Is It Time for Webber to Go?
On Sunday, December 12th, with just 21 hours before a mandatory meeting of the New Jersey Republican State Committee (NJGOP) was set to be held, Chairman Jay Webber sent out a notice abruptly canceling the meeting. In the process, Chairman Webber broke the NJGOP’s own by-laws and, by extension, New Jersey’s Title 19. Why?
It has been a year and half since a motion was made for the NJGOP to join the other 49 state committees and support the 2008 RNC platform that was written with the help of the Atlantic County GOP Chairman Keith Davis (currently “Chair of Chairs”), and Assemblywoman Alison McHose. The platform was then unanimously adopted on the convention floor with the enthusiastic support of the entire New Jersey delegation. Assemblywoman McHose and Chairman Webber have both publicly stated that they support the platform, while Keith Davis has never publicly stated his support, one must assume that since he helped write it and voted for it, that he does support it.
In fairness to Chairman Webber, he seems to have changed his mind regarding the platform. On December 6, at a public appearance in his Assembly District that included questions from the audience, he responded to a question about the NJGOP supporting the platform by calling it a “disaster” and blaming Sen. McCain’s 2008 loss on it.
There has been speculation that Chairman Webber has been placed in a difficult situation, because many of the NJGOP’s top contributors oppose the platform’s Pro-Life Plank, something that has been a constant in RNC platforms since Ronald Reagan insisted on it. It is worth remembering that, in the past, New Jersey national convention delegation members have publicly opposed the Pro-Life Plank.
In response to the request for a vote to adopt the platform, last December Chairman Webber appointed a committee to come up with a “Statement of Principles” for the New Jersey Republican Party. To our knowledge this committee has never met? It’s been a year and we still do not have a working outline of what the NJGOP stands for. It took just 17 days to write the Declaration of Independence, but after more than a year, we still have the unanswered question: What does the New Jersey Republican Party stand for?
A Policy Free Zone.
In the legislature, where Republicans are in the minority in both houses, our GOP Assembly members and Senators need to know that the NJGOP supports their efforts.
Various members of the State Committee, in an effort to show support for the Governor, as well as help the NJGOP drive news coverage of timely issues on initiatives that are based on well grounded principles of the Republican Party, have introduced resolutions for discussion and then to vote on. Among these resolutions on policy are Support for the Governor’s reforms at the DRPA, Joining the lawsuit against Obamacare, Stopping the implementation legislation for Obamacare in New Jersey, Support for New Jersey Citizens’ right to privacy when flying (TSA pat-downs), and Repealing the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) which is New Jersey’s own version of the Obama administration’s “Cap and Trade” energy tax.
Is there anyone that does not believe the DRPA needs to be reformed and John Matheussen out as its head? Is stopping Obamacare not a Republican goal? Should reigning-in an out of control TSA not be something Republicans take the lead on? As Republicans, do we despise the job killing, tax raising cap and trade scheme known as RGGI? Why has the Republican State Committee avoided to discuss or vote on these resolutions?
Where is the Leadership?
What are you leading when your organization has no foundation? Failing to vote on something as basic as support for your party’s platform, or in the alternative, developing a set of Republican principles leads to an organization that has no foundation. That is where the NJGOP now finds itself.
The New Jersey Republican State Committee is a unique entity in law. Title 19 allows for certain privileges, and the NJGOP’s own by-laws provide for how business will be conducted and how often they are to meet. The NJGOP is required to meet 4 times a year. They have met twice this year, and no meetings are scheduled to be held until after the holidays.
In this year of angry voters, when big government liberalism is being soundly rejected, why did the NJGOP only meet twice during this time? Why is Chairman Webber blatantly disregarding the NJGOP’s by-laws?
It is fair to ask why Chairman Webber appears unwilling or afraid to adopt a guiding set of principles? Why won’t the committee vote on any policy issues? Where is the leadership?
In closing, I hope that Chairman Webber will take some time during this Holiday Season to reflect on these questions. When he comes back fresh to the new year, I hope he will be ready to lead on adopting principles, tackling issues, and following state law and his own party’s by-laws. Failing this, I hope Chairman Webber will do the right thing and make way for someone who will. In short, lead or resign.