Eric Yollick, The Golden Hammer
The Golden Hammer, Montgomery County’s leading daily newspaper, endorses Republican Party of Texas Chairman James Dickey for re-election. The vote will occur at the State Republican Convention in San Antonio in two weeks.
When Abraham Lincoln ran for President in 1860, the Republican National Convention adopted a Platform and fully expected Lincoln to run on that Platform and to follow that Platform carefully after his election to the White House. President Lincoln not only followed the Republican Platform while he served as President but also Lincoln regularly quoted the Republican Party Platform. That’s quite different from today’s world, especially in places like Texas or Montgomery County where, if you’re not running as a Republican, you likely won’t win. For that reason, the Republican Party has attracted “fakes” who run as Republicans but actually don’t care about the Platform. Montgomery County, one of the strongest Republican voting counties in Texas, has a five-Republican Commissioners Court yet has voted massive increases in spending and taxes for the last 23 years (the entire time with a unanimously-Republican Commissioners Court).
Republican Party voters have had enough of electing people as Republicans, sending them to Conroe (or one of 253 other county seats), Austin, or Washington, D.C., and watching them vote like democrats. In 2016, the Delegates to the State of Texas Republican Convention, the largest Republican gathering in American history, voted to give the Republican Party leadership some teeth to enforce the Party’s Platform, which activists spend so much time drafting. The teeth come in the form of Party Rule 44, which allows the State Republican Executive Committee to withdraw funding and support for Republican candidates or elected servants who don’t follow the Platform (after a 2/3rds vote of the SREC). The first Rule 44 censure occurred on January 27, 2018, and the object of the censure was none other than Texas House of Representatives Speaker Joe Straus, who has consistently voted and sided with democrats far more than he has with Republicans. Straus killed statewide property tax reform and just about anything else that the Texas Municipal League or the Texas Association of Counties opposed.
When the censure vote occurred, State Republican Chairman James Dickey sided with those who wanted to censure Straus. Dickey has long argued that Republican leaders should take all of the hard work of Republican activists in drafting the Platform very seriously. Just as it was in Lincoln’s day, Dickey believes that the Platform is an important set of promises which candidates make. If they’re not keeping those promises, the GOP should withdraw its support.
That is the fundamental issue in Dickey’s re-election campaign, because his opponent wants to continue to permit politicians and elected servants to continue to get away with running on the Republican Platform and then defenestrating all of those promises the moment they take the oath of office.
There’s a second major reason to support Dickey. In his style and his character, James Dickey is a bit old-fashioned. He’s actually a gentleman. He’s polite. He treats people well. He supports Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment: “Thou Shalt Not Speak Ill of a Fellow Republican,” an important principle applied to Republican candidates for office when they run. The idea, of course, is that Reagan wanted to focus on running against the other party rather than getting involved in internecine warfare with Republicans.
Sadly, Dickey’s opponent doesn’t follow the 11th Commandment, as her campaign has shown during the past six weeks. Asche has focused almost entirely on personal attacks against Dickey. Practically, every sentence Asche utters involves accusations that Dickey is not telling the truth. Asche, Straus, and their allies obviously are very angry. They’re angry in particular at those darn Republican activists who actually expect them to take the Platform seriously.
There’s a final reason that this newspaper supports Dickey. When the going gets tough, adherents to Republican principles can count on James Dickey. First, Dickey is the main person pushing to require Republicans in the Texas House of Representatives to vote for the candidate for House Speaker whom the majority of the House Republican Caucus supports rather allowing some moderate Republicans to join forces with democrats to elect a moderate House Speaker such as Straus. Second, when Republican activists in Montgomery County desperately wanted to put a statewide referendum on the March 6, 2018, Republican Primary Election ballot to ask voters whether they believe government entities should only construct or finance tollroads if they receive voter approval first, Dickey was the person in the State Republican Party on whom the leaders of the Montgomery County Executive Committee, which had recommended the statewide resolution by an almost unanimous vote, and some of the other anti-tollroad forces in Montgomery County could count. Dickey had committed to support placing the tollroad referendum on the statewide ballot. James Dickey proved to be a man of his word. Proposition 2 passed statewide on March 6 with more than 90% of the vote.
If the Republican Party and its Platform are to mean anything, then Republican Delegates have a clear choice for State Party Chairman in James Dickey.