NCGOP cracks down on Republicans criticizing Republicans


We’re in the middle of the primary election season.  These times are all about internal debates / discussions between party members as they chart the direction of and craft an agenda for their parties.  Yet, it appears the NCGOP hierarchy — including The Pope himself — is enforcing a ban on public criticism of GOP officials by GOP activists.

This has all come to light thanks to some dissension among party activists in Haywood County. Apparently, some party members are seeking punitive actions against an incumbent county commissioner there for alleged infractions that reportedly include using the powers of his office to retaliate against fellow Republican rivals.

We obtained THIS email from Haywood GOP chairman Pat Carr:

On 1/9/2014 1:54 PM, Patricia Carr wrote:

Hello Chairman Pope, Ms. Krawiec, and Mr. Poole,

On two different occasions I have been told by staff members that the responsibility of County parties is the recruitment, funding, and election of Republican candidates, not censuring sitting elected Republicans.  That information was passed along to members of the Haywood County Republican Party.

One of our Executive Committee members, Mr. Eddie Cabe, has provided to me several cases  where County parties have indeed censured individuals.  Therefore I am asking for clarification of the NCGOP’s policy and guidance with regard to such actions, specifically with regard to any criteria that should be considered before taking such an action.

Thank you for your assistance.

Pat Carr, Chairman

Haywood County Republican Party

This got followed up with an email to NCGOP HQ from the aforementioned Mr. Cabe:

Mr. Pope, Ms. Krawiec, Mr. Poole,

     I believe the time has come for one of you at the NCGOP to step up to the plate and answer the Question . Have any of you or has the NCGOP given Pat Carr, Chairperson of the Haywood County Republican Party, Instructions to “Not Censure” as she insists you have? And if so could you please provide me with a copy of these Instructions that I may share them with the Haywood GOP executive members.

 Thank you for your time and attention to this matter

Eddie Cabe

Haywood GOP

Precinct chair

THAT missive led to this dictate from The Pope himself:

Mr. Cabe,

It’s time we had a little “prayer meeting”, as we say down in these parts.

Our 100 County Chairs collectively have the hardest job in the Party.  They must organize meetings, recruit candidates, raise money, engage in outreach and PR, and, unfortunately,  play referee to every local dispute that arises between their elected officials and their activists.  It’s a thank-less job, and I know first hand, having been the Wake GOP chairman back in 2009 and 2010.  Regardless of the County Chairman’s best efforts, there will always be a group of individuals with a bee in their bonnet and a bent toward negative criticism, disruption, and ultimately destruction of the very organization that seeks to turn out the vote and elect Republicans at the local level.  Most of the criticism seems to derive from those who have some sort of “purity” notion, or in come cases a “holier than thou” approach – both of which are ineffective and impractical when it comes to actually winning elections – and the bottom line is – we’ll never “govern” if we don’t win elections.

In my humble opinion, your passions for conservative politics, while admirable and heartfelt, would be much more effective if directed towards the defeat of democrats like Kay Hagan rather than your continued assaults on your local county chairman or your local Republican elected officials.  I would wager a large bet that between you, your county chair and your locally elected republicans – you all probably agree on 80% or more on any given issue.  But instead of working together on those issues, you’re choosing to focus on those few issues in which you find disagreement, and you seem to be much more comfortable attacking fellow Republicans – a clear violation of Reagan’s 11th commandment.  You continue to look for conspiracy theories, skullduggery, and high drama where none exists, and it’s a colossal waste of precious time, energy and resources – time that could be better spent walking a precinct, making phone calls, and registering new Republicans for the upcoming elections – those activities that actually build the party rather than tearing it down.

To your question regarding “censure” motions, we have advised our County Chairs – at every opportunity – to discourage any motions or resolutions that would have a party openly criticize – for public consumption – a local republican official.  Not only does such action violate Reagan’s 11th commandment, it is also ineffective, in that it only further alienates the target of such criticism, it “changes no minds”, and only gives the Democrats more fodder to attack the same individual at every opportunity.  It drives a wedge and divides the local party rather than unite the party, and when Republicans are divided, democrats win.  

If you are a voting member of your county party, you have the right to bring any motion you wish for consideration by the board.  I would encourage you to bring a motion to register more voters, raise more money, establish a phone bank, walk more precincts, etc.  Those are motions that help build the party.  If you choose instead to bring motions that cast the Party or its volunteers or elected officials in a negative light, I would strongly encourage opposition to those motions and I would hope that the boards would soundly defeat such ill advised proceedings.

