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The Independent Voice for Conservative Values
and the Conscience of the Conservative Movement
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Worthy of Consideration!
-by Scott Rohter, February 2012

“One small step for mankind. One great leap for the Lane County GOP.” – Scott Rohter

A small battle occurred last week in the struggle for control of the Lane County Republican Party.  It is symbolic of the much bigger ideological war that is raging inside of the National Republican Party all across the country.  This is the struggle for control of the Republican Party between the “Old Guard” and the “young turks”.  The “Old Guard” is the Establishment.  The young turks are the members of the TEA Party Movement and the 912 groups which have filled the ranks of the Republican Party with new members just wanting to do something.  The TEA Party represents the next generation of true conservatives which is the “new blood” that is essential to revitalizing the Republican Party and taking our country back.  The TEA Party Movement was born out of frustration with the massive government debt and deficits that our nation is facing and it is constantly being re-energized by our nation’s proximity to financial ruin, disaster, and third world status. The TEA Party is opposed to Big Government,  and the prime directive of the TEA Party is to return to the principles of limited Constitutional government!

I am happy to announce that at least in Lane County last week, the young turks won the most recent political battle in that war.  Score one small victory last week in the battle for freedom of speech, open access, and inclusiveness.  The fresh, energized wing of the Conservative Movement which has already begun to show signs of splitting because of selfishness, poor leadership and mismanagement, has at least gained a small victory in Lane County.

I assumed that I was going to attend my own public hanging last week by my peers in the Lane County GOP.  I thought it was going to be a harsh repudiation followed by a mob-lynching, for my crime of criticizing the two liberal Republican candidates in the race, the sacred two headed cow – “Newt-Romney”.  These are the two main candidates whom the Republican Establishment tacitly endorses with their money, and over whom they are about evenly split.  Meanwhile they keep claiming that they can’t appear to favor anyone, even as they continue to dump huge amounts of campaign contributions into the coffers of both of them.  “We can’t appear to endorse anyone.”-   What a bunch of crap!  They endorse them with all of their super- Pac money, don’t they?  And to be fair, that’s more influence than most of us can ever have, isn’t it?  So all we have left is our voices, which they would also like to silence if they disagree with us.

I considered not even attending my political execution, so that they could try me, find me guilty, and hang me, all in abstentia.  But I went anyway in spite of my misgivings, and I tried to find the little seed of opportunity that might be there in all of it.  Most of the people who wanted to string me up and hang me by my ankles don’t even know me!  The room was packed full of spectators.  There was twice the amount of people that showed up for last month’s executive committee meeting, when they removed the Lane County Republican Party link to my website.  I thought that there might still be some people who were looking for blood, and the truth be told, some of them were.

My public rebuke or backyard “woodshedding” was to be the last item on their agenda that evening.  Perhaps they thought that by then, some of the people would have left, but nobody did.  I had to sit through numerous boring details about this function, or that fundraiser and hear numerous reports about things that I don’t really care about.  And even with fifty people crammed into that little room, it was still so cold that I had to wear a jacket.  It was freezing in there!  I thought maybe that was because people’s hearts were like ice.

The meeting must have been going on for more than an hour by the time that the item concerning my website came up on the agenda.  I was asked to step forward and explain myself to the executive committee.  Step up to the gallows, Mr. Rohter.  Who in the hell do you think you are?  I mean what would you like for your last meal before we dispatch both you and your troublesome website for the last time?  Would you like to wear a hood over your head so that you don’t have to see what we are going to do to you? - No thank you, I imagined.  I’d actually prefer to watch. Just put your head right down here on our chopping block and hold still.  Bailiff read the charges against this man. “The accused Scott Rohter had the audacity and the temerity to criticize our Republican candidates in the Primary, in particular our sacred two headed cow, Newt-Romney”.  A hush fell over the room. Explain yourself sir. What do you say in your defense?  How do you plead?  On second thought don’t even bother.  We already know what we would like to do to you.  Just keep your head down there on that chopping block.   

