Sunday, March 30, 2008

Another Report on SD-14 Convention

David Nalle did his own "live blog" of the SD-14 Convention. I met him, he's a local party member as well as a part of 'blogcritics' crew. He also blogs at He stayed there to the bitter (10PM) end. I have some followup comments, which I'll post as an update.

Btw some interesting comments - I consider this ... "You are absolutely correct. Those individuals sporting earpieces ARE establishment Republicans who have connections with the Legacy PAC (as if 'Legacy' doesn't SCREAM establishment/status quo)" ... The most ironic post-Sager-era comment possible. The "Renegades" who battled Sager are 'establishment' now?!? Cue The Who's "Don't Get Fooled Again".

Gardiner Selby (Statesman) - Paul supporters win one, lose one. As in, they took over SD-25, lost the SD-14: "Robert McDonald, an Austin CPA elected the permanent chair of the county’s GOP SD 25 convention, said he won the post by about 17 votes—after which some of what he called the old guard walked out, including the temporary chairman, Brian Padden."

McDonald was Libertarian Party candidate in 2006 for JP precinct 3, helping to defeat Republican Melissa Goodwin in that race. Libertarian Wes Benedict does the high-fives over it. It looks more and more like we really dodged a bullet in the SD-14 convention.


spacebetween said...

I came across your blog just doing some in-depth research on Google. I wanted to find more insight into the GOP conventions from this past weekend.

The quote which you placed in this post belongs to me. I used the word "establishment" because that's how I heard certain "Legacy" members describe themselves. I've discovered other comments on other blogs related to this Sager character which alluded to his rigid ruling in Travis County in the past.

I attended the convention as a 'Ron Paul Republican' delegate. I'm very curious about the history of local GOP politics now.

Freedom's Truth said...

well, there is an interesting history of the TCRP I could give. I'll add another post when I have time.

Usually the 'grassroots' folks say 'establishment' when they mean the country clubber type Republicans, who are the real folks who seem to run things. Or so it seems as they get their folks elected.

"this Sager character" LOL, he's the former TCRP chair And was since 2000, until Rosemary Edwards threw her hat into the ring in December. Prior to that Becky Motal, and prior to that Jan Galbraith. Jan had a successful run. There has been a 'religious right' vs 'country club' type factionalism for some time. Sager took things to a higher level by actively running precinct chairs and trying to either shut down or take over some of the grassroots activities. For example, the ran someone against Bill Crocker and actively campaigned for that person. Crocker is now RNC Committeeman from Texas(!!) This was in 2004 and the convention floor fight was over a censure of Sager. Pretty unusual and quite a bit unsavory to censure your own county chair. Sager back then was saying his goal was to re-elect Bush. All well and good, except the biggest vote margin in any Texas county for Kerry was in Travis. There has been grumbling from the 'peons' in the grassroots about Sager, but nobody would/could challenge him, he's got more money and tries to impress the bigwigs.
But after 2006, when we were down to ZERO state reps, it was clear we are off track in TCRP; not all Sager's fault, but the coach is losing games, what do you do?
Behind the scenes, there were attempts after 2006 to move Sager aside but he would budge. I was told (maybe even Sager mentioned this) that funding groups for Repubs wrote off Travis.

So with Rosemary Edwards, I would have thought we have a new day in TCRP where we come together sing Kumbaya and get on with the business of winning races and going after Democrats. I think of myself as unhypehanated conservative and Reagan Republican, and I know that as long as Ron Paul folks are respectful and willing to reach across, others will accept them as allies.

Morrow and Zimmerman are friends of mine and are very active and hard-working and did a great job organizing for Ron Paul. I hope the folks they are bringing are positive additions to local activism and not 'fraggers' and disruptors.
There are always ideological differences in the GOP coalition, but my experience has been that it is personality and turf and petty power plays that turns those differences into 'factions'. We dont need it. Its pointless.

We never could afford to be in fight-eachother mode, and we cant afford it now. Daugherty had the numbers ... we are 4 out of 53 in county wide and below representation. We are far from competitive on countywide basis. This is about the lowest point we've been in GOP influence in a long time. Oh, and if Libertarians think they are any better, put down the bong, man - Democrat socialists run the city, run the county, and are the #1 reason they wil be able to win sometime statewide.

