Members of the State Central Committee:
This has been certainly been a very interesting three weeks for me as I am sure it has been for all of you. I have to admit I have learned more than I thought I would about our system of governance. I am sure many of you have learned more than you thought you would about the people who want to believe in the Ohio Republican Party and why they are so angry and frustrated.
When I got into this race for Chairman, I can now say that I really did not understand your point of view and I really did not understand how different our views are about the Ohio Republican “Party”. I did not understand until I had the opportunity to talk to Matt Borges last Saturday and he told me privately, and then said publicly, that the Ohio Republican Party’s role is to elect candidates and specifically to re-elect Governor Kasich. When I asked him about policy, he looked me in the eye and said “We don’t do policy.” When I specifically asked him about policies like the “Navigator” bill in the Senate, he repeated “We don’t do policy.” Even after I pointed out that if Navigators are allowed to register voters, with the presumption being that they would register mostly democratic voters, and that would devastate the Republican Party, he held firm.
His words took me back to one of the first times that I met Bill Batchelder over three years ago. We were asking the “Party” to help us with something, perhaps it was Issue 3. Speaker Batchelder candidly said something like, “You don’t understand, we raise money to win elections and after we win elections we stay out of the way until the next election where the cycle repeats itself.” They were not involved with Policy. We did not get that. Even when current Chairman Bennett would say something like, “The Ohio Republican Party is a Party without Policies.” We did not get that. It did not make sense to us.
The reason it does not make sense to “us” is because “we” collectively believe in policies. We believe in the National Republican Party Platform. We believe in values. We believe in principles. We believe in a conservative approach to living our lives and wish to see that reflected in our Governance. According to Wikipedia, “A political party is a political organization that typically seeks to influence, or entirely control, government policy, usually by nominating candidates with aligned political views, and trying to seat them in political office. Parties participate in electoral campaigns and educational outreach or protest actions. Parties often espouse an ideology or vision, expressed in a party program, bolstered by a written platform with specific goals, forming a coalition among disparate interests.” That is what “we” think the Ohio Republican “Party” is, or was, or should be. You, or at least your leadership, clearly does not.
See, what Matt and Chairman Bennett and Speaker Batchelder and many of you on the State Central Committee are telling me and “us” is that the Ohio Republican “Party” is not a party. It is a campaign; it is an election machine; its role is to elect candidates. Matt Borges said last Saturday that he has been preparing for this job his entire life and that he is best qualified for this job because of his background. I will be the first to say that he is correct if the Ohio Republican “Party” is what he and most of you believe it is, which is an organization whose sole purpose is to elect candidates. Matt Borges has an impressive record of doing that. However that is not a political party. It also explains why the ORP has no platform. Why it refused to vote on adopting the National Republican Party Platform. Why it endorses in primaries. Why it allows, it wants, the candidates to set policy. Once they are elected, the “Party” has no role to play in policy. That is your choice, but it is not a political party.
The problem for “us” is that we see no point in electing anyone if we can not count on them to implement the policies we want implemented. The definition of a political party is that they only elect candidates for the purpose of influencing government policy. The Ohio Republican “Party” leaves out the policy part, which from our view is the most important part. This is why we are angry and frustrated and disappointed, because we thought you were something that you never intended to be – a political party. Now we get it.
As I explained in my previous email about the anger and frustration, and on my TV appearance with Tom Beres on Channel 3, the idea of letting candidates set policy is fundamentally destructive to a political party. People believe in ideas and ideals and in principals and values. They project them on candidates, and candidates espouse them; but candidates come and go, principals do not, values do not. People are confused because if someone puts the red “R” next to their name, that is a brand, and over decades that brand has come to mean something to voters. Increasingly that is becoming false advertising. By its own “policy” the ORP is lending its brand to people and letting them define it any way they want. It is like selling McDonalds franchises to people and letting them use pink and blue for their colors, or offering pizza instead of hamburgers. It doesn’t work because then the brand means nothing. The problem is that today the Republican brand stands for nothing or anything or what ever is popular. No one is managing the brand.