One of the principles in which I’ve tried to preach around the state is simply this:  Praise in Public, Criticize in Private.

 It’s a very simple principle that, if practiced by more of our party’s leaders & elected officials, would do wonders to help build unity and help maintain the first Republican majority in this state in over 140 years.  If you have “issues” with your local elected officials or party leaders, I would encourage you to schedule a “prayer meeting” of your own with these individuals and air out your differences, focusing on those issues in which you agree rather than those in which you disagree.  Agree to disagree if you must, but find the common ground, and find the “positive” in every person.  Find ways to help each other rather than tearing each other down.  Find the good in people, for there’s much good.

Eddie, we’ve never met, but I know that if and when we do, you and I would probably get along just fine and in fact we would have much in common.  We’re both “warriors for the cause”.  I admire your energy and passion, and advise you, based on my own personal experience, that with only 24 hours in a day, we must carefully decide how we spend our time.  Let’s collectively agree to spend our precious hours on this earth in an endeavor that inspires, uplifts, motivates and promotes the good in our fellow Republicans and our fellow Americans.  The hardest thing to do is to practice the “golden rule”, especially when you’re on the receiving end of such negative bombardments by others, but such practice is the highest calling of a true leader, whether it’s reciprocated or not. You’ve had your own share of “negative” thrown your way as well, but I believe in you, Eddie, and I know that you have what it takes to turn this negative into a positive.  I’m counting on you do the right thing.


Claude E. Pope, Jr.

North Carolina Republican Party

So, this bit of preaching from The Pope helps us put the actions of the recent past Craven GOP chairman in perspective.  (He had orders from on high.) 

What does The Pope suggest we do when quite a few of our elected officials abandon their campaign promises shortly after being sworn in?  When we vote a plank into the party platform banning tolls, and our House “leaders” run back to Raleigh and approve tolling?

The Pope seems to be buying into the mainstream media — and professional consultant — argument that you need to moderate in order to win elections.  Ronald Reagan didn’t tone it down — and won TWO landslides.  Jesse Helms held firm on his beliefs — practicing what he preached — and got 30 years in the Senate. People appreciate principled leaders.

In 1988, the great William F. Buckley led a rebellion against his state’s US Senator Lowell Weicker (R-Conn.).  Buckley formed a PAC that helped then-state attorney general Joe Lieberman knock off the incumbent RINO.  Buckley’s logic?  It’s better to have a moderate-to-liberal honest Democrat than a shifty unprincipled Republican-in-Name-Only.  Does Mr. Pope dare challenge Buckley’s devotion to Ronald Reagan or the GOP? 

IN 2011, GOP leaders took over on Jones Street promising a swift departure from the reign of terror and corruption perpetrated under the opposition. It’s easy to point out the shortcomings of the opposition.  But Republican shortcomings need to be examined, too. 


27 thoughts on “NCGOP cracks down on Republicans criticizing Republicans

  1. Mr. Pope ,

    Around these parts a “Prayer Meeting” is done Eye to Eye, and man to man, not through e-mail. I would be open to a real prayer meeting with you sir anytime and any place.
    I had simply ask you for a answer to a simple Question, in which you danced around like the political bureaucrat you just proved to me you are.
    I sir, do not have a “Bee in my bonnet” , a “purity notion”, or a “holier than thou approach” . I simply understand if we can not hold our elected officials accountable for their actions. And insist that they uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. And make sure that they abide by the North Carolina Republican Party Platform, here in our own county, then we are left with nothing but corruption and lies. Mr. Pope it seems all you want is to elect someone, don’t mater who, as long as they have a “R” after their name.
    I, on the other hand, want conservative honest hard working individuals who will uphold the oath of office, and work for, not against the people of this county. . And when these elected officials fail to do so, it is our job, our responsibility, our duty, to step in and Censure them , to hold their feet to the fire and stand up for “we the people” Mr. Pope, you start holding your elected officials accountable , and then the republicans will start winning elections. But set back let them vote in higher taxes , lie , steal from the people, threaten the people, and trash the Constitution, and Sir the republicans will continue to loose elections. when “we the people” can no longer tell the difference between a Socialist Democrat, and a yellow dog republican the party is in trouble.
    In my humble opinion sir your passion for upholding Conservative principles is severely lacking. As much distain as I have for Kay Hagen and her kind , I can assure you she has not even came close to the kind of damage Kevin Ensley (RINO) Haywood County Commissioner has done to the people of this fine county or the name of the Haywood County Republicans.
    I challenge you to bring that large wager to Haywood and meet me. and I will show you Mr. Ensley has Voted totally against the North Carolina Party Platform more than 80% of the time.
    I find it very telling that you refer to “Reagan’s Eleventh Commandment ” You must be mistakenly referring to Gaylord Parkinson’s Quote from his time as California’s Republican Party Chair which states…. “Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow republican” Now you see Mr. Pope that’s whats wrong with this whole republican party, Its a do whatever you can to get elected (as long as you have a ‘R’ after your name) then screw the people all you can and cover up the wrong doings and never speak ill or tell the truth about the underhanded dealings of your fellow republicans. That Mr. Pope does not sound like Practicing the “Golden Rule” to me , that sounds more like you are a Hypocrite!
    As for my time I will spend it telling the truth, and I will always be Politically Incorrect. And I will always fight against Hypocrites like you.
    I will stand on the Biblical Principles , and I promise to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies foreign and domestic, and I support the Republican Party Platform.(in that order) I will never blindly support a Republican who is a RINO or has a secret socialist agenda. EVER !
    I will do the right thing. But it will NOT be what you want. I will never go against my Christian principles for the good of any party not even the Republicans. You want to have a real eye to eye prayer meeting, next time your in this end of the state look me up , I’ll see if I can’t enlighten you a little more.

