In response to the recent article written by Ed Lyons entitled “The Case Against Chanel Prunier”, as a Republican activist of over 12 years in the Commonwealth I would like to offer my own thoughts regarding his article which I easily mistook for an emotion-laced rant on his personal political views and his clear distaste for those who hold even slightly differing views on the issues of the day.
Since the age of 17 I have been working in the Commonwealth helping Republican candidates get elected to anything I could, be it Dog Catcher, City Councilor, Mayor, State Representative or Senator, to 7 US Congress races, Senator Scott Brown and Governors Mitt Romney and Charlie Baker. I’ve met many people involved in party politics and many “grassroots” activists who have time and time again come out to support our candidates. Funny thing though: before this afternoon I had never heard of Ed Lyons. Who is he? What campaigns has he worked on? What has he done to help elect Republicans across and beyond the Commonwealth? Seeing as I’ve never once met him at any campaign event, rally, fundraiser, or any type for any candidate for any position in the last 12 years, I can’t say I know. Perhaps when he has calmed himself enough from badgering both Ms. Prunier’s personal political views and belittling the endless work she has done in the state to elect Republicans Mr. Lyons would be so gracious as to give other activists such as myself a quick biography of his own work, more than attributing to himself the titles of “activist” and “philosopher”. As someone who holds a Bachelor’s Degree in that subject perhaps he could give me a brief synopsis on Plato’s Republic or Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, or perhaps even Aristophanes’ Clouds and his understanding of gender roles in relation to the gods? That would be rather intriguing if not amusing.
As a young Republican of 12 years experience campaigning for Republicans in the Commonwealth under my belt I can however tell you what I know about Chanel Prunier. I can’t recall when we first met, perhaps at Beacon Hill in 2005 during the rallies to allow the people to vote on marriage. Our chant was “What are you afraid of? Let the people vote”. Regardless of differing views on that issue I don’t think anyone who is against letting the people vote on any issue can honestly call themselves a Republican. Since then I have known Chanel not only because we may agree on some issues but moreover for one simple reason: She is everywhere. That woman is everywhere, to support every candidate running for every position, everywhere in the Commonwealth. She supports all Republicans regardless of whether they agree with every issues she believes in or not. Hardly can that be said of others in the Commonwealth. I recall seeing Chanel at a recent recount for a candidate and seeing her stand shoulder to shoulder with Representative Brad Jones, and anyone who knows anything about Republican politics in the Commonwealth knows they are not on each others Christmas lists. Have I seen Rep. Jones, the current Republican Minority Leader of the State House come out to support Republican candidates recruited by Chanel Prunier? I’m still waiting.
Chanel Prunier has been the defender of Republican principles to every corner of this Commonwealth, recruiting and running candidates for every position possible. For those like Mr. Lyons who ignorantly badger her as some type of right-wing extremist out to destroy Governor Baker and create a chasm larger than that of the chasm of Abraham (which I am sure Mr. Lyons knows well), he needs to wake up and smell reality, and that reality is Chanel Prunier alone has most likely done more to advance and advocate for the Republican Party than he and many others. I would give a list of every campaign I’m aware of that Chanel Prunier has had a part in, but that list would quite literally be endless. Where I wonder is the list of campaigns Mr. Lyons has worked upon? Bueller? Bueller? Bueller? To her own personal detriment and own life (which those who know her know she has little of one outside of Republican politics) Chanel has given up and sacrificed more than her time and energy to advance the values of our party and bringing our country back from the moral and fiscal abyss it has become in the last generation. That (in case Mr. Lyons is not aware) is in the minds of many the definition of an American patriot, and that is precisely what Chanel Prunier is, an American patriot. What kind of sacrifices has Mr. Lyons made on behalf of the Republican Party?
I digress. Let me address some of the substance (albeit limited) of Mr. Lyons’ article.
For the 90 percent of non-registered Republicans in the state, contrary to being hard to fathom they are probably laughing at us because of people like Mr. Lyons who write articles such as this. People like John Walsh, Maura Healey, Speaker DeLeo, and other prominent democrats in the state laugh at the complete disorder in the MAGOP. They know we pose no real threat to them because we attack each other routinely instead of building on the foundations that previous leaders have paved. Primary elections aside, Mr. Lyons’ kind of rhetoric only helps the democrats and I think he knows it. It seems people of his ilk are not interested in building the Republican party in the state because that would require a dialogue with other opposing viewpoints. They are rather interested in purging it of anyone opposed to their own perspective who want to build a “big tent” and bring in people from various backgrounds and viewpoints and encourage a debate about issues that divide us. Mr. Lyons seems to love the fact that Massachusetts is such a liberal state and that some Republicans (like him) are “moderate”, but for those of us who believe in what the Republican National Committee stands for and in the ideas put forth by the party nationally, we want real reform and that is what Chanel Prunier has dedicated her life to. While Mr. Lyons paints a small 5×8 portrait of the state party Chanel has been painting the Sistine Chapel of national Republican principles across the state and she has support from many for doing so and representing those views.
