Around lunchtime yesterday I received a FB message from Iowa’s Republican National Committeeman Steve Scheffler accusing me of participating in putting together an attack ad that ostensibly called him out for thuggish behavior at the GOP Convention last July. That’s an assumption based upon his initial message since I haven’t actually heard the ad that he’s referring to. Here’s a copy and paste of the discussion on Facebook Messenger:
“Heard you were responsible for running negative ad via the unbinding of national delegates. The one that ran on WHO Radio for about 3 weeks demonizing me. Steve Lofgren of New Jersey was the voice on the ad–strong eastern accent. I suspect Deace was involved as well. The ad had absolitely no affect. Not 1 county chair called me complaining about my support of the binding. If you were not the one responsible, I must have been told wrong, but just would like to know. Trump was noty guy pre caucuses, but believe delegates had responsibility to reflect the will of the voters in their respective states.”
So a message shows up on my phone from a GOP national committeeman accusing me of having far more influence than I really have with my tools limited top Facebook post and an occasional blog post on Caffeinated Thoughts. But, hey, I was flattered, at least all too briefly as I’ll explain later. Thing Mr. Scheffler really believe I was involved, here’s my response.
“Wish I had the money to fund an ad like that but I had nothing to do with them. I’m sure the truth will come out in the 2018 election cycle about the heavy handed behavior of the GOP, but probably a moot point since the trust of former Republicans has been so tainted. Unfortunately the GOP electorate no longer reflects the values of conservatives so the GOP platform has become irrelevant in selecting a nominee. You’ve continually spouted your conservator roots and dogged pursuit of promoting conservatism within the GOP, yet you totally left the reservation by unabashedly supporting Trump simply because he got the nomination. Please stop claiming you’re still a conservative. That’s just embarrassing for everyone who knows the truth. As for county chairs not complaining, so what. They’re as guilty as you in putting party over principles. It will be interesting to see how many former Republicans have changed their registrations to independent. Could be why the requests for absentee ballots are down so many. People are too disgusted by the options. The downside is the failure to stop Trump will likely cost the GOP the Senate and may well cost the GOP the House. Keep doing what you’re doing and 2018 and forward will see the insurgence of a conservative 3rd party.”
“You did not answery question. Didn’t ask you if you funded it. My question was were you one of those involved in working to make sure the ad ran. Again, it was a huge waste of money. Those who have left the party are irrelevant and a small and shrill minority. I was a conservative long, long before most folks. ShrillNess and name calling does not constitute what a real conservative is.”
Clearly (at least at the time) I’ve gotten under somebody’s skin. I answered the question quite bluntly, with the qualifier that I wish I’d been involved but wasn’t, only to be accused of not answering the question. I was also accused of “ShrillNess and name calling.”
Honest folks, this is a cut and paste with no editing of my comments or Scheffler’s. Where is the shrillness and name calling? But the most provocative statement was still yet to come.
“Party is so, so much stronger and more vibrant with all these naysayers leaving the party!
3rd Party that you will lead? Good luck on that pipe dream. So sad that when folks don’t get their way and their candidate didn’t get the nomination, they want to name call. Sad but true!”
Unfortunately for Mr. Scheffler, it turns out, this tirade wasn’t even intended for me. My bubble of superiority and assumed influence burst when I got back to my office and opened Facebook. There I found that very first comment Mr. Scheffler made in the Facebook message to me, in a Facebook post from Joel Kurtinitis about a Washington Post article quoting Cecil Stinemetz that I shared last June, with Mr. Scheffler’s comment posted earlier today. So, I’m not sure if Mr. Scheffler’s hostility was directed at me, or at Mr. Kurtinitis or Mr. Stinemetz, both outspoken critics of the RPI, Trump and the GOP’s behavior at the National Convention in Cleveland.
Regardless of Mr. Scheffler’s target, you heard it hear folks, straight from a GOP National Committeeman’s Facebook message, the “Party is so, so much stronger and more vibrant with all those naysayers leaving the party.” When Mr. Scheffler refers to “naysayers” he’s talking about principled, constitutional conservatives who still believe character, integrity, Judeo-Christian values and the US Constitution matter. Us “naysayers” were the activists within the GOP that showed up to make a difference. Some of those “naysayers” were the ones that got selected as delegates and alternate delegates and travelled to the National Convention to have their voices heard, only to be told to sit down and shut up while the GOP fixed their copier. The “naysayers” are those of us who stuck around at the caucuses and conventions to draft the Republican Party of Iowa platform that is now not worth the paper it is printed on with a nominee who has no regard for Christian values, the sanctity of life nor the US Constitution.
Apparently Mr. Scheffler didn’t get the memo that many elected Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, have distanced themselves from Mr. Trump and his embarrassing antics, thus becoming “naysayers” as well. And the long list of Republicans “un-endorsing” Trump doesn’t even include those running for reelection who have no interest in appearing in public with Trump for fear of tainting their campaigns.
Ah, wouldn’t it be so simple if the whole mess of this presidential election were just about “my guy,” or Joel’s guy, or Cecil’s guy not getting the nomination and us throwing a temper tantrum. But that’s hardly the case. The outrage among millions of disgruntled Republicans, and now many former Republicans, is about a nominee selected by an ever left leaning GOP electorate supplemented by millions of Democrat crossover votes; an electorate that also gave us the likes of Dole, McCain and Romney their nominations. Those same nominees who have paved the road of inevitability for yet another moderate, but in this case with decades of history (and thousands of Tweets) as a progressive in lock step with Hillary’s positions on the issues, destined to lose in the general election.
If it’s Mr. Scheffler’s and the GOP leadership’s goal to move the GOP further to the left by insulting and ostracizing conservatives within, and formerly within, the GOP, then Mr. Scheffler is spot on. The GOP will become a much stronger, more vibrant, progressive party going forward. But, unfortunately, being a strong, vibrant progressive party will unlikely ever result in another Republican being elected president because they won’t be able to differentiate themselves from the Democrats, thus relegating the GOP to the annals of history, just like Zachary Taylor doomed the Whig Party so many years ago, opening the door to a 3rdparty, the party of Lincoln, that would eventually lead to the demise of the Whigs and take America down its continuing path of a two party system. I’m guessing a search of the archives of history will show some Whig party hack referring to a 3rd party as the equivalent of a “pipe dream.” Time will tell, Mr. Scheffler, whether me and my fellow “naysayers” are the seeds of a successful new, conservative party representing constitutionally conservative values, or if Americans will be content to grow government, suppress constitutional rights and foment nationalism, becoming a protectionist, former economic giant with moral relativism as it’s foundation.