A letter to the Colorado state Chair of the GOP

<<as sent earlier today>>

Hello, Ryan -

Thank you for your call today. It was good to get a chance to speak with you. I apologize for having to terminate our conversation – but unless Boulder County Republicans wants to up my salary by a considerable measure, I must continue to abide by the schedule foisted upon me by my day gig. :)

Near the end of our conversation, we were starting to explore ways to avoid having party activists — who may not hew strictly to the inner power structure’s priorities — abandoning the fold.

I have no easy answers on this. The one piece of low-hanging fruit I see here is to not make these dedicated people feel unwelcome. The GOP can talk all it wants about a ‘big tent’. However, just like the transparent fallacy of ‘being the party of smaller government’, this is a bald-faced lie. Perhaps many even believe this mantra. I would call those people delusional.

What end was served by passing a series of rule changes at the RNC, effectively dismissing (in the case of Maine and others, literally so) the opinions of a small but mighty contingent? Would it have affected the ultimate outcome of the nomination process? No.

Multiple events at the RNC served as nothing more than a slap in the face to many dedicated people. If not for these actions, a significant number would have held their noses, and kept working for our top of the ticket. Instead, I lost two DCs, at least a commensurate number of PCPs, and the dedicated effort of so many more other activists.

As just one incident: perhaps — as you say — there is a plausible story behind the teleprompter script at Boehner’s presiding over the rule change vote. Perhaps. But even if so, there were obviously ignored calls for division. Understanding that there may have been rules in effect that make calls for division out of order. But if so, that is a problem in and of itself. This needs to be changed. I understand the desire for the RNC to be a coronation spectacle, but  to prefer this over real deliberation at the party’s most meaningful meeting is a travesty unto itself. And no call for division would have been necessary, had Boehner not willfully ignored all the calls for reconsideration so clearly made during his perfunctory entertainment of just such an action. Further, even this call for reconsideration would not have been necessary, had Boehner not avoided the responsibility of presiding over a standing vote, after the voice vote tendered was obviously inconclusive. In other words, had he fairly adjudicated the solemn responsibility with which he had been vested.

I could go on about the means employed to stifle dissent on the content of the rule changes themselves — but this is about as far I can describe the situation to even an interested party before their eyes glaze over.

And this is just one slight amongst many.

I know more about these issues than your average Republican voter, as most can’t be bothered to scrutinize the actions of their leadership. Even yet, there are a growing number who recognize how vindictive and wrongheaded the actions taken at this cycle’s RNC were.

And as I said, there are a significant number — perhaps enough to have turned the tide of the election — that have checked out because of it.

The bottom line is that the central power structure of our party is trying to usurp control from the grassroots in a manner befitting historical despots. It is undeniable that the new rule changes diminish the influence of the grassroots, substituting instead the flawed reasoning of the central power structure.

Now the central power structure is engaging in public hand-wringning about the Latino vote, or the women’s vote, trying to ‘reach’ them. I’m not a campaign professional, but I don’t think you get these folks’ vote by pandering to them. I think you probably earn them by adhering to the ideals which you publicly espouse. If the party elite only wants these folks for their vote, only to subsequently mistreat them in the same manner as they’ve mistreated the liberty wing of the party, I think any such initiative will likely backfire in the same manner as this election cycle.

I guess I’ve all but impugned the character of the national party leaders. I don’t know them. Heck at this point, I can’t even name them. But I don’t trust them. By their deeds, so shall they be known.

So much for integrity, how about competency? Just a few words…

Right up through midday election day, every national GOP leader seemed to know Romney/Ryan had it in the bag.

Donkeys had polling, we had prognosticators
Donkeys had solid statistics, we had “I’ve been doing this for 30 years, and I guarantee that…”
Donks had Big Data, we had incoherent, unconnected, informal record keeping
Donks had organized boots on the ground, we had happy social clubs
Donks had well-oiled GOTV, we had an Orca washed up on the beach

While our so-called ‘leaders’ were ‘just resting their eyes’, technology had moved on. Dems capitalized upon this. We were caught flatfooted. To mix metaphors, we brought a knife to a gunfight. And while you are closer to the discussion, out here in the hinterlands I see no evidence that the central cast have learned anything from it.