Mr. Lyons goes on to laud Governor Baker for his desire to “renovate” the State Committee while many in the party saw his involvement as inappropriate, divisive, and poorly-advised. Perhaps Mr. Lyons should ask Steve Aylward his opinion on the grand renovation Governor Baker attempted to do in his state senate district running a 29 year old former democrat from New York State against one of the most well-known and popular Republican activists who helped Governor Baker get elected? Many view the new election as an unprecedented interference from the current administration into internal issues that should have been left to Republican voters to decide. Mr. Lyons also conveniently leaves out the clear conflict of interest in running state employees and political patrons of Governor Baker for seats on the State Committee and their inability by MGL law to fundraise in many cases for our candidates.
But of course the MAGOP can’t actually be a real Republican party. We have to be “moderate” and appeal to the people of a “blue state”. Two thoughts. One: Has the Democratic Party of Texas ever come out and said they have to be “conservative” because they are in such a red state? When Democrats in Texas were supporting State Senator Wendy Davis and her filibuster of Republican legislation in their state legislature, did they come out and sing Kumbaya with Republicans or did they rather stand up courageously for their views and defend them regardless of what anyone else thought? Two: This is the problem with pseudo-Republican activists like Mr. Lyons who support only part of the principles of the Republican party being such a “liberal republican” that he seems to be. Under the leadership of people like former Governors Bill Weld and Mitt Romney, the MAGOP has gone from 22% of the electorate to nearly 10.5%. Good job guys.
Again, according to this “Republican” activist the beliefs of many Republicans in the Commonwealth not to mention the majority of Republicans nationally are “disgraceful”. With respect, where has this man been for the last 50 years and why does he so vehemently hate so many things the Republican Party (not to mention both Keiko Orrall and Chanel Prunier) believe in? He speaks of bad ideas, errors, and “sophomoric language”; perhaps he should have proof-edited his own article before he submitted it.
More examples of why this man is perhaps the worst representative of the Republican Party in the Commonwealth? He seems to think Charlie Baker “saved” the Republican party from irrelevancy on Beacon Hill. Would he like to say that to Minority Leaders Jones and Tarr, and every other elected republican in the House of Representatives and State Senate current and former who have been advocating for Republican ideas for years?
He furthermore uses the term “outrageous” that some Republicans oppose gay marriage. I wonder does he pay any attention to national Republican politics? Does he not know the Republican National Committee and the majority of Republicans have for years been advocating for a Constitutional Amendment defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman? Does he know that a majority of Republicans believe that life begins at conception and ends at natural death? Does he not know that not one candidate currently or previously running for the Republican nomination for President supports redefining marriage? No, sadly in the mind of Mr. Lyons it is clear there is no room for any thoughts other than his own on this subject.
Want more? Former State Senator Richard Tisei who ran two unsuccessful campaigns for Congress in the 6th district losing the second time against Seth Moulton by nearly 11 points was apparently one of our “most promising candidates”? Tisei’s own remarks days before the election had him referencing internal polls which he claimed had him up 1% over Moulton yet less than 24 hours later he lost by the largest margin of any Republican candidate for Congress in that election cycle? Does Mr. Lyons know Tisei was paying for campaign staff from states as far away as Florida, Ohio, Kentucky, and Oregon to work for him because he couldn’t get enough volunteers from his own district and state to help him? I suppose all those in the MAGOP who didn’t support him were all anti-gay bigots and homophobes like Chanel Prunier and other more conservative Republicans, clearly there can’t be any other rational explanation. Would he like to ask other MAGOP congressional candidates in those cycles how they felt about performing far better in their races and not receiving even half the support and money Tisei did from the NRCC’s “Young Guns” program? Because of his own personal viewpoints about redefining marriage Mr. Lyons just can’t bring himself to admit that Tisei was not a good candidate regardless of being gay and that we need new leaders in the Republican party who can do better. Lastly, to say that Richard and his partner Bernie Starr have no value to the MAGOP, many of whom (he among them) are strong supporters of gay-marriage is so laughable I am utterly speechless. I’m quite certain neither of them are looking for the pity party Mr. Lyons wants to throw for them.
Sorry, I’m on a roll. Mr. Lyons should also read up on former Governor Weld’s relationship with Representative Michael Day, Democrat of Stoneham who narrowly won election a year and a half ago against currently Stoneham Selectwoman and newly elected member of the Republican State Committee Caroline Colarusso. Weld made several statements both public and private that he supported Day’s campaign and would not support Colarusso. Didn’t Michael Day win? What is this “minor transgression” Mr. Lyons is referring to because clearly he doesn’t know about the other more majors ones.
More. To what authority is he claiming that the issue of marriage has been “permanently settled”? Perhaps the Supreme Court? Has Mr. Lyons ever heard of the case of Plessy. v. Ferguson or the Dred Scott Decision? Does he think SCOTUS decisions are never revisited or changed in the future? If so would he have been against the Civil Rights Act of 1965 which changed existing law? Clearly he is not a legal scholar. With such sappy language throughout the article such as the “incredible resources” Baker brings to a Republican party “that desperately needs them”, how he has single-handedly “saved” the party, and his first “incredible” year in office, how can anyone take this article seriously? This close to Easter it seems Mr. Lyons has mistaken Charlie Baker for Jesus of Nazareth. Is there anything else miraculous Charlie Baker hasn’t done for the MAGOP Mr. Lyons?
