| Posted: Monday, August 6th, 2012 | Comments (0)
Republican National Committee Race
By: Steve Byas
Steve Fair of Duncan narrowly defeated Richard Engle of Mustang for Oklahoma’s slot on the Republican National Committee at the mid-May Oklahoma State Convention, held in Norman. Carolyn McClarty was reelected national committeewoman without opposition. Fair will take over from James Dunn as Oklahoma’s national committeeman.
While the delegates chose from two highly-regarded candidates, two anonymous fliers were mailed to selected delegates shortly before the convention, launching a savage attack on Engle.
The two fliers, one on plain white paper, and one on green paper, took very similar lines of attack, although it is not clear whether they were written by the same individuals. Both claimed to be authored by a shadowy group known as GOTO Women. Without analyzing each specific assault upon Engle, we will look at some of the more glaring errors in the two pieces.
In the “green paper,” the allegation is made that Engle “has been absent from the OKGOP scene for the last 4 years. He left the party to serve as a leader of the Republican Assemblies, a competitor group of the GOP. Richard doesn’t want to HELP the GOP; he wants to change the GOP to a libertarian organization like the John Birch Society and his former organization, the Republican Assemblies.” The green paper even added that he uses the elephant symbol of the Republican Assemblies, not the “GOP elephant we are all so familiar with.” Horrors!
This shows either ignorance or mendacity. The Republican Assemblies is a purely Republican organization designed to promote conservative views. The Republican Assemblies first came to national prominence with its support for the political aspirations of Ronald Reagan, and was critical to his election as governor of California in 1966. In this election cycle, the national organization endorsed Rick Santorum for president. Both supporters and opponents of Santorum would agree that he is no libertarian.
Calling the John Birch Society a “libertarian” organization also betrays a lack of either political sophistication, or a sheer willingness to lie. The John Birch Society is a quintessential paleoconservative organization. While there is some overlap between paleoconservatism and libertarianism, there are also stark differences.
The green paper also accused Engle of telling Ron Paul supporters that, “(T)he Notarized Affidavit they signed (stating that they agreed under OK State Law to vote for the candidate they are bound to by the voters in Oklahoma’s Presidential Primary) is NOT LEGAL IN FLORIDA AND THEY COULD DISMISS THEIR OATH AND VOTE FOR RON PAUL at the National Convention.”
In reality, Engle told the Ron Paul delegates that they are bound to vote according to the results of the Oklahoma Republican Primary until they are released by the candidates who won those votes in Oklahoma’s presidential primary. However, if no one were to win the nomination on the first ballot, the convention becomes a “brokered convention.” At that point, they have fulfilled their legal obligation. No one would expect them to continue to vote for a candidate through multiple ballots and keep the Republican Party from being able to nominate a candidate for president of the United States. This is widely understood, probably even by the author(s) of the green and white attack sheets.
The “white sheet” asserted that Engle is a “friend” of Sooner Tea Party leader Al Gerhart. In a recent publication of Gerhart’s “Sooner Tea Party” newsletter, Gerhart refers to Engle as a snake and a rat, once commenting that at an event at the Grady County GOP, Engle “slithers over.”
One must ask what kind of friend would call you a snake and a rat?
Gerhart publicly supported Engle’s opponent, Steve Fair, for the post of national committeeman. Should the white paper have accused Fair of being Gerhart’s friend?
Interestingly, the white sheet advised delegates to, “Plan to stay until 5 or 6 o’clock,” even though the convention adjourned at 5 P.M.
What is particularly despicable about both the green and white papers is the cowardly anonymity of the fliers. Our newspaper columnists say controversial things, but we make every effort to be factually correct in our opinions, and we sign our names to our columns.
Since being handed these fliers at the state convention, we have been investigating who the cowards were that caused the distribution of these vicious attack pieces. Anonymous fliers have no place in the Republican Party. We have some likely suspects, but we are not going to reveal their names, because we do not want to unfairly smear an innocent person. But, we will continue to dig, and once we have established the authorship of the two fliers, we will publish them for our readers.
This analysis was by STEVE BYAS, Editor of the Oklahoma Constitution, who puts his name to his opinions.
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