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Guest Commentary by Bob Haueter
| Tuesday, Sep 6, 2011

I’m writing this month’s report from a hotel room in Las Vegas, having just spent the day walking precincts in Nevada’s 1st Congressional District in 100-plus degree heat.

The good news: I, along with a group of fellow Republicans from the Santa Clarita Valley, knocked on more than 1,000 doors today, and more than 1,200 last weekend for conservative congressional candidate Mark Amodei. Mark is running for Congress in a special election Sept. 13. Even better news: Mark is leading his opponent in early voting and appears to be on his way to winning his race.

Before I share with you more about what we’re doing here in Nevada I want to take a moment to offer a big thank-you to fellow central committee member Brian Koegle for the terrific job he did as chairman of our annual summer BBQ fundraiser. This is the key source of funding for our local GOP and our Republican Headquarters. Under Brian’s excellent leadership, this was our most successful barbecue to date. Brain was assisted by both members of the Young Republicans under Devon Cromier’s leadership and the Santa Clarita Republican Women’s Federated under Pepper Parkinson’s able leadership.

Again, a big thank-you to Brian and all of the volunteers who helped – and a really big thank-you to everyone who made a financial contribution.

Back to Nevada. Our Republican candidate for Congress in the 1st District is Mark Amodei. Mark is a former Nevada state senator and state party chairman. He’s jus t the type of candidate Nevadans need in Congress. As a small businessman, he understands what it will take to lead this state and our nation out of the economic mess President Obama has created.

I can’t tell you how good it feels to be working in conjunction with Republicans who understand Democrats are the ones we need to be fighting and who are willing to set aside petty differences to ensure we retain our Republican majority in the House.

I say that because frankly, I’m dismayed to see the vitriol and infighting going on in our valley. Recent missives penned on blogs and newspapers show just how misguided some are in trying to stir dissension and create controversy where none should exist. I’m certain the Democrats are sitting back enjoying our circular firing squad.

We can continue to do this, believing the gossip and rumors as gospel, even when it stretches the imagination or we can chose to unite as Republicans. Keep in mind the old saying, “It’s easier to believe something negative about someone than something good.” A negative story will be told and retold over and over. When no problem exists, invent one like, “There’s an invisible Republican machine that exists to eat our brains and consume our substance, telling us what to do and who to believe.” Really? And on what basis are we to believe there’s a machine? Well of course the fact a candidate sought an endorsement from elected officials and didn’t get it. Must be a plot to deny the endorsements, right?

In Nevada, Sharon Angle, a Tea Party favorite and Republican nominee who lost to Sen. Harry Reid in the last election, was mentioned as a possible candidate for the 1st CD. Other Republicans were brought up, as well: a former member of the House, state legislators and local electeds. But the party banded together and got behind the candidate they believed was best equipped to beat the Democrat.

Was he too moderate for some, too conservative for others? Yes but putting these differences aside, Republicans in Nevada knew that Mark could win and would vote for a Republican speaker and more importantly – a Democrat wouldn’t. That was the most important consideration and on Sept. 13, Mark will be moving on to Congress to aid in the battle to create jobs, control spending and fight the liberal Democrat agenda of Obama, Reid and Pelosi.

I want to personally thank all of those who have gone with me to Nevada, this weekend and last, and who will go again next weekend and stay there though the election. That’s what makes our area special. We have Republican volunteers who will give up their personal time and travel long distances and walk in incredible conditions to elect Republicans. We are also fortunate to have elected officials like Congressman McKeon who organizes trips like these to deal with the big picture – electing more Republicans.

The choice is each of ours to make. Do we band together as Republicans to fight the Democrats who have given us huge deficits, massive unemployment and Obamacare? Or do we get drawn into internecine party fights as to who is the better Republican?

I try to make these monthly reports short, but as I was writing about building unity and stopping the circular firing-squad attacks some feel necessary, I received an email spreading dissension and going off half-cocked about a crisis that while serious, is not as severe as portrayed.

The e-mail implies that I was attempting to hide information from all of you. It also assumes, with a little bit of knowledge, that all is wrong with the world and we must immediately spring into action to stop an attack on our party’s platform. It implies I and others in the local party support this new platform.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

I have always supported our party platform that defends the rights of the unborn, supports traditional marriage and the 2nd amendment. As a former member of the Republican Party Platform Committee, I supported and voted for our current platform that reflects these conservative views and more.

So what’s the real story? After the last election, a group of moderate to liberal Republicans was appointed to the state party, and with the backing of a wealthy individual, mounted a campaign to get their supporters elected to the state Party Platform Committee. While they succeeded in some parts of the state, they were unsuccessful in others, failing to elect a majority to the full Platform Committee.

Here in our Assembly District, a strong conservative leader was selected to run on a slate which endorsed active conservatives throughout the state.

The organizers of this slate were proven conservative leaders: Jon Fleischman, Mike Spence and Steve Frank, all former state presidents of the California Republican Assembly and involved in conservative causes for years.

Lynn Haueter received their endorsement and was elected to represent our district on the state Platform Committee. Lynn played a key role working with Jon, Mike and Steve to elect a majority of conservatives to the drafting committee.

What happened next, while extremely disappointing, was not the end of the world. The moderate to liberal wing out-organized the conservative wing – maybe because we were so busy fighting to see who was the most conservative, we couldn’t all get together; sound familiar? – and elected a majority of their ilk to the drafting subcommittee.

While we wish this hadn’t occurred, conservatives still outnumber moderate to liberals on the Platform Committee. Unfortunately, Lynn was one of the conservatives targeted by the liberals and didn’t win a seat on the drafting committee. She still sits on the Platform Committee, however.

That is the situation in which we currently find ourselves.

I can’t agree to or accept this draft of our platform; nor can Lynn, our Platform Committee representative, or the rest of the members of the state Republican Party from our valley.

Unfortunately the e-mail sent out locally attempts to imply this may happen. You know the idea: Never let a potential crisis go to waste. This e-mail also implied there was something sinister in the timing of our next state party convention where the platform will be addressed. (Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.)  Again, some would rather sow dissension than be unified.

The e-mail urges people to contact your local representatives and urge them to oppose this platform – as if they don’t already. Rest assured, I don’t know one member of our party locally who will support this platform.

While I agree with the sender that this draft of the platform is unacceptable, I’m confident this version will be killed in committee, and if for some reason that doesn’t occur, it most certainly will be killed Sunday on the convention floor, where a majority of conservatives still wield control. There is already a motion to keep the existing platform that reflects all of our strong conservative values.

I’m confident we will triumph in this fight. Let me end by urging everyone reading this to stay positive and remember: We’re all Republicans, and our goal is to beat the Democrats – not each other.

 

Bob Haueter is chairman of the Republican Central Committee for the 38th Assembly District of California, and deputy chief of staff to U.S. Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Santa Clarita.

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