EDITORIAL: GOP Purgers Go Off the Deep End
"Distrust all in whom the urge to punish is powerful," goes a good and oft-quoted piece of advice from Friedrich Nietzsche.
Nietzsche was a German who died in 1900, so he couldn't have been talking about the person or persons now seeking to cleanse the Moore County Republican Party leadership in the tumultuous year 2006. But he might as well have been. Because that's clearly what is at work here: a powerful, dark, petty, vindictive urge to punish. And it is, indeed, deserving of mistrust.
Those upon whose heads punishment is now being called down from the state Republican Party hierarchy are several local party officeholders. What was their crime? Did they embezzle party money? Assault someone? Perjure themselves in court? Seduce an intern? No. Worse than that. In the election campaign just concluded, these malefactors failed to display enough enthusiasm in their support of the local GOP nominee for the N.C. House, Joe Boylan.
Some (not Owen, who remained "neutral") even indiscreetly let it be known that, in their heart of hearts, they tilted toward one of Boylan's opponents, Republican/unaffiliated Bud Shaver.
The accused include county GOP Chairman John Owen as well as party faithfuls Joan Thurman and Lorraine and Bob Tweed. The man seeking their ruin -- the merciless, self-appointed Jaubert hurling epithets of "traitors," "evil," "despicable" and "cancer" at them -- is Ed Kennedy, who has been a faithful Republican for all of two years.
Far be it from the rest of us to interfere in what should be a private party matter. But Kennedy has made it all too public by sending around barrages of e-mails whose reckless and hostile language has to be read to be believed. The tone of some of the messages made Thurman so acutely uncomfortable that she forwarded them to the sheriff.
Technically, Kennedy and the others he has gotten to sign his petition do appear to have a case. Party rules do say, right there in black and white: "Any registered Republican attempting to influence or influencing the outcome of any election against a Republican nominee may be declared ineligible to hold office under the State Plan of Organization."
But there were mitigating circumstances. The accused parties are loyal Republicans. They got caught up in a bitter, ugly, and highly unusual campaign in which powerful state party figures who had bones to pick with N.C. House Speaker Pro Tem Richard Morgan made a lot of local enemies by invading Moore County and trying (successfully) to sway a local election by throwing their weight behind Morgan's challenger, Boylan. Things were said and done that all parties probably regret.
A Time for Reconciliation
Surely this is a time for reconciliation, not bitter retribution. All parties and factions involved in this year's election need to be looking ahead with hope and charity, not casting malevolent stares backward and making noises like Stalinists purging Trotskyites from the Central Committee.
Boylan, busy preparing himself for public office, does not appear to be behind all this. On election night, promising to begin healing the split within the local Republican Party, he said, "We're going to continue to do like we did after the primary -- continue to bring the county together."
He could make a big step in that direction now by calling off the Dobermans.
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