Thursday, May 10, 2007

Hmm, another five-point man

I haven't taken a position on the coming race for chairman of the state Republican Party. I've known the current chairman, Linda Daves, since she was vice-chairman to Ferrell Blount and I was an alternate to the Republican National Convention in 2004. Linda, her husband Carson, and I refinished a park bench in Harlem as part of the service project that week; politics do bring people together in unexpected ways.
So last week if someone had asked who I was supporting, the pleasant Mrs. Daves or the forbidding Mr. Kindsley from Greensboro, I probably would have said Linda.
But maybe that could change. This week's meeting of the Johnston County Republican Party included a short presentation from Marcus Kindsley, the chairman of the Guilford County GOP. I found he wasn't nearly as overpowering a presence as his campaign photographs suggest. If anything, he was pretty soft-spoken and genial.
What made me open the ballot again was his proposal to take the party's local and elected officials to a hotel retreat and hammer out a five point statement "that an eighth grader could understand", outlining the party's "Contract with North Carolina".
"When 42% of the voters in North Carolina think Jim Black is a Republican, as one survey said, we've got a serious problem getting our message out," Kindsley said. Indeed.
Besides the obvious fact that I like a succinct program statement, Kindsley's on to something. The need to agree on a focused conservative message was one of the themes at the North Carolina Conservative Leadership Conference last month, and getting it out to the voters was paramount. I think most of the "movement" conservatives are saying that Newt Gingrich's "Contract with America" that was ratified by the 1994 House elections was the last principled victory of conservative politics. With Gingrich's name simmering on a back burner of the 2008 presidential campaign, the memories are being refreshed, and with similar recurring comments and exhortations at the most recent conservative gathering in the state, Kindsley may be catching an early wave.


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