Although the Democrats and other amnesty for illegal immigrants do so from a compassionate high ground, anyone who claims its about giving these migrants from other countries a better life is either lying or refusing to see the truth. We must STOP the human trafficking magnet our nation has become, to our ever-lasting shame. We are the magnet for human traffickers to bring sick, abused and dehydrated children here. Some of these children are raped more times than can be counted…on the way to our border. They ate malnourished and dehydrated. As happens so often the children are simply the pawns of evil adults. Their plight is no matter once they are in our country. Our shame should overwhelm our desire to be accused of racism and heartlessness.
If you truly care for the children help us stop this. Our hearts are breaking for them. Shut the border! Shut Down all Immigration until we get this under control. STOP THE MAGNET that draws the adults here.
It was my generation which celebrated the era of death ushered in by Old Men on SCOTUS. We said over and over “I, personally, would never abort a child but I’m so glad other woman can do so if “needed”. “ May God forgive the ignorance of the young. I saw too late the evil being perpetrated on our nation.
Being the Godly nation we claim to be we have been incrementally attacking abortion ever since the ruling came down. Last year, Texas incrementalism watched as 55,000 defenseless Texans died with no voice!
The time is now!
Now we have the foundation laid by truly Godly men and women of the Abolish Abortion in Texas movement. That movement is growing as the conviction of our Lord falls on His people.
I pray my generation will also be the generation that calls an end to the ERA of DEATH!
It is rare that the internal struggles of a major political party are contentious enough to draw public attention. After all, the participants are all members of the same organization. The differences between candidates are often so nuanced as to leave the outsider baffled as to why there is a contest at all. Sometimes the outcome of these internal contests have consequences that are so enormous, that it can reshape the political map in fundamental ways. Nowhere is this principle more readily observable than in the current race to see who will lead the Republican Party of Texas — one of the largest and most influential state parties in the country.
After presiding over historic gains while leading RPT, James Dickey now faces an unlikely opponent — the anointed successor to Tom Mechler, Cindy Asche.
After the sudden resignation of the wildly unpopular Tom Mechler (defeat in all but name), Dickey, the former County Chair for Travis County, found himself in charge of a Republican Party that seemingly had lost its way.
At the mercy of highly leveraged and well-funded special interests, faced with plummeting fundraising, and suffering from a lack of transparency and accountability indicative of a tottering establishment clinging to perceived power, Mechler was killing the party.
In stark contrast to the corrupt politics of destruction practiced by Mechler, Dickey brought a renewed sense of purpose to the party. His victory as chairman energized the base, motivated the most dedicated party activists, and reengaged peripheral constituent groups long neglected by the elitists formerly in control of party leadership.
The result? Fundraising increased to levels not seen in years and turnout in the March 2018 Republican Primary was higher than any in recent memory.
It’s hard to imagine that anyone would believe that all of that was a bad thing. But those who previously supported Mechler and were caught off-guard by his resignation, think success is a very bad thing — if anyone but Mechler is responsible.
Enter, Cindy Asche.
Out of Nowhere
To say that Asche was “recruited” is perhaps a dramatic understatement. In fact, until she announced that she was running for RPT chair, there were no indications that she had any intention of doing so.
When candidates are preparing to run for any elected office, they conventionally make use of every opportunity to show their faces, shake hands and kiss babies — unless they are a dark horse (i.e., someone else’s political avatar).
The comedy comes when a candidate, laying the groundwork for their last-minute run, begins to show up at events and meetings — as if they’ve been there all along — feigning concern for the major issues. Asche’s theatrics are indeed consistent with the MO of a dark horse candidate.
Asche previously showed little concern for how the RPT was being run until she announced that she was running — much like local judges who voted for BHO twice, but need to win a red bench in a red district. It’s amazing how quickly candidates “get religion” when they need other people’s money and support.
Instead of being driven by a desire to advance the RPT and concern for the status quo, Asche’s motivations are arguably less than altruistic. Delegates still upset that their hand-picked successor — Rick Figueroa — didn’t get the job when glorified accountant Tom Mechler resigned, begged Asche to run.
It’s the same old story in Texas politics. The political class hates two things – transparency and accountability. In the short time that Dickey has been Chairman, he has instituted an unprecedented level of both. In doing so, he posted record numbers for the party and got results. For those on the State Republican Executive Committee who prefer the party to be governed as a closed-loop system, open only to those deemed worthy by themselves, Dickey’s openness, even-handedness, and results-driven strategic thinking are like sunlight to a vampire.
Who Are You?
One of the by-products of being a candidate plucked out of the ether, is that no one knows who you are. This is a double-edged sword. On one hand, you have to work overtime to build your name ID. On the other, you have the opportunity to, in the absence of an actual record, create your own story. It is the latter which has proven problematic for Asche.
While her biographical information and work history have been fairly consistent, her credentials within the Republican Party have not. Instead, in the early days of her campaign, Asche’s party credentials changed depending on where you saw her speak. She has been fond of claiming that her experience in the Republican Party goes back to when she was a child when she attended a convention with her father. While exposing your child to the political process at an early age is laudable, it doesn’t qualify as party engagement. Using Asche’s logic, the child of a corporate CEO who goes to the office on “bring your child to work” day, is qualified to run a company.
That can be chalked up to the puffery that is a normal part of political campaigning and used car sales. What is conspicuous, is her total absence from party engagement over several decades. Should we call that a slump?
