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    Who are the NERD fund donors Mr Snyder?

    Raise the curtain.

    Why Did We Elect Them?

    By Kevin Rex Heine, Section News
    Posted on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 11:15:44 PM EST
    Tags: Eileen McNeil (Outreach), Linda Lee Tarver (Ethnic), Steven Kuivenhoven (Grassroots), Sarah Ledford (Youth), Victor Diaz (Coalitions), Jon Nunn (Administrative), Schostak Must Go (all tags)

    You may remember the interview series that I did on several candidates for various Michigan Republican Party Vice Chair seats during the run-up to the January 2011 State Convention.  These positions were viewed as a big deal, as was the reality that every single one of them was a contested seat.  These six people were to be the movers and shakers of the state party during the run-up to the 2012 election cycle.  Their mission was to be the field generals who would build on the successes of the 2010 elections, and mold a juggernaut that would flip Michigan's Class 1 Senate seat, flip Michigan's Electoral College delegation, flip a vacant Supreme Court seat, equalize our party's presence on all four public education boards, potentially flip at least one congressional seat, and likely expand our existing majority in the state legislature.

    Yeah, that didn't work so well.  Although, to be perfectly fair, it's a tad difficult to hang the Election Day failures on the vice chairs, because that would assume that the state party chair was employing them as intended in the first place.

    If you take a gander at the Michigan Republican Party Directory, you'll find the aforementioned vice chairs listed on page 4.  (Those same vice chairs are also listed on the "Party Leadership" page of the state party's website.)  Starting on page 5 of the party directory and continuing through page 9 you'll find seven standing committees listed, along with their full membership.  (Sadly, you'll not find the infamous Credentials Committee on that list anywhere.)  The first two committees listed (Policy & Budget) shouldn't raise any eyebrows, nor should who chairs them.  I'm not sure why we have an "Issues" committee that's separate from the Policy Committee, but whatever.  It's the next three committees listed that ought to give the casual observer pause.

    The last I checked, the purpose of the Youth Vice-Chair is to reach out to, engage, and organize the youth voters in Michigan (defined as everyone between 18 and 25, perhaps extending to as young as 16).  That's the mission that the delegates in convention back in January of 2011 elected Sarah Ledford to carry out.  Yet, beginning about halfway down page 6 of the party directory, we see that the Youth Committee Chair is none other than . . . Cindy Pine, an 8th District State Committee member for whom the description of "youth" would be flattering, but not even close to accurate.  The committee vice chair is . . . Kim Emmons, a 4th District State Committee member who also doesn't qualify as youth by any stretch of the imagination.  In fact, nowhere among the 31 members listed on that committee do we see hide or hair of the U-of-M alum who is now Kerry Bentivolio's Deputy District Director.  What gives?  I think that a reasonable person might consider this a disconnect between what the delegates voted for and what the state party chair actually implemented.

    Likewise, the Grassroots/Precinct Delegate Committee, beginning on page 7, lists Sharon Yentsch, a 3rd District State Committee member, as the committee chair, and Bill Bigler, a 15th District State Committee member, as the committee vice chair.  Nowhere among the 35 members of the committee is Steve Kuivenhoeven, the duly elected Grassroots Vice Chair, even listed.  To be fair to Sharon, she did a marvelous job as the Precinct Delegate Coordinator for the Kent GOP last cycle, but she isn't the duly elected Grassroots Vice Chair.

    I don't know why the concepts of Urban Inclusion and Election Day Operations are merged into a single committee, but I would think that the "urban inclusion" part of it would put the committee squarely into the turf of Linda Lee Tarver, the duly elected Ethnic Vice Chair, or at least Eileen McNeil, the duly elected Outreach Vice Chair.  Yet again, nowhere in the 30 committee members listed on page 8 do we see either Mrs. Tarver or Mrs. McNeil listed.  (Leonard Mier, the 14th District Chair, and Susan Chmielewski, a 15th District State Committee member are the committee chair and vice chair, respectively.)

    I suppose that having a Media Committee and a Local Candidate Committee makes sense, but merging them into a single committee makes no sense, at least to me (kinda like merging Urban Inclusion and Election Day Operations).  And I don't know if it's more or less insulting to be a vice chair without a logical committee assignment, but that's where Vic Diaz (Coalitions) and Jon Nunn (Administrative) are . . . just names on a roster sheet, with no good reason to actually be there.  In fact, if you review in any detail the five pages of committee assignments (pages 5 thru 9, inclusive), you'll notice not one of the six vice chairs listed anywhere . . . at all.

