On donating to parties, the 80% rule, and biting the hand that fed me

Belknap County Conservative Republicans have gotten together. They are not to be confused with the Belknap County Republican Committee, which is the county’s official Republican organization.

I’ve worked with people in each group, and I like ’em fine. My perspective is from slightly outside the lines. The state of New Hampshire considers me an undeclared voter.  I’m actually pretty thoroughly declared, as if this blog hasn’t already made that clear. It’s just that “pro-life” isn’t a party. I happily work with and for GOP candidates, and I was employed by NHGOP during last year’s campaign. I was formally registered as a Republican last year for as long as it took to vote for Rick Santorum in the presidential primary, and then again from last fall’s primary until November 7. Early November 7.

While I worked for the NHGOP last year, I met now-Rep. Jane Cormier (R-Alton) as she ran for office. Her district can be proud of her, and so can the New Hampshire Republican Party, for that matter. She showed her form early in the campaign. She co-sponsored an informed consent bill this session. She has co-founded the new conservative group. I met Alan Glassman, head of the county GOP, in 2010. He is unsparing of himself in party matters.

From the Laconia Daily Sun: “[Cormier] she said she has withdrawn her financial support from the county committee headed by Glassman. Glassman wondered how Cormier could claim not to be weakening the party while withholding financial support ‘all in the same breath.'”

This is why I’m independent. Much less drama, and no party to weaken.

Ronald Reagan comes to mind: “The person who agrees with you 80% of the time is a friend and ally, not a 20% traitor.” I suspect the new group agrees with the old one 80% of the time (but oh, that other 20% …).  In any case, I say don’t waste time sniffing about where the other guy’s money is going. I suspect it’s to a Republican.

Papa Sununu (if I may be so irreverent) had two lines he pounded out in every speech during the 2010 campaign during which he was so effective as NHGOP chairman: “talk, talk, talk” and “money is the mother’s milk of politics.” Truisms, perhaps, but no one has propounded them with more gusto lately. Campaigns are expensive: staff, office, media, more media. I have been a paid staffer myself. I am grateful to the party donors who made that possible. I gave good measure in return, and was proud to be on the team.

Here it comes, and this is where I’ll sound like an ingrate:  BUT … I heartily believe that cash and volunteer work going to an individual candidate instead of a party is fine, particularly if one is concerned over a particular policy issue that is getting short shrift by party officials. That’s all the more reason to respect the Belknap conservatives, who still have enough faith in the Republican party to identify with it.

Cormier welcomes primaries. I love that. “Competition is good. It keeps things honest,” she says. It keeps things stronger, too, if it’s handled properly.