GOP’s ‘old guard,’ new generation need each other
by Charles A. Gregory
March 14, 2013 12:00 AM | 4139 views | 28 28 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Charles Gregory
Charles Gregory
Following a highly contested, yet successful, re-election bid as Cobb County Republican Party Chairman, Joe Dendy lashed out in Tuesday’s MDJ at yours truly, and the 100-plus members that did not vote for his slate.

Like many others, I am disappointed that he would generalize and disparage two fifths of the Republican membership — those he collectively refers to as “Libertarians” and “not real Republicans” — even though the near entirety of those he speaks of have never been affiliated with the Libertarian party. Most have been longtime Republicans or simply disaffected.

It saddens me that some members of the establishment feel so territorial, in relation to the growing number of fiscally and constitutionally conservative party members.

In spite of this drama, I have not given up on the belief that Republicans can and should operate with mutual respect.

The notion that all members of a political party will agree on every minute policy detail is unrealistic.

We are not the Borg (I admit it; I am a bit of a Trekkie;)

However, reading Joe’s comments, you would think that we are talking about factions with paradoxical political philosophies.

This is simply not the case.

What does it mean to be a Republican, or a conservative, if not a belief in conserving the principles of limited, small, decentralized government that the American revolutionaries fought for?

I’ve read some ill-informed, or intentionally misrepresented, accusations that attempt to equate libertarian philosophy with liberalism.

In reality, these terms couldn’t be more diametrically opposed.

Libertarian philosophy is a belief in Natural Law: all men are created equal — we have the unalienable right to life, liberty, and property — there is an absolute right and wrong — and our rights are God-given or inherent in our being.

Natural Law takes higher precedence than any man-made or government law; and governments are subject to the same Natural Laws as individuals.

In other words, it’s what Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Thomas Paine, James Madison and the rest of our founding fathers believed.

These principles are plastered all over our most cherished establishing documents — and reflected in creeds and the stated principles of the Republican Party across the country.

Ronald Regan referred to libertarianism as “the heart and soul of conservatism.”

What we are seeing today is a revitalization of the small government, fiscally conservative wing of the Republican Party that has been somewhat dormant, perhaps since the Barry Goldwater days.

Ultimately, the role of a chairman should be, not to dictate, but to facilitate the interactions and will of the members of the party from the bottom up, not the top down.

It pains me to witness some establishment party members willing to forego the opportunity to revitalize the GOP when they reject the next generation of Republicans.

Since Mitt Romney’s failed presidential bid, I have heard many logically stretched analyses of what went wrong.

We should have won that election with votes to spare.

The lessons I believe the Republican Party should take away from the experience are these:

— First, we can’t bank on winning an election based solely on how bad the other guy is; we must have something to offer. It is my opinion that instead of “free stuff” and government dependency, the Republican Party can win with a message of freedom and responsibility.

— And second, we will never win a national election using bully tactics to stamp out the grassroots and keep out new and potential members.

Republicans can ride the wave of rejuvenation simply by embracing the resurgence in popularity of the wisdom of our founding fathers.

Instead, I frequently hear talk of chasing demographics in order to stave off dwindling interest and membership.

On a positive note, there are many longtime party members around the state who get it. These individuals have reached out in friendship; coalitions have formed and these groups are working to achieve common goals.

The ultimate truth is that we need each other.

Without the experience of the “old guard,” the upcoming generation of Republicans would have a difficult time navigating on their own; and without the next generation of Republicans, the Party has no future.

As far as my role, I’ve simply had the privilege of working with many fantastic individuals, passionate about and dedicated to the message of liberty.

State Rep. Charles A. Gregory (R-Marietta) represents House District 34 in the state Legislature.
Comments-icon Post a Comment
Brian Mayfield
March 20, 2013
Well written, Charles.

Your tone does run counter to one of your group at the convention named Dave. Dave approached me while I worked the Republican tent at a Marietta Square event a few months back. He insisted that the Republican Party's problem is that they need to get rid of the "F"-ing Christians. As a Christian, social conservative, I have found that the views of many in the Liberty Movement run afoul of the beliefs of evangelical Christians. It has become apparent to me that you must ask everyone what is their definition of Conservative.

