Alabama GOP Changing CourseBy
Around about now is the anniversary of the commencement of this newsletter. (Please, no gifts!) In my first newsletter I wrote:
At our dinner meeting on February 21  in Birmingham we saw at the entrance to the ballroom an easel with a display board showing the sponsors for the event. The first listed was the "Alabama Education Association." The AEA also sponsored a table at the dinner. Their table was preferentially placed directly below the speaker's stand. It was a well appointed table, with a nice glowing candle set in the middle. That candle sat there glowing all night, but to no one's comfort. It may as well have been placed under a bushel. Not one soul ever sat at the table. The AEA, having given their money, felt that that was all that was needed. No one from the AEA, apparently, had any interest in anything we Republicans might have had to say.
In that piece I lamented the fact of our Party taking Paul Hubbert's money and I asked rhetorically whether, "By taking their money are we being co-opted by the very faction which we say we adamantly oppose, the ultra-liberal, the worst-of-the-worst Democrats?"
And I answered that, "Unfortunately there is some evidence that we are." Then I gave a web address where Hubbert could be heard explaining that certain of our political ads had met with his displeasure, and demanding that they be withdrawn. He had said that "the AEA had given 'a million dollars' to Republicans and that we were 'biting the hand extended with checks in it.'"
These ads were not withdrawn, but this incident illustrates the stunning arrogance of Hubbert, and the control he presumes to have over our Party. In other words, he is saying that he has bought us with his "million dollars."
I ended my message with reference to "the Alabama Party's unhealthy relationship with the AEA," and suggested that we at least begin a discussion of what to do about it. Overnight, I received an astonishing number of e-mails, virtually all of them echoing my concerns. The following is typical:
I concur with your thoughts here completely. It galls me every time I see that they have "bought" a table or such. They have the majority of the Democrats in their pockets and so are now going after the RINOs in the Republican party.It was clear that I had hit a nerve at the grassroots level, and I later wrote that "I hope that by biting the bullet and speaking up I have broken the taboo and that more will soon add their voices to the discussion.'' And they did.
But strong habits die but slowly, and a heavy ship cannot turn in a small circle. We still haven't reached our destination, but I believe that we are beginning to head in the right direction. For evidence I submit the recent press release of our State Chairman Marty Conners. It takes courage to go up against Hubbert, the gorilla union boss, and Marty has shown strong initiative and leadership. He deserves our unqualified support. [Send him kudos!]
I have submitted a resolution which I believe outlines the proper thing for us to do, and I hope that it will be adopted at our upcoming state meeting. As Drudge might say:
AEA Lying to Teachers
Birmingham, AL –Alabama Republican Party Chairman Marty Connors vehemently criticized the Alabama Education Association today for attempting to thwart Governor Riley’s plan to reform education. In a recent letter mailed to its members, the AEA blatantly misquoted points in the plan, distorting the message of reform and accountability put forth by the Governor.
“This is a gross misinterpretation of the facts,” Connors said. “Governor Riley has clearly stated his plans for education reform in the package he has put together. For the AEA to brazenly misquote it is an insult to the intelligence and integrity of
Governor Riley is quite clear by stating in his plan that COLAs for retirees are to be protected, yet the AEA mailing says he will “kill COLAs.” It is also clear that only future public and education employees will fall under the new retirement benefits provision that requires 30 years of service to be eligible, rather than the current 25. The AEA falsely accuses the Governor of trying to “take 25-year retirement away,” insinuating that current employees will be affected.
“How can we affect positive reform when the AEA is purposely attempting to mislead our teachers? Paul Hubbert is dead wrong,” Connors said. “The Governor has laid out a clear and effective plan for reform. Let’s not be petty and lie about what it says in a vain attempt to retain power.”
13 Feb 04