Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Bill Kneer Wants You to Shut Up

The Patriot Statesman posted a piece this week in response to this article from precinct chair Dale Huls, where Dale made the case for reform of the leadership of the HCRP.  Bill Kneer penned the piece to take up the defense of Chairman Woodfill, which we'll take a closer look at below.  

The article begins by quoting Huls, then offers this: 

While the accusations of the well-intended yet misguided seem to fire up a few against our current leadership the accusations made are just flat wrong. 

The accusations are "just flat wrong" Kneer says.  One expects a point-by-point refutation to follow.  Instead Kneer continues:

So let’s take some time to highlight the positive things that have happened within Harris County over the last decade under the leadership of Chairman Jared Woodfill.
  • 4 out of 5 Republican sweeps within Harris County
  • Well over $10 million raised to support the local party
  • The Harris County Republican Party has remained debt-free
  • In 2010 presided over the biggest victory in the 62 year history of the Harris County Republican Party
  • Under the leadership of Jared Woodfill the local party has stood strong for our conservative values and has never caved in to pressure from the left
Ever the cheerleader, Kneer defaults to the party talking points.  Four sweeps in five terms looks impressive, certainly.  But claiming to have raised over $10 million becomes problematic.  A look at the Texas Ethics Commission reports reveals 80% of contributions in that quarter came from campaigns. The debt-free claim is silliness, because an entity that would lend to the HCRP would require at minimum some kind of accounting or audit, something the leadership runs from.  Moving on to the 2010 election, it would be instructive to see what the HCRP did in order to achieve this.  (There might have been something else going on during 2010 to boost conservative voter turnout, but I can't think what it might have been.  Maybe some original grassroots political movement or something.) 

Now the last item: "stood strong for conservative values" and "has never caved in to pressure from the left."  Kneer can't resist picking up the pom poms again, and attempting to recite platitudes as proof.  Which conservative values?  Fiscal responsibility?  And WHAT pressure from the left?  Pressure to do what?  Kneer, again, never says.  

Kneer tackles one of Huls' points this way: 

These misguided critics would take the great conservative record and spin a different story, “The HCRP leadership has laid bare a record of incompetence and mismanagement with respect to raising funds in the largest voting county in Texas (3rd largest in the nation) to adequately fund HCRP facilities and operations.”
This statement is not only wrong but it is a downright lie. The truth is, that while no one is perfect Chairman Jared Woodfill has done an incredible job at growing our party within Harris County. Under the leadership of Jared Woodfill the County’s political map has become so red that the only chance a Democrat has is being appointed through the courts.

Again with the platitudes, Kneer is short on details.  "Incredible job at growing" the party.  The "political map has become so red" that no Democrats stand a chance.  Perhaps Kneer and company think repeating a lie makes it true.  A quick look at this map and this map show how much in denial they are at Richmond Avenue.  The fact that Democrat Bill White won Harris County in the 2010 election for governor will have long-reaching implications - Democrats are in control of the ballot board and serve as the election judges for early voting.  Ask True The Vote whether they think that's "so red" in this county.

Kneer then jumps back onto the financial picture, repeating "ten million dollars" as if it were a mantra to ward away vampires:

Chairman Woodfill does not ask for money, just to save it in the bank account and collect dust. Chairman Woodfill does the responsible thing. He plans a project, documents the plan, counts the cost, then and only then he goes out and gets the money to complete the task at hand. This is the responsible thing to do and he is done well for the last10 years. Under Jared Woodfill’s leadership our Party has grown and remained debt-free in the process.

Interesting.  I would wager there are members of county party leadership who would beg to differ.  But this also looks like an invocation of Luke 14:28 - "Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?"  Problem is, without budgets or audits no one can know whether this is true.  You can't COUNT THE COST that you can't see; without audits and budgets there is no way to evaluate this claim.  Kneer claims Woodfill does all these things, then offers no proof but his say-so.  Isn't that remniscent of what Nancy Pelosi wanted Congress to do - approve things and THEN evaluate them?

Kneer next tackles a charge that has not been made.  He sets up his straw man by saying he always hears complaints of Republicans turning into RINOs or weak defenders of conservatism.  But not Jared!

Throughout his lifetime, Jared Woodfill has stood strong for the social and fiscal conservative values embodied in the Texas Republican Party platform. There’s not been one time where Jared Woodfill has caved in and betrayed our commonly held beliefs. He has stood strong in the battle against those on the Left as well as those on the Right who would have us leave the time-tested principles and convictions that have brought us victory.

