Letter | Steve Robinson: Republicans? In name only
"A politician weakly and amiably in the Right is no match for a Politician tenaciously and pugnaciously in the Wrong.” – Edwin Percy Whipple, 1850 Massachusetts
Last week’s article about 12 GOP Precinct Committeeman resignations and complaints against Republican Party leadership as to who are “true” Republicans was as revealing as it was pathetic. People say you shouldn’t air “dirty laundry” in public, but when misleading and false information is published, Mr. Whipple’s advice inspires a response.
The Republican Party has dominated Mohave County politics for years, so it’s easy to take potshots as this article does. That was the intent, to the glee of Democrats and these former PCs. It would be easy to dismiss these malcontents; they no longer have power, but people should know who they are.
They include several of the fiercest critics of truly conservative elected Republicans in the county. They often carry proxies (voting privileges) for others in this group who never attend to vote on party business. They are PCs “in name only.” Besides Dr. Laurence Schiff and this writer, they have also viciously attacked supervisors Hildy Angius and Steven Moss (now a Superior Court judge), and numerous others.
Most are members of an allegedly Republican Lake Havasu City women’s club that’s outnumbered by Tea Party conservatives, who have joined the party in the last few years. Their complaints warrant consideration.
First there’s Sue Donahue, a twice-failed candidate for District 5 Supervisor against Moss. Her claim that the party is diluted by non-party people is laughable at best. In fact, after losing the 2012 primary, she supported a former Democrat turned Independent Chuck Denny in the general election. She should look closely in the mirror.
The Republican Party is best defined as one of “limited government,” more freedom and less taxes. Our founders believed in limited government, leaving power with the citizens of the states. They were often described as “libertarian” in principle. Schiff, the party chariman, along with many others including myself, subscribe to that philosophy. That’s a far cry from the Libertarian Party Donahue accuses Schiff of representing. Her claim is disingenuous, if not outright dishonest.
Donahue moved from Massachusetts to Lake Havasu City with her husband nearly two decades ago. Maybe they’re “conservative” by East Coast standards, but not in Mohave County. Donahue worked over a decade in county government for Supervisor Buster Johnson (Lake Havasu City), retiring two years ago. In her time as appointed state senator, she supported tax increases, more government programs and higher fees for the citizens. She left on vacation before the Legislature ended, missing 100-plus votes. Senate leadership had little respect for her liberal values or her brief tenure.
Then there’s Gaynell Crews, who went after Supervisor Moss and requested all his emails regarding the Mohave Valley Community Park that Moss promoted during his first term in office. The facts revealed they built an $8 million recreational complex for under $2 million and used just $250,000 county money. The upshot of the complaints was that all the supervisors had to take a class on Open Meeting Laws.
Finally, there’s Sarah Hall, whom Buster promoted to replace Donahue. She fiercely criticizes many elected conservatives in Mohave County, specifically Kelli Ward, Sonny Borrelli, Angius and Moss. She’s not conservative, as her personal website and Facebook confirms. She writes frequent articles, all highly critical of other Republicans. She routinely carries proxies for PCs (who rarely attend) to vote in party meetings, like the December 2015 meeting to replace former Senator Kelli Ward. When a complaint was filed that she didn’t live at her grandparents’ address, rather with her husband and that made her ineligible, she provided “proof”: paid utility bills.
There’s a recurring theme. It surrounds one man, Supervisor Buster Johnson. When Chairman of the Board of Supervisors from 2006-2010, the group displayed a “country club” atmosphere with the minority running the party. He campaigns for supervisor as conservative, he governs just the opposite: deficit spending, opposing the courts and sheriff’s department, doubling property taxes, and raising various fees. It proves the opposite. His actions contradict his rhetoric.
When the party’s elected PCs grew by 70 percent in 2010 with the rise of the Tea Party, Johnson’s group fell out of power. Until recently, they’ve fought to regain control; having failed, they resigned. This was their parting shot. This “Dirty Dozen” aren’t conservative, rather they are exactly the Republican establishment the citizens rejected in 2010-2016 elections. Their constant sniping isn’t expected to stop, but now they’re irrelevant. They will not be missed.