Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Kitsap County Republicans - No Room for Communication?

In a dramatic display at the November Kitsap County Republican Board Meeting, the issue was raised as to the effectiveness and purpose of the monthly meetings. It was a vocal, yet diplomatic, debate between the board members which ultimately drew outbursts from the crowd of Precinct Officers and guests. The ultimate message was clear - this was not the forum to conduct anything but official party business.

With that dramatic conclusion, one has to ask - what avenue is afforded the public and the Precinct Officers to raise concerns or address the board if not during the board meetings?

It would appear that the board of volunteers' idea of party business may be off target.

The Bylaws of the KCRP section IV Section F paragraph 2 indicates that "[The Executive Board] shall advise and assist the County Chairman in carrying on political campaigns, and in doing all things proper and necessary to promote the welfare and success of the Republican Party."

The success of the Republican Party - an interesting term is used in the Bylaws. How would one measure success? If success is measured in electing candidates the KCRP has 3 of 17 county affiliated seats filled by Republicans, two of those three, as Ed Mitchell (Board Member) stated, "do not feel welcome at Republican Executive Meetings".

If success is measured in fielding a farm team of candidates, there is little effort being made by the part R&D group to seek out candidates, rather they are mainly relying on candidates to step forward and identify themselves. There is no farm team. There is no "holding area" used to train and coordinate a county wide effort. There is no strategy - and on that the Democrats hang their success.

The most devastating revelation last night was the suggestion by County Chair Sandra LaCelle that the KCRP should limit the organization or involvement with grassroots events for fear that GOP affiliation in an event will detract from support. Unfortunately, a County Party pulling out of grassroots events is absolute surrender. The County Party should organize a certain number of events, and ENCOURAGE even more. How, I ask, does it benefit the success of the party to limit the one monthly meeting to appointments, treasurers reports, and event date announcements while at the same time disallowing idea sharing and town hall style discussion, and how does it benefit the success by eliminating affiliation or support of grassroots events?

In fact, there is no grassroots affiliation, no room for discussion, and little room for two way communication with the board and the PCO's. The Kitsap County GOP webpage has no real avenue for real time idea sharing or issue discussion. There are no organized or advertised local "meet-ups" where those looking to voice an opinion or get involved can go. There is no avenue to channel productivity, innovation, or activism. Because of these shortcomings the Party is and will be absolutely broken, and accomplish little more than an hour long discussion about whether or not to allow comments from the peanut gallery.

The solution is simple, and can be accomplished by making the following changes:
  1. Update the web-page to allow the inflow of ideas and real-time communication of action items. Incorporate an Action Tweet feed on the home page. Include real time breaking news. Make the page a dynamic location that drives action, provides information, and allows for communication in both directions - input and guidance.
  2. Decide on a message. This was brought up during the hour long debate on inclusion, but no clear message was discussed or voted on. What does the KCRP stand for? What do they believe in? What is the single unifying message that we can share that will both direct activists and inspire leadership?
  3. You have goals, now define strategies. This was also mentioned during the debate, but again, no strategy was discussed. HOW will the KCRP elect Republicans to office? I can tell you that it starts with the ability to mobilize and organize grassroots and foot soldiers - NOT by disassociating yourselves from them!!!
  4. Organize weekly Friday Activist breakfasts. Not everyone can come all the time, but it is a great place for candidates to speak, for concerned citizens to speak, for Republicans to share ideas and to build community. If we can provide activities, more folks will get involved. It will grow from there.

The 2008 campaigns provided a necessary lesson on technology. It was successfully used by the Democrats who continue to use their base and infrastructure to motivate and drive action... the fact that we STILL don't have anything close is a shame. Long gone are the days of static web pages and week long lags in communication. We are in a communication age that leaves us with a decision as an effective Political party: Sink or Swim?

Which is it KCRP - Sink, or Swim?


  1. While I don't have a dog in that hunt, I believe you're on the right track.

  2. Rev -

    Thanks. The message should be uniform across all parties... the problems have been identified... now let's just fix 'em and move on! We need to communicate, learn from our past and inspire liberty for our future... the message really is universal.

    Thanks for reading! Stay warm up there in the 18 degree weather!

  3. I missed the meeting - oops! Thanks for your rundown on the meeting. I guess it wasn't too much to worry about.
    Perhaps we could get some conservative meet-ups going in the area along the lines you suggest if the KCRP refuses to act in a forward-thinking manner. I think the Campaign for Liberty might have something ready to go.