Analysis: Kaelin Saga Is The Political New Normal
Matt Pierce Briscoe
Corpus Christi– Nueces County GOP Chairman Jim Kaelin spent the bulk of Friday defending his choice to share a controversial theory that the George Floyd murder was some sort of plot against Republicans by left-wing activist George Soros.
Early on Friday, Kaelin went on The Bob Jones Show, a local radio talk-show to defend his actions and justify his having shared his the post. From there, Kaelin spent the rest of the day making calls and meeting separately in various forms with precinct chairs and local Republican leadership to promote his side of the story. By mid-day, it became evident that Kaelin was not going to follow the charge by Republican Governor Greg Abbott to resign. As it is, Abbott himself could not exactly force the issue, either.
At a press conference at the Nueces County GOP Headquarters, Kaelin made sure to flank himself with support, but it was not as if he actually needed it. Nueces County Republican leadership voted overwhelmingly in a specially called meeting, to give Kaelin, the retired long-time Sheriff a vote of confidence. Only one person voted for no confidence.
At the press conference, Kaelin came out of the box defiant. ““First and foremost, I don’t work for the governor. I don’t work for any elected state or local official,” Kaelin said. “I work for the Republican Party of Nueces County and I answer only to them for my activities as their party chairman.”
While the move basically told Abbott and others who called for his resignation to take a flying leap, Kaelin knew that it would take more than Gov. Abbott’s suggestion to force him to resign. While Kaelin may have made a mistake in some people’s eyes, he was quick to realize that the attack was more about internal party politics than it was anything nd he knew just how to handle it.
Kaelin did seem to suggest that his role was to simply get Trump and other Republican candidates elected in November, then he would step aside. To hear him and other Republicans tell it, this has always been his plan. But will he actually do it?
Mike Bergsma had indicated on numerous occasions that he would resign from the GOP top spot several times, but only recently did actually ever follow through. That move gave way for Kaelin to more or less be appointed to the spot–another typical “good-old-boy” move, resign so that the favorite horse runs as an incumbent or even unopposed.
Kaelin was also flanked by Nueces County Commissioner Carolyn Vaughn, Corpus Christi City Councilman Gil Hernandez, and former LULAC leaders and influential community leaders. Most of which insisted that Kaelin was far from being a racist, which he is likely not.
But careless might be another story. Simply sharing a story on social media does not mean that Kaelin is a racist or a bigot. It might mean that may have acted careless and irresponsible, but it doesn’t mean that he is actually racist–that is a pretty bold statement. But regardless, simply sharing a post far from proves that.
Where Kaelin failed is that like President Trump, he did not take into consideration the reach of his influence. But then again, party politics is a game of playing “follow the leader” and both parties are guilty.
While Kaelin was inside the leased Republican compound defending his choice to share an Alex Jones styled theory and being defended by other local wonks, a small group of demonstrators stood outside voicing their disgust.
Democrat Candidate for Texas House District 32 was there along with Nueces County Democrat chairwoman Coretta Graham. Even though they were a small group, they were obviously disgusted and knew exactly what was happening inside the leased compound office.
They had no reason not to be disgusted and outraged at Kaelin for sharing the late-night talk radio theory on social media and they had every right to call him into question. Everybody should. But then again, it seemed that they knew that this was simply party politics at its finest. They were still upset and you can’t blame them for it. Republicans should have been.
Welcome to the new-age of the Republican Party and as bad as it looks, it is here to stay. Share conspiracy theories, say outrageous things, and then justify the motive as best you can. But it doesn’t stop there, you have to add a cherry on top of it and prove that by-god you don’t answer to anybody but your friends because you are one loyal and faithful party liner dedicated, and beholden to that good old party line. that party line might be death of the party itself and that might be what it takes to give Republicans a reality check that they are not above decency and self-policing. If Republicans want to be better than Democrats, they have to knock off this “holier than thou” mentality and speak out against the late-night, Art Bell and Alex Jones theories and conspiracies. But they can’t do that because their pundit-in-chief, doesn’t set proper example. Instead, he acts like the drunk father who beats his child in a drunken rage then says “do what I say and not as I do,” insisting that this hurts him more than it hurts you.