May I pick my head up for just a minute and say something, honorable members of this committee?  I plead guilty to the charges against me, and I wouldn’t change one word of anything that I have written  on my website. Humbug! Away with him!...  Off with his head!...

~


Maybe in an earlier time and in another place that is the way it might have happened.   And if we’re not very careful, maybe in the future that is the way it will happen too.   But at least for right now,  the “Shining City on a Hill” still lives, although it is frequently covered by some very dark clouds.

For all of you who don’t know this, the term “Newt-Romney” was actually coined by Michele Bachmann during a Presidential debate, when she referred to Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney who were standing side by side at the other end of the stage, and getting all of the attention,  as “Newt-Romney”.   It was a reference to the two phony establishment-backed candidates who were stealing all of the publicity during the Primary...     

The actual item on the executive committee's agenda that concerned me was whether the Lane County GOP website should restore some kind of a link to my website <LessGovistheBestGov.com> which features serious, uncensored political commentary like you will not find anywhere else in Oregon. The link was removed last month at a very poorly attended executive committee meeting with only a few people present, and even fewer members of the committee voting.  It was shoved down our throats in a rather hasty and callous manner without the Chairman of the Party present, and without even a vote being taken, by the Vice Chair of our Party, who wasn’t even elected to fill that position, and by two of his cohorts who would like to see me strung up and hanged!  And the three of them pushed their agenda forward through intimidation and pressure.

But at this month’s executive committee meeting there were plenty of people in attendance. There were many more members of our Republican Party watching the whole process, and the Chairman of our County Republican Party was there also. I had ample time to make my case for why the link to my website should be restored, and other people had sufficient time to ask questions and voice their opinions.  Personally I thought it was a wonderful experience to watch how self-government really does work when people participate.  Everybody that wanted to was able to express their opinion, although some people carefully chose not to take sides, while others carefully waited to see which way the wind was blowing before they switched sides, and still others never chose sides or expressed their opinion at all.

The Lane County Republican Party struggled with the difficult issue of freedom of speech, and open access for Republicans who would like to use our Lane County Republican website to speak to other Republicans.  It is not correct to assume that if and when we do, that we are speaking for the entire Lane County Republican Party.  Most Republicans know that, and more Republicans than not actually do support the idea of free speech and open access for all Republicans on our website.  We believe in more than just winning.  We believe in loftier ideals and principles like freedom of speech, fairness, and equal access. It’s not just winning; it’s how you play the game that counts!  This month’s committee meeting actually made me feel proud to be a Republican again.  The great English poet John Milton wrote, “Give me the liberty to know, and to speak, and to debate freely according to my conscience, above all [other] liberties.”  -  John Milton, 1644 (reprisal)  

No one told me after three minutes of speaking that my time was up.  The Chairman did an excellent job of conducting and referring the contentious meeting.  I won’t repeat everything that I said except for my final thought.  It was this.  I said, “I want liberal Republicans to know that if they decide to run for public office that they are going to get vigorously challenged.  That’s what I do. That is the only way that we will ever get real conservatives elected to public office.  I don’t call that candidate bashing as some have suggested.  I call it critical journalism!  My message to everyone in that room was that we can’t just base our strategy for success on the Democrats making mistakes. Sooner or later they will correct their mistakes.  We can only assure our continued success if we hold on to our principles.  Thomas Jefferson wrote, “In matters of principle stand like a rock.  In other matters swim with the current.” – Reprisal

Freedom of speech and the access to be heard, without which freedom of speech has no meaning, won a major victory in Lane County last week in our local Republican Party.  Values won out over pure monetary concerns, and the fears of not winning in November.  And in the end I discovered that I still have a home in the Republican Party, because most Lane County Republicans still do believe in higher principles.  The Party that was always opposed to slavery is still the Party that supports a person’s right to be heard.  Without the ability to be heard, the freedom to speak means nothing!  How refreshingly inspiring it was to learn, that even as the Democrats seek to shut down certain forums of free speech in certain parts of the media with their so-called Fairness Doctrine, which really isn’t fair at all, and while they exercise a veritable monopoly on their kind of speech on all of the major television networks, newspapers, and universities in our country, that Republicans really do believe in free speech. -  The Democratic Party is just made up of hypocrites!

