First Principles

In search of the Unified Theory of Conservatism

First Principles header image 2

Some Follow Up on Same-Day Caucus Registration

September 30th, 2011 · No Comments

Yesterday’s post on the same-day caucus registration has been getting a lot of great feedback – thanks to everyone who passed it around.  Also, I’ll be on 99.1 FM Tuesday morning around 7:00 to discuss the topic.

Unfortunately, there have also been some responses that aren’t exactly… fully accurate, either because the responder doesn’t understand the caucus procedures very well, or because they didn’t represent my argument accurately for whatever reason.  It’s worth addressing some of the continuing concerns.  The reason the same-day registrations were temporarily pulled from the proposed rules is because people were responding (understandably so) to worries that seemed legitimate at first glance, but diminished significantly once presented with the facts.  It’s crucial that light, not heat, be cast upon this issue.


Exhibit A is Chuck Muth, who responded to my post, a couple of times.  Tellingly, he didn’t actually LINK to my post, so he could (and did!) take as much of what I wrote as he wanted to out of context, essentially lying to his readers.  (I, of course, have more respect for my readers, so I trust you to read it all and make your own decisions.)  When I responded in an attempt to clarify my position and provide the source material, Muth promptly deleted my comment and sent me some unsolicited, juvenile, and nasty E-mails.  Sigh.

Only a man who knows he’s wrong fears an honest, serious, and most importantly open debate.  If your opposition is truly “in Wonderland,” what do you have to fear by letting – indeed, encouraging! – people read their position?  (Ironically, this is the same reason liberals love things like the Fairness Doctrine and campus speech codes – they know deep down their own positions could never survive serious and reasoned scrutiny.)

And I mean it never, ever forgets.

Fortunately, the internet is the great leveler, and it never forgets, and so you can see the response Chuck deleted here:


I’m sure it was merely an oversight on your part, but it is customary amongst bloggers to provide a link to the original material you are discussing/attacking. That way, people can read both sides and decide for themselves who has the better of the argument. I know it was an oversight, because I know you wouldn’t want people to think you were trying to take anything out of context in my original argument, and a lack of an original link would lead people to wonder what it was you were hiding from them.

Here’s the original link, for those who are interested.

I discuss the fraud issue in great detail, and why on that issue the differences between caucuses and actual government elections are so important. Bottom line:

“I suppose it’s true that “ACORN and SEIU” could send hundreds of people in to register that day in an organized and coordinated effort to throw the preference poll to the weakest candidate. But if those groups are really that organized and motivated, they’ll pre-register as Republicans and do the same thing. (Come to think of it, now that TRUNC and Muth have given them the idea, they may do it anyway, and we won’t have the offset of tens of thousands of actual first-time registered Republicans to counter it.) Even if they do, though, the overwhelmingly conservative nature of the caucus goers will dilute these imposters to the point of irrelevance.” (emphasis added)

Chuck, if you want in on decisions on how the GOP runs the party, how ’bout joining the party and getting yourself on a rules committee. You’ve CHOSEN (free will is indeed at the heart of conservatism) to NOT take part in our nominee selection process by refusing to register as a Republican. That’s fine. But as a Republican, I for one find it more than a little irritating when a guy who blogs so much about how he refuses to actually join the GOP and therefore refuses to be part of the tedious but important work of running a major political party turns around and complains about how the Republican party makes policy.


In Chuck’s post, he quoted the first two paragraphs I re-cite from yesterday’s post of mine, but not the second two.  That’s important, because when the paragraph is read as a whole, it discusses how not only will fraud happen with or without same-day registration if those groups are motivated to do it, but how losing Republican registration eliminates a crucial hedge against that fraud in the unlikely event that it should actually occur.

In other words, Chuck’s position would result in NO protection from his fraud scenario, and would in fact actually make it worse against Republicans!

How does that help beat Obama again?


Muth deleted my comment almost immediately, but I’d clearly gotten under his skin.  First he sent me an unsolicited E-mail telling me about how unlike me, he was an elected GOP party official back in the ’90s, as if that changes the fact that he’s CHOSEN to turn his back on Republicans in this past decade.  (Good for Chuck, though – maybe he can use that long ago experience to train us all to use a new computer program called “Windows 3.1.”  He’s also right that I wasn’t involved in the 90’s, but that’s because I was usually deployed in those days on a Navy warship with pretty sparse internet access…)

But then Muth sent me this E-mail, again unsolicited, the body of which is reproduced in its entirety.  It is and should be disturbing to anyone who actually cares about Republicans winning elections in Nevada.

I spoke with a senior staffer for one of our Republican elected officials who supports the same-day registration proposal a week ago and had agreed not to be an aggressive opponent of the proposal as a courtesy.  As such, I opted to sit on a column I wrote on this subject last Friday; however, I did say that all bets were off if someone was stupid enough to drag me personally into this fight.

Nice job, sport.  That column I was sitting on for a week went out right after your “thoughtful” blog post went up.  You should be so proud.

First, Chuck lied to and betrayed this unnamed senior staffer.  He may have sat on his own post, but he promptly (long before anyone “drag[ged him] personally” in the fight) sent the TRUNC missive around the state in an active and aggressive attempt to undermine the policy Chuck had promised to back off on.  Let this be a lesson to Republican elected officials and their staff – a promise from Chuck Muth is worthless.  As seen here, if he decides one day it’s in his personal interests (in this case that interest is irrationally and angrily indulging his thin skin by wanting to give some allegedly unimportant blogger his supposed cummupance), he will sell you out and stab you in the back faster than Janeane Garofalo can play the race card.  And then he’ll run around bragging about it!

Dang it! Why did I trust this non-elephant with a history of biting and attacking my fellows again?

Second, if opposing same day caucus registration is a matter of the highest and utmost principle, why did Muth agree to sit on his opposition at all?  A principled opponent to this policy would have said, “Sorry – I can’t do that.  To me the risk of fraud is too great.”  The reality is that the “favor” here wasn’t done out of altruism, it was so he could maintain access to said elected officials.  He likes being considered part of the “elite.”  Tea party activists take note:  If it means he thinks elected officials will continue to let him into their inner circle, Chuck Muth will sell you out faster than Obama would sign a bill raising taxes.

Finally, how dumb is it to send an unsolicited E-mail like this, boasting about all the power and influence you have and your willingness to stab people in the back?  It’s bad enough to be unprincipled – he could at least show a little discretion and competence if he’s going to try to play both sides off of each other.

But boy – he showed me!!

I say again – sigh.


Once again, I believe that good and smart people can and will disagree in good faith on this issue.  But more than just the topic of same day caucus registration, this episode shows the danger of letting non-Republicans with agendas that don’t necessarily align with Republicans winning elections to have too much influence in internal party operations or policies.

It also shows the importance of always, always starting with the assumption that generally like-minded folks who may disagree with you on some policy or another are acting in good faith.  Disagree, and then unite – politics is a game of addition, after all.  Neither Muth nor TRUNC did that, and as a direct result they have potentially caused some serious damage to GOP election prospects – indeed, even increasing the risk of fraud, as I’ve noted above.  Until now, I was willing to chalk this up to a well meaning lapse in judgment, which should be pointed out but quickly forgiven.

But as soon as one supposedly aligned group or individual becomes routinely paranoid, damaging, reckless, and treacherous, it becomes incumbent upon us all to say, “Enough!”  Any such group should be dealt with the way William F. Buckley and Ronald Reagan dealt with the John Birch Society.  I don’t know if Muth has reached that point, but Nevada Republicans would be wise to be vigilant and cautious.

Tags: Campaign '12 · Media Alert · Republicans