I recently interviewed Robert Parks, who is vying for Chairman of the Massachusetts Republican Party. Parks is active in Republican politics and was recently endorsed by Republican Candidate for Massachusetts’ 6th Congressional District Rick Barton. Bob has some interesting things to say about how he would rebuild the Massachusetts Republican Party, if he takes over the MA GOP chairmanship. His Bio includes: Bob, a native Bostonian and Navy veteran, has been in television production for near 18 years, on both the local and network level. Bob is also a conservative columnist who has appeared as a guest on talk radio nationally, C-SPAN, CNN, and produces his own program "Black & Right" which airs in three states.
Sher: “The Republican Party in Massachusetts has been called ‘virtually non-existent’ by both Democrats and Republicans, alike. There are a lot of theories out there as to why the GOP seems to have little interest in its being any sort of viable entity to the party as a whole. Many say it’s because the Kennedy Democrats rule the state and there seems to be no urge by Republicans to change it. What is your impression as to how the Republicans arrived at this dilemma?”
Bob: “Sher, there are many reasons why the Massachusetts Republican Party is near impotent. As someone who has been recommended to take the helm, I’d much rather focus on the future and not lash out in frustration naming names. But then again, should I become the next Chairman, it would be foolish of me to not recognize the failures of the past and even more foolish to repeat them.
“While there are many good people who’ve led the party, I feel there has been little interest in true party building and letting local activists and party faithful have some of the responsibility they deserve. It appears as though the marching orders have to come from Boston. Also, we have let the Boston media, in particular, define us as a people and a party. When your opponent defines you and your positions, you are at the mercy of those definitions.
“There are plenty more reasons why the Massachusetts Republican Party finds itself in this present situation. There are a lot of people who should bear the brunt of fingers being pointed at them, but when the dust settles we must be willing to decide that a new direction and tactic should be developed and soon. Otherwise good people who want to be candidates will stay on the sidelines and our great volunteers, many whom I have met, will quit. Everyone’s time is valuable and must never be taken for granted or wasted.”
Sher: “How do you plan to go about changing the party in Massachusetts? What are the realities of your plan actually making a difference, where all others seem to have failed?”
Bob: “As I said before, we allow our opponents here to define us. One suggestion I personally offered to the present Massachusetts Chairman, Darrell Crate, was for us to better utilize cable access. It would appear that suggestion was politely blown off.
“I personally have a television program that airs in my area, and I’ve also been asked to send those programs to New Hampshire and California stations. People know where I’m coming from and if we were to have every candidate and local town committee get on the free media, people could hear our message in their homes as often as they hear liberal ones.
“I would also utilize our local “talent”. We have many people, some retirees, who know the issues in their respective districts. THEY should be coordinating signature drives, coffees, fundraisers, and rallies, as they know what doors to knock on and what newspapers to approach and send op-eds to.
“We presently have a system where college students, many of whom aren’t even from Massachusetts, are recruited to work for our party, and have to get up to speed on the local players and issues. Unfortunately, the pattern has been [that] once these students learn their area’s dynamics, they are whisked away to work on the governor’s campaign leaving that area with a new contact mere months before an election. Under my leadership, that will end.
“Lastly, I would never imply that a seat wasn’t “winnable” thus unworthy of party support and attention. Any Republican who sticks his or her neck out and enters the public arena deserves the support of the Massachusetts Republican Party. The Mass GOP, under my leadership, will never be mistaken for the Campaign to Elect the Governor, as it justifiably is now.”
Sher: “Former Massachusetts Republican Governor William Weld said recently: “I think that our party, in political terms, is largely irrelevant.” With that sort of statement from a Republican leader, how do you believe you can make the party relevant again?”
Bob: “Again, while trying to observe Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment, I would start by hoping that we could elect governors who were actually born here. With that, we would have greater loyalty to the people who got them into power in the first place. Without a relevant Massachusetts Republican Party, there would be no Governor William Weld.
