12 steps to fix the Republican Party of Florida

In fewer than 24 hours, the much maligned Republican Party of Florida will have a new chairman. Regardless of who wins, the new leader needs to show leadership. While John Thrasher did an able job giving the party some much-needed credibility in the post-Greer days, he failed on all fronts in providing the party with the substantive reforms it needs.

The next party boss has an opportunity to make needed reforms to restore credibility

By Chris Ingram

In fewer than 24 hours, the much maligned Republican Party of Florida will have a new chairman. Regardless of who wins, the victor needs to show some leadership. While John Thrasher did an able job giving the party some much-needed credibility in the post-Greer days, he failed on all fronts in providing the party with the substantive reforms it needs.

Photo: Jim Greer mugshot. Greer brought shame to RPOF -- its committee elected him twice.

Here are a few things the new chairman should do upon taking office:

1) Reject all attempts to let Gov. Rick Scott dictate who the next executive director (or any other staffers) should be. Remember, the governor failed to take a stand on your candidacy, so be your own man and tell the governor “thanks for nothing.”

2) Fire all employees of the RPOF and start with a fresh batch of people.

3) Work to repeal the Florida statute related to “loyalty” oaths for members of a political party. Blind loyalty (or loyalty based simply on party identification) is just plain wrong. It is a tactic that would make Castro and Stalin proud. The Republican Party should be proud of its nominees based on their ideas, abilities, and integrity. It sends the wrong message that strong-arm tactics of its members are needed to conjure up support for its candidates.

4) Institute term limits for county REC chairmen and state committee members. All of the above should be limited to two consecutive terms.

5) Move the RPOF headquarters to Orlando to be closer to the people while maintaining only a small presence in Tallahassee and the corruption that permeates the party’s legislative leadership.

6) Restore the $150,000 annual salary of the party chairman. The recent knee-jerk reaction to the Jim Greer fiasco resulted in a $50,000 cut. This has the unintended consequence of having fewer qualified people with real-world business experience from running – at least among those with said experience who aren’t retired and still need an income worthy of their experience.

7) Change party rules to allow candidates for state party leadership to come from outside the ranks of the state committee and county party chairmen. The current field of candidates has been viewed as lackluster, due in part because other experienced leaders are ineligible. Consider this, our new governor while legally qualified to run and serve as the leader of our state, was not eligible to serve as state party chairman under current qualification rules. With rules like this, is it any wonder we end up with people like Jim Greer?

8) Institute financial reforms that will preclude another “Amex” scandal from occurring again.

9) Release all appropriate records related to the Amex scandal to put this matter to rest once and for all and to give the party much-needed credibility with donors, party members, voters, and the media.

10) Prohibit any state party resources from being used against one Republican over another in a contested Primary Election.

11) Establish a party to rule to allow for the call for and vote to remove the state party chairman or any other officer of the RPOF.  A call for removal should be permitted with 25 percent of the state committee signing a recall petition. This should be followed by a hearing on the call with the affected party allowed to present his/her defense. Removal should require approval of at least 60 percent of the state committee.

12) Do right. Ask yourself, “What would Ronald Reagan do?” And if you still think whatever you’re doing is okay, take another test by asking yourself, “What would my momma think about this?”

These are just a few things to ponder. Of course in reality I don’t expect much if any of this to happen. Getting the state committee members to see the light and do right by (for example) limiting their own terms would be like trying to convince Mike Haridopolos he’s not the most qualified guy in Florida to be a United States Senator.  Even Mike knows it’s true, but that isn’t going to keep him from running.

Doing right is rarely a part of party politics — especially in Florida.

Chris Ingram is the president and founder of 411 Communications a corporate and political communications firm, and publisher of Irreverent View. Ingram is a frequent pundit on Fox News and CNN, and has written opinion columns for the Washington Times, UPI, and National Review online. He is the Republican political analyst for Bay News 9, the only 24 hour all news channel in Florida’s largest media market. The opinions expressed here are those of author and do not represent the views of Bay News 9. E-mail him at: Chris@IrreverentView.com.

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10 thoughts on “12 steps to fix the Republican Party of Florida”

  1. Number 10 is huge, and the main reason I left the REC. This MUST change before the next election.
    Number 4 is also huge. There seems to be a glut of ancients in the leadership ranks, that needs to be refreshed with the under 50 crowd.
    As for the Reagan Commandment reference in 12. Give me a break. The 11th Commandment is so overused and people invoke it as a defense against legitimate questions about morality and ethics based on past offenses. H
    ere is a better guideline. Only God can make Commandments, and Reagan was not God (Yes, I said it, as seditious as it may be to the GOP). Therefore, learn the moral theory of Natural Rights, and all it encompasses, and apply that – since that is what the Constitution is based on.

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  2. Thank you Chris, well said. The RPOF needs a
    complete makeover. The suggestions you have
    made would go long way in fixing RPOF. However,
    The biggest change is no interference in Republican
    primaries!

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  3. Not much chance they’ll do any of this. The RPOF is loaded with spineless losers.

    As for Paul’s comment, I agree the 11th is overused,but I don’t think that is what he is saying here. He’s just saying do right and if it would embarrass your mother dont do it.

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  4. All good suggestions — which could be summed up in the “Just Do Right” admonition. Problem with that “Do Right” thing is that some people have seemingly lost their compass to where “right” actually lies. And their mama probably didn’t now either or THEY would know.

    And about that jive loyalty oath — At one time I was actually thinking about becoming more active in Hillsborough Republican party doings..and a friend on the REC told me about the oath. I thought she was kidding. I mean..an oath is a serious thing, not something I would swear to just so I could get to go to some meetings! Not happening. I have always and will always support and vote for who I think is the best candidate…be they Republican, Democrat or Whig. Usually it does turn out to be the Republican..but not always. Just having an R by your name does not make you worthy of being elected. Case in point — Jim Norman.

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  5. It might be of interest to you that a committee of good people, who would be approved by “my momma” has already put together a long list of reforms in terms of membership, rules and operations and has been submitted to the State Executive Committeee for considerion and implementation. A bottoms-up process seems to be the right approach. My momma, however, says advice from the press is not always in our best interest.

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  6. Whew boy I’m just glad we dodged a bullet when Cox-Roush went down in flames yesterday. On the other hand, I guess her defeat actually increases my chances of bumping into her. Not a pretty thought! Hope she takes some personal time to fix herself up a little. Honestly, all snarkiness aside, I just don’t think she is a good public face for the local repub party either. Can you imagine her mug shot on the new republican party website? just my 2 cents

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