< }}” alt=”UNITY.png” width=”250″ />GOP Chairman Tom Mechler’s recent remarks to the Midland County Republican Women about party unity make for great soundbites. But his words and his actions evoke a healthy dose of skepticism from a large number of Texas Republicans – those that support Texas independence. Frankly, it’s time for him to show that when he says “unity”, he means it.
Mechler made the case for party unity when he said:
“Anybody who is conservative in Texas should be a Republican because we’re the conservative party. Anybody who is a Republican should feel welcome in their party and that is an important part of what we’re doing.”
While it seems that his comments were aimed at the US-wide stage, there are an increasing number of Republican voters inside of Texas for whom those comments aren’t sitting well. Those particularly skeptical of his comments are Republicans in favor of a vote on Texas independence.
Mechler would like to pretend that pro-independence Republicans are a small minority of the party. But nothing could be further from the truth. Polls taken since 2009, most notably by Research 2000 and Reuters/IPSOS, have not only shown that a majority of Republicans believe that Texas would be better off out of the union; the margins have consistently grown with each poll taken.
Those pro-independence margins expand beyond the Republican Party. The numbers are similar for independent voters who also self-identify as conservatives. And, surprising to some, polls have shown a significant percentage of Democrats who feel the same way.
But it’s the pro-independence Republicans within the party that don’t feel welcomed by Mechler. To the point, when the Texas Nationalist Movement used a decades-old law to petition Republican primary voters for an independence resolution on the March primary ballot, the official response was anything but welcoming.
Communications Director for the Republican Party of Texas said in an interview, “that his response to such a ballot proposal would be the same if it were “a resolution giving everybody a unicorn or a resolution for secession.” He went on to say that there was “zero connection between the GOP and the secessionists.”
Needless to say, pro-independence Republicans found the “welcome mat” rolled up and thrown in the garbage.
However, some things have changed since this effort. One-third of the State Republican Executive Committee stood in favor of placing a vote on Texas independence on the ballot. Pro-independence supporters have won or have been appointed as Precinct Chairs or County Chairs in the party adding to the ranks of those already there. And a massive number of pro-independence supporters will be delegates to the Republican State Convention.
Perhaps Mechler’s call for unity is a case of newfound religion. If so, then we welcome it. But there is only one way for anyone to separate the rhetoric from reality.
If Mechler truly believes what he is saying, then it is time for him to make it real. That starts with an end to the targeting of those SREC members for replacement who stood in favor of the Texas Independence Resolution. It continues with accepting a face-to-face meeting with me to “clear the air” and begin a productive dialog.
It’s a fundamental law of nature in Texas that “a man is only as good as his word.” Until these things happen, Mechler’s call for “unity” is nothing more than election year pandering bordering on an insult.
Daniel Miller is President of the Texas Nationalist Movement. You can follow him on Twitter @TheTexianDM.