Diary

Controversy Over RNC Chairman Selection, Emineth Commeth

To some conservatives, what North Dakota Republican Party Chairman Gary Emineth told The Hill last week is proof of the arrogance of an out-of-touch Republican Party. Emineth says he is being misunderstood, but his words were badly chosen regardless.

The Hill quoted Mr. Emineth concerning the selection of the next Republican National Committee Chairman. Mr. Emineth has made a special request during this process, one that has not been contemplated in the past. He is circulating a petition to have all six candidates for the position of RNC Chairman appear before the entire 168 member RNC committee to take questions from the whole body during this deliberation.

Usually there is a debate between the candidates — and there will be one this time as well on January 5 — at which all the committee members attend. Questions for the candidates during this debate are asked by a single moderator, so the general membership does not get the opportunity to ask their own questions. Since the candidates for RNC Chair do not take questions from any member that wishes to ask one this is what Emineth is challenging. Emineth says that there should be a venue where the majority of the committee members can ask questions of the candidates.

Emineth is also saying that this particular selection is too important and he points out that the current Chairman, “Mike” Duncan, is also running again for the position.

According to The Hill, some in the GOP feel that Emineth is trying to “blunt” the impact of the Conservative Study Committee, but The Hill also points out that Emineth is a member of that conservative group.

Emineth must gather 16 signatures of committee members on his petition to get his desired results.

This is the background information. Now for the unfortunate verbiage that Emineth used in his interview with The Hill.

“At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what the public thinks; it matters what 168 of us think,” Emineth said Tuesday.

As I said, it’s an unfortunate choice of words. It seems by Emineth’s quote that he is saying that “the people” have no say and that he is the all-powerful one here. Some conservatives out there in that body of “the people” have called Mr. Emineth out as an arrogant pol arguing that he is a symbol of what is wrong with the Republican Party.

But, further investigation needed to be made before such charges were so quickly thrown about in my opinion. The facts seem to argue against the interpretation that Emineth is one of those arrogant, self-important ones.

The Washington Times has a very well investigated story in which Emineth appears far from the arrogant pol.

“What I am after is a level playing field for all candidates and a chance for members to address their concerns,” North Dakota Republican Party Chairman Gary Emineth told The Washington Times.

For even more skullduggery there are suspicions that the Conservative Steering Committee is in the back pocket of current RNC Chair “Mike” Duncan. If this is the case, Mr. Emineth is actually trying to defeat a fixing of the selection from devolving back upon Chairman Duncan and giving the other five candidates a chance to get a fair hearing.

The Washington Times reports Emineth’s petition as a possible “backlash” against control of the RNC by Bush cohorts. I won’t pretend to have any facts for or against this theory.

But, let’s take a look at Mr. Emineth’s quote. To a great degree, it is strictly correct. After all, this is party business, not a plebiscite. Let us not forget that it wasn’t long ago when “the people,” strictly speaking, didn’t even get a chance to vote on who would be their own presidential candidate as the choice was made in those veritable smoke filled rooms at the party convention.

Also, it must be remembered that we have a representative democracy, here. We elect people to act the role of leader and make these decisions for us in the first place. Our role as voters is to get rid of a politician that has not hewed closely enough to our wishes by voting him out of office when his term comes to an end and he asks for another one. Otherwise, we can voice our desires and can but hope that our representatives heed the call.

Those particular points taken for granted though, and accepting that Mr. Emineth used some very unfortunate and unfeeling words, he is right. It is the 168 members of the committee that should pick the next chairman. Not “the people” and certainly not just a small group within the whole of the 168. We’ve elected these men to their positions in government and they have risen to these roles by their efforts.

It is, after all, our system.

Mr. Emineth should be more careful with his verbiage, of course. But we rank and file members of conservative America must also do a bit more due diligence and not react in a knee-jerk fashion. It appears more like Emineth is a good guy here, a man trying to thwart a possible fixing of the selection process and also trying to give all six candidates a fair shot at garnering the informed vote of 168 member committee.

And, let’s face it. That is in all our interests.

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