What the Dickey victory means to the Texas Republican Party

With bodyguards and paid supporters in tow, the political establishment’s Cindy Asche (blonde hair, red dress) stormed out of the 2018 Republican State Convention on Friday, June 15, 2018, after the grassroots conservatives soundly defeated her candidacy four times in one day.

Conroe and San Antonio, June 18 – A tidal wave of reform has swept the Republican Party of Texas and the Montgomery County Republican Party. The real ombudsman of “unity” is the Republican Party Platform that defines for what Republicans stand. Nevertheless, it’s precisely the Platform that the political “establishment” has always fought.

The political “establishment” has wanted to control the direction of the Republican Party through personal whim of its leadership. Montgomery County, the eighth largest Republican voting bloc in Texas, has suffered from that problem for decades. In the 1990s, the Republican Party Chairman, Walter Wilkerson, Jr., refused to permit anyone to display the Republican Party Platform inside the Republican Party Headquarters, but he and his lieutenants demanded unity and allegiance to them without any particular conservative principles. In 1998, the issue came to a head when grassroots conservatives offered a “Resolution Against Divisiveness” at a Headquarters Committee meeting. Kathy Pitt, then one of the Party’s leaders, stood up, ripped the resolution in half, and screamed “I don’t need a resolution to prevent me from being divisive!”

Personal loyalty began to split apart as a mechanism for holding citizens behind the political establishment.

When Republicans in Congress failed to bring federal spending under control after they enjoyed a sweeping majority after the 1994 General Election, loyal Republican voters began to question the personality cult as a means of unifying the Party and achieving its promise of reform. Similarly, 25 years of broken promises from Republican candidates for the Montgomery County Commissioners Court that they were “conservative,” “against the growth of government,” and “against government waste” have finally brought to the attention of Montgomery County Republican Primary voters that they must demand more than hallow promises from candidates wearing cute red clothing and nicely-adorned elephant pins.

The clear unifying force of the Republican Party that will bring disaffected voters back into the Party and that will bring about the actual reforms for which the citizens of Texas and Montgomery County hunger is the Republican Party Platform. After the 2018 State GOP Convention, the Platform makes clear that Republicans:

  • Demand reductions in local, state, and federal government spending;
  • Expect elected servants to enact statewide property tax reform, including placing school maintenance and operations budgets in the hands of the State government, replacing school property taxes with a consumption tax, and abolishing appraisal districts altogether since they’re little more than a mechanism for raising taxes while crafty (lying) politicians hide behind flat tax “rates”; and
  • Support an end to taxpayer-funded lobbying groups such as the Texas Association of Counties and the Texas Municipal League, which take tax dollars from cities and counties, such as Montgomery County, and then use those tax dollars to lobby against citizen interests such as statewide property tax reform, as both of those groups, along with Charlie Riley and Craig Doyal, did during the 85th Legislative Session in 2017.

While there are social issues, such as abortion, school funding, and homosexuality in the Republican Party Platform, there’s no question that success on the foregoing issues would bring success on the social issues along with them. If government doesn’t have money, it can’t spend money to fund abortions.

While there are social issues, such as abortion, school funding, and homosexuality in the Republican Party Platform, there’s no question that success on the foregoing issues would bring success on the social issues along with them.  If government doesn’t have money, it can’t spend money to fund abortions.

The Republican National Party has gone through the same issues of a divisive political establishment which demands loyalty to personalities versus a unifying grassroots conservative movement that adheres to core principles. Historically-minded citizens may recall that the Republican Party’s first national electoral success in 1860 occurred because of unity behind issues – abolition of slavery and the importance of the Union – rather than some sort of cult of personality behind Abraham Lincoln.

Montgomery County’s Sage, Bill O’Sullivan, compared the 2018 State Republican Convention to the events of the 1964 Republican National Convention. “Cindy Asche’s walkout was just like Nelson Rockefeller’s walkout in 1964,” O’Sullivan told The Golden Hammer during an interview on Saturday, June 16. “In 1964, New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller told the grassroots conservatives where they could go in no uncertain terms,” O’Sullivan explained. Rockefeller was the scion of the Eastern Liberal Establishment wing of the Republican Party and had arrived at the 1964 Convention with far fewer delegates than conservative Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater. In anger, Rockefeller looked right at the vast majority of the Republican Delegates and spoke directly of them and to them, “These are people who have nothing in common with Americanism. The Republican Party must repudiate these people.”

New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller spoke to the 1964 Republican National Convention. The delegates booed him off the stage after he pointed to them and told them “The Republican Party must repudiate these people.”

