Commentary: Conservative uprising being led by foot soldiers
As kids we were taught that actions have consequences. But for years now moderate Republican elected officials in Nevada have been getting away with violating the party’s core principles on fiscal conservatism with impunity. Those days are now over.
Moderate Republicans in the 2009 Legislature conspired with the Democratic majority to saddle Nevada with over $1 billion worth of higher taxes. And without the support of those moderate Republicans, not a dime’s worth of higher taxes could have passed. Which has finally pushed party activists beyond the breaking point.
At a hastily called special meeting of the Clark County Republican Party this week, members overwhelmingly approved a resolution officially censuring the six Republicans who voted for the bill (SB429) raising sales and payroll taxes by a whopping $781 million dollars. The resolution notes that the party platform “is clear in its opposition to new taxes” and that “every chairman of every Nevada county central committee” had signed a letter at the start of the 2009 session “urging its elected legislators to vote against raising new taxes.”
The resolution concluded that “the political damage caused to the Republican Party brand name from Republican officeholders who support higher taxes is tremendous” and instructed the party’s central committee to refrain “from giving any assistance of any kind” in the upcoming campaigns to those Republican legislators who were censured.
The GOP’s foot soldiers are tired of being used as doormats. They’ve had enough of voting for, volunteering for and raising money for candidates who run on the party’s label and then back-hand the very people they owe their elections to. As the saying goes, these folks are mad as hell and they aren’t going to take it any longer.
Of course, the moderates will say they represent their entire district, not just the Republicans. Fine. Then run for office as an independent and see how far that gets you.
And don’t think for a minute these resolutions carry no weight and will be quickly forgotten. Instead, count on a number of moderate Republicans earning themselves a primary challenge or recall effort – and these censure resolutions will assuredly be used against those RINOs (Republicans in Name Only) who have finally strayed too far off the fiscal conservative reservation one time too many.
Contrary to claims by the moderates, this isn’t the party eating its own. This is the party thinning its herd of old bulls and weak links to make room for new, stronger, more vibrant, more effective, more principled, unapologetic and unafraid leadership. Rather than cementing the party’s demise, these resolutions are the first step toward the GOP’s renewal and re-emergence as a worthy governing party.
Let the primaries begin!
• Chuck Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, a limited-government public policy organization.