Friday, December 08, 2006

Oldie: Conservatives slam door on moderate

While preparing my post on the Lawrence Journal-World's latest editorial on the Republican Rift, I was reminded of 1998 editorial that failed to report the facts accurately and thoroughly.

After the elections for the Douglas County GOP leadership that year, a Journal-World editorial reported the following:

"Tuesday's meeting at the Lawrence Holidome apparently was a disheartening display. The tone was set before the official meeting when favored conservative party members gathered in a separate meeting room and shut the door in the face of a moderate Republican who was seeking to chair the county party."

An earlier Tim Carpenter article reported the following:

"Prior to the reorganization meeting, conservative precinct representatives assembled in a Holidome meeting room for snacks and soft drinks. Watkins prevented [Craig] Templeton from entering the room."

A Carpenter article from the previous day quoted a moderate Republican who placed blame on the conservative leadership of the county GOP for Democrat Dennis Moore's victory over Republican Vince Snowbarger earlier that month. ""These people have not led," Johnston said. "You can't lose your congressman. The county chairman ... was sitting on his hands."

If you buy the Journal-World's version of events, the conservatives sat on their hands and allowed Vince Snowbarger to be defeated. They then displayed intolerance by not even allowing a moderate seeking the chairmanship of the party to enter a room.

Not surprisingly, the facts behind this story are quite different. Nowhere in the Carpenter articles or the editorial was it mentioned that Craig Templeton was elected to the board of directors of the newly-formed MAINstream Coaltion of Douglas County in May 1998. This is not a minor detail since the MAINstream Coalition's PAC, MAIN*PAC, mailed 67,000 postcards in OPPOSITION TO THE RE-ELECTION OF SNOWBARGER. In other words, Templeton, who had hopes of leading the Douglas County GOP, belonged to a group that worked to defeat the Republican congressman who represented the county.

Interestingly, former state Sen. Wint Winter Jr. was part of the moderate faction promoting Templeton's candidacy. Winter's brother, Dan, was on the MAINstream Coalition's board of directors. According to the Statement of Organization filed with the Federal Elections
Commission by the MAINstream Political Action Committee (PAC) on June 17, 1998,
the PAC’s bank was the Johnson County Bank of Overland Park, Kan. Coincidentally, Dan Winter was the president and CEO of Johnson County Bank.

Now, back to the door being shut in Templeton's face. Earlier that day yours truly informed the conservative faction of Templeton's membership in the MAINstream Coalition. At the time Templeton attempted to enter the room, the conservative precinct representatives were discussing Templeton's situation. It was, as John Watkins stated, a "private party."

The Journal-World reported on Templeton's membership in the MAINstream Coalition six months prior to the the reorganization election. Either they forgot about it or deliberately hid that fact in their November 1998 articles and editorial. In either case, the omission of that fact does not reflect well on the newspaper's reporting.

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