County GOP Chairman,
Pennsylvania’s a State populated by people of a temperate character. I don’t believe you’ll find any radical acts in our history; if you do – when an act did seem to go against our tradition and history, we took steps to correct those acts. The year 2020 was a very different year–we experienced some of the worst riots in our history, possibly the worst election in our history, witnessed a governor and his bureaucrats abuse their authority using COVID as an excuse to violate our Federal and State Constitutional rights, and suffered another year of judicial activism by a Democrat controlled State Supreme Court.
I write because I’m concerned that even when we have majorities in the legislatures – shockingly, even when we have the legislature and executive – we still cannot get our agenda implemented. It appears that the Republican platform and agenda can only move forward if we have a super majority of both houses, the Executive, and a super majority of true conservative judges, else we capitulate to the Democrats or compromise on their terms or even take up their agenda items and offer them up as our own. The final barrier is put up by weak Republican judges appealing to some ridiculous ahistorical test or Democrat activist judges.
In the twenty years that I’ve been an active Republican the trend has gone in one direction–greater debt, more regulation, larger government, higher taxes, and now we can add less secure elections. We implement softer versions of the Democrat agenda arriving at the same destination they wanted to take us and we campaigned against. Instead of running off the cliff with the Democrats, we walk off. When there’s a crisis our members take immediate action, hold hearings, make pronouncements, and throw a few bones to our voters but after taking a second look we learn that it was our party that gave in on earlier legislation that caused the crisis. To keep the wheels of government moving we often give up the leverage we have in appropriations, or in limiting the opposition in bring amendments, or removing misbehaving judges, or using the VETO.
To create accountability with our Republican elected officials, I suggest the following items to help us stay informed of their work, set the expectations we will have of them, and not continue to be disappointed by members that end up abandoning our priorities and even saving most of their vitriol for us and other Republican officials that are being faithful to our voters and our platform.
Standing Committees: We need standing committees to monitor each level of government. We cannot continue to sit idly by and be surprised by new limits on our rights, or pork, or new lifetime entitlements that lead to new taxes and fees.
Removing Conflicts of Interest: I believe it makes it difficult for the committee to hold elected officials accountable when they serve on the committee as members or officers. They should be welcome to come and speak to the committee but they should not hold a seat on the committee.
Term Limits: Even though we do not have term limits for many of our offices we need to make it known to all candidates that they will only be supported to serve a set number of terms or years. I also think we should be encouraging them to create term limits. We do not believe in monarchy yet we suffer under the rule of certain people for half our lives. We also need to have a process of training and preparing new candidates for once the terms expire.
Accountability: When members abandon our platform, our agenda, our principles, or even propose items that endanger our constitutional rights the committee needs to make known their displeasure and be willing to censure or support their primary opponents.
I think it’s important to state what I do not mean–I do not mean to micromanage our elected officials but we should be able to measure the progress of our platform. I subscribe to the idea that “politics is the art of the possible” and understand that politics requires a give and take, however, too often we hear members say they vote 89% with the leadership but leave out that the 11% they voted against was on the big questions, and, many times, items specifically stated in our platform. When elected members abandon our agenda and give up any leverage we can utilize, our voters and volunteers are demoralized. We see the results of this when we lose districts that historically voted Republican. Let’s begin to hold elected officials accountable sooner rather than when they are ready to step down on their own.
It is true that the work of the committee is hard and sometimes the committee members are few. I pray that you receive new strength from God this year and that 2021 be a year of renewal for our party and our State.
NOTE: Posted to site on Nov 23, 2022. Emailed on Jan 5, 2021.