    That's two committee mergers that don't make any damn sense on their face, at least two state party committees where the duly elected vice chair who ought to be serving as the committee chair isn't even listed as being a member of the committee, and at least two duly elected vice chairs who have, at least on paper, nothing to do except look pretty in a party brochure!  What . the . hell . !!!  Is it any wonder that the Michigan Republican Party is viewed as one big dysfunctional organization?

    In "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team", Patrick Lencioni goes into some detail describing the pitfalls that teams face in the process of forming as a cohesive unit, with a focus on intra-organizational politics and causes of team failure.  In the book, the five dysfunctions are described thus:

    • Absence of trust - The fear of being vulnerable with team members (or unwillingness to appear vulnerable within the group) prevents the building of trust within the team.

    • Fear of conflict - The desire to preserve artificial harmony stifles the occurrence of productive and constructive ideological debate (even at the level of passionate conflict).

    • Lack of commitment - The lack of clarity or buy-in for group decisions creates ambiguity throughout the organization and prevents team members from making decisions they will stick to.

    • Avoidance of accountability - The need to avoid interpersonal discomfort makes it easy for team members to duck their responsibility to holding one another accountable for counterproductive behaviors and performance, which results in low standards.

    • Inattention to results - The ego-driven pursuit of individual goals and personal status erodes the focus on collective team success.

    . . . and treated as a pyramid structure, with each successive dysfunction building on the previous ones.

    Building functional and effective management teams is such a big deal in so many industries that there are consulting firms (such as J. Bernard Associates and The Table Group) that offer seminars and workshops dedicated to team building and strategy development.  Quite frankly, and for what my opinion is worth, the Michigan Republican Party leadership could have used one of these prior to the Mackinac Conference two Septembers ago.

    As much as I am loathe to admit it, even though Saul Anuzis seems to have scrubbed his website (of just about everything) he did, during the campaign to keep his seat, cite a perfect example from his own experience as state party chair of how the system's supposed to work:

    When several Republican members of the Michigan Senate threatened to vote with the Democrats to raise taxes, as Chairman of the Michigan Republican Party we led the way and jumped into action.

    We came to our state convention armed with "NO Tax" buttons and had virtually EVERY delegate and alternate on the floor wearing those buttons ... sending a strong signal to our elected Republican members - No New Taxes!

    I announced that the party would NOT support any efforts, to save ANY member, who voted for a tax increase against threatened recalls by citizens across our state.

    We ran radio ads statewide that made it clear ... Republicans were against taxes and we were going to stand with Michigan's taxpayers.

    Michigan Republicans stood on principle ... even challenging some of our own members.

    Two Republican Senators called on me to resign.  They objected to the party getting involved in "policy" issues that were currently in front of the legislature.  We stood on principle.  Our State Committee passed a resolution opposing any tax increase and our State Convention passed the same resolution ... unanimously!

    That, ladies and gentlemen, is what the state party committee is supposed to do.  One of their functions is to publicly hold state-level elected officials accountable to the core principles that they're supposed to be espousing.  The way that the RNC abandoned Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock during the campaign, you'd have thought that the 2012 Republican Platform hadn't included a plank on The Sanctity and Dignity of Human Life.  Ronald Reagan once lamented that the Republican Platform was being treated as nothing more than window dressing by elected officials, and he knew a thing or two about calling out party leaders for their inability to deliver.

    Now, instead of holding leadership accountable for their failure to deliver results, we have apologists insisting that any criticism of the state party chairman is unfair, and that the principal reasons for the 2012 defeat were outside of his control.  And key players in the Michigan Republican Good Old Boys Club are once again circling the wagons to keep one of their own in his seat.  Evidently, because state convention delegates gave Saul Anuzis a pass after the 2006 shellacking, we're supposed to give Chairman B. S. a pass on election year failures that belong squarely on his desk.

    Poppycock and balderdash.

    "Form must follow function."  Every engineering student, regardless of discipline, is taught this maxim early and often, to the point that it becomes an integral part of that student's thinking - and not without good reason.  The point is that what a thing is supposed to do, how it is supposed to do it, and how the various pieces are to fit together should always dictate how the thing is supposed to look.  Why, for example, do you think that every pickup truck, regardless of size or manufacturer, looks nearly identical?  Pick any type of vehicle: sport-utility, minivan, luxury sedan, compact, tractor-trailer, or whatever have you; every vehicle of a given type looks much the same as any other vehicle of the same type.  Form follows function.

    This doesn't apply just to automobiles.  Granted, not all airplanes look the same, but even an uneducated examination reveals that each one has its looks defined by what it is supposed to do, how the job is supposed to get done, and how the various components are to fit together; ornamentation always comes last.  Likewise with houses, boats, computer networks, and - let's be honest - governments and political parties; form must follow function.

