Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Two county officials make shift to GOP (Howard Dean loses a few more red state votes)
Huntsville Item ^ | 2/26/05 | Kurt Allen

Posted on 02/26/2005 6:37:53 AM PST by Libloather

2 county officials make shift to GOP
By Kurt Allen/Assistant Managing Editor

When Robyn Flowers and Barbara Hale were trying to find their place in the world of politics, it was almost a given it would be the Democratic Party. Growing up in the South, Democrats ruled the region, and there was little thought given to being Republican.

"I think probably, like most people my age, if you were born and raised in Texas, you've been a Democrat because that's what your family did," said Hale, Walker County's court-at-law judge.

How the times do change.

Now the South, and Texas in particular, has become heavily Republican as the GOP has come to represent the beliefs once held by Democrats.

It was for that reason, albeit on a deep, personal level, that Hale and District Clerk Robyn Flowers announced Thursday their switch to the Republican Party.

Such party switches, on a state or national scale, are rare. But in Walker County, it's happened on an increasing basis. The two elected officials join three others who made the move since late 2003. Walker County District Attorney David Weeks and Walker County Judge Danny Pierce switched to the GOP last year, while State Judge Bill McAdams made the move in 2003.

The shift wasn't easy for Hale, who said she struggled with the decision.

"It was really hard for me to change parties, because one of the qualities I admire in people is loyalty," she said.

But the Democratic Party's shift over the past couple of decades had slowly eroded her confidence in the group. When John Kerry earned the party's presidential nomination, and later when Howard Dean was tabbed as the Democratic leader, Hale's decision was finalized.

"When they went with Howard Dean, it just hit me. I'm being loyal to a party that hasn't been loyal to me," she said. "I just can't do it."

Hale's opinion represents a general consensus among many politicians at all levels, said Russell Martinez, chairman of the Republican Party of Walker County.

"I think that probably started with (Ronald) Reagan, actually, before he became president, as early as 1964," Martinez said. "He really set the tone for the more traditional values."

Those values, long the backbone of Southern Democrats, became key points in the Republican platform. By the time Reagan replaced Jimmy Carter as president in 1980, the move was on in earnest. By the time George W. Bush was elected president in 2000 and 2004, virtually the entire South had gone to the GOP.

"It was bound to happen as the Republican Party shifted to a more conservative (ideology), the Democrats shifted to a more liberal stance," Martinez said. "More and more people began to identify with those issues and those principals (adopted by Republicans)."

The belief Reagan was a catalyst for this political shift provided Martinez an interesting backdrop for Thursday's dinner honoring the two-term president who died last year. He said it was Reagan's strengthening of the GOP that brought the party to where it is today.

"It's really kind of fitting what's happened here in Walker County, that we were able to honor Ronald Reagan last night and have a lot of the things he set forth come into play last night," Martinez said, referring to the party shift. "It was really exciting."

While partisan politics doesn't play as critical a role in Walker County campaigns, for some officials, the decision to shift was still big because many voters opt for a straight-ticket vote.

"I think it's important for those folks that don't take the time to study individual races and individual candidates," Hale said. "That gives them something to hang their hat on. There are a lot of folks who work long, hard hours, and they don't have the time to study individual races."

But for Flowers, the shift was less about party politics and more about personal standards.

"Well, I just feel like the Republican Party more follows my beliefs and values," she said. "I've been praying on this for three or four months. A party affiliation to me is not that critical. I base my beliefs on people on what I believe their values are, what their beliefs are.

"I believe that goes countywide as well."

She isn't worried the party change will have much of an impact on how voters respond to her when she runs for re-election.

"I think the majority of the people locally vote for who they feel will do the best job for the county," she said. "The majority of my friends are Republicans, and have been for a long time. They supported me in running, in spite of my party affiliations. I feel those people voted for me because of who I was."

But Hale has a little more concern about the change.

"I'm filing at the end of this year to run in 2006. I'm sure it will be an issue with those people that have supported me in the past, and I don't blame them for having that issue, because loyalty is very big to me," she said. "But I hope they haven't become disillusioned by the job I'm doing. In this job, you have no party. When you go in with the robe, it's you and following the law."


