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The “grumpy Republican” problem; Update: E-mail from a Texas GOP convention attendee

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By Michelle Malkin  •  June 9, 2008 01:03 PM

Scroll down for updates…e-mail from Texas GOP convention attendee…

The Texas GOP convened its party convention this week. It’s finding the same problem plaguing the party in other states and at the national level: Disgruntled grass-roots.

The Houston Chronicle quotes GOP officials calling disatisfied conservatives “grumpy” and “grouchy.” These leaders seem to believe the grass-roots have left them. Reality check: It’s the other way around. From the piece:

After a decade of political dominance, the Texas GOP is opening its party convention in Houston this week with a troubling prospect: Grumpy Republicans may not turn out to vote this fall.

Many of the grass-roots Texas Republicans see presumptive presidential nominee John McCain as not conservative enough. Others still support presidential candidate Ron Paul. Some are unhappy over immigration, high federal spending, a sagging national economy and rising gasoline prices.

“A lot of them, and rightly so in many cases, are mad. They’re concerned,” said Roger Williams, chairman of the Texas GOP’s voter turnout efforts this year. “What we’ve got to do is alleviate those concerns and get them to vote.”

…Republican pollster Mike Baselice said half the Republican voters in Texas say the state and nation are on the “wrong track.” He calls them “grumpy Republicans” who cannot be counted on to turn out to vote against presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama.

“I’m concerned about the wrong-track Republicans opting not to vote,” Baselice said.

Baselice said Republicans in 2002 had a 6 percentage point advantage in Dallas County voting and an 8 percentage point advantage in Harris County. He said neither party now has an advantage in Dallas, and the GOP holds an advantage of about 1.5 percentage points in Harris County.

He said that partisan shift could give Democrats a great boost if a large percentage of Republicans don’t vote.

Baselice said Republicans who vote can be counted on to vote up and down the ballot, but he said the GOP stands to lose ground if the “grumpy” Republicans stay home.

Former Republican Chairman Tom Pauken said politicians and party leaders need to reassure the Republican grass-roots workers that their efforts matter for conservative causes.

“The grass roots has withered up and died,” Pauken said.

Au contraire. From what I saw at the Pennsylvania Leadership Conference of grass-roots conservatives recently and from what I see in my e-mailbox every day, the Right’s grass roots are alive and well. It’s principled conservative leadership in Washington that has withered up, died, and been replaced by invasive weeds.

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Related note to the White House: Signing lame-duck executive orders on immigration enforcement doesn’t count as principled conservative leadership.

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Update: Just received an informative e-mail from a Texas GOP convention attendee…

Michelle,

I’m a Republican in Texas, and will be attending the state convention this week as an alternate. This is my third state convention serving the party in some capacity, and I have to say, this year I’m expecting very little good to come out of it.

My reasoning is that the “Ron Paul” crowd, which represents about 1/3 of the delegates attending the convention this week, have caused a great amount of trouble and stress for doing nothing more than standing up for their beliefs. Meanwhile, conservatives who supported Thompson, Hunter, or another candidate have the same issues with the party. We’re worried, and I believe rightfully so, that we will be tarred with the same brush as those whose goals are to disrupt and wreak havoc. It’s a huge mess; while most conservatives have no wish to be affiliated with the “liberaltarians” who have infiltrated our party, there are other Ron Paul Republicans who ARE conservative and that means that all conservative efforts to change things will be stomped upon.

What we’re disgruntled about in our state is an utter lack of leadership at the state party level; we have a governor who has publicly disregarded the voice of the grassroots and the platform, a state chairman who issues press releases on issues contrary to our platform, and massive electoral issues that trickle down from the highest levels.

Thank you so much for posting on what is happening down here. We are sure that there are other conservative Republicans across the country who see similar problems. The question is, do we make tentative alliances with anti-war, pro-choice factions in order to gain any kind of success?

Michele Samuelson
National Committeewoman, Texas Republican Assembly

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