Sunday, February 1, 2015

A dust-up in SW Washington.

To set the stage, here in Southwest Washington we have a Republican representative in a fairly evenly split district.  Jaime Herrera Beutler (JHB) was a Republican operative who was politically connected at the state and federal levels and was rewarded by the Party's support when she ran for congress when incumbent Brian Baird vacated his seat.

Congresswoman Beutler makes a great deal out of being a conservative, but votes as a slightly right of center centrist on most issues.  A creature of the establishment Republican Party, she most often votes the party line along with centrist Appeaser of the House John Boehner.

Earlier in January this year, the county Republican Party Precinct Committee officers, entertained a motion to place in the next quarterly PCO meeting an agenda item to discuss Censure against JHB. This motion to discuss this matter was approved largely based on her repeated support of raising spending limits, and her support for john Boehner, who is seen by many as the personification of all that is wrong with the top-down leadership of the Establishment Republican Caucus.

Such a motion was not necessary under the local party bylaws.  Any PCO can make a motion from the floor for any reason, and the motion could have just as easily been to censure JHB straightaway.  Instead, placing it officially as an agenda item for the next quarterly meeting gives everyone a period for discussion, and a chance for JHB to answer the criticisms - something she's been remiss in doing so far during her tenure in congress.

Her first communication after this was a shockingly ill-informed and dismissive letter to the PCO's, with an odd statement that it was paid for from her campaign money.  Here is that letter.

What follows is my response to the Congresswoman:

To Congresswoman Beutler,
I am in receipt of your letter to the PCOs of Clark County dated January 14th. It has not escaped my attention that at the bottom it was paid for by Jaime for Congress.  Seriously Congresswoman?  Instead of an honest communication between fellow party members in your district, you treat this as a campaign issue?

Let me first say that this action on the part of some of the PCOs in the Clark County Republican Party (CCRP) reflects a lack of leadership on your part as representative of the 3rd District. This is a failure of communication that has been perceived as a causal disregard for the very legitimate concerns of your neighbors in Clark County. I myself have made numerous phone calls to your office and social media comments that have seemingly been ignored. I don’t mind the occasional disagreement, but I feel that you at least owe me an explanation when you vote against my wishes. No such courtesy has ever been provided by you or your office.

To answer your letter in detail:

Yes, you have an excellent track record on abortion and are endorsed by the NRA.  You also have an 40% “F” grade by Conservative Review. The website shows you well to the left of the mainstream Republican caucus, separated from the Democrats by only a handful of more centrist Republicans.

You and your supporters are very quick to state that you won your election by 62%, and that therefore the citizens of Clark County support you and seem to have no problem with the job you do in Congress. Let’s get real, Congresswoman. There is a huge difference between voting for you because they love and support the work you do and voting against your opponent because they loathe everything they stand for. A more likely explanation in my mind is that you were merely the lesser of two evils. With a voter turnout of only 50%, you won with only 29.2% of the total registered voters in Clark County, against a very weak democratic candidate. Your victory was helped by a massive get-out-the-vote effort on the part of the Clark County Republican Party which was acting on behalf of local and state candidates, and you rode their coat-tails. I personally hit every suspected Republican house in my precinct, and the sentiment was about 50-50 among Republicans to support you. I’m not aware of any effort you made in my precinct or any other to get out the vote or to campaign door to door. How many conservatives stayed home because you didn’t give them anything to vote for?

You state that you “received a letter indicating that some of the members of the Clark County Republican central committee are planning a vote of censure against you. . .”

This is factually incorrect. The CCRP central committee has nothing to do with this. This was a motion brought to the floor by a PCO, which is the right of any PCO under the CCRP bylaws. The original intent was to move to censure you at the January meeting, but we persuaded the fellow to move to place it on the agenda for the next meeting. This was not necessary, as the motion could have been placed at the next meeting, whether it was on the agenda or not. What the motion last month did was provide you with a courtesy warning that such action was being considered.

You addressed some of the complaints detailed in the proposed letter of censure put forward by the author of the motion.

First of all, “I voted with the majority of the House Republican Conference” is neither an excuse or a justification. May I point out to you that public support for Congress is at an all-time low? The only difference between the establishment Republican Party and the Democrat party seems to be how fast they want to sell this country down the river. There are very few leaders in congress who will stand up without compromise to the idea of fiscal conservatism, personal liberty and an adherence to constitutional principles. You are not one of them.

