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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Miniaturizing the Future 

The excerpt below was written by a Republican Party operative in Buncombe County about Republican prospects in the upcoming Asheville municipal elections. It was published on Scrutiny Hooligans, our favorite Asheville blog. It's an insider's analysis of the GOP's "branding" problems in the more urbanized areas of western North Carolina and might, in the short run, make its author unwelcome at Republican Party gatherings:
...the Buncombe County Republican Party has been characterized over the last several years more by its own infighting and proving itself relatively ineffective at get-out-the-vote efforts (GoTV). Although a recent influx of younger libertarians to the GOP are an exception, Republican activists are much older than their Democratic counterparts, and tend to consider party involvement more as a social outlet for its own sake rather than as a vehicle for political action. Republicans (social conservatives, particularly) also tend to be more isolated from the cultural life of downtown Asheville, many holding it in open contempt.

There is a virulent strain of isolationism and bigotry in the local Republican Party. The primary "issue" around which the base coalesces is a visceral fear of immigration, legal and otherwise and those fears are used for propaganda purposes by many Republican officials (though, arguably, it has largely backfired). Conservatives, especially, feel that their traditional way of life is threatened by what they see as an "invasion" by immigrants from the south and rapidly changing cultural mores regarding tolerance of homosexuality.

Republicans also lag far behind progressives in the effective utilization of modern technology, especially in the area of social networking tools. No comparable infrastructure exists in the GOP, and what efforts have been accomplished in terms of technology, it is more gloss than substance.

Since 2006, the local GOP has been crippled by intraparty ideological battles (between its social conservative and libertarian factions) and a recent spate of unviable candidates -- from the perennial to the polarizing to the incompetent. All this has had a marginalizing effect on moderate Republicans and has seriously hampered the Republican Party's local fundraising abilities.

The situation shows no signs of improving for the local GOP as the two factions have made peace, at least ostensibly. Ron Paul supporters, who several years ago planned to take over local Republican organizations, have been successful in Buncombe County, with the entire apparatus now controlled by them. Several self-annointed "principled" and socially conservative spokesmen for the local GOP continue to have a stranglehold on the dialogue, continuing to alienate and divide the party.

It should be noted that a grassroots effort has been undertaken in Buncombe County over the last few months under the auspices of the "Tea Party" movement, largely in protest of what they see as "socialist" bailouts, higher tax rates, and President Obama's expansion of government. While ostensibly "non-partisan," it has been largely a movement organized by local libertarians and Republicans and has tapped in to an undercurrent of Republican resentment at recent electoral defeat....

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Pauleroids Live! 

Intercepted e-mail, from the Ron Paul remnant on the ASU Campus (and all hail, student action!):
From: appliberty
Date: Sun, Mar 22, 2009 at 7:48 PM
Subject: Action Item

Hello members of political action clubs,

This is an announcement of an event taking place on April 15th, 2009 (Tax Day). Various people with differing opinions have at least one thing in common: they don't like the direction our country is going in. Whether it is the bailouts, the ballooning national debt, the dollar crisis, the encroachment of the federal government on individual liberties, the failure to hold the Bush and Obama administrations accountable, increasing taxes, the deployment of troops on American soil, or the failure of our government to represent the people's interests, we can all agree that there are huge problems with our nation's current trajectory.

So "We the People" have an option to legally and effectively make our voices heard. We will do this by striking at the real power structure of the current system, economic dominance by fiat money, financiers, and the wage system.

Here is the plan. On April 15th, all participants will do at least one (hopefully all) of the following:

1) Refuse to go to work.

2) Refuse to go to class.

3) Do not buy anything.

4) Withdraw all your money from the bank and keep it withdrawn for a couple of days.

5) Send a tea bag to your representatives in government, from the highest to the lowest. They will get the message.

6) Wear a white armband or wristband on you right arm to show that you are participating.

Two thousand years ago, a Roman Senator suggested that all slaves wear white armbands to better identify them. "No," said a wiser Senator, "if they see how many of them there are, they may revolt."

Members of our club will be participating, and it would be great to see people from all different political and social backgrounds coming together, despite their differences, to bring the message to the government that "We the People" are not happy and that the ultimate power over the course of our nation belongs to us.

--The ASU Campaign for Liberty

I'm down with taking it to the streets. If we can agree on who's responsible for this fine kettle of fish. The ASU Campaign for Liberty uses a curious choice of words to describe "the enemy" in the memo above -- "fiat money, financiers, and the wage system." Well now, I'm totally ready to burn those guys at the stake!

Fiat money. I don't think they're talking about a certain Italian automobile company, but who they mean, we dunno.

