Monday, November 25, 2002

Page Ted Nugent, They're RINO Hunting in Michigan-Interesting Detroit News piece on an intra-GOP feud in Oakland County (the largely upscale NW suburban Detroit area). The more traditional Republican conservatives, lead by country exec (and former county prosecutor and general GOP animal) L. Brooks Patterson were seemingly aced out by a theocon takeover of the county party this weekend. The piece leaves some information out
Former Gov. William G. Milliken, a moderate Republican who served a record 14 years (1969-82) and now has become a critic of the party's right wing, believes Patterson has become the type of person the Republican Party needs to woo the moderate and independent voters needed to win statewide races.
Milliken was (and is) Chaffee-center-left; he's been a critic of the party's right wing for a couple of decades at least. The big year that I can remember the theocons making their presence known in the Michigan GOP was 1982, the year Milliken was retiring. A conservative pro-life businessman knocked off Milliken's lieutenant governor protégé in the Republican gubernatorial primary and the RINOs have never been back in charge. Patterson has a track record as a good law-and-order guy and a bit of a man on the make back in the 80s, having almost gotten elected to statewide office a number of times. However, he's just centrist enough on some issues to make the theocons nervous; the loose cannons of the 80s are now party elder statesmen acceptable to the old-line party establishment. In 1986, they had knock-down-drag-out county convention fights, not unlike the Oakland County donnybrook, statewide. The party, in its infinite wisdom, decided to pick the presidential convention delegates internally. That left the August 1986 precinct delegate races a proxy fight between the backers of Bush 41, Kemp and Pat Robertson scrapping for 1988 convention delegates. The informal nature of county conventions changed. Normally, there are more precinct delegates slots than people interested in filling them; if there was an open slot, you'd typically be granted a seat from your precinct if you showed up. Not that year. The local conventions and state conventions were just as ugly as this Oakland County one that year. Since then, there's been an ongoing fight between the Millikenesque moderates and conservatives, with the conservatives holding the upper hand and moderates having a steady diet of sour grapes. [Update 12:50AM 11-26-I was only joking with the title-turns out we've got a real Nugent 2006 boomlet seen via Mr. Judd.]

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