So now that I realize that I still have a home in the Republican Party, and that it is still a Party that is based on principles, upon freedom, and upon justice, I strongly urge all young people to seriously take another look at it too.  As a rule, Republicans value Life, Liberty, and Freedom more than then we do the loss of a big influential donor. We reaffirmed that once again last week in Lane County.  The Republican soul and conservative principles cannot be bought. They are not for sale!  And the Republican website in Lane County belongs to all Lane County Republicans, not just to a select few.  Most of us understand that the idea of free speech is perfectly meaningless if no one can hear what you are saying, or if your ability to speak is being restricted or suppressed.  What good is freedom of speech if you are just speaking to the wind?

If you only believe in the kind of free speech that can’t be heard, or that can hardly be heard, than you are breaking with a great American tradition.  That is not the kind of free speech that James Madison was envisioning when he wrote the First Amendment. “Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.”  We should try to emulate that lofty idea contained in the First Amendment wherever possible in our society.  Why should the Republican Party website restrict access to qualified, articulate Republicans as long as they are not engaging in obscenity, vulgarity, threatening human behavior, or criminal activity? Why?

I was amazed at the very civil way that all sides conducted themselves in this vigorous exchange of ideas in which people with different, strongly held opinions came together around a table, and resolved upon a way forward together, instead of taking to the streets as they do in some other countries. Our anger was reserved for just rhetoric. The “shining city on a hill” still lives. It is just hidden too often behind thick clouds.

After the debate was over a motion was made, a vote was taken, and a decision was made whether or not the Lane County Republican Party would restore a link to my website.<LessGovistheBestGov.com> which had been taken down a month earlier. That’s the nuts and bolts of what actually happened last week.  And when the vote was taken, it was 8 to 3 to put a link back up.

There was a rather silly last minute motion made to have me remove all “offensive political content” from my website before they put the link back up. But someone remarked that what is offensive to one person is not necessarily offensive to another.  So that motion was dismissed.  Another person wanted to know if I would stop “bashing” the Republican candidate after the Primary was over.  I replied that I was only being critical of certain Republican candidates now, (and only if they needed to be criticized) precisely so that I won’t have to criticize them later.  What point I asked, would there be after the Primary is over in criticizing the only viable alternative to another four years of Barack Obama?  But I also want to put forward the strongest conservative candidate to defeat him!

The reason that the democratic process worked so well this time, and the results were so different than last month, was because there was broad participation across the board.  That is precisely why we need to increase public participation in the election process.  We shouldn’t be afraid of that.  But voters also need to be legal residents in order to vote in State, County, and City elections, and they need to be actual citizens of the United States in order to vote in our Federal elections.  We need to strictly enforce those rules!  And of course voters also need to be educated and well informed in order to be sure that we have good election results.  That’s why I keep writing.  Help me. Don’t hinder me!  In order to inspire people to participate and to see things like we do, Republicans have to hold on to ideals that are more important  than mere monetary gain.  We have to represent a cause bigger than our next political office!  I know too many Republicans that believe in nothing more than their next political office!

There were some surprises that occurred at last week’s committee meeting that came as a total shock to me.  There were some people who spoke out in support of me that I did not expect, and others who spoke out against me that I actually did expect. There were others who did not say anything at all, but just quietly sat back and watched.  And finally there were others who watched on the sidelines to see which way the winds were blowing before they switched sides and changed their vote.  I have never met either of the two people who seem hell bent on driving the campaign to 86 my website.

