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.
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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