Asche was such a ghost in the Republican Party, that when she announced that she was running for RPT chair, social media was flooded with messages from long-time active party members asking one question – “Who in the hell is that?”
One would think that someone who has made her concern for the principles and platform of the Republican Party the cornerstone of her stump speeches would have been, at the very least, visible in her legislative support of those principles and platform planks over these decades. Instead, Asche is nowhere on record as having testified in front of any committee in the Legislature on any issue related to the Republican Party platform or principles at any time.
An Offensive Offensive
It is far too often that political campaigns devolve into mudslinging and negative attacks. It is rare that you get a candidate like Asche who promises that she will not stoop to those levels, preaches unity in the party, and then immediately and publicly breaks the promise while simultaneously doing her dead-level best to fracture the party by marginalizing and insulting the most active members.
In a speech she delivered near Victoria, Texas, Asche did all of this. Starting off by promising “not to go negative” and talking about how the party needed to “unify,” Asche then went on a toxic tirade against Dickey and subsequently attacked the party’s grassroots activists.
What was missing from her speech? Answer: anything about how she would lead the party.
Her attacks haven’t been confined to stump speeches. Perhaps channelling Josef Stalin, who said that “quantity has a quality of its own,” Asche is sending a relentless stream of mailers insinuating that voting for her opponent will hand Texas to the Democrats and touting the generic labels of “proven leader,” “dedicated conservative,” and “proud Texan.” After all, who in the Republican Party wouldn’t also fit those descriptors? All of these mailers are attempts to convince convention delegates that she is just like them, with the unspoken assertion that Dickey is none of those things.
When Jeb Bush decided to place an exclamation mark after his first name in all campaign literature “Jeb!”, memories were not altered. Americans did not forget that Jeb is the son of “read my lips,” and the brother of “is our children learning.”
In much the same way, the elevated and sensational syntax of Asche’s mailers do not make her claims more true, or her own candidacy more desirable.
Moreover, Asche’s attacks and junk mail haven’t been reserved for mailboxes. Many delegates receive unsolicited emails from Asche’s campaign accusing Dickey of securities fraud. Ignoring the publicly available facts and the easily rebutted assertions, the misinformation and half-truths contained in these emails are still defamatory and legally problematic.
It is this email, and what happened as a consequence, that definitively proved that Asche has a fast-and-loose relationship with the truth. Within days of sending that email, Asche claimed that the email account that was used to send that had been shut down at the request of Dickey. All that came to mind was the line from the GEICO commercial with the senior citizen who showed her friend her wall of pictures. “That’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works.”
It turns out that while Asche’s email account may have been closed by the provider, it wasn’t Dickey who was responsible. Rather, it was Asche’s own incompetent and possibly illegal use of the service that was to blame. Asche’s campaign used a popular email list service called Mailchimp. The terms of uploading an email list into the Mailchimp include a provision where you attest that all of the email addresses that you add to the system have given you permission to send them email. Mailchimp, like all other reputable email services, requires list owners to attest that recipients have “opted-in” to receive emails. Further, when uploading a list you are again reminded that you may not upload lists that have been acquired or purchased from third-party providers. Asche literally had to ignore multiple warnings and falsely attest to her compliance to send the email claiming that Dickey was unethical. The irony burns.
As Asche’s email began to hit email boxes, most people do what they normally do with unsolicited email. They mark it as SPAM. As Mailchimp tracked the ever-growing percentage of SPAM complaints, they did as they promise they will do in their terms of service – they suspended Asche’s service. Contrary to Asche’s assertion that Dickey was responsible, the fact is that it was Asche’s unethical and irresponsible use of the service which got her suspended. It seems inconceivable that someone who can’t follow the rules of an email service, who willfully ignored the federal laws against spam emails, and who cannot manage a simple email list would be asking to manage the Republican Party of Texas.
Since the email debacle, Asche has ramped up her rhetoric, claiming that Dickey is cooking the books and lying about the financial health of the organization. Her claims have been repeatedly and conclusively proven false, yet she continues to make them. Her willful choice to ignore record-breaking fundraising and electoral results, leads to one of two possible conclusions. Either she is comfortable with repeating a lie or she is simply bad at math.
In public forums, after her attacks, Asche is being pressed to explain how she would manage the party differently. She says that she would make the party more transparent. At this moment, as a result of Dickey’s leadership, it is more transparent than it ever has been and is the most transparent state party in the United States. She claims that she would bring “unity” to the party. It is hard to see how that promised unity can happen when Asche’s entire campaign is predicated on driving wedges between every segment of the party. She claims that she would be more effective at fundraising and in electoral contests. It’s hard to see how she could do it any better than it is being done since Dickey took the reins. It will definitely be infinitely more difficult for Asche since she is going out of her way to alienate the heart of Republican efforts in the field – grassroots activists.
Cue The Boogeyman
As Asche’s attacks are failing to resonate with convention delegates, she is implementing a new strategy. While her campaign began by insisting that electing her as chair was the only way to withstand the “blue wave” of Democrats, when the much-touted “blue wave” failed to materialize, she introduced a new boogeyman – Libertarians. Asche’s grand conspiracy theory goes something like this.
“The Libertarians (or libertarians) are taking over the Republican Party.”