I agree with you that we must return to the principles of a limited, de-centralized government. To that end, I will look forward to working with you.

Additionally, our founders recognized that our form of government, a Representative Republic, was only sustainable for a moral and religious people. My concern for the Liberty Movement is that you want the bricks of liberty without the mortar of morality. I respect your right to believe this, but I challenge you to be forthright on where you stand on social issues.

With that said, let's pursue this political fight for the preservation of our freedem together....but with honesty and transparency about who we are and what are our agendas.
Overlooked One
March 15, 2013
Most of these comments sound like they came from people involved in the Cobb GOP party. So now let me give you the opinion of a person who is 62 and had always voted for a GOP Presidential candidate until the last election.

The GOP's "stance" that les gov't is a better gov't does not always work. Sometimes the gov't DOES need to get involved. The last several yrs the Repub party talks and does NOTHING. I am a college grad who was laid off 6 yrs ago & no one wants to hire anyone over 40 in a good paying job. Since I had pre-existing conditions, I paid COBRA for 18 months, hoping for a job that had medical benefits. There was a gap in coverage, but I was able to get a call center job with medical coverage.

Also, the Ryan plan to make changes to medicare & social security qualifications for anyone 55 & younger is ABSURD! That is too late in a person's life for them to recover. They have worked for 35 yrs and now you change the game. NO! I have paid into SS for 46 yrs and that program should be there. Congress screwed it up, NOT me.

I voted for Obama in the last elections because of the Affordable Healthcare Act. It is not perfect, but it can be modified. If I had waited for the Repubs to make any changes to healthcare insurance, I'd still be waiting. I believe the majority of the Republican Party has become the party of old, weathy, white men who lean far to the right on social & religious issues. Repubs care more about funding our military & fighting wars all over the world. How many nuclear weapons do we need? We spend more on defense than any other country. Canada spends less & their country is safe, because they don't stick their nose in every country on earth.

Everyone, not just a 62 yr old person as myself, should be concerned about their SS, medicare & health insurance. The U.S. is not the same as it was 50 yrs ago. The GOP needs to be relevant to today's world.
March 15, 2013
Wow! Brilliantly stated! I have not heard a more eloquently and respectfully and persuasively laid-out argument for why we lost the election than you stated here. I call it arrogance on the part of the old establishment. But pride goeth before a fall. Thanks for standing strong, Mr. Gregory.
March 15, 2013
I am not defending either "side" in this. But I would like to point out that the "Ron Paul" wing of the conservative movement has behaved very, very poorly. Heckling, shouting down those who may have a different opinion than you, attending events dirty, even screaming in people's faces, making threats and intimidation. I've had plenty of heated discussions with what you may call "establishment or old guard republicans,. but none of them have ever threatened me with, "I'll be back and you'll be sorry", or told me how much better than me they were.

By entering the scene in such manner, these new conservatives have entered as a separate, exclusive group and create their own division.
March 14, 2013
Charles, it is just such values as you expressed here that made me proud to support your campaign & so happy to have you down at the Capitol going to bat in defense of Natural Law and our unalienable rights guaranteed by it. Thank you for your courage, gentlemanly demeanor, and integrity - and humor!
March 14, 2013
Thanks Mr, Gregory!

Everything you so politely, eloquently and clearly laid out is spot on. It is exactly what I have expected to have been hearing from Mr. Dendy and the other so called "real" republicans in Cobb County ( and nat'lly) for a long time now.

Mr. Dendy's concern about "young" "single men" with "no wives" instead of the growing trampling of personal liberties, burdensome government regulation and out of control government spending is emblematic of what we have been being served by the "real" republicans since the early days of GW Bush.

Mr. Gregory, I am with you and Oleg and others like you. Your words echo my thoughts.

I hope you all will keep on doing exactly what you have been doing. If you are not a "real" republican, then I am dang sure I am not either. But, I am also dang sure that I have been voting for every lame candidate the "real" republicans have been putting forth since the GW Bush days - locally and nationally(holding my nose on more than one occasion) for a long time.

I hope Mr. Dendy and the rest of the "real" republicans will reconsider the tone they are setting. The "Real" republicans need to be very worried about whether or not the non-"real" republicans ever show up to vote republican again. 2014 is coming and there are a lot of people who simply are not going to follow the Karl Rove plan ever again.

