Politics: April 2012 Archives

Ali_Rashad_Richey-Mugshot-20050920.jpgNormally, I wouldn't post about Democrat Party politics in Georgia, but there are some interesting similarities to the recent allegations about former Oklahoma Democrat Party chairman and former North Carolina Democrat Party executive director Jay Parmley.

Consider this as a possible pattern: A senior Democrat state party staffer gets caught in some sort of particularly nasty legal trouble, something that reflects very negatively on his character, on the party, and on the judgment of the party leaders who hired him, but instead of giving him the heave-ho, party leaders and donors help with the cover up, including spreading a bit of money around. Maybe they even find him a nice gig somewhere else. The parallels aren't perfect in each of these cases, but there seem to be some resemblances. And it raises the question: Why would party leaders and donors find it worthwhile to spend money and take the risk to protect such a malefactor?

The latest situation: It appears to be the case that the political director of the Georgia Democratic Party, Ali Rashad Richey, has a long history of arrests and jail time, as recently as 2010, when it appears that he spent nearly a month in the DeKalb County Jail, the result of a probation violation from an earlier offence. At the same time, Richey was being paid $4,000 a month by the Gail Buckner for Georgia Secretary of State campaign. Buckner was a long-time state representative, was the Democrat nominee for Secretary of State in 2006 but lost the general election, won a state senate seat in 2008, and ran for Secretary of State again in 2010, losing the nomination in a runoff.

Andre Walker Georgia Politics Unfiltered began writing about this story about a week ago, reporting that Richey had been arrested 12 times in Fulton and DeKalb County, going back to 1998. But Walker provided no links or specifics to back up the claims he was making.

Blogger Nice Deb began doing some digging and came up with the specifics, which she documents in her story about Georgia Democratic Party Political Director Rashad Richey.

I did some digging, too, and found a positive link between Rashad Richey the political operative and the Ali Rashad Richey named in these court records. (*See NOTE at end of this entry regarding the word "recidivist.") The address listed on that 2010 jail booking record is a house at 1834 Carla Drive, Morrow, Clayton County, Georgia.

The house is owned by Gail Buckner (go here to search the county land records), and it's the same address listed on the Buckner campaign's 1st quarter 2010 expenditure report, as the address of "Raschad Richey," paid $4,000 on January 29, February 26, and March 26, 2010, for "campaign work." It was also listed as her "district office" during her stint as state senator.

(Note: A free login here is required to view DeKalb County arrest records, such as the above link.)

The same address was used by Richey to register Democracy In, LLC on March 3, 2010, just two days after the release date in the above-mentioned DeKalb County arrest record.

Thinking through the long list of Oklahoma Republican Party chairmen, vice chairmen, and staffers I've dealt with over the years, I don't think any of them had more than a speeding ticket, much less a long rap sheet. And I can't think of any candidate who'd have been willing to pay a political consultant for cooling his heels for a month in the pokey.

MORE: Warner Todd Huston comments:

For some unknown reason, the state Democrat Party of Georgia's Political Director, one Ali Rashad Richey, is a man with a long arrest record and no one seems the last bit worried about it in the Peach State -- neither politicians nor the media. This man's arrests are for such offenses as burglary, assault, battery, driving offenses, and violation of probation. In fact he's been arrested at least 12 times in the last decade.

Are Georgia Democrats so used to convicted criminals in their midst that no one cares about this?

Photo at top from the DeKalb County website

NOTE: In the original version of this entry, I used the phrase "Ali Rashad Richey the recidivist" as an alliterative allusion to the fact that Richey had been arrested numerous times, as documented by DeKalb County jail records noted above. I am led to understand that in certain jurisdictions the term "recidivist" has a technical meaning that applies only to those convicted of felonies. This was NOT my understanding of the word when I used it, and it was NOT my intention to imply that Richey had been convicted of or charged with any felony offense. The term "recidivism" is not defined in Oklahoma law as far as I have been able to determine, and it is mentioned a few times in Oklahoma statutes as an undesirable phenomenon to be measured and deterred, referring generically to violating the law after some previous violation. To avoid any misunderstanding, I have replaced the word "recidivist" with a phrase less likely to cause confusion.

rino-768px.pngThis post has been percolating in my brain for a couple of months, and the topic for even longer, but other business has prevented its completion until now.