That’s it. No context, details, or proof are necessary in Asche-world. When pressed for details she lists a set of characteristics that fits everyone in the Republican Party who share a legitimate concern about the size and scope of government and its intrusion into the lives of Texans. Asche commits a political bait-and-switch by labeling those who are lovers of liberty as “Libertarians” and seeking to demonize those who want the Republican Party to value liberty as much as the it was valued by the Founding Fathers. By her criteria, the ascension and election of Ronald Reagan constituted a “libertarian takeover” of the Republican Party.
Asche doesn’t seem concerned with the one infiltration of the party that should cause concern for Republicans – Democrats. Over the last two decades Texas has seen a tsunami of elected officials and voters switching from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party. It is understandable. When a political party, which is no different than any other organization, shifts its mission, methods, and values and they no longer align with the personal mission, methods, and values of an individual, they will leave that political party and join the one that does. Asche seems to ignore those who defected from the Democrats and continue to think and act like Democrats but do so under the cover of the Republican brand. Instead, she embraces them and wants to protect them by repealing provisions of the Republican Party rules created to solve this problem and protect the Republican brand.
Asche seems so desperate to find a boogeyman, she overlooked defectors from the party which she used to cause alarm early in her campaign and jumped to those who actually joined the Republican Party because they value the Constitution and liberty. But Asche’s lack of understanding and her constantly moving targets prove one thing. Neither her outrage nor her concern are real. They are just more manipulation tactics in a campaign full of them.
The Race Card
Despite endorsements for James Dickey that reflect more racial and ethnic diversity than a magazine ad for Benetton, Asche has gone out of her way to manufacture a racial divide within the RPT. Asche has launched direct and repeated attacks on how Dickey has handled engagement to the Hispanic and Black communities. Through proxies, her campaign has been even more divisive stirring up accusations of racial bias and creating racially-charged animosity where none existed before.
One Asche campaign operative, in an apoplectic social media tirade, exposes just how divisive Asche’s campaign is on the issue of race. Bianca Gracia, in response to a Dickey supporter on Facebook, said, “…keep telling yourself that and you and your little race as its disappearing while Hispanics become the majority minority…”
While those words would be expected from a member of LULAC or La Raza, they actually came from a high-level campaign operative for someone who is running for chair of the Republican Party of Texas. Cindy Asche has yet to disavow or condemn these remarks.
All of these attacks are calculated to create the impression that Dickey is a racist. If this line of attack seems familiar, it should. It’s a favorite of the radical left and is employed with great skill by the Democrats. It hard to believe that anyone running for chair of the Republican Party of Texas, especially one who professes an undying love for Donald Trump, would deploy this favorite tactic of the left and one used relentlessly against Trump. Yet, Asche has made this a cornerstone of her campaign.
When candidates at any level fail to connect with their political punches, they often resort to the ridiculous. This is exactly what Asche did at the final candidate forum hosted by the Harris County Republican Party. Asche used her allotted time in the first few minutes of the forum to take Dickey to the whipping post for adding a hamburger and ice cream to his expense report while traveling on party business.
Dickey easily deflected the attempted attack by clarifying that it was a cheap hamburger and that his expenses were far less than his predecessor, Tom Mechler, who had endorsed Asche. Despite the fact that those in attendance could barely contain their laughter and astonishment that the race had come to this, Asche went “all in” by bragging how she was wealthy enough to cover her own expenses. This line of attack did not endear her to the crowd. They were able to read between the lines and understand exactly what Asche meant.
Asche’s unspoken argument was that the only people deserving to manage the Republican Party of Texas were those who those who were wealthy. This was a backhanded insult at all of those within the Republican Party of Texas who are on fixed incomes, work two jobs to make ends meet, and those who make just enough to get by, but still share the party’s values and give what they can of their time and money. In Asche’s world, they are unworthy to hold the top job in the party because they don’t make enough money.
It wasn’t until after the forum that it became abundantly clear that Asche was a raging hypocrite on this issue. The first blow came when people began to review her campaign expense reports from the Texas Ethics Commission and saw that despite her claims of wealth, she wasn’t even self-funding her own campaign. Instead, she was receiving infusions of campaign money from former Chairman Tom Mechler and the chief apostle for amnesty for illegal aliens, Norm Adams. After all, someone with her stated wealth and self-professed concern about the financial health of the party should be able to self-fund her campaign and direct those contributions to the party. She didn’t.
The real blow came when reviewing her contributions to the RPT. Much like her engagement with the party has a serious gap, her financial contributions to the party before her run for city council in Frisco are almost non-existent. One would think that someone who claimed that her “HOA has a bigger budget than the RPT” would be able to squeeze out regular and substantial contributions to the party, especially when she has criss-crossed Texas feigning concern for the financial health of the party. She hasn’t.
Everything That Is Wrong
In the September 1948 issue of Frontier Times, Adina de Zavala, granddaughter of the hero of the Texas Revolution Lorenzo Zavala, suggested a meaning for each point of the star on the Texas flag. According to the article, Zavala believed that the five points of the star represented the characteristics of a good citizen: fortitude, loyalty, righteousness, prudence, and broadmindedness. Cindy Asche has run a campaign that is the antithesis of these characteristics.
