Yesterday Interim Chair of the Maryland Republican Party, Diana Waterman, sent an email to state central committee members responding to various stories questioning the logic of recent decisions she made regarding the postponement of a Pathfinders event, and the removal of Nicolee Ambrose from the RNC Standing Committee on Rules.
Richard Cross, in a must read post addressed the Ferguson/Pathfinder issue and calls into question the veracity of Waterman’s claims.
Waterman appears to have a truthiness problem on the Ambrose issue as well.
Here is Waterman’s statement regarding Ambrose.
Over the weekend, there was some internet discussion concerning the Maryland representative on the RNC Standing Rules Committee. The three RNC members are supposed to caucus and choose which one of them will serve on the RNC Rules Committee. Both Louis and Nicolee requested to hold the Maryland seat on the Rules Committee.
Before he resigned, Alex chose to sign Nicolee’s application for the Rules Committee (it takes two out of the three RNC members to make a majority on the form). He (Alex) told me he signed her form because Louis had the Northeast Chair position and she had nothing (on the RNC). Alex also told me that as the form was not due until March 1st, according to what he was told by the RNC legal department, that we could submit a second form if I thought that Louis should remain on the committee. (Nicolee was never on the Rules Committee so the discussion that somehow I removed her is incorrect.) [emphasis mine]
Louis has served on this committee for 8 years, he is the Senior member of our delegation, was re-elected with 83% of the vote last year, was re-elected unanimously (and unopposed) as the RNC Vice Chair of the Northeast Region, and is well-respected and well-known on the RNC – I did not see any reason to remove him from this committee as Maryland’s representative.
I did reach out to Nicolee to talk with her but she did not get back to me before the March 1st deadline. I thought that Louis’ experience and relationships with other RNC members made him a better choice for this committee. I knew that this decision was not going to be popular with some people – obviously, the politically expedient choice would have been to do nothing. But I made the decision knowing the potential cost because I thought it was the right decision for the Party locally and nationally.
I do believe Nicolee has a great future at the RNC and in our State and will enthusiastically support her for any other committee nationally and hope that she will take a lead role in our State and nationally, especially in the areas of grassroots organization, outreach, communications, and technology where she excels.
Except this letter and email response (hat tip Purple Elephant Politics) refutes her contention.
The email trail we have clearly shows that the RNC acknowledged the signed FAX letter from Mooney and Ambrose placing her on the Rules Committee. RNC legal counsel responded, “…we did receive the Fax and everything is in order.”
Diana’s claim that Nicolee was “never on the rules committee” is hogwash.
This leaves us with the same question Richard Cross asked over the weekend.
Was Louis Pope—whose only notable accomplishment was presiding over Michael Steele cronies burning through $600,000 of RNC donors’ money on a swanky ocean front mansion—the type of experienced leader she had in mind for serving on the Rules Committee?
Let's set aside the truthiness issue for a moment and stipulate for the sake of argument that everything she claims is true. Waterman’s removal of Ambrose is still dispositive proof of the case against her continuing as chair of the party.
If Waterman’s claims were true then there are only two possibilities at play here, both of which bespeak of a person unfit to lead a political party.
The first possibility is that she cannot see the political currents flowing both in Maryland and national Republican politics. As Dan Bongino put it, there is a battle between the libertarian/conservative grassroots wing and the establishment moderates for the soul of the party. The Ins vs. the Outs. This battle hit a flashpoint at the RNC Convention in Tampa where the RNC adopted rules, supported by Pope, which greatly diminished the influence of grassroots activists, in favor of a more centralized system. This system concentrated power with insiders and party mandarins. Nicolee Ambrose, helped lead the fight to undo that wrong, and forced the RNC to revisit that decision at its upcoming spring meeting. That Waterman could not foresee the political ramifications of alienating the grassroots by such a move is evidence enough that she lacks the ability to lead the party. After all this wouldn’t be the first time Waterman insulted the party’s grassroots activists.
The other possibility is that she is more astute than the first scenario allows. Waterman made the move anyway—despite the damage she had to have known it would cause—just to screw Ambrose, who defeated her close ally, former party chair Audrey Scott, in a hotly contested race for National Committeewoman last May. See Red Maryland’s extensive files on Clan Scott here.
Clueless or devious? Take your pick. Either way, they are not qualities one wants in a party leader.