One of the most remarkably insightful comments of the evening was made by an older woman who probably doesn’t even agree with much of my campaign commentaries.  She said, “Everybody keeps saying that if we put a link up to his website that we will appear to be favoring a candidate, and taking sides in the race.  But by the same token if we don’t put a link up to his website we are also appearing to take sides.  That startling little truth was so simply stated that I wish I could have said it myself.  No, on second thought I ‘m glad that she said it.  It wouldn’t have been received as well if I had said it!  The pure majesty of that simple truth that was so succinctly stated took me completely by surprise.

Another strong conservative voice came from the only black woman in the room, and it carried considerable weight, but not just because she is black. This fine lady is active in our Party, and she has even volunteered to run for political office before.  She said that people looking at this and considering whether or not they want to become Republicans might be turned off  by seeing you do this to one of your own.  She spoke of the deeply rooted sense of fairness, and it meant all the more because of who it was coming from, an African-American woman, someone who knows first-hand what un-fairness really is, and who has nevertheless rejected the whole idea of preferential treatment!  We are lucky to have her in our ranks. And I am happy to call her my friend.

Isn’t unfairness what Michele Bachmann was struggling against when she recently ran for our Party’s nomination for President, but couldn’t seem to even get noticed by the Establishment because she was both a woman and a real conservative? She discovered that Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney were getting all of the attention in the race, and that no-one was hardly even paying attention to her campaign. Was that fair?

If the Lane GOP website is going to have links to other websites, than mine deserves to be there with all of the others.  Either take them all down or put them all up, as somebody remarked, but treat them all the same!

The biggest shock of the evening other than the vote of course which was in my favor, came when a man that I thought didn’t even like me stood up and said that this Republican Party should stand for something, and that they had no business suppressing what I was saying, by removing the link to my website.  Then he dropped a bombshell in the middle of the room when he said, “Apparently money talks and bullshit walks around here.” Everybody was dumbstruck by the directness of his comments.  It was like a bolt of lightning had just struck right there in the middle of the room.  I only hope in hindsight that he wasn’t referring to my website as “bullshit”.

The next person to get up and speak was his best friend and she said, “I want you to know that I don’t agree with anything that he just said.” Everybody started laughing.  But I thought to myself, Holy Moly, “I am come to bring a sword and division, not peace. The sword of truth is sure dividing up this room!”

There were some people that still want to do things the old way.  But the old way hasn’t worked very well for the past twenty years.  Nothing will change their minds.  They will go to their graves still believing in the old ways that have not worked, and still convinced that they are right.  But the Oregon Republican Party has not won a statewide office since Gordon Smith, even while we continue to run liberals and moderates.  It’s time to try something different!  Let’s stand up for freedom, limited government, and the Constitution! It's the right thing to do.

In conclusion I would like to say that I don’t like everything that I see going on inside of the Republican Party, but it is my home, and I have a right to criticize it whenever it is necessary, and most of the people in that room at least agree with me on that.  It’s no different than criticizing our government when it does something wrong.  I will continue to criticize both of them whenever it is necessary in order to improve them.  I can’t convince everybody of the superiority of the ideas that I am bringing to the table.  But that is not my job.  That is God’s job.  I am just trying to bring them to the table.  God has to bring them to the forefront.

Some Republicans view their job as just electing fellow Republicans. Others like me only want to nominate the very best conservatives, and don’t see how we can ever do that without the freedom to express information and have a free exchange of ideas on our Republican websites.  Hanging in the balance, and waiting in the wings is the next generation of voters, who are watching events closely and trying to decide which Party best represents their ideas and their values.  I think that the Lane County Republican Party proved last week that they are worthy of a second look.  They are Worthy of Consideration!



"The truth, the political truth, and nothing but the political truth.
A journalist has no better friend than the truth."
- Scott Rohter

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