Michigan Republican Party Chair Ron Weiser doesn’t typically peak at public events for a reason. To be generous, his reputation isn’t one of firing up a crowd.
The former ambassador’s forté is raising money. He’s very good at it. If he can’t raise it all, he’ll dig into his own deep pocket to cover the difference.
But on Thursday, Weiser was pushed into duty. The influential North Oakland County Republican Club had a meeting where a MIGOP presence was needed. His charismatic Co-chairwoman, Meshawn Maddock, was out of the town.
His first public speaking engagement since being elected MRP chairman was rough. The North Oakland County area is a former Tea Party hotbed. It went headfirst into Trumpism early in the ‘16 cycle. Now, it’s one of many homes to the grumpy disaffected.
To them, the election was rigged. The media is biased. Social progressivism is being shoved down their throat.
The illegals are crashing the southern border. COVID is BS and so are the governor’s restrictions. They’d say more about it, but they’re tired of being shamed and canceled on social media.
It’s to these irritable folks with their middle finger perpetually hoisted in the air that Weiser spoke. He clearly wasn’t comfortable. Still, we all learned several notable key takeaways that are easy to miss simply looking at the headlines.
1. If you weren’t aware, the Republican Party base is cranky and there’s a lot of them. Remember, Trump didn’t win Michigan in 2016 by a lot and he didn’t lose in 2020 by a lot. Polling would indicate there’s a solid 40% of voters — mostly rural, high school educated, blue collar voters — who fall into ‘Disaffected bucket.”
2. Weiser referred to the governor, secretary of state and attorney general as the “three witches” who must be defeated in 2020. This wasn’t a slip of the tongue. He said “witches” three times.
Weiser was throwing red-meat rhetoric to a hostile crowd and clearly went over the top with his “burning at the stake” political hyperbole. However, there’s folks in the crowd who wished he’d use a different word than “witches.” A rhyming word and starts with a “B.”
To them, “witches” is a tame descriptor, kind of like “fix the darn roads.”
So, while the political left is going bonkers trying to keep the ball rolling on this story, just keep in mind that there’s GOP grassroots who would be fine with a lot worse language. Don’t be surprised if others use worse.
3. The crowd pressed Weiser on what should be done to U.S. Reps. Fred Upton and Peter Meijer for voting to impeach Trump. His answer: If primary voters don’t like their vote, they can vote them out of office in 2022. That wasn’t good enough. They wanted Weiser to openly say they “need to go” or something along those lines.
As chairman of the party, Weiser isn’t going to do that. Agitated and unsure of how else to get his point across, Weiser blurted out in clear frustration that they could be “assassinated.” He clearly wasn’t advocating it. He was making a point that in a democracy, we vote people out we don’t like. That’s it. He made the point poorly and won’t do it again.
Weiser is walking a tight rope. He’s used to reasoning with successful people who understand the way the world and politics works. Many Republican supporters aren’t interested in reasonable right now.
4. Weiser mentioned a 2022 voting reform ballot proposal that will come out of whatever the governor vetoes from the legislative Republicans’ 40-some bills moving through the system. A return to ID checks before voting, even for absentees? No prepaid postage on AV ballots? Drop boxes closed at 5 p.m. the day before an election?
Who knows what will ultimately get thrown into the soup? That’s not the point. The point is the lengths Weiser and GOP leadership are going to connect with their disgruntled base.