Asche’s campaign is a symbol of everything that is wrong with politics. Her motivations are self-serving. Her tactics are immoral, unethical, hypocritical, and sit contrary to long-established Texan values. She has worked to divide Hispanics, Blacks, and Caucasians within the dominant political party in Texas, using the worst form of race-baiting and enticing delegates to forget that we are all Texans. She has systematically insulted and denigrated those who love liberty, those who are not wealthy, and those who volunteer their time to advance the party’s objectives.
Given Asche’s actions over the past few months, it is reasonable to assume that an RPT under her leadership would leave the party in ashes at a time where we can ill afford to lose a bulwark against outside forces that would seek to render Texas a vassal state to the Federal superstate.
Her campaign is reminiscent of the fake campaign of “Gil Fulbright” except that Asche’s campaign is not a parody. It is, unfortunately, all too real as will be the consequences of her becoming the state chair.
Many delegates to the upcoming Republican Party of Texas Convention have reported receiving an email from an unfamiliar organization attacking incumbent chairman James Dickey.
Sent from “Texas Conservatives for Liberty and Freedom,” the email accuses Dickey of “misplacing thousands of dollars” as chair of the Travis County GOP and lying to RPT delegates — two lines of attack that have been trumpeted by Cindy Asche, Dickey’s challenger for the RPT chairmanship — accompanied by photos of Dickey covered in blood spatter.
As several grassroots members that received the email have pointed out, the organization doesn’t seem to have any history of engagement before today. Indeed it seems to have been created for the purpose of electing Asche at the convention.
As of today, no information on the group is available from the Texas Secretary of State. The footer of the email lists an address, but the address does not seem to exist. A Google Maps search only shows an empty sidewalk across from an east Austin Planned Parenthood.
As for the allegations made regarding Dickey’s time as head of the Travis County GOP, Matt Mackowiak, current Travis County GOP chairman who also served with Dickey, painted a far different picture:
First, in the 2014 cycle, TCRP solicited new, outside funds to conduct an independent expenditure in support of three qualified Austin city council candidates all of whom won. Electing Republicans is why we exist and we were proud to help those candidates. Anyone who claims we did something wrong here is either uninformed and being misleading.
Second, we did conduct an audit while he was chairman to reconcile a marginal amount of funds that was unaccounted for. Our records were inadequate at that time and the audit provided clarity. There was no malfeasance whatsoever and our processes improved after the audit. When James left TCRP to lead RPT, I inherited a healthy organization with a solid balance in our account in June 2017.
Although Mackowiak is holding out on making an endorsement in the race until later, he added, “In my view, James Dickey did an excellent job as TCRP chairman and it was my honor to serve as his vice chair and succeed him as chairman. I have no concerns about his record, leadership or experience. I have always found him to be honest, capable, positive and supportive.”
Dickey himself also denied the “grossly mischaracterized” allegations in a statement released this afternoon:
So far in this campaign for State Party Chairman much has been said about integrity and the desire for truth and transparency to win out. I could not agree more with those sentiments and I have worked hard in the last 10 months to bring the highest level of transparency to the Party in all we do – finances, convention, primaries, meetings, and the day-to-day operations. We have passed every audit, raised record-breaking funds for the Party, and have found ways to be the best stewards of those funds, and we will continue to do so.
Reached for comment by Texas Scorecard, Asche said she was wholly unaffiliated with the organization and had no knowledge of the existence or management of “Texas Conservatives for Liberty & Freedom.”
Asche also said that she had no evidence that supported the allegations made and condemned the characterization of Dickey as a “dishonest con man.”
“I don’t believe that language is appropriate or productive for the future of our Party,” said Asche in a statement. “I do believe there is a history as evidenced by court documents of knowingly and intentionally misleading investors, and a lack of integrity when it comes to our current Chair. However, I do not condone the language.”
Asche is referring to a civil enforcement action brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission against Dickey and a former business associate in 2004, which alleged he engaged in wrongdoing in the marketing of securities.
At no time were any criminal charges made, but Dickey did agree to settle the matter in early 2006 for $35,000. The terms of the settlement prohibit Dickey from making any public statement denying the allegations of the complaint.
A number of those who have reviewed the matter have concluded that it is likely Dickey was innocent but chose to settle the matter to avoid a long and costly legal saga.
I suspect that Dickey was faced with a Hobson’s choice when given the opportunity to settle the matter with the SEC: he could pay a modest sum, not admit any wrongdoing, and make the matter go away, or he could incur financially ruinous legal bills (that would almost certainly be exponentially higher than what he would have to pay to settle) to fight the virtually unlimited resources of the Federal Government. I don’t think anybody can blame a father of a young family for choosing the first option.
Unfortunately, Mr. Dickey is legally unable to substantially address the allegations against him due to a provision in his settlement required by SEC regulations. Ms. Asche is unfairly exploiting this for her political advantage.
Texas Scorecard has also reached out to RNC Committeewoman Toni Anne Dashiell, who has served as one of Asche’s most active supporters, for comment.
This article will be updated with any response given.
PEARLAND TEA PARTY WILL ALSO UPDATE THIS SITE WITH ANY RESPONSE GIVEN.
I am still looking for specific names… “the who is this “you” that you keep referring to “?
