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The Definition of Party Unity?

Guest Editorial by: Kristi Dunn

In Florida’s Republican Party, like many around the country, we are told that unity is always supporting the Republican Candidate who wins their primary race. When attending Republican Party functions, we are told that we are to “come together at election time” by the leaders of the party. It is rare, however, that these same party leaders do not see their candidate win in the primary. The win allows them, with immunity, to demand total support for the candidate that so many in the grassroots were working to defeat, which often leaves these workers in a state of utter confusion and wondering how they can be expected to so drastically change their support.

In the case of Governor Charlie Crist, many of the Republican Party leadership, who knew exactly what Charlie stood for, supported him and his decisions to the end. That end, of course, was when Charlie changed parties, and now Charlie is despised. He has become a talking point for Republicans in the 2010 state elections for what is wrong with Florida; however, many of those same Republicans supported and demanded that others support him before his party change. Did Charlie’s actions or beliefs change? Did Charlie suddenly morph into someone that aspired to beliefs that were not in line with the Republican Party? The Answer is no. Charlie did not change; rather, simply his affiliation with the Republican Party changed.

In Duval county we have a mayor that claims to be a Republican, yet has proposed tax increases the last two years. These increases were supported by the mostly Republican City Council, but were protested by many of the hardworking, grassroots people of Duval County. Meanwhile both years the Republican Party leadership declined to participate in the discussion, because to do so would have been to go against a fellow Republican. What issue pertains more to the Republican Party than low taxes? Yet, Republican leaders would rather remain silent, then true to principles.

At a time when so many within both parties are disenfranchised and ready for another option, perhaps demanding loyalty to a party is short sighted. It is because of these types of demands that so many organizations and groups have sprung up. From the Tea Parties and 912 groups to the Republican Liberty Caucus and Campaign for Liberty, these groups are now standing for what the Republican Party was always supposed to be: The Party that represented small, limited, Constitutional Government, less taxes, a strong national defense, and State and National Sovereignty.

Now is the time to examine the political system to determine if, perhaps, the idea of loyalty to an organization or party, that often asks the people to dismiss their personal convictions and standards and offer their blind loyalty to the title “Republican”, is somehow missing the big picture. Does supporting someone like Charlie Crist, only to have them prove that they have always stood for different principles, lend credibility to the Republican Party leadership?

Many serving on the executive committee take a loyalty oath to support the party. This oath has often been enforced with a stern hand. Meanwhile, who is enforcing the oath to the Constitution that our elected officials take? Should their failure to uphold their own oath to their constituents void any oath to unconditionally support them? They have forgotten that they serve the people, and their primary duty is to uphold the US Constitution. If we continue to blindly support them, forcing loyalty on those working to get them elected, we are creating an infrastructure that will collapse on itself.
To pretend that America’s problems started the day that Obama was sworn into office is to dismiss the damage that Republicans, such as John McCain and Olympia Snow, have been doing to the party for years. It was the Republican Party that supported them and enabled them to continue their harmful ways without accountability. The Party needs to figure out what it stands for and what it stands against so that the people working to get “Republicans” candidates elected in the fall will know exactly what these candidates stand for.

Organizations such as the Republican Liberty Caucus stand for accountability within the party at all levels and with every elected official. When officials fail to uphold their oath to the Constitution, or to support the principles that the stated Republican platforms claims to uphold, they deserve to be called out and in turn voted out.

If those in party leadership would unite under principles, they could harness the growing power of the Tea Parties, the RLC, the 912 groups, and thousands of disenfranchised voters.

Now is the time to decide if uniting under a title is more important than returning this country to its roots and seeing real change take place in our cities, counties, states, and Nation.

10 Responses »

  1. This is precisely why I refuse to sign the party loyalty oath. Principles are more important than party. I'm a conservative first, and a Republican second.

    • @Kathryn,

      I would urge you to sign the oath and get involved in the GOP - otherwise the Party Firsters continue to dominate. The oath just says you will not actively, publicly or financially support a candidate other than a Republican in a partisan race. So support them passively, privately and without $$$. There are ways you can hold true to your principles AND work within today's GOP. One there are enough of us - we can get rid of the loyalty oaths all together.

  2. Well written Kristi. I agree 100%

    If you want "Unity" - demand loyalty to principles not people or parties.

    • Points Well made. We must return the Republican party to its roots if it is to survive.

      However, Charlie seems to have abandoned his principals as well as the party.

  3. Very well done Kristi! You explain well what is going on!

  4. At this time, Kristi, in most states, including Florida, the two party system is institutionalized in our political system. There are significant barriers to entry for NPA (no party affiliation) candidates - most important of which is that they do not participate in the party dominated primary system. In my view, you change the parties by supporting non-traditional candidates in the party processes leading up to the primary elections. There are many examples this year of Tea Party or other non-traditional candidates winning the Republican nominations in their respective states. If you liked a candidate like Alex Snitker in the Senate race, than you should have had Alex out as early and as often as Marco Rubio to work for the Republican nomination. In my view, Marco changed the face of the Republican party in his race and ran a sitting Governor out of the race and the party against all odds. If Alex were a better candidate, he could have accomplished the same results with similar inputs of effort, organization and pure retail politics. If not, then he may not be the right candidate.
    It is not party over principle. It is principle above all in supporting candidates and issues you think are important until the majority speaks in the primary election. Then the winner becomes the standard bearer for my party for that race and I support the nominee. That is the way our system works in my opinion. If at this point you do not support the nominee of your party - then you begin to be a destructive force in my view and may contribute to the election of the other major party candidate with significant adverse consequences.
    Lack of principle? I do not think so. But I am a realist and I am old enough to have opinions on how the system works. As a conservative and an REC member in my area I favor the election of candidates with (R) after their name - even if they may not have been my first choice.
    I do not support Republicans because I agree with them on every issue. I believe they represent a better choice than the alternative major party. I may work to change the rules of the game - but I try to play by the rules until I can work the change.
    You write well, Kristi. But there are areas where we will have to disagree.

  5. Join the REC, do what you think is right, the worst they can do is throw you out. Big deal, so you can't vote...most of the time, if you have any principles, your side was the minority vote anyway.

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