Thanks again, Mr. Gregory! Keep it up!

Senior citizen
March 14, 2013
I only have one rule. Young and good looking is what I look for.

Usually those people are also smart, and not locked into "the old" school program. Times are changing and we need to be aware of that.
Don McBroom
March 14, 2013
Good article, great points. As an "interloper" myself, I have felt the exclusion of the "old guard" republicans. We are not libertarians, but republicans who feel like the establishment has not gotten it i right, and they can do better, especially with our help, energy, and ideas. Both factions of the party DO need each other to defeat the socialist agenda being pushed on Americans by the Democratic Party.
Libertarian Internat
March 14, 2013
Thanks for the article.

The Libertarian civic reform is indeed based on natural law and a focus on voluntary alternatives.

Libertarians work in all parties. For info on people using voluntary Libertarian tools on similar and other issues worldwide, please see the non-partisan Libertarian International Organization @ ....
Linda Sandwich
March 14, 2013
Thank you, Charles. Together we will stand, divided we will fall. Your eloquence in stating what our party needs is paramount for success while our nation comes to grips with how we got here and which direction we will move in, whether it is a more free society where individuals work to be productive members of the society, or whether we completely morph into the abyss of strict governmental rule, oversight and dependence that our founders came to this new world to escape.

Thank you for your service!

March 14, 2013
Thank you for standing for Liberty Mr. Gregory.
Thank You, Charles!
March 14, 2013
Nice, Finally a rational analysis or the drama! And you're absolutely right! We do need to work together to grow the party, nominate GOOD, conservative, liberty-loving candidates who are electable and together we will effect change and get our country back on track!
one true thing
March 14, 2013
One thing can be counted on to be true: if Republicans continue to attack each other, they can forget about holding the office of President. It just won't happen. Both factions in the Party need to start thinking with their heads, considering how the Party lost, why, and what needs to be done. Frankly, I think Republicans need to take a page from the Dems book, and look at how they won.
Kevin Foley
March 14, 2013
That's interesting. You guys got exactly the candidate you wanted, a severe conservative, but now you suggest the GOP had nothing to offer voters.

Do you really think having nothing to offer will change if you have a different, severely conservative candidate?

The problem for Republicans isn't the package. It's the product.
March 14, 2013
Are you putting forth the notion that Romney was a "severe conservative"?

It would be funny if it wasn't so serious. I guess "conservatism" like many other words has been molded to not mean much these days, but Romney was clearly not what a republican should be. He was not for small government, he was not a constitutionalist & he did not understand Liberty.

Of course you're going to loose when you don't have a consistent message & on top of it your message to start with isn't based on principle, that there is the basic problem with the "establishment".
East Cobb Senior
March 14, 2013
Mr. Gregory, I understand your message and agree that the a way must be found to reconcile the schism between the "Old Guard" and those you refer to as the younger generation. What has upset so many of the “Old Guard” was the failure of those that claim to be strong and dedicated "Republicans" that turned their back on the Republican nominee because their candidate, Ron Paul, was not chosen. The anger of those in the Paul camp translated into simply not turning out and supporting Mitt Romney on Election Day. Many of the “Old Guard” had reservations with our previous nominee, John McCain, but he was the nominee and we turned out and supported him at the ballot box.

While I too believe that the future of our Party is our younger generation, they must learn we have a process called primaries and there will be winners and losers. Picking up your marbles and going home because you lost in that process, then besmirching the winner does nothing to endear the "Old Guard" to your cause. What you did in the last election has rightfully aroused suspicion of your motives. If you want acceptance then reach out, accept the criticism you rightly deserve and don't try to immediately "take over". Prove yourselves first, build back trust, and then maybe you'll garner the support of those that did not waiver in the last election.

March 14, 2013
"East Cobb Senior" - your analysis is a bit off. If you look at the numbers of supporters that Ron Paul enjoyed, if it were true that every single of them had not voted for Romney in the general election, that STILL would not have made the difference in Obama's victory.

