This weekend saw a major split in the largest state chapter of the Republican Liberty Caucus, found in Washington State. With almost one-quarter of the total national membership, the RLCWA was already becoming a force in state politics. Unfortunately, things fell apart at the state convention over a proposed resolution that would recognize the right to life and state that the RLCWA’s official position was in defense of the unborn. The failure of this resolution resulted in a mass exodus of members statewide, with more resignations promised in the coming days and weeks. (See video of the 5-minute speech in favor of the resolution here.)
Over 30% of the membership in one of the most populous counties in WA either has already resigned or is expected to in the next 48 hours, including two founding members and an officer—leaving the county chapter defunct until the officer can be replaced. Other members hailing from across the state are also compiling resignation letters in a move designed to drive home the message that pro-life members find principle more important than numbers. The split could end up changing the face of the liberty movement in Washington State, as those who believe in life as the first and most necessary liberty, clash with those who claim that collaboration with pro-abortion members is necessary to grow membership numbers.
“Many members joined the RLC reluctantly, with the promise and understanding that Washington State Charter would adopt a solidly pro-life position. It is now clear that this will not happen, and as such, I have tendered my resignation. [...] It is most distressing to think that the RLCWA has refused to make a stand for life, voting instead to uphold and affirm the modern American Holocaust that is abortion. I cannot, in good conscience, associate with an organization that will vote overwhelmingly to remain silent at best, and retain a statement that says it can be “honest and ethical” to support an act and a culture that annihilates humans…” (read Strang’s entire resignation letter here.)
Amid the furor over whether the resolution would even be allowed to reach the floor were reports of nasty tactics by the RLCWA leadership. In one particularly disturbing speech on the convention floor during debate, one member claiming to be pro-life asserted that the drafters of the resolution were “under the influence of Satan.” Meanwhile, RLC National Chairman Dave Nalle was seen publicly name-calling the resolution drafter on Facebook, calling him a liar, “crazy,” and other choice phrases.
While the RLCWA has claimed that most members are pro-life, the national RLC position on abortion is a “neutral” one, which states that there can be “honest and ethical” discussion on both sides of the abortion debate while still stating that it “take[s] no position on the merits of conflicting legal, ethical, and religious viewpoints on either side.” Interestingly enough, the author of the RLC’s National non-position on abortion was written by a openly pro-abortion Libertarian, Bill Westmiller, who wrote that “A woman’s freedom to terminate her pregnancy follows from her natural right to her own body. A fetus is not a person, it is a fetus. It has no right, no justifiable claim, to any person’s body.”
Strang writes at RedState–and other sources verify his story–that he and others had a problem with joining the RLCWA because of the thinly veiled pro-abortion stance couched as “neutral,” but they were told that if they joined, they would be allowed to fight to change that both in their counties and in the state or even national level. This was not the case at all. The RLCWA had no intent of letting the pro-life resolution pass; based on this and the conduct of leadership, RLCWA members—active, strong members—are walking out the door and choosing their own path; future plans are being kept close to the vest at this time.
Full disclosure: This author is one of the members who submitted a resignation letter and left the RLCWA. I have reprinted the full text of my letter below:
This letter serves as notice of my resignation from ———- County Republican Liberty Caucus and the Republican Liberty Caucus of Washington State, effective immediately. I also request that I be removed from the membership rolls of the Republican Liberty Caucus at any level where my name may appear. I do not wish to receive any further correspondence from the RLC or any of its affiliates, including any electronic, phone, or paper communications.
I am aghast at the knowledge that the RLCWA is more concerned with compromise and collaboration than principle. Each of us has core issues and peripheral ones; for many of us, the issue of taxes or pot legalization is inconsequential when compared to the blatant murder of tens of millions of children. Unfortunately it was made clear that the RLC is far more willing to see pro-life members leave than pro-abortion members, and the issue of abortion is for me, one of the core beliefs of my value system. As a result, I cannot be aligned with an organization who, through word games and verbal semantics, tries to keep the pro-life members believing their opinions matter while giving a wink and a nod to the pro-abortion members, letting them know that those who support the murder of children are certainly welcome as well.
Even past the disturbing message that the resolution failure sent was the conduct of RLC leadership in this situation. I personally watched people spread disinformation, lie publicly and blatantly, insult those who dared question anything, and impugn the character of those who sought a pro-life resolution—and that was just the leadership. I received many reliable reports of the debacle called the State Convention this weekend, and I was disgusted to hear that the pro-life members seeking this resolution were accused of “being under the influence of Satan.” In addition, a county chairman actually got up and lied publicly to the entire assembly about the events of the situation and the actions of those involved.
