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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Arkansas GOP Chair Down to Two Candidates - Issues?

Dr. Bill Smith, ARRA Editor: Readers should drop by The Arkansas Watch and read the latest update on the race for the chairmanship of the Republican Party of Arkansas (RPA). Briefly the race is down to two: former state Sen. Doyle Webb and Fayetteville businessman Joseph Wood. Wood is 43. He is a Senior Level Wal-Mart HR Executive and career consultant, has been RPA treasurer since 2007 and was a delegate to the RNC . Webb, 53, a lawyer, was chief of staff for former Lt. Gov. Win Rockefeller and RPA "Victory 2008 Chair.

While the local press and others blogs have concerned themselves with the debate on whether or not the new Chairman will expect to be paid, the bigger issue of who can both unite and grow the party are not discussed. Webb has served the party for a long time and some delegates have said that Webb knows his way around the capitol and has contacts with financial sources. Wood brings a young new vitalized presence to the party that clearly evidences that RPA is open to Arkansas citizens who previously have been disenfranchised or held at arms length by both parties.

Of critical importance is will the RPA awake or will it continue business as usual with the party circling the wagons and taking almost no conservative public stands on issues? Will the RPA slumber until the next election cycle only to awake to ceremoniously endorse those who have won their primary races? In the last regular legislative session, the RPA leadership did not take active stands on critical issues. Fortunately, action was taken by faithful committed Republicans who worked on their own and issued documented position papers to members of the legislature and who worked with other nonpolitical agencies to stop liberal legislation.

Another major concern is growth! The RPA does not need to sacrifice one of the wings of the conservatism to grow the party. What we need is a chair who can clearly and repeatedly articulate the conservative Republican position while standing on issues in the middle of liberal Little Rock. It definitely should not matter if the person knows and is friends with democrats. This is not a friendship position but a leadership position representing republicans and the republican message.

In the past, the RPA chair and executive staff have not been active in working with the conservative new media (bloggers and others) in Arkansas. The RPA has not worked to team up with new media conservative activists who are active in Web 2.0 social networking via FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, Ning groups, Google groups and more. The result is an expanding conservative network outside of the RPA. This same situation is being debated as a central issue in the selection concern of the next Republican National Committee Chair.

Because of a lack of leadership and motivation by the RPA chair and executive offices, a majority of county chairmen either do not have an effective understanding of how to use email to communicate to advance Republican activism. Few chairs have an understanding of the power of the Internet and social networking to reach into the heartland and homes within their counties and districts. The result is the RPA continues in a passive mode in majority of Arkansas often with a defeatist mentality. Except for a couple staff members, the RPA does not communicate via new media and the Internet. Very few counties have active Republican websites.

When the delegates and chairs gather in Little Rock, what do they see. Do they see standard repeated activities and procedures that do little to advance Republicanism or do they see actions being taken that support the the RPA taking stands on critical issues, in the RPA rebuilding the party, in the RPA developing future candidates, and the RPA expanding its relationships and standings throughout the state. Most active party members want to see a revitalized party but again, leadership does not occur in a vacuum. We need a new chair that can competently communicate Republican principles, take clear and concise competent stands on issues, and can work with the new media talent in Arkansas to advance the Arkansas Republican Party. If this does not occur, the RPA is doomed to continue as the minority party in Arkansas.
See also: The Tolbert Report: Webb & Woods Wili Run for GOP Chair
Joseph Wood, Candidate for Arkansas State GOP Chairman - video at RNC 08

Tags: chairman, leadership, new media, rebuilding the party, Republican Party of Arkansas, RPA To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 9:02 PM - Post Link


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post Bill!

I'll say now that Wood is my choice. Let's bring new life to the party in AR--the old guard seems content with the status quo.

Wood is a fresh face who should bring new ideas to the party that is virtually guaranteed to lose bids for every--local, state, federal--other than the Presidency. The one exception is NW Arkansas and again, Wood hails from that neck of the woods so perhaps he can spread the winning strategies of the NW to the rest of the state.

Thanks for keeping us posted.


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