    Eddie Cabe
    Precinct Chair
    Haywood GOP

    1. Bravo, Chairman Cabe. You sir have said what many of us have on our minds.

      Your Haywood County RINO Ensley sounds a lot like our RINO Klemm. Beaufort County’s Klemm votes with the Democrats, organizes with the Democrats, and works in tandem with the Democrats in their mission to incur out of control debt and record breaking foreclosures. Chairman Pope thinks we need to shut up, keep writing checks, and slaving for this crap? No thank you.

      Also, Klemm’s daddy (so to speak) finally got voted off the commission, so what does the state party do? They reward the traitor with an appointment! Then they turned on us! I’m supposed to support that crap? No thank you. Thank you, no. The state party needs to mind their own business and stay out of local matters.

    2. Well said, Mr. Cabe! Bravo indeed! It is people like you who give me hope that the Republican Party can survive and again become the party of Taft and Goldwater when people like Mr. Pope leave me so frustrated and discouraged.

    3. Rebuking and censuring wayward Repubilcans by GOP bodies seems to be on the rise, and maybe that is because we are seeing more wayward Republicans. Wayward Republicans hurt our brand, so it is to the benefit of the party to call them out and show the public that they do not, in fact, represent the principles of the party.

      A good example is Senator Richard ”Tricky Dick” Burr. During 2013, Burr cast key votes against some important Republican principles, on gun control, on amnesty for illegals, and on defunding Obamacare. He was rebuked or censured for those things by a number of county GOP organizations and by three Congressional District organizations. The 6th District Republican convention overwhelmingly passed a resolution censuring Burr for voting for cloture, the most important vote, on a major gun control bill. The 1st District GOP executive committee unanimously passed a resolution rebuking Burr for his votes and positions on defunding Obamacare, and the 3rd District GOP executive committee unanimously adopted a letter of rebuke to Burr for the same thing. Several counties have taken similar actions, but I do not recall all of them.

      When a wayward Republican first starts going astray, then I do think there is some merit to trying to have a prayer session with him to try to get him back on the straight and narrow, but when it gets to the point that they are firmly on a path of thumbing their nose at party principles, that is usually no longer viable. Rebuking or censuring alone is not sufficient. They need solid primary opposition.

      1. It should also be pointed out that wayward GOP US Senators have also been on the receiving end of resolutions of censure or rebuke from county GOP organizations quite often lately, and not just Senator Richard ”Tricky Dick” Burr who has also seen Congressional District party organizations do so. Among other recent targets of such resolutions that have passed county parties are Senators Lindsay Graham (RINO-SC) and John McCain (RINO-AZ).

        This is an important grassroots mechanism to keep our elected officials in line.

  2. Claude Pope sounds just like Karl Rove, and that is not a good thing.

    Primaries are the times that you have to expose the undocumented Democrats who are seeking positions as Republicans.

    1. Primaries should be the time to expose the squishy Republicans. From my experience primaries are when establishment Republicans go all out to exterminate principled Republicans. Come to think of it, in my area (Beaufort County) they do this at general election time, too!

    2. Stop it, Raphael. I get so sick of your sniping at good conservative Republicans! Claude Pope is a Good Man. (So is Karl Rove, but they’re very, very different Good Men.)

      I know Claude, and you don’t. You don’t have to always agree with him, but you need to respect the enormous time and effort he’s poured into helping the Republican Party and the conservative cause.

