A month ago, Commissioner Lichtensteiger and I were having a conversation about how to breathe new life into the Van Wert County Republican Party. It would seem that in a county leaning nearly 80% to the right, any production under the Republican banner should be generating several times the interest and attendance of those cozy lunches of recent gatherings past.
Some proposed changes we kicked around included more inclusive meeting times and venues. Lunch meetings, for example, have the effect of eliminating most working people. And since most non-union working people tend to be conservative, that’s one big chunk of potential Republicans that can’t assemble.
And if the working middle class could assemble, they might not feel comfortable doing so at a country club – not everyone likes pretensions intermingled with their politics. It would serve Republicans well to divest themselves of that image of the Party of the Wealthy anyway. Personally, I’d rather the Party meet at the Junior Fair Building in the evening.
But first and foremost, we agreed that what the Republican Party here vitally needs is a dynamic speaker or two. On that front, I had one person on my wish list – U.S. Representative Jim Jordan. The Congressman from Urbana represents the neighboring 4th District, which includes Lima.
Commissioner Lichtensteiger has a gift for making such things happen. He thought Jordan was a great idea and had the Congressman’s people contacted within days. Jordan happened to be in Mercer County for a breakfast on Friday, August 22 and Thad arranged his arrival in Van Wert later that day at 11:30 A.M. for lunch. (I know what I just said about lunches, but you have to take what you can get when someone’s willing to come outside of his district to speak.)
Suddenly, we had a rising star, perhaps the rising conservative star, in the Republican Party coming to town. The venue was moved to the Wassenberg Art Center in hopes of accommodating what we hope to be a large crowd.
For those who don’t watch FoxNews or are unfamiliar with Jim Jordan’s career, he is currently leading the investigation into the IRS scandal – the scandal without a smidgeon of corruption but with six simultaneous and unrelated hard drive crashes. Had it not been for Jordan and California Congressman Darrell Issa, the whole matter might have been dropped when Lois Lerner took the Fifth.
The IRS hearings aren’t just political grandstanding for Jordan, and I’ll tell you how I know that. Back in 2011, John Boehner cut a deal with President Obama to raise the debt ceiling. Jordan led the conservative opposition to the deal. In that same year, because Ohio was losing population, it was scheduled to lose a congressional district. Boehner’s camp made the threat that if Jordan didn’t drop his opposition to the debt ceiling increase, his congressional district would be eliminated.
Such redistricting not only would have ended Jordan’s term in the House, it likely would have ended his political career. Jordan didn’t back down – but eventually Boehner did (on the redistricting anyway, not the debt ceiling.) Now, there are credible calls in the party for Jordan to run for Speaker of the House and oust Boehner.
Last month, the National Taxpayers Union Foundation named Jordan as the most fiscally responsible of Ohio’s Congressman, noting that Jordan had supported over $183 billion in net budget cuts. The Tea Party momentum stalled in 2012 because of a host of weak candidates spouting off on social issues. Jordan has the intelligence, influence and track record to reignite enthusiasm for what the Tea Party originally stood for – the concept of limited government.
Because this will be a lunch gathering, tickets need to be sold to help estimate the crowd. The cost is $8 and that includes the lunch to be served by Gibson’s Barnyard Barbecue. McDonald’s isn’t a whole lot cheaper than that for a meal anymore and, in further comparison, at this lunch, the speaking you hear will be that of one of the leading politicians of our times, not of an angry young mother yelling at her kids to “Knock it off!”
The County Central Committee will be selling tickets, but if you don’t know who those people are, email a request to firstname.lastname@example.org with your address and phone number and I’ll make sure you have access to tickets. Tickets will also be available at the Commissioner’s Office. Of course, you can always just show the day of the event but that can’t guarantee your food or seat.
For everyone who wants to do something to support the notion of limited government, this is the chance, and all you have to do is show up. Take an hour off work if you have to – I’ll get you a validation card if that will help with the boss. The bigger the turnout we can generate here, the bigger the story it is and the more it impacts the movement Jim Jordan, more than any other Ohio politician, has come to represent.