Obviously, a LOT of Paul supporters -- and the vast majority of them are long-time Republicans -- voted GOP in the election. Stop making assumptions and accusations, and while we're at it, stop ensuring that liberals like McCain and Romney get the GOP nomination, and stop disparaging the wave of young, energetic small-government conservatives that are finally starting to take our Party seriously. We NEED them.
Thank You, Charles!
March 14, 2013
East Cobb Senior, Your idea that the Ron Paul people took their marbles and went home is clearly NOT true....We wouldn't even be having this discussion if it were.

That being said, the GOP cheated, with the help of mainstream media, Ron Paul out of the nomination. I, and my fellow patriots, place principle above party, EVERY TIME!

Had the GOP played fair to nominate rOBOMBney, it would have been totally different. But their insistance on him being the nomineee, to the point that the Chair of the GA GOP was threatening delegates who would not get in and hoe the party line is disgusting at best, criminal at worst!

Give us a candidate that does not insult our sense of integrity and we can get behind him. Otherwise, you only have yourselves to blame when you lose.

We ARE here to stay. We WILL return the GOP back to it's conservative roots. We WILL only support candidates who support the Constitution.
Roy LB
March 14, 2013
No one who was a real Ron Paul supporter would support or vote for Romney. Principles are WAY more important than party. The hold-your-nose-and-vote-anyway technique is what has gotten you to where you are today. I was at the State convention, and I can confidently say that the corrupt behavior on the part of the old guard was much worse than anything done by Ron Paul supporters.
Jack Staver
March 14, 2013
Unfortunately, this is a National Party problem that has had it's roots run through all 50 states. I have voted R for the last 40 years and always thought that was the right thing to do, then about 4 1/2 years ago I got my eyes opened. We don't vet candidates, we get told who we were going to get from on high and that's whats always been done. McCain was a bad choice, Romney was a bad choice but that's what you got. The reason we lost is due to a very large amount of "R's" that woke up and decided not to vote because they did not get offered anything. The party has not been "inclusive", it's been "exclusive". But I have hope that will be changing with our turn back to foundational government and young, middle aged and old people coming together with one common cause and that is to regain what we gave away. We must stand up to our "Elected Officials" and direct them because after all they work for us. We need to be talked to, not at. I am looking forward to a very bright future albeit a tough rope to push uphill, but with a lot of hands and a lot of Charles Gregory's, Delvis Dutton's, Michael Caldwell's and Scot Turner's we are off to a good start. Up the revolution! Don't be the Summer Soldier or Sunshine Patriot! We are either all in or we are out. Thanks for listening.
Liberty Belle
March 15, 2013
East Cobb Senior...there is absolutely no evidence that Romney lost the general election because Georgia Liberty Republicans didn't vote for him on election day.

George Bush won his first presidential election espousing "small-government" and a "humble foreign policy" but what we got was Medicare part D and the Iraq war.

Romney was the pro-abortion on demand author of Obamacare- what are the odds he would have governed as a small-government president?

Of course Romney would have been a better president than Obama, but couldn't we Republicans have picked a better nominee?

The reason big-government Republican candidates, like McCain and Romney, win the primaries is because the "Old Guard" supports them. If the Old Guard wouldn't support unprincipled nominees we'd stop getting unprincipled nominees.

If Liberty Republicans have to prove ourselves to the Old Guard, and "build trust" by supporting candidates like McCain, Romney, and Jeb Bush than we are never going to merit the status of "real Republicans" in the eyes of the Old Guard.

But Liberty Republicans don't believe Big-Government Republicans are real Republicans, and we don't care what unprincipled Republicans think of us.

I have never been a member of the Libertarian Party although I know we need to bring those folks into the Republican Party in order to defeat the Democrats. We are much more in agreement with Libertarians on principles than not.

If the "Old Guard" doesn't want to build Coalitions with the Libertarians and the Constitution Party voters, whom do they want to bring into the Republican tent? More Big-Government Socialists?

Why would voters vote for a Big-government Republican when they can vote for a better socialist? A Democrat.

There was only one truly pro-life, small-government, Republican candidate in the last Republican presidential primary and you, the Old Guard, rejected him... and your guy, Romney, lost.

Doing things your way hasn't worked. Quit preaching to us real Republicans what we have to do to get your fake Conservative candidates elected, and get out of our way while we work to get real Republicans elected.

