2009 is the year of the party purge.
That’s one way of characterizing what has been taking place in the Republican Party as it relates to Republican Liberty Caucus members.
As voters that identify as Republicans continue to plummet to new lows (just 20 percent according to an October ABC/Washington Post survey), some state or local Republican Parties have targeted their most liberty-oriented members (undoubtedly members of the Republican Liberty Caucus) for removal.
An interesting strategy to build the Republican coalition — let’s boot out the Republicans that most value the Republican Party platform!
RLC members in Florida and Indiana — and, now, Tennessee — have been removed from elected positions, or have been targeted for removal.
Last week, the Davidson County Republican Party — representing the largest county in Tennessee — announced an effort to remove Vice-Chairman Matt Collins from his elected position. The Davidson County Republican Party Executive Committee voted 14 to 5 to begin the process to remove Mr. Collins from his position.
Collins is also the Vice-Chairman of the recently formed Republican Liberty Caucus of Tennessee. In response, the RLC has issued a press release defending Mr. Collins.
“This is the third state in the last year in which party insiders have tried to purge grassroots activists belonging to the Republican Liberty Caucus,” said Dave Nalle, National Chair of the Republican Liberty Caucus. Purges also took place in Marion County, Indiana, where RLC member Liz Karlson was removed from her Ward Chair position, and in Florida, where five Republican Liberty Caucus members were removed from the party for criticizing party leadership or opposing candidates with a history of fiscal irresponsibility and raising taxes.
The Republican Party has a tradition of diversity, tolerance, and support for freedom of speech and the right of dissent. The Republican Liberty Caucus is encouraging its members to contact RNC Chairman Michael Steele and Tennessee RNC Committeemembers Peggy Lambert and John Ryder to ask for their intervention in the matter. The RLC press release includes additional contact information for interested parties.
According to RLC Chairman Dave Nalle, “It looks like a weak faction which barely gained control of the county party decided that Matt Collins and his supporters threatened their positions of power, so despite the fact that he has not violated any rules, they decided to override the party members who voted him into office and force him out.”