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COMMUNITY VOICE

County Republicans have chance for conservative leadership in Jason Arp

Wednesday, February 13, 2013 - 4:30 pm

Allen County Republican Chairman Steve Shine is up for re-election this year, and he already has a challenger in conservative proprietary trader Jason Arp.

Arp will have enough time to introduce himself to precinct committeemen and demonstrate to them he is a more desirable and more conservative candidate than the long-time current chairman.

Hence, if the Republican precinct committeemen pick Shine again, knowing full well the man he is, it's because that's exactly the kind of person they want to run the party.

So what is it we have learned of Shine over the years? Shine appeared on the political scene running as a liberal Democrat for mayor of Fort Wayne in 1979. After being rebuffed in his full frontal assault on the conservative community of Fort Wayne, Shine maneuvered himself into the enemy camp, became a Republican and then took over its leadership.

In 2007, he published a letter attacking the American Family Association. The AFA ran ads critical of Tom Henry because of his pro-gay positions, particularly on gay marriage, and his pro-abortion stance.

Those must be sacred institutions to Shine because he went berserk on the AFA. Shine's letter said, “I am so deeply concerned about the perceptions that may be left in the minds of those who hear the American Family Association's radio advertisement.”

Shine went on to say, “The hallmarks of my chairmanship from its beginning have been tolerance, inclusiveness and diversity.” However, Shine seems to not extend this “tolerance” and “inclusiveness” to those social conservatives who oppose gay marriage. “I will not accept intolerance, real or perceived,” Shine went on to write. It makes one wonder if Shine is to the left of Rahm Emanuel on expressing intolerance for those who believe in the sanctity of marriage.

Shine frequently takes credit for the fact that Allen County elects nearly all Republicans to office. This is like the rooster taking credit for the sun coming up because he crows in the morning. This area is extremely conservative, and it's electing Republicans in spite of Shine, not because of him.

The Republican Party is in a full-blown state of crisis at present. Party elite want to move the party even further to the left until it becomes a mere echo of the Democratic Party. Over the years, leadership has used liberal “Republicans In Name Only” to prevent conservatives from making any progress in government. Liberals who masqueraded as Republicans, only to come clean that they had really been liberals all along, include Arlen Specter, Charlie Crist and Dede Scozzafava. The longer it takes Republicans to get rid of these obstructionist liberals, the more damage they do over time.

Right now conservatives are seething at House Republicans, who refuse to use the majority conservative voters gave them to slow the growth of government. This anger may destroy the GOP, and there has never been a more critical time to respond to the conservative base of the Republican Party, nationally and locally, than right now.

Arp's job will be made extremely difficult by the fact that Shine gets to appoint many, if not most, of the people who will vote for his re-election.

So will the local party dethrone the left-leaning party chair, or will Shine's appointees thumb their collective noses at the party base for four more years? We will find out on March 2.

Ric Runestad is a resident of Fort Wayne.