What we are really talking about is the same fight that has been going on since at least 2008 in response to Obama’s election and the Republicans working with him against our values with massive taxes, spending debt and Obamacare. This is the same struggle between the grassroots who care about principles and the cocktail class Republicans, with not dime’s worth of difference between them and the Democrats. Attacking the grassroots directly wasn’t working for them, so the new tactic by the establishment folks is to paint all opposition to them as just coming from “interlopers” who aren’t really Republicans. It would be laughable if there weren’t so many gullible people that could fall for it. That the Libertarian party, who cannot get their own people elected as dog catcher in local elections, a minor party that can barely get national candidates on all the ballots, somehow have organized and masterminded a takeover of one of the two major political parties in the country and were so well organized and influential that they not only got a Texas Senator elected but also were responsible for the last two GOP presidential defeats is laughable. So if you are pushing this lie then you are firmly on the side of McCain who cast the last vote against ending Obamacare, you are on the side of Lindsey Grahamnesty and Mitch McConnell. I also find it laughable that someone who says they are a Trump supporter is staunchly in the same camp as the establishment GOP who have been working to sink our President since the beginning.
Interesting you talk about the platform, most of the complaints I have heard from people accusing the grass roots TEA party people of being “Libertarians” has been over the “Libertarians” expecting elected Republican officials to follow the platform like constitutional carry and were deeply involved in pushing the rule 44 against Straus and Cook for not following the platform all the while the establishment Republicans were saying we shouldn’t “attack” Republicans for not following the platform. They are also the ones pushing for reducing the platform size so it would be harder to force elected GOP officials to follow it.
But, let’s be accurate, you actually are not talking about Libertarians. You are talking about Liberty leaning Republicans. Virtually all of the Liberty leaning Republicans that I know and that Asche and Company want thrown out of the party are staunchly pro-life.
It is interesting you talk about the platform, most of the complaints I have heard from people accusing the grass roots TEA party people of being Libertarians has been over said “Libertarians” expecting elected Republican officials to follow the platform, such as constitutional carry, and were deeply involved in pushing the rule 44 against Straus and Cook for not following the platform. All the while the establishment Republicans were saying we shouldn’t “attack” Republicans for not following the platform. They are also the ones pushing for reducing the platform size so it would be harder to force elected GOP officials to follow it.
All of this from the current challenger to Chairman James Dickey using divisive words to label those she disagrees with regarding the RPT Platform.
Brett Rogers – I’ve never heard of Duke Machado. Evidently, he has a blog. He wrote a post urging that we “end the Libertarian takeover in the GOP.”
He focuses only on labels: Libertarian and Republican. A wise man once taught me to crave function, not title. In other words, labels (nouns) mean nothing and activity (verbs) define us.
The Republican party was long known as the party of low taxes and smaller government. The Democrat Party was known as the party of higher taxes and bigger government. In the last twenty years, maybe thirty, the Republican Party shrugged off that reputation and simply became the party of slightly less growth of government, brief periods of lower taxes, but always increased spending.
That opened the door for an alternative, the Libertarians. They believe in less government, but are too lazy and unorganized to really win anything above mayor of a small town.
So people like Duke Machado get all itchy when real Republicans (the ones that want to do what Republicans used to do – shrink government) look like today’s Libertarians (who talk about shrinking government, but can’t win elections to effectively shrink government). The reason they get all itchy? They’ve shrugged off the Constitution and embraced big government. They loathe a republic and instead crave a centralized national government.
In short, they look nothing like Republicans. Because they aren’t.
Just as there is no compromise between a socialist and a capitalist, there is no compromise between big government Republicans and small government Republicans. People such as Duke crave the Democrat model of growing government as long as those doing so call themselves Republican.
Which is why real Republicans should completely ignore people like Duke Machado.
And Matt Armstrong chimes in –
Great post and Duke and his ilk are the “norm Adams” wing of the party talking!
If you are not attending the Republican Party of Texas State Convention next week, why pardner, you’re missing out. Stay tuned. You, too, can chime in, leave me a comment.
Austin, Houston, and Conroe, May 30 – Texas Republicans face an existential threat in their choice of the leader of the GOP at the State Republican Convention in June. Since 1968, Party leaders have steadily lost influence, thanks in large part to the shift away from Party caucuses and conventions for the selection of Republican candidates to Republican primaries where even democrats can vote for the Republican nominee should they decide to switch parties for the primary election. In 2016, however, Republican state convention delegates fought back for the first time in half a century in passing a mechanism to require Republican elected servants to follow the Party Platform.
The existential threat is in the race for State Republican Chairman. The incumbent is James Dickey. His opponent is Cindy Asche. In order to understand why Asche is a threat to the very existence of the Republican Party, it’s important to see the contest in its historical context.
Rule 44: should the Republican Party insist that Republican candidates and officeholders stick with the Republican Platform?
In 2016, delegates to the Texas Republican Convention, which was the largest gathering of Republican activists anywhere in history (including national conventions), voted to adopt Rule 44 to the Rules of the Republican Party of Texas. Rule 44 empowered county GOP executive committees to vote (comprised of the Precinct Chairs) to censure a Republican officeholder or candidate by a mandatory 2/3 vote for taking actions which violate the Republican Party Platform while in office or as a candidate. The State Republican Executive Committee then could take the recommendation of the county from which the Republican officeholder or candidate came and vote whether, under Rule 44, to censure at the state level, which such censure would result in the Republican Party withholding funds or resources from the officeholder or candidate.
Rule 44 finally gave Republican grassroots activists a hammer by which the Republican Party could rap the knuckles of “Republicans-in-name-only,” or RINOs.