The only clear policy position one can gleam from this article is Mr. Lyons’ support for gay marriage. As is often the case with those who so strongly support that position nothing else really matters. He could have respectfully put forth Chanel Prunier’s and other Republicans’ viewpoints on marriage and other issues but instead communally branded them all “anti-gay-marriage” a slur intended to automatically disregard any opposing viewpoint and stereotype them all as bigots and homophobes. What a tiresome rant, a rant which the majority of Republicans are rejecting nationally as aforementioned. But clearly Mr. Lyons doesn’t have the integrity to admit that, he prefers to pettifog and stereotype millions of Republicans around the country and those around the world who disagree with his view as such.
In his treatment of Prunier’s previous remarks in the New Boston Post he is clearly at the climax of his rage against her exclaiming how “unimaginable” it is that she would speak her mind about trying to help Governor Baker command the respect and support of many Republicans in the state who support any type of social conservatism. Clearly any Republican who even thinks about opposing gay marriage or abortion doesn’t deserve any place in society and the marketplace of ideas, in his view. Furthermore, would Mr. Lyons like to tell all the Republican candidates who were supported by Prunier who won their elections that they are all apparently failures who should have stood aside and let the Baker-endorsed candidates run because they…shouldn’t have stood a chance yet won? What is Mr. Lyons talking about? Lastly, could we imagine an anti-establishment democrat being supported by democrats against a backed establishment candidate? Ever heard of Bernie Sanders? Should I honestly laugh at this man’s attempt to have even any general knowledge about politics?
Regarding Representative Keiko Orrall and her bid to replace Chanel Prunier as National Committeewoman, Mr. Lyons yet again leaves out key details. First, if it was not for Chanel Prunier, there would be no Keiko Orrall. It was the support (both financial and physical) that Chanel and others like Representative Jim Lyons (R-Andover) gave to her that propelled her to her victory. Furthermore, while Lyons gives tacit admonition that. Rep. Orrall agrees with Chanel Prunier on many of the “social” issues which he seems to so clearly disdain, his viewpoint seems to be that of choosing the lesser of two evils. From viewpoints on life, marriage, to education and opposing Common Core, Mr. Lyons clearly knows very little about the issues Rep. Orrall believes in. Lastly, he omits the rumored reports that Rep. Orrall made a “back-room deal” with Minority Leader Rep. Brad Jones in redistricting her district from a negatively favorable district towards Republicans to a positively favorable one by a nearly 30-point swing. I wonder if Mr. Lyons thinks her bid for National Committeewoman has anything to do with that recent occurrence.
What Chanel Prunier and others I know have been trying to do for longer than Charlie Baker and Mitt Romney collectively have been in office is campaign from the “bottom up” not the “top-down”. Short-term successes like Scott Brown’s election or as some in the party have speculated the possible “one-term success” of Charlie Baker aren’t enough to advocate boldly for Republican principles. People are attracted to strength not weakness, where as Chanel represents strength to many and Mr. Lyons represents the age-old losing establishment proposition of “compromise” and weakness. Those like Chanel who have been doing real work not just writing op-eds can tell you that she has been more successful in building an organization from the ground-up than anyone else in the MAGOP. She is respected as a party leader by many “grassroots activists” who have less respect for long-term party bosses like Ron Kaufman, Kirsten Hughes, and Jennifer Nassour who in their minds have done little to represent them and their issues. Why doesn’t Mr. Lyons direct all the “reliable Republican-voting independents” that they should register as Republicans and advocate for their ideas and dialogue with others in the party and increase our numbers or would he be against that too? Is Mr. Lyons himself even a registered Republican?
It is clear his article has one purpose and it has nothing to do with Keiko Orrall, Chanel Prunier, the MAGOP, or the upcoming National Committeewoman election on April 5th. It is to defend what he perceives to be the gay-rights movement and other socially liberal “values” he believes are under attack by or not promoted enough in the Republican party and belittle those who hold opposing views. It was hardly the work of someone who wants to grow and build the Republican party let alone a serious person. With respect to the editor I think a better outlet for his thoughts would perhaps have been a review of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Act V Scene V.
Urban Conservative is a young Republican from Massachusetts who has been involved in Republican politics and supporting Republican candidates for over 12 years. He has worked and volunteered on campaigns such as Governor Mitt Romney, Senator Scott Brown, Bill Hudak for Congress, Richard Tisei for Congress, Jon Golnik for Congress, Jeff Semon for Congress, Mark Alliegro for Congress, Brian Herr for Congress, Governor Charlie Baker, Representatives Jim Lyons, Lenny Mirra, Leah Cole, Marc Lombardo, Paul Adams, Geoff Diehl, Brad Hill, Caroline Colarusso for State Representative, Carol Claros for State Representative, Jackie Kostas for State Representative, Senators Bruce Tarr, Don Humason, Bob Hedlund, Vinny deMacedo, and Ryan Fattman. He also supported the Tank the Gas Tax initiative endorsed and supported by Governor Charlie Baker.