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Op-Ed: Our local Soviet central committee

by DAN GOOKIN/Special to The Press
| April 16, 2021 1:00 AM

We live in interesting times. Those claiming to be anti-fascist act like fascists and those claiming to be anti-communist parrot the communist party line. What better way to disguise your true motives than to become what you claim to oppose.

A case in point is the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee (KCGOPCC), which operates with tactics and goals straight from the Stalinist playbook, all while claiming to love the U.S. Constitution and support individual freedom.

Full disclosure: I am a member of the KCGOPCC. On the Coeur d’Alene City Council, I am a fiscal hawk. I ardently support the Second Amendment. I support individual rights, smaller government, and personal responsibility. I oppose socialism and I don’t believe that a racist lurks under every rock. Yet, I am the most despised member of the Central Committee because I refuse to join Chairman Brent Regan’s personality cult. They demand party purity like snow on the Ural Mountains. You can’t just be a member of the same religion, but you must worship at their same church, same service, sit in the same pew, and mouth the same words.

During one meeting, I was taken to task for accusing the members of acting like an “amen corner.” Yet, earlier Chairman Regan gushed about how the 40 people sent to the state party convention all voted unanimously on every single issue. Every. Single. Issue.

No, there’s no groupthink going on at the KCGOPCC.

Demanding conformity while they preach a love for individual freedom isn’t their worst offense. Their political desires are to elevate the central committee (themselves, the anointed ones) to a Soviet-style system of dictatorship over Republican voters and representatives. These Zadoks behave like empowered king makers: Republican voters can only vote for those whom the committee approves of; our elected representatives must answer to the central committee poohbahs or face expulsion from the party.

Disloyalty to Regan’s politburo leads to one being labeled a RINO or a traitor. Both Republican County Commissioners Bill Brooks and Chris Fillios have been labeled communists. Visit Regan’s Facebook page to see what they think of me. Be forewarned: The central committee is eager to prove that Republicans can hate Republicans more than Democrats hate Republicans.

Examples of their Soviet bent come from observation of their tactics: One member of the group, an award-winning Republican, advocated for central committee control over who gets placed on the GOP ballot. No, the public isn’t smart enough to choose. On Facebook he wrote, “Too bad we are forced by statute to hold a primary.” In the Soviet Union, the party also picked its own candidates.

In The Press this past Wednesday (April 14, 2021), Library Board candidate Cynthia Reyburn lamented how the vetting members of the Central Committee insisted upon her loyalty to the party — not to the people. They demanded she vote their way and censor materials not deemed worthy by the committee. She refused, so she’s not Republican enough for them.

Folks, this totalitarian abuse isn’t American by any stretch. Uncle Joe Stalin would heartily approve: The Soviet Communists eagerly banned books and demanded loyalty to the party. Yet, this behavior is considered appropriate by people who want to dictate to you who is and who isn’t a “real” Republican.

Indeed, anyone outside the Brent Regan personality cult is a “communist.” Members of the central committee are not Republicans. They’re barely Americans.

Brent Regan’s Svengali-like grip on the group thinkers in the Central Committee should terrify Republican voters in this county. I strongly urge all residents to pay attention: Absolutely reject any candidate promoted or endorsed by the faux Republican Central Committee. This hostile occupation by Soviet-styled dictators of what was once the “big tent” party must end.

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Dan Gookin is a Coeur d'Alene resident.