"I made many hard decisions, and numerous mistakes. One of those mistakes cost me an important friendship. I chose to use my power as Chairman to punish dissent, instead of healing, bringing people together, and fostering debate without resentment. I learned a powerful lesson – one that I hope the future Chairman will use to success: Power is finite. Once you use it, you immediately begin to lose it. But influence is forever. If you harness your influence, you can see the right ideas come to light, whether they are yours or not."
We believed him when he said he had learned his lesson.
Apparently he had not.
"Remember Admiral Nelson. In the year 1800, the British Admiral Horatio Nelson won the important battle of Trafalgar, which led to British dominance for almost one hundred years. Before the battle he wrote, 'A commander can do no wrong if he turns his guns toward the enemy and fires away.' The next chairman must not waste one word on Republicans. It is time to focus on beating democrats."
Rich Kohler of Hazlet, who blogs at The Middle Road, commented here expressing concern about a Puharic chairmanship last June:
"Although all the talk of uniting the Party against the Democrats sounds inspirational, I can’t shake a nagging suspicion that it’s just rhetorical code for a “no dissension” approach to leadership, and that the real losers are the people who thought they were voting for change by electing Puharic."
"My wife, who is new to the County Committee, clarified her apprehension (which she characterized as minor and potential) as such: 'By vilifying dissension, the leadership creates a kill-the-messenger atmosphere and the balance of power ends up teetering unproductively between “disruptive” naysayers and self-interested “public” servants.'"
At the time, we downplayed Rich's concerns. How prophetic he sounds now!
Today we are faced with a bad situation that didn't have to happen at all. Two incumbent freeholders are up for reelection, Robert Clifton and Anna Little. By all accounts, both have performed well on the Board, and are interested in running again. Normally, they would be accorded the courtesy of an acclamation vote at the convention.
Puharic decided to pursue a vendetta against Freeholder Little because of differences of opinion during last year's campaign. (Clifton, too, may be in Puharic's crosshairs.) He devised a screening process which specifically targeted Freeholder Little by requiring her to be the only incumbent to screen. When called on this, he changed the process and required all incumbents to screen; this was merely cover for his original scheme.
The situation deteriorated and now has made the newspapers. This has embarassed the Party; the Party is not Puharic, it is the sum of its membership.
Puharic even went so far as to hold a meeting with Freeholder Little with two men present assuming intimidating poses. The freeholder reported that Puharic said that they were to protect her from his temper. Protect her from his temper? This is an outrage to every good Republican– over 550 of us who attended Lincoln Day Monday night -- was he implying that he might physically strike her? That he needed the two men there to restrain him? Is this the type of individual who we want leading our great Party?
In less than a year, this chairman has become an embarassment to our great organization. His utter and amateurish lack of political instinct is apparent, and not only in the way he has handled the Little candidacy. His strident opposition to the 12th District State Senate candidacy of Joseph Locricchio against Jennifer Beck has given Locricchio more free publicity and exposure than Joe could hope to get on his own. Jen Beck, please take note. And every time Adam bashes the blogs, my hit counter goes off the charts!
A few weeks ago I would have said that he still had a way out and save face by revising the process and working this out with Freeholder Little.
That window has closed.
While it is normally not healthy for a political party to frequently change chairmen, it would be absolutely malignant for Adam Puharic to remain at the helm of the Monmouth County Republican Committee. On Wednesday, I posted a comment on More Monmouth Musings calling for Puharic's resignation. Today, the Asbury Park Press has joined me. I'm not known as a fan of that paper, but they're right on this one.
Finally, a note to all the great Republican candidates. Take a good, hard look at what is going on here. Where Anna Little finds herself, so might you. Be prepared to take steps to prevent this type of fiasco from happening again.
Two things. First, I was going to pose the question whether anybody knew what the get-together at Republican Headquarters on Wednesday and Thursday evenings was about. Never mind. I believe I have my answer. Today I received a comment from a veteran Republican who wished not to be published. This individual's complaint was that they had received a mailing from the County Republican Organization which was the same as Chairman Puharic's diatribe against Freeholder Little.
Your contributions at work.
Second. Back in late December, William H Seward ran a post on More Monmouth Musings entitled 2007 Predictions. In it, he predicted that Howell Mayor Joe DiBella would screen for freeholder. Mayor DiBella posted the following comment stating that he had no interest in running; he also voiced his opinion on the attacks against Freeholder Little.
Interesting predictions. Bit you absolutely have at least one wrong. I will certainly not seek the nomination for Freeholder under any condition. I am very happy with my position as Mayor. I think Drew would be an exceptional candidate and there are many other good people available as well, Bob McKenna to name another. Plus, with the non sense that some are trying to pin on Ms. Little, which is disgusting, I frankly have no taste for such politics.Saturday, January 06, 2007 3:22:00 PM
Thank you for standing up and speaking your mind, Mr. Mayor.