So after all that, here’s where I am at. The central leadership of the party must be changed. And not with others that believe the the power and decision making ability should be centralized, but with a new team who believes in the wisdom of the grassroots. Not only are the current ‘pretenders to the throne’ philosophically adherent to the fallacy of central planning, but the evidence I see suggests that they are morally bereft, and further that they are unable to adapt to the new campaign realities of the big data era.

Perhaps this letter is a tactical error on my part. After all, county elections precede state. However, I often feel that the biggest problem with politics is that politics are involved. Frankly, I haven’t the patience for it. But I take heart in the fact that I believe there is a large and growing contingent that is also losing patience with the system as its stands. So I will take solace, should I be cast out, in at least knowing that I did not  resort to subterfuge nor misdirection.

So in terms of state elections. I’ve not yet surveyed the field. I am aware of one other candidate for your office, but know little about him. I will tell you this – the way you conducted the State assembly this time around made me proud to be a Republican. Especially after expecting the worst, having participated in two cycles of Dick Wadhams’ tinpot dictatorship. Though I’d still like to further explore our delegation’s abstentions at RNC with you at some point — I have spoken with several of them, and would like to get your perspective on the issue.

If there is a candidate that can show sincere intent for reform at a national level, while not giving ground on the improvements we’ve seen during your tenure (or even improving upon them) at the state level, that is the candidate for Chair that will have my vote.

I wish you luck – I believe it would improve us all.

Joe Breher
Vice Chair,
Boulder County Republicans
Are You Free? http://BFree2.org
Co-Founder, http://ZeroAggressionProject.org

29 thoughts on “A letter to the Colorado state Chair of the GOP

  1. Jon

    Thanks Joe for the thoughts and thanks for publishing.

    At national I was one of the abstentions. With the rules changes and Ryan Call stating at breakfast “We are here to nominate Mitt Romney”, abstain was an easy decision.

    1. jbreher Post author

      Thanks for your service, Jon.

      In discussion with other members of the CO delegation, who also voted to abstain, their rationale was stated as being convinced that, had they voted Paul, then state chair Ryan Call would have invoked some privilege allowing him to cast those votes as for Romney instead. Was this your concern as well?

  2. Nancy

    I too was one of those who voted “I abstain”. I was a Rick Santorum delegate. I cast my vote this way in order to keep a promise I made to those who elected me. I was on a Pro-Life slate at the Congressional District 1 Assembly, where I was elected. In order to be on this slate, I took a pledge promising to vote for only Pro-Life candidates. I felt Mitt Romney’s record on abortion did not support the true Pro-Life position. In addition, he is Mormon and the Mormon religion states (per Wikipedia) “Mormons are opposed to abortions, except in some exceptional circumstances, such as when pregnancy is the result of incest or rape, or when the life or health of the mother is in serious jeopardy”. Some time after the Convention, I heard on radio ads that Mitt Romney supported abortion in cases of rape and incest. Paul Ryan also stated in the VP debate with Joe Biden that this would be the policy of a Romney administration. This goes against the Pro-Life position of the pledge I took.

    1. jbreher Post author

      And I thank you too, for your service.

      If there had not been the threat of the chair entering your vote for another candidate as for Romney, might you have cast your ballot for your preferred candidate?

    2. kelly

      I was not there, so I do not have any first-hand information. However, taking a pledge and standing by your promise to all of those people, even under the most difficult circumstances, takes great courage that many do not have. Nancy, you did the right thing. Be proud that you kept your word. We must demand that politicians and political leaders do the same. I am thankful to live in Douglas County and have a Colorado House Representative (a political leader, not a politician) that sets the bar to measure all others seeking office: First, he was unashamed to publicly publish his beliefs and stances on the issues, before the election, so everybody could see and hear exactly what he would do and how he would vote, and Second, he did exactly those things. Thank you, Chris, and God bless you and your family. Thank you, Nancy, you passed the bar. Thank you for your unwavering pledge and commitment for Life.

      Success is not measured by what you accomplish but by the opposition you have encountered, and the courage with which you have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds.
      - Orison Marden

  3. Nancy

    Joe, yes, perhaps I would have done that. Although I don’t know that voting for Rick Santorum was an option at that point, as he had withdrawn from the race.

