Maricopa County Republican Chairman Tom Husband, from the MC GOP Web site.
The Republic amuses me. Why is it when they finally get around to pulling themselves off the sofa to write about a story I've been whaling on for over a year, they act like they've just discovered Plymouth Rock or something? With them, it's always, "Gee, who put this continent here? Glad we found it."
I don't want to seem ungrateful for Gary Nelson's little ditty in today's paper of record on the connections between J.T. Ready and Russell Pearce and the fact three Congressmen from Sand Land want Ready out of the Republican Party. I mean, as far as I know, some Barco Lounge-bound bureaucrat of a boss -- who'll likely get laid off in the next year the way Gannett's going -- gave Nelson an order to write the thing up. And he did, as if nothing had ever preceded it. I don't know Nelson's age, but someone should let him know about this here newfangled thing called "Google." Amazing the stuff you can find on there, boyo.
All the same, I was tickled pink to see the story. Know why? The following statements from Maricopa County Republican Party Chairman Tom Husband, denying any knowledge of J.T. Ready's National Socialist affiliations, as is talked about in a missive signed by Congressmen John Shadegg, Jeff Flake, and Trent Franks, and addressed to Husband. Here's the passage:
"Husband questioned both the premise and the timing of the letter.
"`They make an assumption that is incorrect,' Husband said.
"`It says, 'as you know.' I certainly don't know of Mr. Ready's affiliation with neo-Nazis, and I am inviting them to submit evidence,' Husband said.
"If the evidence proves credible, Husband said he would entertain a motion calling for Ready's resignation.
"But, he added, `the timing is just atrocious,' because Ready is not running for re-election in the Sept. 2 primary and will be out of office soon thereafter. Husband said he would not be inclined to call a special party meeting to address the issue at this point, especially with so many members preparing for the national convention beginning Sept. 1.
"He and Matt Tolman, Republican chairman in District 18, said the congressmen should have raised their concerns much earlier."
I talked to Husband back in February about an incident in which Ready passed out racist, anti-Semitic tracts at a local, mandatory meeting for county GOPers. Husband had just taken over from former MCRC Chairman Lyle Tuttle the time we spoke. "Chairman Husband, who had not yet assumed his position when the matter was dealt with, told me that then Chairman Tuttle ordered the prejudiced propaganda collected from the floor and declared that such racist and anti-Semitic documents would not be tolerated.
"`This is the first time we've ever encountered anything of this nature,' said Husband, who was more forthcoming than Tuttle when asked. `So it kind of blindsided us. But we acted immediately to correct it. And as long as I'm the chairman, that's our policy: Nothing hits the seat unless it has the chairman's approval. We're not going to have hate literature permeating our meetings.'"
"[State GOP executive director Sean] McCaffrey informed me that when he was told of Ready's little stunt, he took steps to increase security at the state mandatory meeting. "And at our meeting he wasn't hard to miss,' said McCaffrey.`He was the only guy there dressed like a girl.' Seems Ready showed up to the state gathering in his XXXL Scottish kilt, with nothing on underneath but his, ahem, Heinrich Himmler underoos... "
The GOP quietly asked Ready to resign. Ready refused, then Republicans made plans to run folks against Ready for his precinct committeeman seat. But Ready has decided not to re-seek the position, which he has held at least since 2006, and maybe longer. So his gig's up September 2. For now, anyway. He could always run again in the future for pc, or something else. This is why the letter from the three Congressmen is still useful. It draws a line in Sand Land politics that you'd think would be a no-brainer for the state's two major parties. You know, like, "Neo-Nazis need not apply."
But why would Husband make such a statement to the Rep, in light of J.T.'s well-publicized past history? Maybe because he didn't try hard enough when it came to the Ready issue? Maybe because he's playing a little CYA? Maybe because the MCRC endorsed Russell Pearce in the LD18 state Senate race, a man who had openly embraced Ready at a June 2007 anti-immigration rally? Or could he just be incredibly naive and uninformed?
In a sarcastic letter just released to his fellow Republicans, Husband told the three congressmen the following: "In your letter dated August 19, 2008, you asserted that I had knowledge that Mr. Ready is a member of the National Socialist Movement (“NSM”). This assertion is incorrect. I do not possess that knowledge but apparently you do and, if that is true, your outrage is justified. Such an affiliation would clearly be inimical to the principles of the Republican Party.For a year, you have apparently been aware that Mr. Ready was a featured speaker at a Neo-Nazi conference in Omaha and Mr. Shadegg’s representatives were present at the Maricopa County meeting January 19, 2008 where Chairman Tuttle demanded the removal of objectionable materials, reportedly distributed by Mr. Ready. Your knowledge of Mr. Ready’s presence at the January 19, 2008 meeting should have been sufficient notice of the likelihood that he was a PC."
The photo I used in the February post...looks pretty obvious to me.
Interestingly, in my February piece quoting Husband, I used an illo of Ready in Omaha, Nebraska under the banner of the National Socialist Movement. Of course, he wasn't in Nazi attire. And Ready has since told me that it was just a speaking gig, and that he's not an official member of NSM. But still, if you go to speak at a neo-Nazi function, what else do you need, an NSM party card with your fingerprint and mug shot? A pic of Adolf Hitler with lipstick smears on it? A flaming swastika in your backyard?
Hell, Ready has a page on NewSaxon.org, which is now owned by the NSM. Back in 2006, he attended a neo-Nazi "Winterfest" event. Christ, the ADL outed him in a March 2007 forum at the state Capitol! If you're a local politico and you don't know who J.T. Ready is -- especially after he distributes anti-black, and anti-Jewish lit at your own GOP wingding -- then you seriously need to have your head examined.
When I spoke to Husband today, he denied that he knew anything of Ready's affiliations. He also said he was unaware that others in his own party had asked Ready to step down. In fact, he did not initially seem to remember our conversation from February.
"The precinct committeeman is an elected office," he lectured me. "If you look at the county bylaws, there is no ability to kick him out of his position or the party. And my friends in the Congress know that, and that's why in their letter, they talk about how uncertain it is."
If those are the County GOP bylaws, so be it. Still, Republicans here in Sand Land pooh-poohed the neo-Nazi in their midst until he became a liability to one of their stars, Russell Pearce. I would feel more sympathy for their position had they been a lot more vocal about this matter before now, and a lot less defensive.
For those still waiting, my interview with J.T. Ready is still to come. There's just been too much going on today, and I haven't been able to write it up. In our conversation, Ready mentioned that he's voted for Pearce already via paper ballot, and he once more lauds Pearce as a statesman.
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Lastly, in case you didn't catch it, those Johnny-come-latelies over at the Rep have endorsed Kevin Gibbons for state Senate in LD18, citing as one reason,
"Pearce's association with a White supremacist and much-publicized incidents such as forwarding an e-mail from a neo-Nazi group to hundreds of supporters have made it easy for critics to portray Pearce as the ugly face of the Republican Party."
The opinion piece is titled, "Time to Dump Pearce."
I've got some news for them, Pearce is the ugly face of the Republican Party. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. I'm glad they finally recognized that it's time for him to go. I just hope the Republicans in Mesa agree.