Last night I witnessed firsthand how Liberty dies.
People talk about the Republican “establishment” and it becomes something of a boogeyman. A faceless, malevolent force that corrupts good men and turns a party that pays lip service to liberty, smaller government and the rights of the individual into a self-serving vehicle that unscrupulous people use for personal power and gain, funded by a swell old boys network of financiers who seek to subvert the free market that should be guaranteed by government servants into a cronyist kleptocracy that cares nothing for the average person except as a host for its parasitic activity.
But nobody really believes that “Establishment” rhetoric, do they? I mean, sure Mitch McConnell and John McCain are as dirty as any Democrat and can’t be trusted to even flush after a healthy dump, but OUR personal elected Republicans are cut from a different cloth, and CARE about us! Right?
Friends, last night I witnessed the Republican Establishment in full roar, pulling out dirty trick after dirty trick, abusing the rules – ignoring the rules when convenient – in order to wrest power back from the people and restore it to its rightful place – in the hands of a select few who will use that power to manipulate willing dupes to think that they’re relevant to the party in some way other than as a host for a parasite.
A little background: In 2012 the local Clark County party was flooded with concerned citizens who were pretty pissed off by the Obama administration. Lots of people who had never before been involved in politics outside of voting got involved. The local party swelled, and – to the horror of the establishment – they voted out the establishment cronies, and put in their place an executive board cut from the same cloth as Washington and Jefferson – concerned citizens who felt that the party and the power rightfully belonged to the people. The bylaws were redrawn to seize power from the executive committee and place it in the hands of the central committee- composed of precinct officers elected by their neighbors.
The Republican Establishment at the State level was put on notice: Clark County was a free county, and would promote a Republican agenda that put the citizens first, not the deep-pocket special interests. Candidates would be recruited who were mavericks, not beholden to the mutual backscratching, wink and a nod establishment whose primary role is to fleece the sheep and convince the sheep that they should enjoy it.
This caused no end of turmoil among the local and state-level establishment. The Establishment machine ground on, supporting, recruiting and subverting Republican in Name Only candidates in spite of the local party, such as John Blom, Julie Olson, Jeannie Stewart, Linda Wilson and Brandon Vic. These stalwarts, some nominally part of the County central committee, never showed up for the central committee business except for elections and any meeting that had an agenda that threaten to upset their supply of fleece. Other wannnabes like the unelectable Carolyn Crain who desperately wanted to join the club became obnoxious nuisances.
The Clark County Republican Central Committee created a stir when a motion was presented to censure our congressional representative, Jaime Herrera Beutler, for not supporting the core principles of the party in her congressional voting record. The debate was contentious, and the motion was eventually tabled.
At the end of the 2016 election cycle, the county chairman, Kenny Smith, decided to relinquish the gavel. Kenny had done a masterful job at steering the party during his two-term tenure, and was a shining example of even-handed leadership. I didn’t always agree with him, and yes, some mistakes were made and decisions that I didn’t agree with, but I could be sure that my voice would be heard when Kenny had the gavel. In an uncontested election, a young nobody that no one had ever heard of was elected to the position. David Gellatly came with ringing endorsements, and promised us to continue the legacy of the Liberty-minded people when he was elected.
This was a lie. Gellatly had no intention of keeping the Clark County Republican party independent of the establishment. The party is divided into two camps. Both espouse the same core principles and values, but one side – the establishment – is willing to compromise those principles and negotiate them away in order to get elected. The other believes that principles aren’t negotiable, that as conservatives, we would do much better by bravely standing on our principles, and using the inescapable power of reason to convince the undecided voter that our way is preferable. The negotiable principles of the establishment camp opens the door for corruption and cronyism to enter, and power-hungry people who will do things to seize that power that more ethical patriots shy away from precisely because we stand on our convictions.
This might have been less of a problem, except that Gellatly came with baggage. Like our president, he has a thin skin and just can’t shut up on social media. As Chairman of the local party, his best strategy is to maintain detached and let the squabbles be resolved by the body. But Gellatly kept stepping into the fray and abusing and disenfranchising people in the marketplace of ideas, engaging in battles of rhetoric that would have yielded nothing for him if he won except the enmity of the body he was the chair of. He proved himself to be petty, ill-informed, pendantic, condescending and prone to be personally abusive. Hey, this is politics, and we’re all guilty of these faults to some extent, but to have these traits on public display by the chairman suggests a potential for abuse of power. Many times Gellatly would remember his place and have to walk back something he said that was out of line in order to preserve the dignity of the seat, but apparently just never learned. I personally on several occasions suggested that someone should never pass up the chance to stay quiet, and he ignored my advice, thinking that I was directing it at other people. Some observed that Gellatly showed many signs of narcissistic personality disorder.
Meanwhile, things were not well on the executive board. Gellatly was apparently playing fast and loose with party funds. Expenditures were being made without board approval. Receipts were not being filed. Decisions were unilaterally made concerning the Lincoln Day dinner that rankled people. The Lincoln Day speaker stepped in her own personal cow pie, and Gellatly was between a rock and a hard place, already being on contract for a speaker that nobody really wanted. The Lincoln Day dinner net fell far short of expectations – in a large part because expenses weren’t controlled, but also because many supporters just turned their back in disgust. Gellatly was reduced to giving away complimentary tickets to fill seats.