  4. Fred

    GOP has issues with central controlled government, but want a central controlled party? #doublestandard. RINOs be gone! Time for a new state party chair. You lose elections and now you disreapect your own base. GOP needs leadsership, obviously, that is lacking. Start in k-12, think long term.

  5. Val

    Joe, a little off topic but worth mentioning. I don’t know if you’re aware, but the Boulder County Republican Bylaws Committee is considering bylaw changes. A major proposal is to remove all Colorado State delegate positions from the many (uncontrollable) caucuses and place those delegate positions in the five (controllable) Colorado House districts. Another is that the Executive Committee will make all decisions about how delegates are allocated. Each of those proposals is a power grab and an attempt to wrest power away from the grass roots of the precincts. In 2012, the bylaws were violated to do that very thing.

    I have been a Vice Chair, a District Captain, the president of Boulder Republican Women (2 terms), a Precinct Committeeman for years and years. I am a current member of the BCR Central Committee. My husband serviced as Chairman. We have given thousands of dollars to the Boulder County party. If this power grab is successful, they can count one less woman among their ranks. I have but one straw left.

    1. jbreher Post author

      I was not aware that a move was afoot to change the bylaws to thwart the grassroots. However, I am not particularly surprised.

      The traditional power structure thinks they can coalesce power in their hands, and use it against the masses? Do they not see that they are espousing principles abhorrent to republicanism?

      No matter. We will adapt and overcome.

    1. jbreher Post author

      Val – I misunderstood your initial note. I somehow interpreted it as State-level.

      BCR is considering bylaws changes. We should discuss them further. I do not think they are as insidious as you believe them to be. More importantly, any meeting held tomorrow would not be able to change the bylaws:

    2. jbreher Post author

      Section 1. These bylaws may be amended at any meeting of the BCR by a two-thirds vote cast, excluding abstentions, provided that the proposed amendment was submitted to the bylaws committee and included in the official call sent no fewer than ten days before that meeting.
      Section 2. If previous notice was not given in the call, unanimous consent of all BCR members present must be obtained before an amendment may be offered for debate.
      Section 3. Any Central Committee member seeking an amendment to these bylaws shall submit such proposed amendment to the Secretary for inclusion in the mailing of the official call.

    3. jbreher Post author

      Though I am rather intrigued by the thought that there may be a meeting at BCR HQ tomorrow. As VC, I would think I would have been notified. I have heard there is a move afoot to unseat me — presumably because I am unwilling to toe the establishment line from above. I wonder…

  6. Jim

    Joe, great letter. You were much more diplomatic than I would have been. The country is burning and Colorado GOP is worried about getting scraps from the establishment’s table. These days just because someone is a Republican doesn’t mean that they haven’t been duped into a fool by bogus party propaganda. I applaud you for not going along with the charades and hope that there are many others who realize that the failed policies of the RINOs will continue to tear down our party. It’s time for all the other good guys who love freedom to quit playing political games and take principled stands against the central planning thugs to preserve what is left of the GOP’s credibility and our liberty.

  7. Pingback: A letter to the Colorado state Chair of the GOP | Boulder GOP | Spotlight On Corruption

  8. Nancy

    Kelly, thank you for the kinds words. I never would have guessed my “I Abstain” vote would have caused so much stress, grief and animosity. It seems to be the gift that just keeps on giving.

    1. jbreher Post author

      I hope you are not detecting animosity from me – certainly none is intended. My personal view (bearing in mind I don’t have all the facts) is that the delegates who abstained made the best decision that they could, under a terrible set of circumstances, apparently foisted upon them by the chair.

      IOW, I fully support your principled abstention.

