Should Maryland GOP Dump Pelura?

MDGOP chair Jim Pelura seems to have hit a trifecta.  Republican members of the Maryland legislature aren’t too happy with him.  Then Pelura was slammed by the party’s Executive Committee for firing MDGOP Executive Director Justin Ready without discussing it with them first.  Now Pelura’s increasingly tyrannical behavior has managed to make the front page of the Washington Times with talk of ousting Pelura.  I am reminded of he melt-down of former Republican Party of Virginia chair Jeff Frederick.

In all fairness to Pelura, Maryland House Minority Leader Anthony O’Donnell is not only wrong, but arrogant, if he believes that the MDGOP shouldn’t take a stand on core policy issues.  However, if Pelura believes that the MDGOP should dictate policy to elected members of the state legislature then he is equally wrong.

As for Pelura’s unilateral firing of Ready, Pelura does have the authority to do so.  It’s pretty foolish, but the MDGOP has chosen to make the Executive Director’s position one that serves at the pleasure of the chairman.  Pelura’s sin appears to have been a political one.  However, allowing the state chair to arbitrarily fire any staff member is just one sympton of a sickness that afflicts the MDGOP to the marrow.

While I certainly have no quarrel with Ready, his firing appears to be a straw man.  The lack of a viable finance committee is a much bigger reason to oust Pelura.  IF, as reported in the Washington Times, Pelura dumped Ready because he booked a speaker that the chairman didn’t like at an upcoming workshop, then too bad.  Amend the party plan and learn from your mistakes.  Such behavior is one reason why Pelura shouldn’t be re-elected as chairman, but it certainly isn’t a valid reason to oust him.

The fact that party officials are discussing this matter with the media goes to prove that the MDGOP isn’t a conservative organization.  By definition, conservatives don’t do radical things.  Of course, this helps to explain why the MDGOP is becoming less relevant by the day.  Grassroots organizations like the non-partisan Americans for Prosperity and the GOP-centric Eastern Shore Republican Alliance are working to promote conservative (and hopefully Republican) issues and candidates (in the case of the ESRA) outside the structure of the MDGOP, which is little more than a country club.

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The issue isn’t really whether or not to dump Jim Pelura.  As long as the MDGOP leadership is more concerned about being big fish in a little pond it won’t really matter who sits in the big chair.  Until all of the petty, self-serving interests holding sway in the MDGOP agree to restructure the party and get serious about winning elections, it really won’t matter who holds the Executive Director’s position.  Until the party becomes interested in promoting conservative ideas and engaging the grassroots, it will continue to decline into irrelevance.

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