His public behavior and the fiscal problems motivated the board to start organizing his removal. The Vice chair, Leslie Meharry, resigned. An executive board meeting was called to vote on a motion to recommend a recall to the central committee. Facing a defeat at this meeting, Gellatly allowed Meharry to “un-resign.” This gave him the vote he needed to survive the no confidence vote. It was later deemed that rescinding Meharry’s resignation was against the rules, and should not have been allowed. Jimmy Johnson voted against referring Gellatly’s removal to the central committee in a state of confusion, incomprehensibly declaring that this was something the Central Committee should resolve.
The gloves were off. Knowing that Meharry’s status wouldn’t stand, Gellatly circulated a petition to remove the four primary executive board members who voted for referring his removal to the central committee. Under the Gellatly regime, dissension will be punished.
Make no mistake, the October 17 meeting had nothing to do with the performance or qualifications of the four individuals involved, all of whom had executed their office in exemplary fashion, in spite of the obvious lies Gellatly spun about them. Not one of them was under scrutiny or question until the issue of Gellatly’s removal was placed to a vote. Susanne Gerhardt, the treasurer kept meticulous books and on multiple occasions invited anyone who wanted to come examine the books and see the problems Gellatly had caused. Any insinuation that the books weren’t available is a damned lie. The removal of these four exemplary volunteers was a referendum on who controls the local party: the people or the establishment.
The October 17 meeting violated the rules. A special meeting such as this can only be called by consent of the executive board. The executive board voted not to have the meeting. That vote was overridden by Gellatly, in violation of the rules. Many PCO’s chose to come to the meeting anyway, to backstop the perfidy he could cause by having his cronies illegally remove four board members by acclaim in an illegally called meeting. Unfortunately, the turnout legitimized the legality of the meeting.
An outside chairman was brought in to supposedly ensure objectivity, Mr. Kirby Wilbur, a talk show host for KVI in Seattle, and chairman of the 2012 State republican convention. Yes, the establishment tool Kirby Wilbur who turned off the microphones at the State Convention to silence voices that he didn’t want to have heard on the floor. Don't say that it didn't happen, I was there and saw it happen firsthand. Establishment tool Jaime Herrera Beutler provided pizza and beer for the meeting – seriously? This special meeting was so well-organized that our Congresswoman in DC arranged for pizza and beer to remove four sitting board members who were hostile to her performance in office? The silver lining for this egregious pandering is that the venue prohibited alcohol, and as a result the CCRP has been banned from the venue in perpetuity and Carolyn Crain, who signed the contract, was fined $2550. Of course, the new board will no doubt vote to reimburse her with donor money.
In an insult to the entire body, Gellatly and his financiers, including Clyde Holland, hired a private security company to oversee the festivities, including Gellatly’s personal friend who is a bouncer at a strip club. This was purely an intimidation tactic, as legally these rent-a-cops have zero authority to use force to do anything, and I damn well know that many people in attendance were more well-armed than they were. Seriously, private security? We never needed private surety at any other function.
Gellatly unilaterally barred everyone who was not a PCO from entering the premises. Except of course, his mother and his wife. Other non-PCO’s who were acceptable to Gellatly were given some sort of office such as Sergeant of Arms that allowed them to be there. Many of these people had never before been seen at a central committee meeting, and others who had served as Sergeant of Arms previously were denied entry. The Committee overturned the rule of the chair and allowed entry of the non-PCO’s.
Gellatly called the meeting on the basis of a petition he had circulated to have the four board members removed, and whose signatures he had verified. The legitimacy of him verifying the signatures on a petition that he created was called into question, and of course establishment tool Kirby Wilbur ruled that verifying your own petition was legitimate because of a rule technicality demonstrated that the establishment is willing to sit on the letter of the rules when it suits them, no matter how absurd the results appear.
Unrelated to the October 17 meeting, In a stunning abuse of his position, Gellatly has filed suit, funded no doubt by Clyde Holland and company, against Richard Colwell, PCO 632nd precinct. Colwell is one of the more vocal opponents of Gellatly. This is pure dictatorial bullying on behalf of the chairman, and puts the rest of the Central Committee on notice that if you disagree with the chair vehemently enough, you will be punished, and you will suffer financial loss either through legal means or through defending yourself.
Bullying. Secrecy. Intimidation. Lawsuits. Absurd interpretations of rules. Lies. Slander. Pandering. This is the establishment Republican party. This is what won on October 17 in Clark County, WA. Three good people, stalwart, hard working volunteers, honest people were removed from their positions to fuel the ego of one person who has no business holding office, supported by a corrupt establishment. Gellatly no doubt has dreams of running for office in the future, and he will do well in the swell old boys party of the republicans, as they reassure the sheep that the fleecing is for their benefit.
It’s time to get out the elephant guns. This swamp won’t drain itself. The Republican party has to die, so that something better can take its place.