Republican activists spend tens of thousands of hours every two years in precinct, senatorial, and State conventions where they carefully write and adopt the Republican Party of Texas Platform. Republican activists have engaged in that process for decades. Adherence to that Platform – and nothing else – is what defines a person as a Republican. There is nothing that distinguishes Bill Clinton from Republicans other than hundreds of major and minor policy issues where there is a difference. Bill Clinton is not Pro-Life, in favor of the rights under the Second Amendment, or for reduced government spending and taxes. It’s in the adopted Planks of the Republican Party of Texas Platform where Republicans define themselves as Republicans, a definition Mr. Clinton could never meet.
Without the Platform, Republicans are little more than a social club. The failure of Republicans at the federal level to adhere to Republican principles is precisely the reason that so many Americans have become disheartened with all three branches of the federal government.
The primary distinction between the two candidates for Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas is precisely this issue. The incumbent State Republican Chairman, James Dickey, supports Rule 44 and voted in favor of a Rule 44 censure on the one occasion when the issue came to a vote before the State Republican Executive Committee on January 27, 2018.
His opponent for State Republican Chair is a nice lady by the name of Cindy Asche. Asche made clear in two important situations that she does not believe the Republican Party should censure or admonish candidates and officeholders who refuse to follow the Platform.
Dickey and the censure of Texas Speaker Joe Straus
On Saturday, January 27, 2018, the State Republican Executive Committee (SREC) voted to concur with a resolution censuring Texas House Speaker Joe Straus that the Bexar County Republican Party had previously adopted. The Bexar County resolution cited multiple occasions where Speaker Straus’ actions hindered and obstructed legislation that would advance Republican Party principles and priorities and requested the SREC to concur and apply the censure penalties available under the Republican Party of Texas’ Rule 44.
Since this censure resolution arose under Rule 44, it required a 2/3rds vote of the full SREC (43 in favor) to pass. After hours of debate, the SREC voted 44 to 19 to grant Bexar County’s request, concur in their resolution of censure, and apply appropriate penalties.
Republican Party of Texas Chairman James Dickey and Vice Chair Amy Clark cast the deciding votes to pass the resolution. They acknowledged that this was a difficult vote on an issue that has received much discussion. Nevertheless, they ultimately believed it was appropriate and necessary for the Party’s health and unity to recognize the concerns which Republican voters and county parties had raised across the State by adopting this resolution and moving forward.
“Please know, we do not do this lightly, and it does not necessarily reflect any personal opinion on particular details in this discussion,” Chairman Dickey said. “This is us being committed to supporting the convention, the delegates, Republican voters across Texas in unifying our Party to move forward.”
During debate on the resolution, SREC Committeeman and Bexar County GOP Chairman Mark Dorazio stated, “In 1992 we passed the most conservative platform in the history of Texas, and that platform stands today. And all of those grassroots people that we represent have put in years, and money and their sweat and toil just to have their own elected representatives undermined. We have had control of the state legislature and we can’t get bills out of our house because of the obstruction of the speaker. This platform we have is to unify us. ”
“The Republican Party of Texas believes in its principles and supports the work of its delegates, voters, precinct chairs, and elected officials in upholding those principles,” said Chairman Dickey. “We must now move forward and focus on our goal of growing the Party and electing Republicans in critical races up and down the ballot in 2018. That is and will continue to be the Party’s number one priority in the weeks and months to come.”
Asche’s candidacy: the direct challenge to the Republican Party Platform and Rule 44
Less than one hour after Dickey voted with the SREC to censure Straus under Rule 44, Asche announced her candidacy to run against and try to defeat Dickey with Straus supporters Tom Mechler and Toni Anne Daschell endorsing her.
At least twice, Asche has made clear that she doesn’t believe the GOP should use Rule 44 to censure or admonish officerholders and candidates who refuse to follow the Platform. One of those occasions was in writing. The other occasion was at a candidate forum with Dickey just last week.
Empower Texans, one of the largest grassroots conservative organizations in Texas, sent a candidate questionnaire to Asche and Dickey for the Republican Party of Texas Chairman race. In response to one of the questions, the Rule 44 issue came to the fore. A screen shot of the question and the Dickey and Asche answers follows:
The Republican Party Of Texas State Chairman race is heating up. Recently, establishment challenger, Cindy Asche, has turned her fire on what she perceives as ‘Libertarians’ in the Republican Party who she would like to purge. The use of such language is nothing new for any Liberty-Minded Republican. It is quite common when one calls for adherence to the principles of the party over just ‘talk.’ Something must be amiss, so it/s time to scapegoat a group as infiltrators challenging the status quo.
The Republican Liberty Caucus of Texas has always stood for Liberty above all else. We function in our party because we believe that the GOP was founded on liberty and remains the best avenue for promoting freedom for the nation. We don’t seek solutions from government, but a reduction of it. We’re proud our platform includes issues such as: Abolish the Federal Reserve, Sound Money, Ending blanket Foreign Aid, Abolishment of the IRS, The NDAA, the War Powers Act and many other pro-freedom ideas from the right to buy raw milk to the ability of citizens to purchase automobiles directly from manufactures.
