What I thought was going to be an extremely boring Saturday night attending the Republican Party of Broward County, Florida’s annual Lincoln Day Dinner, turned into an evening of surprises, upheaval, scolding, turmoil, and change.
Let me explain.
This pricey annual event with tickets starting at over $200, is the main fundraiser for the Broward County, GOP. In attendance were about 200 hard-core Republican activists. These are the people who make the wheels of the local party go round and round
If you are unfamiliar with South Florida, Broward County encompasses the greater Ft. Lauderdale area. With 1.8 million residents, Broward is the second largest county in Florida. First is Miami-Dade, Broward’s southern neighbor with a population of 2.92 million.
Broward County is a tough place to be a Republican. Currently there are more voters registered as Independents (290,029) than there are registered Republicans (239,661), with Democrats (551,629) as the clear majority.
The dinner started out on a fun note when I spotted “Snerdley” in the crowd. If you are a regular Rush Limbaugh listener, Snerdley, Limbaugh’s longtime producer, needs no explanation.
Making my way into the VIP reception room I saw Dr. Ben Carson, who, just the day before had endorsed Donald Trump. Carson then managed to make a few mini-waves by telling the higher-priced ticket crowd that he would be “willing to be Trump’s VP.”
Both shocked and amused at Carson’s honesty, I emailed this news flash to a close friend who is a presidential campaign veteran. He immediately replied with wisdom reflecting his decades of political experience: “Well that was stupid! You NEVER announce you want VP. That’s the surest way to kill it. Just more proof that Carson is a political amateur.”
Then it was time for dinner as the “Republican establishment” — very divided about their choice for a presidential candidate — filed into the main ballroom.
Sprinkled among the crowd were party VIP’s such as RNC Co-Chair Sharon Day (who is from Broward County and the number-two person in the national party under Chairman Reince Priebus), Florida Republican Party Chairman Blaise Ingoglia, and Peter Feaman, the RNC’s National Committeeman for Florida.
Feaman, a rising star in the Florida and national party, also happens to be a showman — the reason why he was asked to be master of ceremonies. (More on him later and the reason why I am even writing this piece.)
Other elected leaders in the ballroom included Florida Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, and Congressman Ron DeSantis. Both of whom, along with several others, are battling each other to win the GOP senate primary with hopes of occupying Marco Rubio’s senate seat.
Speaking of Senator Marco Rubio, who today is fighting for his political life in the Florida primary, was not present Saturday night. However, he figured prominently in the turmoil surrounding this high-powered event when the invitations sent weeks ago were adorned with the face of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush as keynote speaker.
Then, politics intervened and an event planner’s worst nightmare had befallen the Broward GOP. Jeb Bush withdrew from the presidential race on February 20 after losing the South Carolina primary. On February 23, Broward County GOP Party Chairman Bob Sutton was quoted in the local Sun Sentinel, saying, “Jeb will no longer be our keynote speaker. He’s not doing any more political events.”
But help arrived when Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina stepped in as keynote speaker. Ironically, Scott had partly contributed to Jeb Bush’s defeat in the South Carolina primary with his February 2 endorsement of Marco Rubio.
Just before Senator Scott got to sing the praises of Rubio, the evening took a surprising turn from the usual speeches. This was when Peter Feaman, (who I must remind you again is the RNC National Committeeman for Florida) shared the political wit and wisdom of Ted Nugent.
The piece that Peter quoted from had appeared on World Net Daily just a few days before with the headline, GOP ELITE: GET YOUR HEADS OUT!
Peter started reading Nugent’s words from podium and the ballroom crowd was captivated into silence.
I could start by slapping you Republican goofballs upside the head with the embarrassing reality that you haven’t done jack-diddly to eliminate the obscene government thievery of the death tax, the criminal education fiasco, the nonstop invasion of illegals through our non-borders, the mind-dazzling runaway Democrat tag-team spending orgy, the vulgar dismantling of our military and defense system, the absurdity of denying the best-trained combat warriors in the history of the world from carrying guns on military bases, the abject oath-violating infringements of our constitutionally guaranteed right to keep and bear arms across the country, the jackbooted thuggery of various government agencies abusing power and violating U.S. citizens’ civil rights, allowing rules of engagement for our military heroes that actually benefit our enemies, the horror of a VA that not only fails to provide adequate aid and treatment for our hero warriors but actually looks the other way when soulless bureaucrats cause their death, agreeing to Obama’s insane, wasteful, unaccountable budget that helps and benefits our enemies but does little to fortify America, the bizarre decision to release dangerous jihadists even when it is proven they return to combat and kill Americans, and assorted very Democratic modes of operation very unbecoming of traditional Republicans.
Whoa, I am thinking, what I am hearing? This is a Republican Party leader reading words excoriating Republicans in a crowd of Republican elites. How brave. How unusual. How revealing.
Peter continued reading Nugent’s words:
Let me be clear: I do not endorse Donald Trump, but the very reason Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are so popular is because they laugh in the face of your absurd and offensive status quo good ol’ boy GOP establishment crap.
You talk and talk and talk about reigning back spending, but you do nothing.
You talk about standing up for Second Amendment rights, but you do little or nothing.
You talk about demanding accountability for Fast and Furious, but nothing happens.
You talk and talk and talk about Lois Lerner’s IRS crimes, but you do nothing.
You talk and talk and talk about taking care of our veterans, but you do little or nothing.
You watch our failed education system waste more and more tax dollars while turning out the dumbest kids on Earth, and you do nothing.
You watch the EPA abuse landowners and pollute rivers, but you do nothing.
You know damn well Obama’s raw deal with Iran was the act of a madman, but you stand by as if you are helpless.
You talk about halting the dangerous, America-destroying invasion of illegals across our borders, but you do nothing.
You see the destruction of thriving big game herds across the West by out of control wolf numbers, and you do nothing.
You sit back and watch the president side with criminal thugs instead of our law enforcement heroes, but you do nothing.
You see out-of-control populations of non-indigenous wild horses destroying native wildlife and habitat, but you do nothing.
Enter status quo busting we-the-people warriors who gain unprecedented support of we the people, and you attack and condemn them.
When you attack and condemn Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, you are attacking and condemning the common sense and voice of we the people.
You sound and act like you are that dumb, but I’m here to help.
Don’t be so damn dumb. Get your head out of your status quo posterior and review the short list of your failings above.
When you are ready to admit that your GOP has become indistinguishable from the crazed Democrats, then we can talk.
Until then, shut up and pay attention. You might learn something.
The crowd cheered and Peter Feaman was a big hit. But I was left wondering, why are we cheering the failings of our own party?
At the end of the evening, the famous Snerdley came over to congratulate Peter on “nailing it.” I had already told Peter how much I had enjoyed hearing his channeling of Ted Nugent and asked for a copy of his speech.
Then it dawned on me why Feaman’s reading of Nugent’s words was such a crowd pleaser. As Republicans, we can laugh at how inept the national Republican Party has become. Therefore, acknowledging the Republican Party’s inability to lead, is the first step in building a stronger party.
What comes to mind is an infamous phrase from the Vietnam War, “We had to burn the village in order to save it.”
Now with flamethrower Donald Trump as the likely Republican nominee, it has become apparent that Republicans will have to blow up the party in order to save it.
And, like in Vietnam, what could possibly go wrong?