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: Texas
KEYWORDS: 2; bushcountry; county; dean; few; gop; howard; loses; make; more; officials; realignment; red; shift; southerndems; state; thesouth; votes
When John Kerry earned the party's presidential nomination, and later when Howard Dean was tabbed as the Democratic leader, Hale's decision was finalized.

And it really doesn't stop there. The RATS have a few more northeast left-wangers on deck right behind these jokers...


1 posted on 02/26/2005 6:37:57 AM PST by Libloather
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Libloather

Is this Flowers any relation to Jennifer Flowers?


2 posted on 02/26/2005 6:43:27 AM PST by Piquaboy (22 year veteran of the Army, Air Force and Navy, Pray for all our military .)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Libloather

Love your screen name!! Didn't Howie the Screamer vow to go to the red states and recapture the lost votes? Howie doesn't have a clue about what makes rural Texas (or rural anywhere for that matter) tick.:-)

Yours in despising liberalism and all it stands for,


3 posted on 02/26/2005 6:45:35 AM PST by GW and Twins Pawpaw (Sheepdog for Five [My grandkids are way more important than any lefty's feelings!])
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Libloather
Here's a NY outsiders view:

Walker county is changing - going from being a sleepy piney-woods outpost to more influenced by the Houston exurbs (Conroe/Montgomery county's pretty much part of Houston now).

The last vestiges of LBJ's Democrats are vanishing and are being replaced by GWB's new breed of conservatism - the crossroads of which can be found at Rt 105 and I-45 in Conroe.

Vermont's a nice place, but it's basically a theme park preserved in amber compared to the kind of growth and changes that are going on north of Houston.
4 posted on 02/26/2005 6:54:39 AM PST by hedgie
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Libloather

It would be nice if these folks moved to a party that embraced limited government and conservative values(like Declarations of War before you send troops overseas)...but alas, instead they joined the GOP....


5 posted on 02/26/2005 6:54:56 AM PST by NATIVEDAUGHTER
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Libloather
Now the South, and Texas in particular, has become heavily Republican as the GOP has come to represent the beliefs once held by Democrats.

Hmmmm... and I thought it was because the Rats are being led over the cliff by anarchists and Bolshevists.

6 posted on 02/26/2005 6:54:57 AM PST by angkor
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Libloather

My whole family were Democrats, so naturally I was too. Then along came Clinton and Jesse jackass and queers and NOW cows, I looked a Reagan and said this guy stand for America, not special interests , and freaks , but for the America I want to belong to. I changed, next thing you know my brother changed , and then my sister and her husband. I still have one sister that votes Dems no matter if they ran a Kangaroo, But still have hopes she will wake up one day.

Its about loving America not catering to every weird group that comes along wanting special interests.


7 posted on 02/26/2005 6:55:24 AM PST by sgtbono2002
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: hedgie

"GWB's New Breed of Conservatism"?...What is that praytell?...Big Government at home and Big Government abroad....?


8 posted on 02/26/2005 6:57:24 AM PST by NATIVEDAUGHTER
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: Libloather
America's political divide isn't between Republicans and Democrats as much as it is between Conservatives and Liberals.

Conservatives gravitate to the Republican Party because its values lie close to their personal beliefs.

The Conservative Southern Democrat is long gone. It went the way of the buggie whip when the Democratic Party was usurped by Northern Liberals intent on Socializing the country.

It's no surprise then that Southerners, who have been lifelong Democrats, are turning to the one Party that understands their values.

Always remember that if Howard Dean "Hates Republicans, and all they stand for", then he must also hate former Southern Democrats who stand for the same values as Republicans.
9 posted on 02/26/2005 6:59:36 AM PST by Noachian (We're all one judge away from tyranny.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: GW and Twins Pawpaw

rural anywhere? Vermont IS the most rural state in the country; Nevada is most urban (nobody lives in the desert outside Las Vegas).