      1. Nancy

        Joe, not at all… I haven’t detected animosity from anyone on this thread. It has come from elsewhere. I think everyone did indeed make the best decision that they could, given the information they had. I think there are a lot of assumptions and misconception in the general public about how Conventions work and what their purpose is “supposed” to be. It felt to me that there was a lot of pressure on non-Romney delegates to cast their vote for Mitt Romney at the Convention and anyone who indicated they may not do so, were ostracized by many people, and viewed as being traitors. Some are of the opinion that the nominee had already been determined before the Convention, therefore we should all vote for that presumed nominee in order to show unity to Dems, media, etc. I disagree with that philosophy. If we were all expected to vote for the same candidate, why then would there be a need for a Convention? Another thing many people don’t seem to realize is that the rules governing delegate votes is different for each state. Also to consider was the difference, if any, of rules pertaining to bound versus unbound delegates. Trying to get information or figure out what Colorado’s rules are was not an easy task. And on top of that, there were changing variables that needed to be factored in, such as what happens when a candidate, such as Rick Santorum, releases his delegates? Are they now free to cast their vote for whichever candidate they choose or obligated to vote for a particular candidate? In the case of Rick Santorum, I don’t recall him even asking his delegates to cast their vote for Mitt Romney, although I seem to recall towards the very end, him saying he personally was going to support Mitt Romney. In the end, I think each of us had a responsibility to cast our vote in accordance with the commitment we made to those who elected us. We had to use our best judgment, given the information we had, to do that. Isn’t that why they elected us?

      2. Nancy

        I’d like to add that I think the Romney-pledged delegates had it “easy” compared to the others, in that there would have been no struggle for them in how they should vote, no need to try to figure out how the rules worked, etc. Another thing to consider – the RNC rules changed as a result of the Convention, and the State rules may also change before the next Convention in 2016. So, one may not necessarily be able to base their decisions in 2016 on rules that were in place in 2012. Nor should assumptions be made as to decisions that were made in 2012, based on rules that have changed since that voting took place.

  9. Val

    Joe, I hope I haven’t confused things. That’s why I prefaced my comments by “a little off topic but worth mentioning.” This is a meeting of the by-laws committee. We’ve been meeting by email (open to anyone interested) but several have called for face-to-face since the topic is so confusing. We’re trying to agree to a process of ranking precincts and how to allocate delegates to the precincts. This is the document that will be properly noticed and considered at the next central committee meeting.

    There are some who want delegate selection to remain at the precinct grass roots level and some who want that removed from the precincts and centered in the House districts. I believe this is indeed insidious because 254 caucuses are not very controllable but five House districts are. In the last election, some were allowed delegate information for their House Districts, prior to the assembly, and some were not. I have an email, accidentally sent, that says I am not to have any information about my House District. See how five districts can be controlled?

    1. jbreher Post author

      Thanks for the clarification, Val. I think I follow that the bylaws committee is meeting to formalize wording for the several alternatives in allocation of delegates to higher assemblies. This makes sense.

      1. Val

        Joe, we did meet but no vote was allowed. There was even no Bylaws Committee consensus for at least one of the options but it will be presented to the assembly anyway.

    2. jbreher Post author

      Incidentally, I’d like to know who sent the email barring you from information on delegates at HD.

      FWIW, I support the process we used this last time around, because the previous legacy model made it impossible for anyone in certain precincts to attend higher assemblies. The two level approach gave a (theoretically) equal path to any interested voter to get to higher assembly.

      Do you think there is the possibility of encoding something in the bylaws, mandating that equal (and full) access to information be granted to all delegates, could alleviate your manifestly real concern about control?

      1. Val

        I proposed a method last night that would ensure participation, either as a delegate or alternate, for every single precinct. If state delegates are to be selected by house districts, precincts where people do nothing will have the same priority as precincts that pound the pavement and get out the vote. Something is terribly wrong about that. I will email you that message I referred to.

  10. Val

    Joe, are you aware of the “unit rule” provided in both county and State GOP bylaws? “What is commonly known as the “unit rule,” by which the entire vote of a delegation is cast according to the majority vote within that delegation, shall not be enforced nor adhered to.”

  11. chas


    A fellow traveler from nearby Weld County. I loved the letter to Ryan (“Can you hear me now?”) Call. I was also at the RNC in Tampa. Not to vote, but to help. The treatment of a minority of the party was shameful.

    With the Weld CCM coming up, do you have any insight to help rejuvenate grass roots GOP activities in the area? Feel free to email or otherwise contact if you wish to take this off-line.

    1. jbreher Post author

      Hi Charles – thanks for the reply.
      I guess the rejuvenation of the grass roots likely is the same task it ever was. Talk to your neighbors about the issues that matter to you, and ask them to get involved.
      The leadership of our party can get away with these heinous actions only because enough of we rank and file members have become complacent.
      But some of us are organizing to change this. We are hoping to become a force the rotten core will be unable to ignore.
      As a neighboring county, we should communicate frequently on these things. I’ll hit you up offline.