      1. Karl Rove is a vicious anti-conservative who is working hard to defeat conservative candidates in the primaries this year. The fact that you think he is a ”good man” tells me that you are nothing but an establishment flunky.

        Claude Pope is an improvement over the chairmen who went before him, particularly over his immediate predecessor. I do wish he would stop some of the establishment favoritism he sometimes displays however.

        There is hope for Pope, but Rove is as big an enemy of conservatives as Nancy Pelosi is.

  3. The GOP establishment is a serious problem in every state. Rove was the national guy and is all too typical of the sort. We’ve just seen that Pope is a Rovian Republican, just the sort the GOP desperately needs to shed if it’s going to start consistently winning elections.

  4. Some analysis…..

    CP: “we’ll never “govern” if we don’t win elections.”

    The inverse truism applies as well…..we’ll never win elections consistently if we don’t govern and govern honestly and conservatively.

    CP: “Our 100 County Chairs collectively have the hardest job in the Party. They must organize meetings, recruit candidates, raise money, engage in outreach and PR, and, unfortunately, play referee to every local dispute that arises between their elected officials and their activists.”

    I actually agree with the Chairman here…the problem is that the job is becoming ever more difficult for County Chairs because misbehaviour to outright betrayal (a la Boehner and his amnesty intentions) is killing our grassroots outreach effort. Longtime Republicans have become disgusted with the Party and are dropping out. How are County Chairs supposed to find willing Election Judges and volunteers when we’re collectively being sold down the river by our State and National “leadership”? Why does Hillsborough Street not recognize this? Grassroots Republicans aren’t fools and no amount of sunshine talk is going to change the reality that they understand that their values are being compromised by the very people they supposedly chose to do the will of the People.

    Now about Haywood County…… County Chairman or Executive Committee can tolerate elected officials with an (R) who do damage to our Brand. Thus, it would appear that once again, State is getting involved in a local matter best left AS a local matter. So far as I can see, no one in Haywood has run afoul of the State Plan of Organization rules with respect to this matter, thus the question of why the State is involved here arises.

    Secondly, as the high population areas of North Carolina become steadily more blue, the Republican Party is going to depend more and more on exurban and rural Counties, and Hillsborough Street doesn’t need to be offending solid red counties like Haywood with its heavy-handedness.

      1. Ted Cruz does not have amnesty intentions. You obviously have not kept up with Boehner’s recent moves on amnesty. If he follows through with them, the fool will likely blow up the Republican Party.

  5. NCGOP, Chairman Pope:
    As usual the Haymaker is right to bring up my former home Connecticut as lesson #1.
    Please try and understand that in the 1990’s it took a REPUBLICAN former Senator from Connecticut, Lowell Weicker to destroy “The Gold Coast” by instituting the income tax in the Constitution State of TaxConnecticut. Those of us who fled the NYTri-state area have experienced the odious damage that fraudulent, weak, surrender to the progressive leftists kind of republicans do. Compromise and accommodation gets you John McCain & Romney. How many more elections do you need to lose? Sorry but the Tea-Party isn’t dead and I will not donate 1 penny to NCGOP unless you wake up and understand the brutal, obvious reality that if true constitutional conservatives aren’t elected there will be no republican party. The progressive leftists are violating our law to beat us into submission and your worried about political correctness? How’s Richard Burr working out for NC? WHO?
    Obamacare,,IRS, Benghazi, Iran and the NCGOP isn’t calling out the useless appendages representing NC in D.C.
    Take your “team” to see “Lone Survivor” to remind yourselves what our soldiers are sacrificing their lives for and then look at yourself and yell “Frack NC” “Frack Upstate NY” and everywhere else so we can bring our guys home stat!
    With only a few months left the total indifference of the NCGOP towards our soldiers being maimed and killed, the economy,Obamacare and the attack on Judeo-Christian values is sickening. It should be well known in a state like NC that the bible requires us to put the interests of others first.
    And as for former senator Joe Lieberman of Ct.— that’s for another time.(yes, he voted for Obamacare.)

  6. Claude seems especially fond of invoking “Reagan’s 11th Commandment.” Oh, and then there’s this from wikipedia on the Eleventh Commandment:

    Reagan followed this “commandment” during the first five primaries during the 1976 Republican primary against incumbent Gerald Ford, all of which he lost. He abandoned this approach in the North Carolina Primary and beat Ford 52–46, regaining momentum and winning a majority of delegates chosen after that date.