“If the party now seems irrelevant, it’s only due to the self-centered leadership that continues its “top down” mentality and basks in its own self importance. Once the Massachusetts GOP gives the grassroots the responsibility and decision-making ability they deserve, we will be relevant.
“Just look at the present party website. You need a password to get real access, and it’s all about the governor’s campaign. It’s elitist, and not a vehicle to promote our philosophies and disseminate information. That’s the attitude I will change. It’s not about catering to those only able to pay-to-play. We need to include those of us who don’t frequent the country clubs, as we all vote.
Sher: “The Massachusetts Republican Party is said to suffer from ‘gross mismanagement and ineptitude’ over the last several years. One cited example is the $10,000 the party spent on parking, alone, last year. It sounds to me like there are a lot of free-spending “dead-wooder” Republicans in your state. How can you viably change those attitudes?”
Bob: “The first thing I would do is find out when the lease for their Merrimac Street office complex runs out. That can’t be cheap. I would them find a more modest space for our activities in the center of the state. There is the impression that all politics ends at Route 495 and everything west is an afterthought. Plus parking sucks in Boston.
“As I said before, another commonly held impression is that the state party is essentially the governor’s campaign committee. All monies taken in should be directed to all candidates, and I’m not talking about a few hundred dollars while millions are withheld and stashed away for the more important race every four years.
“Should I be elected the party chairman, I plan on opening the party’s financial books immediately so those who donated before will see how their donations were managed. That way I cover myself and those I bring on. I will do everything in my power to earn the support of all those who donate their hard-earned dollars to a party that will compete with the Democrats on both the local and federal levels.”
Sher: “Are you receiving any national GOP support for the programs you’ve identified? What sort of support are you receiving?”
Bob: “As in any “movement”, it begins small and grows. As a columnist like yourself, I’m known more nationally than here in Massachusetts. Those outside the state say I’d be a good person for the position, in fact, one person said I may be governor one day. While that was a great compliment, that’s not my passion.
“Once this interview starts getting around, hopefully support will grow. I’ve met many within the state that are yearning for change and support my ideas and methodology. Hopefully, once this gets around, I may get an email or two from those nationally who can help us here.”
Sher: “What real hope do you have that the Republican Party will ever again become any kind of a ‘force to be reckoned with’ in Massachusetts? What indications do you have that you and your colleagues can bring it to reality?”
Bob: “We, here in Massachusetts, are stubbornly loyal. Hell, we’re Red Sox and Patriots fans and that loyalty paid off.
“We look at the state of politics here, and we’ve never really had a good game plan aside for repeating the failed tactics of the past. I will bring an entirely new attitude to the Massachusetts Republican Party. I know personally here that once our ideas are put in the face of the electorate, people come out of the woodwork and express their acceptance of those ideas.
“I have never been ashamed to be a Republican and under my leadership will never be associated with a pejorative. Our ideas are sound and I hope to bring a new, sincere enthusiasm to our state politics. We presently enjoy a state legislature super minority status of less than 15% and zero representation on Capitol Hill.
“We have nowhere to go but up.”
Sher: “Just one final note. You seem to be a crusader for the Massachusetts Republican Party. What long-term aspirations, if any, do you have? Do you intend to run for office again?”
Bob: “At one time I said “never” and I’m not good at predicting the future.
“It would not be fair to those who support this effort for this to appear some stepping stone opportunity for myself. Being the chairman of the Massachusetts Republican Party would be a great opportunity for me to help us make our state more politically balanced. If I can do that, it would give me more satisfaction that being one who’d have to compromise in office. I admit, compromise is something I don’t do well.
“Making our party more competitive will be the most fulfilling victory I could ever have!”
Sher Zieve is a long-time syndicated columnist who generally writes columns of a politically Conservative and Constitutional nature. She also interviews notable people with an interesting and/or newsworthy story to tell. These include politicians, writers, activists and others in the news. Her work has been and continues to be carried by both national and international publications. Sher appears regularly on national talk shows.