Thursday, May 26, 2022
May 26, 2022

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Jayne: Shame on county GOP for Shea

By , Columbian Opinion Page Editor

According to the internet, Colin Powell once said, “A mirror reflects a man’s face, but what he is really like is shown by the kind of friends he chooses.” Which is a bit of a modern take on the proverb that says, “If you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.”

All of which should have Republicans throughout the region scratching with fervor these days.

The Clark County Republican Party, you see, has chosen to get in bed with just about the mangiest mutt in Washington politics. The local GOP has selected state Rep. Matt Shea of Spokane Valley to emcee its annual Lincoln Day Gala and Auction on April 25, months after an independent investigation determined Shea has engaged in “domestic terrorism.”

Shea is a Republican in name only. Literally. He has been kicked out of the Republican caucus in the Legislature, stripped of his committee assignments, and had his photo scrubbed from the House Republicans’ website.

This punishment follows an investigation commissioned by House leadership into Shea’s activities when away from Olympia. You know, things such as participating in online chats advocating political violence. And volunteering to conduct background checks on Spokane residents. And being so nefarious that Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said there is enough evidence “to charge Shea with domestic terrorism, if not treason.”

That likely will be up to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. But it should be enough to have local Republicans scratching their heads as to why the party would embrace Shea.

Shea’s subversive coup de grace has been the distribution of a manifesto titled, “Biblical Basis for War.” Among the gems in this treatise are “God is a Warrior”; “War is a fact of life”; “Make an offer of Peace before declaring war” and then “If they do not yield — kill all males”; “Assassination to remove tyrants is just, not murder”; and “Freedom is in Jesus Christ. Where the Spirit of God is, there is Liberty.”

Basically, it is Sharia law with a Christian bent.

The 108-page report of the investigation states, “It is more probable than not that Representative Shea is likely to plan, direct and engage in additional future conflicts that could carry with them significant risk of bloodshed and loss of life. Representative Shea presents a present and growing threat of risk to others through political violence.”

All of which makes Shea’s selection for the fundraising dinner a deplorable decision. Earl Bowerman, chair of the Clark County GOP, told The Columbian that Shea “has not been charged with any criminal activity. The Republicans state openly that this is a one-sided biased report.”

Oh, well, if they state it openly, that must be the case. At least under the logic of modern Republicanism, where any inconvenient fact is “fake news” and any cad who “strongly denies” an accusation should be believed.

And while some Republicans undoubtedly support Shea’s activities and agree with his view of the world — he has been elected six times to represent the 4th Legislative District and says he will run again — it would seem that the party can do better.

The Clark County GOP in recent years has been emblematic of the divide within the Republican Party. Starting in 2012, the right wing of the local party got enough people elected as precinct committee officers to take control of the organization. Nothing wrong with that; it’s the way political parties work, with power beginning at the PCO level.

But in the interim, the party’s moral compass has gone awry. Dan Clark, previously convicted of sneaking into a teen girl’s bedroom and giving her alcohol, was elected in October as chair of the local party’s Bylaws and Resolutions Committee. And now the party has given tacit approval to the Biblical Basis for War.

Following Clark’s ascension in the party, state Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center, wrote, “What is wrong with the local Clark County GOP? … It is more like a cult than a political party.”

All of which should have reasonable Republicans itching to do better.

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