10 posted on 02/26/2005 7:15:08 AM PST by dufekin (Saddam Hussein: both a TERRORIST and a COMMUNIST, deposed thank God and the American soldier!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Noachian

And I've talked to alot of diehard Southern Democrats whose social views would make liberal "Big Tent" Republicans wince...If the GOP betrays social conservatives like it has economic and foreign policy conservatives, the GOP will be the one in trouble....


11 posted on 02/26/2005 7:16:09 AM PST by NATIVEDAUGHTER
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: NATIVEDAUGHTER

"It would be nice if these folks moved to a party that embraced limited government and conservative values(like Declarations of War before you send troops overseas)...but alas, instead they joined the GOP...."

And that party would be?


12 posted on 02/26/2005 7:21:37 AM PST by zygoat
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Libloather

"'I think that probably started with (Ronald) Reagan, actually, before he became president, as early as 1964," Martinez said. "He really set the tone for the more traditional values.' Those values, long the backbone of Southern Democrats, became key points in the Republican platform."

I'm only in my 40's. Could a more seasoned person here (preferably someone that knows Southern Democrats) tell me if this is actually true? Were the Dems the party of Family and Moral Values way back when? It seems unfathomable to me, because I've never perceived them in that way.


13 posted on 02/26/2005 7:27:00 AM PST by Diana in Wisconsin (Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Chocolate.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Comment #14 Removed by Moderator

To: Diana in Wisconsin
Could a more seasoned person here (preferably someone that knows Southern Democrats) tell me if this is actually true? Were the Dems the party of Family and Moral Values way back when?

All you have to do is read Zell Miller's book for your answer.

15 posted on 02/26/2005 7:29:16 AM PST by Noachian (We're all one judge away from tyranny.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: Diana in Wisconsin
The short answer to your question is "YES". The eplaination takes a bit longer.
16 posted on 02/26/2005 7:30:36 AM PST by Bigun (IRSsucks@getridof it.com)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: Noachian

"All you have to do is read Zell Miller's book for your answer."

Thanks. Will do. :)


17 posted on 02/26/2005 7:31:21 AM PST by Diana in Wisconsin (Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Chocolate.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: All
Yep, Dean's really the gift that keeps on giving...


18 posted on 02/26/2005 7:34:04 AM PST by IPWGOP (I'm Linda Eddy, and I approved this message... 'tooning the truth!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: hellbilly
This was due to Carter paying to give away the Panama Canal (for which I am still awaiting a logical reason)

First, the people who argued for keeping the canal often said "we stole it fair and square". Second, our navy is focused around the concept of a multi dimensional carrier battle group. We don't have small, single ships roaming the ocean anymore. The carriers can not make it through the canal. Also, the big container ships and oil tankers can not make it either. The canal does not hold much military or commercial appeal. Shipping still goes throught the canal in smaller ships, but these are not as economically important as the large ships.

19 posted on 02/26/2005 7:41:51 AM PST by staytrue
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: Libloather
If a Rat switches parties, does it make them a Repub ? or do they just want to win ? Too many infiltrators and what have ya got ? Rats in Republican clothing.
20 posted on 02/26/2005 9:00:31 AM PST by stylin19a (Marines - end of discussion)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: staytrue
You made an argument as to why the Canal is not as important as it was in the early 1900s.

However, you did not answer the poster's question.

Great powers advance--they do not retreat.

Carter was the King of Malaise--and if we had men like him leading us in the past twenty-five years we would be begging to join the European Union to save our economy and the Canadian military to protect our national security. :-(
21 posted on 02/26/2005 9:07:12 AM PST by cgbg (Jodi, Stop Pooping In The Living Room!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: NATIVEDAUGHTER
I think it's probably fair to say, that up until about 1968 or so, it could be argued that the party of FDR, Truman, JFK, etc was probably more in tune with "traditional America"; at least it appeared that way.

At that point, the far-Left invaded and occupied the modern Democratic party and has held a strangle-hold ever since. It may not be that way at the local level, but the party is run at the top level by them. And in the arena of national politics, that's all that matters. No matter what the belief structure is at the local level of a national political party, it becomes subservient to the national party whims; it must, for funding, recognition, etc., demands that it does.

