By Peter Ream
April 9, 2012
This past Monday, the Harris County Republican Party (HCRP) met for their last meeting before the Texas Primary. This meeting marked a definitive change in the Party structure and leadership. Rather than recap the meeting, you can read the excellent recaps Felicia Cravens has done here and Michelle Lancaster did on Breitbart, I’d like to address both the tone of the meeting and the signals sent.
I attended the meeting due to a post I had seen from Felicia on the Houston Tea Party website. In it, she references an article written by Ed Hubbard (said article is linked in Felicia’s post) describing the current pay-to-play model for Harris County Republicans. I highly recommend reading it to understand the situation.
So often our eyes and focus are on the national stage. Understandable but wrong. Our focus should be on the local level, the very local level. Do you know who leads the local Republican leadership in your area? If not, why not? To be fair, I still don’t know who chairs the HCRP but I do know they have been wildly ineffective. I am not the only one that shares this sentiment. Much of the membership of the HCRP shared my opinion and showed up to voice theirs.
To say the tension was high in the meeting was to understate the situation. Several times during the evening I was certain a hockey game might break out. I know Texans can be restrained, cordial even, but Monday evening I honestly did not know if there might be a riot. People were angry on both sides and there was even name calling. I live tweeted the event and you can recap the emotions as they played out with the play by play I posted on my account @txbrass.
During the meeting, it became vividly clear to me that the present leadership isn’t effective in communicating with its members, nor are they effective in rallying the base, Monday evening being a notable exception. But the biggest problem with the HCRP leadership isn’t that set of issues; their biggest problem is reaching out to local voters and exciting them to vote for their candidates.
Texas is a deeply conservative state, yet even with a strong Democratic presence in the larger cities, Republicans should be extremely dominate. They are not. The mayor of Houston is extremely liberal, even for a Democrat, and her policy choices and decisions are having an adverse effect on not only the city of Houston, but Harris County as a whole. Those decisions have long term consequences and will impact many lives for years to come. Yet, the HCRP cannot back a strong mayoral candidate and put them into office, even with just 12 percent voter turnout.
With talk of corrupt party leadership in D.C., and it most certainly is, we often forget to check our own back yards. Honestly, we are forgetting what our forefathers asked us to do, keep our government accountable. That means Local, State, and Federal, and we have forgotten the Local. It’s trite, tired and over used, but it works: Think globally, act locally.
We can have strong local leadership and that leadership will trickle up to the State and Federal levels. A strong local leadership in the 4th largest town in the country should be a given, yet it is not. We understand the nature of Chicago politics, even in Texas, we know the power that a mayor of New York City can wield, and the vast area and population that Los Angeles covers. Yet, where is Houston, Texas in that leadership role?
The first word spoken on the moon was, Houston, yet such a legacy is largely forgotten or taken for granted. It is high time we changed this. The era of poor conservative leadership in Houston, Texas is over; today we begin anew. To achieve great things, a lot of hard work is involved. Think of a tremendous skyscraper, the work involved in creating such a structure, would you be willing to work on it? Would you work the long, tiresome hours? If you could build an incredibly powerful political voice, one that has tremendous influence throughout the nation, even the world, would you get dirty doing it? Would you be willing to labor in obscurity to build such a powerful voice that affected positive change even if you received no recognition yourself?
We have a choice. Either put up with the same poor management or usher in new change. Not changity-change, but real, effective leadership that positively impacts millions of lives.
The proposition to overturn the pay-for-play resolution passed. It marked a change that need not die at that meeting. The energy and desire to promote healthy, strong leadership must continue and we must seize that victory and push forward. It is time to fill in the Conservative Leadership hole in Houston with a solid foundation and build a Texas-sized Conservative legacy that is worthy of names such as Houston, Austin, and Davy Crockett.
I’ve got my work clothes and gloves on, do you?