16 February 2013

Editorial: It’s time for the Redprint

Wall Street Journal, 4 February 2013, “Party Eyes 'Red-State Model'to Drive Republican Revival

See that blue splotch in the center just to the left of the middle?  That’s what Colorado has looked like for almost a decade now.  We got “blueprinted” in 2004, and instead of leading the charge to counter the extremely effective model the Democrat Party used with Colorado as the test case, we’ve continued to remain a sickly blue every election cycle since (with the exception of the 1 seat majority in the State House brought on by the Tea Party surge of 2010).  It now takes a state, Kansas, with a supermajority and Republican control of the Governor’s office and both chambers of the State Legislature, to attempt to build a counter to that model—10 years later.

Since it started right here in Colorado, it should end right here in Colorado, but the Republican Party continues to do nothing about it

Why?  Why has the strategy not changed?  Why do we continue to use the same anemic top-down, Denver-centric model for campaigning?  Because there are people in power who benefit from our continued losses—and why not?  They continue to be paid to help us lose, to implement the same strategies that we’ve used for decades (with minor updates) that they think will somehow work again someday.

It’s time for a drastic shift and change in leadership, vision and strategy (all three of which have been entirely absent the last decade in the Colorado GOP).  Colorado is not the solidly-red state it once was.  We can’t continue to campaign like its 1980 and assume we will win like we always did.  Clearly, that isn’t working.  Instead of fixing it, we’ve kept the same model and suffered terribly for it for 10 years.  Enough is enough.

It’s time for the Redprint—in fact, it is long overdue.  After the abysmal showing in 2012, it should be clear to even the most hard-headed that what we have been doing simply isn’t working.  We need vision, strategy and leadership—not platitudes and pandering.  It’s hard to imagine we could do any worse than we did in 2012, and we can definitely do better.  But I don’t think we can do better without change at the top in Colorado. 

Ryan Call is a nice guy—but clearly, he is the wrong guy for this job.  As he said himself in December 2012 (and I’m paraphrasing), it wasn’t his job to lead, but to follow the dictates of the Romney campaign and the RNC.  What did that get us?  Losses across the board.

It’s great that we spent more money on State Legislative races than before, and nice that we raised $2.4 million.  But what did that buy us?  A very cushy salary for Chairman Call (after saying he wasn’t sure if the position should be paid on the campaign trail back in 2011).  Great kick-backs for all the crony political hacks who have ensured Democrat dominance in this state since 2004—people who are supposedly on our side!  Here’s what it also bought us:
  • A loss for Romney in Colorado.
  • A loss in our only statewide election. 
  • No change in Congress (despite a potential pick up in CD7).
  • No change at the CU Board of Regents (when there was one, possibly two, potential pick-ups).
  • No change at the State Board of Education (granted, with only CDs 2 and 4 up, there wasn’t likely to be any change this election cycle).
  • No change in the State Senate (despite 2 very winnable seats, and another possibility or two there).
  • A 9 seat swing in the State House, from 33R-32D to 37D-28R (the largest loss since 2004).

Additionally, Chairman Call guaranteed in 2011 that we would win in November 2012—or our money back.  Listen around the 12:30 mark to hear this pledge.

That $2.4 million raised?  That’s also helping to buy Chairman Call’s reelection.  From using Party fundraising letters and emails to promote his campaign (that is the only reasonable interpretation of several of those) to using Party Staff and resource to “select” Bonus Members to, apparently, using the new Regional Offices to all but bribe votes to refusing to share the contact information for the voting pool with other candidates for Chair, Vice Chair and Secretary, Chairman Call, in an unprecedented misuse of State Party funds and resources, is using your contributions to reelect himself.

If you are a contributor to the Colorado Republican Party, please ask for your contributions back and don’t contribute again until this gross misuse of Party resource is rectified.  This is inexcusable.

In 2011, Chairman Call made a number of campaign promises, including monthly meetings with Tea Party groups, providing needed resources to County Parties, to help County Parties fundraise, etc.  You can read the entire letter here.  To the best of my knowledge, he didn’t follow through on much, if any, of those. 

In the same letter, Chairman Call promises a transparent and accountable State Party, but we don’t even know what his salary is (rumor is that it is anything from $135,000-$175,000/year).  In fact, other than generic items on TRACER and the FEC, we don’t know where any of the $2.4 million raised (and over $7 million given by the RNC, Republican Senatorial Committee and Massachusetts GOP) was spent.  How is that transparent or accountable?