We need to work together to fight the real opponents.

Freedom's Truth said...

"ide but he would budge" but he would NOT budge, I meant to say.

spacebetween said...

Thanks, freedom's truth. Pardon me for my naivete, but I'm new to this, and I do intend on sticking around. Get used to it. :-)

I knew Sager was the Travis County chairman, I just didn't know to what extent certain people reviled him.

After doing a good amount of research since Saturday from blogs, news stories, etc, I'm thinking more and more that the problems in the Travis County GOP are microcosmic of the national party's own woes. There is a lack of unity among the factions as the big government "conservatives" have moved up in the ranks to control the party AND the country. The Republican Party, the old "party of small government," has lost its identity, but I think that's been obvious to a lot of people for awhile now.

Speaking as an inexperienced delegate, I came to the convention thinking it really would be those "country clubbers" versus the Ron Paul Republican types. I was completely unaware of the county party's past. This isn't because I've been apart of the Libertarian or Democratic party or any nonsense like that. In fact, this is the first election I've been excited about (due to Ron Paul running, of course), and the second election in which I voted. The first time was in 2006, and I had just turned 18.

I have more respect for the Legacy folks after reading about Sager. BUT, I'm still somewhat wary about sitting down and singing kumbahyah with them after the letters and phone calls they made last week with the derisive accusations against Ron Paul Republicans.

Again, thanks for your mini-history there. I look forward to hearing a lot more about TCRP's past from your point of view!

Randy A. Samuelson said...

I served on Nominations for SD14, the group that chose the at-large state delegates and alternates.

Over the course of 4 days, we interviewed between 250-280 people.

Of all of these, only about 5 voted for John McCain in the primary and were willing to admit it. They were all military veterans.

About 1/2 of these people supported a hodge-podge of candidates ranging from Huckabee, Thompson, Keyes, Romney, and Hunter. Of these, 90% of these people are upstanding fiscal conservatives that are concerned with high taxes, high government spending, illegal immigration, national sovereignty, family values, and other economic issues. The other 10% ranked family values first over fiscal issues. The majority of these people are long time voters who have been active in the party for 2-3 decades.

About 1/2 of those interviewed voted for Ron Paul. Of these, 90% of these people are upstanding fiscal conservatives that are concerned with high taxes, high government spending, illegal immigration, national sovereignty, family values, and other economic issues. The other 10% were what I call anarchists that wanted to shut down the government. Most of these people are under the age of 35 and many are first time voters.

You will notice that of the cross-section of those who attended the SD 14 convention, we agree on the majority of the issues and all want to work on holding our elected officials accountable to the Republican Party of Texas Platform. This is what gives me enthusiasm.

Freedom's Truth said...

"I have more respect for the Legacy folks after reading about Sager. BUT, I'm still somewhat wary about sitting down and singing kumbahyah with them after the letters and phone calls they made last week with the derisive accusations against Ron Paul Republicans."

I can understand that. But the flipside of the story is that there was indeed an organized attempt to take over conventions, overturn committees and put Ron Paul supporters on statewide slates. The SD-14 folks knew by early afternoon what had gone down in SD-25 and were determined not to let it happen in SD-14. Thankfully they had the votes to succeed.

What's frustrating is that there an attempt to be fair to the small precincts and the Ron Paul folks (1 of 4 in my precinct is on our precinct slate). There is common ground and we can work together.

We have been trading comments on the blogcritic post. I do hope you stick around, on our blog, and in the local party ...

"I think you will find that those of us Ron Paul Republicans who are willing to continue the fight to restore the values of the GOP have a LOT in common with your group."

Those that have the attitude of looking for common ground rather than looking for a fight will find that others will be more than accepting of them joining the 'team' and uniting to win against the socialist/liberal Democrats. Whoever you are, I look forward to meeting you at future Travis GOP events.

