Buncombe County’s Republican Feud IntensifiesBy
Buncombe County Republicans lost everything in the November, 2006 elections, and it’s been a bitter pill to swallow. While I don’t pretend to know about the private machinations of the BCRP, the public faces of the party present a bitter struggle between conservatives and libertarians, and Party regulars.
In the fight to elect a County Chair to the Party earlier this year, Mike Harrison won over Chad Nesbitt. Harrison resigned shortly after his election:
“The chairman of the Buncombe County Republican Party on Monday said he resigned from the post after personal attacks on his character and his wifeâ€™s character.
Mike Harrison said in a written statement that he left the job May 1. He had hoped his election to chairman in March would bring the party together, he said, but that did not happen.” – link
Harrison supporter, Tim Peck, got into a very public conversation with Nesbitt supporter, Don Yelton. Peck and Yelton gave us a glimpse of the beginning of each group’s encampment in what may be a long war of attrition:
Tim Peck: â€œMike Harrison is the best choice as chairman for Buncombe County Republicans. Whether they know it or not.
The alternative, Chad Nesbitt, would have been an embarrassing disaster.â€
Don Yelton: “ello [sic] Tim it is me and I know what was said by people about Chad, and phone calls were made as if they were from the party (that was underhanded). You continue to make it necessary that the truth be told. Yes phone calls were made and people talked about Chad behind his back. Actually people said such things as he is a mouth piece for Don Yelton. Anybody that knows Chad, knows he is not a mouth piece for anybody.
If the Republican Party becomes a select party of people that feel better and superior because they are self described intellectuals, they are no better or worse than any other partyâ€¦ I want better.â€ – link
Now in the heat of August, both groups have sprung up with a mighty grassroots yawp to take control of the Buncombe County Republican Party. You read about The Carolina Stompers here just the other day. Now meet Operation Republican Takeover.
Based around libertarian principles exemplified by Republican Party Presidential Candidate Ron Paul, ORT offers this at their website:
“Attention all hippies, peaceniks, and all who find the USA PATRIOT Act to be an abomination: it’s time to register Republican!
â€œRepublican??? That’s the party who gave us the Iraq War and the PATRIOT Act?! What gives?â€
All true, but the party is weak now. President Bush is setting near record disapproval numbers, and they have lost both houses of Congress. The Neocons have mismanaged the party long enough. It is time for new management. The party is ripe for a hostile takeover.”
We have the power! We can:
Get the U.S. out of Iraq,
End the War on Drugs,
Restore civil liberties,
End corporate welfare.
But it will take work.
“The goals of Operation Republican Takeover are to:
Make the case for Ron Paul to people who are not traditionally Republican
Convince them to register Republican and vote in the primaries
Make the case for a longer term hippie-conservative aliiance should Ron Paul win the nomination.”
Both Milstead and Peck assert that, since the Republican Party is so weak, the time is ripe for new ideologies to take the helm and that Ron Paul’s candidacy is the perfect rallying point. Peck summons a new coalition of “progressives, libertarians and classic liberals to charge the ramparts and take over the Republican Party”, while Milstead imagines a “hippie-conservative coalition” that will lead this “hostile takeover”.
Operation Republican Takeover’s strategy is to register new Republicans who are in support of Ron Paul’s candidacy or of Libertarian principles in general. These new Republicans may be libertarians, dissaffected liberals, or anyone who just really likes Ron Paul.
Meanwhile, back on the outskirts of Republican Party proper, The Carolina Stompers plan to take aim at anyone who isn’t conservative enough. Theirs is more of an attack from within, holding elected officials and Party Officers to a Stomper standard.
In response to Operation Republican Takeover, the Stompers, no slaves to grammar, syntax, or style manuals, posted this at their updated website:
“WELL BRING IT ON! This just makes our job a whole lot easier!
Today on the â€œMatt Mittan Showâ€, Democrat no, no, noâ€¦.., progressive no, noâ€¦â€¦Libertarian no, no waitâ€¦â€¦- â€œdrug pusherâ€ Tim Peck and his stoned friends have finally come out of the closet.
They claim they will take over the Buncombe County Republican Party.
Told you so BCGOP leadership! Remember Harrison? But have no fear! The Carolina Stompers are here!!!!!!”
Remember that somewhere in the middle of all this fist-pumping is the actual Buncombe County Republican Party, which pretends that neither the Stompers nor the ORT exist. Imagine the meetings of the Party officers as they try to find their way out of this collapse. It’s like being asked to take the helm of a sinking ship.