Who are the NERD fund donors Mr Snyder?
Interview With Vic Diaz - Candidate for MIGOP Coalitions Vice-Chair
With the 2011 MIGOP State Convention right around the corner, so to speak, the candidates for the various state party offices have been touring the various county and regional events relentlessly in order to engage Convention Delegates and attempt to secure their votes. Thursday afternoon I sat down with Vic Diaz, one of the candidates for MIGOP Coalitions Vice-Chair.
Kevin: Good afternoon, Vic. It's good to be able to sit down with you today. How're things going?
Vic: I think very well. Wherever I speak I have good feedback and pledges of support. I also have more and more people endorsing me.
Kevin: That's always important.
Vic: It is, but as the party that champions individual liberty and freedoms, I would like it to come down to delegates selecting the individual that can best accomplish the tasks of growing the party through their work with the coalitions.
Kevin: I noticed you were a late-file, right at the deadline if my information's right. Does that concern you at all?
Vic: I announced before Thanksgiving. I was the first to announce. State party was late getting information to me. When I asked for a delegate list I was given a Christmas Card List with no phone numbers or e-mail addresses.
Kevin: Oh, well then I do have it backwards . . . my apologies. Well, let's go to my first scripted question: You're running for MIGOP Coalitions Vice-Chair. What does a Coalitions Vice-Chair do?
Vic: According to how the party defines it: The Coalitions Vice-Chair shall supervise and direct all coalition building activities, including activities relating to senior citizens, women, union members, blue collar workers, white collar workers, professionals, small businessmen, farmers, sportsmen, conservationists, and any other group that should rightfully be a part of the Republican Party coalition.
In plain speak; the Coalitions Vice-Chair is to grow the party through their associations with existing coalitions, such as the NRA. Now there are new cats on the block, tea parties and Republican clubs.
Kevin: Do you have any experience that will help you work with these coalitions, and which ones are you a member of?
Vic: NRA Lifetime Member, Michigan Coalition of Responsible Gun Owners, Knights of Columbus, American Legion, Michigan Republican National Hispanic Assembly, South Oakland Area Republicans, North Oakland Republican Club, West MI Tea Party, ABATE, Human Genome Bio Ethics Committee and others. I also have taught candidate classes at the Michigan Chamber.
Kevin: That's a pretty good list. You mentioned the tea party movement; what's your impression of the rise of the tea party movement and its impact on Republican Party politics?
Vic: I think the tea party movement is the Howard Beale Moment in Network ("I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!"). I think they are in this to have a voice because they felt ignored and wanted leadership that paid attention. As a Marine Officer it was my job to insure that every Marine had the training and supplies to meet the objective and that is the attitude I am bring to this.
Kevin: The tea party movement is, so far as I know, aware that any substantive success politically has to be accomplished within the framework of the Republican Party. But many have a running problem with what they view as "moderates" or "centrists" -- RINOs if you will -- still in positions of control and influence within the GOP, whether as elected officials or as party officers. How do you think that should be constructively addressed?
Vic: I am a member of the New Centurions. We study Conservative philosophy (i.e. Russell Kirk). I would like to see the party pay attention to these teachings as the Gipper did, and know they exist to supply the ground operation with the training and supplies to accomplish the mission. The tea parties want a seat at the table, an ear, a voice, a way to be self determinate within the party.
Kevin: So, you're advocating grassroots involvement as a way to keep the not-really-republicans off the ballot?
Vic: I think that the electorate will prevail if we do our job of educating and advocating. Some areas need a less strident conservative than others. I like all discussions. I like the free flow of ideas. I had a great talk with MTPA last Saturday.
Kevin: Okay, what are your thoughts on the Independence Caucus of Michigan, which is a PAC allied with the MTPA?
Vic: I think that they may tip over an apple cart, but we may be able to examine their messaging and redefine it to meet our joint objectives. I think there are core beliefs that we all share.
Kevin: Which brings me to this question: Assuming you're elected to the post you seek, how do you see yourself advancing the MIGOP strategy for the 2012 election cycle?
Vic: I think growing the party is the key. I think we can train for 2012 this year in the local elections. The tea parties are excited about going after local school boards and that is a good thing. It will enable us to build the apparatus we need to engage the electorate on a grassroots level.
I have plans to empower precinct delegates to engage their neighbors; I have a plan to engage the clubs and grow them; I have a plan to train the delegates in door to door techniques that will increase the effectiveness from 7% to 40%. These delegates are the true believers that are rising from the clubs and vesting themselves in their communities; they want to work to regain what they see as lost freedoms.
Kevin: Is there anything in your professional, educational, or political experience that you think uniquely qualifies you in an area where Mr. Shinkle may not be as strong?
Vic: Besides the fact that I am a member of the coalitions and Mr. Shinkle is not, I build networks and engage people. We have developed through the club system a dynamic volunteer base that brings expertise to the game in every facet, such as tech, networking, tech messaging, etc.
I have approximately 1,300 to 1,400 FaceBook friends, and connect throughout the world. I am helping Chaldeans get a voice in Iraq, Peruvians to get conservative leadership in their Senate. Norm was in the legislature, I was not. I was a writer for the caucus; I am a former Vice-Chair, and I have extensive speaking experience.