March 15, 2013
Dear Senior,

I respect your dedication to the Party and you do have some of the facts right.

Ron Paul supporters did remain loyal to the man they knew to be a proven, moral, ethical, highly intelligent and passionately committed conservative – a man who served his country for 30 years without ever taking personal or financial advantage of his position at the expense of the taxpayer – a man whose Economic Vision and Expertise has the best chance of saving our flailing Economy – a man whose voting record showed him to be the perfect and iconic Consrvative to lead our nation.

However, you have been badly misinformed as to the reason Romney did not succeed. It is ludicrous and libelous to deduce that the supporters of Ron Paul caused Romney to lose the election in November. Many Ron Paul supporters took the bitter pill and voted for Romney. However, almost no one you talk to will admit to being an avid supporter of Romney. He was everyone’s 2nd or 3rd, or 4th choice.

Romney alienated both the poor and much of the middle class with his ostentatious wealth and whimsical arrogance. He offended the welfare recipient, women and the religious right. He had no appeal for the independent voter nor for the phiscal or the constitutional conservative. He was for one thing today and against it tomorrow. He could not be trusted.

Romney was the Media’s choice to run against Obama. And they had an excellent plan.

Every time a Liberal Newsman or Pundit assured us that Romney was the best candidate for the Republican Party they followed with a barrage of damming proof of Romney’s lack of credibility and his superficiality and lack of connection to the common people.

Given Romney’s lack of genuine support with the Republican base, and the machinations of the News Media he never actually had a chance.

No one likes to be played, duped, bamboozled, made a fool of by the opposition. So it is natural when a person discovers that he has been badly hoodwinked, and is unable to face his own short-sightedness, he will look for a Scapegoat to blame.

Hence . . . the “Ron Paul Conspiracy” . . . the traitor from within!

Absolutely ridiculous! Once again you are being played! You are being cleverly divided among yourselves to further the liberal cause. Please do not fall prey to the age old tactic of “Divide and Defeat.”

The very survival of our way of life depends upon our working together!

A Real Cobb Geezer
March 15, 2013
Don’t blame all of us unhappy Republicans for not coming out to vote when you old boys chose to run Howdy Doody for president.

You had several other much better candidates!

You seem to have forgotten, your last choice (John McCain) was another looser just like this one you pushed on us. Who’d you all blame for that one?

You guys should just admit you don’t know what you’re doing!

Maybe we do need SOMEONE to take over this here mess!

East Cobb Senior
March 16, 2013
I find it interesting that so many commented on my post. All of them attacking me for stating the obvious and then scewing my words. I did not blame the Paul coalition of causing Romney's defeat I simply said they failed to support the Party nominee. It would have taken far more than the Paul wing to have brought Romney in as the winner. I too had reservations about Romney and did not vote for him in the primary, nor did I vote for McCain in the primary. In both those cases my candidate lost the primary but I did not abandon the nominee. If Ron Paul had won the primary I would have supported him. I too would like to see a much more committed conserative as our nominee in 2016 and we have some great up and comers, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz just to name a few. Obama has been a disaster an although Romney was far from my ideal I supported him as our nominee.
Pat H
March 14, 2013
Excellent analysis Mr. Gregory. Thanks MDJ for giving Charles Gregory the spotlight to refute the biased charges espoused by Dendy.

Mr. Ivutin was a member of the Republican Party and the smear by Dendy is unacceptable. It is time for Dendy to resign, and Rose Wing as well. She will be busy debating for the next SPLOST proposal anyway.
Stephen Johnson
March 14, 2013
This is why we worked hard to get you elected Charles. You're doing exactly what we expected and doing it well. Thank you. I only wish I could have worked harder.
Ben TwoCents
March 14, 2013
The GAGOP is losing its grip on Cobb County and they are frantic. What was ironic was at the Cobb County Convention Sue Everhart talked about ethics reform with the likes of Rience Preibus as its leader and now Joe Dendy lashes out at active energetic young people who want to be part of this dysfunctional party.

Local tax issues can bind groups together when they fight to diminish their expansion but as soon as the election process begins again the cracks of division will show and grow.

Time, resources, talent and money is wasted trying to pull this dying party out of the tar pits! Let it die!
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