Saturday, January 28, 2012

Report from the Tennessee Republican Assembly Convention

I just now received this report from someone who attended the convention of the Glen Hughes and Sharron Ford wing of the Republican Party that goes by the name of Tennessee Republican Assembly. (Well, not a wing of the party; more like a feather of the Party) This communication is from someone who prefers to remain anonymous and was speaking frankly. The characterizations in this communication are those of the anonymous reporter and not mine.  I was hesitant to post this because I do not think it contributes to Party unity. However, Glen Hughes calling everyone who does not march in lockstep with his views, a RINO does not contribute to Party unity either.

There were about 200 "Paulistinians," who showed up just to vote for the Ron Paul.  I estimate about 75 TRA, and an additional 50 who showed up to be seen (Marsha Blackburn included).  Why are people like Tootie, Nathan James, Duane Dominy, and William Morgan lured to this type of meeting?  Beats me.  Overall, yawn.  Speakers were boring and Angle has nothing of interest to add.  No wonder Reid beat her like a drum.  She was hawking her book, yawn again.  The Paulistinians were the most interesting.  If you think Glenn Beck is out there, then just talk to these folks.  The Lunatic Fringe calls them the Lunatic Fringe.
I used to belong to TRA and at some point just stopped paying my dues and attending meetings. I mainly stopped because I was, at the time, coordinating the Davidson County Republican Party "Egg and Bacon" summits which were weekly Saturday morning breakfast groups. At one time we had six of these groups and every Saturday of the month was taken attending these and TRA's meetings were also on Saturday mornings. I could not attend both.

When I was attending TRA, I did not feel out of place or unwelcome. I enjoyed the speakers and the good conversation and camaraderie. A couple years ago, I attended their annual convention myself.  Since then however, Glen Hughes and Sharron Ford have taken over TRA and somehow decided that I am really not a Republican but a RINO (Republican in Name Only).   I don't think I would feel comfortable attending the TRA convention. Also, when I was attending, they did not seem so fringe. They seemed pretty mainstream Republican. Even when I was active in TRA however, I was never sure why we needed the organization.

TRA calls itself the "conservative wing of the Republican Party."  Officially of course, TRA is Republican only by self identification and has no official association with the Republican Party. They state as their mission, "to work to recruit committed conservative activists to become involved in the Republican Party, earning and taking leadership positions within it and displacing RINOs ("Republicans in Name Only") who do not reflect the overwhelming majority position of Republicans across America."

Started in California in 1932, the first Republican Assembly worked to take back the California Republican Party from a liberal elitist faction that controlled the Party at that time. By 1964 the California GOP was in the hands of Goldwater Republicans. The California GOP has been in conservative hands since then.  In 1996, The Republican Assembly became a national organization.

Why is TRA necessary? There are no more Rockefeller Republicans. As far as I can tell, the Republican Party nationally, and certainly in Tennessee, is a fairly conservative party. I am not familiar with the Party in each state and maybe in some states there are Republican Parties that are controlled by liberals but not in Tennessee. Certainly there are disagreements and various factions within the Party and there are some people who care more about some issues than other issues and people who identify more with one candidate than another candidate, but I just do not see a big ideological divide in the Tennessee Republican Party.

Our own Davidson County Republican Party has as it's chairman Kathleen Starnes. Does anyone think Kathleen Starnes is a liberal?  We have on the Executive Committee people like Ken Merraro who blogs as The Blue Collar Muse and who is a TEA party activist,  Lonnie Spivak who ran for the 5th Congressional District Republican nomination and who is a leader of a conservative organization, Dan Davis and Tony Roberts organizers of Conservative Groups, David Hall who was the Party's 2010 5th Congressional District candidate,  Dave Patterson who ran on the Party ticket for a State House seat, and Brent Pierce who leads a chapter of the Ron Paul affiliated Campaign for Liberty. If you know any of these people, or became familiar with them when they were running for office, do you think they are liberals? Are they RINO's?

Who is the TRA trying to take the party from?  If they think the Davidson County GOP is liberal, what would a TRA dominated party look like?

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