Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Article on Dallas County GOP

Guess who wasn't available to comment for a Dallas Observer article on the Dallas County Republican Party? That's right, our Congresman Pete Sessions was missing in action when asked if he encouraged Jonathan Neerman to run for chair of the Dallas County Republican Party:
Neerman became involved in local politics, working at the grassroots level by making yard signs for Gary Griffith's successful Dallas City Council campaign in 2003, block walking for Republican Pete Sessions' congressional campaign and assisting in fund-raising efforts for Bush's second presidential bid in 2004...

...Two Republican consultants, not speaking for attribution, claim it wasn't friendship that dissuaded Neerman [from running for State representative], it was Sessions, who, during that same trip to Washington, asked Neerman to run for county chair. Kenn George had decided not to seek another term and "Sessions wanted someone as chair that he could control," says one of the consultants.

Sessions did not return phone calls from the Observer, and Neerman denies he discussed the position with Sessions. He says he shifted his focus to George's job because "I thought about the direction that I wanted the Republican Party to go nationally, but the way to start it was locally, right here in Dallas."
Interesting. Maybe Pete Sessions is starting to figure out that the GOP needs to broaden its appeal to stay in power:
Nearly 100 people take up Neerman on his gripe session on November 20, overflowing the meeting room at GOP headquarters near Walnut Hill Lane on Central Expressway...

...Neerman says most attendees agreed the party must reach out to minorities, gays and lesbians, but only a small faction seemed willing to speak about changing the party's conservative social agenda in order to incorporate more diverse points of view. "You've got a conundrum because you've got to broaden the party, but there are going to be segments who don't want to do the things necessary to achieve that type of outreach," he says.
Cathie Adams of Texas Eagle Forum disagrees that broadening appeal is the way to grow the party:
Cathie Adams, president of the conservative, pro-family organization Texas Eagle Forum, strongly disagrees with Neerman's plan to broaden the party's base at the expense of compromising on social issues. Adams, who served on the Republican National Platform Committee, points out that it took a social conservative like Sarah Palin to energize the base of the party.

"When you think that you've got to appeal to the moderates by setting aside the moral issues, you're denying the cost of tearing away the fabric of the morality of our community," Adams says. "You're also denying the fact that Sarah Palin brought not only excitement, but the coffers people poured into in the form of not only money but hours of volunteer time."
The article goes on to quote her as saying that the party should not reach out to "Log Cabin Republicans, pro-choice Republicans and 'environmental wackos.'"

Cathie Adams should take a look at the website Republican Majority for Choice, which claims that they--not the right-wing wackos--are in the majority. According to Mark Hillman of Rocky Mountain News, though, only a third of the GOP is pro-choice, but he adds
According to Gallup, rigid single-issue voters constitute just 22 percent of pro-life Republicans and 8 percent of pro-choicers.
Neerman insists that the GOP was undone by Obama's superstar status this year, and will get back to "normal" in the next election cycle. But Darlene Ewing, chair of the Dallas County Democratic Party, says they're just making excuses again:
"Two years ago, they said it was a fluke. Now they're saying it's just Obama. I don't think they get it," she says. "The voters in this county are tired of what we've had for the last 25 years, and that's the Republicans."
Neerman, in the end, agrees with Ewing:
"If we're losing 18-, 19- and 20-year-olds right off the bat, it's because they see us as the party that is against the environment, discriminates against gay people, [proselytizes] on whatever moral grounds there are, and they see us as this very narrow-minded, anti-Hispanic party," he says. "We spend way too much time worrying about shit that just doesn't matter."
Too bad Pete Sessions was unavailable to make a comment for the article. Looks like he's laying low again.

No comments: