Alaska “Republicans” looking a lot like Wisconsin Fleebaggers

With the Wisconsin recall election in the news, it is only fitting that we take a trip down memory lane.  Anyone remember those Democrat senators fleeing to Illinois to prevent a quorum so the the Senate couldn’t pass Governor Walker’s reforms?  Looks like the old guard in the Alaska GOP stole a page from their playbook.

With outgoing Chair Randy Ruedrich and other members of current GOP leadership publicly calling for delegates not to show up to the June 9th re-convening of the 2012 Alaska Republican Convention, I’m left wondering if the demons Scott Walker just drove out of Wisconsin haven’t taken up residence in Alaska. Seems Ruedrich’s designs are eerily similar to the ill-fated Wisconsin Democrats. He hopes to prevent a quorum so the Convention is unable to take up consideration of the rules changes put forward by the Convention Rules Committee, one of which just happens to be the “legacy rule” that would relieve Ruedrich of his duties effective immediately.  No self-serving there.

Also at issue is a whole roster of resolutions passed by the various committees at the April convention, everything from censuring Senator Lisa Murkowski for her “dishonesty, duplicity . . . and extraordinary disloyalty” to a resolution urging Congress not to ratify the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, and a resolution calling for the full repeal of Obamacare.

What is perhaps most egregious is the fact that the old guard is citing rumors of nefarious intent on behalf of Ron Paul supporters as a pretext, claiming that there is a move under way to suspend the rules and change out all the national delegates previously elected – presumably with Ron Paul supporters.  Supporters of Dr. Paul deny the claim.  But that notwithstanding, how credible could such a claim possibly be when less than half of the elected state delegates are Paul supporters, and it takes a two-thirds vote to suspend the rules?

I must admit the whole specter is somewhat embarrassing, but this isn’t the first time I’ve been ashamed of my party leadership.  It seems a pattern is taking shape, one that is not a little bit troubling, and one that will eventually split the Republican Party if some leaders don’t emerge who are willing to call out the bad players. We cannot afford to let a small group of  elitists tarnish the party brand any further.

When the sitting Party Chair and members of the Central Committee are openly attacking duly elected leaders in the press; when sitting members of the Central Committee are vowing to “burn down” the party; when opposition research is being conducted and deployed by upstanding “Republicans” against their own party officers; when rules are being disregarded; it’s time to say enough is enough.

From the outset of my involvement in Alaska politics, I’ve watched the elites refuse to accept the landslide election of Sarah Palin as governor over incumbent Frank Murkowski and favored challenger John Binkley; refuse to accept Joe Miller’s election as the party’s nominee for US Senate, despite the fact that he received more than ten thousand more votes than Lisa Murkowski did in her decisive 2004 primary election win; and now refuse to recognize duly elected delegates and officers of the party simply because their candidates didn’t win.

It took the same folks a year-and-a-half after the election of Sarah Palin as governor to even acknowledge her administration on the party website. They joined forces with the liberal Democrats to viciously attack the governor after her return from the 2008 Presidential race, and eventually helped to drive her from office.  They publicly engaged in malicious personal attacks on Joe Miller in 2010.  And now they seek to do the same to Chair-elect Russ Millette. There is only one crime all three of these Alaskans are guilty of: being duly elected Republicans.

The good book declares,“by their fruits you will know them.”  When folks break party rules with impunity while holding others to the “letter of the law,” you can be sure they have an hypocrisy problem.  When folks disregard the law when it isn’t in keeping with their desired ends, you can be sure they have an integrity problem. When folks have no regard for the truth, even for their own word, you can be certain they have a problem with the truth.  And when they refuse to accept the outcome of democratic elections, you can be sure that they don’t have the public’s best interest in mind. They are a law unto themselves.

The “Republicans” I speak of are reminiscent of petulant school children: selfish, divisive,  mean-spirited, slanderous, dishonest. If they don’t get their way, they just take their toys and go home. Let’s do the rank and file membership of the Alaska Republican Party a favor and show them the door.

It is time for Alaska Republicans to show the voting public that we don’t condone the rogue behavior of the ruling class. We don’t run when things get tough. Leave that to those other folks from Wisconsin. Real Republicans take responsibility, finish what they start, and don’t shy away from hard decisions.  I’ll be joining the real Republicans at the Anchorage Baptist Temple at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday morning.  If you’re a delegate, I hope to see you there.

Matt Johnson is a delegate to the Republican State Convention from District 11