The State of the Disunited Missouri Republican party

The Cass County Lincoln Day dinner was held last night. I had attended one Lincoln day dinner last year as an extra hand to hand out candidate flyers. That one was in Lexington, MO. This was the first dinner for my wife. She met an old friend and they stayed together most of the evening. It was a nice gathering in a new facility in Belton, MO. My state Senator and Representative attended and I had an opportunity to speak, briefly, with both.

One of the two guest speakers was Tom Schweich, Missouri’s Auditor. He was in interesting speaker, a former associate of John Bolton, our former UN Ambassador. Schweich gave a brief recap of the changes he had made in the Auditor’s office, the improvements and a brief review of some particular cases. He is a hands-on auditor in contrast to his predecessors. He has done an excellent job as Auditor and hinted that he would run again in the next election.

It was also obvious that he had another mission at the dinner—to help heal the wounds that has divided the various factions of the Republican Party—basically, the moderate and the establishment faction vs. the Tea Partiers, Conservatives, and the Paulbots.  Schweich, perhaps inadvertently, lumped Conservatives, Tea Partiers, and Paulbots into one group, while attempting to differentiate between the moderates, aka RINOs to the rest of us, and the establishment. Schweich didn’t care for the term, RINO. Unfortunately, the description is all too fitting for many wearing the label of a republican.

The problem with his approach is that several of the factions on both sides have no intention of healing those wounds. The establishment would welcome all the others back into the collective fold—as long as they, the establishment, maintained their control.

The so-called moderates, RINOs to many, believe success is only through emulating liberals. That belief is failure. If there is no difference between the moderate’s political view and the liberal’s political view, why bother claiming to be Republicans. Just admit you are a liberal!

On the other side, there is a lot of agreement between the Tea Partiers, Conservatives and Paulbots. The remaining differences, however, are critical. The Paulbots claim to be the libertarian wing of the party. They suffer from the same issues as does the Libertarian Party, the inability to unite a cohesive group and viewpoint. They are also burdened with a personality cult for Ron Paul. If that personality cult evaporated, they could be a significant force. They and the conservatives would have few, if any, differences.

There is little difference between Conservatives and Tea Partiers. That primary difference is party loyalty. The Conservatives, like myself, still try to work within the Republican Party. The Tea Party, on the other hand, will work with any group or party that has, or claims to have, the same goals.

That difference can, and has, lead to a dilution of the voting power of the Tea Party. This occurred at many levels within the party during the last election. One of the most visible was the campaign of Cynthia Davis for Lt. Governor. She was a former republican but in the last election chose to run on the Constitution Party ticket. When she left the ‘Pubs, she took a significant number of votes with her. Peter Kinder, the Republican candidate, won the election, but by a smaller margin. Davis had a large support from Tea Partiers on the east side of the state but not enough to win the election. Her split from the Republican party diluted the impact of the Tea Party in that race.

I applaud Schweich’s attempt for unity. He has a steep road to walk. I like Schweich. I voted for him in his last election and will probably vote for him in the next one. However, his attempts to heal the party will fail as long as the state’s party hierarchy maintains their paternalistic attitude and their continued efforts to control the central committee.

Unless there is significant change, they will fail. Ed Martin unseated David Cole as Chairman of the MO Central Committee. Martin ran for Attorney General as a Tea Partier. I’ve met him and I was impressed with him. He now has a formidable task, the reunification of the Missouri Republican party. I await him to begin that reconciliation—before it is too late.