Dendy beat Ron Paul supporter Oleg Ivutin of Smyrna in a vote of 163-102 in Saturday’s election. The chairman said he does not consider it a rebuke that 102 people voted against him.
“We look at those people who were voting against me as outsiders that made their way into our convention, because they’re not truly Republican Party people,” Dendy said.
The faction that opposed him, Dendy said, are the Libertarian followers of Ron Paul who have infiltrated the Republican Party because they can’t achieve success in their own party.
Dendy said while he welcomes people to the Republican Party, they have to believe in the core principles of the party. The problem with the Ron Paul supporters is they don’t, he said.
“As far as foreign policy goes, they don’t feel that we should have foreign policy at all,” he said. “They don’t believe in us going and fighting a war somewhere else instead of keeping it off our soil. They are very, very extreme in their belief of liberties. They believe there should not be any control whatsoever. They’re very anti-authority. They don’t think we are ‘pure’ conservatives.”
The Dendy election is a microcosm of what’s unfolding in the Republican Party at large, said Kerwin Swint, a political science professor at Kennesaw State University.
“They have conservatives in office who on some issues aren’t conservative enough for at least some Republicans out there,” Swint said. “The libertarian wing, the tea party wing, whatever you want to call it.” He pointed to U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Moultrie).
“Saxby Chambliss is another mainstream conservative who was unacceptable to an increasingly large number of the conservative Republicans out there,” Swint said. It’s not a matter of the Republican establishment becoming more moderate or even “socialist,” as Ivutin claims, an accusation Swint dismisses as absurd.
“I think it’s a matter of trying to find solutions that aren’t always going to be popular,” Swint said. “What Chambliss is doing, for example, trying to work across the aisle, trying to find solutions that would actually have a chance of passing, that’s going to be unpopular with a lot of people in your ideological group. I think they’re suffering because of perceived lack of success and frustration up there.”
Dendy said the two leaders heading the Ron Paul faction in Cobb County are Ivutin and state Rep. Charles Gregory (R-Kennesaw).
Gregory was state director of the Ron Paul for president campaign prior to his election to the Georgia House.
Gregory insists he is a Republican, but Dendy said he doesn’t believe him.
“I don’t buy that,” Dendy said. “As a group, they have been brainwashed to the point that they think they are Republicans. Ron Paul did that.”
Asked for a comment, Gregory told the MDJ he would read this article first and then decide if a response was warranted.
It would be one thing if the Libertarian faction could be reasoned with, Dendy said.
“If I felt like I could convert them, I would be the first one in there trying my darndest to do it,” he said. “But there is no appeasement to these people. It’s one way or none, and you can’t do anything there. That’s one of the problems we have in D.C. right now.”
Dendy said a favorite accusation the Ron Paul faction makes against him and traditional Republicans is that they’re “Republican in Name Only” or “RINOs.”
“And we do end up with RINOS from time to time, and it is frustrating to elect somebody to office, and the next thing you know they’ve turned into a RINO, or they’re not voting the values upon which they ran the campaign,” Dendy said. “But we also have a way of correcting that. It’s called the ballot box.”
Dendy said he was blasted by the Ron Paul wing when he invited Chambliss to speak at the monthly Republican breakfast.
“I said, ‘look, he is our senior senator, and how do you expect to even get anything accomplished if you cannot have dialogue with the elected officials?’ he said.
“They said, ‘he is not one of us, he is a RINO. I’m not going to have anything to do with him.’ What good is that going to do? He’s in there several more years. You’ve got to work with him.”
The problem with the Democrats in Washington is they believe compromise means doing what they want to do, Dendy said. The Ron Paul wing believes the same thing, he added.
“Their idea is it’s got to be done their way. I guess that’s the biggest problem we have here. If we can find a way that they can work within the party to realize what compromise is all about, just the reality of life, it cannot be the pure, perfect world that they feel like it should be.”
Dendy said a curious aspect about the Ron Paul faction is that they are primarily young men.
“Charles Gregory’s wife is one of the only wives of them that I’ve seen at functions,” Dendy said. “With 100 and some odd Ron Paul supporters, Ron Paulites, whatever you want to call them, here in Cobb County that showed up at the convention, there may have been three or four females, the rest of them young guys. It’s interesting.”
They also tend to have a somewhat spoiled air about them, Dendy said.
“Somebody pointed out to me today that it’s the part of the mentality of this generation, where they have always been told they were equal to everybody else,” Dendy said. “They’ve been brought up thinking that they should get their way.”
The good news is there are many areas of the country where the movement is starting to die out, Dendy said.
“And that’s really what this is, is a movement. We’ve seen it before. Live another 100 years, you’re going to see it many more times. There are movements around a single person, and this was around Ron Paul.”