Oath enforcement to apply to Crist — but not Thrasher
By Scott Factor
Loyalty – most people know the meaning of the word and are taught the value of the word from their childhood years. The Merriam-Webster dictionary definition is very simple in stating that being loyal is being, “unswerving in allegiance.” Most people expect loyalty from their family, their friends, their spouse, and those that they elect and trust to represent them before the very government that will serve them.
The Florida Republican Party is no different in its expectations of its members, both elected and appointed. From the grassroots level precinct committee person to the governor of Florida, those appointed or elected to office as a member of the Republican Party are required to sign a loyalty oath that states they “will not actively, publicly, or financially support the election of any candidate other than the Republican Candidate” in a partisan election.
So it comes as no surprise to most that the party sent out a memo Thursday in which the party’s general counsel stated that because party officials signed an oath to support Republicans, they would be obligated to oppose Charlie Crist’s possible unaffiliated campaign and should ask for any donations to be refunded.
The memo, written by Jason Gonzalez, former general council to Crist, said, “Any member who fails to formally revoke his or her public support and request the return of any contributions made to a candidate running against the candidate of the Republican Party would be in violation of the RPOF Rules and would be subject to removal from party office and membership on Republican executive committees.”
In terms of loyalty to the party, if you signed a loyalty oath then you should be expected to comply with this simple reminder. As a party person, you should not be offended by this memo; rather, you should welcome it as a friendly reminder of your personal commitments.
So, why are some people upset by this memo? Well, for one thing, Crist has not announced that he’s running as an independent and technically he’s still running as a Republican. Crist himself stated that the memo was, “premature.” However, state Senator Mike Fasano was angry because, well….because he was being asked to be loyal to the oath he signed? It’s not clear. Fasano was quoted by the St. Petersburg Times as saying, “How dare anyone at the state party tell us who we can and cannot support…..I was walking precincts and making phone calls as a volunteer for Republican candidates when leaders of today’s GOP establishment were registered Democrats.” Fasano seems to remember his early political days, but I guess he forgot about that oath he signed.
It seems someone else forgot about the concept of loyalty, also. When Alex Sink was running for re-election for the office of CFO of Florida, current party Chairman John Thrasher wrote her campaign a check for the maximum allowable personal contribution of $500….but we won’t mention that because, well, because he’s the leader, and certainly not a hyporcrit.
Ironically enough, Fasano had more to say about that memo in the Times, blasting it with, “It’s because of this type of bullying and threatening tactics that encouraged so many Floridians to distance themselves from the two parties.”
To that I say this: I’ve had friends I would consider bullies. Sometimes they were good to have in your corner, especially when times got tough. Sometimes tough times call for tough measures and tough friends. Sometimes friends are too tough. But no matter the shortcomings or strengths of friends, I don’t think any of us would want friends that are not loyal. So while Fasano demonstrates a loyalty to Crist that only true love could explain, his loyalty to the party with whom he took an oath to be loyal is, well, non-existent. And while the party demonstrates a loyalty to it’s oath that only a lawyer could explain, it’s very leader writes checks demonstrating his own loyalties lie with his political ambitions, not his party.
Mr. Fasano, if you’re really concerned about people distancing themselves from the Republican Party, maybe you should lead by example and show us what loyalty is all about, absent your underlying true feelings toward someone. If the party is really interested in loyalty, maybe they should have chosen a different leader. And if people are really interested in loyalty, maybe they should not pay any attention to politicians.
Currently living in Florida, Scott is a graduate of Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, FL and earned his M.B.A. at St. Leo University. He writes conservative rants focusing on the national political landscape. E-mail him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.