Lessons from the Convention (and how we failed the test)

After three rounds of votes by over 1500 delegates (though the number lessened to 1420 by the third round), the delegates to the Georgia GOP State Convention elected John Watson as Chairman. The final round came down to Watson and Alex Johnson.

After the final vote, I immediately sought out the candidates or their campaign staff for quotes. Unable to find Mr. Johnson at first, I asked Brandt Frost V to either text Alex and ask for a quote or give me one himself in whatever role he played in the campaign. This was the quote I was given (emphasis mine):

“Alex cut 76 votes, or more than half off his margin of defeat in 2015. The fact that a political outsider with no party office almost upset the party’s favorite son, shows the level of discontent with the party’s internal decision making.” 

Before posting, I asked if Frost was sure he didn’t want to add something more positive, less abrasive, something that showed a willingness to work with all involved to move the Party forward.

His response:

Why should I? The party never incorporates our ideas into their plans or works with us during or after elections. Make it sound as negative as possible.

An hour later, I was able to locate Alex Johnson and asked if he had a comment to add to the story, promising to update it immediately with his quote. He told me he would email or text me something later, but never did.

Instead, yesterday afternoon, this email went out (again…emphasis my own):

While we have been vocal in our concern about his (John Watson) lobbying firm’s donations to the Democratic Party of Georgia during the Trump election, I congratulate him on his win, and am extremely hopeful that John will carry through on his promise to create a truly grassroots party. I hope all delegates will follow my lead in offering to help in his endeavor.

Additionally, he urged his supporters to get involved in the Georgia Republican Assembly, which is, for all intents and purposes, the Republican Party.

Here is the issue, in my opinion. While Mr. Frost may be correct is his perception or view of the GOP, both on a State and National level, the same can be said of the Alex Johnson/Brandt Frost sect of the Republican Party. Republicans, in all their sects, from every viewpoint, fail when it comes to unifying the party. Oh, we talk about it. We talked about it ALL.WEEKEND.LONG. in Augusta. Every speaker, at every meal, in every conference room, and on the convention floor spoke of the importance of unifying the party. Herman Cain gave a rousing speech at breakfast on Saturday morning where he said, accurately, that the Democrats were better than the Republicans at sticking together. Even when they are wrong. They may bicker behind closed doors, but they present a united front to the public. Kinda like parents when they discipline the kids.

The problem for Republicans is that while we talk big, our actions portray a very different story. We are amateurs when it comes to, for lack of a better term, the art of the deal. We are each so concerned with getting our own way, that we have forgotten that others matter too. We are so convinced that we are right that it fails to occur to us that someone else’s point may be correct or even better than ours.

And that is one of the reasons that we are fighting to maintain a congressional seat in GA-6. The Republican message is so vast, so divided, so hypocritical, that not a single one of us should be surprised that we are struggling to grow the base and reach a more diverse group of voters.

If we are serious that being a Republican is about more freedoms and less government intrusion and overreach, than we have to be that in every way possible, while using God-given common sense.

We have to stop being afraid of the word “compromise”. We all compromise every day. We do it at work, we do it at home and we do it with friends. It’s how we stay employed, married, and raise responsible children. It’s how my husband gets to watch “Wicked Tuna” and I get to watch “Grey’s Anatomy”. It’s how we work out household budgets and which sports our kids play. And yet, we cannot compromise on the House or the Senate floor, much less at our county and state party meetings.

It’s not the problem of one part of our Party or one member of the Party as a whole. We are each responsible the state in which we find ourselves.

And that is why the response from one candidate’s camp to it’s supporters over a loss is so discouraging to me and leaves me shaking my head. There is zero need for a prologue or qualification before congratulating the winner. It discredits the sincerity of the call to support the outcome.

Actions speak louder than words. And only time can will tell if we are really willing to come together for the good of the Party, our State, and our Nation.

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Matia BrysonPete GibbonsxdogLea ThraceGeorge Chidi Recent comment authors
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Dave Bearse
Dave Bearse

More on actions: Another failing of the test was the volunteer off-duty Doraville police officer Sargent at Arms deciding the party’s minority engagement director was a little uppity about showing his papers, leading to a physical altercation.

George Chidi
George Chidi

Someone needs to pull that officers’ jacket at Doraville to see what his record looks like. If you can get grabby with Leonardo Smith — of all people — at a state convention, I shudder thinking about what the typical Doraville resident getting pulled over must go through.

xdog
xdog

Well, if it’s this Gene Callaway, he’s an ex-Georgia Rep.

And yeah, part-time cops are the worst.

Lea Thrace
Lea Thrace

all i could do after reading about this was sigh very very deeply. You would think after Mr. McNeely’s encounter at the Trump rally last year, there would be some effort to maybe do better. There are only a handful of minority leaders in the GaGOP. How has this not been telegraphed at every event to at least try to prevent the VERY BAD optics of this.

(Though that would notprevent the underlying incredibly PROBLEMATIC undercurrents that lead to these incidents. Thats a much more difficult fix…)

Lea Thrace
Lea Thrace

until compromise stops being a dirty word in the GaGOP and the national party, these types of situations will continue to occur. Compromise is not a sign of weakness. If anything, it is a sign of maturity. Of magnanimity. OF LEADERSHIP.

Fingers crossed that one day both parties will regain that level of maturity.

Pete Gibbons
Pete Gibbons

Excellent write up, Ms Robertson. Bravo.

Matia Bryson
Matia Bryson

So in the interests of promoting unity, let me see if I understand. Fresh from the sting of a loss in an effort that lasted months (years?) Brant Frost made two impolitic statements. Alex Johnson was wiser and waited for a night’s rest and good meal or two to gather his thoughts and words, throwing unreserved support behind John Watson, which he has shared in every way possible since via email, Facebook, etc. He forgot to text you specifically, but perhaps he has had dozens of texts to answer since he gave out his personal cell number to so many?… Read more »