Liberty is not a new idea and it is not an alien idea to the GOP. Many of us have worked in the Republican Party in some form or fashion for decades. It is disingenuous to be branded as not the party we belong in. Such comments do nothing to grow the party. In fact, we would argue, seeking to purge any voices in disagreement with you is, in fact, secluding and shrinking the party. Once we fall into the trap of no longer allowing the freedom of ideas to be discussed and debated, we have lost all Liberty we claim to be champions of.
This caucus made the decision to proudly support James Dickey. We will continue to stand by that endorsement. James has given the grassroots a renewed enthusiasm. It continues to baffle us why the challenger sees things as a negative when the body functions as intended. The chair allows the body to work. He allows open debate without placing a thumb on the scales for a desired outcome.
For us the choice was clear, and it should be to anyone who believes in the basic principles of the party. One leader offers a party that works from the bottom up. One leader believes that we should trust our delegates and SREC members with their decisions. The other seeks to instill top down leadership. The other seeks to return to a time that only leadership has the answers to all issues, despite the will of party members and their representatives. And, according to recent statements, even gets to define who can belong and be called a Republican and who cannot.
Additionally, last night in Harris County Ms. Asche continued her assault on the RLC. You can view the video below:
We continue to urge all our delegates and all our partner organization delegates to vote for James Dickey at the upcoming RPT State Convention.
For as long as I’ve been a Republican precinct chair, my fellow activists have loudly opposed “pay-for-play” slates. Big Jolly Times readers are already familiar with the concept: candidate slates are mailed to subsets of Republican primary voters, and they purport to identify the most qualified or conservative candidates on the ballot. In exchange for these endorsements, candidates are pressured to donate money to support the mailer or purchase advertising inside it. Candidates who refuse to participate find themselves penalized on Election Day.
Anti-slate sentiment has reached a fever pitch in the wake of the May 22 runoff election for CD2 between Dan Crenshaw and Kevin Roberts. Roberts was supported by the three best-known slates: Terry Lowry’s Link Letter, Steve Hotze’s Conservative Republicans of Texas, and Gary Polland’s Texas Conservative Review. The Link Letter dove straight into the gutter to attack Crenshaw and support Roberts, baselessly accusing Crenshaw of bashing Christians and President Trump and of wanting to impose new taxes. This backfired badly: prominent Crenshaw supporters like radio host Michael Berry drew unprecedented attention to this issue using their own independent platforms, and Crenshaw won the runoff with 70% of the vote.
History leads me to part company with the many who wish to see the slates ended completely. When founded, these slates filled an important gap by supporting social conservatives at a time when social liberalism was much more widespread within the Republican Party than it is today. Pro-life and pro-family platform planks, now nearly ubiquitous, were controversial when first introduced—but the organizations behind the slates correctly sensed that the Republican Party could reap enormous electoral benefits by appealing to the majority of Americans who held socially conservative views. Older voters still reward the slates for the trust they built with the electorate during the 1990s—before the Internet came along, they were the only local alternative to the liberal media for conservatives trying to research downballot candidates.
Until recently, most efforts to combat the pay-for-play slates have met with failure. Competitor slates have been introduced, but they have a long way to go to build enough rapport with voters to truly wrest support for their candidates away from the old guard. Warnings on social media and practical efforts such as “Trash the Slates” receptacles at voting locations are not widespread in their reach. The best approach, in my opinion, is to lean into the problem: so long as we have one of the longest ballots in the country, accept that slates will play a role in the way many people vote. The Harris County Republican Party should take an active role in encouraging ethical slate behavior, while maintaining its own neutrality when it comes to the candidates and issues endorsed.
I advocate a three-pronged approach:
Candidates will be offered the opportunity to forswear any payments in exchange for endorsements, and those candidates who sign such a pledge will be listed as having done so on the website and will be encouraged to mention it in their campaigns.
Organizations will be allowed to certify with HCRP that they have not accepted any such contributions, and in exchange will be offered an easily-recognizable symbol or statement to include on their mailers indicating as much.
Voters will be informed about the existence of pay-for-play slates through HCRP’s outreach efforts, and they will be encouraged to ignore any mail that does not include a statement indicating that no endorsements on the mailer were granted in exchange for payment.
I do not suggest this lightly, and I understand if such a program were improperly implemented, it could lead to violations of neutrality. But provided that those complications could be overcome, it is past time for the Harris County Republican Party to ensure its primaries are conducted fairly and ethically. If you agree, let me know via email.
Senate District 11 Chairman
Harris County Republican Party
Conservative political thought in the Houston region
May Day is payday in the world of post-Harvey infrastructure spending by Harris County and the contractors who support the elected officials. The smell of a $2.5 billion bond for Harris County matched with another $2.5 billion from the feds brought out all of the swamp creatures at the May Day meeting of the Harris County Commissioners Court.
The real issue of this May Day meeting – to decide the date for the largest bond in Harris County history, presumably for Harvey infrastructure. But, the meeting was hijaked by a group seeking concessions for a county MWDBE program.
Commissioner Rodney Ellis seemed to know all of the new swamp creatures – in keeping with the Workers’ Party theme of the day. This new group talked of economic justice, environmental justice, social justice, affordable housing, resiliency, and disparity studies. Ellis had lots of leading questions for these speakers and his goal was a new MWDBE program for the county akin to the city.
This discussion did not include information about which liberal politicians required payback in order to participate in the program. I’m sure that Dwight Boykins is already looking for a new vacation home. Maybe Chris Oliver can participate when he escapes the federal prison.
