Penobscot County, Maine, might not have much of profile on the national stage — but it might yet. You see, the sleepy county of Maine is the center of almighty storm of chaos that has seen several Maine GOP committee members resign not only their positions but also their membership in the GOP. These are not no-name people either but keen activists and a former delegate to the Tampa Republican Convention — Bryan Dougherty.
All the major players released statements to express their reasoning for the resignation. Bryan was blunt about his reasons in his resignation letter:
They are the party of bending and plastic rules, where those rules are determined by desired outcomes of leadership rather than through equitable application of them to all members and committees. Therefore, I hereby tender my resignation from the Maine State Republican Party, and having made the decision to leave the party entirely, I feel free of its corruption and my naive 18-year participation in it for the first time in years.
Michelle Anderson, a state committeewoman, resigned with this to say about her decision:
It has become painfully clear that I am entirely unable to play even a small part in restoring the State Republican Party to anything even close to principles, honesty, and transparency, and to remain on the State Committee in the face of that revelation would make me part of the infection within that organization. I am unwilling to be part of that infection, and therefore, I am hereby tendering my resignation. I will be unenrolling from the Party today.
The chaos has resulted in the Maine Republican Chairman invoking the lawyers and threatening lawsuits to keep the dissenters quiet. These dissenters are having their names dragged through the mud in an attempt to discredit them. And not surprisingly, the Bangor Daily News blogger, Chris Dixon who has dared to report this has come in for harassment and abuse.
So why the angst and aggravation? Well, it seems the establishment of the Maine Republican Party in its abject fear of its own activists has yet again disregarded its own bylaws to get the right result. In other words, that change at the top of the party has not resulted in any change of behavior from the tenure of the infamous Charlie Webster. Instead of having a chairman who is actively doing harm to the party, they have a technocrat who is merely protecting the establishment with all his might.
Now non-Republicans are probably watching this whole drama with glee and amusement. Not only did the MEGOP get slaughtered in November last year, losing the state House and Senate and not taking any federal office up for election, but also they are culling their most hard-working activists. The backlash against Ron Paul and Tea Party-minded activists has been brutal and obvious, and Penobscot is merely the latest contretemps across the state.
It remains to be seen if the threats of legal action are merely bluster. From talking to those who resigned they have no intention of keeping quiet.