    Last week, I had the opportunity to talk at length with the guy who actually designed the vice chair positions as they currently exist.  Each of the six positions was designed to have enough overlap so as to avoid the development of "fiefdoms" within the halls of the Secchia-Weiser Republican Center, but enough separation so as to avoid redundancy.  In other words, the state party vice chairs were intended to operate as an integrated team.  Also, each of the vice chairs is supposed to be the chair of a related committee within the state party organization, said committee being tasked with the very mission defined by the job description of the elected vice chair who chairs the committee.

    And when you think about it, that organization concept makes a ton of sense.  But . . .

    I've had opportunity since the November elections to chat with at least half of the duly elected state party vice chairs.  The chief complaint that all of them had with how Schostak ran the party during the entirety of his first term in office was that his marching orders to the vice chairs was along the lines of: go sit over there in the corner and look pretty when I need you for a photo op.  (The current Youth Vice-Chair, notably, submitted a request for resources to develop a plan but was denied.)

    When Bobby Schostak was elected as Michigan Republican Party Chairman two years ago, he had at his disposal all the tools he needed to pull every single one of the 13 statewide races into the Republican column (plus flip two congressional seats).  Which begs the question:

    Why did he fail so miserably?

    < Low Information And White Elephants | Where Would our 83 in Michigan Side? >

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    Examining the mechanics (none / 0) (#1)
    by JGillman on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 09:59:14 AM EST
    of failure.

    Articulated well Kevin.

    A good leader will not attempt to micromanage and will allow those responsibilities to reside in the hands of the positions which presumably handle them.

    One of the things that I seem to remember as well, was the exclusion of some of those chairs and vice chairs from a Romney event after he became the nominee.  Many were NOT-IN-THE-CLUB and got to watch the goings on from a distance.  

    YUP.  They are just there as window dressing.

    Well, boys... (none / 0) (#2)
    by Corinthian Scales on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 10:33:34 AM EST
    I really don't know how much more exposure of Schostak corruption, cronyism, and ineptness is necessary.

    Y'all either need to man up, cut your losses, and unload his nasty ass, or continue suffering the downward spiral consequence of money over principle.

    The Trotskyite's would love nothing more than hive mentality clinger-ons reelecting Bobby the opportunist boob.


    Remember their names.

    I can't speak to any of the others (none / 0) (#3)
    by Conservative First on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 10:34:39 AM EST
    but Steve Kuivenhoven was very active in Kalamazoo County and elsewhere in the state.

    Changes Needed (none / 0) (#6)
    by SandyMichaels on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 12:55:16 PM EST
    You are absolutely correct Kevin.  If changes are not made at the top how can we expect to be funded, organized, and ready to go in 2014!

    I would like to hear Schostak and Courser respond to this.  What would Bobby do differently if we gave him a second chance and will Courser commit to a succinct strategy?

    Also, I'm concerned about the Youth-Chair race this time around.  I heard that one of the candidates (Edmonds?) supported Obama in 2008.  One of my cohorts asked him about this and he ignored her.  This should be a great concern to everyone if it's true and if it's not why won't he come out and deny it?

    Troubling for the GOP's future.

    Just an observation . . . (none / 0) (#9)
    by Kevin Rex Heine on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 12:23:09 PM EST
    . . . that I gleaned from conversation with several of the sitting vice chairs.  Every single one of them approached the state chair with detailed plans and budgets for what they wanted to do in order to carry out the mission they were elected to perform.

    Without exception, every single request was met with silence and rejection . . . every single one.

    Another observation (none / 0) (#10)
    by Corinthian Scales on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 01:55:54 PM EST
    Is a lowbrow, attempted smear job by a threadjacker upstream.

    I will state clearly what I see in one Youth Chair candidate.  By association, I see what embodies everything that is wrong in the MI-GOP, it's leadership, and with "Team R" in general.  Moving past young Matt's Endorsements, and the headliner CD-1 spineless problem-child who has not earned my vote in 2014, we see the person responsible for curlicue light bulbs, and a mishmash of last name entitlement clinger-ons of legacy Progressive spawn.

    If one moves further on down young Matt's seal of approval list, it only confirms a Youth Chair fate that dooms others to that hive mentality "Team R" pale pastel.  Two name on that list, in successive order, are the measure of that Pale Pastel indistinguishable Democrat losing proposition standard.  One being Jesse Osmer, a destructive force in Alpena.  Directly below, is the cognitively depraved, wrecking ball to Conservative values who habitually plies his trade much the same as seen with the Third world voting Dele-gate leadership... Mr. Lennox.  That is the face of Youth Chair candidate, Matt Jones.  

    Associations matter.

    Blake Edmonds, has the Right endorsements for Youth Chair.

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