It seems the people who run the republican party in North Carolina aren't having a whole lot of fun these days. In fact they have split into factions which, in some corners, might be described as the Sunnis and Shiites of the GOP world.
See if this sounds familiar to what is going on nationally among the participants of what has become the nation's largest gang fight. The chairman of the North Carolina party was elected in June last year. His name is Hasan Harnett. He won the job, according to the Raleigh daily paper, The News and Observer, because he had the backing of local tea party wankers and other raucous grass root folks.
As we have learned, thanks to Ted Cruz's stay in the senate and most recently, Don Trump, these barn burners despise the republican establishment only slightly less than Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Unfortunately for Chairman Harnett and his backers, the North Carolina republican hierarchy is chock full what they considers establishment types.
According to a couple of letters posted on the official NC party web site, the movers and shakers, known as the central committee haven't gotten along with the chairman since day one. In fact, committee member, Scott Cumbie, believes the state party has been saddled with a guy who, "struggles with the most basic parliamentary rules." In addition he, "can't clearly communicate unless his remarks are in writing."
This acrimony started to boil out of control in January and has now burst out into public.
Earlier this year the central committee, or CC as like Cumbie likes to refer to it, decided to charge each delegate to the state GOP convention $90 in order to raise money for the party and pay for the get together. Harnett had promised his supporters he would eliminate any and all fees to attend, although he finally settled on a $45 assessment. During a meeting held a little while back the central committee, who claims ultimate authority in such matters, passed the $90 ticket over the objections of the chairman. In other words, they overrode his veto.
Harnett, the NC GOP's first African-American chairman, responded on social media, referring to the fee as a, "poll tax." He and his supporters also posted some other things, a few of which hint that the committee's refusal to do whatever, Hasan Harnett wants is racially motivated.
According to the documents, Mr. Harnett ignored the outcome of the meeting and mailed party delegates a notice announcing the convention dates, while also telling them the attendance fee would be $45 instead of the approved $90. The CC immediately went ape shit.
Then, yes, it got uglier. And, as with most nastiness such as this, what happened next depends on who you believe.
A couple of members of the committee claim, Harnett began raging on social media that his access to the party approved state convention web site was being wrongfully denied. They contend he was then approached by an IT expert who heard of his problem. The tech hoo doo guru offered to help Harnett get back into the site. Then, according to members of the committee, the chairman asked the same person, Dr. Ken Robol, if he could hack into the official convention web site, disable it, and at the same time establish an alternate one which would charge delegates--you guessed it--the $45 fee. Members of the committee contend the nefarious plot included routing the money collected from the new site into bank accounts which are controlled by Harnett and not the party.
The committee bigwigs are saying, Robol smelled a rat, came to them voluntarily, and submitted a sworn affidavit detailing the alleged plot.
Mr. Harnett says the accusations, "are false and ridiculous." He also accused his opponents of conducting, "a witch hunt."
Members of the committee have been circulating a petition among party members, demanding a meeting on April 30th which will decide whether to keep Harnett as chairman, or cashier him out of the corps so to speak. Coincidentally, or, perhaps not, April 30th is a mere week before the state convention which will choose 30 of North Carolina's 72 delegates to the national convention in Cleveland.
So the question is who do you believe? Is Hasan Harnett beset by a pack of amoral establishment beasts usurping the will of the people who elected him in order to maintain power for political and perhaps racial reasons? Or is the North Carolina GOP stuck with a rogue chairman who, besides being a dunce, holds the rules of the party he is supposed to be leading in complete disdain?
Personally, I like to think it is both. As Inspector Renault said long ago--it's the romantic in me.
sic vita est