Dear Fellow Republican,
A chance conversation I had last week well illustrates the difficulty we Alabama Republicans are presently suffering.
At noon I was walking across the parking lot of a restaurant when I hard my name being called. It was a good friend who happens to be a good Republican and an affluent businessman who consistently contributes generously to Republican causes. Inevitably our brief conversation turned to the tax issue.
"I suppose you're working hard to get this new tax passed," I said. I was being facetious because I knew my friend to be a solid conservative.
Past State Chairman Roger McConnell has issued a call for a statewide meeting to discuss plans to counter the $1.2 Billion tax plan the liberal wing of the Party is attempting to pass in a referendum scheduled to be held in September.
Roger's meeting will be held at the Embassy Suites in Montgomery on Saturday, June 28 from 1:00 to 4:00. He has asked that this informa-
"Well I'm going to do all I can to get him reelected," my friend said. I asked if maybe we didn't need someone more conservative. "You won't find anyone more conservative than Bob Riley," he said. "I just think he's the victim of bad advice."
Here the mental conflict is evident. My friend loves Bob Riley, but is going to do all he can to defeat Riley's signature program. He knows that Riley is pushing the largest tax increase in Alabama's history, but nevertheless excuses that as due to bad advice-- and still sees Riley as an unsurpassed conservative. I sympathize with my friend, and I know that he is not one of a kind. We will be lucky if numerous of us don't fall into cognitive dissonance, if not schizophrenia.
Meanwhile the same ideological dichotomy was on exhibit Saturday morning at the meeting of the Huntsville Republican Men's Club. Senator Shelby was the speaker, and his first object was to boast, deservedly, about his record of tax cutting. He recounted the story of his conversion to the Republican Party which began with a breakfast with President Reagan, and ended when, after a period of resistance, he finally made the switch. Reagan had urged him to switch because, "You usually vote with us anyway." And that was true Shelby explained.
Since his switch, and even before his switch, Senator Shelby said that he has "voted for every substantive tax cut proposed." He reiterated a well known political axiom: "As taxes grew, so does the government grow." Shelby has for some time advocated a flat tax.
Here, then, was the scene Saturday morning: Before the attendees sat down to breakfast, the tables had been strewed with information sheets related to the Hubbert-Riley Tax Plan, and all the chatter was concerning the action of our Republican governor in proposing a monumental tax increase that would increase the size of government. Then after breakfast our senior Republican Senator took the podium to praise the conventional Republican ideology of cutting taxes. Two top-level Republican leaders, one in state government, the other in the federal government, both dedicated to a cause, their two causes standing at opposite poles. A starker contrast is hardly imaginable.
Yet there is another scene that looks even stranger, a scene that looks like something from Alice in Wonderland. In an AP dispatch from Montgomery we are told that "Alabama's top-ranking Democrat, Lt Gov. Lucy Baxley, won't take part in Republican Gov. Bob Riley's campaign to get voters to approve the largest tax increase in state history." "It was not my agenda and I was not part of drawing up the plan," the AP quoted Baxley as having said.
So here we have it: The top elected official of Party A is pushing for a record-breaking increase in taxes, and the top elected official of Party B is declining to endorse the proposition. With no further information it is easy, is it not, to tell who is A and who is B? However, in this case... Oh, but I see no need to go further.
"Curiouser and curiouser!" cried Alice (she was so much surprised, that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English).
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Hope to see you in Montgomery on the 28th.
Madison County, Place 1
State Executive Committee
Thanks for your 4 page analysis of the problem.
As a strong conventional Republican, I feel we must oppose the tax plan now. Basic principles are more important than our selected but mis-guided leader and some of his advisors.
The legislation has no provisions for fiscal control, the lack of which got us into this problem. Please review Colorado's steps that established controls and now is in excellent shape without tax increase.
Further, the legislation directly opposes Pres. Bush's plan and ignores that increased business and employment will generate far more revenue than increased tax rates that will further reduce Alabama's economy and thus lower, not increase, tax revenues.