As I read conservative blogs, I see a great deal of understandable frustration with different aspects of Republican Party politics: The National Republican Senatorial Committee's support (later withdrawn) for Charlie Crist over Marco Rubio. Dede Scozzafava getting the Republican nomination in NY-23 and then withdrawing in favor of a Democrat to stop a conservative from winning. Some bloggers are upset that Christine O'Donnell and Sharon Angle won Senate nominations, some are upset about the lack of general election support for Angle and O'Donnell. Bloggers are bummed by the candidates remaining in the presidential race, the candidates who dropped out, and the candidates who never got in.

The common thread in all this discontent is that at some point, someone will blame "the Republican Party" for the problem. Back in mid-February, when I started writing this post, I gathered a few examples. It was that point between the first few primaries and Santorum's early February caucus sweep and Super Tuesday, by which time the presidential field had boiled down to four candidates, each unacceptable in some way, and none of them fully reflective of the zeitgeist that produced the Republican congressional landslide of 2010.

For example, here's a tweet from Jimmie Bise, Jr.:

*We* will fix the godforsaken mess they have made of our country. The Republican Party has one option -- do what we say, or pay. Hard.

From a February 16, 2012, blog entry by Melissa Clouthier:

The Republican party has consistently chosen big money candidates....

The Republican party continues to cling to big government ways and means.

The Republican party leaders cannot articulate conservative values...

Before the Tea Party came along, the Republican Party was a hot mess. The New York, California, Nevada, Ohio, and Colorado GOP (just to five states off the top of my head) stunk. Calcified, self-protective, hierarchical, detached, and consumed by infighting, it's rich that people want to blame the Tea Party for failure when the Tea Party new blood is coming in and attempting to right the sinking ship.

Two years ago, I wrote that Mitt Romney was a weak candidate and that the GOP leadership should be looking, and intently, for better alternatives. They chose to travel the path of least resistance.

As for me, I'm not particularly attached to any of the candidates. It would be nice for a GOP complainer to make an affirmative conservative, or even Republican (read the party planks) case for Mitt Romney. I have yet to see it. But I do see a lot of pre-emptive blaming of the Tea Party.

Sorry, the GOP needs to look for another scapegoat. Looking in the mirror would be a good start.

Stacy McCain responded:

The GOP (with a break for Ronald Reagan) has been just as sold out to Progress as the Democrats for the last century. The party planks had become a joke. The GOP has gerrymandered our culture with the Democrats in exchange for creating a Ruling Class. One can nearly see where the Democrats had a point, calling the GOP hypocritical for showing affinity with the Tea Parties.

And more from Melissa a few days later:

That might have been true if the Republican party hadn't already burned every bridge with the base. They didn't just burn them though, they torched them and put conservative heads on spikes along the way. (Not sure about that? What happened to Sarah Palin couldn't have happened if the Republican hierarchy, lead by John McCain hadn't sat on their hands.)

The Republicans have been pushing back at the conservative base. They insulted them with No Child Left Behind and creating loads of agencies in a post-9/11 world and sealed the deal with government bailouts of banks, Wall Street, GM, and every sort of shifting money from taxpayers to irresponsible institutions and people.

Dan Riehl painted with a slightly narrower brush with his use of the "establishment" modifier:

After significant Tea Party-fueled gains in 2010, for all practical purposes, the establishment GOP has ignored and even tried to mitigate that force with little more than lip service as repayment for their support. Now, they want to kick out the Christian asses that sit in their phone banks and the Christian soldiers that do the grunt work for their campaigns.

It's as if two significant constituencies are begging the GOP to man up and, if you'll pardon the phrase, win one for the Gipper, while a feckless D.C. bedridden GOP sinks its head into the pillow and whimpers, we're not up to the task.

These are signs of a very sick party. We may soon find out whether, or not, it's terminal. At present, the prognosis is already not very good.

