-PCOs to leave. This was largely because of a previous experience where individual comments made during debate were quoted out of context and misattributed by the local media to cast disrepute on the party at large.
Ms. Crain caused a brief disturbance when she threw a rather vocal tantrum while trying to reenter the meeting. The sergeant-at-arms then removed her from the building for being disruptive. She was blocked from reentry because of loud, disruptive behavior, not because there was any order or rule to deny her entry, as she falsely claims. So she stayed outside and provided misinformation to the Columbian reporter that nicely fit the paper’s agenda.
Before 2010 or so, endorsements weren’t contentious when they were given at all. This changed after 2012 when local citizens became increasingly impatient with establishment politicians and party operatives. This impatience resulted in increased scrutiny and an increasing awareness of ‘who was who’. After one or two political cycles, it became clear which politicians and party leaders were primarily driven by principles and which were driven by self-interest. Self-interest was on full display in the recent primary election, as certain Republican politicians determined the best path to improve their power was to collude with the local liberal establishment to try to hurt the elected Clark County Republican Party leadership and PCO majority.
Because of this history, it’s become increasingly important for the local Republican Party to formally establish who to support and who to either ‘not support’ or ‘actively oppose.’ The local party endorsement gives candidates formal access to material support, including party financial, data, and technology resources. Nearly all candidates were endorsed without objection. If a candidate wasn’t endorsed, the party would take ‘no position’ on them. We understand these candidates could have some conditional access to party resources. If the candidate was considered completely unacceptable, then there could be a further vote to formally oppose the candidate. State Senator Ann Rivers and Congressional Representative Jamie H. Beutler were not endorsed and fell into the ‘no position’ category. John Blom, running for local county council position #3, was formally opposed. The history on these three are:
Senator Anne Rivers – 18th District: Senator River’s self-serving political behavior has been increasingly on display in recent years. She recently helped recruit and encourage local politician Shane Bowman to run against the solid conservative Liz Pike for the 18th District State Representative position. Her vote to help pass the massive gas tax increase in 2016 flew in the face of reformer’s efforts to stop the easy flow of money to the corrupt Washington State political machine. ClarkCounty.info has previously reported on the political self-interest of Ann Rivers. See ClarkCounty.info’s election evaluation on Senator Rivers.
Congresswoman Jamie H. Beutler: Elected in November of 2010, with the help of her federal-level establishment friends pulling a few strings, Jamie H. Beutler has been an establishment fixture. She will generally make conservative judgments on discrete issues not wrapped in larger establishment control efforts. But when it comes to votes and actions that could add to the force needed to make real changes to the massively corrupt and incompetent federal government she adds no value that the majority of PCOs could discern. For this reason, the local Republican Party PCOs voted not to formally endorse her.
John Blom – Candidate Clark County Council – Position #3: Thirty-something John Blom showed up earlier in 2016 claiming to be a Republican and wanting access to Party resources. He had no history whatsoever of involvement in the local Republican Party and he was running against the persistently maligned David Madore. It didn’t take long for the Party to figure out where Blom’s loyalty lie. His handlers, friends, donors, were all local liberals and aggressively liberal establishment Republicans. The local old media was happy to support him. So we have the exact same group supporting Blom as was trying to destroy the conservative emphasis in the local Republican Party. ClarkCounty.info exposed Blom in several articles here, here, here, and here. Also see ClarkCounty.info’s election evaluation on John Blom.
Pragmatism was not lost: The Clark County Republican Party recognizes the delicate balance in the Washington State Legislature. Considering this, the decision not to endorse Ann Rivers isn’t considered a serious impediment to her winning reelection. The self-righteous establishment will scream that the local Party majority aren’t team players and are risking broader Republican Party opportunities. This is code for, “Be good minions and do what we say.” The attempted manipulation by establishment Republicans was seen for what it is, and so the ‘no endorsement’ vote by PCOs sent a message to Senator Ann Rivers that they were unhappy with key positions she took, as well as her overt and arrogant efforts to destabilize other conservative Republicans who don’t kowtow to the political establishment. The same goes for Jamie H. Beutler, as she’ll be reelected easily, while the party can still formally push back to her years of going along with the corrupt Washington D.C. establishment. She’s seen as weak, and the local Party encourages improvement.
If an organization only exists to empower the long-established leadership, it isn’t sustainable, as the corruption and incompetence increases over time. This is the status with the major political parties in the United States and the reason for the rise of successful anti-establishment candidates like Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. This exasperation with the political establishment is palpable at all levels and has been clearly in play with the Clark County Republican Party for four years. On various fronts, this battle to promote time-tested principles that conflict with political establishments will get worse before it gets better. Corrupt establishments never go away quietly.