You ask, “What are the motives of the County Republican leadership that wants to censure a Republican Representative for voting with the Republican Conference?  This question demonstrates your complete lack of awareness of what is happening in the most populous county in your district.  First, the CCRP leadership is not behind this motion, and has no power to prevent the motion from being made.  The CCRP bylaws have changed to remove power from the board and restore it to the PCO body, as it should be.  We are not a bureaucratic oligarchy, but a body of grass-roots representatives.  Second, you should be aware that the local Republican Party has been infused over the last two or three years with a large number of newly motivated, angry, conservative people who have no patience for the business-as-usual, top-down decision making approach of the Republican establishment. Hooking your wagon to the House Republican Conference is not going to get you very far with this group of earnest citizens who are done with the destruction of America by the federal government.

Your defense of your vote for Speaker Boehner is disingenuous. Again, voting with the establishment herd is not an excuse in a Congress with the lowest approval rating in history. I’ll decline to elaborate on your snarky comment about “purity” tests. You try to say that a vote against Boehner would mean that Nancy Peolsi might get the speakership. This is false, and you know it. The decision was not made in November. If it was, then explain to me how Daniel Webster, Jim Jordan, Louie Gohmert, Jeff Duncan, Kevin McCarthy, Rand Paul and Jeff Sessions didn’t get that memo. What committee assignments did you get in exchange for your loyalty, Congresswoman?

I am dismayed at the way the current administration has usurped power that constitutionally belongs to the congress. Have you said one thing from the floor to decry this, Congresswoman? If you have not, then you are no friend of liberty.

You are frustrated that Conservatives have not made more progress in the last four years. Yet you voted to maintain John Boehner as Speaker, even though he’s the biggest roadblock in the House towards making conservative progress. He has never passed up a chance to compromise with or capitulate to the Democrats, a courtesy that they have demonstrably never offered when they were in power.

The fact is, Congresswoman, you have voted multiple times to raise the debt ceiling. This is not what a conservative would do. Congress is mortgaging our grandchildren’s future, and you should have been leading a stop to this years ago! I cannot in good conscience support anyone who would vote to raise the debt ceiling. This alone is sufficient cause in my mind to censure you. I don’t care if there’s a government shutdown. That isn’t the end of the world. You should be out in front declaring that tax and spend liberals are holding the country hostage to continue their irresponsible and immoral spending programs, and that enough is enough.

You have not cosponsored any of the 12 government transparency bills presented during your time in congress. In fact, you have sponsored fewer bills than any other representative from Washington, and only one other representative from Washington has cosponsored fewer bills than you.

You voted for the NDAA 2012 bill in 2011 and the Cyber Intelligence and Sharing Protection Act of 2012. These were blows to liberty that no self-professed conservative should have made.

It seems that you are quick to provide a litany of conservative votes that support the fiction of you as a conservative candidate, and you frequently do vote as a conservative. But on several very significant issues, you have never voted conservatively. Your conservatism appears to be negotiable, not principled.

Your public relations here in the district need to be rehabilitated. Have you once held a town hall meeting since you have been elected? Have you met with the CCRP leadership to discuss what issues are important, and how we feel about them? I was dismayed by you at the Lincoln Day dinner. Your presentation there was a campaign speech. You stood on that podium and told us about your dedication to fiscal conservatism, yet you keep voting to raise the debt limit! Then you showed your disdain for the local party by leaving early instead of staying to get to know those of us who worked so hard to put you where you are. How many people who attended that dinner do you know personally? The correct answer should be all of them. Remember, Congresswoman, you do not only represent the 3rd District to Congress, you represent Congress to the 3rd District. It doesn’t become you to reflect the contempt that we feel congress has for the American people. If you cannot do the job, then step aside for someone who can.

It is my sincere desire that you distance yourself from the establishment that put you where you are today, and begin representing the people who will keep you there. I guarantee that the political cost to you among the federal establishment Republicans for being too principled to compromise on fundamental precepts will be far outweighed by the goodwill it will bring you here at home. The disaffection among the local party that led to the discussion of your censure is indicative of a growing rift with the Republican Party. You are the embodiment of Congress in the 3rd District. If you, like the national party, choose to forsake the conservative base in favor of the center, don’t be surprised when your base increasingly turns on you, both in public and at the polls.

We are not “burning heretics,” and I suspect a staffer wrote that for you, but your signature is at the bottom of the page. Are you aware of the core principles that were voted on by a supermajority of the CCRP PCOs? One of these was to hold our elected leaders accountable for their actions. This is what we’re doing. Letters and phone calls have resulted in nothing but glossy campaign ads disguised as “informational” updates. Now that we’ve gained your attention, are you gong to start to work and communicate with us?


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