Perhaps the most disgraceful thing of all was watching the aftermath of the resolution failure and the lies that were spoken. Not only were those responsible not held accountable, but other members of leadership attempted to whitewash the entire situation, claiming that it was not done with malice, or that it was an honest “perception” error. Members who attempted to point out inconsistencies in conduct and public statements were told to “please drop it,” and yet meanwhile the county chair who lied to the convention took to his Facebook status to call the pro-lifers “liars…shame on them for invoking God, then lying to advance their cause.” In essence, while one member of leadership was trying to sweep the mess under the rug, another member was doubling down on his conduct and publicly doing exactly what he falsely claimed others were doing. To top all of this off, the national chairman himself stooped to ad hominem attacks that only served to bring disgrace to the entire organization.
As I stated, I cannot be part of an organization that chooses to turn a blind eye to the brazen dismemberment and murder of children in this nation every day. However, even if the resolution would have passed, I would still be leaving, because I choose not to be affiliated with a group that allows and even cheers such disgusting, lowbrow tactics. As a former conservative activist on the national level, I can say that I have never seen such dishonest conduct from those claiming to be pro-liberty. Perhaps the saddest part of all is that at any time, the leadership could have simply stopped this course, apologized for the poor conduct, and done things the right way. Instead, they chose to push forward with their agenda, and that says more about the organization than almost anything else.
There are members of the RLCWA who are amazing activists for the cause of liberty and life, and will remain members even after this. It is my hope that they also choose to make a stand against the conduct shown by the leadership of the RLCWA, and if necessary, disassociate themselves from the group. While their membership in the RLCWA will not preclude my working with someone on the causes that I believe in, I do state my intent to recruit pro-life members away from the RLCWA by showing them the history of how this organization treats truly pro-life members who refuse to sit down and shut up about the murder of innocents.
For the cause of Liberty, whatever the cost.
This story will be updated as it moves forward.
UPDATE, 1935 hours: The maelstrom continues, as leadership and loyalists engage in damage control. State Chair Sandra Belzer Brendale posted in all associated groups a “recap” of the events, portraying those who chose to stand on principle as spoiled brats who didn’t get their way, people who “do what so many have done in the past, take their ball and go home.”
Information is coming in fairly quickly, as members all over the state—most of whom I’ve never met and don’t even know—are contacting me with everything from screenshots to messages showing a distinct pattern of top-down attempts to quash debate as well as trying to whitewash what already happened. It seems not everyone wants to sit down and shut up; more and more members are starting to look at what happened (regardless of whether they originally supported the resolution), and want to ask questions. This post will continue to be updated as more information comes in.
I’ve shut down comments on this story because the facts aren’t up for debate. They’re true, and that’s it. If you’d like to ask a question, make a comment, or send me more information, you’re welcome to email me at Kit@victorygirlsblog.com. Please note that if you want me to keep your name private, I will. However, please also note that if you’re writing simply to call me a liar or claim that I’m wrong, don’t waste your breath. My stack of proof trumps your opinion, and I’ll simply mock you anyway.
UPDATE, 2345 hours: James Caswell, Pierce County RLCWA chairman, confirmed that a member did, in fact, refer to the pro-lifers in the room as being Satanic, stating that “It was one guy with a mic,” and that it was not the opinion of the group at large. When asked why the body applauded his statement if they didn’t agree with it, Caswell said, “He spoke a bit longer and at the end people clapped. It’s polite to do in a convention setting. Not like anyone was giving him a standing ovation or anything.” Remember that, folks…regardless of what’s said, applaud at the end. It’s polite.
UPDATE, 0105 hours: The idea of the RLC being a pro-life group—or even really welcoming of pro-lifers at all— is apparently fiction. Dave Nalle, the previously mentioned current National Chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus, had this to say in an interview with the Washington Times:
Joseph F. Cotto: Many political forecasters are saying that the future of the American center-right belongs to libertarians; specifically those of the Ron Paul variety. Do you share this view?
Dave Nalle: Absolutely. Despite the attempts of the media to portray libertarianism and Liberty Republicans as far-right extremists, you are right to describe us as center-right. It’s not that we’re extreme, just that we are different. It’s more like we are perpendicular to the usual left-right axis. We’re more tolerant on social issues and more exacting on fiscal issues than the past trend in the GOP. This is a perspective which is more marketable to contemporary voters and will bring back voters who drifted away from the party because of the extremism of the religious right on social issues and the inability of moderate Republicans to restrain spending. (emphasis added)
In other words, the RLC is “more tolerant,” i.e., more accepting, of the social issues that the religious right fights against; namely, abortion, gay marriage, etc. In addition, he admits that this tolerant perspective is “more marketable” to people who left the GOP because of the “extremism of the religious right,” i.e., their opposition to abortion. This is a very blatant statement: The RLC is okay with abortion, and we have this perspective because it’ll bring in pro-choice voters who disagree with pro-life folks—who, by the way, are extremists.”
Pierce County Chair Caswell, when asked if he was aware that the RLC National Chairman was actively stating this position as part of the big RLC picture, he replied, “I don’t care what Dave Nalle is….I care about RLCWA and Pierce. And i [sic] can tell you that most of the members of both are themselves pro life.”