I'm a registered Independent; been one for over two decades. My ideology is probably about 60% or so "conservative" (traditional; because these things have been proven over time to be the best way), 20% or so "liberal" (willing to make changes but only as long as the individual merits on a case-by-case basis, filtered through a screen of factual data and careful research, show that the change makes sense and will cause fairly universal improvement) and the other 20% divided between revolutionary anarchist and evolutionary anarchist (when all else fails, the proper application of violence is needed to either destroy and rebuild; or be employed to preserve).

As far as my relationship with who I prefer in national office is concerned, I filter that through Constitutional absolutism; that documents means what is says and doesn't mean what it doesn't say. And if you want the federal Government to do something that isn't specifically delineated in that document, there is a mechanism for change. The "living document" concept is a figment of modern imagination.

What a person DOES means more to me than what a person SAYS he will do. I follow Patrick Henry's statement; "I know of no light to guide the future but by the past."

I therefore vote for that person who most closely mirrors my ideals; regardless of the label they carry. I suspect that a great many Americans instinctively and privately in the voting booth echo some of everything I just articulated.

The events of 9/11 simply accelerated that process. That shattering event kicked the pendulum of American politics to the Right and woke up a large majority who instinctively understood that Evil needed to be hunted down and eradicated; regardless of whose "sensibilities" this concept may "offend". All bets are now off and it will remain that way for several generations, probably. It is unlikely that ANYONE who doesn't articulate clearly that they will continue this eradication effort will ever see high national office for the foreseeable future. It remains to be seen, however, just how far that pendulum will swing; 45 to 50 years or so is probably a good estimate since it swung to the Left at least that long.

22 posted on 02/26/2005 9:07:53 AM PST by seadevil (after a 4 year hiatus from FR, I have returned)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: Libloather

In the story, you find clues that these two ladies were just DINOs and hadn't drank the party Kool Aid:

One mentioned "values". Democrats don't have any.

One mentioned praying about her decision. Democrats don't pray or, if they do, it's to some God they believe is too weak to do any good. Anyway, this God they believe in should be kept out of their schools at all cost, they think.

One even goes on to say all her friends are Republican. A true Democrat would never let that happen. Democrats believe all Republicans are neandrathal morons who want to rape the world for oil.

Finally, one mentions that whenever she puts on her robe, she's not Democrat or Republican but just following the law. Now, is that the attitude of a modern Democrat I ask? The Democrat thinks the law is something to be worked around in order to spread their ideology.

I'd argue these women just had a difficult time abandoning the party of their parents and grandparents, sort of like switching to Cheer afrer using Tide all their lives.


23 posted on 02/26/2005 9:34:41 AM PST by Tall_Texan (If you can think 180-degrees apart from reality, you might be a Democrat.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Diana in Wisconsin
With southern democrats you had social conservatism and economic liberalism. since the end of reconstruction, a republican could not be found anywhere in the south. Infact I know some people who are still registered democrats so that they can have a say in who the local sheriff is. At one point it didn't matter who you were, if you were a yellow dog, or a blue kangaroo, if you were a democrat (and therefore a real southerner, not a northern republican - who was associated with civil war ills) you were voted into office.

The crazy thing is that the deomcrat primary was where the real action and coverage was, not election day. Most money was spent on advertising and promoting in the primarys, because it didn't matter who the republican running against you was..if there even was one.



This all changed when the national democrats started rearing their ugly liberal faces. If republicans prove to be loyal to conservatism then you won't see the yellow dog democrats in the south and instead you'd see yellow dog republicans.
24 posted on 02/26/2005 10:29:18 AM PST by DixieOklahoma (Since 2004: real American voters = 1, dead democrats = 0)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: hellbilly

Don't forget Gerald Ford, the worst RINO weasel ever, and the reason Carter got elected.