Commissioner Ellis wanted it known that he was planning to make it rain cash money in his precinct. Ellis threatened to campaign against the bond unless his constituents were paid – regardless of the damage they suffered as a result of Harvey. The bond amount swelled from a billion to 2.5 billion.
The money grubbers were not limited to Precinct One – they showed up countywide. One minister presented spending priorities to Commissioner Jack Cagle. The smell of money brings out all of the bad actors throughout the city and county.
Commissioner Steve Radack had a ball with these social justice warriors. Radack pointed out the fact that the city dumped tons of raw sewage into westside homes, including neighborhoods surrounding the Addicks and Barker Reservoirs. Radack was trying to stick it to Ellis with this fact.
For many years, the county was a shining example of good stewardship while the city’s political cesspool grew with each election. Now, it appears as though the county is taking direction from the city – at least with the suggestion of a MWDBE program modeled after the city’s program which is wrought with fraud and corruption and is a bastion of liberalism.
Of course, no argument from city swamp people would be complete without an old reference to the “not more than a Starbucks a month” argument. This poor argument is exacerbated by the failure to thoroughly analyze the flooding issues before spending money.
The NOAA Atlas 14 report was delayed to include the Harris County Harvey rainfall amounts. The correct interpretation of the rainfall and how it relates to the area watersheds and their infrastructure is critical. The interpretation of this data and how it relates to the new 100 year flood plain and 500 year flood plain will determine what infrastructure projects we need to prevent Harveyesque events. These new flood plains are years away from being identified. So, the stack of unfinished or yet to be completed projects are irrelevant until the new flood plains are defined, which we be a long process.
As if the backlog of irrelevant projects isn’t bad enough, these outdated projects could be adding to the problem by adding water to systems, which adds to the flooding problem. The truth is that we just do not know the honest facts about the contributors to our flooding problems. These issues are complicated and our drainage systems all impact each other. A thorough and complete understanding of how these systems work together after Harvey is needed before we spend one dime one on any bond. Any influence by the engineers who have been paid to mitigate costs for their clients is certainly not the answer.
Back to the meeting. The issue of the day was Ed Emmett’s insistence on a bond election months before the general election in November.
Ellis wanted a $2.5 billion bond as compared with the initial $1 billion amount and he insisted that his precinct receive a good share of the bond, even though that allocation would not match the Harvey damage. Ellis is a true liberal and he is very good at spending other people’s money for his social engineering and environmental justice causes.
If you ever wanted to know why people elected Donald Trump look no further than the issues surrounding the Harvey spending. I say, keep it up Rodney! And, thank you! You gave us Donald Trump and we are not tired of winning. I digress.
The election date was a big fight among the commissioners. Emmett wanted August 25, the anniversary of Harvey’s landfall in Port Aransas. Ellis wanted November. Emmett advocated for the August date because he said that Governor Abbott and Senator Cruz will be running commercials about property tax reform in advance of November’s general election. Emmett did not want the county to have their hand out to voters for a bond that will undoubtedly increase property taxes. County Judge Emmett stated he could campaign for bonds or reelection but could not do both.
Ultimately, the group settled on August 25 as a bond election date, which is problematic for two reasons. First, conservative voters are concerned about holding an election at an off time, which guarantees a low voter turnout. Second, this date is two days before kids return to HISD after summer break.
Emmett’s date required special permission from the Governor designating the issue an emergency. The establishment thinks this is an emergency because a November election would have conservative voters influencing the vote against special interest pork for meaningless projects.
The original vote was 4-1 with Ellis against the bond election. Emmett, in his calm persuasive way knew exactly which buttons to push to get Ellis to switch his vote – that Ellis would be the fall guy if the vote failed. You see, Ellis owns a side business of selling bonds and those folks would never forgive him if the vote failed. After the public blackmail, Radack demanded a new vote, which was 5-0 for the August 25 bond election.
Local engineering and construction firms being sued for incompetence over Harvey flooding are expecting a big payday with this new bond. Stephen Costello, Houston’s Flood Czar aka Resiliency Officer, is leading the charge for these needless government projects. He needs money to pay his lawyers.
Maybe the contractors who built the county criminal courthouse monstrosity that has flooded twice in the last 18 years could get a payday. Why not? The chain of wrongdoing starts with the elected officials, then the contractors and engineers who line the pocketbooks of the elected officials. As the world turns.
Take a look at these Harvey “advisory” committees. They are filled with engineers tasked with flood mitigation work in their day job and deciding how to spend the bond largess in their off time. Does that sound right to you? It is disappointing that the city corruption [think Karun Sreerama, think Stephen Costello] seems to be seeping over to the county. The engineers who have gotten rich reducing the costs of flood mitigation are the deciders of the Harvey largess. These folks are expected to fund the up coming political campaigns.
On May 7, Governor Abbott granted the emergency exception to allow the August 25 bond election. That very night, the Harris County Republican Executive Committee held its quarterly meeting. Longtime grassroots activist Clint Moore offered a resolution denouncing the idea of any bond election outside of a general election. If taxpayers are going to pay the bill, they should have a fair opportunity to vote on the issue and be represented at the ballot box. It warmed my heart to see the grassroots stand up to the establishment. Hopefully, this bond can be stopped because it has no useful purpose. Hat tip to all the precinct chairs who stood up to the Governor and Commissioners Court.