Monday, December 03, 2007

Republicans to Institute "Code of Conduct" in Primaries

Further fallout from the wingnuttier-than-thou mud bath that was the Ohio Fifth special election primary, reported today by GateHouse News Service:

    COLUMBUS – Angry at inter-party attack ads in a recent congressional primary, the Ohio Republican Party will develop a code of conduct and ethics and a preferred list of vendors and consultants for future primary and general elections, including one next year in Northeast Ohio.

    “I am angry about it,” said Republican Chairman Robert Bennett about the fight between State Sen. Stephen Buehrer, R-Delta, and State Rep. Robert Latta, R-Bowling Green.

    Last month, the two conservatives got dirty attacking each other, claiming each was a liberal and linking each other to unpopular former Gov. Bob Taft and convicted coin dealer Tom Noe. In reality, they both have nearly identical voting records in the Legislature and both took campaign money from Noe.

Here's a little more background on the primary.

Codes of conduct like this are notoriously hard to enforce. A party code would have a better chance of working because, as a private entity, the Republican Party is not bound by the First Amendment (yes, I know, when they are in charge Republicans don't feel bound by the First Amendment either. But don't lose the larger point.) Still and all, the Repubs face an uphill battle making this stick.

Here's how they intend to go about it:
    [Party Deputy Chair Kevin] DeWine will develop a code of conduct, which the central committee will discuss at its February meeting.
Here's where it gets interesting:
    He also will create a list of vendors who will be asked to pledge to abide by that code.

And some basic principles:
    “We want the process to be transparent,” DeWine said. “This will be (our) seal of approval to make sure every dollar is used to elect Republicans.”

Every election cycle sees a backstage struggle for power among the party organs, consultants and interest groups that rivals the actual election for intrigue and drama. The Republican struggle tends to be cloaked in layers of Kremlin-like secrecy, but we at least get to see how this part plays out.

Meanwhile, the GateHouse story references the primary for the open seat in the Fourteenth as a possible test case for the Code:
    Another battle between Republicans is brewing in the March 4 primary in the 16th Congressional District, now occupied by U.S. Ralph Regula, R-Bethlehem Township. Regula plans to retire at the end of his term next year.

    The two announced Republican candidates are Ashland County Commissioner Matt Miller, who took on Regula in 2006, and State Sen. Kirk Schuring, R-Jackson Township. The filing deadline is Jan. 4.

Well maybe but. Looking at Matt Miller's website, he doesn't look like the sort of hard rightwing ideologue who seems more likely these days to go dirty. And he makes no mention of the social issues that were the grist for the mudstorm in the Fifth. He's a young guy and one wonders if this run is as much about making a name in the Ashland party as anything else.

The Republicans dodged a bullet when Wooster State Sen. Ron Amstutz announced he would not run. Amstutz is the sort of movement conservative who would readily call Schuring out as a RINO, and is a nasty piece or work to boot.

As for the Code of Conduct, don't expect its application in a general election any time soon.


Anonymous said...

Don't let the website fool you... Miller is the batshit crazy type of conservative who would do exactly that. Don't be surprised to see Club for Growth enter the race on his behalf.

John Ettorre said...

This all reminded me of Reagan's infamous commandment #1: that no Republican shall talk poorly of another Republican. Party discipline seems to have broken down since then.

Anonymous said...

Pho: I am NOT a fan of Bob Bennett AT ALL, but a friend of mine said Kevin DeWine is going to be the new chair. I searched Google and there wasn't much on him. Any chance you can do a post on your thoughts on DeWine??? Thanks!