Even though this is a local issue, it has significance on the larger GOP philosophy, so it’s worth a vigorous discussion. My friend Ann Becker was harassed at a recent GOP meeting in Butler County for really the same reasons that Donald Trump has been on the national stage. Not because she declared that Muslims should be rejected from American borders out of safety from terrorism, but because she, like him, is a political outsider—and they truly run the GOP like a mason’s lodge instead of a political representation of the conservative electorate. I’m very sympathetic to her because I know it feels. I’m probably the most conservative person in Butler County. I would hardly say that I’m a radical right-winger by any means. My type of thinking would be very much at home in John Wayne’s America. But certainly not the type of GOP supporter the Bush family has helped create—center right leaning people who are in politics to protect their business interests only. They are not for the philosophy of conservatism as a primary concern. I personally like Todd Hall, who currently runs the Butler County GOP—which is arguably one of the most conservative areas in the nation. But I learned much more than I cared to about the party and the politics of it in 2011 when area Republicans were pandering to the Tea Party types hoping to choke them off at the pass after the 2012 election. Before getting into details of this behavior, read what happened to Ann Becker by Todd Hall at a recent meeting, which was extremely childish on behalf of the GOP.
I was at an event not that long ago with all the powerful local politicians and Governor John Kasich. After a big speech we gathered outside where drinks were flowing freely and everyone was trying to convince the other about how worldly they were—essentially impressing nobody. The words were empty and rooted in sand. One small gust of political wind always uproots them into tumbleweeds of indecision—even at John Kasich’s level. I was very unimpressed with these titans of Ohio politics. Meeting him in person changed my impression of him forever. He was weak; you could see it in his eyes and body language. I don’t brag about it too much but I can usually tell everything I need to know about someone in about three minutes—I can completely disseminate their personality, their hopes, their fears and their strategic aims just by listing to their emphasis on words, the way they shake hands, and the way they communicate through body language. There is nothing that anybody can hide from my analysis. I take note of everything possible and arrive at conclusions based on those observations which are always correct, even when someone tries to throw me off the scent. I was always good at these kinds of things, but over the last ten years, it has become so second nature to me that it’s like breathing. Meeting Kasich in person and his immediate supporters and the donor base only caused me to lose complete confidence in their competency. I try not to let people know what my conclusions are, because after all, those people have to live in the skin of their bodies—and most of the time it’s too late for them—so why make them feel worse. It doesn’t accomplish anything. But trusting them with something is off the table.
I gave them the benefit of the doubt until I was on WLW radio doing a live bit to hundreds of thousands of people and I was in a gotcha press moment. (CLICK TO REVIEW) I was in one of those media sensation moments and was playing my part of it. I worried that my Republican friends would bail on me under the heat of controversy—after all I was fighting on their behalf. And they did exactly what I feared of them—while I was on the air they sent a press release to the station distancing themselves from me like a bunch of cowards. I was of course prepared for their actions, but it still was something I hoped to be wrong about. I wasn’t wrong. I have not communicated with many of those people except on business since. I’m not a let bygones be bygones type of person—I hold grudges for decades—maybe even lifetimes. I have learned to get along with people for the sake of business, but I don’t get cozy with them—ever after they betray me in some fashion. So it is for that reason that I don’t offer my leadership to the area GOP, even though they need it.
I don’t play in my life by bi-laws, like Todd Hall brought up to Ann Becker keeping her from videoing the event, and confiscating her personal cell phone from recording what was going on. That’s not acceptable behavior. The GOP is not a secret society, and there shouldn’t be any strategic secrets. The Democrats are an open book when it comes to community organizing and they destroy Republicans at the effort because of the childish intentions of area GOP leaders. It’s not just Todd Hall, it’s a nationwide problem. You can hear the frustration in establishment leaders like Jeb Bush and John Kasich when they talk about Trump. They really believe they can lean on the many thousands of Todd Halls across the country to prevent delegates from casting votes for Trump at the GOP convention at the end of the 2016 summer making him the official nominee. They do so with the same stupid arrogance and need for power that Todd Hall confiscated Ann’s phone. How stupid is that?