    1. God Bless Chairman Pope!!! I think he is doing a good job as Chairman and I believe that during his tenure we may defeat Sen. Kay Hagan and thus have two elected Republican U.S Senators which I’m not sure has ever happened.

      1. It’s actually happened at least THREE times. John East and Jesse Helms. Lauch Faircloth and Jesse Helms. Elizabeth Dole and Richard Burr. (I am sure there were a few occasions during Reconstruction.)

  7. I can fully appreciate Claude’s comments in the context of his position. As the head of the NCGOP, it’s his job to elect people registered as Republicans. Period. I understand why such a position is held. It even makes sense in general terms.

    This is exactly the reason, however, why I have chosen to spend my time supporting independent conservative organizations with no ties to party politics. I am becoming ever more cognizant of the fact that the Republican vs Democrat dichotomy is so 20th century. A built in failure of the GOP is the lack of ability to enforce any of it’s principles with elected officials. There is simply no point of having a platform if support will still be offered to those who violate it regularly.

    Of course this also leads to the discussion about the viability of the platform itself. I would daresay that the majority of Republicans in this state don’t actually agree lock in step with all the principles outlined in the platform. So if someone disagrees, are they to be chastised or just considered part of the norm?

    I would invite all limited government conservatives to be less concerned about what the GOP says or does. Stand your ground, support good candidates. When we can work with the GOP, more power to both. It’s a benefit. However, never let blind party loyalty sway you from your beliefs and standards.

  8. I agree that we need to elect solid Republicans; we also need to demand that all appointments are held by loyal and solid Republicans. Democrats have undermined Republicans for generations. Republicans hold the Legislature and the Governor’s Mansion. Surely, we are smart enough to understand that the Democrats still in the system are laughing at us as they methodically undermine our efforts to clean up State Government.

  9. Wow! I have a “Tea Party heart” and am very disturbed at what I am reading. Claude Pope is a very nice man and is a hard working chairman. I was very happy when he won the chairmanship as he is personable, intelligent and gives a very professional appearance. This is important as his main job is to fundraise. I was very thrilled when Joyce Krawiec became Vice Chair as she is truly a grassroots activist. I thought it was a great balance. Now Joyce has been selected to serve out the term of Senator Brunsetter and will no longer be the NC GOP Vice Chair. I feel the delegates need to elect an interim grassroots candidate to take her place.

    What is disconcerting is that it appears Mr. Pope is preaching to people who are working hard at the grassroots. It seems as if when people say “can’t we all get along” they are chastising the Conservative’s and not the Establishment who are not adhering to the platform. It would serve the Party better if Mr. Pope were to check into where the real problem is. From my experience it is usually not the “tea party” conservatives. In my County we had asked help from the State before Mr. Pope got in and after. With both chairs we were told our problem was a local situation and to handle it ourselves.. The tea party conservatives have been castigated and basically not welcomed in our County GOP. Some of us have tried time and time again to “stick” with the County GOP and we are still shunned to some extent. I understand the situation where you have an elected official who has an R behind their name who not only votes with the Democrats -but leads the charge – and if you do not support them on your flyer – the establishment cries foul. I think we all need to be respectful to each other and to try to handle things as quietly as possible but sometimes it is not possible. I have also observed that the people who do most of the work are the Tea Party grassroots Republicans. Many of those who feel they are superior to the grassroots and have held positions of power in the Party from the top down to County Chairs for years are at fault for the dissension and the exclusion of other hard working conservatives. I, too, want everyone to just get along and basically be on the same page and that is elect Conservative Republicans and support them when they adhere to their campaign promises and the platform and “hold their feet to the fire” in a respectful but efficient way when they do not.

    1. There are also other ways to discipline wayward Republican elected officials. For example, back in the 1980s, Pasquotank County elected its first GOP commissioner in about a century, Tim Thornton, who had previously been a party activist. A big issue in those days in the Ablemarle Sound area counties was the local land transfer tax, which was being pushed by Democrats including Basnight. Republican legislative and commissioner candidates, including Thornton loudly opposed it at election time. After Thornton was elected, the Democrats on the Pasquotank County Commission proposed a measure to ask their legislators for authority to implement such a tax there. Thornton flipped and voted with them. At the next county convention, when a proposed list of county executive committee members was nominated, including reelecting Thornton, a prominent party leader stood up and moved that Thornton’s name be stricken due to his vote for the land transfer tax, and the motion deleting Thornton passed overwhelmingly. When Thornton’s name was included on the delegate list for district and state, the very same thing was done. Since the local media was present, the convention’s actions publicly humiliated Thornton over his vote and showed that he did not represent the positions of the party.

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