In 2007, while Vice Chair of the Denver County GOP, Chairman Call maxed out a contribution ($400) to Bernie Buescher, a Democrat candidate.  While I don’t have an issue with folks doing this, when you are a Party officer or official of any kind, that is unacceptable.  When he got caught, instead of doing the right thing, he made excuses.  He didn’t apologize, and he didn’t ask for his contribution back.  The explanation I have heard was that Ryan’s employer at the time (John Zackum—State Party Legal Counsel) asked him to, so he did—while they were Republican Party Officials, an offense that would get most people removed from their office (strangely enough, both Mr. Call and Mr. Zackum remained in their respective positions).

The bottom line is, we lost.  We lost badly.  We have not received an acknowledgement of that from Chairman Call, nor have we received an apology—and we’re not likely to.  We can’t keep winning when we keep using losing strategies.  We need a change.  It really can’t get any worse than total losses, but it can get better if we have a real leader focused on strategy and vision.  As nice as he is, that person isn’t Ryan.  For the good of the Party, he should have resigned on 7 November.  But he didn’t, and he won’t.  $135,000/year is an awful lot of money to give up easily, so I understand why he would fight for this—but without results, he doesn’t deserve that salary; he doesn’t deserve the job.


  1. Excellent points, Sarah. With the pro-dynamic of the state being Democrat, Republican leaders have to have the ability to stand on principle and power-opt their positions to overcome the modern liberal anxieties. We aren't an entitlement state, but to the average minority in the state, we look that way because of serious lack of discernment throughout our political leadership.

    Taking a stand on the conservative side has to be more substantial than the current social preferences would lead voters to believe.

  2. This is what Ryan Call said in 2011 when he campaigned for state chair: "One of the proposals that I've made...is a change to our party bylaw structure that will, rather than having the chairman to appoint a majority of the members on the executive committee, set his own salary...that's a decision that our party needs to make. So, I'm shifting the way we have the government structure of our party, to put that decision making back into the hands of the committee...I'm proposing that the county leadership...should be responsible for electing members to the executive committee, approving the budget, including setting ther chairman's salary...if the executive committee decides they don't want a paid chairman, I will serve as a volunteer." He never bothered to propose those bylaws, and, you can watch here for yourself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Rp7TeT9nhs

  3. In the meantime, Ryan Call supported the RNC rule changes at the national convention, which allow members of the Republican National Committee the power to change the party's rules on the fly between national conventions. This seems inconsistent with his former position to put more responsibility and decision making into the hands of those further down in the hierarchy.

  4. Ryan Call made five "pledges" in 2011:

    1) "to empower each one of you to take ownership of our party"
    2) "to expand the influence and the voice of our county party committees and our local grassroots"
    3) "to insure and expand the accountibility and the transparency of our state republican party"
    4) "to improve the working relationship of our state party and our county organization, reaching out to...activists, tea party groups and others"
    5) "to put together a strong and collabarative finance organization"

    It wasn't a pledge, but he also said, "we have that party of the open door, where I'm standing at the door, inviting people to come in."

    I'll let everyone decide for themselves how well he kept his pledges. You can watch, starting at 0:25: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mIvvYUxf5vA

  5. As a National Delegate who attended the RNC I abstained for voting for the current Presidential Nominee. As a representative of the people in CD7 who knew my position expected me to fulfill my promise and to represent their ideals of Liberty and the Constitution.

    After the first Delegation breakfast I was asked by a local Denver Post journalist why I and the other 7 Delegates abstained in their vote for Romney. I said "Because we hold Principle and our Constitution higher than the Republican Party."

    A couple days later when the article came out. Ryan Call approached me on the delegation floor of the RNC and told me that I could not represent Colorado or be associated with Colorado if approached by the media and in addition, that I was to stay away from the media because I was hurting him and the Party."

    Arguable as his point may be. My purpose and actions was that of a Representative Republic where Statesman are elected to represent the People's views. If Call doesn't beleive in fulfilling his Oath and being honest and accountable with the Party then he needs to go.

    1. I think his attempt to muzzle you breaks the first four of Ryan Call's five "pledges" I've posted above. Thanks for sharing.