There is a lot that I could offer the GOP and Todd knows me, and what I could do for them. The moment they tried to fight a tax increase without my help out front, they lost—for obvious reasons. But I’m not submitting to anybody’s authority. I am always respectful of other people’s rights, and when someone comes after me, man, woman, or whatever—I fight them hard—really hard. I share with Trump a desire to completely destroy whoever attacks me—so those kinds of games only let “yes men” near GOP leaders instead of truly the best and brightest that each community has to offer. The smart thing for Todd to do even if he doesn’t like Ann is to use her natural enthusiasm to carry the party forward with marketing efforts. Ann is on 55 KRC every Monday morning with Brian Thomas and she’s great with the newspapers. She’s a wonderful asset. Ann and I have many differences, she was a Lakota levy supporter in 2005, she doesn’t like guns, and she’s much more libertarian than I am in regard to drug use. But I still consider her a very good friend. Whenever she’s convinced me to have a night out with her, I always enjoy it, and we get a lot done. She’s good at what she does and I respect her. That doesn’t mean she has to line up 100% with everything I believe. Todd could have that kind of relationship with her, if he was willing, but he’s not. Instead, he sees her as part of an opposition that is trying to take the GOP toward a more libertarian type of party—and for him; he likes the GOP to be the party of the builders and developers. Ironically, he has a lot in common with Donald Trump, but if the party bosses say not to endorse the New York billionaire, Todd will strong-arm the party away from supporting the current front-runner. They’ll abandon him like they did with me on WLW radio in front of hundreds of thousands of people because they essentially lack the courage to stand by a belief in anything. That’s why they are so easy to beat. Yes they have a Republican majority in the House and Senate and several state governors across the nation, but what are they doing with all that power? They allow themselves to be pulled further and further left—because they won’t stand for anything. So they lose in the big picture time and time again to left-winged radicals and name calling dissidents.
Even though I’m sure Ann was probably a little defensive while trying to set up her camera knowing that Todd would come over and condemn her for it, ultimately she is trying to make the party better. And everyone should know that. Every day I get emails from Democrats telling me to take action on some presidential proposal, or liberal talking point—both large and small. They have a blogging network that the left gets behind along with a wide range of pundits that work the press actively every day. I get emails from them because I’m politically active and my name is everywhere and on everything. I get only a fraction of those emails from Republicans. They are not nearly as good as Democrats at marketing their position, largely because when they do get someone who is good at that kind of stuff, they don’t stand behind them. Liberals always stand behind their people, right, or wrong. Republicans never do, they seek to distance themselves from controversy at every turn and collect cell phones from their most ambitious supporters only to put a cap of secrecy on everything they do, hoping the “enemy” Democrats don’t find out about it. The cause of this behavior is that most establishment Republicans who have something to lose whereas the Democrats are largely government employees or recipients of government hand-outs in some fashion—so both sides vote with their wallets. But people like Ann, and I—we are all about the philosophy of conservatism. And there is no room in the Republican Party for us. But there should be.
There are many good people out there not working with their area Republicans who are far more talented than the usual party stiffs to work the media. There’s nothing wrong with being a stiff—there’s value in it. But to market Republican values, dynamic personalities are needed. I’m not particularly keen on dropping names to show who I know and to what extent but I recently spoke to David Kern, who just stepped down as Liberty Township trustee and was essentially removed from office as he used to run the GOP before Todd Hall took over. I’ve known the Kern family for many, many years and have always liked them. David Kern was a Tea Party type before there was ever such an organization, but he often walked the very fine line between establishment and maverick seamlessly. He was very good and he will be missed because it wasn’t easy. He’s an old man now, but he was like that for several decades and Butler County politics was better off because of it. The party needed resistance just like a good football team needs to practice against a tough defense—to make them better. Ideas are good. But the establishment types made a move against Kern after they were done using him to win Tea Party support during the 2010 and 2012 elections—which ultimately helped take over the House and Senate by 2014. The stage is always set for these things a half a decade before we ever see the results. Anyway, Dave and his wife Katy told me the whole story as we ate at a dinner together—and it was incredibly disrespectful to him as a long time Republican. I thanked him for his work on the Liberty Center project and he essentially rode off into the sunset. I felt sorry for him—he gave so much to the Republican Party and was kicked aside like an old shoe—because he was one of those “free thinking undesirables” who thought the bi-laws were stupid and the party was too heavily in favor of one type of Republican—instead of the entire conservative base.
Ann Becker, David Kern, and Donald Trump all share some things in common, the GOP establishment like the one on full display at a GOP event in Butler County, want to push them out of the party. They are all too free thinking to care about Todd Hall’s ban on cell phones and the childish games of a political party that wants to be an exclusive country club instead of a dynamic representation of southern Ohio conservatives. If you want to be in a country club, join Four Bridges, Wetherington, or even my favorite, The Elks. But don’t bring that crap to a political party that should be at war with liberals. Democrats are winning because of it. Instead of harassing Ann Becker, Todd would have been wise to listen to her, and bring her into his tent for what she could do for him.
But he didn’t and they won’t. Donald Trump is right in front of their faces and they don’t like him because they can’t control him, which is why they continue to fail. Ann Becker is also right in front of their faces and instead of befriending her; they harass her over her video camera and cell phone. They are more about control than winning and that is the reason so many people are flocking to Trump. Everybody on the outside of that GOP club has had enough.
Rich “Cliffhanger” Hoffman