Freedom's Truth said...

oops, my thought was incomplete:
"What's frustrating is that there an attempt to be fair to the small precincts and the Ron Paul folks (1 of 4 in my precinct is on our precinct slate)," ... yet the Ron Paul folks on the floor didnt seem to understand or know that. They seemed to think they were excluded when they werent. Here Rob Morrow was bashing the Nominations Committee, and yet Randy Samuelson explained the facts - several Ron Paul supporters on the committee itself, and they were given a fair shake - In the system Rob wanted to overturn.

So it's frustrating that animosity was created unnecessarily.

spamchang said...

i am neither a legacy nor a ron paul republican, but i gotta say, on pure behavioral terms, the ron paul folks scared me off. they had no idea what they were doing on saturday...

i appeared before the nominations committee and was not asked who i voted for. i didn't realize i was being questioned on ideology--i thought i was being thrown questions and judged on my ability to articulate opinions extemporaneously. hopefully i'll get to play delegate since i'm only a higher-up alternate at this point. someone tell me what delegates are really supposed to do.

i didn't like the rhetoric Mr. Morrow used--"they probably do not like you"--in his flier, and i suppose that's just what the supporters of the minority report felt. unfortunately, it's much easier to attract flies with honey than vinegar. i did vote for the minority report, anyway.

Anonymous said...

Wes Benedict's presence at the SD 25 convention should be the biggest red flag. He started this election season saying that the Libertarian Party's goal in Travis County was to eliminate the Republicans.

This isn't about Ron Paul, or John McCain, or "establishment." It's about one party seeking to take over another. I think we in SD 14 got lucky.

I'm all for differing opinions, for variation in our ranks, but if you don't support the national platform, you aren't a Republican. If this was the first year you ever voted in the Republican primary, and if Ron Paul's not on the November ballot you won't vote, you're not a Republican. Ron Paul isn't the only Republican, and come November we have down-ballot candidates to support. We can't get caught up in presidential politics so much that we forget that all real change is local, that our biggest focus and impact should be local.

The one gentlemen who yelled "welcome to Nazi Germany" at the end of the SD 14 convention was so many kinds of wrong, and he demonstrated the problem here. The SD 14 convention wasn't Nazi Germany - "minority opinions" were represented on the committees and the nominations committee selected a wide range of delegates with varying views, etc. It was 10 o'clock in the evening, and the business of the convention was done except for people who simply wanted to wreak as much havoc as possible.

You want to have your voice heard, make some changes, etc? Show up. So you made some noise on Saturday. Will you be at the next Austin Republican Club meeting, or the next YR meeting? Will you show up for a Legacy PAC breakfast or a CTRA meeting?

Or will you simply go back into hiding, licking wounds you are only imagining and trying to get rid of Republicans in a county where the Democrats are the true threat?

It's no wonder we can't get Republicans elected here. Between Sager's active non-support of our nominated local Republicans and the Libertarian attempt to subvert the party, we're truly stuck.

spacebetween said...

That is one of the most ridiculous things I've ever heard!

The Libertarian Party is hardly even organized itself -- how in the WORLD do you think it plans on "subverting" the Republican Party?

I think you are sorely confused between "libertarians" and "Libertarians." There are RP supporters in each of those camps, and I've not once heard someone say they want to take over the Republican Party for the Libertarians. That's comical!!

MJSamuelson said...

spacebetween - the Travis County Libertarian Party chairman, Wes Benedict, told the Austin American Statesman that he wants to eliminate the Republican Party in Travis County. He was at the SD 25 convention cheering on and aiding those who took the convention over. I think the previous commenter used "Libertarian" in a correct context, insofar as Travis County. Small-"l" libertarians already exist in the party, and there are many who support Dr. Paul for president and many who do not. I trust that there is no agenda among these people, since "libertarian" is an ideology not far removed from conservatism and is already represented in the Republican Party platform.

Also, an attempt to subvert does not mean a total takeover - it means tripping someone up and keeping them from their goals. The goal of the Republican Party is to elect Republicans. The primary in Texas is behind us, we all but have our presidential nominee - the business of the party now is to elect Republicans in every office down the ballot.

spacebetween said...

Let's work together and bring those Libertarians AND libertarians back into the fold, then. :-)