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The purge of truly limited-government activists from the Republican Party has reached new lows, as one of Wisconsin’s top activists found out.
Todd Welch, Chairman of the Wisconsin Campaign for Liberty and constitutional activist, has been “declined” membership in the Republican Party of Dunn County in Wisconsin and his dues check returned. His crime? Holding the Party accountable to its rhetoric and promises. If this sounds familiar, it’s because it is. I wrote about Speaker Boehner’s purge of conservatives from prominent committees in Congress here.
In the recent past, serious grassroots activists were deliberately disenfranchised at the Republican National Convention in August. Dean Clancy has more about that here. Most recently, former Chairman of the Republican Party of Wisconsin and current Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus has made an effort to court those very same disenfranchised activists. Apparently the leadership in Dunn County didn’t get the memo about Priebus’ olive branch.
I reached out to Mr. Welch about the situation and this is what he had to say: “This is about keeping the Tea Party, Grassroots, and any one that wants to hold Republican candidates accountable to Republican principles out of the party.
"Republicans did not lose in 2012 because of our ideas; we lost because of our failure to hold our candidates and politicians accountable and effectively stand up for our principle.
"To me the future looks bright for the Republican Party but only if we stand strong against what the party elite and the mainstream media are telling us. They are telling us that we must sacrifice our principles to win. I am here to say that it is the exact opposite of what must be done. Rather, we must stand up for our principles and force our candidates and politicians to do the same.”
Welch was sent a letter from Dunn County Chairman Richard Rust (along with his dues check) which said in part, “Your actions at the Republican National Convention, your Convention article in the Eau Claire Leader and multiple Facebook entries have not been honorable actions and have demonstrated to the Executive Board that you do not fully believe in the objectives, purposes and principles of the Republican Party.”
To the contrary, Mr. Welch has been exemplary in expressing, promoting, and enacting the actual, stated principles of the Republican Party. Rather, it is those in leadership positions at various levels of the Republican Party that have engaged in an all-out assault on the principles of constitutionally-limited government. (Remember the fiscal cliff? Bailouts? $16 trillion in debt? Tax increases for 77% of Americans?)
Instead of fighting against their base, the Republican Party would be much better served fighting President Obama, Harry Reid, and the Senate Democrats rather than holding hands with them as they spurn the grassroots and pass us the bill for endless spending.
UPDATE: Michael S. Murphy, former chair of the Wisconsin Republican Liberty Caucus and current Chair of the Republican Party of Milwaukee County-South Branch said of the situation, “Todd Welch is a model activist for stated Republican principles and the fight against centralized government power. The Republican Party in general must stop marginalizing itself by attempting to silence it’s most effective and principled members. The grassroots are the backbone of any political organization, and without a backbone the party will not stand. I encourage all of my fellow Republicans to think seriously about attempts to marginalize certain members and the impact this will have in the future.”