Tim Rudd has taken an action which I am sure is likely to anger a large and active faction of the Republican Party in middle Tennessee. Rudd is the Senate District 13 member of the State Executive Committee of the Tennessee Republican Party representing Lincoln, Marshall, Maury,and Rutherford counties. Today he sent an email to various elected officials and candidates for office urging them not to participate in a vetting questionnaire and debate sponsored by the local 9/12 group.
Nine-twelve is an organization started by TV and radio personality by Glenn Beck and there are about five hundred of these groups across the country, or at least there once were. I don't know how many of these groups still exist and if many of them have faded away or not, nor how active they are.
In middle Tennessee the 9/12 group is very active. They have monthly social gathering and training session and they volunteer in campaigns and have an active social media network. They are headed by J. Lee Douglas who is a likeable guy and a talented leader. There membership may number in the hundreds. With grass roots groups like this, it hard to say what is the membership number. I assume, I am a member. I joined the face book page and am on the mailing list. So, whether active members are as few as 20 or as many as 700, I don't know.
The group is committed to core conservative economic and social values and advocates limited government and low taxes but does wander off into the anti-freedom of religion for Muslims territory and anti-agenda 21 conspiracy territory from time to time. I am in agreement with most of their views except for the these areas. Sometimes the rhetoric of some of the 9-12 members can sound pretty harsh and radical, however. They are definitely not "big-tent" Republicans. Some of the 9/12 members are quick to denounce other Republicans as RINO (Republican in Name Only) unless they are 100% in agreement with their own opinion. Denunciation of Lamar Alexander, Bob Corker and Bill Haslam as RINO's is common in the email exchanges of the local 9/12 group.
Despite my above difference with some of the group, I know a lot of nine-twelvers and know them to be the people who will man the phone lines and go door to door campaigning and who will contribute money to the cause. They are dedicated and hardworking and passionate.
I don't know Tim Rudd, but I was surprised to see a Republican in his position pick a fight with nine-twelvers by urging Republican candidates not to answer their questionnaire nor participate in their debate. I don't know if the letter from Rudd represented only the opinion of Tim Rudd or if this was a move by the Republican Party establishment to retaliate against this 9-12 group for some of their attacks on Republican leaders.
Watch this development to see what, if anything, happens. The radical faction of the John Birch Society and other fringe groups have been making inroads into the Republican Party and at some point, in my view, the party is going to have to take a stand against some of the more nutty fringe Republicans. However, I do not think picking this fight at this time with this group over this issue was the right time to start a party purge. I would like to know what is going on.
Below is the letter:
From: Tim Rudd
Sen. Jim Tracy
Rep. Joe Carr
Rep. Rick Womack
Rep. Mike Sparks
Dear Fellow Republicans and Candidates for Republican Nomination,
Recently a non-Republican organization (9/12) sent out a “vetting” questionnaire and requested that you attend a debate sponsored by them. I urge you not to participate in this unauthorized “vetting” process. No organization outside the Republican Party has the right or responsibility to vet, interview or determine who the Republican Party’s nominee should be.
I both encourage individuals and non-partisan organizations to be involved in the political process. But, no one outside of any political organization has the right to interfere with another organization’s process. What would be the response if the Republican Party Executive Committee ask members of the Democratic Party, Libertarian Party, John Birch Society, Campaign For Liberty, 9 /12, League of Women Voters, the Tea Party or the Chamber of Commerce to report to the next GOP meeting for us to vet who should either lead those organizations or be nominees for their political parties? The response would be outrage, power grab, unethical, etc.
Any individual from any outside organization that is a Republican should volunteer and participate in the Republican Primary in support of one of our candidates, but not on behalf of an outside organization. Organizations like 9/12, the Small Business Alliance or the Middle Tennessee Property Rights Coalition can and should get involved in the General election by supporting either the Democratic, Republican or Independent candidates. ---- But not in OUR GOP PRIMARY!
The only people that should “VET” our Republican candidates are Republican Caucus or Primary voters and the Republican Party leadership. We ask that you respectfully decline participating in their or any other outside “Vetting Process” and respect the Republican Party’s process.
Very Sincerely Yours,
Republican State Executive Committeeman