The changing of the guard over at New Hampshire Republican Party headquarters has provided some fairly entertaining political drama for local political observers lately. First, we had newly minted Chairman Jack Kimball talking about applying an ideological litmus test to candidates in the Republican presidential primary, while receiving a remarkable amount of national media attention for his link to the tea party movement.
Now we have newly appointed NHGOP Executive Director Will Wrobleski being taken to task for recent remarks suggesting that former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty isn’t sufficiently conservative to be the Republican nominee. In fairness to Wrobleski, the comments were apparently made before he was offered the position with the state party, but there is also a lingering concern among some institutional elites that he may be too firmly in Mitt Romney’s corner to fulfill the neutral role traditionally designated for party officials.
Watching this newly installed apparatus deal with all of the political fallout illustrates the difficulty of transitioning from a movement or activist mindset to one focused instead on institutional growth and stability. Restated, being responsible for creating the optimal conditions under which others can engage in ideological battle is a fundamentally different political enterprise than actually joining the fray oneself (certainly where primaries are concerned). The latest incarnation of the NHGOP seems to be learning this lesson in public the hard way.
Note: Back posting on Tuesday. -Dean
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