First Principles

In search of the Unified Theory of Conservatism

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A Trio of Responses

February 21st, 2012 · 5 Comments

Chuck Muth has responded to my last two posts in typical Muthian fashion.  In one, he and James Smack respond to my complaints about the new temporary chairman, with Smack by saying in essence (exactly as I predicted he would), “It’s not my fault! – I totally tried to do the right thing, but couldn’t convince anyone else to do anything!”

How Smack felt or might have voted on any of these issues was not my point (although I didn’t bother to find out, and I was wrong and careless for not doing that).  The point is that, as Vice Chairman with a Chaiman who had already been sidelined, he was responsible.  Either he made the wrong decisions, or if you take his excuses at face value, he was powerless to stop them from being made.  Either way, he must admit incompetence and/or impotence, which certainly doesn’t spell “auspicious” for a party leader who has to assemble coalitions of elected officials and volunteers who often have vastly different ideas about things.

Muth then uses the language of the populist left to bash John Chachas for being financially successful, for not giving more in spite of how much he’d already given, and suggests incredulously that we don’t need folks with his kind of financial expertise.  How interesting – no wonder Muth isn’t a Republican!  And even if Chachas truly needed to be “relieved,” pick up the phone for crying out loud.  A guy who has written your organization a check for $25,000 at least deserves that.

I do know this – prior to Smack being elected Vice Chair, things in the state GOP were moving in the right direction, evidenced most starkly by Mark Amodei’s huge win in September.  Just a few months after Smack was elected, we’re being ridiculed in the international press.

But ultimately, the proof will be in the pudding.  If Smack defies my expectations and can actually get money raised and more importantly, get Republicans elected, I’ll devote huge space here to singing his praises and admitting how blind I was to the wisdom of the Smack.  Frankly, nothing would make me happier than if he were to prove my expectations wrong.

In the meantime, we’ll see how well he pulls off the State Convention, and if he can avoid the chaos of 2008’s convention that Smack himself helped to create.  That is, unless he’s too busy kicked back in front of the NCAA Basketball tournament to do any of the planning


Muth also triumphantly gets (somehow) deeper into the slime on the Halseth business, with sanctimony over adultery that makes no sense whatsoever coming from a Newt Gingrich supporter.  Let me just leave that sorry chapter with this.

My parents went through a really nasty divorce when I was 9.  Whatever their sins against each other were, I was largely ignorant of them as a child, and still am to this day (fortunately, and purposely). Both of them loved me and my sister enough to keep us (mostly) out of it.  And it was still miserable, as all divorces are on some level when children are involved.

But I cannot imagine the depth of loathing and lifetime resentment I would have had for the parent of mine who, in rage and bitterness, not only told me about every hoary detail of their deteriorating relationship, but fed those details to a skeezy blogger so they’d be on the internet for everyone to see,  Google-searchable for all eternity.  Whatever Elizabeth Halseth’s sins were, and I’m not defending them, they pale in comparison to the scorched earth response from her husband, which cannot help but do unimaginable collateral damage to their children.  Children survive and forgive their parents’ divorces and infidelity.  But I don’t know how they forgive such a willful, wanton, gleefully cruel, and absurdly public dance on the grave of their former lives together.

That above all, I think, it why I find Muth’s whole involvement in this so repugnant, and why it made me so angry.  No one deserves such treatment.  The Scarlett Letter ought not be anyone’s blueprint for dealing with the social problems of a modern society.  I’ll say it again – may that whole family somehow find peace.  May it still be possible after this.


Finally, here’s a new blogger who disagrees with my sense of the direction of the State Party.  It’s far more heat than light, sadly, but interesting nonetheless.

First, he’s dead wrong on Dave Buell.  The bottom line is that during the caucus, Washoe did it right, from holding training sessions to organizing volunteers to counting ballots with speed, accuracy, and integrity.  A week later, we had a hugely well attended and successful Lincoln Day Dinner.  All of that (and much, much, much more) is directly attributable to Dave’s leadership.  If indeed Dave runs for state party chair, and I hope he does, it’s worth remembering that he would be the only candidate with a recent record of success leading a large Nevada GOP organization.

Also, I’m not quite sure what makes Dave a “RINO”.  It certainly isn’t his politics.  But then, I forget that any indicia of political success within the GOP these days is per se proof you’re a “RINO” in some quarters.


And then there’s this little bit, worth commenting on:

We have to have someone willing to call out the insiders as the pieces of crap they are!  To tell the Governor no!

Say it with me again – the purpose of a political party is to get members of that party elected to office.  Period.  It is not to call undefined “insiders” (who the hell is that, anyway?  James Smack?  Mike Roberson?  A bunch of long time, loyal party volunteers?) “pieces of crap” – that sort of childish foolishness may feel good to a certain type of person, but it doesn’t get you anywhere policy-wise.

If you think the Republicans currently in office aren’t doing a good job, recruit and fund a primary candidate.  And if you want to influence policy as a party activist, you must first give elected officials the impression that what you say or do will actually impact their re-election.  If you elect a party chair based on how overtly hostile that chair can be to the sitting governor while he’s planning a reelection campaign, the Governor (or any other elected official) will likely do the opposite of what you want, if he bothers to pay attention to you at all.

Hopefully, guys like “Sam Sam Blam” are in the minority in their attitude and understanding of what makes a party successful and relevant.  If not, well, unfortunately there is an opposite of “successful” and “relevant”.

Tags: Nevada Politics