Show Your ProofOpinion
OPINION — While I can’t match Ken Casper’s literary resume or eloquence, I am pretty confident I don’t need to, as I have the truth on my side. It is certainly a good thing for Mr. Casper that his diatribe was posted as opinion because most everything in his piece is either untrue or perhaps an outright lie. As it proves my point that the adherents to Empower Texans will stoop to any level to smear those who refuse to swear allegiance to ET and them, lets get straight to disproving each and every accusation Mr. Casper made.
First, Empower Texans is a political movement paid for by a super rich oil baron. Claiming it is (insert really deep Charlton Heston voiceover here) ‘THE VOICE OF CONSERVATIVES!’ is a wee bit arrogant and factually untrue. I and my friends are conservative and Lord knows they don’t speak for me.
Second, Mr. Casper poses the question ‘Isn’t that (kicking out party members) exactly what Mr. Betty is attempting to do?’ This is a rhetorical trick but has no substance to it. My job is to grow the Republican Party and the entire point of my article was to discourage the divisive and exclusionary tactics of Mr. Casper’s friends. In Mr. Casper’s response he makes three factually untrue assertions to support his rhetoric. He states the Party is smaller, has fewer events and fewer attend them.
By any measure the Republican Party in Tom Green County is stronger than it has ever been. At the time I became Chair of this County’s Party we had seven precinct chairs out of a possible 34 positions. For the last six years we have had between 17 and 26. We currently have 20 precinct chairs, but it is early days as we just had our organizational meeting a few weeks ago, but I am sure Mr. Casper knew that.
Before I took office, the Party sometimes had a Reagan Day Dinner, but generally did not in off years. The Party now has two events a year. The Reagan Day Dinner in the winter and a summer Republican Round-up at the Museum of Fine Arts (Shameless plug here, the Round-up is coming up in about a month so look for details on our Facebook page!).
The Reagan Day Dinner last year featured Texas Governor Greg Abbott and was sold out well before the event. The previous Reagan Day Dinner Colonel Allen West was the speaker and also sold out of tickets well before the event. The Tom Green County Republican Party does not hold more than two annual events as we raise more than enough money at those events to continue our efforts and we do not want to get in the way of our very successful auxiliary clubs, the San Angelo Pachyderm and the Concho Valley Republican Women (both have monthly luncheons.)
Most of the County elected offices changed to Republican before I became Chair, after my election we completed taking every single elected position except Democrat County Chair (they won’t let us run for that). By the way, a higher percentage of Republicans in Tom Green County voted for Governor Abbott in the last election than in any other county in the state of Texas, almost 80% of all votes cast. Seems to me the Party is doing pretty darn good here.
Third, Mr. Casper doesn’t seem to understand that not all of the business of the convention is conducted on the floor during the general session. I walked out of the convention after the vote for State Chair because no other votes were scheduled and because I am a member of the Texas Republican County Chairs Association. I also am running for a position as a director, thereby increasing our representation in Austin. The meeting was scheduled at 3:30 p.m. and I had to hurry over to participate. I know I was on the floor with my wife at 9 a.m. the following morning, but then perhaps Mr. Casper’s associates did not accurately report that too him.
As for excluding people from our delegation, we had 47 attend and participate, including our State Representative Drew Darby, his wife, County Commissioner Bacon and his wife, the county clerk, a justice of the peace, and numerous other great Republicans. Additionally, I do not select who attends the state convention. Delegates are selected by a committee of the County convention and then those nominations are brought to the floor and voted on by all the attendees. Mr. Casper attended and voted, but perhaps he doesn’t remember.
Lastly, I have never threatened anyone with physical violence in an Executive Committee Meeting and Mr. Casper is a liar if he says otherwise. During two separate meetings, Mr. Casper at one and an associate of his at another, each were told that if they did not follow the rules for the conduct of our executive committee meetings, I would have them removed by law enforcement. While I do not doubt I could remove Mr. Casper if I had to, thankfully we have a sergeant at arms who could handle that sort of silliness. I am getting too old for such shenanigans.
As Mr. Casper is not a member of the Executive Committee, it was a courtesy that I even allowed him to make comments during the meeting. When Mr. Casper refused to refrain from making untrue and inflammatory statements, I cautioned him that I would have him removed from the meeting if he continued to disrupt our business. Mr. Casper accepted that caution graciously at the time. I suppose only now in hindsight the event has changed in his mind.
Mr. Casper’s article is a beautiful example of the tactics of many of the adherents to Empower Texans and its leaders. ET’s articles and their presentation of their propaganda encourage these sorts of misstatements and untruths. I have been patient and civil to those who feel no need to abide by societies rules of proper conduct for too long. I will remain silent no longer. ET is just one voice among many on the Right. They have no greater right to claim the term Republican or conservative than any other. That the efforts of ET and its adherents have pushed the State Party to the right is unquestionable. I, however, question whether only those who preach their gospel should have a say in what happens in Austin or here in Tom Green County.
I studied history and political science before attending law school and I do believe that those who disregard the lessons of the past will repeat the mistakes of the past. Mr. Casper refused to even discuss the central premise of my article and I still believe it is fundamentally true, that a Republican Party made up of only those that agree with every point Empower Texans makes will be a political party that does not gain a majority of support from Texans. We will lose our ability to govern and deservedly so. I continue to accept and invite dissent and participation from all Republicans so that we may better represent all Republicans and all Texans.
(Eds. note: Ken Casper's wife, Mary, lost to Mr. Betty during the last contested election for County Chair.)
The debate over the future of the Tom Green County Republican Party
- GOP Chair Jeff Betty: GOP County Chairman's Open Letter to all Republicans Calling for Unity
- Conservative Activist Ken Casper: Tom Green County Republican Chair Engaged in Hypocritical Blame Game
- GOP Chair Jeff Betty: Show Me Proof (This opinion piece)