Republican Party of Florida Purges Pro-Liberty Members
The chairman of the Republican Party of Florida has removed from the party and from office elected officials for speaking out against party leaders and policy. by Dave Nalle
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
On Friday — timed just right to minimize news coverage — Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer and the state party Grievance Committee notified a number of party members, many of them holding elective office, that they were effectively purged from the party and had been removed from their offices and would be ineligible to hold any other party positions for periods ranging from two to four years.
The targets of this purge are mostly members of the Florida chapter of the Republican Liberty Caucus, a group which seeks to return the party to its core beliefs of individual liberty, limited government, and free markets. These particular individuals were targeted because they had expressed opinions critical of party policy, candidates, and office holders, on the basis of which the grievance committee decided that they had "engaged in disruptive conduct likely to interfere with the activities of the Republican Party." Acting on the committee's recommendation, Chairman Greer issued letters stripping them of their offices and rights as party members.
This is the culmination of an ongoing assault by a party establishment dominated by big-government Republican hacks seeking to silence grassroots activists who are trying to reform the party and bring it back to the values on which it was founded. Previous actions against the RLC include an attempt to prevent them from using the word "Republican" in their name, despite the fact that the group has used the title for almost 20 years and obtained permission in writing from the party for the use of the name under a prior administration.
The current actions may be at least partially driven by the success of the RLC in Florida, where it has grown to be one of the largest political groups in the state, and by the outspoken support of many members for Marco Rubio, who is challenging incumbent Governor Charlie Crist in the next election. Many RLC activists supported Ron Paul in the last presidential primary and were not enthusiastic about the McCain nomination, drawing criticism from the party establishment. Also at issue were demands for an audit of the state party and an investigation into financial improprieties by Orange County Chairman Lew Oliver.
The complaint against Florida RLC Chairman Will Pitts was typical of the type of issues raised against the targets of the purge. Pitts attended a Campaign for Liberty event, wore a Ron Paul button after the primary, went to an End the Fed rally and was critical of GOP leaders, including describing Chairman Greer and Governor Crist as "pathetic and embarrassing."
On the basis of actions like these, which amount to little more than having an opinion which is unpopular with the party leadership, Pitts was banned from serving in any official office in the RPOF for two years plus another two years of probation, during which expressing an unapproved opinion will presumably lead to further punishment. Other RLC members targeted include Nick Egoroff of Orlando who was expelled for four years, Northeast Florida RLC Chairman John Stevens who was removed from his office as a Precinct Committeeman and banned from office until 2013 which is after the next election cycle, and RLC board member Elizabeth Campbell who was stripped of her position as a Committeewoman in Excambria County. Others targeted in the purge include Brevard Republican Chairman Jason Steele, Orange County Precinct Committeeman Deon Long and anti-tax activist Doug Guetzloe of Orange County. Egoroff plans to file a lawsuit against Greer and the state party.
It is troubling to see these purges directed at loyal grassroots activists like Will Pitts and John Stevens who have been working hard for years to build up the Republican Party in Florida, bring in new blood and encourage reforms and a return to Republican ideals. It's outrageous that they have been punished by the Florida Party for little more than expressing personal opinions which were not popular with a leadership which has no tolerance for dissent or speech which doesn't match their version of political correctness. The GOP has always been a "Big Tent" with room for diversity of opinion and a respect for the right of free expression, but in Florida under Greer the rules are more like those of the Soviet Communists who believed that slavish subservience to the party was more important than individual rights.
Who can blame these activists for their honest disagreement with the policies which have taken the GOP away from its principles of limited government and individual liberty, sold its soul to special interests, and brought it to a reduced status as a minority party in both houses of Congress? The party needs them and their idealism far more than it needs leaders like Greer who defend the status quo with purges and suppression of dissent.
It's also disturbing that many of those purged held offices which they were voted into in a public election. It is fundamentally wrong that party officials should negate the vote of the people for such petty reasons. The will of the people is not lightly flaunted and there will be a price to be paid in the next election for riding roughshod over the voters and party rank and file who see the need for change which the leadership is blindly resisting.
Party leaders ought to be looking to the RLC for a new generation of leadership, not singling them out for punishment for stating truths which ought to be obvious. This purge is a direct attack on loyal Republicans who just want to see the Party live up to its avowed beliefs. Healthy debate makes the party stronger and enthusiastic grassroots activists like these should not be punished for commitment to principle or idealism, even when it leads them to openly criticize the leaders who have failed them and the party.
he national board of the Republican Liberty Caucus has issued a strongly worded press release in support of the Florida chapter urging their members nationwide to write letters to newspapers and national party officials protesting the purges.
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hahaha.... Man. Poor Florida just cant seem to get anything right. Well, as a free-market purist, I am confident that the existing FLA GOP leadership will be swallowed up by a restless and dissatisfied electorate.
Good luck Greer, your most active and enthusiastic base just turned against you for real.
Posted By: Jahfre Fire Eater
Date: 2009-09-09 15:01:30
Â Wow, thanks for sharing that.Â The only real threat to both collectivists and authoritarians is an enabled citizen exercising their rights as an individual.Â I have no doubt that the defense of liberty depends on wresting control of the most powerful tool, the GOP, from the enemies of liberty such as this Partyman Greer character.Â Ron Paul, the Campaign for Liberty, and individuals participating as active Ron Paul Republicans have the Progressive Right shaking in their liberty trampling boots.Â I view every last on of them as a temporary obstacle.Â Once revealed, they can never pose as conservatives again.Â I believe when their masks come off and battle lines are drawn, the neocons will be routed quickly and decisively...just don't know when...Â :-)
When life hands you a lemon make lemonade.Â If that's how they want to play it fine.Â Every one of the people who were kicked out for supporting individual liberty and constitutional government should contact their county Libertarian Party and offer to join it, get active and use their contacts to place libertarians in office instead of republicans.Â Jim Greer should choke on his own vomit when he realizes what he just did.
For years the Republicans (including Neoconservative Republicans like Eric Dondero) have tried to convince libertarians that they are welcome in the smaller government Republican Party.Â Libertarians in the LP have seen through the lie, but there are some left in the Republican Party who think that the RP might be salvageable.
Hopefully this will serve as a wakeup call to them to abandon that wreck of a party.
Posted By: Jahfre Fire Eater
Date: 2009-09-14 10:37:17
Anyone who thinks the struggle for the defense of liberty has anything do do with being in a party,or a herd, or a mob that makes them feel good has self-identified as being totally useless and more trouble than they are worth to try to bring along.Â Don't miss choir practice folks...the next sermon or the next hymn you sing may be that magic one that causes everyone else to "wake up" and moo in unison with you.
When an individual steps out of the herd and begins to participate constructively in the defense of liberty it doesn't matter what the remaining herd thinks.Â Rational individuals who understand the stakes in this struggle would never choose self-marginalization and deliberate futility.Â Those who manage to shake off the bovine peer pressure and act as individuals will always choose the moste powerful and effective tools available...and that might not always be the same tool. Be free to choose and smart enough to go against the stampede.
Well well, it looks like Florida might become one of the states where the governorship or its congressional members might come from third parties.Â If the Florida Republican Party refuses to stand for individual liberty, while the Democratic Party nationwide seems to stand only for collectivist tyranny, then they are leaving the door WIDE open for any party that wants to come in and seriously stand for individual liberty.Â I would agree with Rocketman's suggested course of action - those who have been kicked out of the Florida Republican Party FOR standing for liberty could join right up with the Libertarians and identify with them.Â They should be shining examples of the brand when the next election comes around.