There’s going to be a time, I predict sooner rather than later, when reasonable Republicans aren’t going to be able to sit through a speech like the one given at the Alaska Republican Assembly convention in Wasilla by Assembly President Sharron Angle, the Nevada politician who ran for Senate in 2010.
“One out of every six bundlers on the Democratic side is homosexual,” she told the 150 or so people at the Wasilla Sports Complex on Saturday. “Are you starting to see the trend? If we want to stop their agenda we have to stop their money,” she said.
One day reasonable Republicans in the room will get up and walk out, in the same way they’d walk out if she substituted “black” or “Hispanic” for “homosexual. “
They’re not there yet, however. We’re not there yet. And most of the politicians and want-to-be politicians who showed for the much hyped Assembly meeting on Saturday sat safely behind their tables. Among the attendees: Reps. Bill Stoltze, Lynn Gattis, Shelley Hughes, Wes Keller, and Lora Reinbold. Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan worked the room. Sen. Lesil McGuire made an appearance, as did Russ Millette, the former GOP chair who just announced that he was running for governor as a Republican. Bill Walker had a booth, manned by his running mate Craig Fleener. Anand Dubey, who’s running for state House in West Anchorage, and John Cox, a candidate for the U.S. House, were there. Senate candidate Dan Sullivan also had a booth. Mead Treadwell had a presence. Joe Miller was there, getting the most shout-outs from the speakers.
Most of them sat or stood around the edges, chatting with occasional passersby, and occasionally even rolling their eyes at some of the speakers’ more fulsome pronouncements. None of them, however, left. The people in the room represented a slice of the electorate that they’re going to need in in the primary, and they can’t afford to offend them.
The Alaska Republican Assembly is a member of the National Federation of Republican Assemblies, a group that’s been around since the 1950s. Its profile has risen with the Tea Party’s profile in the last few years — the Tea Party before there was a Tea Party. It considers itself the Republican Wing of the Republican Party.
The precursor to the National Federation of Republican Assemblies was formed in California in the 1930s and spread to Arizona, claiming success in getting both Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater elected in those states. In those years they were known as the “Young Turks.” Still Turks today, perhaps. But young, not quite so applicable these days, as anyone who has recently attended a Tea Party rally can attest.
At any rate, it was certainly a greying crowd at the Wasilla Sports Complex, with the exception of Mead Treadwell’s volunteers. Somehow Treadwell manages to attract a kind of young, well-groomed volunteer who calls to mind tennis matches and 5 o’clock cocktails on the porch overlooking an emerald green lawn.
But on Saturday, they weren’t on that porch. They were in Wasilla, wearing neon reflective shirts with Treadwell’s name written across them, listening to Sharron Angle talk about the gay agenda, and the profitable “baby killing industries,” which she continually repeated, and which, because the acoustics weren’t good, came out as ‘baby killing in the streets.”
You can say a lot about Sharron Angle, but at least she doesn’t yell. Two of the other keynote speakers did a lot of that. For hours. God. Guns. Socialism. Obama.
Richard Mack, a sheriff from Arizona, yelled about how Alaska should be able to elect sheriffs. Right now!!!
“Are you a David?” he yelled. “Do you have the courage to go against the Goliath?… Did you know that gun control is against the law?… How many God given rights are in the First Amendment?”
“Five!” he yelled.
Ted Cruz’s father Pastor Rafael rounded out the afternoon. Like the sheriff, the senior Cruz’s voice rose. But the sheriff’s shouts seemed aimed at hitting you, individually, in your gut. The senior Cruz’s voice was the voice of stern pastors everywhere, the one that rips right through you, through the walls, into some land beyond that only they envision.
“Nobody is taking my gun or my bible,” he shouted. “Vote according to principle.”
He talked about his son Ted, and how Ted went to Washington “not to compromise but to fight for our freedoms.”
While in Alaska, he was going to visit other men of God, to try to enlist them in the effort to “wake up pastors that are hiding behind their pulpits,” and won’t tell their people the truth. He’s going to tell them that much like the frog in the warm pot of water, “You’re being boiled to death because of your complacency.”
A straw poll was taken at the end of the day. The winners: Gov. Sean Parnell for governor. Joe Miller for Senate. John Cox for Congress. Mayor Dan Sullivan for lieutenant governor. Ted Cruz for president.
Alaska Republican Assembly will officially endorse sometime before the primary.
Contact Amanda Coyne at firstname.lastname@example.org
Correction: The initial post misspelled Sharron Angle’s name.