Whoever they mean by "fiat money" specficially, they're talking against Obama generally, because he's not Ron Paul, and therefore he's the proximate cause of everything that's just wrong. Sorry, but I can't go there. The ASU Campaign for Liberty doesn't like the president, and I do, although I care a good deal less for the Wall Street dudes the president's hired to advise him. Getting him unstuck from those particular men-in-suits may be difficult, though protests like this might help. Who knows? Might not, too. Because this particular call to arms seems a trifle ... blunt-edged, if you know what I mean. "Burn the whole place down" has never much appealed to me as a tactic, even back in the 1960s when, indeed, they were burning the whole place down. Didn't much work then, either.

The line that might give the ASU Young Republicans some pause, prior to buying in to this protest against Obama: "the failure to hold the Bush and Obama administrations accountable." "Bush and Obama"? That's a lopsided formulation if there ever was one, since Bush had eight years to be held accountable for, and Obama, a few weeks, but the ASU Liberty Fighters have balanced the two presidents as pure equals in evil in that particular sentence. And that's a problem, dudes, if you're really looking for bipartisan involvement in your protest.

First you slap a Republican ("prosecute Bush"), and then you hug a Republican with that mention of sending a tea bag to our public officials. That tea bag gesture is a pure piece of grand larceny from the conservative Republican playbook. The only federal Rep. we have is Virginia Foxx, and she's not going to like getting a bunch of tea bags.

There's just one other phrase in the call to action that has me a little concerned: "the deployment of troops on American soil." Uh, where? Are we talking Green Beret assault on the Ron Paul compound in Texas, or just some National Guard action in the flood zone in South Dakota? That's a phrase that can't just be allowed to slip by unquestioned.

Whatever. Have a productive Tax Day, and we hope your employers are liberals.

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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Big Tentism 

Ex-presidential candidate Ron Paul won't be allowed to address the Republican National Convention, and Paul himself says that John McCain apparently wants to keep him off the convention floor.

However, The Palin said earlier this year that she found Paul way cool. But that's nothing: as recently as a month ago, The Palin was also agreeing with the Obama energy plan. (HT: LO)

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Friday, June 13, 2008

NC GOP to Paularoids: Get Lost 

The icy reception of Ron Paul supporters at the state GOP convention breaks out into the mainstream press today, just as candidate Paul also announces (1) he's dropping out of the race and (2) he won't be endorsing Whatisname for president and (3) he'll in fact be holding a rival rally in Minneapolis at the same time the Republicans are holding their convention in St. Paul.

The most galling maneuver by the state GOP chairwoman is that she apparently hand-picked the two North Carolina Paul delegates that were allowed, and they're NOT Paul supporters.

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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Some Watauga Numbers 

On the Democratic side, Obama won his match-up with Clinton in early voting, where some 3,185 votes were cast (including mail-in absentees), 1,974 of those for Obama to 1,174 for Clinton. That winning margin for Obama could not be overcome in precinct voting today, even though 11 of 20 precincts today went for Clinton.

Generally speaking, Clinton was strongest in the more rural parts of the county but not everywhere. For example, Elk and North Fork tipped to Obama. Watauga precinct (Foscoe and Valle Crucis) went for Obama. The three Boone precincts and New River 1 went for Obama. Blowing Rock and Blue Ridge turned in dead-even ties between Clinton and Obama.

Fifth Dist. congressional candidate Roy Carter carried Watauga by some 1,300 votes but appears to be slightly behind Diane Hamby district-wide (as of this writing).

U.S. senatorial candidate Jim Neal had an impressive showing in Watauga (2,291 votes), though he lost to Kay Hagan by a thousand votes in the county and to Hagan state-wide by a huge margin. Watauga was probably one of his best counties, perhaps because he made two visits here prior to the voting.

Likewise, Dan Besse came in second to Walter Dalton in Watauga. Good showing for Besse here, while he was losing the rest of the state.

On the Republican side, the most astounding local numbers were local dentist Jerry Butler's loss of his own county to Alexander Co. resident Dwight Shook in the State Senate Dist. 45 primary. Shades of Virginia Foxx! Butler can't carry his own county but wins the district and will be facing incumbent Senator Steve Goss this fall.

Oh, and Ron Paul didn't win the Republican presidential primary, though with 367 Watauga votes, he did out-poll "No Preference."

A total of 2,660 Republican ballots were cast, to 7,081 Democratic ballots. That may turn out to be the most significant bellwether of the night.

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Word from several Watauga County precincts this a.m. says that the Republicans are AWOL. No poll-greeters spotted for any Republican candidates, not even Paularoids (though, clearly, from the count of yard signs alone, Ron Paul is in the lead for the Republican presidential nomination. Apparently, true Paularoids are expecting a Big Uprising at the Republican National Convention this summer that will reject John McCain and sweep Ron Paul into the nomination. BTW, we want whatever it is they're smoking).

The most active Democratic campaigns locally -- from an unscientific count of poll-greeters working key precincts this morning -- would be the Bev Perdue campaign, Team Roy Carter, the Tim Futrelle committee, and both the Clinton and the Obama campaigns.

Turn-out has been steady though not in the overwhelming numbers we've seen reported from other parts of the state.

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