Again, Kneer has no examples here, merely his word.  But that doesn't matter, because the charge has not been made.  Nothing to see here.

The job of the Harris County Republican Party chairman is not to do all the work by himself. It is to lead our local Party and be the spokesperson of “we the people” that make up the base of our County Party. To spread the vision of the Republican Party to all those who do not know who and what we are and stand for. There’s no one here locally that articulates our conservative message is consistently, and precisely, as Chairman Jared Woodfill.

I would argue that the chairman of the party is supposed to manage, grow, and maintain the party as well.  But going with Kneer's definition of spreading the vision, is this why the Outreach Committee hasn't met in ages?  

Now the pitch: 

Let’s not change generals the night before the battle, and take a chance on losing our nation. Jared Woodfill has been a great leader, a man of honor, integrity, and consistency.

Yes, great leaders never changed generals.  Not Lincoln.  Not Truman.  And this same argument was used in 2010 against the current Republican Party of Texas chair Steve Munisteri; he'd never be able to be ready for the fall election, he'd take too long to learn what he needed to know.  In mere months, however, Munisteri had pulled RPT out of huge six-figure debts, and back into the black in time for the 2010 election.  And notice how Kneer equates a Woodfill loss to a chance at "losing our nation."  What kind of awkward hyperbole is that?  

Kneer closes with this:

Since 2008 I have stood by Jared Woodfill and fought as hard as I could to help grow our local Party and save our nation. And since 2008 I have had the same people consistently nipping at my heels complaining about everything we do while they do nothing.  It is easy to criticize, especially when you do nothing to assist in growing the Party.  Every two years we hear from the same malcontent faction.  After the Primary, we don’t hear from or see these critics offering to lift a finger to help the Party, but come Primary time, they are there prevaricating and criticizing without having served the Party in the interim.
I call on all those who continually find fault and complain to man up, shut up, and help us defeat Democrats in November!

This is the best part of the whole piece.  Kneer charges unnamed critics with being biennial malcontents, only criticizing the party when primary elections roll around.  Who are these non-working malcontents, Bill?  

Would it be Dale Huls, who joined the party as a precinct chair in 2010 and, in addition to working with the Clear Lake Tea Party on their board, has worked on his wife's campaigns for state house, served on the board of Saddle Up Texas, attended Clear Lake Area Republican meetings and has attended Republican conventions as well as conservative rallies in Washington D.C.?

Would it be David Jennings, who has researched and then posted more information about the party than the party itself?  

Would it be Paul Simpson, founder of Conservatives in Action - a group who helps precinct chairs manage voter information in their precincts?  Paul who dares challenge the way HCRP is doing things, and who hopes to improve, strengthen and grow the HCRP?

We don't know, because Kneer doesn't say.  But Kneer DOES say they should shut up.  Bill would prefer critics to remain silent, but why?  Is it not possible to both criticize an organization AND work for its success?  

Aren't the two sometimes the same thing?  

Edited to add - It'd be very interesting to go drop your opinion on to Kneer's article, just to see whether they are moderating comments as well.  Most posts don't have comments, but that could be because they write such crap.  So go on, leave a comment, and report here below whether your comment made it to the light of day!


  1. This is all very good.

    I'm going to cease on one item here. The "changing generals" argument is flawed. Well I guess it works for Bill Kneer and Richard Dillon, because under that line of thinking we would never be able to change the HCRP chair (or presumably any other chair in the party leadership) since we only have the elections for those offices in an election year.

    Bill's arguments are so flawed that they belong coming out of the amateur-run White House.

    Yes, let's talk about real issues and let's present some facts. That's what campaigns are suppossed to do.

    Thanks, Fish!

  2. There is no way Kneer penned this. He is not that well spoken/written. He cannot spell to save his life either. Someone else must have written this for Kneer. My guess is Dillon actually wrote this.

  3. Forgive my being a newcomer...but who the f**k is Knees and why should I give a damn about what he says? That about sums up the vast majority in the Republican Establishment base here in Harris Co. See Political chickens blog. It speaks volumes to these shepherd following and supporting solely based on that being the typical way it's supposed to go. If you don't like their candidate, f-you. These crony castroti members will soon fade away. Unfortunately, we're stuck with the likes of Valoree Swanson for a few more years.

  4. As I said on Facebook - The Soviets called. They want their propaganda back.

  5. Randy, I just wrote a post on Facebook supporting you and then I come here and find comments from you that are very un-statesmen like. I'm all for a little spark in the race but let's act like adults in the race, shall we?