The sudden and completely unexpected resignation of Kirby Wilbur as Washington State Republican Party Chairman presents a rare opportunity for us to unite and invigorate our party. Within the next ninety days, the State Committee will elect a replacement Chair. They will either select a Chair who will continue the division and infighting within our party, or they will select someone who can unite the party behind our core principles. This decision will determine the success or failure of Washington State Republican candidates for years to come.
For the past several years, WSRP leadership has expended inordinate energy and resources on fighting perceived threats from within the party. They have opposed the libertarian wing of the party with particular vehemence and venom. This infighting has drained the party of time and money to take the fight to the Democrats, and it has created deep division and resentment within the party. Instead of broadening the base, the cynical actions of leadership, both here in King County and statewide, have diminished the party in numbers and in influence.
It is time for this nonsense to stop.
Whoever is elected to replace Kirby must be committed to restoring the WSRP as a bottom-up organization, guided and directed by the grassroots members who make the party what it is. Every faction within the Party must have a voice. Fair and open procedures must be implemented and adhered to. No longer can County Chairs be permitted to run their party organizations as private kingdoms, obstructing the right of the party members to select their own leadership, establish their own priorities and nominate the candidates of their choice.
Whoever is elected to replace Kirby must immediately go on the public offensive. No more can we afford to let the state Democrats and the media define us. We must vocally and continually call them on their lies and misrepresentations of Republicans. When they portray us as cold and uncaring, or as pawns for the big banks and corporations, we have a moral obligation to correct them. We must aggressively get our message directly to the voters of Washington. Of course, first that message must be true.
For too long we have preached the gospel of limited government while continually invoking the force of big government to control how people live their lives. This inconsistency has not escaped the attention of the voters. If we hope to succeed, we must return to an honest commitment to smaller government, greater liberty and free markets, presenting the people with a true alternative to the vision of the Democrats.
Our new Chair must be able to articulate this foundational premise: “We do what we do because we want a freer, healthier, more prosperous society with greater opportunity for all.” From that premise, we can garner support for policies which we believe will advance those universally held objectives.
We are the party of freedom and responsibility. We must remind the voters that one is impossible without the other.
Freedom truly unites people of all ages, genders, ethnic and socio-economic status. We are the party determined to empower every family to live their lives and raise their children as they see fit. From health care, education, employment, recreation, retirement planning and more, we are the party that trusts people to run their lives better than the government.
But just as the most “progressive” household has to manage a budget and pay its bills on time, so must the government. If you don’t pay your bills, you will lose your freedom. Likewise, when the government assumes liabilities it cannot afford, the liberty of every one of us is endangered. Our new chair must be able to preach the value of prudent, fiscally responsible, smaller government, not just because it is the right thing to do, but because it helps insure that each of us will be able to continue living the life we choose for ourselves, without undue interference by government.
The task before our new state Chair is daunting. In many ways, the WSRP is broken. It’s been nearly 30 years since we’ve elected a Republican Governor, and the party leadership has been drifting, seemingly rudderless, for far too long. However, Kirby’s abrupt departure presents a rare opportunity for the right person to unite the Party, realign us with our basic governing principles, and begin to get the message out to the Washington voters. We thank Kirby for his service, and we wish him well in his new position, but it is now time to look forward.
The Republican Liberty Caucus of Washington and of King County intends to be actively involved in the selection of the next chair, and we pray that the State Committee has the strength and wisdom to select the person who can restore the WSRP to relevance and end the long night for Washington Republicans.
Matt Dubin is the Chair of the Republican Liberty Caucus of King County.
[Originally posted on the Republican Liberty Caucus of King County website]