Again from February, Jen Kuznicki asked, "Am I To Understand That Value Voters Are Being Rejected By The Republican Party?"

Does the Republican Party think that without touching on the cultural decay of our country, all at the hands of liberals, they will be able to win in November? Perhaps. I have seen the friendliness of local Republicans toward liberal Democrats who have said, "I used to be a Republican, until they started in with the social issues." It is as if the Republican Party would rather have liberals in the party to replace the value voters.

It seems to me that they attack Rick Santorum for actually naming the culprits. He is being thrown overboard for the Republican Party's asinine attempt to bring liberals and neo-liberals, (Ron Paul types) into the party with seats at the table and notebooks in hand.

At about the same time, Ace fretted that the Republican Party wasn't really serious about winning and was more interested in being a protest party obsessed with ideological purity

I believe the party wants to lose.

I believe the party has decided the problems facing us are so big that they cannot be overcome.

I believe the party has decided, maybe subconsciously, maybe consciously, that we are not up to the task, and the best thing to do is just duck out and Blame the Other Guys. Let them Own Their Problems.

If that's the plan, let me know. We don't have to contend very hard at all if our goal is to lose.

Easiest thing in the world, losing. Even easier when you've gotten practice at it.

I believe the party does not think it is capable of working positive good in policy. If so, I take it as knowing itself best, and perhaps it's time for a new party.

Now, many of you are nodding your head in agreement, and I share the frustration expressed by these conservative bloggers with the current political situation. But I respectfully disagree with their assignment of blame to this entity called the Republican Party. That's not because I think that this entity called the Republican Party is blameless, but because I think it doesn't exist.

OKGOP-logo.jpgTo put it into terms a software engineer might understand, "Republican Party" is not a useful abstraction. It encompasses too wide a range of people and institutions and forces. There are party officials at the precinct, county, state, and national levels. There are the elected officials: legislators and county commissioners and mayors and congressmen and senators. There are the consultants and fundraisers and strategists. At the federal level, there's the RNC, the NRCC, and the NRSC, and there are parallel organizations in every state.

There are the big-dollar donors, and there are the phone callers, door-knockers, and envelope stuffers. There are the party auxiliary groups -- National Federation of Republican Women, Republican men's clubs, National Federation of Republican Assemblies, Young Republicans, College Republicans. There are those focused on getting the language in the county platform just so, and those who manage the logistics for the county convention. And then there are the millions of voters who register as Republicans or who take the Republican ballot or who vote Republican in the general election but otherwise have no connection to party matters or political campaigns.

All these individuals and groups have their own motivations and interests often in conflict with one another. All of them can be said to be "the Republican Party" in the sense that my blogpals use the term, but none of them can be said to be "the Republican Party" to the exclusion of the other groups.

To anthropomorphize the GOP, to treat it as a person with volition, emotion, and intellect, is to fail to think things all the way through. It's a sign of not digging deeply enough to find the real actors and the motives that drive the problems we all observe. A political party in America is a playing field over which interests compete. It's an empty vessel waiting to be filled.

I write as someone who has been involved in the nuts and bolts of Republican Party politics as an active participant or an observer since I was 12. I've been a precinct chairman, a state committeeman, a delegate to county, congressional district, state, and national conventions, a member of the county and state party executive committees. I've been picked by the state executive committee to be on the official at-large delegate slate, and I've been on the executive committee interviewing and voting on those at-large delegates. I've chaired platform and rules committees at the county and state levels and sat in as an observer at the last two Republican National Convention rules committee hearings. I've been the Republican nominee for a city council seat. I've provided technical support to more campaigns than I can count. I was around for the last big wave of newcomers in the late 1980s; those newcomers are the folks in charge of the party nowadays.

On the other hand, I'm not on good terms with Tulsa's current Republican mayor, I backed the second-place candidate for governor, and I often find myself at odds with big Republican donors when it comes to local issues. I worry that our massive majorities in the State Legislature will be taken captive by crony capitalism, the same hubris that led to our 2006 downfall in Washington. I can hardly be said to be part of the Republican establishment.

