A recent letter to the editor, by Mr. Gary Dungan, which appeared in this newspaper recently, was heavily critical of the organization, "Campaign for Liberty". As a member of the Republican State Executive Committee myself, and as Chair of the Republican Party in Hancock County, I felt compelled to respond.
One thing that struck me within Mr. Dungan's letter-is that I noticed his criticism was directed not upon policy differences. Nor does Mr. Dungan discuss ideas, or ground his arguments in anything that could be considered something of an intellectual nature. No, Mr. Dungan chose to denigrate people. There's something to be said of the age-old phrase, "Great minds talk of ideas. Small minds talk of people".
In his rant, he disparaged people involved with the organization "Campaign for Liberty", and evidently, from his own words-simply because some of these individuals involved with this great organization used to live in a different state. Beyond that, he raged about how this organization has been critical of Republican law makers in our state.
Once again though-Mr. Dungan made no mention about policy or ideas. Perhaps these lawmakers were deserving of criticism? Perhaps the policies these certain law makers named within Mr. Dungan's letter have backed anti-Constitutional policies-but of course, Mr. Dungan chose not to frame a policy debate. He chose to personally attack those people who are standing firm on principles. Principles our Founding Fathers handed down to us, and principles that those individuals involved with Campaign for Liberty hold dear.
Mr. Dungan then went on to try and give a history lesson on the roots of the Republican Party, and how it has not "lost its way". Of course, his history is say, less than accurate. He should probably pick up a few books to study the history of the GOP-as it is clear he has once again, been severely lacking in intellect from that perspective. I'd be more than happy to recommend a few primers to get him started on the right path.
He states that the Republican Party began with Abraham Lincoln, and was rooted in this administration. Actually, the name "Republican Party" started with Thomas Jefferson. In the early days of the Republic, those Federalists gathering around Alexander Hamilton garnered one faction of followers who desired more power be granted to the central government. Adherents to Jefferson's leadership were in fact, deemed the Republican Party. It was not until modern day historians began to label Jefferson's political party affiliation as "Democrat-Republicans".
The Party of Lincoln-the "Republican Party" of 1860-was nothing more than a mutation of the Whig Party, which under Henry Clay and his "American System", desired more federal control, more federal spending, federal borrowing and debt, direct income taxation, higher tariffs to protect their Northern Big Business buddies, and of course, another creation of a permanent central bank-in order to monetize through inflation federal spending of all of the above. Comparing the modern day Republican Party (which is supposed to represent the party of small government) to the party of Lincoln, would be like comparing the modern day Democratic Party to the Party of Grover Cleveland, which then believed in sound money, free markets, free trade, and a humble foreign policy of peace and honest friendship.
The true roots of the modern day GOP lie in the early 20th century, when the Republican Party indeed became the party of small government-after the Democrat Party was hijacked by radical progressives like Woodrow Wilson. In fact, Theodore Roosevelt, once a Republican, traveled down the Progressive line of thought-and then in 1912, sabotaged Taft's reelection bid. Afterwards, Teddy Roosevelt's followers in the Bull Moose Party (originally named the Progressive Party), shifted towards the Democrats-and ever since the election of 1912, the modern day two party system was established.
Yes, the roots of the modern day Republican Party really have nothing to do with the Lincoln Administration. They have everything to do with those leaders who formed its true beginnings and convictions in small, constitutionally-limited government since the turn of the Century-leaders such as William Howard Taft, Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Barry Goldwater, and of course, Ronald Reagan.
These men did in fact believe in "Life, Liberty, and Property", and they were indeed the true leaders, the foundation of the modern day Republican Party. Actually, all one has to do is read the Republican Party Platform in West Virginia, and you can see these ideas clearly espoused. I don't expect Mr. Dungan to understand or comprehend some of these historical events or ideas, and moreover, I suspect Mr. Dungan probably would have backed the liberal New Englander, Nelson Rockefeller over Barry Goldwater in 1964. But in any regard, perhaps Mr. Dungan should dig into real history a bit before he decides to write more on the subject.
One word of advice-Ideas shape history. Attacking people on a personal level-devoid of policy disagreements or intellectual discussions of real substance-well, there's just no honor in such actions.
Former State Delegate
Chair, Hancock County Republican Party