I feel that it is essential that we make every effort to block this tax program even though it opposes our Republican elected Governer and some of our leaders.Then follow Colorado's example. The future of the Republican party in Alabama will end up stronger this way than any other approach.
Thank you for permitting me to comment.
I was an elected member of the ______ Rep. Exc. Committee.(Twice). I resigned in February due to the NRC and President Bush's warmongering and promotion of Sodemites to government office plus his love affair with world government and the soviet school system of Ted Kennedy.
I did not vote for Bob Riley, but voted Libertarian. When he formed his committee to change the constitution I put my signs back in my yard, " Keep the Constitution, Change the governor.
I have written the governor and reminded him he only won by 3000 votes but he did not answer my letter. I am actively working against him, his tax plan, and any one who supports his tax plan. I will vote against any republican who supports higher taxes in this state in the coming elections and will work for their opposition even though I do not like them at least they are semi-honest tax and spend politicians. Sig. Bro. would have been a better choice for governor, even with all his stealing, gambling and lying, he did not have nerve enough to play ball with Hubbard.
No one who raises my taxes will ever get my support again! Its Time for a third party, so we can have a choice. Down with the Tax Nazis!!
Thanks for what you have done to try and wake up the party!
We little people out here in Alabama need you to protect us.
It is very encouraging to know that there are still statesmen out there who are willing to "Do right until the stars fall" and trust God with the consequences.
I would like to express my dismay that a Republican governor could propose such an outrageous plan. I am a strong Republican and am appalled that this has happened.
If the state does in fact need more money, then increase the property taxes and stop all the other proposals. At least the property tax is a deductible expense on the federal income tax.
Thank you for trying to stop this outrageous idea of taxing everything.
There are only two elected Republicans in ____ County-both of us are on the ____ County School Board and BOTH OF US ARE ADAMANTLY OPPOSED TO BILLION DOLLAR BOB'S TAX PLAN. We are painfully aware that Paul Hubbert and AEA are the primary reasons for educational problems in Alabama.
Last summer I was dining in Birmingham at one of the Country Clubs, several businessmen walked in and they had just been to Governor Riley's $1000.00 fund raise. Being involved in the _____ County Republican Party I was curious to know what they thought of Bob Riley for governor. The response I got "He is three feet wide and a foot deep". I think those businessmen know what they were talking about.
You have expressed my thoughts better than I ever could. I agree with everything in your letter. We in ____ County are considering drafting a resolution against the tax plan for approval by the executive committee. I wish your approval to use parts of your letter in our draft. I will forward your message to those in the ____ Executive Committee.
Just read your latest letter. It is great. You hit the nail on the head. Keep up the good work. I would like to receive your letters. Please put me on your email list.
Keep up your good work.
I have read with interest your e-mails of the past several weeks and I applaud your efforts to try to educate our fellow Republicans about what Republicans are supposed to believe! I wish more of our Republicans would make the effort to learn why our Governor's Plan is not a Republican plan.
Have e-mailed the copy of your letter about the Governor's Tax and Accountability Plan (sent to me by Elaine Little) to members of our _____ County Republican Executive Committee and we've added a copy of the Blount County REC resolution cited in your letter to our website (baldwingop.org).
Keep up the good work.
I am grateful to you for the stand you taking for the Republican party.
The news conference attended by the four past chairs of the Mobile GOP were there to announce the resolution passed by the MCREC steering committee.
That, from the state's second largest Republican voting county, is more notable than anything four chairmen could do.
By definition, Gov. Riley has directly violated the fundamental virtue which makes our Party what it is. He deserves nothing but removal from office via petition with an immediate disassociation from his "TAX" plan. He is a liar who has embarrassed the Party and all the voters who trusted him. Government should be built on a system of trust and if Riley wanted to begin the change in Montgomery, it should have begun with him, not liberal-wielding Paul Hubbert in charge.
Keep up the good work and the heat on. Even if it is a Republican governor, it appears that it's "bidness and politics as usual..."