I am a Republican for one reason: It is where American conservatives make their political home. Conservatives of any sort -- social, fiscal, defense and foreign policy -- are no longer welcome at all in the Democrat Party.

I'll be going to BlogConCLT this coming weekend in Charlotte, N. C., and I'm looking forward to the opportunity, outside the official sessions, to visit with my fellow conservative bloggers -- both party insiders and outside observers -- about the forces behind the problems identified above and what practical steps can be taken to give conservative principles the best chance of prevailing at the ballot box and on Capitol Hill.

A member of the Project Veritas investigative journalism team went into a District of Columbia polling place last Tuesday and was offered a ballot by a poll worker who assumed he was U. S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

Man: "Do you have an Eric Holder, 50th Street?

Poll worker: "Let me see here."

Man: Xxxx 50th Street.

Poll Worker: Let's see, Holder, Hol-t-e-r, or Hold-d-e-r?

Man: H-o-l-d-e-r.

Poll Worker: D-e-r. Okay.

Man: That's the name.

Poll Worker: I do. Xxxx 50th Street NW. Okay. [Puts check next to name, indicating someone has shown up to vote.] Will you sign there . . .

Man: I actually forgot my ID.

Poll Worker: You don't need it; it's all right.

Man: I left it in the car.

Poll Worker: As long as you're in here, and you're on our list and that's who you say you are, we're okay.

Man: I would feel more comfortable if I go get my ID, is it all right if I go get it?

Poll Worker: Sure, go ahead.

Man: I'll be back faster than you can say furious!

Poll Worker: We're not going anywhere.

Holder is seeking to block implementation of Texas's voter ID law and has denied that there is a problem with in-person voter fraud.

IVotedFraud.pngThe Department of Justice calls this video a "manufactured example" of voter fraud, but had this been a real voter fraud effort, there would be no evidence at all that it had occurred. Holder might have shown up later in the day to vote for his boss in the DC presidential primary and been turned away as having already voted, which would reveal that a fraudulent vote had been cast. The only hope for catching the culprit would have relied upon whether the poll worker had a sharp enough memory to recall the appearance of one among thousands who had asked for a ballot that day. An organized fraud effort would use publicly available voter records to identify infrequent voters unlikely to show up on the day of the targeted election.

Opponents of voter ID laws claim that there's little to no evidence that this sort of fraud exists, but that's usually because the sorts of tests you might do to uncover it are either against the law or are not pursued by authorities. What Project Veritas is doing here is probing the system, the way TSA might try to send someone through airport security with contraband, to see if the screening process is adequate and is being correctly carried out by the agents. Perhaps fear of being embarrassed by an independent investigation will spur election boards to be conducting such probes themselves. If they really cared about election integrity, they'd be probing the system already.

The problem here is not with the poll workers but with the rules they have to follow. John Fund notes:

There is something surreal about the voter-ID issue. As James O'Keefe demonstrates, it is comically easy to commit voter fraud in person, and, unless someone confesses, it's very difficult to ever detect. With absentee balloting, there is a paper trail that makes it easier to uncover fraud, making it a problem that even some critics of photo ID will admit.

Voter ID support usually breaks along partisan lines, but Fund tells of one Democratic legislator who has bucked his party for getting a voter ID law passed:

State Senator Harold Metts of Rhode Island got a photo-ID law put on the books in his state last year after he was told by several constituents of a pattern of voter fraud in his home town of Providence. Indeed, his own state representative and her daughter had their votes stolen by someone voting in their names in one election. "The old system was not set up to readily weed out fraud, and it would be very hard to prove," he told the Woonsocket Patch newspaper. Metts, the state senate's only African-American member, says that he took a lot of heat from national Democrats for getting the ID law approved by an overwhelmingly Democratic legislature. But he says party loyalty only takes him so far. "It's time to stop crying wolf and make the voter-ID law work for those on both sides of this issue who want to ensure the integrity of the system, while guarding against disenfranchisement."

I'm thankful that Oklahoma, at long last, has a voter ID law, thanks to the tireless efforts of State Rep. Sue Tibbs.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Politics category from April 2012.

Politics: March 2012 is the previous archive.

Politics: May 2012 is the next archive.

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