The conservatives’ full victory came in 1980 when they elected former California Governor Ronald Reagan as President. 1980 was an important year for the Republican Party, however, because it was also the first year when a Pro-Life Plank became a part of the national Republican Platform. For two decades, the battle waged for control of the Party was between the “fiscal conservative” establishment and the “social conservatives.” The problem for the establishment came as “fiscal conservatives” began to show from many years of government service that they were neither “conservatives” nor particularly “fiscal.”

In 1998, social conservatives elected Dallas’ Tom Pauken as State Republican Chairman but his tenure was brief, because Pauken was long on ideology but short on organizational skills. As a result of Pauken’s failure, the State Republican Party suffered through another two decades of establishment control until Travis County Republican Party Chairman James Dickey came into office in 2017.

Dickey rapidly shored up the Party’s finances and made grassroots conservative welcome. Dickey and Vice Chair Amy Clark were the two deciding votes when the State Republican Executive Committee censured Texas House Speaker Joe Straus for his failures in abiding by the Republican Party Platform on January 27, 2018. Finally, the Republican Party Platform grew some teeth when the Party leadership was willing to require that elected servants and other politicians in the Republican Party abide by its promises.

Within one hour of Dickey’s vote to censure Straus, however, the establishment forces lined up to boot him out of office. Straus, former State Chairman Tom Mechler, and other anti-Platform leaders recruited Cindy Asche, a relatively unknown activist from Frisco north of Dallas, to run against Dickey for State Party Chairman in what became one of the nastiest political campaigns Republicans had seen in a long time. Asche focused on Dickey, the man, and accused him of committing fraud in business, of being a “thief,” and of being a “liar.” Dickey focused on uniting the Republican Party behind the Platform, the last thing in the world the establishment wanted.

On Friday, June 16, 2018, the 31 Senatorial Caucuses voted in the State Chair race with Dickey winning 25 and Asche 6. Late Friday morning, the State Nominations Committee members followed the instructions of their Senatorial Caucuses and voted to recommend Dickey for State Party Chairman by a 25 to 6 vote. On Friday afternoon, Asche spoke to the entire State Convention a second time (the first being on Thursday morning). Asche once again accused Dickey of being a “thief” and a “liar” and told the delegates that the Party’s accounting coordinator had resigned from the Republican Party but would return if someone other than Dickey was elected Chairman. During Asche’s final speech, the hall of 8,500 Delegates booed her off the stage. They had had enough of her anti-Republican antics. They had had enough of her violations of Reagan’s Eleventh Commandment applicable to candidates running against each other (“You shall not speak evil of a fellow Republican.”)

Dickey ultimate won re-election 5,680 votes to Asche’s 3,009. Asche walked out of the Convention Hall before the final tabulation and announcement that Dickey won.

Asche made clear that she, as a representative of the political establishment, would not tolerate anything but absolute personal loyalty. The Platform and its principles didn’t matter, but personal fealty was everything.

O’Sullivan observed that the Republican Party is far more unified now with Dickey as its Chairman than he’s ever seen. “I was very happy to see how unified the Convention became after the Chairman election. I was also very pleased to see that the Republican Party is finally addressing its core issue that unifies all conservative voters: government spending,” O’Sullivan explained.

Montgomery County’s Republican Party faces many similar issues as the State Party. Wilkerson is an old guard “fiscal conservative” who was never for reduced government spending after 1995. Before 1995, democrats controlled the federal, state, and local government, so it was easy to opposing government spending. At present, however, the “Republicans In Name Only” (RINO) who control Congress, the State of Texas government, and the Montgomery County Commissioners Court have boosted spending worse than old guard democrats did so in the 1960s and 1970s.

The Montgomery County government now faces Republicans who demand the same fiscal reforms that the State Republican Party under Dickey’s leadership has begun to implement. The recent proposal by grassroots conservative members of the Montgomery County Republican Party Executive Committee that would give more control of the Party apparatus to the citizens who locally elect their Precinct Chairs is another turn of the same issue: the political establishment under Wilkerson continues to cling to power and demand loyalty regardless of their principles, while the grassroots conservatives believe that principles set forth in the Republican Party Platform define what it means to be a Republican.

Interestingly, in Montgomery County, it’s not social issues that are creating the real divide, just like the social issues in actuality didn’t divide the State Republican Party. In corrupt Montgomery County, those who want to look the other way, as five RINOs on the Commissioners Court spend tax dollars as though they were each Teddy Kennedy who never met a spending program he didn’t like, stand in opposition to citizens who realize that out-of-control spending and taxation is a direct loss of freedom to Montgomery families and individuals that the grassroots is no longer willing to tolerate.

The reform forces are advancing, but like Asche, the establishment is desperately clinging to power.

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