Copyright * 2005 by John T. Plecnik
For the few who haven't heard, the College Republicans are a national, student organization with over 200,000 members. Oft-labeled the antiestablishment fraternity or "The Best Party on Campus," College Republicans, called CRs for short, are the fiery, dedicated volunteers that make our Grand Old Party tick. Additionally, when hippies seized power in the ivory tower, CRs came to be the first line of defense against liberal bias on campus. Joining national figures like "campus defender" U.S. Rep. Walter B. Jones, David Horowitz of FrontPageMag.com and former U.S. House Historian Christina Jeffrey, CRs have challenged liberal academia at every turn.
This year, from June 24 to 26, the College Republican National Committee (CRNC) will host its 56th biennial convention in Arlington, V.A. During the convention, our next slate of national officers will be elected for two year terms. The race for CRNC Chairman is hotly contested, with California State Chairman Michael Davidson and CRNC Treasurer Paul Gourley leading the pack. Today, I am honored to join fellow conservative commentators Ann Coulter and Michael Reagan, U.S. Reps. Bill Thomas, David Dreier and Jerry Lewis, and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger by endorsing Michael Davidson for CRNC Chairman.
Unremarkably, the Left is very aware of their young adversaries and will stop at nothing to discredit or disband the CRs. Not so long ago, the administration at UNC-Wilmington derecognized their resident CR chapter, denying it official status and school funding for, of all things, discriminating against Democrats by limiting its membership to Republicans. Moreover, the CRs were labeled anti-Catholic by one professor, who was apparently unaware that then-chapter Chairman Michael Pomarico is a practicing Catholic. Of course, if Lefties would happily doctor-up an absurd scandal like this, just imagine their jubilation when CRs actually falter.
Last fall, hundreds of thousands of College Republicans knocked on doors, made calls and registered voters. Our grassroots support helped to match the Democrats' traditionally superior get out the vote effort. However, while rank and file CRs labored away, several newspapers, led by the Seattle Times and Durham Herald-Sun, began to trumpet a misstep by the CRNC. According to their reports, CRs were conducting a multimillion dollar fundraising campaign that disproportionately targeted, and deceived, the elderly.
These papers were followed by the Washington Post and a litany of others, with most reports focusing on the CRNC's direct-mail program, run by Virginia-based Response Dynamics, Inc. First, consider the fact that more retired persons were giving to the CRNC than any other IRS-regulated independent political committee. Then, look to the text of the most infamous of several, shameless fundraising letters: "I AM SENDING YOU THE ENCLOSED AMERICAN FLAG LAPEL PIN, BUT IT IS NOT YOURS TO KEEP. YOU SEE, I AM ASKING YOU TO GIVE THIS SPECIAL LAPEL PIN TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH FOR HIM TO WEAR AT THE REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION…" It continues, "I HAVE GONE TO EXTREME LENGTHS TO PUT THIS SIMPLE LAPEL PIN INTO YOUR HANDS. BECAUSE YOU HAVE BEEN SUCH A PATRIOT…I WANTED TO GIVE YOU A SPECIAL PLACE IN HISTORY." The letter ends imploring, "BE SURE TO INCLUDE YOUR GENEROUS $1000 CONTRIBUTION TO REPUBLICAN HEADQUARTERS WHEN YOU RETURN THE LAPEL PIN." Like a majority of the mailers, it bears the signature of CRNC Treasurer Paul Gourley.
Sadly, the liberal media was right. And to this day, newspapers from across the country are investigating and publicizing the fundraising scandal. Though the CRNC finally cut ties with Response Dynamics this March, it's safe to say that we haven't heard the last of this. Dozens of blogs, hosted by gloating liberals and disgruntled CRs, have proliferated across the web. These cyber-centers of the new media are following the scandal, and CRNC Chairman's race, on a daily basis. The most infamous and well read blog remains www.CRNCTruthCaucus.com, although www.CRVetsForTruth.com has risen as one of the chief alternatives.
My endorsement of Michael Davidson is not a reflection on his opponent's character. Rather, it is a realist's solution to what may be the greatest public relations debacle in CR history. We need a fresh start to regain credibility with the campus community, Republican Party and American people. Mistakes were made, and we would be arrogant to say otherwise.
And, by no means is Michael Davidson my second choice. A true conservative, Michael was a proud member of the Berkeley College Republicans. In spite of clear, liberal bias on campus, he took a leadership role and his chapter flourished. Thanks to the hard work of Michael and his friends, the California Patriot, our nation's preeminent conservative student publication, was founded.
Now serving his second term as State Chairman of the California College Republicans, Michael is a known commodity with significant executive experience. From the "Governator" to congress, he has earned the trust and respect of his fellow Republicans. I am confident that Michael will demonstrate the same leadership as CRNC Chairman.
As a College Republican and lifelong conservative, I wholeheartedly endorse Michael Davidson for CRNC Chairman. Please visit Michael on the web at www.YourCRNC.org and forward your support.
John T. Plecnik (JTP) is a 21-year-old law student at Duke University and a Featured Columnist at The Conservative Voice (www.theconservativevoice.com), Lincoln Tribune, a weekly newspaper in Lincolnton, N.C., and various other online and print publications. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting with a Minor in Mythology and graduated summa cum laude, sharing the title of Valedictorian, from Belmont Abbey College. Email your comments to John at John.Plecnik@law.duke.edu.