Let me share some stunning figures with all of you that I just learned this week, and let me make clear, that these numbers really reflect the most active people in these parties because they will vote in a primary:
– In 2008 according to Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s website, Democrats out-numbered Republicans by 174,000, 1.48 million to 1.30 million. The unaffiliated voters totaled 5.1 million.
– In 2012, Democrats went from 1.48 million down to 827,000. That is a loss of 653,000. Republicans went from 1.3 million down to 894,000. That is a loss of 412,000. This segment of [unaffiliated] voters rose from 5.1 million to 6.3 million. That is an increase of 1.2 million more unaffiliated voters.
So, out of 8,021,000 registered votes, only 11% are Republicans (Down from 16% in 2008) and only 10% are Democrats (down from 18%) are active and engaged in their party and we still lost the election in November! Why? Because, as any businessman can clearly see, nobody is buying what either party is selling. They see no need or benefit to party affiliation. That is why over a million registered voters stayed home. They don’t like the candidates. They don’t honestly get to choose the candidates because the “Party”/Campaign organization endorses in primaries and spends huge dollars to limit the choices. They are disengaged.
Citizens are not walking away, they are running away from a system that is fundamentally broken and from “Party’s” that are not political parties at all. More importantly, they are running away from “Party’s” that do not have their best interests in mind and instead manipulate them through media and advertising to gain power and take wealth from citizens for themselves and their circle of consultants and operatives. This is why the “Party” is only about electing candidates and not about policy. Electing candidates is where the money is, that is where the consulting fees come from; policy and principles are risky business and are only considered when there is more money to be made from special interests.
“We” are not about just electing candidates. “We” want to be part of a political party that stands for something and then does something about it. “We” want, we need, to change the direction of our government so it is more in line with our conservative values and beliefs. “We” want the government to be the referee in the ring to make sure it is a fair fight in the marketplace of ideas, but we do not want our government sitting at ring side deciding who will be the winner and who will be the loser.
So this is what your vote on the State Central Committee comes down to on Friday. If you believe that the sole function of the Ohio Republican “Party” is to elect candidates and specifically re-elect Governor Kasich, then you need to vote for Matt Borges because he is a Campaign Manager. If you believe, and more accurately want, the Ohio Republican “Party” to be, and in reality now become, a political party that also elects candidates but does so for the purpose of implementing policies our members want, then you need to vote for Tom Zawistowski because he is a leader who can attract people to a cause and motivate them to fight for that cause.
You must vote Friday with the clear understanding, that the members of the conservative coalition that I represent, do not want to be part of a campaign organization. They want to be part of a political party. They see the need to be engaged every day with our fellow citizens to educate them about the conservative values that made our nation great and to defend those values. They are looking for leadership that will help them organize and finance the fight that they must make at all levels of our society to defeat the socialist “regressive” values of the left that are so rapidly gaining ground in our nation. The left is gaining ground, not because their ideas are superior to ours, but because we have no organized opposition to them. The republicans I represent demand that their leaders lead the fight against the left’s assault on our values and they know that means a lot more than just electing politicians.
So, let me be clear. If the Republican “Party” is not a political party but is instead a campaign organization, we will go find a political party to be part of or we will create our own. This is not a case of “we can’t get our way, so we are going to take our ball and go home.” “We” now know we never had a ball. You, the ORP, are saying, it’s our ball, and it’s our game, and it’s our gym, you are locking the gym door with us on the outside. That is your decision to make. I told Chairman Bennett a year ago, “we” would not decide if there is a third party or not, the ORP will decide by its actions. Friday you, the State Central Committee members will make that decision.
My hope, the hope of all those whom I represent, would be for Governor Kasich hire Matt Borges to be his Campaign Manager and that you would vote to make Tom Zawistowski the Chairman of what will become the Ohio Republican Party. That to “us” is the recipe for success that we all want and need. Regardless of the outcome of vote, I sincerely thank all of you for your commitment to this process, and for reading my long emails and taking the time to learn about me and my qualifications. I look forward to seeing you Friday in Columbus.
Candidate for Chairman of the Ohio Republican Party
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