Kevin: That's fairly impressive . . . Okay, a hot topic last week (still being discussed this week) has been Governor Snyder's very first State of the State address, delivered this past Wednesday. Any thoughts on that?
Vic: I think as in any address we have to wait for specifics. I like metrics; his focus on metrics was heartening. I would like to see more focus on budget cutting. In WV they cut their budget 10 to 20% across the board. They let the department decide how to do it and they did with a Democrat Governor and Democrat Legislature.
Kevin: So are you saying that we'll see what the governor's real priorities are once his budget proposal comes out?
Vic: May be. But I think he has priorities and did get specific on some, such as the "Pure Michigan" funding. Personally, I would like to see a value added proposition to every expenditure.
Kevin: And yet, here on RightMichigan, there's a blog post and lengthy comment thread that does a fairly thorough job of dissecting that address. Much of the criticism is targeted at two things: One, that Gov. Snyder advocates for government expansion (a criticism also leveled by the Mackinac Center) when what we need is government contraction. Two, that Gov. Snyder didn't substantively address any of the structural issues that are facing this state right now. Any thoughts on that?
Vic: Like I said, if a group of Democrats in WV can slash their budget to reflect their drop in revenue why can't we with a circle of Republicans? His spreadsheet will have the tale of the tape.
Kevin: How concerned are you about the statement from MDP Chairman, Mark Brewer, that about 80% of Gov. Snyder's address could have been delivered by a Democrat?
Vic: Brewer's Statement is meant to be divisive. I discount almost everything he says. He is a guy that had his lunch handed to him and is doing his level best to disrupt party unity.
Kevin: Okay; shifting topics. The State of the Union address, President Obama's second, was delivered last night. Any reaction or thoughts on this?
Vic: I think the President was speaking to two different audiences and sounded disjointed. I mean he's said he wanted to meet Republicans halfway but failed to give any concrete evidence other then no spending increases. Then saying he wants to raise taxes on job creators. Where was that halfway? He seemed contrived and vexed at what he knew would be criticism from both sides. We all know he hates criticism, so having his base angry because he failed to increase spending, and Republicans standing strong on shrinking government and lower the tax burden as well as the regulatory burden . . . he was not genuine.
Kevin: Do you have any thoughts on the response from Paul Ryan (R-WI-1), the Chairman of the House Budget Committee?
Vic: I think Ryan is a beam of light on the obfuscating Obama administration. I think he will direct the budgets to reflect Republican priorities, and the President had better saddle up cause it's gonna be a rough ride for him these next few years.
Kevin: Interestingly worded. Speaking of which, I've heard somewhere in the immediate vicinity of nineteen names as potential challengers to President Obama in 2012. Any thoughts on that? Any front-runner pick?
Vic: None right now. I am leaving my options open. I want someone dedicated to the slashing of government. Taxi drivers in DC will tell you the city is bigger every year. That is because of lobbyists and government growth. Get rid of a great many and we will never notice their absence. Let's start with defunding ObamaCare and the Czars.
Kevin: That can be done now, really. The GOP controls the house, and the house owns the nation's purse.
Vic: The Speaker set the tone returning Nancy's jet. Now we have to abide by that tone and really get to work.
Kevin: 2012 is the year we get a chance to "pink slip" Senator Debbie Stabenow. I've heard somewhere in the immediate vicinity of a half-dozen names circulating as potential Republican challengers. Do you have any thoughts on who should be that challenger?
Vic: I think cream rises. All these explorations into the fray need to be wary of Stabenow; she is a cagey fighter. I want someone with base to go up for it. There are plenty looking.
Kevin: Your opponent had mentioned as much about her being crafty, and he knows her from their time in the legislature together.
Vic: It is true. But even Ali lost the heavyweight crown eventually. The weight of her debt should sink her hopes in our lakes, but she's good at attaching to emotional issues that team with her union ties to get her in and keep her there.
Kevin: Nicely put . . . I was at the Kent County United Veterans Council meeting back on Tuesday, and I got wind that you're putting out a call to all the veterans in the county to help you with literature pass-out during convention.
Vic: Yes, Mike Burri and Denny Gillem are helping with that. I also have buttons!
Kevin: Okay, let's close the deal. As a Convention Delegate, why should I vote for you? What's your elevator pitch, Mr. Diaz?
Vic: I am the only individual to receive an award from RNC for growing the party, and if that is a focus, then I should be the choice. I also have the ability, and the track record to prove it, to increase the Hispanic vote from the 28 point drop that has occurred since I was last involved. Fox News says Obama has lost the independent vote and needs 80% of the Hispanic vote to get re-elected. Elect me so that I can kick that leg out from under his stool here in Michigan, and his campaign will fall to the floor. And that is just one of many attributes I bring to the table.
Kevin: Thank you very much for your time, sir. I look forward to seeing you at convention.
Vic: My pleasure. Travel safe and enjoy yourself there.
Interview With Vic Diaz - Candidate for MIGOP Coalitions Vice-Chair | 1 comment (1 topical, 0 hidden)
Interview With Vic Diaz - Candidate for MIGOP Coalitions Vice-Chair | 1 comment (1 topical, 0 hidden)