Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Being a County Party Chairman Sucks

No really I mean it, the job sucks. What is really funny it is completely bi-partisan in its suckage as I am sure many on the Democrat side would agree. I was the St. Joseph County GOP Chair from 2005 to 2007.

A long time ago in a blue hair's fuzzy memory there was time when County Chairman were mighty figures in local and state politics. It actually was not that long ago the job had some decent $ incentive thanks to the License Branches. That all ended with Gov Evan Bayh (another reason not to like him) in 1989. Gone where the days when a County Party Chair could hand out jobs and favors like candy.

Today we are left with a job that has limited stature, almost no perks and little or no funding. Worse still is the outright contempt that so many elected officials seem to hold their own party in. Most officials ignore their County Party completely and sometimes will actively undermine it. It is a sad state of affairs and only a few of us who have walked in those shoes know how tough it is.

In 2007 Allen Co. Indiana witnessed a tumultuous and strange Mayoral election where an upset winner in the GOP Primary was not embraced by the Party "establishment", some would argue for good reason. Regardless of personal feelings, personal hardship or even odds on who would win Chairman Steve Shine did his job. He was probably as surprised as most on who his party handed him for its GOP nominee but he did not ask for a do over or even to be excused...he did his job. His job as county chair was to back his party's nominee, no matter what the odds or circumstances because that is what the job means.

The job is a lot of things. Some of the things it is not are policy maker, outreach coordinator or band leader it is pure sausage grinder and leg breaker.

You are the coach which means you don't always get to pick your players but you have to take the field and do whatever it takes to win. Steve made tough decisions which cost him most if not all his political capital. You can argue all day if Steve made the right choices but you can not argue that Steve sucked it up and did his job. Kevin Leininger of the News Sentinel in Ft. Wayne has this to say.

I salute Steve Shine, Butch Morgan and every other County Chair out there for either party who labors for their cause. You are undervalued but do an important job.


Gonzo Defenestrater said...

Hey, Chris. Ummm, how 'bout you tell us how you really feel?

Rock on!

Jonathan Trenn said...

What did Evan Bayh do back then that made you dislike him regarding county chairs?

Gonzo Defenestrater said...

Oh, I dunno, maybe castrating the County political parties by taking control of the branches thereby insuring that full-time hacks and professional fundraisers could take over ... oh, and the whole meltdown of the BMV ... that might be what he's pissed about? Can't tell ya fer sure, but it's safe speculation, I bet.

Jonathan Trenn said...

I worked in Indiana in 1990 for Baron Hill. Bayh wanted his guy Joe Hogsett to be Sec. of State and made sure Hogsett had great funding. Hill had little. Left a bad taste in my mouth.

Kristen Luidhardt said...

Yeah, working for Baron Hill will do that to ya. ;)

um,just kidding...