25 posted on 02/26/2005 12:25:10 PM PST by Luke21
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: Diana in Wisconsin

DIW -- if I may jump into the game a bit late here -- the most important activists in the Democratic Party have been far left for over 70 years. They did not represent in any way the family and moral values you asked about. However, they were easily able to manipulate a naive and trusting electorate of largely uneducated people by putting forward political candidates who often did embrace the normal virtues on a personal level, while at the same time promoting economic dependency on the government. Since at least the New Deal (and actually even further back, but that represents a stark demarcation) the GOP has in general been the party of the middle class, the bourgeois values, the self-reliant. The Dems have been the party of entitlement, class warfare and victimization. It's just that now, more people have figured it out, and the percentage of normal, emotionally stable people in the Democratic Party is becoming a shrinking minority.


26 posted on 02/26/2005 1:43:48 PM PST by speedy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: speedy

Thank you, Speedy, and everyone else that answered my question. I came to care about politics late in life, so there's been a learning curve for me...but I'm catchin' up! :)


27 posted on 02/26/2005 1:48:50 PM PST by Diana in Wisconsin (Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Chocolate.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: Diana in Wisconsin

You done good fast, Diana!! Glad you're on our side!!


28 posted on 02/26/2005 1:49:48 PM PST by speedy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: Luke21
Don't forget Gerald Ford, the worst RINO weasel ever, and the reason Carter got elected

Carter was elected by about 50,000 votes in Ohio of all places and this was one of the closest elections ever until 2000 came along. Gerald Ford pardonned Nixon and the Watergate scandal was why Carter won. Ford was a wonderful guy, respected by his republican peers enough to elect him house minority leader.

29 posted on 02/26/2005 9:11:47 PM PST by staytrue
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: cgbg
You made an argument as to why the Canal is not as important as it was in the early 1900s.

It is plainly evident that the Canal is not very important economically or militarily now and was considered to be of declining value in the 1970's.

It was questionable how we got the rights to it anyway. So we gave back something of little value to us.

30 posted on 02/26/2005 9:17:10 PM PST by staytrue
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: Libloather

Good news! Thanks for the post...but about the picture???...I'll probably have nightmares! G'night.


31 posted on 02/26/2005 9:25:21 PM PST by PGalt
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Libloather
As Texas goes, so goes the nation. No wonder the Left is not picking up any Red State converts. You'd hear Nikita Dean bragging about it if they were.

(Denny Crane: "There are two places to find the truth. First God and then Fox News.")

32 posted on 02/26/2005 9:28:51 PM PST by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: StarFan; Dutchy; alisasny; BobFromNJ; BUNNY2003; Cacique; Clemenza; Coleus; cyborg; DKNY; ...
When John Kerry earned the party's presidential nomination, and later when Howard Dean was tabbed as the Democratic leader, Hale's decision was finalized.

"When they went with Howard Dean, it just hit me. I'm being loyal to a party that hasn't been loyal to me," she said. "I just can't do it."

Gotta love it ping!

Please FReepmail me if you want on or off my ‘miscellaneous’ ping list.

33 posted on 02/26/2005 10:11:53 PM PST by nutmeg (democRATs = The Party of NO)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Libloather

Is that Aunt Baru from Episode IV: A New Hope?


34 posted on 02/26/2005 10:19:24 PM PST by Clemenza (Alcohol Tobacco & Firearms: The Other Holy Trinity)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Libloather
That picture should have a (barf alert ) ;-)

I wonder how many more dimwts Deany boy will chase across the fence ?

35 posted on 02/26/2005 10:35:56 PM PST by Deetes
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: zygoat
And that party would be?

Don't you know?

You know the famous symbols:

36 posted on 02/26/2005 10:58:56 PM PST by AmishDude
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: AmishDude

Thats what I figured. Might as well stay home on election day, or become a Moonie.


37 posted on 02/27/2005 5:05:55 AM PST by zygoat
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 36 | View Replies]

To: Libloather
"But for Flowers, the shift was less about party politics and more about personal standards."

Horseshit!

She is no more a Republican than John F. Kerry is, but she desperately wants to be re-elected!

There's been no sudden change in the South:
Anyone who couldn't figure out what was going on in the Dimocratic Party by the time Lyndon Johnson was elected is too clueless to be allowed into the GOP!

38 posted on 02/28/2005 7:40:52 PM PST by Redbob
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson